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Brew time:  knowing when your brew should be finished (not the typical question)
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Discussions > Espresso > General > Brew time:...  
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seasterl
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Joined: 5 Nov 2010
Posts: 110
Location: Central Florida
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: IZZO Duetto II
Grinder: Baratza Vario
Posted Thu Nov 18, 2010, 6:48pm
Subject: Brew time:  knowing when your brew should be finished (not the typical question)
 

I did a search but didn't find the answer to this question.  After I do start getting espresso, how long do I wait before I shut off the brew switch.  I started pulling my first shot tonight, and I think that if I didn't shut off the brew switch it would have just kept going until the water tank ran dry.  BTW, I first started with a grind that was too powdery that it stopped up the machine and then adjusted it so that I would get coffee.  It took me three tries, but I think I did it right.  It was dark (and shaped like the rat's tail like CCS describes) and then I got the crema.  So the question is,... how long do I let it run at this point?  Will it just stop giving me espresso or will it continue to run until I decide I have enough in my cup and I manually shut it off.
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gime2much
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Joined: 10 Dec 2004
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Location: Sunny S Fl
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: La Pavoni, Astoria comm, 2...
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Posted Thu Nov 18, 2010, 7:58pm
Subject: Re: Brew time:  knowing when your brew should be finished
 

The real answer is "when the pour starts to blond" but if someone is new to the game, it might be hard to spot that actual point just yet.

Try this: Make sure the machine is up to temperature with the empty portafilter in the grouphead which takes around 30 minutes regardless what the "ready" light tells you.

Grind 16 grams (yes you should be weighing on a cheap digital scale) into the basket and preform the WDT (description easily found on CG when searched for)

Place the basket into the portafilter and tamp once, the pressure of which matters little as long as it is level and doesn't disturb the coffee bed.

If the grind is close and the beans are fresh, the pour shouldn't go blond for 20 - 30 seconds from the time the brew switch is activated and should deliver 1 1/2 to 2 ozs.

If you get more than 2 ozs in ~25 seconds, tighten the grind down some. Much less, loosen the grind up a bit.

I know this is more than you ask for but it will make sense after you pull a few good shots.

Recap: ~16 grams...~25 seconds...~1 3/4 oz of coffee...without blonding.


About your remark "It was dark (and shaped like the rat's tail like CCS describes) and then I got the crema." If the crema you were referring to was in the cup, good on you! However if you meant the crema was coming from the portafilter spouts, that's not crema.  What you are seeing is blonding most likely due to "channeling" and the WDT will help alleviate the problem.

We might be able to offer more tips if we knew what grinder and espresso machine you are using.

Enjoy!!!

 
Dan Brewer
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seasterl
Senior Member


Joined: 5 Nov 2010
Posts: 110
Location: Central Florida
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: IZZO Duetto II
Grinder: Baratza Vario
Posted Thu Nov 18, 2010, 8:26pm
Subject: Re: Brew time:  knowing when your brew should be finished
 

Thanks very much for the info.  This is my first major upgrade (setup) for espresso making and ordered the Silvano / Vario and I use the AutoTamper.  As mentioned before, I initially had my Vario adjusted as fine as it would go on the left scale (and all the way up on the macro scale).  This choked the Silvano and I didn't get anything after about sixty seconds.  So I stopped and started over (dumped old coffee and cleaned FP and flushed it in the Silvano), dried it, adjusted the Vario and started over.  I did this a few times and ended up with the right (macro) scale still all the way up and the left lever (micro) scale all the way down.  With this setting, I used a 1/3 cup level scoop in the Vario on its new setting.  I used the finger to gently level it off and then the AutoTamper and tried again.  I allowed the PF to warm up a bit in the Silvano before I "pulled" another shot.  (This is the double-shot basket, not the single, but I was dumping into two cups.)  So after several minutes of waiting, I hit the brew switch and after a few seconds I get the dark espresso.  After about 20-30 seconds (didn't time it) I get the blonding as you describe with the blonde-colored stuff on top of what's now in the cup (what I was calling "crema" before).  So after I see the light-colored "blonding" coming out of the PF spounts, how long do I need to wait?

I forgot to mention, but I did notice a lot of clumps from my Vario as they went into my PF.  Also, the espresso was ultra bitter.

I just read the WDT method and I'll definitely being doing that from now on.  I have a bottomless PF, so I'll check myself using it.
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h3yn0w
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h3yn0w
Joined: 28 Oct 2010
Posts: 158
Location: Canada

Posted Thu Nov 18, 2010, 10:58pm
Subject: Re: Brew time:  knowing when your brew should be finished
 

A standard double espresso is around 2 ounces in 20-30 seconds. Let's call 25 seconds the average. But that's just a guideline to get you in the right ballpark, then you have to fine tune things.

If your grind is t0o fine, or tamp too hard, your extraction will be slow you will get less than 2 ounces in 25 seconds. Probably a bitter tasting shot. If your grind is too course and/or tamp too light, the extraction will be too fast and you'll get your 2 ounces in under 20 seconds. Probably a bland shot. Or bitter if channeling was the problem.

Stopping the shot by sight is the right answer. You'll want to stop your shot just before blonding, or as soon as you see it go blonde. If you get a little white circle on your crema, you got a bit of blonding but probably cut the shot close enough ( maybe a second too late).   Keep in mind that an extraction naturally gets lighter as it goes longer. The point when blonding starts can be debated or misunderstood. You might want to let a shot run really long just to see what real blonding looks like.
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SteveRhinehart
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SteveRhinehart
Joined: 27 Dec 2009
Posts: 855
Location: Syracuse, NY
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: 1970s La Pavoni Europiccola
Grinder: Baratza Vario, Hario Skerton
Vac Pot: Yama Tabletop 3-cup
Drip: Chemex, CCD, Kalita Wave,...
Roaster: Flavorwave/Stir Crazy
Posted Fri Nov 19, 2010, 5:42am
Subject: Re: Brew time:  knowing when your brew should be finished
 

Stephen,
The general rule is to stop when you see blonding. Along with other guidelines above is that you'd like the shot to run between 20-30 just before it goes blond. Volume, color and time are three common ways to assess a shot before tasting, and they all have certain roles to play, but tasting is always the most important. Even if a shot goes blond, it doesn't mean it's bad. Give it a taste anyway, and see what you think. If you decide it's too bitter (it may be, blonding occurs on the cusp of overextraction), then you'll know to stop the shot a bit earlier next time.
Here is a nice visual resource for determining what blonding is.
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gime2much
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Joined: 10 Dec 2004
Posts: 1,965
Location: Sunny S Fl
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: La Pavoni, Astoria comm, 2...
Grinder: La Pavoni Zip, Bunn...
Drip: Bunn comm
Roaster: Popcorn popper (air),co/ufo
Posted Fri Nov 19, 2010, 6:51am
Subject: Re: Brew time:  knowing when your brew should be finished
 

Sounds like it's coming along. To understand blonding try this: take 3 cups, catch the first 1/3 of the pull in cup 1,
second with cup 2 and the final 1/3 with cup 3. Just for trial make it 8 seconds in each cup. Sipping a bit of each one will show you the taste of each part of the pull.

But when you said I allowed the PF to warm up a bit in the Silvano before I "pulled" another shot.   So after several minutes of waiting, I hit the brew switch and after a few seconds I get the dark espresso. I hope you were referring to an empty portafilter. You want to start the pull immediately after inserting a loaded basket so as not to bake the grind.

 
Dan Brewer
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seasterl
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Joined: 5 Nov 2010
Posts: 110
Location: Central Florida
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: IZZO Duetto II
Grinder: Baratza Vario
Posted Fri Nov 19, 2010, 6:13pm
Subject: Brew time:  knowing when your brew should be finished (not the typical question)
 

Boy!  What a difference that WDT method makes!  This time I did things a little differently.  I first swapped out the PF holder open container on my Vario for the enclosed catch can and this helped manage the mess.  Then, after grinding 1/3 cup of beans, I shook the grounds container a little to break up the clumps.  Then I inserted my cutout yogert container (open both ends) and funnelled the grounds into the preheated PF.  I used a cleaned large, straightened paperclip and stirred the grinds inside the PF, then tamed using my AutoTamper, inserted into the grouphead and hit the brew switch immediately.  (The machine was warmed up.)  Within about thirty seconds I had an espresso for one cup and made a capaccino in the other cup.  This time I allowed it to run longer, though, just to see how it would taper off.  I did see some blonding at about the 20-25 second mark and collected about two ounces.  Taste?  Much better than last night!  There was no bitterness at all.  It's just so amazing how much difference a little care with this step makes in the cup.  Wow!  I just can't believe it.  I've got to tell all my friends now.

Question:  my puck was evenly saturated when I disposed of it.  Can I learn anything from that?  It shouldn't be dried out, should it?  I disposed of it as soon as I steamed the milk.

Okay, I'm still working on the milk preparation side of things, but hopefully that will come.  I'm following the steps on this forum by the book, along with CCS recommendation in the Silvano instructions, so I should get there soon enough.  If I get desparate, I'll start another thread if I don't find the answers from the "search" feature.  Thanks, guys!
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gime2much
Senior Member


Joined: 10 Dec 2004
Posts: 1,965
Location: Sunny S Fl
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: La Pavoni, Astoria comm, 2...
Grinder: La Pavoni Zip, Bunn...
Drip: Bunn comm
Roaster: Popcorn popper (air),co/ufo
Posted Fri Nov 19, 2010, 6:54pm
Subject: Re: Brew time:  knowing when your brew should be finished
 

seasterl Said:

 Wow!  I just can't believe it.  I've got to tell all my friends now.

Posted November 19, 2010 link

Congrats!!!


seasterl Said:

Question:  my puck was evenly saturated when I disposed of it.  Can I learn anything from that?  It shouldn't be dried out, should it?

Posted November 19, 2010 link

 

Nope...as long as it is the same after every shot. If its soupy one time and a hockey puck the next, you are not being consistent in your prep.



seasterl Said:

Thanks, guys!

Posted November 19, 2010 link

You are welcome.

 
Dan Brewer
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seasterl
Senior Member


Joined: 5 Nov 2010
Posts: 110
Location: Central Florida
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: IZZO Duetto II
Grinder: Baratza Vario
Posted Fri Nov 19, 2010, 7:07pm
Subject: Re: Brew time:  knowing when your brew should be finished
 

Hey, quick question:  A convex-shaped tamper won't help me or reduce the effects of imperfection, will it?
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gime2much
Senior Member


Joined: 10 Dec 2004
Posts: 1,965
Location: Sunny S Fl
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: La Pavoni, Astoria comm, 2...
Grinder: La Pavoni Zip, Bunn...
Drip: Bunn comm
Roaster: Popcorn popper (air),co/ufo
Posted Fri Nov 19, 2010, 7:24pm
Subject: Re: Brew time:  knowing when your brew should be finished
 

The tamper and tamping in general are the least important parts of the equation as long as it's level and doesn't disturb the puck.

It's sounds you are getting pretty serious about espresso. A bottomless portafilter will get you further than anything else right now as long as you are using fresh roasted beans from a known good roaster. With a bottomless you know immediately if there is a problem with your prep.

 
Dan Brewer
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