Need your help with developing organized espresso recipes

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks for making espresso.
Peter Venkman

#1: Post by Peter Venkman »

Hello all. I'm planing on playing a bit more with my shots now that i have a machine with more controls. I had a Rocket Appartamento that i recently changed for Ascaso Duo PID.

I guess i was the kind of guy that would try to find the spot for a 1:2 extraction in 28 seconds and call it a day. I would then go through my 5 pounds of coffee. Change for a new coffee, look again for that 1:2 extraction in 28 seconds and again, settle for that. I needed my caffeine intake, no time to fidget around and would settle for good enough. Now, i mainly use pour overs to get my caffeine intake. Espresso is more like a cherry on top, for now.

Now that i have more control over the different aspect of the extraction, i would like to go with a more scientific approach.

I don't want to settle for this kind of extractions anymore. I want to take notes, and continue changing the extraction parameters and at the end, judge what was my favorite recipe and finish of the bag with that recipe, maybe playing around with pressure and pre-infusion once i get my favorite.

What will be consistent is the machine, the grinder, the water quality, and the puck preparation. I grind the coffee in a recipient. Shake the coffee. Drop it in the portafilter basket with a funnel. WDT and use my calibrated levelling tamper ( Decent V4 ). i'll try to do all this as consistent as possible.

This would mean to me that for a coffee, i would try at least 12 variations of that recipe. But this could easily double or triple with head pressure and Pre-infusion. However, i don't want to get ahead of myself for now.

Here is a little look at what i will be trying:



I plan on starting this journey on monday and wanted to share my idea over here so you guys can give me some inputs if i'm missing something.

All comments are welcome !

tennisman03110

#2: Post by tennisman03110 »

Speaking like a scientist, the age of your coffee is a variable. Are you planning on doing this all in one day? If not, you've got multiple variables, and that's a problem. If this was chemistry class.

However -- I don't think home espresso needs to be scientific. The point is to enjoy some coffee, correct?

What's the output of the experiment? I have to assume taste. How are you judging that? It could be as simple as a rating 1 to 10.

My overall impression of your experiment is what's the point, and are you experienced enough to gain something from this? I don't think I would be, personally.

Peter Venkman (original poster)

#3: Post by Peter Venkman (original poster) »

I agree about your point for the coffee aging. I'm not planning on doing all of this in one single day. However, i could on day one try all of them at 200F. On day 2 try all of them at 205 and day 3 all of them at 195F...

The goal is to get my favorite shot and try most variations of the extraction to get to know what i prefer for a certain coffee.

For example, let say i pull a shot at 1:2 for 200F. in 28 secs and i love the shot and settle for this recipe. Maybe i'm missing an even better shot ( to my taste ) at 205 F or at 1:3 or else...

So my reasoning is trying a lot before i settle on a recipe.

And yes, i could give them a rating from 1 to 10 with some notes on taste. Fruity, chocolaty, acidic, bitter. etc...

crwper

#4: Post by crwper »

I do think experiments can be part of the fun with espresso. I log a slightly silly number of measurements for each cup. I don't always know what meaning these will have, but it gives me lots of data to analyze when I have a question.

At this point, though, instead of trying to draw broad conclusions, I would start by logging a few measurements and using these to locate yourself on the landscape of espresso flavour. I really liked Matt Perger's video on dialing in espresso:
This will give you a better intuitive feel for the effect of things like brew ratio and shot time on flavour. Once you've got some practice dialing in by taste, I think you'll be in a better position to set up more specific experiments.

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MNate
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#5: Post by MNate »

Just to let you know, "scientific" has been fighting words on HB, although usually when some company says they are going to be the first to take this approach.

The Decent community has done a lot to take things "scientific" with their graphs, but mostly it again comes back to a preferred recipe (often with a given type of grinder and definitely with a given roast) and taste.

I think Jim Schulman's how to dial in espresso is the real scientific (and artistic) approach, which he keeps bringing us back to in many threads, but this being the big one:
Espresso 101: How to Adjust Dose and Grind Setting by Taste

He also recommends 15g baskets, which is another thing to mess up your results as you try different things.

Peter Venkman (original poster)

#6: Post by Peter Venkman (original poster) »

Thanks crwper. Good suggestion. I did watch this video many times. I paused, did screen capture and took some notes.

I think the excel file i did is just a way to organize what i've tried and liked vs what i've tried and didn't like. Like a map.

Once i've tried these 12 shots, i've decided on what i prefer, i can then play with pre-infusion, pressure and times for that specific preferred recipe to push it even more.

Currently, the coffee i use, i get good results with a 18G in for 54 out at 28 secs for a 200F temp @ 8 bars. But who's to say i wouldn't prefer it another way ? I don't want to blindly jump from this result to another recipe without taking notes and maybe getting lost. I currently use post it and leave notes to myself on my machine like : 200F was ok, try 205F.

I have enough experience to know from a bag and coffee beans what to expect and what direction i should go to.

In this third wave of coffee, where we are lucky to have a Lance Hedrick, James hoffman, la marzocco channel, the Decent channel, this nice forum, where people use machines for Sprover, turbo shots, classic shots, lever shots, camping shots etc... I feel i need a map to know what i've tried and like to make sure i don't miss out because if settled for a good shot.

I'm in a small canadian town, difficult for me to get a good barista to get a good shot and know what i'm aiming for. So for now, i only rely on my taste and what i like vs what i didn't like as much.
crwper wrote:I do think experiments can be part of the fun with espresso. I log a slightly silly number of measurements for each cup. I don't always know what meaning these will have, but it gives me lots of data to analyze when I have a question.

At this point, though, instead of trying to draw broad conclusions, I would start by logging a few measurements and using these to locate yourself on the landscape of espresso flavour. I really liked Matt Perger's video on dialing in espresso:


This will give you a better intuitive feel for the effect of things like brew ratio and shot time on flavour. Once you've got some practice dialing in by taste, I think you'll be in a better position to set up more specific experiments.

Peter Venkman (original poster)

#7: Post by Peter Venkman (original poster) »

I agree, scientific is the wrong term... I meant Organized. ( english is not my native language... so i sometimes take shortcuts )

Thanks for the link, i will look into it. 18G basket for me is already a big step from my 22G i would pull with the appartamento ! so for now, i'll settle for 18, but like you said, the dose is also something else i could mess with !!!!
MNate wrote:Just to let you know, "scientific" has been fighting words on HB, although usually when some company says they are going to be the first to take this approach.

The Decent community has done a lot to take things "scientific" with their graphs, but mostly it again comes back to a preferred recipe (often with a given type of grinder and definitely with a given roast) and taste.

I think Jim Schulman's how to dial in espresso is the real scientific (and artistic) approach, which he keeps bringing us back to in many threads, but this being the big one:
Espresso 101: How to Adjust Dose and Grind Setting by Taste

He also recommends 15g baskets, which is another thing to mess up your results as you try different things.

crwper

#8: Post by crwper »

Peter Venkman wrote:Currently, the coffee i use, i get good results with a 18G in for 54 out at 28 secs for a 200F temp @ 8 bars. But who's to say i wouldn't prefer it another way ? I don't want to blindly jump from this result to another recipe without taking notes and maybe getting lost. I currently use post it and leave notes to myself on my machine like : 200F was ok, try 205F.
That's more or less how I use measurement as well. In this plot each espresso is drawn as a single point. The size of the point indicates my subjective rating:



I often use arrows to draw a "trajectory" through the plot, e.g., as I change grind setting. As you can see, the arrows are often a bit of a mess--either the measurement process or the brewing process has enough variation that the trajectories often aren't clear. But it gives me an idea of where I am, helps me see where I could go from there, and sometimes helps remind me of all the different things I can try if I'm feeling stuck with a particular bean.

I started keeping a blog a little while back, which has more of this kind of stuff. It might be up your alley:

https://quantitativecafe.com/

It's not everyone's cup of tea, but for me part of the fun of espresso is the experiments that happen around it. I promise I'm enjoying the coffee, too. :-)

Peter Venkman (original poster)

#9: Post by Peter Venkman (original poster) » replying to crwper »

I love your chart ! It will be of a great inspiration for what i'm thinking of doing ! I'll have a look at your blog too ! I like the technical aspect of stuff in general and i'm bit OCD ! I like to open stuff up and understand how it works. I haven't took my Ascaso appart yet, but i will probably open it up during the Christmas holidays ! I don't like the " magical " aspect of things, i like to understand what is really happening !