Some thoughts on dosing - Page 2

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks.
Ken Fox

#11: Post by Ken Fox »

shadowfax wrote:Are you laying down stock baskets as a requirement to this, or are you claiming that you don't know of a machine you can do this with using a large 18/21 gram Synesso/LM basket?
I know of no machine that can be dosed with 18 or more grams, receive minimal to no basket preparation, and reliably pull decent shots.

There are many machines I know of that can be dosed at 18 or more grams, and have decent shots pulled. The question is what do you have to do to get to that point? You need to distribute the coffee carefully, generally to tamp hard, and to otherwise pay a lot of attention to your basket preparation. You might be skilled in these things and they might be second nature to you, but if you don't do them, if you simply plop 18 or 20g (or more) into the basket, twirl the tamper around on the top for a couple of seconds with no attempts at distribution, then a high proportion of your shots will be channeled or otherwise substandard.

I can literally plop 14g of coffee into my baskets, perfunctorily twirl the tamper for 2 or 3 seconds, make no other efforts at basket preparation, lock the PF in the machine and pull a good shot almost every time (assuming the grinder is set correctly).

ken
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RapidCoffee (original poster)
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#12: Post by RapidCoffee (original poster) »

tomax wrote:Neat scale. Where does one purchase such a thing?
I bought mine off eBay for under $20 shipped. Lots of posts on this topic, e.g. this one.
John

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malachi

#13: Post by malachi »

RapidCoffee wrote:"Overdosing" might be reserved for cramming so much coffee in the puck that locking in disturbs the puck integrity and causes channeling... but didn't Paul Bassett win the 2003 WBC in this way?
It's probably worth folks while to go and read some of the stuff George Sabados wrote about "Expansion Theory" for Barista Magazine. This describes the approach taken by Paul Bassett (very successfully I might add).

I've hesitated to bring it up as I figure it will piss a lot of folks off - and it's not something that I've ever tested to see if it's true or not.
I know that Paul is a big believer - and I know it has been incredibly effective for him.

To summarize (perhaps poorly and with any luck someone who knows one of the Aussies can check with them on this):

Expansion theory says that by dosing high enough that the bed of coffee (when wet) presses evenly against the dispersion screen - you can get consistent resistance to the pressurized water flowing through the coffee. This results in an optimized extraction from the coffee.

The puck should show not only a solid screw indentation, but also a clear indentation from the edge of the dispersion screen. If you do this - you actually have to replace your dispersion screens with some frequency as they will bow inwards.

Extraction time is closer to 30s than 20s.
Espresso will look "the same colour as the beans" and should have a heavy mouthfeel.


Now... they are very clear that this only is appropriate for some coffees - and some machines and that the actual dose is dependent upon the machine and basket.
"Taste is the only morality." -- John Ruskin

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malachi

#14: Post by malachi »

Ken Fox wrote:In this situation, is it your standard procedure to dose the coffee into the basket, to tamp perfunctorily in 3 seconds, lock, load, and pull the shot?
No... I have far more pride in my skills and far more respect for the coffee and the people drinking my drinks than to ever prepare a shot "perfunctorily".

That being said...

Grind, dose, tap, tamp (probably around 4s), lock, load, pull shot -- but with great attention and care.
"Taste is the only morality." -- John Ruskin

Ken Fox

#15: Post by Ken Fox »

RapidCoffee wrote:So there's an alternate approach, suggested by both Dan and Mike McKee (quote in post above). Rather than advocating 12-14g doses, improve your barista skills so that you can manipulate dose effectively, without fear of channeling. That gives you another parameter to manipulate when trying to extract the most out of a coffee.
Perhaps I err by going into too great detail in my posts, however it might benefit you to reread them as you seem to read things into them that simply are not there.

My personal opinion, for what it is worth, is that what passes for "barista skills" over here in the "cradle of seminal American espresso," produces beverages I do not like, that are suited only for use in milk, because drinking them straight means drinking an over the top in your face style of beverage to me lacks all sense of subtlety.

But that is just me, and if you want to pull shots that taste like that, more power to you.

As to the issue of how many hoops you have to jump through in order to get a technically decent extraction that does not suffer from various extraction flaws including channeling, it is obvious to any objective observer that you will have to put more effort into producing espresso from an "updosed" shot than if you used the sort of doses that Italians (who design the machines) are accustomed to.

Unless Dan wants to contradict this, I very sincerely doubt that at the time he wrote that Cimbali Jr. DT1 review, that he was using "Italianish" type dosing. That was certainly not the "fashion" or custom at that time among online espresso enthusiasts in that era. He was merely making the same observation that I made with approximately the same basket doses in that Cimbali machine. Were he to repeat his evaluation and to use ~14g doses, I doubt he would have had the same observation.

ken
What, me worry?

Alfred E. Neuman, 1955

Ken Fox

#16: Post by Ken Fox »

malachi wrote:No... I have far more pride in my skills and far more respect for the coffee and the people drinking my drinks than to ever prepare a shot "perfunctorily".

That being said...

Grind, dose, tap, tamp (probably around 4s), lock, load, pull shot -- but with great attention and care.
Chris, if you will go back and reread the post of mine to which you responded, you will see that I wrote the following:
Ken Fox wrote: (1) Dose at which virtually all espresso machines will function in a straightforward manner without the need for "fancy stuff" or complex basket preparation. That dose is certainly "on the low end," because you simply can't put 20g of coffee into the basket of any machine, push the PF up on the grinder's built in tamper, and expect to pull a decent shot. If you own an espresso machine that can do this, please point out the error I've made by not considering your machine :mrgreen: On the other hand you can put 12 or 14 grams of coffee into the basket of most decent espresso machines, do almost nothing to it, and expect to pull a technically decent, unchanneled shot. This is not surprising, as these machines (generally) come from Italy, and this is how they do things in Italy.
I did not say that you can't pull a decent (or to your taste, excellent) shot from 20 or 23g of coffee in your basket of choice in your machine of choice. What I did say was that you will have to use various "skills" that many here interpret as "barista skills," which to me are basically "fluff."

How many hoops I jump through in dosing and tamping and distributing or whatever in the PF of an espresso machine has no bearing, to me, on my "respect" for the coffee or any other animate or inanimate objects. I show my "respect" for the coffee in what it is I choose to buy and how much effort I put into roasting it, both of which are considerable.

For the sorts of coffee that I like, I feel that I can best taste the varietal qualities for which I have paid by roasting lightly and pulling shots at lower basket doses that to me allow the varietal aspects of the coffee to come through. Done this way I don't do (hardly) any of that fancy "barista" stuff that you and some other adherents ascribe to. So be it. To steal a description previously attributed to Aaron, I don't need to be hit over the head by a coffee (or caffeine) 2x4 in order to appreciate it.

But, if your definition of coffee happiness, or anyone else's definition of same is to follow some other procedure, I say, "more power to ya'.

ken

ADDENDUM: This is not just for this post, but for several posts I've made in this thread. I just made myself an espresso using my current fave SO, the Ethiopian Worka that Klatch is selling. It was dosed at 14g (as is my custom) and I watched my procedure carefully. As I've stated in other threads, I use a 0.1g scale to assure consistent dosing (by weight). I dispense the coffee from my grinders into a ramekin, from which I dose with a teaspoon into the PF. The simple act of using the teaspoon to load up the PF does in fact do at least something for "distribution." Although I am not intentionally expending any effort in distributing the coffee into the PF basket, spooning it in from a ramekin does distribute it somewhat.
What, me worry?

Alfred E. Neuman, 1955

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shadowfax

#17: Post by shadowfax »

Ken Fox wrote:I did not say that you can't pull a decent (or to your taste, excellent) shot from 20 or 23g of coffee in your basket of choice in your machine of choice. What I did say was that you will have to use various "skills" that many here interpret as "barista skills," which to me are basically "fluff."
Ken Fox wrote:As I've stated in other threads, I use a 0.1g scale to assure consistent dosing (by weight). I dispense the coffee from my grinders into a ramekin, from which I dose with a teaspoon into the PF. The simple act of using the teaspoon to load up the PF does in fact do at least something for "distribution." Although I am not intentionally expending any effort in distributing the coffee into the PF basket, spooning it in from a ramekin does distribute it somewhat.
[emphasis mine]

:lol: I'd say something about this, but I just injured myself when I fell over backwards in my chair.
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#18: Post by RapidCoffee (original poster) »

Ken Fox wrote:I did not say that you can't pull a decent (or to your taste, excellent) shot from 20 or 23g of coffee in your basket of choice in your machine of choice. What I did say was that you will have to use various "skills" that many here interpret as "barista skills," which to me are basically "fluff."
And from another thread:
Ken Fox wrote:There is nothing to stop you from using higher quality coffees than the Italians use (as I do) but with their basic technique, which to my taste gives the best of both worlds, with an easygoing methodology (no dissecting needles, no handstand tamps, no cursing) to boot.
Ken, you seem to have a real disdain for barista skills. How could I have missed the lecture on cursing in Espresso 101? Whoops, apparently I was absent for the gymnastic tamping exercise as well. Puck preparation need not be anywhere near as difficult or traumatic as you make it out to be. With good equipment, you should be able to dose into the basket, level, tamp, and proceed to pull your shot.

I've said this before: we owe you a debt for bringing the important topic of dosing into the limelight. But don't confuse lower dose with elegant, refined technique. Dosing into a ramekin in order to weigh the dose within 0.1g, then transferring it by spoon into the filter basket, strikes me as bona fide fluff. You certainly don't see baristas (Italian or otherwise) resorting to this.

I will weigh a dose occasionally, to ensure that I'm in the right ballpark, or when I'm testing new coffees and equipment. Even though I dose directly into a ridgeless basket, and avoid the transfer of grinds from one container to another, I still find it annoyingly reminiscent of my biochemistry lab days. That's not the path to espresso nirvana for me.
John

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malachi

#19: Post by malachi »

RapidCoffee wrote:I've said this before: we owe you a debt for bringing the important topic of dosing into the limelight.
Barista Magazine - Oct/Nov 2005 Issue: The Dosing Debate Pt I by George Sabados
Barista Magazine - Feb/Mar 2006 Issue: The Dosing Debate Pt II by Tim Wendelboe
"Taste is the only morality." -- John Ruskin

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#20: Post by RapidCoffee (original poster) »

Yah, read them... as I recall, Tim was advocating lower doses. But I still think Ken deserves credit, at least over here on H-B. I've paid more attention to dosing since reading his posts, even if I disagree on some points.

It's obvious we haven't heard the last word on dosing. I still think there might be interesting ties to brew ratios, extraction ratios, and other measures.
John