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McDonald's makes better Mochas than I do
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dspear99ca
Senior Member


Joined: 17 Jan 2013
Posts: 93
Location: BC, Canada
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Coffee
Grinder: Mazzer Mini
Posted Thu Apr 18, 2013, 2:04pm
Subject: Re: McDonald's makes better Mochas than I do
 

DeanOK Said:

I tend to agree with you on principal. I think the problem is me, but I have worked and worked to improve the end product and can't get there. I don't remember every throwing my espresso drinks away when I used the Briel... over half of the coffee I have made with the CC1 has been poured down the drain.

I have tried every tamping technique, brewing method such as stopping when I see bonding, timing my shots, and everything else.  I cant say that I haven't had a few that were pretty decent. I have. The vast majority of my drinks were not that great. Right now, I am using Redline. I can create a shot exactly within their recommended  profiles.....19 grams of coffee to yield 19-20 grams of espresso in 23 seconds. The one variable I have is I am not 100% sure that I am right on with the portafilter water temperature, but I think I am within 2 degrees of knowing what temperature I am hitting the grounds with. I have made a lot of espresso that tastes like fireplace ashes.

Posted April 18, 2013 link

First off, I can commiserate with you as I have had my share of "sink shots".  How I improved the quality of my espresso was based 100% of the scientific method.  I tried to start with as many things RIGHT as I could, then  test changes one variable at a time.  Espresso requires good quality water to be pumped through properly ground coffee at about 9 bar or 135psi of pressure at a temperature of around 97 degrees C.  It is relatively simple and inexpensive to check your pressure and temperature.  If you have yet to check both, please do so... if the water temperature is way off (hot OR cold) you will not, can not, make good espresso.  The CC1 has a PID so temp should not be an issue, but you cannot assume that the temp is right until you measure it yourself.  The ULKA vibe pump in most machines puts out significantly more than 9 Bar of pressure and your OPV must be properly adjusted to reduce it... I set mine to a static 9.5 Bar (static = no flow, guage screwed into group head).   Too much pressure tends to make the machine very finicky with regard to grind (and tamp pressure to a lesser extent)... it makes it more difficult to produce consistently good shots by narrowing the range of grind coarseness that will work well.

The size of your dose is dependent on the basket size as well as fineness of grind and tamp pressure... if I jammed 19g of coffee into my double basket I doubt if I could get it into the group.  My point is use the roaster's recommended dose as a guideline more than a hard and fast rule.  Every machine and every barista, professional or otherwise, is different.  I am sure you have done your fair share of reading on the topic of grind vs. dose, but I used this über-basic primer to put me on the path to righteous espresso and occasionally still refer to it when I have problems:

click here

Another variable with which to experiment is water.  I haven't read all through this thread, but assume you have tried a variety or two of bottled water?  If not it's worth trying.

I still pull the odd sink shot and generally I have no idea why, but overall I'd guess 95% of my shots are drinkable and maybe 10% are outstanding.  That number is rising with my experience.  It is very rewarding to produce really good coffee drinks, and conversely can be very discouraging to produce crap day after day.  Your machine and grinder are capable of great things but, like anything else, it ain't always easy.  Good water + proper grind + proper temp + proper pressure = good espresso.  All of these parameters are easily measurable and/or adjustable, just do it in a systematic way so that you can eliminate all of them as variables.

Good luck and don't give up hope, you too will soon be basking in the warm, if twitchy and over-caffeinated, glow that comes from making your own killer brew.
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Coffeenoobie
Senior Member
Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 2,972
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Fri Apr 19, 2013, 9:02am
Subject: Re: McDonald's makes better Mochas than I do
 

Have you tasted McD's espresso without the flavors added yet?

 
Coffeenoobie

Buying advice: GRINDER GRINDER GRINDER. Don't cheap out on the grinder.

My coffee treasure map...
Click Here (maps.google.com)

Oscar trick out: http://s156.photobucket.com/user/GandBteam/story/14231
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fredk01
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Joined: 20 Feb 2012
Posts: 136
Location: Canada
Expertise: Just starting

Espresso: Saeco Aroma
Grinder: OE Pharos
Posted Fri Apr 19, 2013, 9:50am
Subject: Re: McDonald's makes better Mochas than I do
 

Coffeenoobie Said:

Have you tasted McD's espresso without the flavors added yet?

Posted April 19, 2013 link

My, you are persistent. :-)

I have to agree with coffeenoobie.  You need to get a handle on all the base ingredients.  McDonalds has put a lot of time and effort to create a specific flavour and mouthfeel.

Taste that coffee strait up and, no matter how it tastes try to find a blend that gets close to that flavour.  I bet you will end up with a fairly dark roast that has some amount of robusta in it.  Remember, McDonalds has to hit a consistent flavour in very large volumes year round.

It will take you a while to really dial things in, but I bet you will get there.
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Coffeenoobie
Senior Member
Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 2,972
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Fri Apr 19, 2013, 10:33am
Subject: Re: McDonald's makes better Mochas than I do
 

I am harping on this because it is pointless to debate this farther if he doesn't know what the McD's espresso tastes like compared to his own.  I would go taste it but how it tastes to me is not at issue.  (and I don't have access to his McD's so mine might taste different and I would rather rule out variables than add them)

I see these possible outcomes:

  1. He tastes it and says he likes it.  (I think if he likes it it is because it tastes like strong drip coffee to him and not espresso)
  2. He tastes it and he says it is bitter and nastier than what he is making at home.

If he likes it for the reason I believe he will, it tells me he doesn't like the taste of espresso any more than I like the taste of Tequila.  Then we are having a different conversation than if he dislikes it.

If he dislikes it then we can work on his espresso making.

 
Coffeenoobie

Buying advice: GRINDER GRINDER GRINDER. Don't cheap out on the grinder.

My coffee treasure map...
Click Here (maps.google.com)

Oscar trick out: http://s156.photobucket.com/user/GandBteam/story/14231
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tinytot2
Senior Member


Joined: 31 Dec 2012
Posts: 113
Location: Wisconsin
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: NS Oscar
Grinder: Vario W
Drip: Breville YouBrew
Posted Fri Apr 19, 2013, 10:34am
Subject: Re: McDonald's makes better Mochas than I do
 

Just curious.  Are you ordering a regular mocha or a caramel one?   Now I want to try this mystical concoction.
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scanfield
Senior Member


Joined: 21 Nov 2011
Posts: 181
Location: Texas
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: La Nuovo Era Cuadra
Grinder: Baratza Vario
Posted Fri Apr 19, 2013, 12:17pm
Subject: Re: McDonald's makes better Mochas than I do
 

Coffeenoobie Said:

I am harping on this because it is pointless to debate this farther if he doesn't know what the McD's espresso tastes like compared to his own.

Posted April 19, 2013 link

I agree with you 100% Trying it would certainly would eliminate the biggest unknown.

FWIW, I've ordered straight espresso at McDonald's. I had to be persistent about it because they really didn't understand what I was asking for. What I got, was actually pretty good. Much better than I was expecting. I've also ordered Americano's from them when I've been on the road. Some places need to be told to just add hot water to the espresso, other places know what I'm talking about. Either way, everything I've drank has been remarkably consistent.

The last time I was at a McDonald's was probably 2 years ago, so things may be different now.
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Coffeenoobie
Senior Member
Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 2,972
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Fri Apr 19, 2013, 1:37pm
Subject: Re: McDonald's makes better Mochas than I do
 

I am not surprised, I have been told by drip coffee drinkers that McD's does constantly very good coffee even over other chains that are primarily coffee.

If he goes a slow time I bet he could get them to put the fixin's in one cup and the espresso in the other. Taste the espresso there and hot then add the fixin's to his espresso at home.

That test would answer a lot of questions.

 
Coffeenoobie

Buying advice: GRINDER GRINDER GRINDER. Don't cheap out on the grinder.

My coffee treasure map...
Click Here (maps.google.com)

Oscar trick out: http://s156.photobucket.com/user/GandBteam/story/14231
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CMIN
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Joined: 14 Jun 2012
Posts: 1,224
Location: South FL
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Crossland CC1
Grinder: Baratza Preciso
Posted Fri Apr 19, 2013, 2:32pm
Subject: Re: McDonald's makes better Mochas than I do
 

Exactly why I said he may prefer drip coffee, and not the flavor punch in the face of espresso. Reason why he also preferred his old Briel, I mean those were low end cheap pressurized portafilter machine. Pressurized PF machines don't make real espresso, more like a shot of drip coffee IMO, I had a Delonghi Bar 32 and that's what it always reminded me of. Same beans, grind etc in the Bar 32 (and I also depressurized the PF to try) vs my CC1 was night and day different, no where near the flavors, and syrupy mouthfeel of the CC1... Bar 32 was like a shot of drip even de-pressurized.

I still think it's odd if that's preferred but could just be his taste buds, I mean to me this would be like someone preferring a McD's burger (gag lol) over a fresh ground USDA Prime+ burger. Which I'm sure there are some nuts out there that would (not meaning towards you Dean haha)

McD's beans are still stale from sitting around, and I've had their espresso, blehhh. However their coffee options in general from drip to the mixed drinks, are IMO better then Starbucks by quite a bit. For one thing their beans must not be charred as bad b/c doesn't have that charcoal flavor Charbucks does lol. But all the ingredients in it, that could be what he prefers for that taste/mouthfeel as it sounds from his post he's just not a fan of "coffee" itself in general. but I know people like that who go gaga for Fraps and other drinks yet don't care for coffee, they want that sweet kick that pretty much mask coffee's flavor.

For example, they add lecithan, which you can buy for home use, but there are a ton of other ingredients that make it look like a coffee drink developed by Frankenstein in a lab. but a lot of that stuff is what gives that mouthfeel (like lecithan) that he may like.

With that said, McD's is still better than Charbucks, however not even remotely close to as good as espresso or drip etc made at home. Just watch the shot on the superauto's they use, it's like 15 seconds, when I do a double I time like 25-30 seconds from 1st drip... that's a huge difference lol. Superauto's just can't compete to even a decent semi setup, not even the high end $$$$ commercial ones, I've had fresh roasted beans in a commercial superauto in a shop and still wasn't as good as my setup that cost pry a fraction as that machine lol.
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cuznvin
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Joined: 6 Oct 2011
Posts: 656
Location: NY
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: La Spaziale Mini Vivaldi II
Grinder: MACAP M4 Stepless /Baratza...
Drip: YouBrew
Posted Fri Apr 19, 2013, 3:24pm
Subject: Re: McDonald's makes better Mochas than I do
 

CMIN Said:

Exactly why I said he may prefer drip coffee, and not the flavor punch in the face of espresso. Reason why he also preferred his old Briel, I mean those were low end cheap pressurized portafilter machine. Pressurized PF machines don't make real espresso, more like a shot of drip coffee IMO, I had a Delonghi Bar 32 and that's what it always reminded me of. Same beans, grind etc in the Bar 32 (and I also depressurized the PF to try) vs my CC1 was night and day different, no where near the flavors, and syrupy mouthfeel of the CC1... Bar 32 was like a shot of drip even de-pressurized.

I still think it's odd if that's preferred but could just be his taste buds, I mean to me this would be like someone preferring a McD's burger (gag lol) over a fresh ground USDA Prime+ burger. Which I'm sure there are some nuts out there that would (not meaning towards you Dean haha)

McD's beans are still stale from sitting around, and I've had their espresso, blehhh. However their coffee options in general from drip to the mixed drinks, are IMO better then Starbucks by quite a bit. For one thing their beans must not be charred as bad b/c doesn't have that charcoal flavor Charbucks does lol. But all the ingredients in it, that could be what he prefers for that taste/mouthfeel as it sounds from his post he's just not a fan of "coffee" itself in general. but I know people like that who go gaga for Fraps and other drinks yet don't care for coffee, they want that sweet kick that pretty much mask coffee's flavor.

For example, they add lecithan, which you can buy for home use, but there are a ton of other ingredients that make it look like a coffee drink developed by Frankenstein in a lab. but a lot of that stuff is what gives that mouthfeel (like lecithan) that he may like.

With that said, McD's is still better than Charbucks, however not even remotely close to as good as espresso or drip etc made at home. Just watch the shot on the superauto's they use, it's like 15 seconds, when I do a double I time like 25-30 seconds from 1st drip... that's a huge difference lol. Superauto's just can't compete to even a decent semi setup, not even the high end $$$$ commercial ones, I've had fresh roasted beans in a commercial superauto in a shop and still wasn't as good as my setup that cost pry a fraction as that machine lol.

Posted April 19, 2013 link

Apparently the McD in Italy use QM Monzas....

I think this thread is kind of crazy at this point. Nothing will taste like the McD Mocha. I say, if thats what you like.. go ahead and drink it. But realize that there is a bunch of CRAP in that drink..
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DeanOK
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DeanOK
Joined: 24 Sep 2012
Posts: 621
Location: OK
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: QM Vetrano 2B
Grinder: Vario W
Posted Fri Apr 19, 2013, 4:04pm
Subject: Re: McDonald's makes better Mochas than I do
 

Ok.. I went to MD's and ordered a plain latte with whole milk.

It was pretty good, but I prefer the sweeter side of coffee. I drank about half of it without sugar and then I added a about a teaspoon of sugar and drank the rest.

Came home and made a plain latte here... no sugar, no flavors.
Mine wasn't very good. I used a 19 grams  of Blue Jag (ran out of redline). The blue jag is a little old... just over one month. My shot yield was 32 grams in 23 seconds. No blonding. Added about 6 oz of milk.

I drank about half it and then added sugar. Took a couple of sips and didn't finish it.

The MD's latte was better than mine, particularly with sugar. I cant tell you what was wrong with it though.

The MD's has a much stronger coffee aroma when you hold the cup to your nose (nice).
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