Need help fixing espresso that I THINK is over extracted

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MochaMike

#1: Post by MochaMike »

So I've been experimenting with espresso for the past two years. I don't know if I made that much progress, but I'm not giving up. I used to have a gaggia classic pro, but I tried adding a PID to it and I had complications. Anyway, I sold it and now I have a Lelit Anna 2 with the PID already built in. I'm not someone who likes tinkering with machines, so I think the Lelit was a better deal for me, despite the 57 mm portafilter. My grinder is a baratza sette 270.

Anyway, now I'm using a light-medium roasted coffee, and I think I keep tasting over extraction. tastes kinda bitter and not much acidity.

I'm dosing 17.5 grams and using a 1:2 ratio in about 30 seconds. Do you guys know what I can do to improve the taste? Maybe go coarser since I'm not getting enough of those fruity flavors? Should I dose more? The PID was at 94 degrees...

any help would be appreciated!

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Jeff
Team HB

#2: Post by Jeff »

I don't know how light your "light" is. Some roasters' "light" is my "medium". Mainstream coffee "medium" is my "dark".

For what I call light roasts (like "drip" roasts), of good quality greens and roasted well, it's hard to over extract them. There isn't much, if any roast bitterness or other defects to pull out. The shots get thinner, but generally not "nasty". With lighter roasts, going until the stream starts to go translucent is reasonably common.

I'd first start by upping the ratio and seeing how it tastes, without changing the grind. You might find that gets you much closer. When dominating the shot, sour and bitter can be easily confused.

DamianWarS
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#3: Post by DamianWarS »

bitter can be from too high of temp too and a bitter from over-extraction usually results in astringency which is that drying mouth sensation. There is a difference between over-extract bitter and temp bitter. if it's bitter with no astringency I would lower the temp. everyone calls their roast profile something different and light-medium to one may be dark to another. Typically lighter roasts need hotter water and finer grind so it's your call on what the roast level is actually at. You could try a basic pour-over or cupping with off the boiling water and see if that bitterness comes out and that could be a hint that the water temp needs to be lowered (and maybe it's a darker than advertised roast)

extraction, however, is based on a lot of factors, and typically the easy answer to extract less is to grind coarser, since your shots are 30 seconds a faster shot from a coarser grind shouldn't be a problem and maybe a good starting point. increasing the dose will increase the extraction and time and I don't see that improving the bitter (probably the opposite) but dosing down would decrease the extraction because there is less coffee stuff to extract and it will also decrease the time because the puck will have less resistance and it will hit your 1:2 ration sooner (because it's a lower number). you already have a 17.5g dose, try and 17 which means a 34g yield. you can also just stop the shot early too which may be hitting the shot at a sweet spot before that bitterness comes. There are always many things you can adjust but it's important to try 1 at a time to see what impact it has, if it's worse then go back to where you were. Don't underestimate good puck prep too like WDT. An excessively channeled shot can be bitter too.

what have you tried already and what impact has it had?

MochaMike (original poster)

#4: Post by MochaMike (original poster) »

Jeff wrote:I don't know how light your "light" is. Some roasters' "light" is my "medium". Mainstream coffee "medium" is my "dark".

For what I call light roasts (like "drip" roasts), of good quality greens and roasted well, it's hard to over extract them. There isn't much, if any roast bitterness or other defects to pull out. The shots get thinner, but generally not "nasty". With lighter roasts, going until the stream starts to go translucent is reasonably common.

I'd first start by upping the ratio and seeing how it tastes, without changing the grind. You might find that gets you much closer. When dominating the shot, sour and bitter can be easily confused.
it's this bag:

https://sainthenri.ca/collections/espre ... /holycow-2

not sure if that answers how light it is....maybe it doesn't.

I can try upping the ratio from 1:2 to 1:1.5....but is it still supposed to be in roughly 25-30 seconds?

MochaMike (original poster)

#5: Post by MochaMike (original poster) »

DamianWarS wrote:bitter can be from too high of temp too and a bitter from over-extraction usually results in astringency which is that drying mouth sensation. There is a difference between over-extract bitter and temp bitter. if it's bitter with no astringency I would lower the temp. everyone calls their roast profile something different and light-medium to one may be dark to another. Typically lighter roasts need hotter water and finer grind so it's your call on what the roast level is actually at. You could try a basic pour-over or cupping with off the boiling water and see if that bitterness comes out and that could be a hint that the water temp needs to be lowered (and maybe it's a darker than advertised roast)

extraction, however, is based on a lot of factors, and typically the easy answer to extract less is to grind coarser, since your shots are 30 seconds a faster shot from a coarser grind shouldn't be a problem and maybe a good starting point. increasing the dose will increase the extraction and time and I don't see that improving the bitter (probably the opposite) but dosing down would decrease the extraction because there is less coffee stuff to extract and it will also decrease the time because the puck will have less resistance and it will hit your 1:2 ration sooner (because it's a lower number). you already have a 17.5g dose, try and 17 which means a 34g yield. you can also just stop the shot early too which may be hitting the shot at a sweet spot before that bitterness comes. There are always many things you can adjust but it's important to try 1 at a time to see what impact it has, if it's worse then go back to where you were. Don't underestimate good puck prep too like WDT. An excessively channeled shot can be bitter too.

what have you tried already and what impact has it had?
thanks for this info...yeah, I think it's the astringency I'm tasting, although I'm certainly no expert. My PID is already at 94 C...is that too high?

if I decrease the dose though, I need to go finer no? So that I stay at roughly the same extraction time. I do WDT but maybe my tamping isn't even. I need a bottomless pf.

User avatar
Jeff
Team HB

#6: Post by Jeff »

Based on the tasting notes and that it's sold as "espresso", I'd guess medium to medium dark. Those are generally roast flavors. At that roast level, going to a longer ratio (1:2.5 or 1:3) is probably going to bring out more bitterness.

I'd try one or more of:
* grind coarser
* shorter ratio
* cutting the shot before "blonding"
* low temperature

PIXIllate
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#7: Post by PIXIllate »

I've had the St-Henri coffees. They are generally properly executed medium roasts that do well with pretty traditional parameters. I believe the Holy Cow is made to be milked. Checking my notes from the last bag I had in March I got good results for straight espresso at 200F 18g in 36g out in 28-31 seconds. Notes of bitter chocolate and oranges. Kind of like those Terry's chocolate oranges from the UK.

This was one of the last coffees I had with my Baratza Vario grinder before the Monolith arrived. It was a pretty standard espresso grind setting. All of this would have been in a VST18 basket.

Hope this helps.

MochaMike (original poster)

#8: Post by MochaMike (original poster) »

Jeff wrote:Based on the tasting notes and that it's sold as "espresso", I'd guess medium to medium dark. Those are generally roast flavors. At that roast level, going to a longer ratio (1:2.5 or 1:3) is probably going to bring out more bitterness.

I'd try one or more of:
* grind coarser
* shorter ratio
* cutting the shot before "blonding"
* low temperature
ok thanks for this. I'll try 1:2 ratio again and maybe 1:1.5?

I thought I read that the 'blonding' thing was a myth....that color doesn't really matter when it comes to the pour.

MochaMike (original poster)

#9: Post by MochaMike (original poster) »

PIXIllate wrote:I've had the St-Henri coffees. They are generally properly executed medium roasts that do well with pretty traditional parameters. I believe the Holy Cow is made to be milked. Checking my notes from the last bag I had in March I got good results for straight espresso at 200F 18g in 36g out in 28-31 seconds. Notes of bitter chocolate and oranges. Kind of like those Terry's chocolate oranges from the UK.

This was one of the last coffees I had with my Baratza Vario grinder before the Monolith arrived. It was a pretty standard espresso grind setting. All of this would have been in a VST18 basket.

Hope this helps.
Ok thanks. what's the difference thought if I pull the shot in say, 24 seconds, as opposed to 30? or 35?

Also, 200F is like 93C...is that the temp I should have on the PID (for the Lelit Anna 2) ? Or is there an offset?

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Jeff
Team HB

#10: Post by Jeff »

MochaMike wrote:I thought I read that the 'blonding' thing was a myth....that color doesn't really matter when it comes to the pour.
It's very much real. As you extract the solubles from the coffee, eventually you get most of them out. The stream tends to be thicker in both color and texture early on when you're extracting a lot, thinning in both as there becomes less and less to extract. Taste is the real measure, but with experience the shift to "translucent" can be a good indicator of where you are in the extraction process.

With coffees that have a significant amount of roast flavors in them, you often don't want all of that can be extracted from the beans in the cup. Those "later" flavors can be unpleasantly bitter or even ashy or burnt. There is no "one right way" to reduce the level of extraction or even stopping point. I outlined some of the common approaches above.