Newbie Introduction to Espresso - Grinders [video]

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

This is the third installment of the series. Phillip returns for another lesson after a few weeks practicing at home without any additional instructions beyond those we covered in the first two videos, Taste Appreciation and Barista Mechanics.
Dan Kehn

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#2: Post by LaDan »

I love these videos Dan.


#3: Post by Miami_AJ »

very nicely done..looking forward to the next video


#4: Post by john_ertw »

I think this series (once complete) will be the best resource for any starting barista as seeing it in video form (with visuals of the differences) is much more effective than reading it in the available guides here and elsewhere.

Dan, I recommend you continue to address the questions your friend has and the most common questions you have seen in the forum for all aspects of espresso making.

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#5: Post by beer&mathematics »

Nailed it! Love this video and the entire series--can't wait for the next one!

Dan, you are a great teacher and I really like how you incorporated the 'quantitative' tips in a creative way. You really clarified something that took me months to figure out on my own--that the espresso range is small! I like your explanations a lot, however, I think it would add more to this series if you let Phillip talk a bit more and share his thoughts. I got the impression he had more comments/questions, but was cut off a few times. :wink:

Some small corrections, the first grinder is a Baratza Preciso (sometimes also called a Virtuoso Preciso) which is different than the Baratza Virtuoso. The difference is that the Preciso has a micro adjustment collar (you can see it--the black plastic right under the hopper). Also, the Virtuoso and Preciso have conical burrs. :P
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HB (original poster)

#6: Post by HB (original poster) »

Thanks for the corrections. I seem to make a minor misstatement or two in every video! Anyway, I have an older model that's labeled the Virtuoso in large lettering and Preciso in smaller lettering; I think that I was reading the label as a reminder and got it wrong. Current models are labeled more clearly:

As for the misstatement about the Preciso's burr types... well, I just wasn't thinking. :roll:

Another clarification on my comments about grinding finer as coffee ages -- I was referring to coffee at its prime and the next few days thereafter, not truly "old" coffee, which should simply be discarded. Dave summarizes this advice nicely in the thread Old coffee - grind coarser or finer:
cannonfodder wrote:This is less about using a coffee that is a month old and more about using one that is a week old and fading fast. While you would think to grind finer it is actually the opposite. As coffee ages your grind will need to be tightened up but once the coffee starts to slide you want to open the grind up and dose up to slow the flow rate. Open the grind up and switch to a triple basket to stretch the remainder out of the coffee. That will maximize the remaining flavors and sweetness. Going finer on the grind will start to bring out the astringent notes in the coffee.
Dan Kehn


#7: Post by Nate42 »

Great video. Minor critique in that it would have been nice if you gave us a picture of the difference in the various coffees. Also would have liked to see the difference in pour appearance from the fast vs normal.

Really though, all the videos are great, wish they existed when I started.

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HB (original poster)

#8: Post by HB (original poster) »

For the next session, I plan on having a dedicated camera for closeups. For what it's worth, I did photograph the coffee samples:

Left to right: Finer, on target, coarser

Guess which is finer? Answer: It's a lot easier to feel than see
Dan Kehn

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Team HB

#9: Post by TomC »

About the only way I was able to closely capture the difference in grain size and texture of ground coffee with a camera was to literally stick my finger into a sample and smear a streak of it onto a white paper towel. The non impressed paper towels just the right texture to grab individual small particles and allow you to spread them out for easy visualization. Give it a try and see if you like what you get. It takes just a bit of practice to get the smear right.

I used this trick to sell some grinders on Craigslist a few times. It helped me prove in a relative manner that the burrs weren't garbage by showing the evenness of the grind. It works great on any coffee ( drip, vac pot, etc) grind, it might not be as effective on espresso fineness. Or you may just have to use less in each swipe.
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HB (original poster)

#10: Post by HB (original poster) »

Here's the latest installment: Newbie Introduction to Espresso - Taste Diagnosis.

UPDATE: The fifth installment! Newbie Introduction to Espresso - Latte Art.

UPDATE 2: And the sixth installment, Newbie Introduction to Espresso - Consistency.

UPDATE 3: The series is complete, see Newbie Introduction to Espresso.
Dan Kehn