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Shall I ditch my grinder, or my beans shop?
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McAldo
Senior Member


Joined: 7 Apr 2013
Posts: 15
Location: london
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Mon Apr 29, 2013, 6:50am
Subject: Shall I ditch my grinder, or my beans shop?
 

Thanks to lots of good advice from coffe geeks here on the forum, I got myself an hario mini manual grinder and spent the last two weeks or so in caffeine overdose :)
I am using a little delonghi, an aeropress and seriously considering a mypressi.
Coffee beans are from a the Algerian Coffee shop, here in London.

What keeps me from getting the mypressi is that I am not too happy about the coffee I am making. I had a few really good one espresso cups, several so so, and lots of frankly awful ones.. Bitter and devoided of all the flavour of the freshly ground coffee I put in.

I as trying to identify what's going wrong, and thinking of posting elsewhere on the forum to ask for help.
But one thing could be my grinder or the beans.

I bought 4 city roasts (kona haiti, jamaica blue mountain, yemen and another premium), a cheaper full roast colombian, and froze half of my stash.
Now, with the city roast ones I noticed that, even when grinding just  a few notches from the finest setting on the hario, so pretty fine indeed, I get some debris in my coffee.
They look like little pale specks, like unroasted bits.
With the colobian full roast I don' get this. I first noticed this with the beans which I had previously frozen, but I think it happens with the others too

So, my question is, is this normal?
And, if not, is my grinder misbehaving or there might be a problem with the shop?
Aside of this little specks, the ground looks quite uniform, but I guess the specks might well cause channelling.

I use a needle to stir the coffee in the filter to prevent side channelling, as explained in a few tutorials, and preheat my machine by turning on the steamer first, as advised by another member here.
Aside of the fact that obviously mine is not an espresso machine, the only problems it might have is that it's a bit scaled, I can tell because after pulling one shot and let warm up again some water seeps through the filter, and despite lots of scrubbing one of the rubber elements in the filter smell of oils still, from having been left with coffee in for a few days long time ago.

But I know the machine can pull a pretty good 'espresso', even if it's not technically one. With the colombian just opened, I managed one with no bitterness and what tasted and smelled like three different flavours. On the moment I thought it could be perfected, but honestly, had it been from a  coffee shop ere in London, it would have been a good reason to visit again.

For sure, I'd like to understand what I am doing wrong, before splashing on a mypressi. After all, people praising it know what they are doing it, me at the moment not quite :D
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dyqik
Senior Member


Joined: 7 Oct 2011
Posts: 383
Location: Cambridge, MA
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Bezzera BZ07 PM
Grinder: Baratza Virtuoso Preciso...
Vac Pot: Cona D
Drip: Bona-Vita, CCD, Aeropress.
Roaster: Gene Cafe, Modded Poppers
Posted Mon Apr 29, 2013, 7:54am
Subject: Re: Shall I ditch my grinder, or my beans shop?
 

The pale specks are probably remaining bits of chaff from the beans.  They are very common on lighter roasted beans, but the amount varies by both bean type and roast.  Chaff on darker roasted beans is darker, and more likely to come off in the roaster.   Chaff has almost no discernible effect on taste or on channelling, so you shouldn't worry about it.  If you do want to avoid it, change beans to a lower chaff type or darker roasts.
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steamer
Senior Member
steamer
Joined: 11 Feb 2005
Posts: 900
Location: socal
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Expobar Brewtus IV R
Grinder: Mazzer Mini-B Baratza...
Vac Pot: Krubs Moka Brew, vacPot
Drip: TechV, and many more
Roaster: Hottop
Posted Tue Apr 30, 2013, 3:38pm
Subject: Re: Shall I ditch my grinder, or my beans shop?
 

me, I would not use Kona, or JBM for espresso. they are too clean a taste and drip is a better cup.
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myallawala
Senior Member
myallawala
Joined: 25 Dec 2012
Posts: 86
Location: San Antonio, TX
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Crossland CC1
Grinder: Mazzer Major & Baratza Vario
Vac Pot: Yama Burner
Drip: Hario V60 & Chemex
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Tue Apr 30, 2013, 8:59pm
Subject: Re: Shall I ditch my grinder, or my beans shop?
 

steamer Said:

me, I would not use Kona, or JBM for espresso. they are too clean a taste and drip is a better cup.

Posted April 30, 2013 link

I just want to add to this. I've not had luck with Kona or JBM lately. Tom at Sweet Maria's suggests the quality of these lots entirely has gone down. Whether or not this is true (especially considering my non bias while sampling some Kona and JBM this year and then reading his thoughts), I agree that neither is suited to espresso. And for that matter, I don't even think I've used a single origin Colombian for espresso since I've started home roasting. I typically use blends, Brazils, Ethiopians, Yemens, or sometimes El Salvador or Sumatra.

As for the chaff specks, I have found no difference in the visible extraction with extra chaff-y coffees. Obviously the taste is very different because the more chaff, the lighter the roast as someone mentioned above. You might find something roasted a bit darker like City+ or Full City. When we have company I like to have something Full City or Full City + to please the crowd, especially well suited to milk based drinks.

I'm not sure how your coffee adventure goes, but I never know if the next cup I have is one that I will enjoy. I'm having a lot of fun experimenting with regions and roast levels but for some, they just find a region and roast level and stick with it.

Hope that helps (even though I got a bit off topic).
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McAldo
Senior Member


Joined: 7 Apr 2013
Posts: 15
Location: london
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Fri May 3, 2013, 6:07am
Subject: Re: Shall I ditch my grinder, or my beans shop?
 

dyqik Said:

The pale specks are probably remaining bits of chaff from the beans.  They are very common on lighter roasted beans, but the amount varies by both bean type and roast.  Chaff on darker roasted beans is darker, and more likely to come off in the roaster.   Chaff has almost no discernible effect on taste or on channelling, so you shouldn't worry about it.  If you do want to avoid it, change beans to a lower chaff type or darker roasts.

Posted April 29, 2013 link

Thanks so much for the advice and sorry fr not replying earlier.
Well,  it's a relief to know there is nothing wrong with the chaff, it means the problem must be elsewhere.
Now, if I only understood where :D
But I m sure it's just a matter of time before I nail down a consistent routine.
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McAldo
Senior Member


Joined: 7 Apr 2013
Posts: 15
Location: london
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Fri May 3, 2013, 6:13am
Subject: Re: Shall I ditch my grinder, or my beans shop?
 

steamer Said:

me, I would not use Kona, or JBM for espresso. they are too clean a taste and drip is a better cup.

Posted April 30, 2013 link

Thanks, that' actually good advice.
Honestly, in my ignorance I just assumed that, being some of their premium beans, I assumed they would be great for anything, silly me.

One thing about the Algerian coffee shop is that their staff not necessarily know much about what they are selling.
Last person who served me did provide some advice when asked, but after candidly admitted he dislikes coffee and never drinks it, so I now wonder on what his advice was based on :D

I'm probably better off researching and asking here what brews well what.
I'll try those with my aeropress then.
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McAldo
Senior Member


Joined: 7 Apr 2013
Posts: 15
Location: london
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Fri May 3, 2013, 6:26am
Subject: Re: Shall I ditch my grinder, or my beans shop?
 

myallawala Said:

I just want to add to this. I've not had luck with Kona or JBM lately. Tom at Sweet Maria's suggests the quality of these lots entirely has gone down. Whether or not this is true (especially considering my non bias while sampling some Kona and JBM this year and then reading his thoughts), I agree that neither is suited to espresso. And for that matter, I don't even think I've used a single origin Colombian for espresso since I've started home roasting. I typically use blends, Brazils, Ethiopians, Yemens, or sometimes El Salvador or Sumatra.

As for the chaff specks, I have found no difference in the visible extraction with extra chaff-y coffees. Obviously the taste is very different because the more chaff, the lighter the roast as someone mentioned above. You might find something roasted a bit darker like City+ or Full City. When we have company I like to have something Full City or Full City + to please the crowd, especially well suited to milk based drinks.

I'm not sure how your coffee adventure goes, but I never know if the next cup I have is one that I will enjoy. I'm having a lot of fun experimenting with regions and roast levels but for some, they just find a region and roast level and stick with it.

Hope that helps (even though I got a bit off topic).

Posted April 30, 2013 link

Not at all, and thanks for sharing.
It's kind of comforting knowing that even somebody with so much experience can have trouble getting the perfect cup every time.
Still, the bad cups I am talking about are really really bad, so I a sure there must be something really wrong in what I sometimes do.
Really tempted to get a mypressi and take the machine out f the equation.
I was happy with the Colombian, when it came out ok that is, but then my experience is limited.
Might even go back to my lavazza blend, that's what I grew up with anyway :D
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myallawala
Senior Member
myallawala
Joined: 25 Dec 2012
Posts: 86
Location: San Antonio, TX
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Crossland CC1
Grinder: Mazzer Major & Baratza Vario
Vac Pot: Yama Burner
Drip: Hario V60 & Chemex
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Wed May 8, 2013, 9:51pm
Subject: Re: Shall I ditch my grinder, or my beans shop?
 

McAldo Said:

Not at all, and thanks for sharing.
It's kind of comforting knowing that even somebody with so much experience can have trouble getting the perfect cup every time.
Still, the bad cups I am talking about are really really bad, so I a sure there must be something really wrong in what I sometimes do.
Really tempted to get a mypressi and take the machine out f the equation.
I was happy with the Colombian, when it came out ok that is, but then my experience is limited.
Might even go back to my lavazza blend, that's what I grew up with anyway :D

Posted May 3, 2013 link

I've heard some people having really good experiences with the mypressi (or maybe it was the other hand held espresso maker, the handpresso?). The aeropress should deliver a really excellent cup though.. there are so many cool recipes out there. I don't use mine often enough. I get frustrated with it. It's harder to start all over with the aeropress than an espresso machine, but the same is true with the mypressi I imagine. I think I waste more coffee "dialing in" my aeropress than my espresso machine too.

Able brew has a metal filter for the aeropress that I really like too. Really oily, delicious flavors through it.
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McAldo
Senior Member


Joined: 7 Apr 2013
Posts: 15
Location: london
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Sat May 11, 2013, 4:56pm
Subject: Re: Shall I ditch my grinder, or my beans shop?
 

myallawala Said:

I've heard some people having really good experiences with the mypressi (or maybe it was the other hand held espresso maker, the handpresso?). The aeropress should deliver a really excellent cup though.. there are so many cool recipes out there. I don't use mine often enough. I get frustrated with it. It's harder to start all over with the aeropress than an espresso machine, but the same is true with the mypressi I imagine. I think I waste more coffee "dialing in" my aeropress than my espresso machine too.

Able brew has a metal filter for the aeropress that I really like too. Really oily, delicious flavors through it.

Posted May 8, 2013 link

I did a bit of reading before getting the aeropress, so I ordered it with a metal filter. After much deliberation, I choose the fine one over the coarser one, still wondering if I should have got the other one :D
Haven't tried yet the normal filters but definitely it can pull a pretty good coffee. Actually, given I am no too pleased with my espressos, I am using it everyday.
Never been a huge fan of americano or french press, but I like it with the aeropress. Probably because it's difficult to go wrong, it seems to make a pretty smooth brew every time.
But yes, it does consume more coffee, even when reducing doses,  than a typical espresso setup, I think.

I understand that the main trick with the mypressi is to warm it a lot before, and pour really warm water in it. That's what I am doing already with the aeropress anyway, as my kettle seems to be unable to bring water to 200f, so I give it a pass with the steamer before pouring in.

Still, very tempted to try mypressi, it gets such raving reviews :)
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