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Confused about shot quality.
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Discussions > Espresso > Q and A > Confused about...  
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trevormc
Senior Member
trevormc
Joined: 11 Jul 2013
Posts: 25
Location: Cape Town, South Africa
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Thu Jul 11, 2013, 8:45am
Subject: Confused about shot quality.
 

Hi all,

Firstly if this in the wrong place, I apologize, and please feel free to move it. Thanks :-)

Here's my equipment list:

Gaggia Carezza - with OPV
Casadio Deko grinder (brand new)
Naked portafilter
VST 17gm basket.

I'm grinding, WDT, settling with light tapping, 30lb pressure tamp + polish.
Running a flush through the system until light turns off.
I can only grind 16gms before it touches the shower filter during extraction.

I'm not getting any channel pin holes in the puck. The shot tastes good (in milk).
When extracting, the pressure is 9.5 bar. Now I'm not sure if this is due to the grind or the setting, because the previous beans were at 9 bar, and these new beans I had to grind finer to keep within a timed window..

I'm pulling 1.5oz in 30 seconds, but I am aiming for more of a ristretto type shot.

Beans are fresh, from a very good roastery that I trust.

My pour out the filter isn't perfect.. it dribbles around for a bit but does eventually centre itself after about 15 seconds.
Colour is good until about 22 seconds, when it seems to lose colour to o  blonde, thin and watery by 30 seconds.
I just feel that surely it should stay darker longer, and not blonde so quickly?
I'm using a 2 part blend from Panama, but other blends have done the same.

Have a look at the picture and tell me what you think?
The creama color is a mid tone brown.

Is there anything you can recommend I do differently to keep more color longer during the pull?

trevormc: Cape Town-20130710-00236~01.jpg
(Click for larger image)
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calblacksmith
Moderator
calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,722
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 Jul 11, 2013, 11:28am
Subject: Re: Confused about shot quality.
 

Hello and welcome.

Every shot will go lighter as it progresses, as beans age, you will need to grind finer to maintain the time in the pull and all beans need to be adjusted for what they are, the grind can change in as little as an hour under the right conditions.

I avoid the polish, the less the coffee is messed with, the less of a chance to develop channels there is. If you are not getting an even showing of coffee through the basket but it starts in one place and eventually fills out, most likely you may have small channels in that spot but as the coffee swells, they are filled and the flow moves through the puck.

Not every shot is perfect, I could nit pick about something on just about every shot I pull but I still keep trying to do better next time.

I do not know anything about that grinder, perhaps someone who does will chime in. A lot of grinders have espresso labels for settings but they do not have a hope of ever grinding for a great shot. I am not saying that is true of your grinder, I know nothing about it, I am just making a general statement.

Also avoid tapping, for the same reason as the polish.

As your max load of grounds is only 16g, you may be getting the best that can be had. More grounds will yield more espresso. You may need to just stop pulling sooner. Time is not carved in stone but it is a guidline to get you some place close to adjust from.

 
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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trevormc
Senior Member
trevormc
Joined: 11 Jul 2013
Posts: 25
Location: Cape Town, South Africa
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Fri Jul 12, 2013, 4:46am
Subject: Re: Confused about shot quality.
 

Thank you for your welcome and advice.

I will try not to polish, or tap. I was only tapping the to settle the grinds before tamping down. Is this still not advised?

The grinder would be around the $300-400 mark. It's a brand new one from Casadio (made by La cimbali).
So far I'm very impressed with it. (compared to me Skelton, it's 100x better)
Here's a review of it:

Click Here (translate.googleusercontent.com)

I'm also thinking that I'm getting the most out of 16gm's
Perhaps I should get the 21gm VST basket then? Or will I end up having too much middle shot, and not enough 3rd part to balance it?

What do you feel is a good pressure to pull at? 9 bar exactly, or is 9.5 ok?
My pallet is not yet refined enough to taste too much difference.. besides I need to pull consistent shots anyway.
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calblacksmith
Moderator
calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,722
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 Fri Jul 12, 2013, 5:59am
Subject: Re: Confused about shot quality.
 

Shot prep is a personal thing, I mess with the coffee as little as possible but if you are more comfortable trying to settle the grounds first, well it is your coffee!

My personal history, for me, the less I do (I don't WDT either) the better my shots. My grinder is an auto dosing, demand grinder, I simply push the micro switch with the PF, let the grinder grind then dose into my PF. I level the coffee dose with the side of my brush handle, tamp, brush loose grounds from the side rim of the PF then lock and pull.

The grinder you link to seems OK but as I have never used or even seen one, you are a much better authority on it than I am!

 
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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emradguy
Senior Member
emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 3,038
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Duetto II; Twist v2
Grinder: M Major, Macap M4 x2, VDD...
Drip: Espro presses; Aeropress
Roaster: H-B "List of Favorites"
Posted Fri Jul 12, 2013, 9:25am
Subject: Re: Confused about shot quality.
 

I agree with Wayne's (calblacksmith) comments (both posts).  I'd like to add that to me, the color of your espresso in the photo (not the crema, but underneath it) looks watery.  Perhaps that's due to the PC I'm using right now?  or photo quality, or lighting, or?  Or perhaps it's because you're overextracting?  Based on this and your comments, I'd suggest re-dialing in your shot.  Tighten the grind fineness until you choke the machine, then back off little by little until your shots are coming out the way you want.

for some great reading on shot prep, etc take a look at www.espressomyespresso.com Specifically, Article 12 under how to, Easy Guide to Better Espresso at Home

.

 
.
Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
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D4F
Senior Member


Joined: 15 Mar 2012
Posts: 2,005
Location: USA
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic PID
Grinder: Baratza Forte-AP
Posted Fri Jul 12, 2013, 12:26pm
Subject: Re: Confused about shot quality.
 

I use about 17 - 17.5 gms in a double basket.  I tried different doses until I got in all that I could without hitting the screen, just a touch of the central screw, on the wet puck.  That said, I use a tap to settle the grounds as I would lose some by leveling first.  The remainder as suggested, especially the espressomyespresso read.

The Carezza does not come with OPV and I assume it was added since you noted its use.

I think many the Gaggia users have gone away from a flush.  The boiler is about 105 ml and a flush is about 10 cc/sec so you can do the math, but it takes a fairly large temperature swing to turn on the heaters.  It is difficult to know the temperature once you have added cold water.  You get a fairly unsteady state with the small boiler and just having the heaters running does not solve that.

There is a lot of temperature info in the first half of the thread below, both with and without PID.  There is good temperature info and how to determine that with an inexpensive digital thermometer using the thermometer on the boiler and Styrofoam cup.  Since your title is about shot quality, I threw in the temperature info :)

http://coffeegeek.com/forums/espresso/machinemods/571792

Some interesting shot volume information on the thread following.  Not hard rules as you use volume and extraction to taste.  I aim for about 30 - 35 gms in about 25 seconds, again taste dependent and somewhat bean mix dependent.

Click Here (www.home-barista.com)

 
D4F also at
http://www.gaggiausersgroup.com/
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Frost
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Frost
Joined: 26 Jul 2007
Posts: 2,085
Location: Sierra
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Isomac Venus
Grinder: Lelit PL53
Roaster: Poppery I w/variac, MET, BT
Posted Tue Jul 16, 2013, 7:42pm
Subject: Re: Confused about shot quality.
 

If the shot starts to blonde at 22 seconds, stop it at 23 or 24, not 30 seconds.  Volume too low? Adjust the grind to get your 1.5 ounce in 24 seconds instead of 30. Changing the grind should move the blonde point out a bit too. Work with it.
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trevormc
Senior Member
trevormc
Joined: 11 Jul 2013
Posts: 25
Location: Cape Town, South Africa
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Tue Jul 16, 2013, 10:11pm
Subject: Re: Confused about shot quality.
 

Thank you all for your advice!
I haven't had much chance since the weekend to make coffee, but hopefully I will soon.

Frost: Thank you, I guess I just need to stop worrying about volume, and more about colour. I just don't want to end up with a single in 24 seconds, instead of a double.

I've tried dosing straight into the filter, and tamping at 30lbs.. and I've tried levelling with my finger as much as I can (don't get a full basket at 16gm's) and then tamping.
At the same time, I've dropped the pressure to 9 bar when extracting.. well the 1st shot tasted rubbish, and didn't pull well at all.. and the 2nd one hit the sink..

I'm tamping as level as I can.
So I'm going to go back to settling the grind with a bit of WDT and tapping the whole PF on the counter lightly until the grinds settle.. and see if it does improves anything?

"For a machine equipped with the adjustment and a gage, the actual adjustment procedure will vary. Some machines read the pressure a long distance before the brewhead and so the pressure at the coffee will generally be less due to friction loss through the brew path. Since around 9BAR (135 PSI) is the recommended brewing pressure for espresso, setting the pressure at the gauge to about 9.5 bar is a good place to start" - This makes a lot of sense now actually, as this describes my situation.
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pstam
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pstam
Joined: 27 Jan 2004
Posts: 2,348
Location: Beijing
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: ECM, SAN MARCO, EURO 2000
Grinder: MAZZER
Vac Pot: YES
Drip: YES
Roaster: YES, HOME STYLE
Posted Wed Jul 17, 2013, 5:46am
Subject: Re: Confused about shot quality.
 

Just adjust your grinder courser and add some more grounds, you'll get it.

 
Peter in Beijing
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I am looking for the way and the place to extend our trainning courses.
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jonr
Senior Member


Joined: 25 Jun 2013
Posts: 295
Location: Americas
Expertise: I like coffee
Posted Wed Jul 17, 2013, 6:12am
Subject: Re: Confused about shot quality.
 

I wouldn't use any flush on a small boiler mounted to group, non HE system*.   You might try 4 seconds of steam switch just before the shot to add a little heat to account for incoming water.  If you still aren't happy with the temperature control, then you can add PID control to get very good performance.

With an adjusted OPV, pressure control should be as good as any other machine (not counting the one with programmable pressure profiles).

Good coffee/roast, good grind/dose/tamp and then proper temp and pressure and you should be close.


  • - But when I first turn on the system, I make sure that water is ready to flow (ie, a few drops of flush) - no sense in having extra air in an already small boiler.
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