Lessons Being Learned as a Noobie - Page 2

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

ShotClock wrote:I think the old adage to spend equally on the grinder and machine is not necessary anymore.
Couldn't agree more. The price for an exceptional grinder has truly gone down over the past few years with the large number of new overseas competitors. However, seems like machines have just not had the same trend - or maybe even become more expensive (but with increasingly more features).

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gonzomup (original poster)
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#12: Post by gonzomup (original poster) »

adding one
  • You will make a mess in the kitchen at first. In fact, I argue it's part of the fun. I also believe someone, the likes of Scott Rao said that it's one of his "rules" up there with "having fun"! You'll make less of a mess -- or at least a more controlled mess -- as your practice improves.

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mrgnomer
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#13: Post by mrgnomer »

Read, experiment, don't give up. There's a lot of variables. Grind, dose, distribution is an ongoing experiment for me with new theories, equipment and techniques. I don't think I'll ever stop experimenting with burrs, baskets, tamping techniques, distribution techniques, showerscreens gaskets. Chasing the God shot.
Kirk
LMWDP #116
professionals do it for the pay, amateurs do it for the love

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gonzomup (original poster)
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#14: Post by gonzomup (original poster) »

another one!
  • Keep things clean! Especially your baskets and portafilters...even though they may seem quite clean, a few minutes in something like Cafiza regularly and you'll find more oils tucked away in places. Be careful not to overdo the chemical cleaning on your machine, though, lest you strip away necessary lubricants.

++Coast++
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#15: Post by ++Coast++ »

mrgnomer wrote:Read, experiment, don't give up. There's a lot of variables. Grind, dose, distribution is an ongoing experiment for me with new theories, equipment and techniques. I don't think I'll ever stop experimenting with burrs, baskets, tamping techniques, distribution techniques, showerscreens gaskets. Chasing the God shot.
Love this. I purchased local beans from Remedy Supply (lighter/medium-light) and used Lance Hendrick's light roast dial in process and continued to be disappointed. Through a lot of experimentation and combining other grind, dose, timing and yield strategies, I finally got the espresso to a decent place where the strong punchiness was diminished and I was able to find more the of tasting notes flavors. After finishing the bag, purchased a bag of Dharma from Temple and the first shot was significantly better than anything I pulled with Remedy Supply. I tweaked the second shot and added additional yield... by far the best shot I've pulled, ever.

My takeaways:
1. Experimenting with one bean will teach you how to quickly dial in other beans
2. Don't get discouraged if you don't enjoy a certain roaster or bean, the same process may lead you to gold with another
3. Enjoy the process!

kye
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#16: Post by kye »

I'm just over 2 years into espresso, after having 'graduated' from pod machines.
I'm very technical and had been watching coffee videos on YT for years prior and knew all the theory, but it didn't prepare me for how long it took to actually start getting good results.

Looking back, after getting setup to weigh everything and broadly getting things dialled in, the main challenge was puck prep - I started with WDT straight away but no-one tells you how much technique this involves. Stirring the puck with some needles is just as likely to compress things against one edge as it is to make things evenly spaced.

One tip I do have that I haven't read elsewhere is to grind into a dosing cup, then use the WDT tool to break up clumps in the dosing cup before putting in the basket, I suggest stirring vigorously for 15-20s with a WDT tool with lots of needles. I have an unmodified DF64 gen 1 which doesn't make the fluffiest grounds, but after this treatment they're clump-free and you can WDT them in the basket with finesse.

The other thing I did when I was still finding the blend I liked and had multiple roasts on the go, I'd write the grind setting on each bag to remember for next time. If I pulled a shot and thought it should be finer, I'd write the new grind setting on the packet so I'd use that one next time. No messing around having to remember which roast was what, or how the last pull went.

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gonzomup (original poster)
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#17: Post by gonzomup (original poster) »

Here's one that seems so fundamental, yet can be easy to forget: When first trying a new-to-you bean, check the bag, the roaster's webpage, or ask the roaster themselves to see if they have a recommended recipe for your preferred brew method. Using their recommendations might get you to a good result faster...or at least one that is likely to land you on a taste profile similar to their notes. (Yes, yes, yes...water makes a difference and all that. I'm excluding that for the moment for the sake of simplicity.)

For example, I just opened up a bag of Alma Essence. Alma suggests 1:3 for their espresso along with shot time and temp. (My usual starting point is 1:2-2.5 dose to yield, plus a cooler temperature.) I followed their recipe and got a good shot from the start.

bznelson91
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#18: Post by bznelson91 »

I brew filter coffee exclusively (for now), and until recently, I'd always grind as fine as possible until bitterness appeared, then back off just a notch on my Ode Gen 2. But then I realized that some coffees just shouldn't be "pushed" that much, and actually taste better with a more coarse grind. Which makes sense, because higher extraction means more of the good components of the coffee in your cup, but it means more of the bad ones, too. Maybe the good outweighs the bad at a different grind than you think. I'm getting a DiFluid R2 for Christmas, and I'll start checking TDS and yield occasionally to see how that fits with what I think my tongue tastes.

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kye
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#19: Post by kye »

bznelson91 wrote:I brew filter coffee exclusively (for now), and until recently, I'd always grind as fine as possible until bitterness appeared, then back off just a notch on my Ode Gen 2. But then I realized that some coffees just shouldn't be "pushed" that much, and actually taste better with a more coarse grind. Which makes sense, because higher extraction means more of the good components of the coffee in your cup, but it means more of the bad ones, too. Maybe the good outweighs the bad at a different grind than you think. I'm getting a DiFluid R2 for Christmas, and I'll start checking TDS and yield occasionally to see how that fits with what I think my tongue tastes.
Interesting post and makes me wonder what flavours people are paying attention to when they dial-in a roast?
I like dark roasts on the chocolate/caramel side in milk drinks and really don't like sour or bitter notes, so I dial in to try and minimise those flavours by tasting the shot before adding milk.

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Jeff
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#20: Post by Jeff »

bznelson91 wrote:But then I realized that some coffees just shouldn't be "pushed" that much, and actually taste better with a more coarse grind. Which makes sense, because higher extraction means more of the good components of the coffee in your cup, but it means more of the bad ones, too.
This is good to remember, no matter the roast level or extraction technique.

In addition to coffees, there are some burr sets that seem to produce astringent shots when you grind too fine and try to push them too hard. For me, the Niche Zero and light-roast coffee is a frustrating combination because of that effect. I could hit "big numbers" for the EY, but I often hit astringency before I had the balance in the cup I was looking for with it.

One of the "tricks" of working with roasts on the darker side is to sometimes stop the shot before it "blondes". This intentionally reduces the extraction of "slower" compounds and has the textural benefit of a more concentrated shot.