MarkPrince Moderator Joined: 19 Dec 2001 Posts: 5,609 Location: Vancouver, BC Expertise: Professional
Espresso: KvdW Speedster Grinder: Compak K10 WBC Vac Pot: A bit too many Drip: Clive Coffee Drip Stand Roaster: Hario Glass Retro Roaster
Posted Tue Oct 16, 2007, 12:42am Subject: Espresso being too fresh? (split off from the Establishing Espresso thread)
So I would like to know more about this 'too fresh' bit you say in the captions under the pictures about halfway down the article (the shots you display in the Pavina Bodum cups). I have that exact problem and want to know how to resolve it.
I ordered and am finishing up a full city roast from Cafe Rebelion in Denver, which was roasted the day it was mailed out to me. A month on and I'm still getting a huge amount of crema (too much, as told by Cafe West technical staff, given that I have constant bleeds out the back of the portafilter of my Solis SL 70). What can be done to tone down (and lessen the CO2) the crema so as to get more H20 in the shot? I use those Pavina cups, and usually my shots are a bit under 1oz as the crema would spill over if I tried to get the 1 - 1.5oz shot after the crema settles.
I have to admit, this one has me scratching my head - I can't see why, after a month, much Co2 stays in the coffee. But let me see if I can tackle a few things
- Coffee's roasted in Denver, packaged in Denver - that's a mile up - it plays havoc with brewing temps, packaging, etc. I wonder if this is a factor.
- the "bleeds out of the back of the portafilter" on the SL70... not sure what that means. I assume you're using the pressurized filter baskets? Try adjusting the grind?
- On packaging. I assume that Cafe Rebelion uses one way valve bags? One thing about these - there's like a dozen or more "one way valve" makers (probably more), and some are, well, less likely to let any Co2 escape than others. For eg, 49th's bags have a really tight one way valve bag - so much so that Vince's coffee bags are always super-puffed up, almost ready to explode. In fact, I'm surprised they don't have more bag explosions.
But even a super tight one way valve doesn't mean squat to the beans' storage of Co2. It leaves coffee - in a great volume in the first few days off roast, and continuing until it pretty much entirely leaves. My own experience with one way valve, non nitrogen flushed coffees (not that that matters much) is that, after 3 weeks, a coffee's ability to have flavours transported from grinds to cup (which is what Co2 does) is so diminished, the coffee is pretty much dead.
However; I'm wondering if you're confusing the Co2 issues I demonstrated in the Espresso Evaluation article with something I've seen in certain types of beans - namely monsooned malabar (and others). Do you know what Cafe Rebellion puts into their blend? I'm gonna bet there's some malabar in there. It tends to have a real "gloppy", huge crema that dissipates pretty fast, no matter how young or old the beans are. What's the texture like on the crema - does it look like a velvety mousse, or more like a dried mousse?
fungua_mlango Senior Member Joined: 12 Sep 2007 Posts: 11 Location: Michigan Expertise: I love coffee
Espresso: Solis sl70 Grinder: Ascaso I-2 Drip: Aeropress Aerobie
Posted Thu Oct 18, 2007, 6:22pm Subject: Re: Espresso being too fresh? (split off from the Establishing Espresso thread)
To clarify, I am using a non-pressurized filter basket (given the adamant and definitely sound suggestion in the detailed review of the Solis SL 70) and have played quite a bit w/ the grind settings on my Ascaso I-2.
Yes, Cafe Rebelion uses one-way valves on their 5lb bags. When it was shipped I don't remember it being full of Co2 in a way like you mention you've seen in near explosive 49th's bags.
Your last point I suspect is my problem. I do not know what they put into their blend, but the beans I know are shipped directly from Chiapas to Denver, if that tells you anything. After about a minute the crema dissipates considerably, leaving very coarse, cakey legs on the walls of the Pavina (sorry, not sure if that's an appropriate term or clear description here for crema residue on the walls after dissipation). It is more like dried mousse than velvety mousse.
Thanks for the response and thought on this. One last point (and I have just listened to the recent podcast on freezing green beans, not the one previous to it on freezing roasted beans) - I was dumping about 1/2-3/4 a lb. of beans into the hopper and freezing the remaining of the 5lb bag....Now that coffee is almost gone and given this helpful article, I'm going to order around to try other beans too.
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