Markarian Senior Member Joined: 27 Jun 2012 Posts: 645 Location: Seattle Area Expertise: I love coffee
Espresso: ECM Technika IV Profi WT-WC Grinder: Baratza Forte AP, Mazzer SJ Vac Pot: Bunn Trifecta MB Drip: Moka, Aeropress, Melitta 102 Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Fri Dec 28, 2012, 2:38pm Subject: Can the goopy, perfect pull please stand up?
So I feel like I've tried it all--Grinding fine and tamping lightly, grinding coarse and tamping firmly, single origins, blends, NSEW, overdosing, underdosing, twisting, not twisting, WDT, you name it. I still can't get a pull like I see in pictures and videos online. My shots all tend to start off that way, but seem choked until they start to flow into a relatively thin, but quick-moving blond stream that hugs the bottom of the basket. I know this indicates channeling, but I feel like no matter what guide I follow it still happens. I'm new to the VST baskets and have tried to compensate for my previous center-heavy technique of tamping. My shots come out with a decent half inch pillow of crema and seem to taste okay, but the pour just looks...ugly. I know we're not in this for beauty pageants and that taste is king, but I really feel like I'm missing some component to this. At this point I'm going to guess that either my flushing routine is off (darker pours indicate higher temps?) or that my beans are not actually suited for a really pretty pour. I'm roasting single origins at home to a light city and I buy various light roast blends from Panache in Portland. I've been scared off of doing medium or dark roasts because I keep reading that anything with oil showing on the surface will gum up your grinder.
I think I need help getting back on track. Thanks, as always, for the sage wisdom.
Posted Fri Dec 28, 2012, 2:47pm Subject: Re: Can the goopy, perfect pull please stand up?
maybe you can post a video?
you're in Seattle...or near enough, right? why don't you look around for 1) a class somewhere that has them regularly/occasionally, or 2) a barista who serves you great drinks who might be willing to come to your house for an hour or two (I hear cash, alcohol and food are good incentives for this).
. Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
Coffeenoobie Senior Member Joined: 11 Dec 2011 Posts: 2,835 Location: PNW Expertise: I like coffee
Espresso: N S Oscar Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Sat Dec 29, 2012, 11:41am Subject: Re: Can the goopy, perfect pull please stand up?
I have given up on the slow pulls till I get the restrictors installed. When you do a really slow pull on the Oscar it makes then end tasted a bit over cooked. I will let you know how it goes after I get the mod done.
Buying advice: GRINDER GRINDER GRINDER. Don't cheap out on the grinder.
DeanOK Senior Member Joined: 24 Sep 2012 Posts: 554 Location: OK Expertise: I like coffee
Espresso: QM Vetrano 2B Grinder: Vario W
Posted Sat Dec 29, 2012, 1:06pm Subject: Re: Can the goopy, perfect pull please stand up?
Here is the Dean method ;)
I find that the tamp is very important for me, even though a lot of people report that its not. I have made up my own method that contains some Weiss distribution techniques (but only on the top of the grounds), a 15 degree tilt of the tamper while rolling around the outside of the grounds in the portafilter (using only the weight of the tamper) and then a 30 lb press followed by a polish. I find that my results are not as good if I try the Weiss distribution method all the way to the bottom of the grounds. I only go down about 1/3 of the way into the grounds with the needle.
I know that this method is probably laughable to the staunchest coffee drinkers, but it works for me. It is still not 100% the same every time though but usually pretty close. I seldom have any squirters and even though I have been using my new machine for two months, I still use a bottomless portafilter and observe every shot. I tamp every shot the same and then I adjust the grind to make the shot longer or shorter as needed. I weigh the coffee each time and I also use a convex tamper but not sure that makes much difference. My feeling is that you have to get as many things as possible as consistant as you can to ever be able to control the quality of the shot on a repeatable basis.
The rest of the story: Years ago I used a cheap espresso machine, cheap grinder and didn't know I needed to worry about all this stuff and I don't think I have ever enjoyed coffee any more that I did in the old days with the cheap equipment and blissful innocence.. go figure!
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