Trouble dialing in new Lelit Bianca

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks for making espresso.
crazyascarl

#1: Post by crazyascarl »

I recently made the leap from an old Gaggia Classic to a Lelit Bianca. I was able to get consistent shops from the Gaggia and am really struggling with the Bianca.

I have a niche grinder, and a new bag of medium roast beans (roasted within 2 weeks), scale.. the works. (I have a VST basket somewhere but can't find it at the moment, so right now I'm just rolling with stock double basket)

I feel like my numbers are solid-
17g in, 35g out in around 25seconds (haven't done too much with the paddle yet... figure I should be able to get a "normal" shot first). But yet my shots are super bitter.
Temp is set at 198.
Niche is set around 18-19, but I recognize that's arbitrary.
It's my understanding that bitter is a sign of over extracted, which would suggest wanting a faster shot... but the time/quantity seems spot on. I've tried a coarser grind and it goes faster, but still comes out bitter.

Thoughts? What am I missing? Thanks.

User avatar
another_jim
Team HB

#2: Post by another_jim »

Have you tried brewing the coffee, or tasting it in some other fashion? It just may be a roast gone badly south

If the coffee is OK, then here's a pointer -- bitter is only a sign of over extracted with dark roasts at high brewing temperatures, otherwise, there is no such thing as over extracted (instant coffee excepted). Use the paddle, grind finer, let the shot it sit at 2.5 bar and drip for ten seconds, then pull the shot normally. That will be extracted to the limit, and that is what you bought the machine for. Taste and report back.
Jim Schulman

Pressino

#3: Post by Pressino »

You might try setting the brew boiler temp a bit lower, say 196F, to see if that reduces the bitterness.

BruceWayne

#4: Post by BruceWayne »

Just out of curiosity, what's your group manometer reading during the shot? I still haven't gotten around to changing the default pump pressure on my machine and would sometimes see close to 11 bar on my group head during a shot. My pump pressure is ~10.25 bar. I have noticed when using flow control and keeping my peak brew pressure lower, the shots tasted less bitter. Yeah, I need to move my grinder and adjust the pump, but I'm currently adjusting my paddle to do preinfusion and setting it at 4-5 o'clock when just pulling a straight shot.

crazyascarl (original poster)

#5: Post by crazyascarl (original poster) replying to BruceWayne »

I have to double check (Machine is off right now... not a bit 11pm espresso drinker). But if I recall, the pressure on the machine says it is right around 10 bar and at the group, fully open, closer to 10.5. I've also found myself keeping it around 4 or 5 o'clock for a straight shot... trying to keep the pressure at, or below, 9.

BruceWayne

#6: Post by BruceWayne »

Did you use the same coffee with your previous machine? How did it taste relative to now, if you did?

slaughter

#7: Post by slaughter »

crazyascarl wrote:I have to double check (Machine is off right now... not a bit 11pm espresso drinker). But if I recall, the pressure on the machine says it is right around 10 bar and at the group, fully open, closer to 10.5. I've also found myself keeping it around 4 or 5 o'clock for a straight shot... trying to keep the pressure at, or below, 9.
Since you are not using the paddle as you said, have you enabled pre-infusion in LCC? If not and your extraction is 25 seconds without then that is why you are getting over extracted shots. For convenience until I am ready to play with the paddle also I have set 5 sec pump on & 10 seconds pump off and I get better results (sometimes under-extracted though)

Amberale

#8: Post by Amberale »

It sounds like you have your grind in the ballpark.
I reckon you should start using your paddle.
I have my OPV set at 9.5 bar, my PI turned off and my temp set at 93C(199f).
When I am dialling in a new bean I have my paddle at 3o-clock, turn on the pump for 5 seconds, off for 5 seconds and then back on.
I am aiming for 18 in, 36 out in 25 seconds.

Once I have the grind sorted I use a DaveC(ish) method.
Paddle at 6 o-clock, turn on, after 5 seconds turn paddle clockwise until almost closed and tweak it to keep the pressure just over 2 bar for 15 seconds(20 seconds total on the timer and a couple of drops of coffee in the cup),
Then turn the paddle anticlockwise to 3 o-clock for the main pour around 9 bar.
Once I have about 25 grams or I get blonding I back off the paddle slowly to 6 bar for the finish.
Total shot time 40-50 seconds.
It takes longer to write than to do.

crazyascarl (original poster)

#9: Post by crazyascarl (original poster) »

Thanks for all the tips. Just an update-- I was finally able to get some of my normal beans (a buddy and I usually roast our own, but schedule hasn't allowed a roasting session this month). Just one cup in, not even fully dialed, and it made all the difference. Apparently whatever Clive sent me with my machine as a "gift", was either bad or a bean that I wasn't able to appreciate. But we're back on track now. Phew.

BruceWayne

#10: Post by BruceWayne »

Was that a bag of Verve Sermon? My bag was apparently packed the same day I ordered my machine, but I didn't get the barista kit for almost a month (the shot glasses were out of stock) so I ended up with month old beans. I was brewing it at 95 and my main impression of the shot was blueberry, very fruity.

They sent me another bag when I complained about the roast date on the bag they sent being past the recommended time on the little insert card in the barista kit. Delaying the barista kit also delayed receiving the water test strips in the kit, but I already know my tap water is really soft.