When did this espresso extraction go blond? [video quiz] - Page 2

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

When did this espresso extraction go blond?

Total votes: 496

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#11: Post by Psyd »

I was thinking between F and G myself, and decided F to be on the safe side. It was a bit backlit, and I look into the cup to see more often than not. The streams and where they enter into the crema tell as much of the story for me as the cone does, but then again I cut my teeth on spouted PF's, so I have history of checking the streams and crema. I was always under the impression that 'blonding' referred to the white rings that the blonde streams left when they entered the crema pool.
Espresso Sniper
One Shot, One Kill

LMWDP #175

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#12: Post by TimEggers »

E at the latest is where I would stop the shot.
Tim Eggers
LMWDP #202


#13: Post by EspressoObsessed »

It's all about the cone--late D or early E when it turns into an umbrella.

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Team HB

#14: Post by cannonfodder »

Where would I stop it, F, where do I think it went blond, G (and my vote) but the lighting was a little dark so my opinion is subject to change, and more importantly taste. I have had some coffees that just pull light crema but taste good.

Did anyone else notice the little channeling sprites on the surface of the cone? And more importantly, where does HB think it went blond, including the taste test, or were you just showing off that Elektra machine and matching cups (I have a set as well).
Dave Stephens


#15: Post by Grant »

I agree with the lighting comments....made it tough to tell, but I chose D.

I felt that was when the lighter stripes became more prevalent than the darker ones.

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#16: Post by Fullsack »

I chose E, where I would stop, even though it was less than 20 seconds into the shot. Tighten your grind or tamp harder and try again :)

Just kidding, it looked like a nice shot, I'd drink it.
LMWDP #017
Kill all my demons and my angels might die too. T. Williams

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HB (original poster)

#17: Post by HB (original poster) »

cannonfodder wrote:...where does HB think it went blond, including the taste test...?
This extraction was not the first of the day, but the only one I videotaped because I wanted to test the natural lighting. I intentionally let the shot go longer than necessary. The overall time shown in the video is 27 seconds. I just timed it with stopwatch in hand; were it not for the video production, I would have cut it off at ~21 seconds, which corresponds to the tail end of "F":

Stop it here...

The taste did suffer as a consequence of continuing past this point. It was still a good espresso, but the extra seconds dulled the flavors and reduced the body. As others above commented, I also use the "collapse of the cone" as a signal:

A "can't miss" sign that the end is near...

It is caused by a change in surface tension when the dissolved solids plummets and the higher surface tension of purer water causes the cone to "pucker up". I asked my good friend Bob Barazza, a retired chemist, for a better explanation (paraphrased):
Bob Barraza wrote:[The loss dissolved solids and...] the loss of CO2/crema and emulsified fats are reasons for the increase of surface tension. It is all about the increasing surface tension as you approach pure water. The high surface tension of water is what makes it want to form spheres or droplets (minimum surface area). We add stuff like detergents to reduce the surface tension and allow it to wet flat or rough surfaces.
I voted "F" because of the reduced striping, onset of stream twisting, signs of blonding, and increased translucence of the flow. As a rule of thumb, these signs follow about 5 seconds after the cone collapse. If the same extraction was through a spouted portafilter, the primary signs would be the loss of striping and the onset of translucence prior to the "marking" of the espresso by a lighter dot.
Dan Kehn

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#18: Post by lonewolfbefree »

I choose E, but it was between E and F. I choose E due to the cone collapse and the striping disappearing. My monitor at work doesn't have the greatest quality, however.


#19: Post by majorzx3 »

Hmm, I voted F, but had I been pulling the shot I would have stayed with it until the end of G. This looked a lot like the best ever effort of mine. Which incidentally was today. It made a really good cappa.
I hope to pull shots like this on a consistent basis.
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#20: Post by quiltmaster »

If I had any cuppa that came out that nice, I'd kiss my elbow and turn myself into a blond! :lol: