Numbers seem okay- how to dial in the taste?

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks.
elsol

Postby elsol » Dec 10, 2016, 5:54 am

I just got a brand new ECM Synchronika dual boiler machine. Its gorgeous. In the past, I made espresso with a cheap thermoblock machine and hand grinder, and prior to that I had a Krups superauto. I'm very much a rookie.

I had some challenge dialing in my grinder- I've posted another thread on that. But mostly it was me not realizing that it was way out of adjustment for espresso when I got it. I had a bunch of old beans that I used to get it dialed in. When I got close, I went to Blue Bottle roasters here in the Bay Area and picked up an espresso blend and a single-source Ethiopian to try out.

I asked the barista about their settings (and took home a cup of grounds to compare to mine). They were using a bottomless portafilter and said that for the espresso blend they do 20g in, 20g out. For the Ethiopian they do 20g in 45g out. I see from a chart I found here that this seems to be a triple ristretto and a triple standard espresso. I'm using a spring-loaded tamper to get a calibrated 35lb tamp.

I switched to my bottomless triple portafilter, and I got the grind dialed in so that with 20g in I was getting 20g out right at about 25 sec. Flow looked reasonable but not perfect I guess. The taste was better than some of the junk shots before that, but it was still pretty bitter.

I ran the Ethiopian on the same grind setting, and with 20g in got 40g out in 30 sec. This also tastes bitter.

(Side note: both of these were roasted today)

Either of these would be fine in milk. I'm not sure about an Americano (which I like sometimes). But i wouldn't want to drink these straight like this.

What would you adjust next to dial in the taste?

Thanks,
Eric

h3yn0w

Postby h3yn0w » Dec 10, 2016, 8:58 am

I would let the beans rest for a few more days (at least) and see if that helps.

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HB
Admin

Postby HB » Dec 10, 2016, 9:07 am

elsol wrote:I asked the barista about their settings (and took home a cup of grounds to compare to mine).

Specific recipes for commercial gear usually don't transfer directly, though you can take the brewing ratio into consideration. I typically start in the 16 gram range for stock Faema-style baskets with an E61.

elsol wrote:What would you adjust next to dial in the taste?

Espresso 101: How to Adjust Dose and Grind Setting by Taste offers good suggestions. I agree with the previous poster that letting the coffee rest a few days helps. If you have a new grinder, keep in mind the burrs may need to break in. That requires at least 2 pounds of coffee for 64mm flat burrs and even more for conicals.
Dan Kehn

JerDGold

Postby JerDGold » Dec 10, 2016, 5:36 pm

I regularly drink blue bottle at home myself from their subscription service and rarely use their recommended recipes. I've been drinking the hayes valley lately and I shoot for about 16g in, 24 g out. It's a little bit of a darker, more italian style roast and definitely has more dark chocolate, roast notes than some of their SO and more third wave stuff.

Not sure which one you bought, but play around with it. Higher doses, grind settings, pull time. Just remember, only change one variable at a time, or else you won't know how you got where you ended up.

Some would argue not to change your dose unless (only grind settings) unless you want more coffee. I think this is foolish, as dose changes allow for coarser/finer grind settings. Eg. at 16g you can grind to a fineness that one could never hit at 22g.

Sideshow

Postby Sideshow » Dec 10, 2016, 10:00 pm

There are a lot of variables up in the air at the moment. Temperature (higher temp ups bitter, lower temp ups sour), coffee (definitely want to wait 2-3 post roast for consistency), water composition, pressure, timing, (are you stopping the pull at the right time or just when you get the proper output mass), cleaning frequency, or other random technique miscue you don't even know you're doing (we don't know your distribution technique or whether you bang the PF side or what your pour really likes like other than it looking "reasonable"). Maybe you're already thinking about these things, but I don't have a way to know. Think about some of the other things you may or may not be doing and tweak one at a time.

lagoon

Postby lagoon » Dec 11, 2016, 12:30 am

20g in and out is one heck of a constipated coffee shot.

Open it up a bit, let it flow.

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bluesman

Postby bluesman » Dec 11, 2016, 1:30 pm

JerDGold wrote:Just remember, only change one variable at a time, or else you won't know how you got where you ended up.

It may sound strange, but you're well advised to keep a notebook in which you record the results of each and every change you make. You'll never remember every combination, let alone what it produced in the cup. Even now (55 years into the hobby), I record the grinder setting, doses and other parameters for best results from the beans and blends I plan to use again.

I learned to do this when I took photography seriously back in high school. Without exposure values etc, there was no way to remember what went into a great print even a few weeks after I made it. And (as with espresso), it was even more important to know how I got bad results, so I didn't do it again.

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mania

Postby mania » Dec 11, 2016, 5:49 pm

lagoon wrote:20g in and out is one heck of a constipated coffee shot.

Open it up a bit, let it flow.


I agree with what Dan said about sometimes commercial equip examples do not transfer, but...

I will also say the best espresso I ever drank was a 19.3 gram in & 20 gr out brewed on a KVW Spirit Duette

Sideshow

Postby Sideshow » Dec 12, 2016, 12:50 am

mania wrote:I will also say the best espresso I ever drank was a 19.3 gram in & 20 gr out brewed on a KVW Spirit Duette


Yeah, nothing wrong with a triple ristretto right? :D

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mania

Postby mania » replying to Sideshow » Dec 12, 2016, 1:46 am

I love them
:wink: :lol: