Grind, not Dose - Page 10

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks for making espresso.
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#91: Post by CRCasey »

Should we flip a coin, or is this a cat in the box time?

Black as the devil, hot as hell, pure as an angel, sweet as love-CMdT, LMWDP#244

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another_jim (original poster)
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#92: Post by another_jim (original poster) »

Ken Fox wrote: my own observations are that by increasing dose as a coffee stales, you can improve the resulting drinks over what you would have gotten with that stale coffee had you left the dose constant. ... To me this argues more for limiting the amount of coffee that I leave out at any given time, freezing the rest for later use, than it argues for trying to get more out of past-prime coffee by altering dose and grind.
Or it argues for throwing out the remaining coffee every day, or roasting every day, or moving next to a good cafe, or switching to tea or ...

I fail to see the point in this farrago of counterfactuals. The only thing that matters here is that sometimes people have to use the same coffee for five or six days. In that case, gradually increasing the dose, and perhaps even grinding coarser, will do much better than grinding finer.

Ken, you're free to throw out the coffee instead.
Jim Schulman

Ken Fox

#93: Post by Ken Fox replying to another_jim »

Actually, Jim, I'm not sure that you have established this as fact, although it is obviously a strongly held opinion of yours.

For home roasters who can choose how often to roast or how much to freeze of each roast product, they do have a choice. For people who do not home roast but who buy in quantities greater than what they can consume when the coffee they just purchased is at prime, they can choose to freeze some, or more, as result of this discussion.

Yeah, no doubt, if you have excess coffee lying around there are various things you can do with it. My #1 choice as long as it is still usable, is to use it in milk drinks and to drink something that is still in its prime for straight shots. That way, the substandard coffee is not obviously noticeable as being substandard, and when drinking straight shots one gets the best that one can get.

There are lots of things to be done with "leftovers." I don't much care for leftovers, either in food, or in coffee, and anything I can do to avoid having them is a net plus in my view.

What, me worry?

Alfred E. Neuman, 1955

Ken Fox

#94: Post by Ken Fox »

I'm reviving this thread because of some experiences I have had this summer. I've been quite busy the last couple of months and as a result have been lax in anticipating my needs for fresh coffee (used for espresso) to the point where I've consumed quite a bit of coffee beyond what I would define as its "optimum" period. For me that is a fairly tight window that seldom lasts longer than ~4 days, however it might begin as early as day 2 in the case of some DP Ethiopians, might start on day 4 for a Brazil Yellow Bourbon, and might commence on day 7 or 8 for a Yemen, to take 3 examples. I seldom drink blends anymore, but when I used to drink blends I observed a similar behavior in terms of the duration of the optimal period for drinking.

I've consumed quite a bit of coffee this summer that was several days older than I would have preferred. As coffee ages beyond its peak period, it will almost always require either a grind setting or dose change in order to maintain good espresso time/flow extraction parameters. As a result of my experience this summer, I have to agree with Jim in the sense that if you have to drink fresh coffee that is past its prime, you are better off just cramming more coffee into the PF than you are in adjusting the grind setting.

I continue to believe, however, that it makes more sense to try to arrange your coffee stocks so that you can consume all or almost all of it during its prime period. A strategy for how to do this with the help of your freezer was the point of this thread I started a number of months ago:

Better Espresso thru Freezing

What, me worry?

Alfred E. Neuman, 1955

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#95: Post by trzynkaa »

Nice to know I'm not the only one doing this... Adjust the dose, not the grind.

Since I changed to a more consistent grinder about a year ago, I've been amazed at how infrequently I change the grind. Instead, I shift the dose a little. "Little" to me means: if it does not taste "right", I increase or decrease the dose a couple tenths of a gram until it tastes "right"... Kony has been set at 8.7 for weeks.


#96: Post by Anvan »

Although this thread goes back a couple of years, there's much value here and I hope it is not passed over by potential readers simply by virtue of its age.

There are several really smart and experienced people thinking both theoretically as well as empirically here. While the practical elements give us give us something useful to try out ourselves, the theoretical explorations are worthwhile in moving us perhaps closer to a model that describes and explains how ground coffee behaves during the extraction process.

It is quasi-humorous (oh hell, maybe full-out funny) to read Jim and Ken carrying on what only appears to be an argument over the ten pages provided - while in truth they're only talking by each other, stubbornly and repeatedly. But after all, Jim's "relationship of proper grind to optimal extraction" has been well established to the point of assumption, and meanwhile - show of hands please - who wants to argue with Ken about using coffee in its prime whenever possible?

The greatest value here is that each of these gentlemen feel compelled to restate their points so many times and in so many variations that this non-argument gets both non-conflicting points across with more clarity than these explorations normally grant.

So my belated thanks for this discussion.

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#97: Post by Psyd »

Anvan wrote:
The greatest value here is that each of these gentlemen feel compelled to restate their points so many times and in so many variations that this non-argument gets both non-conflicting points across with more clarity than these explorations normally grant.
For me, this quote, "As a result of my experience this summer, I have to agree with Jim" is the best indicator of a great and productive conversation, with folks who don't necessarily see eye to eye. I have no problem with folks that disagree with me, as long as they do so with great study and resources to back up their disagreement, and their arguments are based on the real world or well-established facts. Even if they aren't, as long as they are labeled as such ("I feel", or, "I think x because") and given the weight that those kinds of statemnts deserve, I'm OK with that.
I respect both of these gentlemen's opinion, knowledge, diligence in their study and research, and I do have to confess that quite often, I will go to the bottom of one of the discussions where either one or both have done a lot of study and discussion, and get right to the results. I'm not always willing to wad through the equation, but will always try to insert it into my morning to see if it helps my cuppa.
Yes, thank you both for all of the years of dedication and research, testing and tasting, research and sharing that you have done here.
And for doing so very civilly, even in the face of those that have not always been so civil.
I salute you both!
Espresso Sniper
One Shot, One Kill

LMWDP #175

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#98: Post by BeanGuru »

I hesitate to add a note because of my already newbie tagged "did you realize that thread is ancient"... But, it was almost as captivating as watching every episode of season 1 - "Walking Dead", but Psyd did open the door...

Anyway, plot wise, I love Jim and Ken's ying/yang dialog/relationship. Like Anvan mentioned, the numerous iterations really drove the concept home. Just so contrary to everything I thought was true...

What really caught my attention is that here in Tucson, during monsoon season the day can start at 10%RH and by 2pm it could be as high as 90%RH, adjusting the grinder has just been a fact of fast moving RH life. There were days I predicted rain by how much adjustment the grinder needed.

I have the SN Mythos and the normal grind setting is 2.875. During monsoons I've had to go as low as 2 and as high as 5 in a period of 2 hours. Just crazy!

I just taught an "Intro to Barista" last night and had to explain this (dramatic change in humidity and the effect on espresso) to a couple of German nationals (IBMers pulling their stateside shifts). They speak great English, but making sure they understood was challenging.

It never occurred to me to adjust the dose, *ever*. I'm just so wired to adjust the grind and pulling the shot just prior to blond, while watching the extraction variations and feeling helpless...

I have double baskets loaded, I hope I have enough headroom in them for additional volume. If not, I'll pull them and insert the triple baskets. I'll also re-program the third button on the Mythos to support .2 grams of espresso. If this works my baristas will rejoice in song and dance as their confidence in adjusting grind is poor.

Jim, I'm really excited to see how this plays out... Ken, I can't agree more - buy/thaw what you're going to use during peak freshness.

Really good topic...
Bean Grading | Roast Profiling | Cupping
Roaster's Guild Member / SCAA Member

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#99: Post by innermusic »

I hate to gush, but...
This is one of the best threads on the site I've seen, and there are tons to choose from.
PS - Jim,
another_jim wrote:This advice assumes you are varying the dose to optimize taste as a matter of course. If you are not, go back to espresso 202.
I'm always hearing stuff like "use this dose for Kenyan" or "use this dose for lighter roasts", or even "use this grinder for this blend."

Jim, where is espresso 303?
Steve Holt
Trent Hills, Ontario Canada
Vivaldi II, Macap MXK, Baratza Vario

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another_jim (original poster)
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#100: Post by another_jim (original poster) »

Coming as soon as I know enough.
Jim Schulman