What cues do you use to determine which variable to adjust - grind, dose, temperature?

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks for making espresso.
dmau9600

#1: Post by dmau9600 »

I know there are many articles and videos, but would love to hear from folks on here - how do you decide which variable to tweak after pulling a shot?

For example, I have a medium roast I'm sipping straight this morning. 20 gram in, 40 gram out. It's good. I'd give it a B. Body is nice, decently thick, with good aroma and flavor. But, there is a hint of bitterness/dryness on the finish that lingers longer than I'd like.

Would you - grind a tad coarser? Reduce output? Reduce input? Lower temp?

Curious what flavor or other cues you all use to determine which variable you're going to adjust.

phillyguy

#2: Post by phillyguy »

I know you didn't necessarily want links to more websites/videos, but I have always found the "espresso compass" charts shown in these websites/videos to be very helpful when trying to dial in espresso shots. If you haven't seen/tried using them, I'd recommend giving it a go!

https://lifestylelab.ca/dialing-in-brev ... -machines/

https://www.google.com/search?q=espress ... 13IV29pp8M

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guijan12

#3: Post by guijan12 »

dmau9600 wrote:.....20 gram in, 40 gram out. It's good. I'd give it a B. Body is nice, decently thick, with good aroma and flavor. But, there is a hint of bitterness/dryness on the finish that lingers longer than I'd like.

Would you - grind a tad coarser? Reduce output? Reduce input? Lower temp?

Curious what flavor or other cues you all use to determine which variable you're going to adjust.
If it was my machine and known batch of beans, I would probably grind a little bit coarser.
Reason is I already know the sweetspot and strenght, ratio and other variables are in balance.
It only needs a little tweaking.
Regards,

Guido

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baldheadracing
Team HB

#4: Post by baldheadracing »

Well, the topic is covered in the first two "stickied" posts in the "Tips and Techniques" forum, and covered in extreme detail in the FAQ's.

For shortness of response: Dialing in espresso by Gwilym Davies [short PDF]

There is also the James Hoffmann YouTube series if you'd prefer a video presentation instead of text: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL ... U1b73w1BUW

To answer your specific question, I would change nothing and pull a second shot and see if the taste or any extraction parameter has changed. If so, then one of the shots may have had some random issue. I would then keep pulling to get consistent results first - before thinking of changing anything. (When starting from an unknown point, I always pull two shots before changing anything.)

Good luck!
-"Good quality brings happiness as you use it" - Nobuho Miya, Kamasada

PIXIllate
Supporter ♡

#5: Post by PIXIllate »

baldheadracing wrote:I would then keep pulling to get consistent results first - before thinking of changing anything. (When starting from an unknown point, I always pull two shots before changing anything.)
This is VERY GOOD ADVICE. Especially if you don't have your puck prep dialed in to a very high level.

If you can't pull two back to back shots that run within a second or two of one another for the same output to within maybe .3-.4g then you have more practice to do with your WDT.

MatGreiner
Supporter ♡

#6: Post by MatGreiner »

Second shot, yes! I also monkey with ratios without changing anything else. Running a shot a little long or short to get a desired ratio gives a good idea of whether you want to go there. Then adjust variables to fine tune. Brewing a pour over or cupping also tells you what flavor you're aiming for, which may help you decide how to step through those charts.
LMWDP #716: Jeez, kids! Don't swing on that!

iyayy

#7: Post by iyayy »

understand that any changes affect more than 1 parameter.

assuming ur technique and machine is consistent enough to produce same tasting shot within +-1s and +-0.5g~..

and changing just one variable.. likely give you these results.
less yield = less bitter + less aroma + stronger acid/sour.
grind coarser = less bitter + weaker shot + more sour.
lower temp = less bitter + less flavor + weaker shot + less notes/sweetness.
more dose = slower shot hence less yield, different flavor balance, usually need grind change to avoid choking.

imho try less yield or less temp.

coyote-1

#8: Post by coyote-1 »

I'm rapidly eliminating variables. I have a roast I love, a good grinder, and an old used espresso machine. I also have a Bunn commercial grinder for 'morning' coffee from a Cuisinart coffee maker. So now I no longer even adjust the espresso grind! The setting I now have works when the beans are fresh enough. When they age past that point, I toss them in with the "morning grind" beans and procure a fresh bag of espresso beans.

My time for a shot is 28 seconds, and in that time the cup should fill to a certain point. If it is full to that point in say, 25 seconds, then that's the last shot with that bag. I'm getting great consistency.