Moved from Barista Express to Lelit Bianca v3, weird astringency

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woox
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Joined: 1 year ago

#1: Post by woox »

Hi everyone,
I moved from a Sage Barista Express to a Lelit Bianca v3. I paired both of them with the same Eurkea Mignon single dose grinder. I'm brewing a medium roasted coffee from a roaster of my neighbourhood that I know pretty well, so I can get to know my new machine. I'm using the standard IMS basket (14-18g) that comes with the Lelit machine. I'm dosing 16g of coffee, no pre-infusion or waterflow control, constant 9 bars of pressure and 92 degrees of temperature (asked roaster which temperature they use to brew the espresso). I tried a lot of different grind settings (varying from 30s shot time to 20s shot time). Every shot is drying out my mouth, having a lot of astringency in the cup. I also tried different roasting badges, but still the same problem in every shot. Previously when I used my barista express, I did not have astringency when pulling shots around 25-28s.

Do you have any idea or advice for me to get rid of that astringency or if there might be a problem with any of my equipment?

Best,
Tobias

BaristaBob
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Joined: 6 years ago

#2: Post by BaristaBob »

woox wrote:Hi everyone,
I moved from a Sage Barista Express to a Lelit Bianca v3. I paired both of them with the same Eurkea Mignon single dose grinder. I'm brewing a medium roasted coffee from a roaster of my neighbourhood that I know pretty well, so I can get to know my new machine. I'm using the standard IMS basket (14-18g) that comes with the Lelit machine. I'm dosing 16g of coffee, no pre-infusion or waterflow control, constant 9 bars of pressure and 92 degrees of temperature (asked roaster which temperature they use to brew the espresso). I tried a lot of different grind settings (varying from 30s shot time to 20s shot time). Every shot is drying out my mouth, having a lot of astringency in the cup. I also tried different roasting badges, but still the same problem in every shot. Previously when I used my barista express with the machine, I did not have astringency when pulling shots around 25-28s.

Do you have any idea or advice for me to get rid of that astringency or if there might be a problem with any of my equipment?

Best,
Tobias
Just a hunch, but your Bianca no doubt can do a much better job of extracting more from your grinds than the Sage. That astringent, dry mouth feel and taste might be over extraction. I'd try a couple of things. Easiest is lower the yield (amount in the cup) without changing anything. If it still seems astringent, increase the dose from 16g to 18g in the same amount of time (less water per amount of grinds). Both of these should lower the extraction yield to eliminate the dryness and astringency.

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

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Jeff
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#3: Post by Jeff »

Higher extraction possibly coupled with increased strength is my guess as well.

I agree that the first thing I would try is reducing the dose. I probably would try keeping the grind the same and accepting a faster flow rate. Generally, going with a finer grind will increase extraction, potentially getting into undesirable bitterness, astringency, or both.

One of the "problems" of better gear is that very often you are able to taste more detail in the coffee. This is a great thing with great coffees. It is somewhat disappointing when it reveals things you may not like in a previous favorite.

It is possible that then Barista express was extracting at a lower temperature than the Bianca. If reducing the dose and maybe going with a coarser grind don't help, you might try dropping the temperature enough to try to make a significant difference, maybe as much as 5°C. It can be hard to immediately taste the difference with a small change in temperature (or pressure, or ...).

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mrgnomer
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#4: Post by mrgnomer »

Could be the roast. Higher extraction potential might bring out aromas your previous machine didn't.

I recently didn't change my machine but my grind burrs from stock to SSP high uniformity. I'm guessing the stock was a more multi purpose burr. Store bought darks are now flatter and more astringent. Artisan light roasts extract with flavours more reflective of what the roast smells like when it's ground. Sweeter and smoother. More character without bitter astringency.

The variable with the Bianca could now be your roast and grind. The extraction parameter change might now favour something a little more complex. The TDS from what you're used to may have bumped up and you're tasting stuff your previous set up wasn't extracting. You could compress the pull by letting the first bit dribble away and capturing just the sweet spot middle. Or you could try different roasts, grind settings, dose weights, preinfusion times, flow control, or pump pressures. A new parameter involves some experimenting, IMHO.
Kirk
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professionals do it for the pay, amateurs do it for the love

woox (original poster)
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Joined: 1 year ago

#5: Post by woox (original poster) »

Hi all,
thanks a lot for the comprehensive answers.

Before I tried all those things, I started with a deep clean of my grinder. I found out that the astringency was partly caused by the grinder. Did any of you had the same problem with a "dirty" grinder? I took it completely apart and cleaned it deeply, but it was not too dirty to be honest.

I also went to the roaster, bought a double shot of espresso (they brew on high-priced commercial machines with expensive grinders) and tasted it for comparison. They have a very balanced, sweet shot with no astringency aftertaste. I also bought beans from the same badge they used to brew the double shot that I bought.

After all that, I pulled some shots with less yield. Went for a ratio close to 1:1.75 and 1:1.5. 1:1.5 tasted a bit sour already, but 1:1.75 was pretty sweet and compared to the double shot from the roaster, pretty much on point. Lowering the water flow with the paddle to the end of the shot also improved the quality of the taste (Did that after it tasted already pretty good. I'm introducing one variable at a time to understand how the machine works). I'm really happy with the outcome. The weird astringency is also gone with that ratio. I also tried using a higher dose of 18g, which resulted also in less yield and a more balanced shot. Lower temperature resulted in less tasty shots.

One more question to ask: My Lelit Bianca v3 comes with two IMS baskets. One that is labeled for 14-18g and one for 18-22g. Which one would you recommend for pulling 18g shots? Currently I'm using the smaller one as I had some channeling with the bigger one as the puck sometimes broke/cracked when tamping due to not enough volume in the basket (a dose of 19g+ worked fine in the bigger basket). Is there a taste difference when using the smaller or bigger basket (I read that the basked size is an upper limit and should not be exceeded)? I also thought about buying one of the IMS competition baskets for 18g-20g, do you think that makes sense or are those pretty much the same as the stock baskets from Lelit?

Thanks again for the answers and your help!

Best,
Tobias

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mrgnomer
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#6: Post by mrgnomer »

With a fresh light roast a bit of headspace might be needed for blooming. I'd try using the 18g-22g basket first for an 18g extraction.
Kirk
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professionals do it for the pay, amateurs do it for the love

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Jeff
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#7: Post by Jeff »

These days, the baskets from most machine manufacturers are "precision" and may be made by IMS or the OEM that produces VST baskets.

When you want to explore if baskets make a difference to you, I'd try one with a different shape, such as a strong taper if you've got a cylindrical basket now, or vice versa.

macal425
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#8: Post by macal425 »

I would use the stock IMS baskets that Lelit provides until you get used to the machine, then maybe start experimenting. For an 18g shot, I use the 14-18g basket. Funnily enough, I accidentally used the 18-22g basket yesterday for an 18g shot as I had been cleaning my baskets. It was a gusher and a pretty horrendous shot.