TheRealScubaSteve Senior Member Joined: 22 Feb 2014 Posts: 97 Location: Massachusetts Expertise: Just starting
Espresso: Delonghi EC155 Grinder: Baratza Encore
Posted Sun Feb 23, 2014, 6:46pm Subject: Re: Sugar + Espresso = Sour
Dose weight: 13-14g
Shot time: 25-35 seconds typically. I try to look at the color more so than the time. If i remember correctly my really nice Redbird shot was in 28 or 29 seconds.
Volume: I shoot for 1.75-2 oz.
Final weight: Never measured. Will have to see if my digital gunpowder scale will work with that much weight (it works fine for weighing coffee). Is a scale super important to become proficient in espresso?
When were the beans roasted? Fair Mountain Espresso Blend/Ethiopian Yirgacheffe 2/17/14 What kind and what brand of sugar? Splenda Have you tried a different sugar? No, but I will. Do you smoke cigaretts? No
Could you not just purge some water to heat the group up? Around 200mL should be plenty to heat up that section.
While you are dosing in the "traditional" 14 g for a double range, a lot of people find that they like more coffee in the PF. I prefer a dose of 18 g for a 2 oz double.
You can do something with the temp of your machine, the process is called temp surfing. It is timing the shot based on the heater light and the temp swings of the boiler.
Your coffee will be on the bright side, more than I care for, a Yeagerchief is a very bright coffee, I prefer a Sumatra for SO and most often an espresso blend such as Klatch WBC or House blend, Redbird or Jaguar from redbird, Kean espresso blend southern roast profile.
You may try REAL sugar rather than artificial sweetener, they are not really sweet but fool your taste buds to THINK sweet. There may be a reaction between the coffee and the artificial sweetener that no longer fools your taste buds.
While a good enough grinder for other than espresso use, the Encore is not up to the job for espresso, this may also be part of your problem.
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!
First, I was grinding Redbird at setting 10-11 on the Encore which was admittedly probably not fine enough, but I found it easier to control a light tamp this way. This setting yielded a "blind" dose (just filling the basket and smoothing rather than measuring every time) of 13-14g. At setting 9-10 on the Encore with Fair Mountain Espresso blend, I measured and was astounded that the dose was only 10g! Is this normal for different coffee/roasts to vary so much, particularly with a finer grind?
I measured out 14g on the scale and had to pile it up and lightly pack it down into the basket for it to even fit. I figured I'd not have a good extraction this way because with a firmer tamp it clogs the cheap machine. As expected, the extraction was terrible - about 12 seconds to first drip. I let it run through just to try and cut it off at 33 seconds or so.
Color was noticeably darker, starting as a deep dark chocolate and finishing as a golden caramel color. Taste was surprisingly better - much smoother with no discernible bitters or sours. Very much more pungent due to a 4g higher dose. Not quite to my taste, but I am still learning to adapt from having been a brainwashed Starbucks coffee drinker.
I did try adding sugar rather than Splenda and did not get any sour notes that I had previously with the fake stuff. I'd like to test this again in the coming days with what I didn't realize was a 10g dose with the new beans and see if real sugar still alleviates the sour flavors.
As far as temp surfing, I've read a few posts on how its done, but found myself confused since the EC155 seems like a different process. I need to purchase a thermometer so that I can start to learn about this.
"But it is not a perfect world and none of us are god-shots. As for me, I am a little over extracted and therefore slightly bitter and my crema is thin..." -Buckley
Good to hear that you're experimenting and getting closer to a good shot on such a machine.
The difference in dose between the 2 coffees could be because of a few things, freshness, weight of beans in the hopper, the amount of coffee stuck in the neck of the grinder, grind setting or consistancy of the method of grinding (ie. tapping).
Obviously a 12 second wait for the first drop is a bit much, it should be between 5 & 9 seconds, depending on the machine, pre-infusion & freshness of the beans.
Sounds like the shot was over extracted, it depends on the volume that came through.
I would suggest a target volume of around 30-40mL for a dose of 14 grams, at 28-30 seconds & a final weight of 22 grams. This would yield as close as possible to the almost standard 1:1.5 brew ratio, at 1:1.57, or a brew % of 63%, as close as you can get to the almost standard 64%.
Of course this is just a starting point and should be adjusted to taste.
To work out the brew ratio, just divide the shot weight by the dose, eg. 28/18, to work out the %, simply divide the dose by the shot weight, eg. 18/28
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