tharidla Senior Member Joined: 3 Feb 2009 Posts: 20 Location: London Expertise: I love coffee
Espresso: Gaggia Classic Grinder: Iberital MC2
Posted Tue Feb 3, 2009, 10:25am Subject: Illy coffee-is it crap?
Hi, another espresso newbie trying to get my head round the perfect shot!
My experience so far:
Bought gaggia classic on ebay, used Lavazza black pre-ground, AWFUL TASTE! Very very sour. Undrinkable. made me think something was wrong with the machine.
Did research, purchased Iberital MC2 grinder, instantly much better results! With a bit of practice was getting 2 oz in approx 25 secs, fat layer of crema. No bitterness or sourness. This was with Whittard of Chelsea 'After dinner' blend, very very dark beans. Actually, black. Espresso good but very strong with caffiene kick like a mule-a few sleepless nights after a 6pm espresso!
Decided to treat myself to a tin of Illy coffee-pretty much the most expensive in England. £5.26 for 250g! I guess that's approx $10 in the States. I'd heard a lot about it so was expecting something good.
Had to spend a while adjusting the grind-at first was getting nothing save a few pathetic drips, then pouring too fast etc. This morning had my first 25 second pour, but the results very disappointing. The sourness has returned, but not as bad as with the Lavazza preground. It's drinkable but not enjoyable. By now I've used up 3/4 of the tin calibrating the grind!
Any idea what's causing the sourness? Should it take that long to adjust the grind?
Also, I'm wondering if I'm using too much coffee. It seems like I use a lot of beans for a double shot, although if I use any less the espresso flows to fast and is somewhat insipid. I'm tamping fairly hard-harder than I see guys in coffee bars tamping but pretty sure not harder than 30lb.
Rancilio Senior Member Joined: 12 Dec 2008 Posts: 422 Location: New Jersey Expertise: I like coffee
Espresso: Giotto Premium Grinder: Mazzer Mini Roaster: Back to Basics Popcorn...
Posted Tue Feb 3, 2009, 11:01am Subject: Re: Illy coffee-is it crap?
Hey Tharidla, I don't think you're using the wrong amount of coffee for a double coffee shot, but in my opinion I think you're using the wrong coffee. First of all any coffee you buy in the bag or in a can off your local store's shelf, either is whole beans or ground coffee most likely is already steal. Lavazza, Illy or any others you don't really know how long that coffee has been inside the bag or can.
If you really want to taste freshly roasted coffee, and experience what fresh coffee really smells and tastes like, you have to buy it from a local coffee roaster company or roast it yourself as many of us do here at coffeegeek.com. Mr.T
Posted Tue Feb 3, 2009, 12:40pm Subject: Re: Illy coffee-is it crap?
I heartily concur with Rancilio on the coffee. Illy may be a huge name, but I wouldn't bother with them unless I were in Trieste. Everywhere outside Italy, you may assume Italian beans are DOA. A local roaster who understands espresso freaks, who puts the roasting date (not a sell-by date) on the bag, and sells a day or two after roasting -- that's what you need! Proper fresh coffee is a lot easier to work with, too!
philosogeek Senior Member Joined: 21 Sep 2007 Posts: 448 Location: Northborough, MA Expertise: I like coffee
Espresso: Livia 90 Semi-Auto Grinder: Mazzer SJ, Maestro Vac Pot: Yama 8 and 3 cup Drip: Pour over, Clever coffee... Roaster: Behmor
Posted Tue Feb 3, 2009, 12:55pm Subject: Re: Illy coffee-is it crap?
The Illy topic has been covered so I figured I'd address one of the other things you mentioned. When I first got my machine (and didn't have a scale), I thought I was tamping a little hard but about 30 pounds. Then, when I got a scale, I discovered I was giving about a 50lb tamp. Moral, if you think you're going a little too hard, you might be going way too hard. Address the bean issue first, but I figured I'd share my personal experience with another variable in the equation.
Posted Tue Feb 3, 2009, 2:14pm Subject: Re: Illy coffee-is it crap?
ILLY: whole bean in a can is good for about the first eight or ten hours after opening the can. The second day after opening it tastes like it is 6 months old. £5.26 for 250g works out to about $13.80 USD/lb. if i can still do math.
TAMPING: anything between about 15 and 50 pounds of tamping force ends up with about the same results. If you NEED to tamp very lightly or very hard, you have other problems for which you are unknowingly compensating. As long as you are tamping level, and the tamper is a decent fit in the basket, it should be fine.
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