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Discussions > Espresso > General > How to improve...  
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shnxx
Senior Member
shnxx
Joined: 3 Jul 2009
Posts: 128
Location: Pasadena
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Wed Oct 9, 2013, 2:11pm
Subject: How to improve my espresso
 

Hi

I was wondering if anyone could offer any advice on how to improve my espresso.
Currently I'm using a Pasquini Livia 90 and a flat-burr grinder which will be replaced tomorrow by a 68mm conical burr Compak K10 grinder.

I'm not quite sure what i'm missing in terms of taste because my palate is not developed enough so I'm just going by visual cues.
I'm getting much richer taste than ever before but there is still some blonding and the crema doesn't appear to be quite as dark reddish so much as brown.
When I look at the best looking extractions, there is more tiger motting and there is also more crema.

What can I do to start improving my technique?
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D4F
Senior Member


Joined: 15 Mar 2012
Posts: 1,982
Location: USA
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic PID
Grinder: Baratza Forte-AP
Posted Wed Oct 9, 2013, 3:06pm
Subject: Re: How to improve my espresso
 

How about a little more information?  

What beans, how fresh, what dose, how long is the extraction and what weight the espresso output and what grinder have you been using for a start.  

A common place to start is

http://www.espressomyespresso.com/      12 - EASY GUIDE TO BETTER ESPRESSO AT HOME

 
D4F also at
http://www.gaggiausersgroup.com/
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shnxx
Senior Member
shnxx
Joined: 3 Jul 2009
Posts: 128
Location: Pasadena
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Wed Oct 9, 2013, 4:29pm
Subject: Re: How to improve my espresso
 

D4F Said:

How about a little more information?  

What beans, how fresh, what dose, how long is the extraction and what weight the espresso output and what grinder have you been using for a start.  

A common place to start is

http://www.espressomyespresso.com/      12 - EASY GUIDE TO BETTER ESPRESSO AT HOME

Posted October 9, 2013 link

I'm using Jones coffee roaster beans.
They're pretty fresh (less than 1-2 week since roast date) although they don't give me the exact date of roast.
I'm using double basket 58mm portafilter with about 16.5-18 grams and getting about 1.5-2 oz in roughly 27-32 seconds.

Until tomorrow the grinder is a "commercial" grinder (Bezzera BB003) although it has a fast grind speed so I don't think it's extremely high quality.
Also the grind adjustment is stepped and not step less although there are many settings so this is probably not the worst thing in the world.
From tomorrow, I will be using a 68mm conical burr so I think it will be easy to tell if the weakness is coming from grinder or not.

I've been making espresso for 3 years using the Bezzera BB003 and Gaggia Evolution but I just purchased a Livia 90 from a member.
The results are markedly better (now I enjoy drinking espresso without any additions) although it's still not the perfect shot I see from pictures or videos.
Since my espresso machine is not high-end, I'm not expecting to get a "perfect" shot every time even if my techniques and grinder are perfect but once in a while would be nice.

Here is an example picture of what a good extraction currently looks like (ignore the nespresso shot).

shnxx: Untitled28.001.jpg
(Click for larger image)
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Frost
Senior Member
Frost
Joined: 26 Jul 2007
Posts: 2,071
Location: Sierra
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Isomac Venus
Grinder: Lelit PL53
Roaster: Poppery I w/variac, MET, BT
Posted Wed Oct 9, 2013, 5:27pm
Subject: Re: How to improve my espresso
 

Sounds like you are well on your way, take your time.
I will be interested to hear how it goes with your new conical grinder after a few weeks.
You have Klatch and Intelligensia (to name a couple) in your neighborhood; stop in for a shot and pick up some different beans to try.
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shnxx
Senior Member
shnxx
Joined: 3 Jul 2009
Posts: 128
Location: Pasadena
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Wed Oct 9, 2013, 5:32pm
Subject: Re: How to improve my espresso
 

Frost Said:

Sounds like you are well on your way, take your time.
I will be interested to hear how it goes with your new conical grinder after a few weeks.
You have Klatch and Intelligensia (to name a couple) in your neighborhood; stop in for a shot and pick up some different beans to try.

Posted October 9, 2013 link

Never heard of Klatch but just looked them up.
Have you ever tried them?
How do you think they compare compared to other roasters like Intelligentsia or Jones? (i guess jones may not be that big except locally)


I've used Intelligentsia beans a lot but it seems that I can't get very good crema with those beans using my grinder no matter which espresso machine I'm using.
I haven't experimented too much with grind settings so I think their beans need to be perhaps more finely ground or something like that.
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GVDub
Senior Member


Joined: 25 Jan 2008
Posts: 849
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Londinium I, Arrarex...
Grinder: Gaggia MD85, Dienes Mokka,...
Drip: Behmor Brazen, Abid Clever
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Wed Oct 9, 2013, 5:39pm
Subject: Re: How to improve my espresso
 

I did a cupping thing with Frank La and San Hong from Copa Vida in Pasadena at Barista Nation L.A.—good guys, both. Stop in there and I'm sure you can get some great shots, great beans, and pick up some pointers.
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GVDub
Senior Member


Joined: 25 Jan 2008
Posts: 849
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Londinium I, Arrarex...
Grinder: Gaggia MD85, Dienes Mokka,...
Drip: Behmor Brazen, Abid Clever
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Wed Oct 9, 2013, 5:43pm
Subject: Re: How to improve my espresso
 

Klatch's Belle Espresso is one of my favorite "comfort" espresso blends. Chocolate covered brandied fruit notes abound. Well worth stopping out to San Dimas to get a few shots as well, and try a couple of their espressos. When I'm not roasting my own, Klatch is near the top of the list.
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shnxx
Senior Member
shnxx
Joined: 3 Jul 2009
Posts: 128
Location: Pasadena
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Wed Oct 9, 2013, 5:50pm
Subject: Re: How to improve my espresso
 

Ah I see. Thank you for the tips.
I will have to check them out although maybe not in person since San Dimas is a little out of the way.
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Frost
Senior Member
Frost
Joined: 26 Jul 2007
Posts: 2,071
Location: Sierra
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Isomac Venus
Grinder: Lelit PL53
Roaster: Poppery I w/variac, MET, BT
Posted Wed Oct 9, 2013, 6:03pm
Subject: Re: How to improve my espresso
 

I have never tried Jones. I have been buying many green beans from Klatch for the last few years. All these have been excellent. ....However, I can only assume they are roasting their bean as least as well as I am ;^)
...The K10 is my dream grinder.
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emradguy
Senior Member
emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 2,967
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Duetto II; Twist v2
Grinder: M Major, Macap M4 x2, VDD...
Drip: Espro presses; Aeropress
Roaster: H-B "List of Favorites"
Posted Wed Oct 9, 2013, 6:58pm
Subject: Re: How to improve my espresso
 

I usually buy Klatch's WBC Espresso. When you go to their website you'll see Mike won roaster of the year in 2009. His daughter, Heather, is a 2-time US Barista champ, took 2nd place at the world barista competition in Tokyo, and runs their training program. Classes are open to the public (for a fee of course).

Btw, you cannot tell how "perfect" a shot is from a photo or video. Try to focus more on how yours taste!

 
.
Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
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