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myounder
Senior Member


Joined: 29 Jan 2013
Posts: 4
Location: Toronto
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Tue Jan 29, 2013, 10:27am
Subject: I'm new here and think I can learn a lot, starting with these questions....
 

Hello forum, I'm new to coffeegeek.com but not new to espresso making.   I have a Saeco machine (Starbucks branded), de-pressurized portafilter and presently, I'm almost through a tin of Illy ground espresso.  I've had this setup for a while but only recently modified my portafilter.  I plan to go deep on lots of topics a little later, but for now, I have three basic questions:

  1. I understand a shot of espresso to be 1 oz.  What's the standard amount of ground coffee I need for this?  I bought a scoop which holds about half a Ping-Pong ball worth of ground coffee.  I've been using this measure, leveled off, for each serving.  I don't have scale that measures grams - maybe later.

  2. What's the standard tamp pressure that should be used?

  3. What's the standard brew time for each shot?

Now, I know it's hard to define standards in espresso making.  So maybe they're not any easy answers to the above questions.  If so, I'm happy with guidelines.  I plan to get a grinder someday but for now, I'll be using packaged ground beans.

Thanks a lot team!
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diggi
Senior Member
diggi
Joined: 28 Nov 2011
Posts: 383
Location: Halifax, NS
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Spaz vivaldi S1 V2
Grinder: B Vario, OE LIDO
Drip: Chemex, Espro Press,...
Roaster: Poppery I
Posted Tue Jan 29, 2013, 4:13pm
Subject: Re: I'm new here and think I can learn a lot, starting with these questions....
 

Welcome.

myounder Said:

I understand a shot of espresso to be 1 oz.  What's the standard amount of ground coffee I need for this?  I bought a scoop which holds about half a Ping-Pong ball worth of ground coffee.  I've been using this measure, leveled off, for each serving.  I don't have scale that measures grams - maybe later.

Posted January 29, 2013 link

Old standards were 14g doubles. That is now changed to significant updosing in the 21g range max(ish); most are 16-19g

myounder Said:

What's the standard tamp pressure that should be used?

Posted January 29, 2013 link

The old standard is 30lbs. Now more emphasis is placed on consistency than exact pressure. The most important issue is that it is the same each time, not what the absolute pressure is.

myounder Said:

What's the standard brew time for each shot?

Posted January 29, 2013 link

Varies. 24-33sec likely. Most probably 25-28sec or so for starters.

myounder Said:

I plan to get a grinder someday...

Posted January 29, 2013 link

That is a necessary step. Most don't even recommend trying to make espresso unless you have a grinder capable of choking your machine, and with enough steps to make the necessary adjustments. The issue with your questions above about dose and time, is that you are limited entirely by that random grind  of the espresso you have purchased. Also it is too old to use even as soon as the tin is opened and adjustments to shot time are impossible.  Even a hand grinder would be a necessary change to your current gear, unless you find you are making drinkable shots; but they would all be sink shots for >99% of people on this forum without a grinder. Good luck.
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calblacksmith
Moderator
calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,864
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 Wed Jan 30, 2013, 1:26pm
Subject: Re: I'm new here and think I can learn a lot, starting with these questions....
 

Espresso made with pre ground coffee = SWILL
YOU MUST HAVE A GRINDER TO MAKE ESPRESSO.

 
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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Jmanespresso
Senior Member
Jmanespresso
Joined: 18 Jan 2009
Posts: 2,109
Location: Westchester NY
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Alex Duetto II
Grinder: Compak K10 - Vario
Vac Pot: Yama-SY5/SY8/TCA5
Drip: V60, Beehouse, CCD
Roaster: Hottop B
Posted Fri Feb 1, 2013, 3:59pm
Subject: Re: I'm new here and think I can learn a lot, starting with these questions....
 

calblacksmith Said:

Espresso made with pre ground coffee = SWILL
YOU MUST HAVE A GRINDER TO MAKE ESPRESSO.

Posted January 30, 2013 link

If you do not buy a grinder, you will never be able to make espresso worth drinking.


Right now, with pre-ground illy, I can guarantee that you can barely tolerate the espresso straight, IF you dont immediately spit it out completely.  MAYYYBE the first day after you pull that tab on the can, you can make shots that are drinkable.  With the whole bean Illy, Ive made some quite tasty shots minutes after popping the lid.  But, you've got pre-ground, so even in that first two hours where the Illy will taste decent, you can't even properly dial in a shot because its already been ground for you.  (oh, those Illy beans /Ive mae tasty shots with?  Whole bean, medium roast.  Pop the top and grind/pull as fast as possible.  Quite tasty, Id love to have the ability to get Illy freshly roasted.  But, I kid you not, within ten, fifteen minutes, I could see the shots deteriorating, and the taste going stale and bitter.  Literally, one hour after I pulled the lid open, the shots looked as if I had roasted the coffee 6 months prior.  Which, thats when they were roasted.)

Supoermarket pre-ground, vaccumed bricks, etc etc, this will all be the same, or worse.  Let me tell you, as delicous and scrumptious as espresso is, BAD is espresso is so exceedingly vile that most people cannot stomach it, and those that can, barely can.  However, Espresso made from a blend of coffees that have been roasted by an Artisan with care and precision, and used to make the espresso about 7 days after it was roasted, and if the shot is pulled correctly...  Oh my.  YUou have never had something so amazing.  It is liquid ground coffee.  It tastes as delcious as it looks, and it FEELS as good as it looks.


GRINDER IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN THE MACHINE.  I would much rather have your current machine(entry level, but capable) and a Mazzer Robur(Over 2grand), then a La Marzocco GS/3($5500-6500, and coveted by most) and a Capresso Infinity($70-80).  Why?  Because the shots from the Robur will SMACK the life out the shots from the GS/3 Infinity combo.

You can get a hand grinder, like the Hario Skerton, and that will get you going.  If you want an electric grinder, you're looking at a BARE MINIMUM of $250 for a capable grinder.  And it goes way up from there.


Also.  Coffee.  Illy is stale.  The FIRST day you open the can, it will appear to be fresh, because they nitrogen pack the grounds/beans.  But after about one day, the beans that have been oxygen starved for as much as 2 years in that can, will be just as stale as they actually are.  You will never get repeatable results with Illy.  Much more importantly, you will ONLY RARELY get a tasty shot from it.

Buy your coffee from an Artisan Roaster, online.  They will roast your coffee to order, and send it out to you so that you recieve the coffee in 2-4days.  This is important because, from the time coffee is roasted, you only have 14days to enjoy what is has to offer.  After about 2 weeks(give or take a few days), all of the flavor, oils, aromas and delicious-ness has left the coffee forever.  What you have left is rancid oil, and stale, lifeless beans.  You might as well grind up wood pencils and brew with that, thats how similar it is.


I can say with all the confidence I have, I will stake any reputation I may on it, that if you keep your current machine, and buy the following items, you will be able to make espresso that is so delicous, so rich, so decadent, that sending over 2K on a grinder and $6k on a La Marzocco GS3 wont sound insane, it will sound smart!

Purchase these:

Hario Skerton Hand Grinder

53mm Tamper

And I noticed your in Toronto so you'll need a Canadian Roaster so it gets to you in 2-4days...

Social Coffee&Tea-I suggest starting with the Peoples Daily or Farmers Collective blends, and moving on from there.


Best of luck on your adventure!

 
Follow Your Bliss

Coffee makes your constantly overcome your prejudices and re-evaluate your own "received wisdoms" when it comes to judging cup flavors. -Tom Owen, SweetMarias
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myounder
Senior Member


Joined: 29 Jan 2013
Posts: 4
Location: Toronto
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Fri Feb 1, 2013, 6:15pm
Subject: Re: I'm new here and think I can learn a lot, starting with these questions....
 

Wow, thanks for all the info.  And clearly, passion...  Yes, I will get a grinder soon.  I saw a Gaggia MDF grinder for sale in a local shop for $199 which judging by some other posts I've read, is a decent machine.  As for Illy coffee, they must be doing something right given how many Illy cafes there are in Italy.  They use bigger tins of beans, feeding right into the grinder.  With Italian tastes on the line, I'm not sure how they can stay in business if their stuff is as awful after a day or two as you suggest.  Unless they go through on of those big inverted tins every few hours.  And there are lots of busy cafes in Toronto that serve Illy too, out of the tin/grinder at the bar.  Clearly, Illy is a mass market brand though - no question about that.  But to think all those café customers in Italy willingly drinking stale coffee?  I dunno...  Happy to get a debate going on this.
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Buckley
Senior Member


Joined: 25 Jan 2011
Posts: 423
Location: Internet
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Fri Feb 1, 2013, 6:25pm
Subject: Re: I'm new here and think I can learn a lot, starting with these questions....
 

Dear Myounder,
This is only my opinion but regarding Illy: notice that all of the text is in English, except for the narrow band around the bottom and a few words of Italian on the lid top?  This is an export product to the U.S., Canada (and G.B.?).  They depend upon a combination of brand recognition and uncultured coffee drinkers (99% of North Americans) to move product.  But keep the can, it makes a good storage container for the countertop or for the freezer (put an extra band of tape around the lid joint if freezing, just for insurance.  One never sees these cans in Italy, except in export shops.
Buckley
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emradguy
Senior Member
emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 3,167
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Duetto II; Twist v2
Grinder: M Major, Macap M4, Pharos,...
Drip: Espro presses; Aeropress
Roaster: H-B "List of Favorites"
Posted Fri Feb 1, 2013, 6:26pm
Subject: Re: I'm new here and think I can learn a lot, starting with these questions....
 

It's much more simple than that.  Illy is in Italy. In North America, we get their beans loooong after they've been roasted due to shipping and all that entails. The vacuum packing they do gives the beans a narrow margin of "freshness", but once you open the cans, there's a very, very small window in which the beans are still good.

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


Joined: 29 Jan 2013
Posts: 4
Location: Toronto
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Fri Feb 1, 2013, 7:41pm
Subject: Re: I'm new here and think I can learn a lot, starting with these questions....
 

My junior member status is clearly well earned :)  I guess the forum's view on Illy whole beans in cans is equally bitter, so to speak.
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lordbaltimore
Senior Member


Joined: 27 Feb 2013
Posts: 18
Location: at the corner of 22nd and Arapahoe
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Wed Feb 27, 2013, 2:58pm
Subject: Re: I'm new here and think I can learn a lot, starting with these questions....
 

una fetta di torta
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