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Discussions > Espresso > Grinders -... > New Grinder and...  
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drewhosick
Senior Member


Joined: 26 Feb 2014
Posts: 9
Location: Winchester, ON Canada
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Wed Feb 26, 2014, 2:07pm
Subject: New Grinder and Not Sure of a Few Things
 

I just got a second hand grinder given to me by someone who's gone french press and said he doesn't need it anymore.  It's an HC-600 from HeyCafe.  It works fine but I'm trying to figure out what setting to use for grinding because my coffee seems weak.  Maybe it's the beans I bought.  I know some will turn their noses up at this but it was a Costco package.  Now I did have Nabob's Espresso Grind prior to this and it was actually fairly strong for the first week and so that's why I wanted my own grinder.

I only have the lower end Breville but it seems to do the job.

However, either the coffee or grind is making this coffee weak and the crema comes out within a second of pouring and by the time the coffee is half poured it starts to look fairly transparent.  I press down as hard as I can and I tried a fine grind and it hasn't helped.  The first Grind I did was at the finest and the Breville just said no way, too fine and it wouldn't pour.  I'm using the double basket.

Any suggestions or maybe a primer on grinds and how different grinds make a difference?

Also the coffee beans are Kirkland roasted by Starbucks(espresso blend) and considered dark in case you're wondering.

Tastes good, just not strong.  I wouldn't even say 1/2 as strong as the nabob.
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calblacksmith
Moderator
calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,672
Location: Riverside, Ca, U.S.A.
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: ECM Vene. A1, La Cimbali M32
Grinder: Azkoyen Capriccio, Major
Vac Pot: 40s era Silex
Drip: Msl. Com. brewers
Roaster: gave it a try, decided no
Posted Wed Feb 26, 2014, 3:24pm
Subject: Re: New Grinder and Not Sure of a Few Things
 

Hi and welcome to the board.

You can not use stale coffee and expect to get much from it. Anything over 2 weeks FROM THE DAY IT WAS ROASTED is pretty much stale and not good for much. Your grinder should be able to do the job. There is no way anyone can tell you what setting to use, rather you need to find it for yourself. You start by using a scale to get a consistent dose for a double that should be from 14g for a "traditional" volume to 20g max for a double. Most U.S. drinkers prefer the larger doses, I like 18 g.

Next with the consistent dose, you adjust the grinder finer and finer until it chokes your machine, no coffee can flow.
Then you start backing out the setting a little at a time so that when you have your set volume of grounds such as 18 g and the shot takes ~25 seconds, then you are in the ball park.

Tamping is not as important, in fact it is the least important part of the process, just be consistent and all will be well, a scale will help a lot while learning, about 30 pounds of pressure is a good starting point.

Have you noticed that consistency is critical to espresso?

Stale coffee will give thin, watery nasty tasting shots with little to no crema.

The darker the roast, the less you taste the coffee, Starbucks basically burns the beans so all you taste is the roast, not the beans. You might as well buy a bag of Kingsford charcoal and save a lot of money.

Two weeks from roast and the coffee is stale.
15 minutes from grinding and the coffee is stale.

Be consistent with every dimension of the process.

Again, welcome to the board!

 
In real life, my name is
Wayne P.
Anything I post is personal opinion and is only worth as much as anyone else's personal opinion. YMMV!

Feed the newbs, starve the trolls and above all enjoy what you drink!
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drewhosick
Senior Member


Joined: 26 Feb 2014
Posts: 9
Location: Winchester, ON Canada
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Wed Feb 26, 2014, 3:37pm
Subject: Re: New Grinder and Not Sure of a Few Things
 

Oh, thought darker roast was stronger.  Seems I know nothing.

So is it better to order beans online for freshness or find a local place?  I live 45 minutes to an hour from the closest location that might have a place to go to(Ottawa, Ontario - Canada).
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boar_d_laze
Senior Member


Joined: 21 Nov 2006
Posts: 1,073
Location: Monrovia, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: La Cimbali M21 DT/1 Junior...
Grinder: Ceado E92; "Bunnzilla"
Vac Pot: Royal Coffee Maker
Drip: Chemex + Kone; Espro Press
Roaster: USRC Sample Roaster
Posted Wed Feb 26, 2014, 4:34pm
Subject: Re: New Grinder and Not Sure of a Few Things
 

drewhosick Said:

Oh, thought darker roast was stronger.

Posted February 26, 2014 link

What Wayne (Calblacksmith) meant, was that as a roast transitions from medium to dark, the darker the roast the more you taste the roaster, and the less you taste the varietal, terroir, and individual characteristics of the bean.  

Seems I know nothing.

Isn't that up to your wife to say?

So is it better to order beans online for freshness or find a local place?

It depends on the particular roaster.  Given that you're so far from a good, local roaster, it's probably easier for you to buy the bulk of your beans online.  But that doesn't mean you shouldn't be open to purchasing from local roasters on those rare occasions you harness up the huskies and mush into the big city.

When you do buy online, try to buy from roasters who ship on the same or next day after roasting.  Only buy from roasters who provide a "roast date" on the bag, and don't buy beans with a "use by" date.

I slightly disagree with Wayne.  As a general rule (and obviously, IMO) espresso roasts aren't sufficiently rested and are too harsh until the fifth day post-roast; the best flavor window is days eight through fifteen; and the beans are not too stale for use until day eighteen.

As the beans transition through maturity, some grinders will require more adjustment than others. Generally less expensive grinders with smaller burrs require more than their better endowed brethren.  

Rich
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canuckcoffeeguy
Senior Member
canuckcoffeeguy
Joined: 22 Aug 2013
Posts: 168
Location: Burlington, Ontario, Canada
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Mypressi Twist v2
Grinder: Vario / Hario Slim
Vac Pot: I have a Dyson vacuum, but,...
Drip: Bialetti Brikka/Bodum...
Posted Wed Feb 26, 2014, 6:58pm
Subject: Re: New Grinder and Not Sure of a Few Things
 

drewhosick Said:

So is it better to order beans online for freshness or find a local place?  I live 45 minutes to an hour from the closest location that might have a place to go to(Ottawa, Ontario - Canada).

Posted February 26, 2014 link

I also live in Ontario, but outside of Toronto. There are some good options for ordering beans in Canada.

Here are some respected Canadian roasters that ship their beans direct and very fresh. Some I've tried and others I haven't, but plan to when I get the chance. The first 3 on the list are in the Toronto area. The rest are in Western Canada.

This is by no means a comprehensive list of Canadian roasters. But they're all well known.
CCG

http://www.socialcoffee.com

http://detourcoffee.com

http://www.pilotcoffeeroasters.com

http://www.49thparallelroasters.com

http://www.transcendcoffee.ca

http://www.philsebastian.com
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canuckcoffeeguy
Senior Member
canuckcoffeeguy
Joined: 22 Aug 2013
Posts: 168
Location: Burlington, Ontario, Canada
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Mypressi Twist v2
Grinder: Vario / Hario Slim
Vac Pot: I have a Dyson vacuum, but,...
Drip: Bialetti Brikka/Bodum...
Posted Wed Feb 26, 2014, 7:08pm
Subject: Re: New Grinder and Not Sure of a Few Things
 

drewhosick Said:

I only have the lower end Breville but it seems to do the job.

Posted February 26, 2014 link

Wait, what Breville machine do you have? And are you using a pressurized basket in your portafilter?
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cingkrab
Senior Member


Joined: 10 Jun 2009
Posts: 27
Location: Ottawa
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Wed Feb 26, 2014, 8:26pm
Subject: Re: New Grinder and Not Sure of a Few Things
 

drewhosick Said:

Oh, thought darker roast was stronger.  Seems I know nothing.

So is it better to order beans online for freshness or find a local place?  I live 45 minutes to an hour from the closest location that might have a place to go to(Ottawa, Ontario - Canada).

Posted February 26, 2014 link

I'm currently in Ottawa, and while I've only tried a couple of the local roasters, I would definitely advise you NOT to drive an hour for Ottawa beans.  Not worth it when you can get free shipping from Social Coffee, and for (IMO of course) much better coffee.  I've tried some of the coffee roasters on Canuckcoffeeguy's list, and they've all been good.  Slightly larger list available here:

Click Here (www.home-barista.com)
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drewhosick
Senior Member


Joined: 26 Feb 2014
Posts: 9
Location: Winchester, ON Canada
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Thu Feb 27, 2014, 6:11am
Subject: Re: New Grinder and Not Sure of a Few Things
 

canuckcoffeeguy Said:

Wait, what Breville machine do you have? And are you using a pressurized basket in your portafilter?

Posted February 26, 2014 link

Yes unfortunately and no I can't buy another machine by any means right now.  I know some don't like it but I've found so far it's been pretty good coffee.

This morning I tried to thin the grind and it improved the strength a little.  I think the problem are the beans I bought.  They are quite roasted as some have pointed out because they were done by Starbucks.
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calblacksmith
Moderator
calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,672
Location: Riverside, Ca, U.S.A.
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: ECM Vene. A1, La Cimbali M32
Grinder: Azkoyen Capriccio, Major
Vac Pot: 40s era Silex
Drip: Msl. Com. brewers
Roaster: gave it a try, decided no
Posted Thu Feb 27, 2014, 7:09am
Subject: Re: New Grinder and Not Sure of a Few Things
 

Rich, I will give you the 3, heck even 5 days, LOL, different roasts, blends etc, all need to be evaluated each to their own situation but as a GENERAL rule, two weeks..... give or take :D

It is a very common misconception that darker is stronger. Really, stronger is stronger and darker is a different flavor profile. As the roast gets darker, the differences that make a Ethiopian Yirgacheffe different from a Sumatra (and they are very different coffees) are lost and in the end, both taste much more like the roast process not beans that they are made from.

Adjusting the taste is more than just grinding finer, you also need to consider the volume of grounds used, the volume of coffee brewed, the temp you brewed the coffee at to name the big variables. Each of these things will change the cup.

As a "general rule" espresso roasts are too dark to taste the differences. The roast is different than an espresso BLEND which is different coffee beans that are mixed to compliment each other in the harsh process that is espresso brewing. Many people enjoy a single origin brew, this is ALL THE SAME coffee bean or even from the same farm as there is a difference in the cup from beans on the same farm grown in the shade or in the sunlight, on the side of a hill vs on flat ground as the soil will be different so the plants will taste different and that is passed on to the pits that are in the center of the coffee cherry that we roast and brew.

The heart of your espresso should be the grinder. It has a greater affect on the brew than the machine does, well after the machine reaches a level that the variables are controlled properly. A difference of 2 or 3 deg F is enough to change the taste of the espresso, well for me at least, some say they can taste the difference of 1 deg f, I can't but I will not say that no one else can not. The shots should be pulled at 9 bar pressure give or take a little. Too much pressure or too little will change the taste of the shots. Lower quality machines, have large swings in temp, as much as 10 or 15 deg f and many have too much pressure and need to be regulated down to 9 bar as more is not better.

A pressurized basket or portafilter will not produce true espresso, the coffee is forced through a small hole and is foamed up, this is different than the oils becoming suspended through the brew process in an open espresso basket and portafilter. The pressurized basket is so beginners can use stale, pre ground coffee from the supermarket and get something that resembles espresso in looks but not taste. It also tends to allow the use of a lower quality grinder to get something in the cup but even with fresh coffee (which is miles better than stale store bought coffee) the results are not near as good as a good grinder and open basket/PF.

 
In real life, my name is
Wayne P.
Anything I post is personal opinion and is only worth as much as anyone else's personal opinion. YMMV!

Feed the newbs, starve the trolls and above all enjoy what you drink!
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CMIN
Senior Member


Joined: 14 Jun 2012
Posts: 1,354
Location: South FL
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Crossland CC1
Grinder: Baratza Preciso
Posted Thu Feb 27, 2014, 7:28am
Subject: Re: New Grinder and Not Sure of a Few Things
 

drewhosick Said:

Yes unfortunately and no I can't buy another machine by any means right now.  I know some don't like it but I've found so far it's been pretty good coffee.

This morning I tried to thin the grind and it improved the strength a little.  I think the problem are the beans I bought.  They are quite roasted as some have pointed out because they were done by Starbucks.

Posted February 27, 2014 link

Fresh beans will help but like Cal said not much you can do if you use a pressurized portafilter unless you can buy a replacement normal basket from Breville. You could have the best grinder in the world, but a $300 grinder on a normal machine would outperform a pressurized basket machine with the best grinder in the world ;) . It's just inherent to how the pressurized mechanism works, forces coffee through a tiny hole and you'll never know if you grind is right b/c it works with preground, coarse etc. Generally won't be right as normal espresso grind would choke a pressurized basket.

Your grinder, I almost bought one as well, it's basically their version of a Super Jolley. Very capable grinder, but your being held back by your machine unfortunately, be like having a Porsche 911 will offroad A/T tires swapped on lol. I'm pretty sure Breville sells replacement baskets you'd be able to use.
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