Help Adjusting Flavor

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks.
OK31
Posts: 35
Joined: October 3rd, 2017

Postby OK31 » Oct 12, 2017, 9:31 pm

Guys so far you have been the voice on one shoulder guiding me to keep with it and not give up. FINALLY after now going on 4 weeks I am able to visually understand when the shot is really going to SUCK. This is progress at least now I know when it's bad (not that I know how to avoid it). The question NOW is how to get that sweet spot.

Today I bought some "The Daily" from Joe, Roasted on Oct 2nd so 8 days i guess just at the point you want it at. Pulled ah say half dozen shots give or take a few. Here are my findings and I'd like some guidance to help reduce the sink shots... Following equipment used: Smart Grinder Pro, some usual suspect scale (non 0.1g measure so I'm trying to keep the number consistent allow some play within that number), Infuser machine.

Tamping done with included tamper no idea on weight applied but tried to apply as even and consistent as possible across all shots. The razor included with machine was used to just understand if there was too much in the basket but none of the below even reached the razor, the smaller weighed shots had a lot more head room.

Pull time recording started immediately at double shot button press, first drips started at ~9-11 sec
1st shot 15 sec grind, 12 size 18g in PF, 45g out in 32 sec - sourish kind of weak not something I'd enjoy

2nd shot 14 sec grind, 11 size 16g in PF, 44g out in 31 sec - sourish similar to above but definitely less "watery"

3rd shot 14.8 sec grind, 9 size 18g in PF, 40g out in 35 sec - better not AS sour but still a hind of that eh... at this point all 3 would probably be fine with milk but that's not what this is about RIGHT?!?!

4th shot 15.8 sec grind, 8 size 17g in PF (remember it may be closer to 18 or 16) 36g out in 40 sec - this tasted the best out of all, sour almost if not completely gone started to get on the cusp of bitter but not, taste lingers but can maybe be better?

I'm concentrating too much on time and weight to understand what should be aimed for to get that good shot. If all can be the same as the last shot it may not be so bad but maybe the edge can be cut or balanced out and the "gold" standard reached?

on some of these the puck stuck to the shower screen but I do have a habit of leaving the PF in the group head for a bit to dry is that bad?

Volumetrically the very first shot had an extremely tall crema compared with the rest. The last show had probably the "worst" maybe not quite as thick. The legs were very thin and slow but just the right color all in probably the best shot pulled that was "scientifically" observed.

What would you guys recommend to get this better? I have 2 more varieties coming from SCG next week and don't particularly want to sink too many so if there is something based on your expertise and the above that can be done to kind of keep it consistent ANY advice would be GREATLY appreciated.

HH
Posts: 77
Joined: July 4th, 2017

Postby HH » Oct 13, 2017, 3:08 am

Hey Oleg,
Glad things are improving! I have the Breville 920 and SGP so there may be some similarities between our shots. Two things I would recommend doing:

1. Weight the empty basket and tare your scales. Fill the basket up and tamp to full compression, then use the razor tool to get rid of any extra coffee. Weigh the basket again (this time with it full of coffee). This will give you the amount of coffee the stock basket is designed to use. Use this when dialling in your ratios (e.g. 1:2 dose to yield).

2. Only count half the dwell time. For example, if you don't get the first drop of coffee out until the shot timer reads 10 seconds, count this as 5 seconds of your shot time. With a 10 second dwell time I aim for 21g coffee in, a 42g dose out in 35 seconds. This is a good starting point and you can tweak the yield and timings as you see fit to alter taste once you're hitting these sort of numbers consistently.

Good luck - let me know how it goes.
Henry

User avatar
slipchuck
Posts: 404
Joined: April 12th, 2017

Postby slipchuck » Oct 13, 2017, 8:58 am

I would advise doing what I did.... don't sink the bad shots, make milk drinks out of them. Makes the process a little less painful as at least there is a purpose for the waisted shots.
The only bad decisions are the decisions you didn't make

User avatar
YDandA
Posts: 35
Joined: July 15th, 2017

Postby YDandA » Oct 13, 2017, 10:24 am

I believe you say your scale reads to the nearest gram? So even if it's accurate it could still vary +/- half a gram. That might be a bit much? I was using my "roasting" scale (600 gm., reads to the nearest 0.1gm), again, assuming it's accurate. The other day I bought one of those pocket scales at Amazon (20 bucks); it looks kinda like a Star Trek communicator. :lol: My coffee has improved since. EDIT: That scale is 50gm. capacity, and reads to .001gm.

I've had the same grinder as you do for years. Early on I quit trying to adjust dose by using the timer; I find single dosing much easier. I weigh the beans going in, and ideally it would be good to weigh the grinds coming out as well and adjust accordingly. I don't, but that's just because I'm pretty dialed in now.

That's a clumpy grinder; what distribution technique are you using? I used to do the WDT followed by a hard tamp. Here very recently I've been using a rank beginner's version of Stockfleth's move, followed by a light tamp--just enough to evenly press the top of the puck ~0.5 cm. below the rim of the basket. Coffee has improved on both of the machines I use, an electric vibe pump one and a lever machine. Drier spent pucks, and the bottomless PF no longer spits in my eye. Coffee's better too. My belief now is that clumps internal to the puck are not near as bad as a too-hard tamp wrt channeling, the hard puck building up overpressure and pretty much forcing the water to find some path through that hard solid mass.
EDIT: I just now added WDT back into the equation by grinding into an espresso cup (has larger volume than my FB), doing the WDT, then inverting the whole thing into my filter basket and continuing as above w/ Stockfleth's. I'm having a nice cocoa bomb atm.

I dunno. I'm surely no expert; these are just ways I've seen improvement.

I use a dab of pure stevia extract to improve all but the worst sink shots. :mrgreen:
Regards,
Jon
Yard Dog & Ass./ManCaveCoffee

-dustin
Posts: 3
Joined: August 10th, 2017

Postby -dustin » Oct 13, 2017, 10:47 am

HH wrote:2. Only count half the dwell time. For example, if you don't get the first drop of coffee out until the shot timer reads 10 seconds, count this as 5 seconds of your shot time. With a 10 second dwell time I aim for 21g coffee in, a 42g dose out in 35 seconds. This is a good starting point and you can tweak the yield and timings as you see fit to alter taste once you're hitting these sort of numbers consistently.

is this the generally accepted rule of thumb?

User avatar
slipchuck
Posts: 404
Joined: April 12th, 2017

Postby slipchuck » Oct 13, 2017, 11:39 am

-dustin wrote:is this the generally accepted rule of thumb?

Don't know if this is the golden rule, but I start counting when the pump revs up... you will here the pump get louder when the pre infusion is done.

Randy
The only bad decisions are the decisions you didn't make

*sigh*
Posts: 105
Joined: February 2nd, 2017

Postby *sigh* » Oct 13, 2017, 12:37 pm

-dustin wrote:is this the generally accepted rule of thumb?

Not really, everyone is different. This is the first I've heard of this method, others start when they start the shot, others use the first drop.

Whatever you do, just do it every time. Consistency is key.

I definitely second the earlier comments though, you have a lot of variation is your dose weights. Try getting those dialed in first. Also, while your grinder has some adjustment it's still stepped. So you may never be able to get to that perfect grind size, so once you find the best one for you, play around with other factors to see if you can further dial in the shot. Start up or downdosing, cut the short short or let it pull longer. There are lots of parameters you can adjust, just try some things and have fun. Once you get the shot enjoyable, then it's just playing with nuances which I find a lot more enjoyable and a lot less frustrating then trying to dial in a coffee to something drinkable.

HH
Posts: 77
Joined: July 4th, 2017

Postby HH » Oct 13, 2017, 3:43 pm

-dustin wrote:is this the generally accepted rule of thumb?


I'm not sure :D all I know is I couldn't work out why all my shots tasted underextracted. Having read through many threads on the forum and not being able to work out a consensus on when to start timing the shot, I found this thread:

Does average pull time include preinfusion?

After lots of experimenting I found (as Jim does) that going via flow rate seems to work best for the flavour in the cup. For me, counting dwell time as half the time on the clock suddenly changed my shots from ones that were underextracted to ones that tasted spot on. Now it may be simply that I was under-extracting them beforehand and this work around was a happy coincidence, but it worked for me and has become part of my routine. No sink shots since!

OK31
Posts: 35
Joined: October 3rd, 2017

Postby OK31 » Oct 13, 2017, 5:44 pm

Thanks everyone. Yes I really need to get a more precise scale to help with weighing in and out. It's in my radar. As for milk drinks unfortunately I was on a roll and there's only so many drinks I can have at 8pm lol.

I have been doing the tap and tamp which may well be responsible for the shot starting strong and then having pressure drop though it's still well in the range where I want it. I'm thinking I probably want to go one more notch lower on size and lower the dose to maybe 15ish to see if I can get that good flavor without choking. This morning I got about 17g in PF and at 35sec got 32g out in cup which is probably great but think I could have gotten a little more flavor in a little less time. I am finally understanding that there is not wrong way its just what you like. So in reality all these coffee shops give you their interpretation. If you want your own then this is the way to do it and at the end of the day considering I won't be doing many shots straight it will not be as impactful though noticeable in milk.

Is a calibrated tamper worth it? And those who have had the grinder pro what did you find as a good balance on the grind size? Considering you can make it flow in 30 seconds using dose size and tamp in so many combos it's like probability all over again. Doing all shots in a row I found helpful to taste each otherwise doing it across days just spreads the torture while not wasting which I need to stop.

Next problem stretching milk and pouring. Science is one thing art well that's a whole other business.

HH
Posts: 77
Joined: July 4th, 2017

Postby HH » Oct 13, 2017, 5:54 pm

OK31 wrote:Is a calibrated tamper worth it? And those who have had the grinder pro what did you find as a good balance on the grind size? Considering you can make it flow in 30 seconds using dose size and tamp in so many combos it's like probability all over again.


The grind setting varies for me based on the beans I'm using, how old they are etc. I'm currently on 11, grinding for 17.2 seconds to give me 21g in the basket, but on my last bag of beans which was a different bean and roast, I was up at a setting of 15. Just change one thing at a time and you'll have it dialled in in a couple of shots. I keep tamping pressure and dose absolutely consistent which makes it a lot easier when trying new beans.

With regards to calibrated tampers and tamping variables, just tamp to full compression (until you can't physically tamp more), which cuts out the pressure variable completely.

 
Sponsored by intelligentsiacoffee.com
www.intelligentsiacoffee.com: home of the black cat project