How (or) do you log your espresso shots?

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks.
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#1: Post by xandmann »

I have newly discovered coffee and have been searching for a good app for tracking espresso shots.
Haven't found any good ones (in reasonable price range like 0.99 to 2.99 USD on the App Store).

What do you use to log your shots? Do you even log shots?

PS: For full disclosure, I have started writing one for iOS.


#2: Post by CwD »

Notepad for logging shot parameters immediately after they happen, notebook to write all of that down along with impressions and extraction measurements.

If I were using an app I'd want it to be able to do these things to be worth giving up the total freedom of paper:
  • Set up multiple grinders and the range of settings for each to be chosen from on each brew/shot.
  • Record beverage weight and total brew mass independently.
  • Setting up your own brewing devices to program in recipes for. Ability to use one devices recipe with another with some kind of "show all" function.
  • Spot for filter for brewers with multiple options like tabbed/untabbed v60, with ability to set default.
  • Calculate exty% from tds and beverage weight or brew mass depending if immersion or percolation. Just the basic "(tds*beverage weight)/dry dose" one, no unnecessary factors like VST.
  • Ideally a spot to record which refractometer and filtering method (vst filters, off brand, centrifuging, none).
  • Store logs per bean to quickly look back and see what grind settings with which grinder had the best results for getting something similar.
  • Raw data dumps to throw in excel and graph variables to extraction.
  • A bunch of other things that are more normal, these are only my most fringe ideas.


#3: Post by BaristaBob »

Ha, having it on an excel spreadsheet might be nice, but I'm old school for this. I use a 8"x10" notebook. Every page dedicated to a new bag of coffee. Heading at top of page is date of first use, bean type/name, roaster, next line includes roast level, roasted on ...
Next line has headings for; dose(g), extraction (sec), pour volume (g), grinder setting (#), notes (things like time of pre-infusion, workflow changes, taste, etc.).

At the end of a bag I'll make some final notes on whether it was easy to dial in, and comments like...would definitely purchase again!

Hope that helps.
Bob "hello darkness my old friend..I've come to drink you once again"


#4: Post by belegnole »

I do not take notes at this point. If I did, I too would use a notebook at the coffee station. For longevity and greater data organization I would probably transfer the numbers to excel on my computer.
LMWDP #641

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#5: Post by BaristaBoy E61 »

Welcome to HB.

I use a medium size spiral bound notebook and log date, type of coffee, weight of ground coffee in gm, grinder setting, time in seconds for preinfusion, pump & post infusion, steamed milk quality on a scale of 1 to 10 with comments, taste of shot (drink) on a scale of 1 to 10 with comments.

The inside front cover contains a 'leger of weight' for every device/tool in every combination possible that can be subtracted from the 'Total Weight' of an untared scale to have the exact weight of ground coffee.

I also use abbreviations next to the names of the coffees that I find a very helpful quick reference - 'BA' Buy Again & 'DBA' Don't Buy Again. It's amazing how many wind up in the latter category!

I'm NOT OCD, I'm just OCD NOT!
Well, maybe...
"You didn't buy an Espresso Machine - You bought a Chemistry Set!"


#6: Post by Tonefish »

Another old fashioned notepad user here, and my recorded real-time parameters are (and I do 2 coffees each time since mine must have a decaf dilution):

then pm if after noon

grind setting
bean weight
in basket weight (coffee plus basket)
subtract basket weight (premeasured, of course)
final dose

HX temperatures
brew temperature just before shot
brew temperature peak during shot
brew temperature at the end of the shot

preinfusion time
extraction time
shot weight (I always target ristretto 1:1.5)
LMWDP #581 .......... May your roasts, grinds, and pulls be the best!

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#7: Post by TomC »

Here's a good reference! :lol:

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BaristaBoy E61

#8: Post by BaristaBoy E61 »

Just LOVE that video every time it appears!
"You didn't buy an Espresso Machine - You bought a Chemistry Set!"

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#9: Post by xandmann »

Thank you for the detailed answers. Well so it seems that my countless hours of watching you tube videos has somewhat paid off.
Most of the things you guys do when pulling shots are captured in the apps functionality. It's bulit for speed and ease of use,
but still tracking extensive amount of variables.

The first release will not have all the high-tech stuff like talking to Bluetooth Scales, Pressure and Temperature sensors etc. but it's in the works. (Well actually my developer version has all that functionality available but it has to be tested properly before sending that kind of advanced stuff to Apple or a rejection is almost certain.)

I have actually designed a Bluetooth dongle for sensors and written an app for it, just waiting for the PCBs to arrive. The design is modular and can be adopted to any machine (or so I hope). But that is for another thread...

Posting a few screenshots (showing the main screen and one of the taste profile pages).
Feedback is welcome!


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#10: Post by Peppersass »

Very cool looking app. FYI, there are iOS and Android libraries developed by members of this forum that interface to Acaia scales. You can search for recent threads about the libraries and where to download them. Or, you can PM me for information. I also have Android code that interfaces with an Arduino that manages a sensor/relay interface board I designed for my GS/3. Among other things, the Arduino sends the flow rate and motor speed to Android for display.

Your thread has got me thinking quite bit about the usefulness of logging and has made me regret not doing more of it.

I logged sporadically when I was learning to make espresso. It was useful for learning how variations in dose, grind, extraction time and beverage weight affect flow rate and extraction yield. It also revealed how inconsistent my early grinders were and how consistent my later (and better) grinders were in comparison.

I considered logging mainly useful for learning how to dial in, so I stopped doing it after I achieved a reasonable level of competence. Pretty-much the only time I log shots now is when I'm measuring extraction yield with my VST refractometer and CoffeeTools app, and I only do that when I'm comparing equipment/technique or troubleshooting equipment or a bean that's difficult to work with.

But all that said, recently I started learning how to roast my own coffee, and that has required logging data and cupping notes for every roast. Roasting has forced me to push my cupping skills to a higher level, focusing much more attention on deconstructing and identifying constituent flavors. This comes into play when evaluating a roast for defects, but also comes into play when evaluating whether a roast brings out the origin flavors. Had I started delving more deeply into constituent flavors back when I started pulling shots, and had I logged the results, I'd likely be able to do a better job identifying origin flavors in my roasts, and would have a library of notes to inform me of what to expect from various origins. While that kind of information is available from other sources, it would be nice to have a database of origin flavors based on my own tasting.

If wasn't using Artisan for logging (i.e., wasn't roasting), but still wanted to log brew parameters and cupping notes, I would probably use a spreadsheet or I'd use the built-in recipe saving feature of CoffeeTools, which lets you log a ton of information. It can be used for that purpose even if you don't have a refractometer, and the iOS and Mac versions let you export your recipe database in CSV format, which can be imported into Excel.