Some thoughts on dosing - Page 3

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks.
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GC7
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#21: Post by GC7 »

RapidCoffee wrote: 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

I'm glad my post didn't annoy you enough for a like reply :?: Am I that far off the mark?

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RapidCoffee (original poster)
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#22: Post by RapidCoffee (original poster) »

GC7 wrote:... production of espresso reminds me of a complicated form of batch column chromatography. That is something which I am somewhat competent to discuss.
...
By varying the dose you obviously make a highly significant change in the concentration and/or total mass of materials that can and will wind up in the drink and this must have a great influence on the ultimate taste.
Not at all. I thought you were on target, but I really didn't have much to add to your post.

Scott Rao discusses some of these issues (from a layman's point of view) in Ch.3 of his book, The Professional Barista's Handbook.
John

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shadowfax

#23: Post by shadowfax »

I wholeheartedly agree with John again. Ken, I didn't mean to be rude in my post. Your posts have contributed to my own exploration of lower doses. Though I haven't ended up as far down on dosage as you, I've come a long way down from the crazy triples that I pulled exclusively in my earliest days. The whole coffee scene on Home Barista seems to me to have changed significantly, either because of or in conjunction with the views you have publicized on this web site. I am grateful for that.

What I do not understand is the honestly hypocritical criticism of the techniques of others. There are a lot of people who can pull a perfectly awesome 20 gram shot without expending near as much time as it would take you to dose into a ramekin and then spoon it into a portafilter, not to mention weighing it and resting a tamper on it for 2 seconds. We've all got our quirks. I am sure that some people would snicker at the way I sweep out the chute on my Robur rather than waste those 2-2.5 grams. I think you don't realize how many feet you step on with your pejorative diction, whether it's explicit or under the guise of "opinion." I find it uncharitable and wholly unnecessary.
Nicholas Lundgaard

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another_jim
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#24: Post by another_jim »

RapidCoffee wrote: By natural dose capacity, I mean the amount of coffee that naturally fits in the basket. No tapping, just fill the basket and groom it level. I used the same ground coffee (Cuvee Meritage blend) for each weighing, and did my best to follow exactly the same dosing regimen for each basket.
I don't think this is right. It is not a repeatable measure, for instance, a humidity change will alter the fluff of the grind and the weight you will use. Moreover, a finger strike dose has no bearing on any aspect of the shot. Historically, it is simply a technique Schomer found to be a cost effective for his cafe.

I don't think there is a unique natural fill level for a basket. However, in general, I think one can nominate a certain dwell time, e.g. five seconds from pump on to first drop, as optimal for ones machine (or at least the optimal starting point for a new coffee). Since head space determines the dwell time, a fixed dwell time will establish a unique dosing level for each basket, and also the equivalent dose levels across baskets.

Why use dwell time for picking the natural dosing level of a basket? Longer dwell times reduces the chance of channeling, but arguably adds some over-extraction muddiness to the flavor earlier in the shot. So dwell time is a variable for shot quality. Since the fill level of a basket determines the dwell time, and one can always change baskets to change dose, using dwell time to define the fill level seems to be the "natural" way to go.
Jim Schulman

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GC7
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#25: Post by GC7 »

RapidCoffee wrote:Not at all. I thought you were on target, but I really didn't have much to add to your post.

Scott Rao discusses some of these issues (from a layman's point of view) in Ch.3 of his book, The Professional Barista's Handbook.
Thanks John - I'll go back to observing this exchange and to learning while throwing in a few remarks when I think I can contribute.

I must say this site is great and with much less insulting and personal attacks then about any other internet discussion group I know.

Ken Fox

#26: Post by Ken Fox »

I really don't see much point in continuing to repeat saying the same things over and over again. If anyone here derives a sense of self-worth or purpose from repetitive "skills" they apply to espresso shot preparation, far be it from me to try to deprive you of that. If you have been offended by something you read into my comments, I extend to you my apology, but I also suggest that you consider that we are discussing "things" here, inanimate objects, not your girlfriend, your wife, your children, or your dog, for that matter. If someone tells you that they think your car is ugly and that offends you, then perhaps you need to examine the reasons why you would take such a comment personally, which are way beyond the scope of this thread.

But I digress.

As to the amount of effort involved in dosing into a ramekin and weighing each dose, I would estimate that it takes me less time to do so than what I used to do to try to dose repetitively with visual cues. Whatever time it does take is at least offset by reduced need to perform cleanup around my grinders. A typical ramekin has a larger "mouth" than does a PF, so if you are dosing directly into a PF or PF basket, you will have a mess to clean up around your grinder each day. By putting the ramekin under the doser spout I have eliminated the mess and the need to clean it up after wards.

I would certainly not refer to any of this as a "skill" and derive no sense of self worth or purpose from it. I could teach a chimpanzee to do it in a few minutes, given a few bananas, which makes it a simple repeatable technique. I like simplicity.

Although I have modified machines and played with them a lot, my real interest is in the coffee and tasting the notes that it plays for me, which does not require huge doses for me, at least, to appreciate. Your tastes may differ and that's fine, too.

I'm hereby divorcing myself from this thread.

ken
What, me worry?

Alfred E. Neuman, 1955

JimG

#27: Post by JimG »

Great thread. My thanks to you contributors. My new digital scales won't arrive for several days, but at least now I know that those white things in the cupboard are ramekins and can be used for something besides holding salsa.

Jim

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RapidCoffee (original poster)
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#28: Post by RapidCoffee (original poster) »

Ken Fox wrote:As to the amount of effort involved in dosing into a ramekin and weighing each dose, I would estimate that it takes me less time to do so than what I used to do to try to dose repetitively with visual cues. Whatever time it does take is at least offset by reduced need to perform cleanup around my grinders.
Funny, I feel the same way about the WDT. But that doesn't stop self-styled "wits" from bashing it endlessly. I guess we all have our crosses to bear.
Ken Fox wrote:I'm hereby divorcing myself from this thread.
Sorry you feel that way. No offense intended. Really.

BTW, your car is ugly. :P
John

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#29: Post by RapidCoffee (original poster) »

another_jim wrote:I don't think this is right. It is not a repeatable measure, for instance, a humidity change will alter the fluff of the grind and the weight you will use. Moreover, a finger strike dose has no bearing on any aspect of the shot.
Jim, thanks for weighing in. Humidity is one reason (other than convenience) to prefer dosing by volume over weight. But I disagree about finger strike dosing. Leveling to the top of the basket (or any specified distance down from the rim) certainly has a bearing on headspace. It provides a fixed, consistent reference point for dosing a basket.
another_jim wrote:I don't think there is a unique natural fill level for a basket. However, in general, I think one can nominate a certain dwell time, e.g. five seconds from pump on to first drop, as optimal for ones machine (or at least the optimal starting point for a new coffee). Since head space determines the dwell time, a fixed dwell time will establish a unique dosing level for each basket, and also the equivalent dose levels across baskets.
Excellent suggestion. It should not be terribly difficult to measure dwell times* for different doses... um, not sure where to go from there. Compare the taste profile of similar dwell times across different baskets, maybe even machines? You'd be much better at that than me.
another_jim wrote:Why use dwell time for picking the natural dosing level of a basket? Longer dwell times reduces the chance of channeling, but arguably adds some over-extraction muddiness to the flavor earlier in the shot. So dwell time is a variable for shot quality. Since the fill level of a basket determines the dwell time, and one can always change baskets to change dose, using dwell time to define the fill level seems to be the "natural" way to go.
Certainly would be interesting to see the correlation between grind, dose, dwell time, and taste. Grind and dose both impact dwell time. I assume you'd want to adjust the grind for the overall extraction, not the dwell time.

* "The dwell time, the time it takes from turning on the pump to seeing the first drops of espresso emerge from the basket varies from machine to machine." The Home Barista's Guide to Espresso
John

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HB
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#30: Post by HB »

Ken Fox wrote: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... Were he to repeat his evaluation and to use ~14g doses, I doubt he would have had the same observation.
Well, unless you want to argue 15 grams isn't "Italianish" enough:
Cimbali Junior DT/1: Pulling Shots by the Numbers wrote:Generally I measure by volume, but some use a precision scale to weigh out the beans and run the grinder until empty. I found that 15 grams of coffee beans / a small heaping basket full of grinds worked great (a level basket holds around 14 grams before any settling).
I've probably improved my skills since I wrote that 4 years ago. But I would argue the biggest improvement in pour consistency is attributable to eliminating dose-to-dose variation and a better grinder. My long-term exposure to high-end commercial grinders like the Robur during the TGP has ruined me. Before I used to move in a sloth-like manner before the grinder, fussing over every minor detail. Today perfectly even pours are a breeze and my focus is now on manipulating the taste profile, not diagnosing channeling, spritzes, etc.

Manipulating the dose is one of the variables I manipulate, though most doubles are in the 15 to 17 grams range. Recently I broke out the triple baskets and agree it produces an "in your face" taste profile. Still, I thought the triple ristrettos were enjoyable, albeit not the sort of drinks that would score well at SCAA barista competitions these days.
another_jim wrote:So dwell time is a variable for shot quality. Since the fill level of a basket determines the dwell time, and one can always change baskets to change dose, using dwell time to define the fill level seems to be the "natural" way to go.
This makes sense. The way the pour sets up in the first 5 seconds pretty much says what brew ratio will ultimately be if you cut off by color / blonding.
Dan Kehn