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Dialing In - One coffee at a time?
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Markarian
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Markarian
Joined: 27 Jun 2012
Posts: 658
Location: Seattle Area
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: ECM Technika IV Profi WT-WC
Grinder: Baratza Forte AP, HG One
Vac Pot: Bunn Trifecta MB
Drip: Moka, Aeropress, Hario V60
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Wed Feb 20, 2013, 1:25pm
Subject: Dialing In - One coffee at a time?
 

So I may have discovered a rather boneheaded flaw in my routine that may have caused me hours of headache and pounds of wasted beans. In reading all the posts on here and seeing clues like "separate grinder for decaf," I came to the conclusion that most of you will use one type of coffee at a time, use it up, then dial in for the next bag, and so on. Because I love variety, I'm switching between single-origin light roasts to medium roast blends in the same session, wondering why I can't get any consistency, even though I'm trying to redail for each roast. So I think I may have found my problem in not getting one type, dialing in, and sticking with it. Is this accurate?

Also, I've noticed that my first shot of the morning always seems to choke the machine on a grind setting that was fine the evening before (this is especially true for Tanzanian Peaberry, which is my favorite). Is this normal and how should I compensate for this? Sometimes, I need to re-learn the basics to get back on track.
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JasonBrandtLewis
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JasonBrandtLewis
Joined: 9 Dec 2005
Posts: 6,476
Location: Berkeley, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Elektra T1 - La Valentina -...
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Drip: CCD, Chemex
Roaster: No, no, not another...
Posted Wed Feb 20, 2013, 1:31pm
Subject: Re: Dialing In - One coffee at a time?
 

Markarian Said:

So I think I may have found my problem in not getting one type, dialing in, and sticking with it. Is this accurate?

Posted February 20, 2013 link

No.  Not really.  What you describe is how I make coffee -- going through several pounds of "X" before switching over and going through several pounds of "Y" -- but many others "single-dose" and will have a number of different beans (SO's and blends) available.

Markarian Said:

Also, I've noticed that my first shot of the morning always seems to choke the machine on a grind setting that was fine the evening before (this is especially true for Tanzanian Peaberry, which is my favorite). Is this normal and how should I compensate for this? Sometimes, I need to re-learn the basics to get back on track.

Posted February 20, 2013 link

It is normal to need to adjust the grind as the beans age, and -- depending upon grinder and other equipment, as well as volume and emotional dedication -- throughout the course of the day in, say, a busy coffee house.

 
A morning without coffee is sleep . . .
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D4F
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Joined: 15 Mar 2012
Posts: 2,038
Location: USA
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic PID
Grinder: Baratza Forte-AP
Posted Wed Feb 20, 2013, 1:33pm
Subject: Re: Dialing In - One coffee at a time?
 

I have a significant change from Stumptown Hairbender to Redbird Blue Jaguar.  I have learned to clear the grinder completely and reset on Preciso.  Is is enough difference to totally change the espresso volume/time.  Redbird decaf to Redbird Espresso was the same way for me.  So, I do not change back and forth.  That is just beans change and does not account for moisture/humidity, how long frozen ...

 
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calblacksmith
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calblacksmith
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Espresso: ECM Vene. A1, La Cimbali M32
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Roaster: gave it a try, decided no
Posted Wed Feb 20, 2013, 1:48pm
Subject: Re: Dialing In - One coffee at a time?
 

Like Jason, I stay with one coffee for a while at a time.
I do have multiple grinders though so if I need to add a SO or something, I do not mess up the settings on my main grinder.
It is normal to need to make small adjustments all the time and quite often the change from one bean to another will take a few tries to get it right so you will use extra coffee switching. Sometimes, grinders like the Vario are better at this as they are stepped and fairly repeatable with settings so once you get one coffee dialed in, write it on the bag or where ever so you get close the next time.... provided it is not too long between uses.

My grinders are stepless and small changes make a difference so to switch with these grinder can be a pain, thus my staying with one coffee at a time.

 
In real life, my name is
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Anything I post is personal opinion and is only worth as much as anyone else's personal opinion. YMMV!

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Coffeenoobie
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Coffeenoobie
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Posted Wed Feb 20, 2013, 1:50pm
Subject: Re: Dialing In - One coffee at a time?
 

I stay on one kind at a time then move to another.  Maybe you should get a hand grinder for the one off coffees.

 
Coffeenoobie

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JonR10
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JonR10
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Posted Wed Feb 20, 2013, 2:19pm
Subject: Re: Dialing In - One coffee at a time?
 

I change coffees frequently, and often pull shots with more than one coffee during a session.  I just changed my grinder setting a bit coarser yesterday, it was the first grinder adjustment I've made in over 6 months....and that was because I decided to switch baskets, not because of the coffees.  

But I have a large conical grinder that is probably more forgiving than a smaller planar grinder.  

Still, the reason I don't change grind settings is because I usually adjust the dose to get the flow I want.  This is especially easy with the VSt baskets because they are so dose-sensitive.  Changing by 1/2 a gram can make a huge difference in a VST.  

And - even with other baskets - changing dose is one tool we have to alter the extraction of an espresso shot.  I don't know why your first shot acts differently, but maybe try using a slightly smaller dose early in the day and see if that helps.

 
Jon Rosenthal
Houston, TX
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Markarian
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Markarian
Joined: 27 Jun 2012
Posts: 658
Location: Seattle Area
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: ECM Technika IV Profi WT-WC
Grinder: Baratza Forte AP, HG One
Vac Pot: Bunn Trifecta MB
Drip: Moka, Aeropress, Hario V60
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Wed Feb 20, 2013, 2:52pm
Subject: Re: Dialing In - One coffee at a time?
 

That's a really interesting factor I keep forgetting is dosage. I have the Ridgeless VST 18g, as well as a Ridged 22g I got from Helen (that I haven't tried out yet), and I have a Vario-W so I have no excuse not to dose differently if so called for. I always dose at 18.7g no matter what coffee I'm using because I'm always worried any less coffee will put me at higher risk for channeling, which is probably silly. Is that a lot for a VST 18? On my next session in an hour two I'll try dosing a gram less and see what happens. Should I be dosing higher or lower for darker or lighter roasts? I'm pulling doubles and don't want early blonding, but its very tricky to avoid that with the Peaberry, I've found. Thanks for all the suggestions, everyone.
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Markarian
Senior Member
Markarian
Joined: 27 Jun 2012
Posts: 658
Location: Seattle Area
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: ECM Technika IV Profi WT-WC
Grinder: Baratza Forte AP, HG One
Vac Pot: Bunn Trifecta MB
Drip: Moka, Aeropress, Hario V60
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Wed Feb 20, 2013, 4:11pm
Subject: Re: Dialing In - One coffee at a time?
 

Another thing I should add is my technique. When I dose 18.7g, I mean I dose 18.7g and ALL of that coffee ends up in the puck. I don't level or brush coffee off the top. I just slowly push it down, nutate, and give it a firm tamp.
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Coffeenoobie
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Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 3,052
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Wed Feb 20, 2013, 4:56pm
Subject: Re: Dialing In - One coffee at a time?
 

I think the VST baskets are +- 1 gram

So:
17-19 =18g
19-21 =20 g
21-23=22g

 
Coffeenoobie

Buying advice: GRINDER GRINDER GRINDER. Don't cheap out on the grinder.

My coffee treasure map...
Click Here (maps.google.com)

Oscar trick out: http://s156.photobucket.com/user/GandBteam/story/14231
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Markarian
Senior Member
Markarian
Joined: 27 Jun 2012
Posts: 658
Location: Seattle Area
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: ECM Technika IV Profi WT-WC
Grinder: Baratza Forte AP, HG One
Vac Pot: Bunn Trifecta MB
Drip: Moka, Aeropress, Hario V60
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Wed Feb 20, 2013, 5:42pm
Subject: Re: Dialing In - One coffee at a time?
 

Okay, so I changed my standard dose to 17.7g from 18.7g and immediately started getting more consistent shots. Also, I think that Peaberry is REALLY difficult to dial in and, as much as I love drinking it, it's a poor choice for using to dial in my grinder. With the new dose I'm getting tasty three-layered shots with tons of crema and long, stripey cones in exactly 30 seconds with my Panache Kona Blend, so that's telling me that my technique shouldn't be at fault here, but rather it's probably the beans. Of course, we know Oscar is behaving himself so no worries there ;-)
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