What possible reasons for inability to pull a 1:2 shot?

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

#1: Post by jedovaty »

Hi:
Returning to coffee after 5-year break. Way back then, I couldn't pull a passable ~1:2 shot in the 25-32s range, and that's the case now once again. They tend to be gushers that spray everywhere and taste watery and bland, and/or sour. In order to avoid any of the apparent channeling, I have to tighten the grind such that a 1:2 takes 35+s.

My equipment and technique seem to be able to pull ~1:1 shots in the 25-32s range taste "good" (albeit super intense).

Obvious solution is to toss the timing aside, be happy with the 35s+, and focus on the taste. I'll do that if we can't obtain my goal: try and achieve a baseline before experimenting.

Current equipment:
- hg-one grinder (2012 model, 83mm TiN, #183)
- robot (5+ years ago was conti prestina and brugnetti aurora, but these are in storage atm)
- beans used: bear coast ethiopian ardi (light), bird rock's self-named blend (medium), and cimmaron courthouse (very dark for my tastes) - all 7-10 days post roast

I've tried with and without RDT, with and without WDT (with a small whisk.. waiting for delivery of needles). Attempted various distribution techniques, also tried very casual techniques with minimal effort. Dosing has ranged 12-19g. Tamping has been consistent variable with leveling tamper for the robot, casual pressure like in the Paul Pratt videos. The process began with the spout in place so I would concentrate on taste and not chase a pretty looking pour, but after the taste continued to be bad I took it off to diagnose and got a face-full of hot liquid.

For purposes of consistency, timing begins when drops appear at the basket base, min pressure maintained for 8-10s as a pre-infusion, then I pull the robot arms quickly to obtain a pressure in the 4-8bar range (depends on the coarseness of the grind).

I'd prefer to stay on the lower end of dosing, 12-14g, if possible, but I've gone up to 19g a few times.

If we can't figure this out, then of course I'll create my own baseline in the 35s+ longer shot, and work from there - again, goal here is to obtain the standard timing and ratio before I start to experiment.

No idea what to try next. Thanks for reading and any suggestions :)

LittleCoffee

#2: Post by LittleCoffee »

I'm far from an expert so this is probably not it... But.

Isn't the problem that you're trying to extract a light roast too quickly? I would sort of expect for a light roast extracted as quickly quickly as you're trying to to taste kind of how you are describing. I think lighter roasts need longer contact times to extract properly. So I either wouldn't worry about the time or by darker coffee.

jedovaty (original poster)

#3: Post by jedovaty (original poster) »

Thanks for the response :)
One of the beans I'm using is Cimmaron's Courthouse, which is a dark roast. That was buried in my long post.

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Jeff
Team HB

#4: Post by Jeff »

Especially with a lever or a machine with extraction profiling, I'd throw out the "25 seconds" (or whatever) and go with your own baseline that fits your water, coffees, grinder, machine, and tastes

iyayy

#5: Post by iyayy »

jedovaty wrote: For purposes of consistency, timing begins when drops appear at the basket base, min pressure maintained for 8-10s as a pre-infusion, then I pull the robot arms quickly to obtain a pressure in the 4-8bar range (depends on the coarseness of the grind).
so umm..
1. wait until first drip,
2. start timer,
3. apply min pressure for 8-10s
4. then quickly go to 8?

obviously applying low pressure after it drips will give u very fast flow.
unless u have 3rd hand to start timer while holding both robots arm for preinfusion? :lol:

anyways mystery aside,
maybe consider that a lot of espresso machine do not have preinfusion, even today (plumbing aside) so the baseline was meant for straight 9bar pressure. try ditch preinfusion. or do shorter. longer pi = faster shot, shorter pi = slower shot.

why? because 4 bar shots flows easier than 8 bar shots at same grind.. kinda like slowly poking ur finger into a pot of sand with soft pressure vs jabbing it. jabs wont dig deep.

jedovaty (original poster)

#6: Post by jedovaty (original poster) »

Bah, I knew this was not going to go anywhere, so I guess I'll just keep pulling shots that work. Thanks Jeff for the kick in the pants.

However, not going to give up just yet and hope there's someone who can help identify why I can't hit the 1:2 ratio in the 25-32s range with my 2012 HG-One and Cafelat Robot, while plenty of other people who are able to achieve this - afterall, it's nothing more than a metric, no different than having water reach 100C/212F at sea level. It should be doable, and the question is what is preventing something so simple from occurring.

MatGreiner
Supporter ♡

#7: Post by MatGreiner »

Reasons for MY inability to pull a 1:2 shot = bad at math, where's my calculator? :D

Agreeing with most of the above, and Jeff's suggestion to create your own baseline. Yet, you say your shots taste bad. Perhaps the answer is to go to the 101 Dialing in by Taste and start there. It sounds like a coarser grind, in addition to the moderate dosing you already do, would be a good place to start.

Monkeying around with one blend until you get it right (medium will be more forgiving, and many are good at 1:2) is helpful. If you can reference one that tastes good to you at a local shop, even better. Note, also, that many darker roasts will not taste good at a ratio that long no matter what.
LMWDP #716: Jeez, kids! Don't swing on that!

jedovaty (original poster)

#8: Post by jedovaty (original poster) »

Thanks, Matt. Yeah, I will focus on the shots that work for the actual beverage to drink, but again, I still feel like the metrics should be met even if they aren't "correct" for taste. I am not giving up that easy :P

I've read and re-read the dialing in taste post so many times since 2012, have it nearly memorized hah. It's a great resource. One inherent challenge is that it assumes you begin with a workable shot. Dialing in a broken shot won't work, it becomes an exercise of trying to solve a single equation with more than one variable. In my case, I don't know if it's the equipment, my technique, or something else. To resolve this, I'll either need to try on different equipment, or find someone experienced to play around with mine. Will explore these in a couple months when I return from upcoming travel.

All that said.. today I not only somehow managed to get a non-channeling 1:2 in 25-32s, but was also able to repeat it a few times (I ignore the spritzers). Then, I was able to adjust one variable to adjust the taste. Good start, I've no idea what has changed today compared to the last few days. One successful day does not necessarily mean the problem is resolved, of course, I'm hoping I'll now be able to repeat this exercise over the days to come :)

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cimarronEric
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#9: Post by cimarronEric »

jedovaty wrote:Thanks for the response :)
One of the beans I'm using is Cimmaron's Courthouse, which is a dark roast. That was buried in my long post.
Just to avoid any confusion, Courthouse Blend is not a dark roast. It is the most medium of medium roasts. It is a very well developed medium roast but doesn't come close to second crack.

Cheers!
Cimarron Coffee Roasters
www.cimarronroasters.com

jedovaty (original poster)

#10: Post by jedovaty (original poster) »

cimarronEric wrote:Just to avoid any confusion, Courthouse Blend is not a dark roast. It is the most medium of medium roasts. It is a very well developed medium roast but doesn't come close to second crack.
Wow, apologies for the mistake! The non-tan center line and aroma lead me to believe it was dark, but I get it now and will change my vocabulary :)
BTW, I wanted to post in the courthouse thread to see if anyone with a cafelat had recipe suggestions but it is too old to post in now. FWIW, the following seems to work very well for my tastes, both as direct espresso and as a milk drink:
- 17g->~33-36g, 30s with 200-203F water (put into the robot which of course drops the temp further)
It's different from what you run on your machines in the cafe(s), I can't seem to get a non-channeling shot with 19g->36g+. Hopefully travels will lead me through CO so I can see how this blend should taste :mrgreen: