Fine grind / small dose versus coarse grind / big dose: Is there a difference?

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks.

Fine grind/small dose versus coarse grind/large dose: Is there a difference?

No, there's no systematic difference
2
7%
Yes, the fine grind/small dose is brighter than coarse grind/large dose
7
26%
Yes, the small dose/fine grind is less bright than coarse grind/large dose
9
33%
The difference is more complicated than that (please explain)
9
33%
 
Total votes: 27

User avatar
another_jim
Team HB

#1: Post by another_jim »

I've had a bit of serendipity -- the collision of study on espresso extraction and a very unusual espresso blend. This has got me speculating and I have a favor to ask:

If you're inclined, and have the chance, do several shots of the same blend. Do one or more shots with a larger dose and a coarser grind than usual, and one with a smaller dose and finer grind than usual, shooting for the same shot time and volume you normally get (and temperature and pressure for you ultra-precise types :lol:).

Taste the shots and let us know what you think.

Thanks for participating, this is a lot easier than doing my own research!
Jim Schulman

Dogshot

#2: Post by Dogshot »

A few days ago I received an order of 2 new (to me) blends from a local roaster. One of those roasts was quite light, and when I brewed it up at my usual 17gms, it had a tinny taste that I associate with a puckering brightness that I cannot tame. After dinner, I brewed it at 15gms and a full turn tighter on the M4. Both shots were 2oz, 30 second extractions brewed at the same (higher than usual) temp, but the 15gm (lower dose, tighter grind) shot was distinctly tamer, and revealed some of the pleasant notes that had been subdued by the puckering brightness.

Mark

User avatar
another_jim
Team HB

#3: Post by another_jim »

Yeah. I think I could even make espresso from Terroir's 8) provided I dosed at around 10 to 12 grams in a double basket, and set the grinder down about half way between the normal espresso setting and the zero.
Jim Schulman

User avatar
Jasonian

#4: Post by Jasonian »

With a lighter dose and a finer grind, you are extracting more from the coffee than you are with more coffee at a coarser grind.

That is to say, you are extracting a larger variety of components. In a sense, you are "tasting the coffee".

The ligher dose/finer grind is more honest to the inherent flavors, imo.

This is more complicated than "it's brighter". The subtle flavors that are lost on a heavier dose are able to shine through at a lighter dose.

User avatar
cpl593h

#5: Post by cpl593h »

Jim, I had a go at this with some Daterra Yellow Bourbon roasted too light for a "standard" extraction. At my usual 18.5g dose, it was undrinkable. Dosed down to ~15g and pulled to the same volume, the brightness was tamed to a pleasant level, and the shot was overall very vivid.

mikep

#6: Post by mikep »

Is there a tradeoff of body/mouthfeel in these downdosed shots for anyone?

User avatar
another_jim
Team HB

#7: Post by another_jim » replying to mikep »

A very small hit, not nearly as much as one would expect. The theory is that downdosed shots have higher extraction rates. Caramels are less soluble than acids, so their proportion rises as one extracts more weight from the puck. Since caramels also create body, the loss in solids concentration in the cup is partly made up there being a higher proportion of "body solids."
Jim Schulman

Dogshot

#8: Post by Dogshot »

I started getting serious about making the best coffee possible about 3 years ago. At that time, the ristretto and the triple basket were making a splash. Both were known to intensify the sweetness and body in the shot, so it seemed natural to me that the way to deal with overly bright blends was to updose and pull short. result: like biting tinfoil. That strategy was assisted by my perception that pulling an overdosed shot requires a lot less skill than pulling a decent down-dosed shot.

I think that many of the home blends that we use tend toward the mid and low ends of the flavour spectrum - sweet, creamy, heavy body. These respond pretty well to triple baskets and overdosing. With some experience, the WDT (which makes down-dosing much easier for me), maybe even a single basket, and some bright blends, there is so much more to explore.

I have also found that shots from these down-dosed bright blends make very interesting and enjoyable Americanos.

Mark

User avatar
another_jim
Team HB

#9: Post by another_jim »

Dogshot wrote: ... so it seemed natural to me that the way to deal with overly bright blends was to updose and pull short. result: like biting tinfoil.
I wish I'd thought of that description; may I steal it for my coffeecuppers reviews?

I've spent the last few days doing the same blend at staged doses and grinds, recording the taste and extraction data. The large dosed shots tasted metallic. Unfortunately, I didn't have a column for that.
Jim Schulman

Dogshot

#10: Post by Dogshot »

another_jim wrote:I wish I'd thought of that description; may I steal it for my coffeecuppers reviews?
I'd be delighted. Maybe there should be a flavour wheel to describe the wrong side of the extraction :lol:.

Mark