iuseastraw Senior Member 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
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
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!
jim_schulman Senior Member 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.
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.
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.
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