Utterly lost - I am simply unable to produce a cup of espresso - Page 2

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks for making espresso.
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#11: Post by baldheadracing »

ClintFeedwood wrote:Thanks for your feedback.

This is the basket I am talking about. 10g was a test to see if my flow changes at all but I will try to stay withing the 9g max range with this basket.
I have that basket, as it came with my Bezzera. To be polite, that basket can be a challenge and frustrating to use. (OTOH, if you want to challenge your barista skills ... :lol: ). You could try getting in as much coffee as can be fitted and still pass the Nickel test, but realistically I would strongly recommend to just use a double basket until you get good results. The stock Bezzera double is just fine for this, but there are many others ... as you're in Europe, the 12g-14g slant-sided basket distributed by LF is readily available and would be much less frustrating to use than that Bezzera single basket in my experience (I do not know this particular vendor) , e.g., https://www.bluestarcoffee.eu/58mm--fil ... -254-p.asp (Part # cross-reference: https://coffeeaddicts.ca/products/porta ... -2-cup-14g )

FYI, I do not recommend more expensive baskets like VST until you are already getting good results. More expensive baskets are harder to use as they demand more precision and accuracy from your actions.

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#12: Post by cafeIKE »

+1 on the coffee.
However it might not be stale. I'm currently drinking a FRESH northern Italian style roast that required going from typical 15-18 on the Niche to 5. Pucks are goopy. [It took ½ pound to dial in on the Elektra MXC as the beans are so large and light they would not single dose and the grind is so fine it does not exit the chute. Burr setting is ¼ rotation finer than anything else I've ever ground and just a short distance from contact.] Coffee is delish.

With no coffee in the grinder, move the grind finer until you hear the burrs begin to chirp. This is close to the minimum fineness. With coffee in the grinder, you may be able to go a tick or two finer as the coffee keeps the burrs apart. This is the minimum setting.

If you are keeping coffee in the hopper, grind for a couple seconds into a cup and discard the stale grounds.

After filling the portafilter, tap the sides to level out the coffee, then rap vertically on the counter to flatten the pile and finally apply a moderate level tamp. It's nice to have a small diameter tamper, ≈40mm, for singles, but good shots can be made with a larger or even no tamper.

Singles are more challenging IF you're trying to make a modern [3rd wave :roll: ] ½ double. There's more to it than changing the basket and halving the dose.

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ClintFeedwood (original poster)

#13: Post by ClintFeedwood (original poster) »

Ahh I see. I've been buying the same brand ever since I got the machine and my results never changed. So I really think I am the mistake in the process :oops:

Everybody here suggests a double basket. Though as I mentioned before that will result in double the amount of caffeine - which will result in less drinking of coffee throughout the day... :( I will keep experimenting (and sadly wasting) more and if I can't seem to get it right, I give up and move to the double basket.


#14: Post by klee11mtl »

If you and your partner are both having coffee at the same time, you can always make doubles and split the shot into 2 drinks. That being said...

I switch between singles and doubles regularly and while I agree it's much easier to get consistency with the doubles, you should still be able to get proper extractions on single baskets. The flavor profile will be different and consistency may be harder to achieve but it's up to you how that compares to a double shot.

With the Breville grinders, there is also an upper burr adjustment that an be made if you've gone all the way down to the finest setting and it still isn't fine enough for your setup. See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QNvOcE4-VEo

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#15: Post by Jeff »

Small baskets are notoriously hard to work with, even for those with well-developed puck-prep skills and high-end grinders. The only "single" that has been consistent for me is the LM1 (or Strada, VST equivalent), which really needs a dedicated tamper and funnel to use reliably. It's a significant investment. The tapered ones, including the new LM basket, and challenging for many to get a good shot from.

See, for example, 7 gram single shot?? Mission impossible!

I'd try a classic, double basket until you are getting consistent results. If concerned about caffeine intake, you can stir and drink half the shot until you're invested in a more robust set-up for singles. A "generic" double is probably fine. VST and many IMS baskets tend to be less forgiving than others.

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#16: Post by cafeIKE »

I get really tired of people being told to forget singles and make doubles or that basket A is more forgiving than basket B.
Those statements may be true for a given coffee style [3rd wave :?: ], dose, grinder and machine combination, but certainly are not gospel.

I've been making singles & doubles, with a half dozen different grinders, for as long as I've been making espresso.
Some coffees are more difficult to make singles, but that's a fault of the coffee, not singles per se.

I just made an 8g single with the identical tools [58mm tamper] & grind, except a random single basket for comparison example.
Double 15.5g / 30s /32.1g
Single 8.0g / 30s /16.5g - I should have stopped @ ≈25s as the stream was getting wobbly.

Coffee is Wolf Coffee Organic Espresso Roast, a traditional northern Italian med dark roast:
"Most Europeans are disappointed when they take a sip of an Espresso on American soil. They're looking for that thick and complex flavor that is sadly rare these days."

Ben C

#17: Post by Ben C »

Hello Clint. I also have a BZ10. The issue is the Bezzera. For some reason Bezzera and ONLY Bezzera think it's a good idea to set the OPV on all of their vibe pump machines to 12. If you target 11 bar for brew pressure you should be fine.

They did a poor job of communicating this to customers and this issue pops up on a regular basis. It's the reason I first posted here looking for help

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#18: Post by cjhacker23 »

ClintFeedwood wrote:I will keep experimenting (and sadly wasting) more
I would encourage you to think of the coffee you use, as you ride that steep learning curve (and it can be steep and frustrating at first!), as an investment in your home barista education, and not as waste. Every shot you pull is part of that education. And definitely invest in the best and freshest coffee you can afford, I would also add that you should, for now, stick to medium/dark roast beans, as they tend to be more forgiving for espresso. Light roasts are much harder to pull shots with, especially for a beginner. And definitely use a standard double basket. Singles are tough. And I would go for this 14 gram basket, personally, as it's very forgiving:

https://www.espressoparts.com/products/ ... ter-basket

Hang in there. You'll get it soon enough!

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#19: Post by HB »

Ben C wrote:For some reason Bezzera and ONLY Bezzera think it's a good idea to set the OPV on all of their vibe pump machines to 12.
Did you measure at the brew head? Because from what I've seen, if your espresso machine has a vibratory pump and you're pulling doubles (not ristrettos), it will end up around 9 bar because the brew pressure is inversely proportional to the flow rate. Of course, if it's a rotary pump, that's a completely different story as their output pressure is unaffected at espresso flow rates.

Dan Kehn

Ben C

#20: Post by Ben C »

As spelled out by Luca Bezzera in the video posted above, they deliberately calibrated the opv so that the user should target 11 bar with the gauge on the machine. How this affects ristrettos vs doubles is beyond my knowledge. I've seen the BZ10 described by some as a simple no nonsense machine for people who just want traditional Italian dark roast (hey, that's me!)