HELP! Espresso is still undrinkable.

Did you have a bad Day One "Out-of-Box" Experience? Ask about it here then later report back with your final resolution.
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bbqnut
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Post by bbqnut » Wed Sep 19, 2007 3:17 pm

I am going to go out on a limb, and say change the beans. Or if you are a home roaster, use some of your own.

Never been fond of Chris beans, nor of Intelligentsia.

And excess crema could actually be from too fresh of beans (lots of CO2), though in this situation, I am not sure.

Try to find a local roaster if possible.

Based on the photos I feel your water, machine, grind/dose/tamp technique are decent enough. Only beans left...
:?

Niko

Post by Niko » Wed Sep 19, 2007 3:27 pm

Sorry to hear about your frustrations, without a video I can only think of two things.
1. You are channeling.
2. Distribution can be the cause.

You can try posting a link to a "Youtube" video in your post so we can take a look.
It sounds like your shots are blonding way too fast and by the way you describe the taste just further points to that direction.
If you can, shoot a video clip of your whole process...grinding, distribution, tamping, etc..
I wouldn't blame the tamper quite yet, I can tamp with the pathetic plastic OEM and get tasty shots :shock: believe it or not.

What is manometer reading for the group during the entire pull of the shot?

Niko

Post by Niko » Wed Sep 19, 2007 4:15 pm

Espresso_Man wrote: What is causing the early blonding? Is that a problem with my tamping technique? How can I diagnose what I do wrong?
Are you noticing anything with the bottomless PF, is there any sprays or missing segments visible under the basket?
Are you tamping too hard with the Espro? I know people really push those things beyond the click, they actually stomp the grinds into the basket instead of a subtle click.
Try downdosing to 15 grams, although Ididn't see an impression of the shower screen bolt on your puck so you might be OK at 16. I dose around 14-15 grams these days with the current beans but I've successfully used 16-18 grams as well. Dosing amounts differ between bean types.
Also, make sure you have a nice level tamp so there's a nice even bed of coffee polished in the basket when it's ready to be locked into the group.

Looking forward to the video.

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Post by bbqnut » Wed Sep 19, 2007 4:53 pm

I am going to change my tune a bit.

You mentioned that you previously used a Krups with Illy pre-ground.

While it is possible that something in your current equation is causing your "bad" tasting shots, I am going to go out on a limb and say that maybe your expectations are a little skewed based on your previous setup.

It is hard to imagine a decent tasting shot coming from your previous setup (I in fact had a very similar combination long ago).

Is it possible that the Krups + Illy was giving you a very mild espresso, which you interpreted as good, and now the more professional setup is now allowing you to taste what real espresso is, and you are interpreting this as bad?

Thought I would throw that out there.

Niko

Post by Niko » Wed Sep 19, 2007 5:12 pm

Very interesting observation, Chris.
I am going to bust out the Krups for an experiment this weekend.

My money's on channeling.
Did you notice the crema is not tiger-flecked and it looks a little thin-bodied? The flecks don't have to be there but about 90% of the shots come out that way in my cups. Then again he is using a bottomless PF so the crema will be foamier with larger bubbles.

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Post by bbqnut » Wed Sep 19, 2007 5:23 pm

Niko wrote:Very interesting observation, Chris.
I am going to bust out the Krups for an experiment this weekend.

My money's on channeling.
Did you notice the crema is not tiger-flecked and it looks a little thin-bodied? The flecks don't have to be there but about 90% of the shots come out that way in my cups. Then again he is using a bottomless PF so the crema will be foamier with larger bubbles.
I guess what I am saying is that even with all the possible variables, I probably have had 1 or 2 shots undrinkable from the S1 (out of hundreds?).

Maybe my standards are low... :lol:

Niko

Post by Niko » Wed Sep 19, 2007 5:27 pm

No...I think you made a good point.
I'm still doing the Krups challenge just to see what they taste like, I can't remember it's been so long and back then I drank more Cappuccinos since the straight espresso was...was, you know :?: :?:
...which is why I'm doing the test.

Niko

Post by Niko » Wed Sep 19, 2007 6:17 pm

I don't know what he meant by "taping" the burrs...
I remember that post from long ago on H-B, left me scratching my head as well. Maybe it's a "Rocky" thing, I've never owned one so I can't relate.
As far as grinder problems being the root of all evil for this one? Maybe it is... :?

Niko

Post by Niko » Wed Sep 19, 2007 6:30 pm

OK, that video is lightning fast.

Try cutting the extraction off at around 17 seconds and tell us what you taste...

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Post by bbqnut » Wed Sep 19, 2007 6:49 pm

I say changing coffees is your cheapest and best option at this point.

Get the Espresso Dolce if you can. That is a pretty forgiving blend in my experience.

Niko

Post by Niko » Wed Sep 19, 2007 6:55 pm

I second that. Changing coffees WILL change the experience.



...but if you're stubborn (like me) and likes the challenge (like me) then try for a lower volume of espresso.
Other than that, if it's still too yUcKy try grinding a little finer and pull significantly shorter shots to see what they taste like.

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Post by bbqnut » Wed Sep 19, 2007 7:24 pm

Wait!!!! I figured it out!

You need to start home roasting. No better time than the present.

And there is only one roaster to buy - The Hottop KN-8828P.

Do it now before the $920 price tag jumps to $1000!

Niko

Post by Niko » Wed Sep 19, 2007 7:39 pm

I know you were also aiming at me with that one :wink:

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Post by Zzyzx » Wed Sep 19, 2007 10:02 pm

I'll also chime in about the coffee. I have never tried Black Cat, but Black Pearl was very rancid. I believe it was old.

When I ordered from a couple of different vendors online the magic started to happen, rich gloppy pours:) I'm sure it's just the coffee. The machine does all the work

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Post by bbqnut » Thu Sep 20, 2007 1:46 am

Sounds like maybe you had a combo problem (bad coffee, bad technique).

Anyhow, glad to see you are on the right track. Now don't go changing coffees too quickly, til you get that pesky technique down. :wink:

Nothing wrong with trying different blends, but if I had to buy pre-roasted, and Vivace was that close, it would be a no brainer.

I have mainly used their Dolce as home roasted (bought in green form), and it is quite good. Can only imagine their roasted stuff is as good or better if fresh.

I think they use a lot of Monsooned Malabar.

Niko

Post by Niko » Thu Sep 20, 2007 2:13 am

Espresso_Man wrote:... And I bought way too much coffee anyway. Has to be used up :lol:
By the looks of my dining room....there's about 150lbs of green coffee looking at me :lol:

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Post by chas » Thu Sep 20, 2007 7:45 am

Espresso_Man wrote:Thanks, guys, for the quick responses.

My group pressure gauge reads 1.1 during the entire process. Very stable.
As an FYI the 1.1bar reading would be your steam boiler pressure, the other gauge is the group pressure. Is it between 8-9 when pulling a shot?
Chas
LM GS/3 & LaSpaziale Dream v 1.23 (US 120V)
Mazzer Kony E, Customized Rocky
Hottop P/B

Niko

Post by Niko » Thu Sep 20, 2007 1:36 pm

That's actually Chris' setting, they set all the S1's at 9 bars before shipping.

Niko

Post by Niko » Fri Sep 21, 2007 3:13 pm

Distribution is even more important than tamping.
I've pulled shots (very drinkable shots) without tamping!
...as an experiment and also by accident a couple of times.
Espresso_Man wrote:And I put the PF into the machine more carefully now, not to crack the seal & surface.
Nice move!

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bbqnut
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Post by bbqnut » Fri Sep 21, 2007 5:03 pm

In fact, at many of the trade shows you will see some Italian guy not even tamping. He just scoops some coffee, locks it in, pulls a shot.

And many times tastes good.

Niko

Post by Niko » Wed Sep 26, 2007 7:38 pm

Seems that you're not getting the full 16 grams of coffee in the basket from your grinder. On my MACAP, the basket overfills and onto to the counter with 16 grams. This is mostly due to my chopstick technique of getting every morsel out of that thing! Nope...nothing left in that chute once the it gets "the stick". On my Mazzer, the grinder usually gives me exactly what you describe so I have to use creative finger techniques to get the grounds distributed correctly, I get a similar (ever so slight) bowl effect you're describing in the basket but no more than a slightly convex tamper. I'm not perfect, once in a while there's channeling but I drink those as punishment for bad barista behavior :D

I've been dosing in at 15.1 grams this month, no more no less and I've channeled maybe once....

bluesman13

Post by bluesman13 » Fri Nov 02, 2007 1:31 pm

I way over-dosing. I was copying the technique i observed at my favorite coffee shop. Niko advised me to get a scale and weigh - which I did. I think that was the single thing that most improved my shots. I was wondering why my shots were blonding so fast. Now they look similiar to some of the youtube movies I've watched. I also changed a few other things, but this was the most dramtatic for me. Have you read this thread:
http://www.home-barista.com/forums/bask ... t4501.html

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Re: Update...

Post by bbqnut » Fri Nov 02, 2007 2:49 pm

Except one - but that person also thinks that Jack Daniels is great whiskey....
A bourbon man!

I have some really nice bourbons now:

20 Year Pappy Van Winkles
23 Year Pappy Van Winkles
8 Year Jeffersons (my favorite considering price)
Bookers

I used to think JD was good bourbon too (actually it is not even bourbon officially).
Last edited by bbqnut on Fri Nov 02, 2007 4:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Niko

Post by Niko » Fri Nov 02, 2007 3:13 pm

dAmN!
nice collection, guys.
You have to counter balance the caffeine with alcohol, right? :P

bluesman13

Post by bluesman13 » Fri Nov 02, 2007 3:24 pm

Niko wrote:dAmN!
nice collection, guys.
You have to counter balance the caffeine with alcohol, right? :P
How else can anyone get to sleep? btw, Niko, that is steam coming out of that spout, isn't it?

Niko

Post by Niko » Fri Nov 02, 2007 3:36 pm

...sort of.
Had to Photoshop that in :D
I'm working on another avatar, it'll be a surprise :P

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bbqnut
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Post by bbqnut » Fri Nov 02, 2007 4:37 pm

Niko wrote:dAmN!
nice collection, guys.
You have to counter balance the caffeine with alcohol, right? :P
I serve my friends alcohol when the arrive, coffee when they leave. If you reverse the order, it doesn't work out too well...

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