Give up trying or try another model?

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jefft
Freeze Dried
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Mar 25, 2018 9:42 pm
Location: philadelphia

Give up trying or try another model?

Post by jefft » Sun Mar 25, 2018 11:32 pm

Hi everyone,
I've had my mini vivaldi 2 (with pre infusion chamber) for ~ 6 years. Over that time, i've gone through phases where I stop trying to make good shots (stop using the machine) and then phases where I try again. I've read so many posts/articles and watched so many videos about so many different aspects of pulling shots. However, despite many efforts over the years, at best I sometimes get "okay" shots, but never any with the amazing taste and mouthfeel I get from some of the great cafes here in Philadelphia. Most of my shots tend to have hints of sourness (definitely not just "strong" flavor not "bitter"). I've tried many different things (listed some below):

- Different water source (tap with softener cups or packets from Chris Coffee, bottled water +/- softeners, etc)
- Checking my temperature offset (+4)
- Different portafilter baskets (bottomless double and triple)
- Updating and down dosing (eg, for double basket, up to 19-20 grams and as low as 14 grams, trying many variations in the grind size)
- WDT technique (Baratza Vario grinder)
- Use an Espro Calibrated Tamper, to minimize influence of my tamping pressure on the results of the shot
- Many different sources of roasted beans (Counter Culture, Intelligentsia, Stumptown, others)
- Trying different temperatures, from 97 deg C to 93 deg. (including efforts to ensure temp at brew head, including heating portafilter with several long pre-shot flushes, keeping portafilter attached to the brew head to let it reach temp, etc).

I'm wondering if there is any validity to the notion that sometimes one just needs to try a different brand/type of espresso machine for their particular technique and for the many factors that affect the shot. Thoughts? Alternatively, if there are any vivaldi users in the Philadelphia area that might be willing to share their wisdom, please private message me. Thanks!

- Jeff

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GDK
God Shot
Posts: 155
Joined: Thu Jan 20, 2011 9:06 pm
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Re: Give up trying or try another model?

Post by GDK » Tue Mar 27, 2018 11:36 am

In order to determine if grinder plays a role in this case, I would suggest the following. Make a friend with one of the baristas in a good local coffee. Ask them to grind say around 50-100 g from their coffee and also give you similar amount of whole beans. Bring these home and try a few shots with different doses from the ground coffee on the Vivaldi and see how close you can get. Then grind the whole beans with your grinder and compare again.

I will try to do the same actually.

jefft
Freeze Dried
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Mar 25, 2018 9:42 pm
Location: philadelphia

Re: Give up trying or try another model?

Post by jefft » Sat Apr 07, 2018 5:13 pm

Thanks GDK... I never actually thought to do that! The only potential issue I see is figuring out what grind size to ask them to grind to (so I don't choke my shots or get shots that pull to fast), and also to match the in-cafe grind size on my home grinder. I will when I get some free time, and will report back...

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