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FF! X5 bitter shots: styrofoam cup temp test results
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iuseastraw
Senior Member
iuseastraw
Joined: 9 May 2005
Posts: 7
Location: Syracuse, NY
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: FrancisFrancis! X5
Grinder: Mazzer Major
Drip: Capresso Thermal
Roaster: FreshRoast plus 8
Posted Fri Jun 3, 2005, 1:02pm
Subject: FF! X5 bitter shots: styrofoam cup temp test results
 

Hi all. My FF! X5 is still giving me bitter and/or sour (and I mean unpalatable) shots. We had a great result ONCE w/the X5 but all the other shots have been bitter or sour (and no, we don't remember the circumstances of our one good shot!!).

Nate has said that bitter shots are caused by three things: water too hot, overextraction, or bad beans. Cold water causes sour shots, he adds. We are home-roasting, grinding w/a Mazzer Major. Our coffee made w/our beans, ground w/the Mazzer and brewed in our Capresso Thermal machine is wonderful, so could the problem be temp? This is my attempt to rule out the water temp as the culprit.

Methodology (per phaelon56's suggestion): strofoam cup fit snugly around and covering the lip of the brewhead, digital instant-read thermometer poked through the side & into the shot; shot time was 20 seconds each pull

Results:

00 minutes     machine on
01 minutes     ready light blinks three times, then stays off
02 minutes     170.9
15 minutes     184.8
30 minutes     184.8
45 minutes     184.2
60 minutes     185.3


Thoughts?

More random details: the shots are VERY dark, which points to overextraction, but how do I fix that? ALSO, I pull the shots into small graduated shotglasses, and the left glass is always more full than the right--at 15 seconds the left glass is at 1 oz. and the right is at .25 oz and its all dark and bitter as hell! ARRRRGH!
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jim_schulman
Senior Member
jim_schulman
Joined: 19 Dec 2001
Posts: 3,772
Location: Chicago
Expertise: I live coffee
Posted Fri Jun 3, 2005, 1:25pm
Subject: Re: FF! X5 bitter shots: styrofoam cup temp test results
 

Usually this method reads about 10F lower than the actual temeprature; but even compnesating for that, your readings indicate a brew temperature at the very low end of acceptable. Try turning on the steam switch about five seconds prior to making the shot, and see if that helps. If it doesn't, focus on your technique or coffee. Coffee that taste good brewed is often horrible for espresso.

 
Jim Schulman
www.coffeecuppers.com
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iuseastraw
Senior Member
iuseastraw
Joined: 9 May 2005
Posts: 7
Location: Syracuse, NY
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: FrancisFrancis! X5
Grinder: Mazzer Major
Drip: Capresso Thermal
Roaster: FreshRoast plus 8
Posted Fri Jun 3, 2005, 1:29pm
Subject: Re: FF! X5 bitter shots: styrofoam cup temp test results
 

I'll try the steam wand trick. In the meantime, what kind of bean would be good for espresso? I've tried Sumatra at full city, columbian at city, both were terrible...
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pfonke
Senior Member


Joined: 14 Jan 2005
Posts: 81
Location: Miami
Expertise: Just starting

Espresso: FF!X3
Grinder: Nuova Simonelli MCI
Drip: Presto Scandi/Krups...
Roaster: SC/CO
Posted Fri Jun 3, 2005, 2:26pm
Subject: Re: FF! X5 bitter shots: styrofoam cup temp test results
 

iuseastraw Said:

I'll try the steam wand trick. In the meantime, what kind of bean would be good for espresso? I've tried Sumatra at full city, columbian at city, both were terrible...

Posted June 3, 2005 link

There's lots of possibilities, and I'll be watching this thread for new suggestions.  Have you considered a purpose-designed espresso blend?  Opinions will vary, but I've had great results on my X3 with Sweet Maria's Liquid Amber and Puro Scuro blends.  For a single-origin, I'm fond of Malawi Mapanga from Mitalena Coffee.

FWIW, I've had my best results on the X3 when I pull a blank shot to force the boiler to kick in, and then pull the shot as soon as the heating light goes out.  Your mileage may vary, but I'll bet you can eventually tweak your temperature with an approach like this, or by switching on the steamer at some point in the process.

Good luck!
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JonR10
Senior Member
JonR10
Joined: 26 Apr 2004
Posts: 10,376
Location: Houston, Texas
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: E61 Legend, Livietta,...
Grinder: Robur, B-Vario-W
Vac Pot: Hario Tabletop, Yama...
Drip: Technivorm
Roaster: 1-lb US Roaster, Behmor 1600
Posted Fri Jun 3, 2005, 8:11pm
Subject: Re: FF! X5 bitter shots: styrofoam cup temp test results
 

pfonke Said:

I'm fond of Malawi Mapanga from Mitalena Coffee.

Posted June 3, 2005 link

Me too!  The Malawi Mapanga makes excellent Espresso.  If you're getting some green from www.Mitalenacoffee.com I would also suggest the Yemen Matari as espresso (but let it rest at least 3 days before brewing).  While I'm talking single origin, I also like the Mexican Turquesa from www.CCMcoffee.com as well as any good Papau New Guinea or Tanzanian Peaberry.  

If you want to try blending check this thread out: "Liquid Velvet"

 
Jon Rosenthal
Houston, TX
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