Sour espresso! I'm hopeless and need help, but it's a long story

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks for making espresso.
Cocoon992
Posts: 11
Joined: 3 months ago

#1: Post by Cocoon992 »

Intro: So i bought my machine 3 weeks ago and some specialty coffee for the first time. I bought a bag of 500g that's empty now. Everything tasted sour, i know this means underextracted but i tried to combat this to go very fine and increase my ratio but it still didn't work. Also the roaster provided me this info but it's wasn't drinkable.

Machine: rocket r58 cinquantotto Grinder: varia vs3 gen 2

Beans: Roasted medium, blend from brazil capricornio & colombia giraldo natural washed & pulped

Roaster advice:18 in & 38 out in 29 seconds, 93 degrees --- this tastes just underextracted crap
What i tried:- the roaster advice several times (very sour)

- 18 in & 45 out in 33 seconds (sour)

- 18 in & 40 out in 40 seconds (sour)

- 18 in & 40 out in 45 seconds (sour)

- 18 in & 40 out in 53 seconds (very sour)

at this point i just decided to not go finer because it doesn't made sense, so i increased yield to:

45 out in 30, 35, 40, 45 seconds all sour. I even tried 18 in 54 out and it was just well guess: sour.

So i know there are sour beans, i've been to a specialty coffee shop and they served me an indonesian single origin what was sour, but i had an explosion of tropical fruits in my mouth and i enjoyed it.

I manually WDT and use calibrated tamper all from normcore.

So i bought new beans from a different roaster now because maybe it just were the beans. Everything tastes sour again and i'm getting frustrated in my daily life and get angry at my wife for nothing. It's driving me crazy. Maybe there is something with my machine or grinder?

Beans Medium roasted Brazilian, Colombian blend. Should taste chocolaty and nutty. All i taste is sour or acidity.
Roaster advice; 19 gr in, 40 out in 25 to 30 seconds
What i tried: - the roaster advice 19 in 40 out 27 seconds (sour)
- 19 in & 40 out in 30 seconds (sour)
- 19 in & 40 out in 35 seconds (sour)
- 19 in & 40 out in 40 seconds (sour)
- 19 in & 45 out in 29 seconds (sour)

I'm using just a stock double spouted rocket basket & my temperature is set to 93 degrees. Tried 95 but no change.

I'm desperate i want to taste bitterness, it's 3 weeks now and i'm really doing something wrong or something is broken. Please help me i can pay if somebody wants to further determine this.

bznelson91
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#2: Post by bznelson91 »

Until that last line, I was going to ask if you were sure this wasn't a "bitter/sour confusion" moment. I had some friends that I did a demo for. I took a straight medium roast specialty coffee and did three filter preparations: One about middle of the range on my Ode Gen 2 (which was about perfect) and one each at the two extremes. The experience was eye opening even for me. They were very different experiences, with the sour tasting almost metallic to me, and the bitter just being like a grapefruit or something.

As for your specific situation, I'm not an espresso guy (yet), but it sure sounds like channeling, which can end up manifesting as both some bitter and sour in the cup. I'll let someone else offer a more experienced answer, though.

Brad

ShotClock
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#3: Post by ShotClock »

Three thoughts:

- Low brew water temperature can reduce the extraction and make the shots sour. One common issue is not leaving the machine long enough to warm up. You should probably leave an E61 machine like this for an hour after turning it on before you make espresso. If you are leaving it long enough, maybe you can try adjusting the brew boiler temperature.

- You might be putting too much coffee into the basket, and then disturbing the puck and causing channeling when you lock in the portafilter. You can try putting a 10c coin on top of the prepared coffee, before locking in and then removing the portafilter. If the coin has left an imprint, then you need to reduce your "dose" of coffee.

- Being able to see if you are having problems with your puck prep which leads to channeling, or something else, is the reason that bottomless portafilters are so useful. You will find it very helpful in debugging shots, highly recommended.
★ Helpful

kye
Posts: 152
Joined: 3 years ago

#4: Post by kye »

+1 for recommending a bottomless portafilter - it really lets you see what is going on in the extraction and if there are issues then you can address them and get feedback immediately.

In terms of the suggestions of channeling, could this be the case when the extractions are so long? What I mean is that if you have big channels then the flow rate will be higher, and you can't do a long extraction with a high flow rate without getting a large amount of beverage.
I'm not saying that the issue isn't channeling, but just questioning if the beverage weight and shot time would allow for it?

H2c4
Posts: 55
Joined: 3 months ago

#5: Post by H2c4 »

I had the same issue with my shots when I started as well. Pre infusion helped tremendously with sourness.

tf1216
Posts: 1
Joined: 1 year ago

#6: Post by tf1216 »

Are you timing seconds from starting flow from the group head or from the first drop in the cup?

The bottomless portafilter is the advice to take and if you have a shot mirror helps.
I have found that a tapered basket has made it easier for me to pull better shots that are more consistent.

dixi08
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Posts: 50
Joined: 4 years ago

#7: Post by dixi08 »

What water are you using?
That might be your problem here.
Often, having to much magnesium can make your shots taste sour.

User avatar
another_jim
Team HB
Posts: 13951
Joined: 19 years ago

#8: Post by another_jim »

The only thing I can think of is that the brew boiler offset is very wrong (way too low).

Set your brew temperature to 100C and see if you get flash boiling from the group when you flush water. If you do not, your offset is too low. More info here:
Getting accurate shot temperature displays on PIDed double boilers without a thermometer
Jim Schulman

Cranked
Posts: 92
Joined: 1 year ago

#9: Post by Cranked »

I think the temperature is too low, either the offset or the machine is not fully warmed up.

You shouldn't need any wdt or PI to pull good shots from those coffees.

Cocoon992 (original poster)
Posts: 11
Joined: 3 months ago

#10: Post by Cocoon992 (original poster) »

ShotClock wrote:Three thoughts:

- Low brew water temperature can reduce the extraction and make the shots sour. One common issue is not leaving the machine long enough to warm up. You should probably leave an E61 machine like this for an hour after turning it on before you make espresso. If you are leaving it long enough, maybe you can try adjusting the brew boiler temperature.

- You might be putting too much coffee into the basket, and then disturbing the puck and causing channeling when you lock in the portafilter. You can try putting a 10c coin on top of the prepared coffee, before locking in and then removing the portafilter. If the coin has left an imprint, then you need to reduce your "dose" of coffee.

- Being able to see if you are having problems with your puck prep which leads to channeling, or something else, is the reason that bottomless portafilters are so useful. You will find it very helpful in debugging shots, highly recommended.

- i leave the machine on for 1 hour before brewing, i always did that. Tried adjusting brew boiler to 95 degrees but no great effect.

- i don't think overdosing is the problem. If i put 18 grams in my basket i see water on the puck. Even with 19 grams tamped there is a lot of space over. If i'm doing 16 grams i have a lot of water on top of my puck.

- Yes i agree, i bought a rocket botomless portafilter immediately. Should arrive in a couple of days.