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How to Recognize Blonding
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FlyRod
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Posted Sun Oct 7, 2007, 12:23pm
Subject: How to Recognize Blonding
 

I have read a few tutorials on just exactly when blonding occurs..it seems to range from "shots start to get lighter" to "a tan color showing some transparency" It seems to me that it is probably somewhere in the middle. I just want to get good idea at when I should stop my shot so I can get all the other variables down. Any help would be greatly appreciated, even from Dallas Cowboy fans. Hehe.
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Lips
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Posted Sat Oct 13, 2007, 9:19pm
Subject: Re: How to Recognize Blonding
 

Your shot is not going to be the same shade of rich red-brown until the blonding comes on suddenly. The trasition is gradual. I've found that new baristas want to stop their shots too soon. Basically once the espresso streams have become markedly closer to beige or white than dark brown than you have blonding. Usually you can preempt it by watching the movement and viscosity of your streams. Shakey, wavering streams are usually a sign that your shot is nearing its end.
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TimEggers
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Posted Sun Oct 14, 2007, 7:58am
Subject: Re: How to Recognize Blonding
 

I agree with Lips, I used to be prone to stopping too soon just as the strem would begin to change.  The best thing might be to run a shot into a large cup or the drip tray and watch it progress while running for a very very long time.

 
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dotrs
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Posted Sun Oct 14, 2007, 3:05pm
Subject: Re: How to Recognize Blonding
 

This question has me intrigued... and is one that i haven't put much thought into. As far as my current routine goes i generally only think of blonding problems when there is a lighter coloured stain left where the streams hit the crema - i.e., such a shot i would cast drainward, otherwise anything goes; it's rare i ever notice any problems with shots that pass my 'intuative judgement test' (that's it's official name folks...)
What are the pros/cons of allowing more or less blonding (while maintaining an acceptable shot time). Any chance someone could post a vid of what they percieve as proper judgement on the issue?

Cheers
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TimEggers
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Posted Sun Oct 14, 2007, 4:15pm
Subject: Re: How to Recognize Blonding
 

dotrs Said:

This question has me intrigued... and is one that i haven't put much thought into. As far as my current routine goes i generally only think of blonding problems when there is a lighter coloured stain left where the streams hit the crema - i.e., such a shot i would cast drainward, otherwise anything goes; it's rare i ever notice any problems with shots that pass my 'intuative judgement test' (that's it's official name folks...)
What are the pros/cons of allowing more or less blonding (while maintaining an acceptable shot time). Any chance someone could post a vid of what they percieve as proper judgement on the issue?

Cheers

Posted October 14, 2007 link

Well letting a shot run too long will make the shot more diluted (thin) and bitter.  Blonding is the visual cue that all the good stuff has been extracted and the extraction should be stopped.  Videos also won't be of much use because everyone's computer screens are different and you add to that video lighting and it will become uneasy to spot the subtleties involved.  It's more a practice thing that a barista just has to get used to spotting/tasting.

 
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Lips
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Posted Mon Oct 15, 2007, 10:07am
Subject: Re: How to Recognize Blonding
 

Eggers' idea is good. Pull a shot and observe it from its thick oozing start to its trasparent watery finish. Adjust your grind so the espresso appears at the proper time. Then pull shots to various times and taste them. It can be important to see what that micro-amount of super viscous espresso tastes like and also the blonding to blonde shot.
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petuniaii
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Posted Wed Oct 17, 2007, 1:17pm
Subject: Re: How to Recognize Blonding
 

I have a hard time judging this too, as and my machine is black plastic with kind of a "closed" profile, and the light in my kitchen isn't good to begin with.  What I've been doing is waiting til I think it's getting close, then rotate the cup a little bit and see if I can see a light stain.  It's usually too cramped to get a good look, so I often go ahead and shut it off a few seconds after this anyway.  Then I pull the cups out for a good look and taste - I don't mind a *little* blonding/bitterness, as my shots suffer much more from sourness.

Lately towards the end of my shots, I notice that the topmost bit of crema (< 1mm) is of a lighter color than the rest.  Is this blonding?  I hope so, because it's a lot easier to spot!  :P

Today was interesting - I was pulling my second shot (the first having been, of course, too sour) and realized about halfway through that I'd forgotten to hit the steam button (this usually being necessary since my machine tends to run cold).  So I was prepared for something possibly even worse than the first shot, but instead I got what may have been my first lungo!  I kept watching for the little light-colored membrane to appear at the top, but it never did.  What's more, it actually *tasted* good, too.
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