Just changed the temperature variable... Advice now needed

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks for making espresso.
Vindibona1

#1: Post by Vindibona1 »

For some time I've had my espresso machine (QM67) set at 200°F (93°C) and have just upped the tempt to 203°F (95°C) to see if that would improve the taste of my medium roast beans. I get the beans every week from the roaster which I believe have to be about 5 days fresh (and continue to change somewhat throughout the week).

So after changing the temp to 203°I pulled my first test shot, 18g in and 36g out, 1:2. I do think I tasted some improvement in terms of balance. It wasn't bitter. It wasn't sour and I think quite well balanced compared to other shots I've done for some time. But again the shot was stronger than before.

Following the shot pulling I steamed some milk and really had the best espresso drink I've made so far. But what if I want to drink my espresso without milk or sweetener. How can I make the shot a bit less strong and keep the same balance, especially without bringing in more acidity, which my palette really doesn't like, which is why I think I stay away from lighter roasts?

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BaristaBoy E61

#2: Post by BaristaBoy E61 »

Vindibona1 wrote:How can I make the shot a bit less strong and keep the same balance[/b]
You can try reducing the weight of the dose and grinding finer to maintaining the same shot time. Weight the extraction as well & keep a log.
"You didn't buy an Espresso Machine - You bought a Chemistry Set!"

Vindibona1 (original poster)

#3: Post by Vindibona1 (original poster) replying to BaristaBoy E61 »

Thanks for the advice. I'll experiment with the dose and grind and see what happens.

I DO keep a log on every single shot I make.

Another thing I'm working on is puck prep. Typically after dosing I do a multi-level WTD, followed by OCD followed by tamp. In terms of tamp pressure, when I feel the puck fully compressed I stop pushing. I think that part is pretty consistent. I just bought a new dosing funnel (3rd one). The inside rim of the others fit INSIDE the basket and left a 1/8" trench around the perimeter of the basket. And while I have the OCD, I thought that if I had a funnel that around the rim OUTSIDE of the basket the grinds would settle more uniformly. I think it does the job and I think I like it. But it may have changed one of the prep steps just a bit.

How long should it take on a naked PF for a single stream to form after first drip? As I observe every shot through a mirror I can say that the bottom of the basket doesn't fill with drips uniformly all over the bottom for a few seconds, followed a second, two or a few more to form a single stream. I've been using an E&B screen from IMS lately which behaves as stated. I also have a straight IMS screen, which also seem to do pretty good distribution. But in back-to-back pulls I did get different tasting shots.

FWIW, I seem to have better luck with my IMS basket than my VST. Seems to have better uniformity and better taste. I dunno.

Your signature is oh so right. More like a chemistry set for sure.

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spressomon

#4: Post by spressomon »

Brew temp for espresso has the least impact of other variables you change such as grind, dose, basket type & size, pre-infusion, ratio, etc.
No Espresso = Depresso

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BaristaBoy E61

#5: Post by BaristaBoy E61 »

I see from your bio that your QM 67 has a Lelite flow control device. Absent direct plumbed line pressure preinfusion, keep experimenting with flow control.

That might be your most effective tool!
"You didn't buy an Espresso Machine - You bought a Chemistry Set!"

Vindibona1 (original poster)

#6: Post by Vindibona1 (original poster) replying to BaristaBoy E61 »

I agree. The FCD does offer lots of variation. I first have to learn to get close with straight shots with no manipulation. I've made attempts at several different "recipes", Londinium, Sweet bump and just don't have the consistency yet. But I have to say that until recently the Lelit paddle has been very limiting in terms of water flow ability from open to closed, only getting just a bit above 4.5mL/sec when fully open if in the "closed" position it could shut off the water. I've reshaped it to go fully around but have it set at 12:00 where it produces somewhere between 6.7 and 7.0 mL/sec. Click link below to see reshaped paddle.
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1Ww8XHL ... share_link

While I've been doing espresso for about 10 years with less expensive machines, a cheap DeLonghi, followed by a refurb Saeco Sirena, finally followed by a suped-up Gaggia Classic, the QM 67 is teaching me how little I know. Interestingly the most consistent and easy to use machine was the Saeco Sirena, which could make consistently great espresso with Starbucks beans and a cheap (modified) Cuisinart burr grinder!

Now it's about learning recipes, steaming, beans, etc. I'm finally learning how to steam and *almost* made a milk flower this morning. Still learning so much about everything.

Vindibona1 (original poster)

#7: Post by Vindibona1 (original poster) »

Update:
I've done a lot of recipe experimentation and the FCD does seem to have some advantages, especially now that the modified paddle allows for full rotation. Being able to reduce the flow to next to noting for pre infusion is helpful but still being able to get up to at least 7mL/sec flow is something I couldn't do with the stock paddle.

It is interesting to note that different baskets (IMS vs VST) and shower screens (IMS and E&B by IMS) definitetly have an impact on taste. I've also found that a funnel that fits around the basket rim vs inside the basket rim seems more conducive to even WDT'ing than where there is space left by inside-the-rim funnels.

My best shots seem to be, with La Colombe NIzza medium roast, 18g with 38-40ml yield, starting with FCD just under 7mL/sec bringing the pressure to 8bar, then I paddle down to 6bar to get an approximate 26 second pull. Not totally consistent yet, but way more than before. The ramp down does help, but provides nuance in taste differennce. But the good news is that my palette is starting to know what I like and don't. I spend a good amount of time experimenting for taste testing, not so much drinking. One double in the morning is enough for the day.

It's one heck of a journey. I didn't know how much I didn't know- and know there is a lot more to learn. I made my first identifiable milk flower today! Y'all would laugh, but it took some practice to get this far. The help here has been great if not inspirational. Thanks.