Pre-shot routine

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

I'm buying a new machine (GS3/MP) and grinder (EG-1) and switching from 53mm (La Spaziale) to 58mm (i think), so I need to buy some new accessories that fit the new diameter. My current routine is:
Grind into portafilter with funnel
WDT with a cork/paperclip thing
Saint Anthony wedge, Saint Anthony tamp
Pull shot

I'm currently imagining:
Grinding into the WW Blind Shaker
Standing the portafilter inside this:
https://www.baristaspace.com/collection ... l-58mm-set
WDT with:
https://levercraftcoffee.com/products/l ... ion-tool-1
and then either buying 58mm St Anthony wedge/tamper
or
Puqpress mini
then using filter paper below the grounds and a Flair 58 screen above the grounds https://flairespresso.com/product/flair-58-puck-screen/

I know it's quite a bit of prep, but I'm fine with it. I just wonder if anyone else is going through this many steps and has opinions on value
Thanks

Nunas
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#2: Post by Nunas »

mason a wrote:My current routine is:
Grind into portafilter with funnel
WDT with a cork/paperclip thing
Saint Anthony wedge, Saint Anthony tamp
Pull shot
I used to do exactly this, except a cork with a few needles shoved into it. For the past few months, I've been using a sintered metal puck screen. With it, I find that I don't have to also WDT. I never had a lot of channeling, but with the puck screen there's never even a hint of any. The spent pucks are firmer and dryer. My monthly maintenance of the group head will probably become once every two months...it's so clean up there. Lastly, I notice that my drip tray and drain hose are both clean as a whistle. I used to clean them weekly. One minor downside seems to be that so little coffee oil back flushes into the group that the lever needs greasing a bit more often. I went into the puck screen skeptical as can be, but am now a convert.
I'm currently imagining:
Grinding into the WW Blind Shaker
Standing the portafilter inside this:
https://www.baristaspace.com/collection ... l-58mm-set
WDT with:
https://levercraftcoffee.com/products/l ... ion-tool-1
and then either buying 58mm St Anthony wedge/tamper
Seems like a lot of work to me. I think if I were you, I'd start with just one thing at a time and see what the effect of each is.
or
Puqpress mini
then using filter paper below the grounds and a Flair 58 screen above the grounds https://flairespresso.com/product/flair-58-puck-screen/
I know it's quite a bit of prep, but I'm fine with it. I just wonder if anyone else is going through this many steps and has opinions on value
Thanks
I tried the paper filter both above and below. I like the sintered metal screen above, as it's really easy to use and seems to work a bit better than paper, especially for a dry, firm puck. I didn't like the paper filter below. It might be my imagination, but I felt that the espresso lacked body. Maybe this isn't a big deal for milk drinks, but something was definitely wrong to my taste with straight shots.

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cafeIKE
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#3: Post by cafeIKE »

Measure beans
Grind directly to PF
Level
Tamp
Pull

Anything else is ballet

mason a (original poster)
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#4: Post by mason a (original poster) »

Nunas wrote:I went into the puck screen skeptical as can be, but am now a convert.

I tried the paper filter both above and below. I like the sintered metal screen above, as it's really easy to use and seems to work a bit better than paper, especially for a dry, firm puck. I didn't like the paper filter below. It might be my imagination, but I felt that the espresso lacked body. Maybe this isn't a big deal for milk drinks, but something was definitely wrong to my taste with straight shots.
I'm definitely trying the puck screen, I'm just trying to figure out the new workflow for mornings when I'm working in the office and pull 3 shots in a row into a thermos. I imagine the puck screen lives in the portafilter and gets taken out when you grind shot #1 and then placed on top. Then what happens? Do you "pop" it out and rinse it with hot water and try to move on with shot #2, and #3, as quickly as possible so the metal screen doesn't lose it's heat? Maybe it doesn't need rinsing between shots, idk.

I'm having a hard time locating paper filters that will fit below the grounds of a La Marzocco portafilter. But i'd like to tinker around just to see for myself what it does to the shot (since James Hoffman said he really likes this new workflow)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xb3IxAr4RCo (around 13 min mark and after that he goes into screen cleaning and how they do get dirty)

Weber workshops came out with a new single piece portafilter and papers that would fit exactly, but they sold out in minutes
https://weberworkshops.com/products/unifilter

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Jeff
Team HB

#5: Post by Jeff »

Ahlstrom makes filter paper precut in 55 mm circles. I use them for "filter" (low-pressure) extraction but not espresso. I have the 237 and 909 series papers. They have many more. dscbalances.com is one US-based source willing to sell small quantities.

I'm a proponent of relatively few prep steps. I also haven't seen convincing evidence that most of the designer tools do much more than make one feel good.

Edit: Current prep is:

* Grind into bare basket with funnel ($20 s/s one this week)
* Trim to target weight (pre-dosed at a bean or two over)
* WDT and level with LeverCraft needle tool or JKim Makes' version (0.4 or 0.3 mm needles this week)
* Tamp
* BPlus screen, primarily for cleanliness (hard for me to argue that coffee tastes better)

The BPlus screen, at least in my experience, benefits from a weekly Cafiza soak. I have found that an ultrasonic cleaner removes even more after a "normal" Cafiza soak, so I now do baskets, BPlus screen, group screen, dispersion block, steam tip in the ultrasonic with Cafiza (weekly, at a couple shots a day).

Nunas
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#6: Post by Nunas »

mason a wrote:I'm definitely trying the puck screen, I'm just trying to figure out the new workflow for mornings when I'm working in the office and pull 3 shots in a row into a thermos. I imagine the puck screen lives in the portafilter and gets taken out when you grind shot #1 and then placed on top. Then what happens? Do you "pop" it out and rinse it with hot water and try to move on with shot #2, and #3, as quickly as possible so the metal screen doesn't lose it's heat? Maybe it doesn't need rinsing between shots, idk.<snip>
I tried putting the puck screen into the PF, as I thought this would be a good home for it, where the temperature would be best. That does not work, as it gets wedged into the PF part way down. So, the screen stays out on its own.

To use it, I prepare my puck more or less like Ian suggests, with a minimum of handling. I have gravimetric grinders, so grind right into the PF, level, and tamp. The only difference is that I drop the puck screen on top just before I put the PF in the machine. Once in a while, I forget to do that and the difference in the puck is striking. I'm not saying that there's difference in the cup; my taste buds may be too old to discern.

Yes, the puck screen has to be popped out, as it adheres somewhat to the puck. I simply press down on the edge with my spoon, which releases the screen. Then I invert the PF over the sink and let it drop into a bit of water there. I have two screens and there are two of us. So, I don't have to reuse the first screen.

The screens stay surprisingly clean; I don't know why. I just take them out of the sink and give them a rub with a cloth. I've tried holding them with tongs and blasting them with steam. I also tried the same thing with the hot water wand. I imagined that because they have the thickness of a coin that they would trap coffee. I once soaked them in a bit of Cafiza to see. A surprisingly small amount of stuff came out. I happen to have an ultrasonic cleaner here and one day, I'll try that.

No, I don't have to act quickly to avoid the screen cooling down. In fact, I don't heat them at all, although I've tried. Nor have I boosted my brew temperature, as some suggest. I have not figured out why preheating seems to make little or no difference. Intuitively, it should, since these screens weigh about as much as the double dose of grinds. Again, perhaps it's just my aging taste buds :wink: :D

Iconicred

#7: Post by Iconicred »

My Simple Routine:

Grind directly into PF with dosing ring
WDT
Level
Tamp
Pull shot.

I was thinking of adding a puck screen after the tamp, but since I increase the dose to 19g and got a new tamper, my shots are coming out much better and the puck is drier and cleaner.

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cafeIKE
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#8: Post by cafeIKE »

the puck is drier and cleaner
I couldn't care less if I could pour the puck or had to jackhammer it out. It's absolutely irrelevant.

It's what's in the cup that counts :roll:

Puck screens are a solution to a problem that doesn't exist.

exidrion

#9: Post by exidrion replying to cafeIKE »

It is not so black and white. I have a dexterity disability so getting to and cleaning my shower screen and getting if off with an allen wrench or screwdriver is a lengthy and annoying process. If a puck screen makes this a non issue, or at least makes it far less frequent I'd gladly pay for it. Far easier to toss that in cafiza.

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baldheadracing
Team HB

#10: Post by baldheadracing replying to exidrion »

It does that. You may even be able to remove your shower screen permanently.

Note that an ultrasonic jewelry cleaner is probably the way to go to clean thick metal mesh screens (and baskets, and shower screens, and portafilters ...).

That being said, I now only use a (thin) screen on lever machines that can have issues with water distribution like La Pavoni's. With no puck screen, coffee can sometimes go everywhere during pre-infusion, and having to clean grounds off of the portafilter gasket(s) after a shot can be tedious.

As for prep generally, for me it depends on the roast level. I try to do as little prep as possible, but the lighter the roast and the higher grown the coffee, the more additional prep seems to be desirable to get consistent extraction yields and tasty results. Just my experience.
-"Good quality brings happiness as you use it" - Nobuho Miya, Kamasada