Help! Espresso always sour, no matter what I do

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

Hello folks,

I have tried everything but my espresso always comes out sour. Can you please help me improve it?

I use a Sage/ Breville Barista Touch, that is well maintained.
I modded the grinder to make it single dose.
I use fresh coffee.
I updated the basket to an IMS high precision basket.
I use a naked portafiler.


14-15 grams of fresh coffee beans. (I have the smallest IMS filter basket for 12-14g)
Grind it, double check the weight after grinding.
Use WDT in the dosing cup.
Put coffee grounds into preheated and dried filter basket.
Use needle to distribute again.
Use leveled tamper
Grind 2:1 in 30 seconds (I have played around here a lot with 2.5:1 and even 3:1 all in between 25-40 seconds)
Put temperature all the way down, as I have read that the barista touch turns to run hot (I have also done it without a preheated filter basket)

Espresso looks good but always tastes sour. :(

Any ideas what else I can do or is the Barista Touch just a hopeless espresso maker?
Should I try to brew it way hotter?

Thank you!!

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#2: Post by Splatcat »

It could just be the beans you are using.

tourmaline (original poster)
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#3: Post by tourmaline (original poster) »

I have tried several different beans, always feel the espresso is sour.
Currently I use these:

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#4: Post by SJM »

"Sour" is often the result of espresso that is brewed not hot enough, so experiment with raising that temperature that you lowered. You may have set yourself up for failure by jumping to conclusions about the capability of the machine.

tourmaline (original poster)
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#5: Post by tourmaline (original poster) »

Thank you! I will try the max temp tomorrow :)

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#6: Post by HB »

It helps if you have a coffee that's familiar and you like, e.g., from a local cafe.

I agree with SJM, making certain the espresso machine is fully heated (e.g., 25 minutes) and increasing temperature is the first stop (e.g., 2-4°F). Also see Adjusting Dose and Grind Setting by Taste and many other threads asking this same question.
tourmaline wrote:Should I try to brew it way hotter?!
If you're new to making espresso at home, keep in mind that changes you notice may be less predictive because of inconsistent barista technique. Don't be too quick to conclude change X delivered result Y, especially if X is a minor change. That can lead to wild conclusions, e.g., "I tamped with 37.2 pounds instead of 31.5 and my espresso is now fantastic!"
Dan Kehn

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#7: Post by primacoffee »

Increasing temperature is a good first step. If it keeps occuring with different coffees, another thing you can try is adding some alkalinity to your water as a buffer to that acidity.
Prima Coffee
4603 Poplar Level Rd
Louisville, KY 40213

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#8: Post by reecafe »

1. Light roasted bean taste sour, try dark or moderate;
2. was the powder too fine or too coarse (try adjust grinder)?
3. almost little matter with portafilter, basket and temperature(important but hard to accurate).
and what was the brew pressure?