qualin Senior Member Joined: 30 Jun 2012 Posts: 464 Location: Calgary, AB Expertise: I love coffee
Espresso: Izzo Alex Duetto 3 Grinder: Mazzer Mini Elect. Type A Vac Pot: Looking to buy Drip: Manual Roaster: Considering?
Posted Mon Aug 6, 2012, 3:02am Subject: I don't get it? Did everything wrong.
OK, I'm not sure if I should even post this, but I think I made the most incredible shot in my machine, yet I did everything wrong. Either that or my tastebuds are lying to me...
As you may or may not know, I have a Rancilio Silvia paired with a Rancilio Rocky.
Now, my coffee right now is a little stale, it's about 15 days old. It's almost used up though.
Did my grind and tamp this morning and noticed that the puck was a little below the line in the basket. I was kind of concerned that I'd end up with a fast shot as a result. (I usually just eyeball it, I should weigh it!)
I flushed for a few seconds and waited for the light to come on. Locked and loaded then waited a minute.
Did my brew, I got something around 70 ml in about 18 seconds. (Maybe about 3/4 full on an espresso demitasse. I have no idea why I didn't stop brewing when the cup was only 1/2 full.. maybe I was tired... )
Got a nice thick crema on the top and noticed a ring when I swirled it a little... I kind of figured that was a good sign.
But, oddly enough.. I didn't get a sour shot like what I was expecting. It was actually sweet!! It didn't taste sour or bitter at all. The flavors of the coffee were speaking out to me and I was doing a serious WTF face because I was about ready to pour it into the sink, yet instead I ended up with what I thought was the proverbial "God" shot.
Am I just delusional? Am I nuts? Am I just thinking that I made a "God" shot, but I actually made crap? (At least if a seasoned veteran tasted it.)
Have you ever accidentally did something which you know would create a sour shot, but counteracted it by doing something you know would make a bitter shot? (ie. Underdosing, but then pulling a longer shot?)
I'm curious to know what all of you experts think, being a newbie and all!
Posted Mon Aug 6, 2012, 5:07am Subject: Re: I don't get it? Did everything wrong.
2.4 ounces in 16 seconds averages to a nice double in 13 seconds, so what you ended up with is a thinly-extracted espresso. You might try drinking Americano for a while to see if that helps. Your taste buds might be a bit overwhelmed by straight espresso. The coffee you are using just might be better (to you) at two weeks than fresher. Some coffee does like a longer rest period. You might have ht a good temperature spot as well by accident. Then we can add what i call "condition of palate." What you ate before tasting the shot and even whether you brushed your teeth first can have a dramatic effect on the taste of the espresso.. and maybe you just got lucky.. ;-)
I would wait 30sec after light turns 'off'. Temp surf vs reverse temp surf. Made more sense to me that water would cool at a more constant temp than it would heat from the element (ie: 28sec vs 30 sec on cooling cycle would be approx equal; whereas 60sec vs 62sec could be much greater variability coming from a hot element). That was my rationale anyway. In retrospect, now that I'm making much tastier shots, I would try waiting longer than 30sec, as my shots were much more bitter than they are now.....realizing that temp is not the only variable that has changed since my upgrade.
emradguy Senior Member Joined: 31 Mar 2011 Posts: 1,732 Location: Houston Expertise: I live coffee
Espresso: Izzo Alex Duetto II Grinder: MacapM4T, Macap M4, OE Lido,... Drip: Espro press; Aeropress Roaster: internet
Posted Mon Aug 6, 2012, 7:49am Subject: Re: I don't get it? Did everything wrong.
yes, 30 seconds after the light goes out...thanks for correcting me :) It's been a while since I passed along my Silvia. In addition to the above explanation why, the heating element is still giving off heat after the light goes out.
What should be the ratio of espresso to water? ie. Should I just pull a double shot, then fill a regular 8 oz coffee mug up with hot water? The Wikipedia article is very general. It says "Anywhere between 1 oz to 16 oz of water" ... what is your preference?
Your taste buds might be a bit overwhelmed by straight espresso.
I'm curious to know how many people on this forum find that they like the taste of beans which are older than newer? I guess this also depends on the blend as well I suppose. I've heard that some roasters like their freshly roasted beans to sit on the shelf for a week before they sell them.
You might have ht a good temperature spot as well by accident.
I would like to suggest pulling a shot, without a cup underneath the pf, and taste the stream as it's coming out. This should be done with a small spoon where you taste tiny aliquots in rapid succession, particularly focusing on the mid to end of the shot. This will allow you to correlate visual cues of the shot end point with your taste buds. Then, after you get a good idea where this is, pull another shot and take a good taste of it. Randy (frcn) describes the "cupping" process (how to best appreciate the taste of a shot) on his website. The next experiment (so to speak) is to do side by side shots with different doses of the same bean/blend. It sounds to me like you're about ready for this phase (based not only on what you've been typing in this thread, but also some of your other posts - and in general, they way you've approached the entire process of home espresso). Of course, if you change coffee beans, then you could repeat the entire process to see if things change for you (things being extraction end point and desired dose). You can also play around with extraction rates, by grinding ever so slightly finer and coarser, yet using the same dose (especially if you have an appropriate scale). However, this last part is more along the lines of deciding if you prefer a ristretto, normale or lungo...and to be truthful, it would be a little difficult for you given you have a Rocky - you would have to adjust dose rather than grind to produce the subtle differences in extraction rate needed to change between the ratios. This is why we all say you should get a stepless or virtually stepless grinder! (and is why I got rid of my Rocky)
That is an awesome idea!! I have no idea why I never thought of that. I have noticed that when I get to the bottom of an espresso, it starts tasting quite sweet, while the top of the shot is somewhat bitter. (When I do it right.)
side by side shots with different doses of the same bean/blend.
I've been eyeballing the dose for now, I know this won't cut it. I got my hands on a postal scale, still trying to figure out how to measure the dose with it. The portafilter is too heavy for it! :-) At least my wife is OK with the grinder leaving coffee grounds on the counter.
by grinding ever so slightly finer and coarser, yet using the same dose
I think I'm now beginning to understand why many of the higher end grinders are either stepless, or have a huge range of grind selections. I went from the "10" setting to a "9" setting on the Rocky and found I had to dramatically change the dose, what required a bit of an updose before ended up becoming a choker and I had to underdose (?) a little to get the results I was looking for.
So, after doing some reading, this is basically the ratio of water to coffee. I'll admit that it's a little harder to precisely control this using an semi- automatic machine, I've been going purely by eyeball, stopping the shot when I see the level of coffee reaching the 1 oz line on a pair of shotglasses. According to what I've read, this is a "Normale" double shot.
it would be a little difficult for you given you have a Rocky
I have to admit that while a Rocky is probably fine for the majority of people who like making cappuccinos or lattes, (It seems like I can get away with bloody murder and people tell me I made an awesome coffee) I'm increasingly getting a little frustrated with it.
Well, I knew this was going to happen sooner or later. I think I'm going to make a post on the grinders forum now.
IMAWriter Senior Member Joined: 4 Jul 2002 Posts: 5,464 Location: Brentwood, TN Expertise: I live coffee
Espresso: Nothing at the moment Grinder: Vario-W,Preciso-Esatto/KyM... Vac Pot: Adcraft SS, Yama 8 cup Drip: Brazen.Chemex, Hario, Clever... Roaster: Behmor 1600, CO/UFO combo
Posted Tue Aug 7, 2012, 11:18pm Subject: Re: I don't get it? Did everything wrong.
You mentioned a ring when you swirled. Actually, a darker ring around your shot would indicate a TOO hot shot (offering a bitter result), not a sour shot (too cold a brew temp) Another clue would be if your puck was solid or soupy. If solid, then your temp was not at a place where you'd get a sour shot. At least this was what i learned with my former Anita HX.
BTW, I've performed Randy's "experiment" minus the cup. Hard to do with a lever, but it helped me establish a routine with certain SO's that like a slower pull (greater extraction) at the end.
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