An Even MORE Considered Approach to E61 Flow Control (now with video)

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks for making espresso.
PIXIllate
Supporter ♡

#1: Post by PIXIllate »

I finally got around to making a video of how I use my e61 flow control after trying to describe it several times. I'm no Davinci Resolve expert so this is the best I could do. It was awkward to prep and pull a shot with a camera and tripod in the way but I think all the important variables are visible.

The video is the same shot twice. The first time through is in real time, then it repeats and I tried to pause and add a description of the steps. Hopefully this is helpful to some.
★★ Quite Helpful

Amberale

#2: Post by Amberale »

That's roughly what I do.
I think you should either up your dose a bit or grind a bit finer.
I prefer to get virtually nothing in the cup after the 20 second infusion.
:)

PIXIllate (original poster)
Supporter ♡

#3: Post by PIXIllate (original poster) »

That's not what tastes best with my Monolith grinders. The details may differ depending on coffee, roast level, grinder/burr type (flat/conical) and quality, puck prep.... I find I get a little more pre-infusion dripping in the cup with my MC4 Conical than I do with my SSW Flat (generally speaking).

I see a lot of questions about how to use an e61 flow control and not a lot of videos of the steps. This is just my routine that I've found to work well with my grinders and coffees (mainly Tim Wendelboe and Hatch at this point).

Maybe you could video your method and add it to the thread? I think there's a lot that can be accomplished with a machine like this once you understand the basic principals and overall physics that govern how coffee, water and pressure work best together.

romlee
Supporter ♡

#4: Post by romlee »

Thanks so much for this. Very helpful for me!
“Be curious, not judgemental.” T. Lasso

PIXIllate (original poster)
Supporter ♡

#5: Post by PIXIllate (original poster) »

Glad it helps. I know it took me quite a while to figure out best practices with it.

CM00

#6: Post by CM00 »

Many thanks for the video! I tried to replicate your technique (same Profitec P600) but no way my pressure stays at 3-4bars. It boosts up immediately when the puck gets saturated and can't lower it (unless I close it fully). It is really frustrating that I can't have that low pre-infusion like with Lelit Bianca. Is it because of the vibe pump? I think the setup/installation of the FC is the same for all E61, so I don't think it's that.

Could you please describe your technique or how you managed to develop it?

Cheers!

Amberale

#7: Post by Amberale »

PIXIllate wrote:That's not what tastes best with my Monolith grinders. The details may differ depending on coffee, roast level, grinder/burr type (flat/conical) and quality, puck prep.... I find I get a little more pre-infusion dripping in the cup with my MC4 Conical than I do with my SSW Flat (generally speaking).

I see a lot of questions about how to use an e61 flow control and not a lot of videos of the steps. This is just my routine that I've found to work well with my grinders and coffees (mainly Tim Wendelboe and Hatch at this point).

Maybe you could video your method and add it to the thread? I think there's a lot that can be accomplished with a machine like this once you understand the basic principals and overall physics that govern how coffee, water and pressure work best together.
That makes sense with your light roasts, I'm a medium to dark sort of guy.
I find that if I get that much output in the infusion stage then I get early blonding and an "unattractive" pour.

Re the video, I basically do the Londinium technique.
I first saw it in a DaveC video but it's the first one here.

PIXIllate (original poster)
Supporter ♡

#8: Post by PIXIllate (original poster) »

Amberale wrote:That makes sense with your light roasts, I'm a medium to dark sort of guy.
I find that if I get that much output in the infusion stage then I get early blonding and an "unattractive" pour.

Re the video, I basically do the Londinium technique.
I first saw it in a DaveC video but it's the first one here.
video
To be frank that guy seems to me to be regurgitating ideas he only half understands and is mixing up ideas in the process. The profile I describe works well for all roast levels with the only modification being possibly to shorten the bloom/zero flow time if you're using something roasted VERY dark (oil/2nd crack) and are getting roast/bitter flavors in the cup. With my puck prep and grinders I don't have any issues with over extraction, uneven extraction or "blonding". You should try an MC4.

How do you pull those same coffees on your manual levers? That's basically what I'm doing here. Big dump of water, zero flow soak, big hit of pressure and then ramping down. Probably very similar to how you use a Strietman. Nice inventory of levers BTW.

PIXIllate (original poster)
Supporter ♡

#9: Post by PIXIllate (original poster) »

CM00 wrote:Many thanks for the video! I tried to replicate your technique (same Profitec P600) but no way my pressure stays at 3-4bars. It boosts up immediately when the puck gets saturated and can't lower it (unless I close it fully). It is really frustrating that I can't have that low pre-infusion like with Lelit Bianca. Is it because of the vibe pump? I think the setup/installation of the FC is the same for all E61, so I don't think it's that.

Could you please describe your technique or how you managed to develop it?

Cheers!
The basic idea with this profile is to replicate what good levers do well. You are correct (and it's shown in the video) that you'll need to go to zero flow to get a low pressure hold. The timing and grind size are essential to hitting that spot.

I did a small re-edit on the video to allow for more pause time on the descriptions of the steps in case it went too fast. Sometimes putting the idea together with the visual helps some people.

Please note that none of these are my ideas nor is any of this original to me. Lot's of my understanding has come from reading about extraction theory, studying Decent profiles and some of the findings that machine has allowed us to quantify. That and lots and lots of shots/tasting/experimenting.

What I've not seen elsewhere is all of this theory put together in a video showing a way to implement it all on an e61 flow control.


Here are the steps and some of the reasoning for them.

1) Start at a high flow rate (I use 7.5ml/sec, you could use higher) to introduce the amount of water needed to fully saturate the puck from top to bottom as quickly as possible to avoid uneven extraction in the form of a big water contact time difference between the top and the bottom of the puck. This is the main problem with the "Slayer" style shot. In those shots the top of the puck has been soaking for quite a long time relative to the bottom of the puck at the point where the pressure ramps up.

2) After 4 seconds (4sec x 7.5ml = 30g of water) I move to the 4ml/sec position. I do this based on the understanding that a puck can't absorb water faster than about this rate and I've already filled the headspace and have a big head start on saturating the puck. This puts me in a better position to be ready to react to the pressure rise as I get ready to shut off the flow as it hits 3 bar. With a proper grind size this normally happens around 8-9 seconds into the shot. So, that is an additional (4sec x 4ml) 16 ml of water for a total of about/roughly 45ml of water. This is 2.5 times my dry dose weight, or put another way, just about the perfect amount of water to fully saturate the entire puck top to bottom.

3) I then move the flow control to a zero flow position. The pressure will begin to drop slowly and if my grind is right it'll normally stabilize at 2 bar. If my grind is a touch too coarse I may need to open the flow a crack to maintain this pressure. I exit this stage at a given time. Normally 20 seconds but with some very light roasts I might extend this to 25 seconds. I'll have somewhere between 0.4g and 3g in the cup at this point. For whatever reason (I haven't figured it out yet) my MC4 seems to tend to the higher end of this range and the Flat is more consistent. If I were to pick a target to work towards I'd say 2g in the cup at 20 seconds would be a good starting place while you get the feel for it.

4) When I hit my time (20-25 seconds) I'll open the flow back up to the original 7.5ml/sec position with a little bit of a hesitation around 4 bar as that is the point where the puck fully compresses and after that it will no longer be able to swell/heal/reorganize itself.

5) Now that the system is completely full and pressurized it no longer makes sense to think about flow rate going into the puck so I just focus on the pressure gauge as I ramp it down to ~6bar (my OPV is set to just over 8bar peak pressure). You could go lower but I'd probably try to stay above 4 bar.

Hope this makes some things clearer.

Pressino

#10: Post by Pressino »

Your video shows how the FCD range depends on the machine's pump type. I wondered about the flow rates varied from 0ml/sec @ O degrees to 7.5ml/sec @ 470 degrees while my machine varied from 0ml/sec @ 0 to 11.9ml/sec at 470...but then I realized your machine uses a vibratory pump and mine a rotary pump. Makes a lot of sense now.

I haven't tried your recipe yet, but if I do I'll have to make adjustments for the max pressure difference between the two pump types.