Nothing but bitter espresso

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks for making espresso.
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Paris92
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#1: Post by Paris92 »

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.

randyh
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#2: Post by randyh »

Tell us what equipment you are working with and your puck prep routine, and if you are using a bottomless portafilter. What machine and grinder. That would be a good starting point

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another_jim
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#3: Post by another_jim »

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.
Jim Schulman

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

randyh wrote:Tell us what equipment you are working with and your puck prep routine, and if you are using a bottomless portafilter. What machine and grinder. That would be a good starting point
Thanks. For some reason it looks like the information under my avatar is now collapsed. I use an ECM Synchronika with FC, and a Ceado E37J grinder.

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

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.
Thanks. Unfortunately I have been drinking straight shots for about 20 years. I have been using 18 grams 25-30 seconds as a guideline, but did a few at 17 also. I will dial that back and experiment more. Thanks for the feedback.

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HB
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#6: Post by HB »

Paris92 wrote:For some reason it looks like the information under my avatar is now collapsed.
See New show/hide option for poster's profile for the backstory.
Dan Kehn

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cafeIKE
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#7: Post by cafeIKE »

Paris92 wrote:at least ten different types of espresso beans
Fresh or supermarket beans?
Also coffee ain't what it used to be.


Try Wolf Coffee Organic Espresso Roast - a classic Italian espresso roast.

DB 103°C*, 9.75 bar on brew gauge, 124PSI on 'scace' @ 30ml in 30s
Niche 15.5, 17.5g, LM ridgeless dbl basket, ≈30g in 25s

* - boiler temp w no offset

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spressomon

#8: Post by spressomon »

More often than not, when I want straight espresso...I use my EspressoForge. Of all the espresso machines I have owned, the EF is the only device that consistently makes it easy to get syrupy & oh so sweet, espresso from medium and darker roasts (we live at 4600' so brew water temp is a challenge for beans requiring higher than 198ºF+ brew water temp).

In fact, with the latest batch of Tony's Coffee Roasters Cafe Carmelita I received this month, I just couldn't get to the same level of flavor depth and sweetness with zero ashy-ness using my Slayer as I have for previous batches of the same bean blend. Impatiently, I was about to toss the beans, but pulled out my EspressoForge to just see what it could do and voila, the resulting espresso is just incredible on all fronts! Additionally, I have discovered over the years playing with all things espresso, various pieces of equipment do better/worse with certain types of beans...

Normally, I use the EF while traveling/camping and I have pulled more super tasty shots, quite easily too, for my wife & I along with traveling friends, than I can remember over the past near decade of using the EF. And they all have made comments about how they've never tasted espresso, or even short cappas, with so much sweetness and flavor.

I could probably get the same qualities from the same beans using the Slayer, but I'd go through more beans getting to the bullseye of flavor than I wanted to (whereas medium and lighter roasts are child's play on the Slayer).

FYI/FWIW/YMMV.
No Espresso = Depresso

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

cafeIKE wrote:Fresh or supermarket beans?
Also coffee ain't what it used to be.

Live in SF, CA. Lots of great roasters here.

Try Wolf Coffee Organic Espresso Roast - a classic Italian espresso roast.

DB 103°C*, 9.75 bar on brew gauge, 124PSI on 'scace' @ 30ml in 30s
Niche 15.5, 17.5g, LM ridgeless dbl basket, ≈30g in 25s

* - boiler temp w no offset

NelisB

#10: Post by NelisB »

What water are you using?