Help a newbie with dose?

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks for making espresso.
scottycoyote
Posts: 9
Joined: 1 year ago

#1: Post by scottycoyote »

So just fyi im not lazy (lol) i have searched etc but i find so much info and some old and then some newer that contradicts the old, maybe asking would just save me a bunch of time (as well as fairly expensive coffee!). Until now ive just been playing around with pressurized portafilters and lower end appliance machines (53/54mm) until last week when I picked up a used quick mill anita (hx, used of course) as a bday present. So the basket looks fairly large and i figured it was 18g (no original owners manual etc just downloaded what i could from the net).

My issue is, pretty much all my shots are running thru way too quick and taste awful (like 18g in/36 out in 10 or 12 seconds).
-i dont have a super high end grinder but I do have several power and 1 hand (kingrinder especially for espresso grind) so I dont think its the grind size but maybe im wrong.
-i thought maybe my basket was larger than 18g and i needed a bigger dose, so i tried 22g and that choked the flow way down, i didnt let it finish but it was probably going to be 22g in like 80 seconds.
-i put the backflush disk in and cleaned the machine and it was running between 8 and 10 bar so i think the pressure is good.
-no thermometer but the boiler pressure looks right, and after a cooling flush with the machine up to temp the water in the cup is in the 155-160 range which seems about right from what ive seen on the net.

I bought some sweetheart ethiopia worka, i think it calls for 1:2 ratio in like 38 or 40 seconds, thick and syrupy......no way im going to get there with where im currently at, any ideas what im doing wrong?

User avatar
Jeff
Team HB
Posts: 6902
Joined: 19 years ago

#2: Post by Jeff »

Assuming that the coffee isn't stale...

It probably is around an "18 g" basket. One way to check a reasonable dose for your basket and coffee is to prep the basket and lock in in place with a US nickel or similar 2 mm (-ish) thick coin on top. If it leaves an impression in the dry coffee, you probably have too much in the basket. If it doesn't leave an impression, you may not have enough. Baskets are generally somewhat forgiving on lower doses, down to the point where the puck gets too thin to reasonably work with.

My guess is that it is your grinder or choice of grind. I don't know what your other grinders are, but the Kingrinder may be a good one to work with. I'd go finer until you get your 1:2 ratio up to somewhere in the 30-45 second range from pump on. Then you can tune by taste from there.

Ethiopian coffees tend to grind differently than Central and South American coffees, or even Kenyan coffees. When you change coffees, you may have a "big" change in grind size to get back to a similar flow rate.

ira
Team HB
Posts: 5526
Joined: 16 years ago

#3: Post by ira »

If it runs to fast, grind finer, that's always the first place to start. Looking at the grind is not a useful way to judge grind size for espresso.

macal425
Posts: 153
Joined: 3 years ago

#4: Post by macal425 »

I agree to start with grinding finer and see if that works. Since you jumped from 18g to 22g, perhaps 20g would be another way to go, if the basket will fit that amount. I also wouldn't have just thrown away the 22g shot you pulled. 'Sometimes' you get a nice surprise with one of these longer pulls.

Mat-O-Matic
Supporter ♡
Posts: 306
Joined: 5 years ago

#5: Post by Mat-O-Matic »

1. Pick a dose and stick with it.
- Dose is rarely the first variable to look at when dialling/fine-tuning.
- Find a dose that passes the coin test and only adjust the grind until you can consistently brew in the right ballpark--like a 1:2 ratio with a total brew time of at least 18 seconds. Usually between 22 and 35 or so, but longer shots can be good.
- Be aware the dose volume will naturally change as you grind finer or coarser. As you get your grind close, repeat the coin test.
- Smaller doses are often easier to manage than high doses. 14g can be great, but I usually start with 15.x-17.x as a general rule for my equipment. Many roasters will suggest doses in excess of 18g, and a higher dose relative to other variables can improve cup results, the primary result of 19 to 22g doses for most situations is that you are using more coffee and getting more caffeine while also courting less reliable shots due to demands on prep and grinder.

2. If your basket is a 'high-flow' type such as VST it will require a much finer grind (and be more demanding on prep generally). Unless you are dedicated to brewing light roasts, consider first getting comfortable with your machine using its stock basket or a non-high-flow precision basket.

3. My approach to reading roaster's suggestions for time is that less time (e.g. 23s) suggest coarser while longer times such as 38s suggests finer grinding.
LMWDP #716: Spring comes, and the grass grows by itself.

scottycoyote (original poster)
Posts: 9
Joined: 1 year ago

#6: Post by scottycoyote (original poster) »

I agree to start with grinding finer and see if that works. Since you jumped from 18g to 22g, perhaps 20g would be another way to go, if the basket will fit that amount. I also wouldn't have just thrown away the 22g shot you pulled. 'Sometimes' you get a nice surprise with one of these longer pulls.
yeah youre right ive tried all the crappy fast shots I should have tried the slow one too lol.....i guess i got flustered with all this experimenting and quit thinking

Mat-O-Matic
Supporter ♡
Posts: 306
Joined: 5 years ago

#7: Post by Mat-O-Matic »

Post #5 from Jake G describes a process that may be helpful.
LMWDP #716: Spring comes, and the grass grows by itself.