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Making a strong latte
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Discussions > Espresso > Q and A > Making a strong...  
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emil3m
Senior Member


Joined: 14 Jan 2013
Posts: 103
Location: New York
Expertise: Just starting

Espresso: Crossland CC1
Grinder: Vario
Posted Thu Mar 28, 2013, 8:55am
Subject: Making a strong latte
 

I have never pulled a shot so I'm sure I'm going to mess up the terms and/or general concepts.
Crossland CC1 and Baratza Vario are on the way. I think the CC1 comes with a standard 58mm non-pressurized portafilter.

I like A LOT of coffee in my drink, but also some milk. 95% of the time I will be making drinks as opposed to shots. When time is of the essence I would make an Americano and add a wee-bit of milk to it (sacrilege, I know).

So my question is: how to get the maximum coffe out of a single pull?


Thank you!

 
Currently in love with Hayes Valley by Blue Bottle--locally roasted next to my house in Brooklyn
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emradguy
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emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 3,113
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Duetto II; Twist v2
Grinder: M Major, Macap M4 x2, VDD...
Drip: Espro presses; Aeropress
Roaster: H-B "List of Favorites"
Posted Thu Mar 28, 2013, 9:55am
Subject: Re: Making a strong latte
 

I don't know what you mean by a "strong latte".  Milk in espresso can be many, many things, most of which have names already based on whether it's milk, foam, both, cream, whipped cream, etc in the espresso...and the ratios.  Most commonly in the states, we see espresso, espresso macchiato (marked with foam), cappuccino (debated, but basically 1/3 espresso, 1/3 milk, 1/3 foam), latte (considerably more milk than either espresso or foam).  Cortados are becoming more popular. Based solely on the phrase strong latte, I have trouble thinking of anything other than a cappuccino. Your description further down the post also to me describes a cappuccino, or possibly even a macchiato. Anyhow, it's not sacrilegious to most here to make espresso based milk drinks.  Many of us (myself included) do it everyday.

So, you ask...

emil3m Said:

...how to get the maximum coffe out of a single pull?

Posted March 28, 2013 link

You can run the shot for 5 minutes and get more coffee out of the shot than typical, but it will definitely be undrinkable...of course, you will get the maximum coffee out of it.  What you should be asking is how to make the best, most flavorful shot possible.  To optimize the extraction, take a look at www.espressomyespresso.com Specifically, article 12, Easy Guide to Better Espresso at Home.  It's an excellent guide to improving the quality of your espresso - perhaps the best guide I've seen.

If you want a cafe americano, make your shot(s), then add hot water to it...simple as that.  Since I don't know the CC1 well, I can't say how long it would take you to prepare a cappuccino versus an americano, but I suspect it wouldn't be that different (as opposed to a Silvia, where the time difference is very noticeable).

 
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Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
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emil3m
Senior Member


Joined: 14 Jan 2013
Posts: 103
Location: New York
Expertise: Just starting

Espresso: Crossland CC1
Grinder: Vario
Posted Thu Mar 28, 2013, 10:50am
Subject: Re: Making a strong latte
 

I suspected that I would use the wrong or confusing terminology. I'll try to explain what I'm looking for in this Q and A..

The term "maximum coffee" was borrowed from watching Seattle Coffee Gear videos. That store seems to be a hit on these forums, so I figured it would be safe to borrow a term from them as it seems to speak for what I want.

They repeatedly taste lattes (holding variables constant, using different machines) and deem whether it has "a lot of coffee" in it or not (sometimes, "this one has more coffee than the other"). A latte with a lot of coffee is a "strong latte" in my opinion. Respectively, a latte that tastes more like milk would be a weak one.

Naturally, I wouldn't spend $1,000 dollars to pull water through for 5 minutes just to have "more" in quantitative terms. Flavor is fundamental and the only thing that would even bring me to this Q&A. I just want the most (quantitatively speaking) of good coffee (qualitatively speaking) that is possible to get from one pull.

Would it help if I filled the portafilter to maximum capacity and then increased the pull time by 1-2 seconds? The CC1 has a PID and programmable times for every step of the way (preinfusion and on).


I will, of course, read the article and already have saved it to my offline reader. But I was hoping that the Q&A section here would warrant some friendly, dumbed-down advice. When I help a newbie to start lifting free-weights, I do not overwhelm him with hundreds of form pointers (all legitimate)--I spoon feed him the foundation and then build on that. So please, would anyone here spoon-feed me? It would be much appreciated.

 
Currently in love with Hayes Valley by Blue Bottle--locally roasted next to my house in Brooklyn
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Burner0000
Senior Member


Joined: 28 Jul 2011
Posts: 1,082
Location: Cambridge, Ontario Canada
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Rancilio Silvia, VFA Expres...
Grinder: Macap MX/VFA N1464/Kyocera...
Drip: Manual Drip, French Press
Roaster: Behmor 1600 / Sonofresco
Posted Thu Mar 28, 2013, 11:55am
Subject: Re: Making a strong latte
 

Yay you bought the SCG bundle! :)  The most I think you can get is 24g in a triple basket.  I'd look up VST baskets and use with quad shots.  I personally won't go farther than a triple shot.  21g makes me see things in fast forward.. Not kidding.  I watch a lot of SCG videos and with some of their machines they do pulls without timing it.  I do this also at home with my Silvia.  Sometimes if I don't tamp hard enough my shot comes out a bit faster than normal but still good resulting in say a 3 oz double espresso.  This in a latte overwhelms the milk and or any flavor shots I put in.
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emil3m
Senior Member


Joined: 14 Jan 2013
Posts: 103
Location: New York
Expertise: Just starting

Espresso: Crossland CC1
Grinder: Vario
Posted Thu Mar 28, 2013, 12:16pm
Subject: Re: Making a strong latte
 

Burner0000 Said:

Yay you bought the SCG bundle! :)  The most I think you can get is 24g in a triple basket.  I'd look up VST baskets and use with quad shots.  I personally won't go farther than a triple shot.  21g makes me see things in fast forward.. Not kidding.  I watch a lot of SCG videos and with some of their machines they do pulls without timing it.  I do this also at home with my Silvia.  Sometimes if I don't tamp hard enough my shot comes out a bit faster than normal but still good resulting in say a 3 oz double espresso.  This in a latte overwhelms the milk and or any flavor shots I put in.

Posted March 28, 2013 link

Thanks! It is already being shipped. Spoke to SCG on the phone and they said I would have to buy a nude Crossland portafilter (must be Crossland) to fit a triple basket. Crossland does not make triple baskets, but the rep tried and was able to fit the Rancilio triple basket.

With that said, it's a bit of an expense. Does the double basket leave any room to maneuver in terms of adding a gram or two?

 
Currently in love with Hayes Valley by Blue Bottle--locally roasted next to my house in Brooklyn
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emradguy
Senior Member
emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 3,113
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Duetto II; Twist v2
Grinder: M Major, Macap M4 x2, VDD...
Drip: Espro presses; Aeropress
Roaster: H-B "List of Favorites"
Posted Thu Mar 28, 2013, 12:21pm
Subject: Re: Making a strong latte
 

didn't mean to dismiss you or overwhelm you, or slight you in any way.

I don't watch the SCG videos, so I don't know the terminology they use.  It sounds proprietary to me, from your description...or maybe I'm just naive?

In my opinion, shot prep is more about finding the dose that tastes best to you rather than stuffing as much as possible into the basket.  To clarify a bit, if you take, say, a 20g shot and it has a nicely balanced rich flavor profile, that doesn't mean you can stuff 22 or 24 g in the basket and get a higher volume of the same thing.  In fact, you'd be very unlikely to get a shot that is properly balanced (to your palate). When you get a chance to read through the article, you'll find there is a way to tell if you're overdosing the basket.  It's called the nickel test, and not surprisingly...involves a nickel.  You put it on the dry puck, then engage the pf handle on the group.  Then you remove the handle, carefully take out the nickel and look for an indentation in the dry puck. If there's a big depression, your basket was too full.  Why does this matter?  Well, when the grounds get wet they swell, and you need some head space for that, or the water will have no choice but to channel through the puck and ruin the extraction.  For similar reasons (channeling), you don't want to under dose.  Each basket has an acceptable range that it can do without too much risk of channeling. Overdosing, in addition to increasing risk of channeling, tends to make the shot taste more aggressive, if that makes sense.  The harsher flavors are accentuated, and the balance is just...off.  In truth, the volume in the cup really ought to be the same whether one is pulling a 20g or 24g shot.  Now, maybe a 16g shot will be lower volume than a 24g, but that doesn't mean either one is properly balanced (qualitatively).  I hope this is making sense to you.  

I would recommend the following...get your grinder dialed in to make a 2 oz 16g shot in 30 seconds, then do the same for a 2 oz 20g shot (also 30 seconds) and see which one you like better.  As you might guess, this may change depending on what coffee your using.  For instance, I like an 18g double of Red Bird Espresso better than a 21g triple, but if I'm using Klatch WBC, I prefer the latter.

I would take the following approach to making a "strong latte" to my liking...

1) figure out what dose and extraction time tastes best for the bean/blend being used.
2) adjust the frothed milk/espresso ratio to balance each as desired.  I'd probably start by pouring some milk into the espresso and then increase it gradually by taste, until happy.
3) Make a mental note (or save it on your phone, your PC or in a log book) of what you did to make the drink, so you can do it the same time after time.

Good luck!

 
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Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
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emradguy
Senior Member
emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 3,113
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Duetto II; Twist v2
Grinder: M Major, Macap M4 x2, VDD...
Drip: Espro presses; Aeropress
Roaster: H-B "List of Favorites"
Posted Thu Mar 28, 2013, 12:27pm
Subject: Re: Making a strong latte
 

ah, forgot to mention the scale.  You're using a gram scale to weigh your doses?  If not, you want one that goes to 0.1g resolution.  They run about $20-40 on average, but I hear some places sell them cheaper.  One of many sites to check out is www.oldwillknottscales.com

Regarding modifying extraction time to increase or decrease volume...it's also more complicated than it seems.  if it runs too long it will be overextracted, and if it runs too short, it will be underextracted.  overextracted shots are bitter while underextracted shots taste sour. in order to change the extraction time, you need to alter dose or grind fineness, sometimes both.  there's a nice article by Jim Schulman on how to adjust these parameters to taste, and there's a link to it in the thread about what bookmarks do you have saved (something like that).

Water temp will also affect flavor.  In fact, if you look on the Red Bird site, they actually tell you what temp to extract at, and for how long.  I think they may even give a recommended dose weight. There are other roasters that make similar recommendations for their beans.

 
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emil3m
Senior Member


Joined: 14 Jan 2013
Posts: 103
Location: New York
Expertise: Just starting

Espresso: Crossland CC1
Grinder: Vario
Posted Thu Mar 28, 2013, 12:49pm
Subject: Re: Making a strong latte
 

emradguy Said:

I hope this is making sense to you.

Posted March 28, 2013 link

emradguy, this made tons of sense. Very clear and logical writing. After your opening, I reread my reply and realized that I have unintentionally come off defensive--apologies.

What you wrote about modifying the extraction time made my mind swell a bit :) Too many parameters--I'm afraid all the reading will affect my grad school, licensing, and work!

A few questions about what you said.
- You do not recommend running more than 2oz through a double basket?
- You said

emradguy Said:

get your grinder dialed in to make a 2 oz 16g shot in 30 seconds, then do the same for a 2 oz 20g shot (also 30 seconds)

Posted March 28, 2013 link

did you mean the CC1? The espresso setting on the Vario is 10sec by default...
- You suggest playing with the espresso/milk ratio. Do you mean by introducing hot water or by manipulating the overall volume of the drink?


I really like this approach. It seems that this process would have to be repeated for each grind level--the Vario offers over 60 of those in the espresso range AND then each of those repeated for different coffee beans. Can I get a government grant to work all this out?

 
Currently in love with Hayes Valley by Blue Bottle--locally roasted next to my house in Brooklyn
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Burner0000
Senior Member


Joined: 28 Jul 2011
Posts: 1,082
Location: Cambridge, Ontario Canada
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Rancilio Silvia, VFA Expres...
Grinder: Macap MX/VFA N1464/Kyocera...
Drip: Manual Drip, French Press
Roaster: Behmor 1600 / Sonofresco
Posted Thu Mar 28, 2013, 12:58pm
Subject: Re: Making a strong latte
 

Yup!  I usually dose my Rancilio double with around 18g.
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emradguy
Senior Member
emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 3,113
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Duetto II; Twist v2
Grinder: M Major, Macap M4 x2, VDD...
Drip: Espro presses; Aeropress
Roaster: H-B "List of Favorites"
Posted Thu Mar 28, 2013, 2:13pm
Subject: Re: Making a strong latte
 

emil3m Said:

What you wrote about modifying the extraction time made my mind swell a bit :) Too many parameters--I'm afraid all the reading will affect my grad school, licensing, and work!

A few questions about what you said.
- You do not recommend running more than 2oz through a double basket?
- You said

did you mean the CC1? The espresso setting on the Vario is 10sec by default...
- You suggest playing with the espresso/milk ratio. Do you mean by introducing hot water or by manipulating the overall volume of the drink?


I really like this approach. It seems that this process would have to be repeated for each grind level--the Vario offers over 60 of those in the espresso range AND then each of those repeated for different coffee beans. Can I get a government grant to work all this out?

Posted March 28, 2013 link

yeah, there's a lot to read and a ton to learn.  Heck, I've been doing this 10 years and am still learning.  however, all that said, we sometimes need to remember to take a step back from all the "science", relax, and just make espresso.  So, as much as I laid out things to consider that play a role in flavor, it's actually not as dificult as I made it seem to make a decent/good shot.  

2oz is certainly ballpark.  you can make a bigger double shot, approaching even 3 oz.  There's nothing wrong with that, as long as it tastes good.  After all TASTE, is always the bottom line - never forget that!  Not gonna send you more stuff to read but there is a true italian definition of "espresso".

from the Insituto Nazionale Espresso Italiano...

Necessary portion of ground coffee 7 g 0,5
Exit temperature of water from the unit 88C 2C
Temperature of the drink in the cup 67C 3C
Entry water pressure 9 bar 1
Percolation time 25 seconds 2,5 seconds
Viscosity at 45C > 1,5 mPa s
Total fat > 2 mg/ml
Caffeine < 100 mg/cup
Millilitres in the cup (including foam) 25 ml 2,5

We consider this to be a guideline.  Notice also, it's for a single shot, so double quantities for a "double" - 50 mL is about 1.7oz

Randy's (frcn on CG) article (the #12 one on www.espressomyespresso.com ) is awesome and will get you going quickly.

re: playing with ratios...what I mean is make your double, then adjust milk volume to get the drink like you want it.  ratios being milk:espresso, not extraction ratios.

Re: Vario settings, you'll have to play with that for sure, but you won't have to run through the 60 grind options.  You'll find that some beans will be at the right fineness at one setting, while other require several steps finer or coarser.  The time it grinds will determine the dose volume/weight.  It's more consistent to dose by weight than by time or volume, though once you get it set where you want it, you'll know that at x grind for y coffee, z seconds always give the 18g - or whatever it is you've found works for the particular bean/blend you're using at the time.  I don't own a Vario, and haven't used one so I can't help you dial it in specifically, though the principle is the same.  My main grinder has a timer that runs too long at it's lowest setting, so I always have to stop it.  It's ok with me, because of the way I prepare my doses.  The main thing is to figure out where the settings need to be to get a good extraction and then do it the same every time.  Well, this is the simplified version.  Keep in mind that if you have beans in the hopper for days, they will de-gas more and drift toward spoiled, so you will have to make micro-adjustments to keep the extraction the same at the same dose (or modify your dose slightly).

 
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