Newbie needs advice on learning espresso at home

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks.
Bigbob7777
Posts: 7
Joined: January 5th, 2018

Postby Bigbob7777 » Jan 05, 2018, 4:08 pm

Hi all,
Been a chronic lurker here for a long time. Have just taken the plunge and purchased an ECM Technika IV Profi and an open box Compak E8. Will receive them Monday.

I have a return policy available if I messed up and would LOVE your input and suggestions as to the quality of this purchase.

Also, what tips for learning this wonderful hobby. We mainly drink milk-based drinks. I don't like the charbucks company but, for comparison-if I purchased 2 drinks a day, at $5 each, this would pay for itself in 1 year. However, I'm not that interested in the $$$, that's for the bride. I want a truly exquisite cup of coffee like I got in Italy 40 years ago.

So, any ideas on what I bought and how to achieve "coffee bliss"?
Bob

MNate
Posts: 158
Joined: January 8th, 2016

Postby MNate » Jan 05, 2018, 4:29 pm

Definitely good equipment. I think you'll be doing well in no time.

-weigh every step! (Cheap AWS 0.1 gram scale is so helpful)
-get a bottomless portafilter so you can make sure everything is flowing correctly
-and try a variety of beans until you find what you like, although there is a lot of sense to working with one bean for a long time to get better at it. Often the 5# bags are really good value and give you enough time to really get to know it, even if you end up not liking the bean.

I like my Compak F8 and think you'll like yours, though there are certainly a bunch of people who will tell you something else is what they prefer.

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slipchuck
Posts: 476
Joined: April 12th, 2017

Postby slipchuck » Jan 05, 2018, 4:33 pm

Wow you really jumped in head first! :wink: The equipment you bought will make exceptional espresso and when other more experienced people chime in you will be all set. What specifically do you need help with?


Randy
The only bad decisions are the decisions you didn't make

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LBIespresso
Posts: 59
Joined: August 11th, 2017

Postby LBIespresso » Jan 05, 2018, 5:07 pm

Bigbob7777 wrote:Hi all,
Been a chronic lurker here for a long time. Have just taken the plunge and purchased an ECM Technika IV Profi and an open box Compak E8. Will receive them Monday.

I have a return policy available if I messed up and would LOVE your input and suggestions as to the quality of this purchase.

Also, what tips for learning this wonderful hobby. We mainly drink milk-based drinks. I don't like the charbucks company but, for comparison-if I purchased 2 drinks a day, at $5 each, this would pay for itself in 1 year. However, I'm not that interested in the $$$, that's for the bride. I want a truly exquisite cup of coffee like I got in Italy 40 years ago.

So, any ideas on what I bought and how to achieve "coffee bliss"?
Bob


As a recent newbie myself I second the weigh at every step. Also, I have learned that in the search for improvement you need to limit the factors you change shot to shot to one. This was easier said than done in the beginning as there were more factors than I realized.

I suggest you read up as much as possible here as this was my single best resource for learning outside of trial and error. Also, I think it is a good idea to find others with the same machine and ask them what bean they are using and the parameters that work for them. I think that is a good starting point but know that you might find your best shot at slightly different parameters.

Also, when you hit the wall thinking, "OMFG what was I thinking, I'll never be consistently good at this!!!" Keep on pushing...you'll definitely get there.

Good luck and have fun!
LMWDP #580
"Be nice to people, even the sh!tty ones." Jason Sudeikis

DeGaulle
Posts: 232
Joined: January 17th, 2014

Postby DeGaulle » Jan 05, 2018, 5:35 pm

Just make sure that before you pull a shot, the machine has to warm up for at least 30-40 minutes, upto one hour according to some before the grouphead is fully up to temperature. It may very well be worthwhile to connect the machine to a timer, should you want to brew a walk-up shot in the morning.

In terms of getting familiar with setting dose, grind etc. and in which order I find this animated video quite useful:



It doesn't mean you should follow these numbers exactly. Just stick to what works according to your taste, but start by fixing dose, then the yield of espresso, then the grind setting.

The hardert part is mostly to work consistently, so use a scale to measure your doses and yield and stick to a working routine that works for you.
Bert

Bigbob7777
Posts: 7
Joined: January 5th, 2018

Postby Bigbob7777 » Jan 05, 2018, 5:41 pm

Thank you all so far. How does my equipment selection seem? Is the E8 adequate? Any E8 owners out there that can tell me a good dial setting?

I'm reading/viewing all I can. Any "cheats" ya'll can advise?
Bob

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HB
Admin
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Joined: April 29th, 2005

Postby HB » Jan 05, 2018, 10:58 pm

I'm familiar with your espresso machine from the ECM Technika IV Profi Review. I've not used the Compak E8, but with 83mm flat burrs from a reputable manufacturer, I have to believe it's way past "adequate". :lol:

To your underlying question: I know it's a bit long, but the video series Newbie Introduction to Espresso covers just about everything you'll need to know about making espresso at home. Jim's Home Barista's Guide to Espresso and some key FAQs like How to Adjust Dose and Grind Setting by Taste go beyond the beginner stage.

As for a "cheat" for dialing in any grinder, not just yours, that's covered in Newbie Introduction to Espresso - Grinders.
Dan Kehn

Tonefish
Posts: 404
Joined: June 26th, 2017

Postby Tonefish » Jan 06, 2018, 2:23 pm

Lot's of great input here and the one thing I would suggest is that there are so many variables to work through with the two machines, I would limit to one high quality roasted bean to take the bean variable out until you are used to the rest of the variables. Changing beans while you are working through everything else can really hamper the learning curve ... IMHO, but it is also imperative that you start with the best locally roasted (freshest) bean you can get your hands on. Through ignorance I started with Lavazza and that was a mistake.

Happy espressos!
LMWDP #581 .......... May your roasts, grinds, and pulls be the best!

klund
Posts: 36
Joined: June 24th, 2017

Postby klund » Jan 06, 2018, 6:20 pm

Tonefish wrote:limit to one high quality roasted bean


Came here to say this. Too often people get their espresso setup, and just can't get that great cup, and it's because they're using old, stale, grocery store beans. Freshly roasted, quality beans first.

Bigbob7777
Posts: 7
Joined: January 5th, 2018

Postby Bigbob7777 » Jan 06, 2018, 11:53 pm

I bought some malabar gold from josuma coffee. I think they were roasted Friday and will be shipped monday. Is this a good bean?

 
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