Some thoughts on dosing - Page 4

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks.
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malachi

#31: Post by malachi »

shadowfax wrote: 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.
Passion for your own beliefs can be taken to a point where it becomes seen as demeaning others' beliefs without that actually being the intent.
"Taste is the only morality." -- John Ruskin

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malachi

#32: Post by malachi »

another_jim wrote: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.
This assumes universality of "optimal" head space.
In reality - you get those who prefer 1mm - and those who prefer 2mm and 3mm. And you get those (like George Sabados) who feel that in some cases 0mm in desirable.
"Taste is the only morality." -- John Ruskin

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malachi

#33: Post by malachi »

HB wrote: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..
So a higher degree of barista skill and use of high-end commercial grinders has made producing good shots dramatically easier -- and this has freed you up to ignore diagnostic divination practices and instead focus on exploring taste.

That's incredibly cool.
I think this is what all of us shoot for - and I think that your point should be taken to heart.
Develop your barista skills, invest in a great grinder.
"Taste is the only morality." -- John Ruskin

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Marshall

#34: Post by Marshall »

RapidCoffee wrote: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.
Great, that's the thanks I get for recommending you to NASA! NASA in Desperate Need of John Weiss
Marshall
Los Angeles

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shadowfax

#35: Post by shadowfax »

malachi wrote:Develop your barista skills, invest in a great grinder.
Nail head, meet hammer.
Marshall wrote:Great, that's the thanks I get for recommending you to NASA! [NASA post]
I know, right? I was just thinking that John's pathetic coffee toys are a real cross to bear:



Nicholas Lundgaard

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GC7
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#36: Post by GC7 »

There seem to be some conflicting dogmas here and throughout the site that perhaps can be clarified without confrontation.

I have read over and over that great barista skills are the number 1 criteria for producing good (great?) drinks in the cup. How many times has it been written that a skilled barista could pull a good shot from XXXX machine and YYYY grinder.

Now we have a thread on dosing and to some it has come down to
"So a higher degree of barista skill and use of high-end commercial grinders has made producing good shots dramatically easier -- and this has freed you up to ignore diagnostic divination practices and instead focus on exploring taste."

I can't really argue with this statement and it does in fact seem cool that subtle nuances in taste can be emphasized and optimized.

So, on to me! As a newcomer to this hobby/obsession I have a dedicated espresso grinder (Compak K3 touch) and what I researched as a pretty good HX machine (QM Anita) with a PID'ed boiler so I can pull shots at lower temps without flush and not have to worry about a pressurestat breaking and a group thermometer to more accurately judge and vary brew temperatures. I've worked on my skills quite a lot and I'm somewhat obsessive about weighing doses as no one can convince me that it's a hassle to get it the way you want for only a few shots a day. I keep my machine clean and use good fresh coffee.

Am I now being told that the path to great drinks is by purchasing a mega expensive commercial grinder? I certainly hope not! Is that the only or even the best path along with good skills to focusing on exploration of taste? My current espresso is pretty darn good and up to par with most of what I get in good café's. I've rarely had that eye opening WOW shot but those are not that common in cafes either.

What's up here?

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Marshall

#37: Post by Marshall »

GC7 wrote:Am I now being told that the path to great drinks is by purchasing a mega expensive commercial grinder?
No, you're being told it's the easier path. Skill still trumps equipment, and nearly anyone can get good espresso out of relatively inexpensive equipment with proper guidance and practice.
Marshall
Los Angeles

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shadowfax

#38: Post by shadowfax »

GC7 wrote:Am I now being told that the path to great drinks is by purchasing a mega expensive commercial grinder? I certainly hope not! Is that the only or even the best path along with good skills to focusing on exploration of taste? My current espresso is pretty darn good and up to par with most of what I get in good café's. I've rarely had that eye opening WOW shot but those are not that common in cafes either.
I think you have an excellent grinder (from what I've read; no direct experience). My personal observation of going from Mazzer Mini -> Mazzer Super Jolly -> Robur is that the main difference is a very noticeable step up in consistency. With the Mini, you get fine extractions. You get consistently better ones when you fluff the grinds as per John's WDT method. Super Jolly, it's a similar story, although the Super Jolly is definitely a step up in terms of "naturally better" pours. With the Robur, you get ultra-consistency with minimal skill. You get great results dosing into the basket and not even distributing the grinds with your hands--literally, dose, tamp, lock & load, pull a good shot. If there's any skill that makes a noticeable improvement, it's dosing the coffee more evenly into the basket (as you thwack the doser). It really frees you to easily concentrate on grind and dose adjustment to tune your pours to what you like.

It's the same story with machines, right? You PIDed your Anita for convenience (and to a lesser extent, safety). You spent over $1000 on an espresso machine that's just way easier to work with than something in the $400-500 range. I think the point of the TGP is that you get a similar, if not better, return on your "investment" in terms of consistency and convenience, when you buy a good grinder. It's hard to trump skills, of course--especially when it comes to cost-effectiveness!

As with espresso machines, of course, grinders seem to have "personalities," i.e. they tend to work better with or bring out different flavors in certain coffees. Most people will tell you that these differences are rather subtle, and indeed somewhat controversial and not concretely explored.
Nicholas Lundgaard

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RapidCoffee (original poster)
Team HB

#39: Post by RapidCoffee (original poster) »

shadowfax wrote:I know, right? I was just thinking that John's pathetic coffee toys are a real cross to bear
Ha ha. Well, no denying that I've taken this obsession passion far beyond the bounds of rationality and common sense. But doesn't everyone need at least one manual lever, one fully plumbed HX machine, and one double boiler? :lol:
Marshall wrote:Great, that's the thanks I get for recommending you to NASA! NASA in Desperate Need of John Weiss
Marshall thinks that he's a wit. For the sake of the holidays, let's give him half credit. :twisted:
John

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RapidCoffee (original poster)
Team HB

#40: Post by RapidCoffee (original poster) »

malachi wrote: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
I managed to dig up the Feb/Mar 2006 issue of Barista magazine; must have saved it for Tim Wendelboe's article. After also locating a pair of reading glasses (why oh why did the editors select such teensy fonts? at least this article is printed in black on white, rather than light green on light orange :roll: ), I went back over it carefully and found some choice nuggets of dose-related info.

Tim's dosing recipe:
Assuming you are using a double basket with a 58mm diameter that is about one inch or 25mm deep, grind the coffee to a point where it takes around 20 to 25 seconds to extract 60ml of espresso... Fill the filter with ground coffee. Be careful not to shake the portafilter or tap it on the counter or the grinder, as this will compress the coffee already dosed in the filter and result in dosing more coffee than we want... Overfill the filter with coffee so that you have enough coffee to distribute to the air pockets in the top of the filter. After distributing and levelling, stroke the excess coffee off with your finger without digging any coffee out from the middle nor leaving a small mountain of coffee on top as this will encourage the water to take the path of least resistance and is not good for percolation under pressure. The surface of the coffee bed should be uniform and levelled to the rim of the basket.

Now tamp as level as possible and check if the line normally hollowed on the side of the filter is exposed or covered with coffee. The surface of the tamped coffee should normally be right underneath this line... My main goal for dosing is to dose enough coffee but still leave a space or gap between the surface of the coffee and the shower screen mounted on the group head. This gap should be around three or four millimeters because I want the coffee to expand during preinfusion in order to create a more natural, undisturbed percolation or extraction.
To summarize: Tim advocates finger strike levelling to the basket rim, with very careful dosing technique (no tapping or shaking) to avoid updosing. His dosing recipe results in "14 to 18 grams in a double basket depending on the coffee, grinder, and machine used." Not quite the same as Ken's "use 14g or less in every case" dose regimen.
John