Help! Good beans + good machine don't mean good coffee :(

For generic information on making espresso alt.coffee, coffee geek, Sweet Maria's web site and many others excel at this tutorial level of information. However, if you've been there and done that but have specific questions and concerns about getting the best espresso on the S1/VII/Mini-VII/Dream/Dream T, post those topics here.
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leonecam
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Help! Good beans + good machine don't mean good coffee :(

Post by leonecam » Mon Dec 31, 2012 10:59 am

Help!
I've been trying to dial in my machine for the last month or so with no success! Whatever I try, I end up getting shots that are way too bitter. I've settled on the current settings as the closest I seem to get but I'm falling short somewhere. I'm using new Has Bean Jailbreak espresso blendset at 93 degrees. I have a Mazzer Mini which I've set to grind 16 grams into my bottomless portafilter. I get about 1.6 fl Oz of coffee in 25-26 seconds and decent crema. Am I tamping wrong? Any suggestions welcome :grin:
I've filmed myself making coffee here:
http://youtu.be/NQtjuXDYNH0

ronsil
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Re: Help! Good beans + good machine don't mean good coffee :

Post by ronsil » Mon Dec 31, 2012 2:44 pm

I would up the dose to 18 grams in & weigh output to 30 grams in 25-28 seconds.
92C is my norm for Jailbreak - can become bitter if higher.
Have you adjusted the temp offset to check that your output at the PF is accurate.
Are you using pre-infusion? Mine is set at 3 seconds for these beans.
Weigh the grinds into the PF & smooth with forefinger then chop with the finger edge to distribute.
Don't bang the PF - finish with a light tamp only.
Hope this helps. Good luck

Ron

scareyourpassenger
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Re: Help! Good beans + good machine don't mean good coffee :

Post by scareyourpassenger » Mon Dec 31, 2012 4:38 pm

Looks like it channeled at 21 sec. Dose looks finevand my guess is the grind is lose.

For wdt use a pin or paper clip and it will require a bit more work. Avoid tapping the side and tamp straight. It looked like you tamped at a slight angle.

Don't be afraid of less volume and more time for a tastey shot.

leonecam
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Re: Help! Good beans + good machine don't mean good coffee :

Post by leonecam » Tue Jan 01, 2013 8:50 am

Thanks for all of these suggestions. I tried the following changes:
92C is my norm for Jailbreak - can become bitter if higher.
I brought the temperature down and immediately felt an improvement. I took it down further to 91 and it was better yet. This lead me to check the temperature offset which is set at 0. Unlike the CC machines, I doubt this machine was calibrated before sale. Any suggestions on how to measure temperature accurately without a Scace? Any ideas where I can rent/borrow a Scace in London?
Anyway, given the coffee was so much better at a lower temperature I did a -2 offset so I could have more flexibility with the controls. So far so good

I would up the dose to 18 grams in & weigh output to 30 grams in 25-28 seconds. Dose looks fine and my guess is the grind is lose.
I upped the dose to 18 and ground a bit finer. I am now getting about 30 grams in 28-30 seconds with no channelling.

For wdt use a pin or paper clip and it will require a bit more work. Avoid tapping the side and tamp straight. It looked like you tamped at a slight angle
So with the changes above given no channelling and the light tamp, I tried doing some shots without WDT. I didn't get any channelling and the taste was the same. I think all this practice has made my tamping a touch better and don't think clumping is the issue (Mazzer is new....) Will stop WDT for now (no need for an extra variable here)

So.....much better results.
18g is better than 15-16
Light tamp does the trick, no channelling
Lower temperature definitely helps
Wdt might not be necessary

Coffee is still a touch bitter but I see some light at the end of the tunnel...
I think I still have some issues with the temperature settings. Any suggestions on how to calibrate?

Thanks again for your feedback, its been a huge help :)

ronsil
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Re: Help! Good beans + good machine don't mean good coffee :

Post by ronsil » Tue Jan 01, 2013 9:27 am

Do you have the older version Vivaldi II without pre-infusion? With that one the temp is only adjustable one way.

The newer version with pre-infusion & full temp adjust has no stencils on body but La Spaziale is embossed into the stainless body.

There were a few sold in UK/Eur with full adjustment before the version came out without stencils.

Check the 'plate on the inner right hand side after removing the drip tray. This will give full details of your machine & would help in identification.

If you are a member of Coffee Forums UK you can checkout my various posts there on this subject. Did you try the 'finger chop' method of distribution?

Ron

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chas
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Re: Help! Good beans + good machine don't mean good coffee :

Post by chas » Tue Jan 01, 2013 11:14 am

One other thing I wanted to ask is the age of the beans. Your video was almost 100% crema which seems a bit much as if the beans are still a little to "young" and gassy. Since i roast my own beans, I used to only wait 24 hours before starting to use. More recently the conventional wisdom says that most beans don't hit their peak until 4-7 days after roasting. Some rare bean types don't peak until 10 days.
Chas
LM GS/3 & LaSpaziale Dream v 1.23 (US 120V)
Mazzer Kony E, Customized Rocky
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leonecam
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Re: Help! Good beans + good machine don't mean good coffee :

Post by leonecam » Tue Jan 01, 2013 11:54 am

Hmm.. I bought the machine recently; it has the S1 logo embossed rather than as a decal. The manual I got with the machine described the pre-infusion chamber as an addable option so I don't think it's on there but I might be totally wrong (wouldn't be the first time :grin: ) There isn't anything in the manual which actually describes how to adjust pre-infusion if it is included but the offset instructions did work.

I've attached a picture of the front of the machine and the label in the drip tray

As for the beans, you're right Chas, they're pretty new and gassy. My tests today were better than yesterday, I think they're probably about 4 days old. That said, I've tried older coffee and get similar results.
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leonecam
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Re: Help! Good beans + good machine don't mean good coffee :

Post by leonecam » Tue Jan 01, 2013 12:03 pm

According the cheat sheet I should be able to access the pre-infusion options by keeping the Boiler button pressed. This doesn't seem to do anything to my machine so I'm guessing it's not on there....

ronsil
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Re: Help! Good beans + good machine don't mean good coffee :

Post by ronsil » Tue Jan 01, 2013 12:21 pm

AHaaaa.....,.I see its a 'Mini'. Now that's a slightly different ball game. I have to go out now but will come back tomorrow

Ron

ronsil
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Re: Help! Good beans + good machine don't mean good coffee :

Post by ronsil » Tue Jan 01, 2013 9:24 pm

The Mini does not have electronic pre-infusion built in. You can add a mechanical pre-infusion chamber purchased as an extra & retro fitted. There is much discussion on the Forum on the merit or otherwise of doing the mod.
I am assuming you purchased your Machine 'new'. The plate indicates a 2012 build. Thus extended temperature adjustment is available on the machine. It should be in your manual however I have PMd you the instructions to follow. Bear in mind you get into the adjustments with the machine cold & just the green standby light flashing. If you cannot get hold of a Scace you will need some form of thermocouple & meter to accurately measure temp within the PF.

Ron

Ron

scareyourpassenger
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Re: Help! Good beans + good machine don't mean good coffee :

Post by scareyourpassenger » Tue Jan 01, 2013 10:21 pm

This might be available still http://coffeegeek.com/forums/members/buysell/591645

I do not know the seller but the basket may need to be replaced with the right size for the s1.

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