Nothing but bitter espresso - Page 2

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks for making espresso.
Espresso33

#11: Post by Espresso33 »

another_jim wrote:If you've never had straight espresso before; it may just be a matter of time. Espresso is an acquired taste, like distilled liquors.

If you have had straight shots and liked them elsewhere, it's usually a matter of having been misinformed. The usual advice to overstuff a basket with 18 grams of coffee and aim for a 2 ounce shot in 30 seconds will almost invariably get you swill. If you do fancy puck prep, use fancy baskets, you might get something that is marginally drinkable, but not very tasty.

Spare yourself the torture and use a standard double basket dosed at 14 to 15 grams, very casually levelled and tamped. If you get a properly flowing two ounce shot in around 25 seconds, you have set the grind correctly; and your shots will usually be balanced in taste.
Are you talking about filling my vst 18g basket with 14g of coffee? And can you elaborate what you mean by very casually levelling and tampering?

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cafeIKE
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#12: Post by cafeIKE »

Baskets should never have been named XXg. It's most idiotic thing VST introduced. SML or ABC would have made more sense. Dose is completely dependent on the coffee and machine. Dose should be adjusted in 0.1g increments. A Faema 'double' can hold up to about 18g, depending on the coffee, but may only require 14g depending also on grinder, machine and skill.

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another_jim
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#13: Post by another_jim »

Espresso33 wrote:Are you talking about filling my vst 18g basket with 14g of coffee? And can you elaborate what you mean by very casually levelling and tampering?
No, I am talking about throwing your VST basket in the trash. That is where it belongs, since it doesn't allow for dose changes, and requires idiotic handstands instead to (not so successfully) tune the taste. I do have to grant that the stupidity of this $20 basket has made people spend thousands in levelling tools, fancier grinders, etc just to work around its inflexibilities. This is probably why marketeers love it so much.

Use baskets that are designed to work for a wide range of dose and grind pairings.
Jim Schulman

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Brewzologist
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#14: Post by Brewzologist »

Paris92 wrote:OK, so I am a couple of months in, at least ten different types of espresso beans, and experimenting with grind, temp, timing, etc... but can't pull anything but very bitter shots. So I assume I am doing something fundamentally incorrect. Can someone point me to a good comprehensive tutorial where I assume process of elimination will help to find the fault.
Here's a tutorial for you: Barista Techniques - Espresso Guide I also recommend that while you are solving your espresso woes to minimize your variables, so here are some suggestions on what to keep constant while figuring this out:

1) Pick one med-dark espresso blend from a good local roaster/shop and follow their recommendation on how long to wait before brewing if the bag was roasted recently.
2) Pick a dose and stick with it. A 15-18gr dose in a double basket is what I typically use.
3) Start with a 2:1 ratio (eg. 18gr in, 36gr out).
4) Same puck prep every time. I like to use WDT and a levelling tamper but otherwise don't fuss much. Consistency is what is key.
5) Use the same machine settings for each shot, and same warmup method. Going to punt here on specifics as I don't know the ECM.
6) Aim for a shot time around 30 sec plus/minus 5 sec or so.

I'd adjust grind and ratio as variables given these constants. You might try ratios of 2.5:1 or 3:1 here. This approach has worked for me when learning a new machine. Hope it is helpful.

buckersss
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#15: Post by buckersss »

another_jim wrote:No, I am talking about throwing your VST basket in the trash. That is where it belongs, since it doesn't allow for dose changes, and requires idiotic handstands instead to (not so successfully) tune the taste. I do have to grant that the stupidity of this $20 basket has made people spend thousands in levelling tools, fancier grinders, etc just to work around its inflexibilities. This is probably why marketeers love it so much.

Use baskets that are designed to work for a wide range of dose and grind pairings.
Do IMS baskets suffer from the same issue?

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another_jim
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#16: Post by another_jim »

There's lots of different ones, but the two I use are superb in this regard. They are the stepped cylinder single (B701Th26,5E), and the one labelled as an E61 replacement (B702Th24,5M). The others I do not know.
Jim Schulman

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cafeIKE
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#17: Post by cafeIKE »

buckersss wrote:Do IMS baskets suffer from the same issue?
ALL baskets suffer from the same issue. If you have the wrong coffee / basket / grinder / machine combo, it's a problem.

Doses are variable in ±0.1g increments, not fixed @ XXg. Stepless grinders by ±5µm. Dialing in a new coffee can require 10x dose and grind adjustment increments to get the flow in the ballpark.

Once it is, adjust taste by
Espresso 101: How to Adjust Dose and Grind Setting by Taste
and
Mano Lite: A Short Guide to Dialing in Espresso SOs and Blends

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Paris92 (original poster)
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#18: Post by Paris92 (original poster) »

Tap water filtered through a LARQ pitcher and have an Oscar pouch in the tank.

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Paris92 (original poster)
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#19: Post by Paris92 (original poster) »

NelisB wrote:What water are you using?
Tap water filtered through a LARQ pitcher and have an Oscar pouch in the tank.

NelisB

#20: Post by NelisB »

I don't know what these do with the amount of HCO3 (buffer) in your water, but you don't want more than 50mg/l of that.