Our Valued Sponsor
OpinionsConsumer ReviewsGuides and How TosCoffeeGeek ReviewsResourcesForums
Espresso: Questions and Answers
15 stupid questions I've come up with over the years
Cafe Solutions
Commercial sales and service, nationwide installation, equipment leasing options.
www.seattlecoffeegear.com
 
Not Logged in: Log In to Postlog in
New Topics updated topics   New Posts new posts   Unanswered Posts new unanswered  
Search Discussion Board search   Discussion Board FAQ faq   Signup sign up  
Discussions > Espresso > Q and A > 15 stupid...  
view previous topic | view next topic | view all topics
showing page 1 of 2 last page next page
Author Messages
shadowsnuzzy
Senior Member


Joined: 8 Jan 2011
Posts: 70
Location: Pleasanton
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Sun Apr 28, 2013, 2:53pm
Subject: 15 stupid questions I've come up with over the years
 

I recently upgraded my Silvia/Rocky combo to the Andreja/Vario-w. Along my journey, I've accumulated many many questions about the art of espresso making.

Be warned, some of these may come off as extremely stupid, but they must be asked eventually :p


1) 14 grams literally doesn't fill up the basket? (I always hear about a proper double being 14 grams. When I weigh out 14 grams on my vario or external scale, it doesn't even fill up the basket enough to level off. How do people make a good shot with such little coffee? I've been using 18 grams according to my external scale and 20 grams according to the vario)

2) Is my Vario-w accurate? (There is a difference of 2 grams between the vario and my external scale, however, my external scale is a $20 cheapy. Also, 20 grams from the vario doesn't seem like a lot and just barely fills up the basket enough to level. I rarely hear of people using 20g doses for doubles in the espresso world, it seems like a lot yet it's the bare minimum for me. Maybe my vario isn't weighing right?)

3) Have I been making a ristretto, a double, or neither? (I stuck to the conventional wisdom of 2 fluid ounces of espresso per ~25 seconds. Is that a long ristretto or a short double? What taste best in a 6-8oz total volume latte, a ristretto, double, single, or something else?)

4) How can I make the shot sweeter? (I read that the blonding in the end of the shot is bitter, weak, and doesn't contribute to shot quality. Should I get rid of this? Does a ristretto get rid of the extra blonding in the end?)

5) How do people brew shots straight into the cup? (I always brew the shot into a rattleware shot glass to measure the fluid ounces against time. I want to reduce clean up and brew straight into the cup I use for a latte. Do people just "feel" for 1.5-2 oz or do they just dial in then go off time? I've seen people use neither volume measurement nor a timer. How can I transition to eliminate the shot glass?)

6) Is there any way to measure the temperature of the shot while brewing? (I know you can put type-k thermocouples into the portafilter basket and measure water temp that way, but I would like to know the temperature of the water while brewing a shot. Maybe even graph it to examine the data and perfect technique. Does this require a PID or is there an easier, cheaper way?)

7) How do people physically steam milk for a 5-6oz cappuccino? (Assuming the shot is 1.5-2 fluid oz, that leaves 1.5-2 fluid oz left for the foam and milk each. This means I need about 4 fluid ounces of end milk product in my pitcher after steaming, which according to the doubling of milk volume idea, means that I need to start with 2 fluid ounces of milk due to stretching. Is it even possible to steam just 2 fluid ounces of milk in a pitcher with a powerful HX machine?)

8) If a cappuccino is 1 part espresso, 1 part milk, 1 part foam, how do you make latte art? (Isn't the 1 part foam much thicker than the consistency needed for latte art?)

9) With an HX machine such as my Andreja, there are lots of flushing techniques used to bring brewing temperature to the target level. With that said, is it not recommended to brew and steam at the same time? (Obviously you CAN if you wanted to, but will this cause the brew temp to fluctuate or drop and create a poor shot?)

10) My vario is on the finest setting and I'm still getting 15 second shots on the Andreja, what am I doing wrong? (My technique isn't particularly bad for any of the preparation stages, however even when I moved the grinder finer by a whole macro and a bunch or micro levels, the espresso shot came out in almost the exact same time as it did with a much coarser grind. Should I use the tool given with the vario to adjust the burrs or is this a problem with the pressure of the Andreja? You would think a significant change in grind consistency would at least affect the shot time by a few seconds...)

11) If I buy a bottomless/naked portafilter, will I ever use my double portafilter? (What's the functional difference between the two? Instead of buying a whole new expensive protafilter, should I just send my double in to be cut? Everyone says a bottomless helps troubleshooting and shot perfection, is there any reason to keep my double?)

12) Does Andreja automatically pre infuse? (There is no half lever position or anything to turn on the pump a little bit, it's all or none. Does it automatically start off at low pressure then go to normal?)

13) Is there any way to chain the machine to a table if I take to my dorm? (I'm going to be a freshman next year and wanted to take my machine with me. Is there any device that will allow me to ensure security of the Andreja and Vario? Any ideas/thoughts on taking it to college with me and security?)

14) How often should I descale an Andreja at 1 latte a day? (I use soft, filter water only)

15) What is a good, healthy water softness for espresso machine? (I heard 100 is good, is 50 too low? 150 too high?)
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
Buckley
Senior Member


Joined: 25 Jan 2011
Posts: 423
Location: Internet
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Sun Apr 28, 2013, 7:51pm
Subject: Re: 15 stupid questions I've come up with over the years
 

Deaqr Shad,
I do not own the machine that you are inquiring about, so I might be able to answer only some of the general questions, specifically, the following:

shadowsnuzzy Said:

10) My vario is on the finest setting and I'm still getting 15 second shots on the Andreja, what am I doing wrong? (My technique isn't particularly bad for any of the preparation stages, however even when I moved the grinder finer by a whole macro and a bunch or micro levels, the espresso shot came out in almost the exact same time as it did with a much coarser grind. Should I use the tool given with the vario to adjust the burrs or is this a problem with the pressure of the Andreja? You would think a significant change in grind consistency would at least affect the shot time by a few seconds...)

11) If I buy a bottomless/naked portafilter, will I ever use my double portafilter? (What's the functional difference between the two? Instead of buying a whole new expensive protafilter, should I just send my double in to be cut? Everyone says a bottomless helps troubleshooting and shot perfection, is there any reason to keep my double?)

13) Is there any way to chain the machine to a table if I take to my dorm? (I'm going to be a freshman next year and wanted to take my machine with me. Is there any device that will allow me to ensure security of the Andreja and Vario? Any ideas/thoughts on taking it to college with me and security?)

Posted April 28, 2013 link

Attempt to answer #10 & 11: If the shot timing is unaffected by the grind fineness, it is likely that channeling is taking place.  The channeling will allow the infusion water to pass through the filter without being impeded by saturating the tamped puck.  Especially if you do not use a naked portafilter, you will be unaware of the frequency and severity of channeling.  This is the reason that NPFs are used.  If it is possible that the occasional lateral spray out of the bottom of a naked portafilter all over the machine or operator will become a source of irritation, then holding onto a standard PF to use once the naked portafilter has facilitated a learning curve will be desirable, i.e., don't machine the existing PF, but invest in a second PF, a NPF.  At this point, I encourage you to Google 'channeling' and 'espresso' and watch as many Youtube and other videos of NPFs at work to understand what they will disclose to you about channeling.  Advice to minimize channeling are all over Coffeegeek and the web.  Briefly, they are: break up any clumps in the PF by using the 'Weiss declumping technique' or WDT (Google it).  Use only the freshest roasts that you can get, 3-8 days from roast date are best.  Use good tamping technique with your arm oriented straight down along the axis of the tamp.  Do not knock or jar the PF once it has been tamped; lock and infuse.

Attempt to answer #13: Bad idea.  Consider the value of the machine relative to the value of a bicycle.  The machine is generally less useful than a bicycle but much more valuable.  If you know the strength of chains used to secure bicycles, you will not be able to use a chain or cable as strong or stronger to secure the machine; they are just too thick to insert into holes drilled into the bottom of any chassis, assuming you had the internal clearance to do so.  Also, to what are you going to secure the machine?  Are you planning to drill holes in the dormitory furniture to secure your machine?  Have you scoped this out?  Usually modern buildings do not have steam or water pipes running exposed to act as anchors.  I would be more concerned about someone using the machine in your absence.  Sure, you could secure your PF, but someone could still play around with the steaming function and fill the tank with hard water.  Then there is your responsibility to be a good neighbor.  Even though the Andreja vibratory pump is quieter than many, it still makes noise.  What if there is a light sleeper who likes to sleep late and does not like your machine?  Then there is mean-spirited vandalism.  You meet all kinds on campus.  Additional advice: do not plan to be the barista-in-residence.  Judging by your questions, most of them good ones, you do not have the chops for it (neither do I) and you will just frustrate yourself.

Hope you get your more machine-specific questions answered.

B
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
shadowsnuzzy
Senior Member


Joined: 8 Jan 2011
Posts: 70
Location: Pleasanton
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Sun Apr 28, 2013, 7:58pm
Subject: Re: 15 stupid questions I've come up with over the years
 

I appreciate the advice.

10&11) I never thought channeling would be a problem as I've never experienced this on the silvia, however, this seems like a likely cause. Thanks for the clear answer regarding portafilters, I think I will invest in a bottomless portafilter and keep my double as well.

13) My dorm is very private - only 1 other roommate who is a friend and there are 2 locked doors before one can have access to my room. That too, there is a large amount of security to get into my building and on my floor. But you make some very good points about the technicalities of securing the machine that I will definitely take into consideration.

Thank you for your feedback!
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
dana_leighton
Moderator
dana_leighton
Joined: 11 Jan 2002
Posts: 1,963
Location: Fayetteville, AR
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Isomac Relax; Caferina...
Grinder: Macap MXK; Baratza Vario-W;...
Vac Pot: Yama 5-cup
Drip: Technivorm; CCD; Melitta
Roaster: Poppery I w/PID controller
Posted Sun Apr 28, 2013, 8:50pm
Subject: Re: 15 stupid questions I've come up with over the years
 

shadowsnuzzy Said:

1) 14 grams literally doesn't fill up the basket? (I always hear about a proper double being 14 grams. When I weigh out 14 grams on my vario or external scale, it doesn't even fill up the basket enough to level off. How do people make a good shot with such little coffee? I've been using 18 grams according to my external scale and 20 grams according to the vario)

Posted April 28, 2013 link

The results you get in the cup based on dose are dependent on a complex interaction of your grinder, the coffee, the machine, and the basket.  am using a 15g VST basket on my machine with e Macap MXK and get excellent results from 15g. You need to experiment with your machine and grinder to know what is a good dose for the coffee you're working with.

2) Is my Vario-w accurate?

You might want to get a calibration weight to check your scale. Alternatively, a nickel is 5g.

8) If a cappuccino is 1 part espresso, 1 part milk, 1 part foam, how do you make latte art? (Isn't the 1 part foam much thicker than the consistency needed for latte art?)

If you are making microfoam, there is no differentiation between the milk and foam. it is folded and blended together into one fluid mass. You can only make latte art with microfoam.

9) With an HX machine such as my Andreja, there are lots of flushing techniques used to bring brewing temperature to the target level. With that said, is it not recommended to brew and steam at the same time? (Obviously you CAN if you wanted to, but will this cause the brew temp to fluctuate or drop and create a poor shot?)

No the brew temperature will not fluctuate. The HX is robust to brewing and steaming simultaneously. Steaming may cause the boiler to want to autofill - this may drop your brew pressure but it is momentary.

10) My vario is on the finest setting and I'm still getting 15 second shots on the Andreja, what am I doing wrong? ... Should I use the tool given with the vario to adjust the burrs

Yes.

11) If I buy a bottomless/naked portafilter, will I ever use my double portafilter? (What's the functional difference between the two? Instead of buying a whole new expensive protafilter, should I just send my double in to be cut? Everyone says a bottomless helps troubleshooting and shot perfection, is there any reason to keep my double?)

I only use the bottomless. I have tried having my PF cut, but the machine shop mangled it. I recommend simply getting one already made.

13) Is there any way to chain the machine to a table if I take to my dorm? (I'm going to be a freshman next year and wanted to take my machine with me. Is there any device that will allow me to ensure security of the Andreja and Vario? Any ideas/thoughts on taking it to college with me and security?)

Your college most likely has prohibitions against electrical appliances in the room.

 
Dana Leighton - Espresso hack and CoffeeGeek moderator
back to top
 View Profile Visit website Link to this post
qualin
Senior Member
qualin
Joined: 30 Jun 2012
Posts: 662
Location: Calgary, AB
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Izzo Alex Duetto 3
Grinder: Mazzer Mini Elect. Type A
Vac Pot: Looking to buy
Drip: Manual
Roaster: Considering?
Posted Mon Apr 29, 2013, 3:15am
Subject: Re: 15 stupid questions I've come up with over the years
 

shadowsnuzzy Said:

Be warned, some of these may come off as extremely stupid, but they must be asked eventually

Posted April 28, 2013 link

I'm going to see if I can answer some of these questions, I've been at it for a while. Some people may want to correct me, but I was to reaffirm some of my knowledge.

shadowsnuzzy Said:

1) 14 grams literally doesn't fill up the basket?

Posted April 28, 2013 link

It's been my own experience that a lot of baskets seem to have some headroom for updosing. Pre-tamp, the basket is full or slightly overflowing, post-tamp, it's always usually 3/4 full.
My own guess is that a 16 gram basket will take 16 grams of coffee without "overflowing" if it is settled down into the basket by tapping the portafilter against the counter.

shadowsnuzzy Said:

(I always hear about a proper double being 14 grams.

Posted April 28, 2013 link

It is my understanding that a traditional Italian-style double is 14 grams, but "New Wave" coffee shops like to settle in around 19 grams. I've noticed a dramatic change in taste from 14 to 19 grams.

shadowsnuzzy Said:

3) Have I been making a ristretto, a double, or neither? (I stuck to the conventional wisdom of 2 fluid ounces of espresso per ~25 seconds. Is that a long ristretto or a short double? What taste best in a 6-8oz total volume latte, a ristretto, double, single, or something else?)

Posted April 28, 2013 link

Well, a Risretto, single and double are all defined by the volume which you result with. 2 fluid ounces of espresso on 25 seconds is considered a "Traditional" double, however, I've been taught that rather than going by
volume, one should be going by input, time and output. ie. On a typical 19 gram dose, in about 25 seconds you should be getting 28-35 grams of coffee out.

Of course, I've also been taught that one should always stop the shot when it blonds. I've always been taught to use the numbers as a guide as to where to start and fudge them as you go along. There isn't any hard and fast
rules as to what makes an espresso, it is better to extract according to taste rather than the numbers. Some coffees taste better slightly overextracted, others taste better underextracted.

For example, There was one particular coffee I was working with that seemed best with a 14 gram dose, but with a 40 second extraction on 28 grams out. Not quite normal, but it worked for me.

shadowsnuzzy Said:

4) How can I make the shot sweater? (I read that the blonding in the end of the shot is bitter, weak, and doesn't contribute to shot quality. Should I get rid of this? Does a ristretto get rid of the extra blonding in the end?)

Posted April 28, 2013 link

It's my understanding that if you want a sweeter shot, go for a larger dose. Sometimes underextracting a little bit can help in this regard but can add an undesirable citrus taste. You have to experiment and find out what works for you.
Again, I would focus more on weighing output rather than just stopping the shot early. That way, you can have a metric to compare against and find out what works for you. If you are getting blonding early, you are overextracting and
not really contributing anything good to the shot.

shadowsnuzzy Said:

5) How do people brew shots straight into the cup?

Posted April 28, 2013 link

Well, I can tell you how I do it, but it might not be the "right" way for some people. There are different ways of doing it.  

  1. Warm up the cup first with hot water from the machine.
  2. Dry the cup and place it on the scale. Tare the scale.
  3. Brew directly straight into the cup.
  4. Weigh the coffee afterwards

shadowsnuzzy Said:

rattleware shot glass to measure the fluid ounces against time.

Posted April 28, 2013 link

Well, I think that's one way to do it. You can do that, but an expert barista told me they always weigh output on a scale instead of by volume.

Then again, it all depends on the drink you are making too. For example, if you are making a big fat latte, weighing output isn't important.
If you are making a straight shot for someone, it is very important.

shadowsnuzzy Said:

I want to reduce clean up and brew straight into the cup I use for a latte.

Posted April 28, 2013 link

One thing I've been taught is that brewing for a latte requires slightly different thinking. Large lattes actually require overextraction and extraction by volume so that
the boldness of the coffee is brought out into the milk. Whereas, small lattes, cappuccinos and straight shots require more finesse and accuracy in this regard.

shadowsnuzzy Said:

Do people just "feel" for 1.5-2 oz or do they just dial in then go off time?

Posted April 28, 2013 link

This also depends on the number of drinks you are making and what kind of drinks you are making, right? For example, in a busy cafe environment, a barista will just
use the automatic volumetric dosing of the machine to produce the shot and fly by the seat of their pants, over or underextracting. We're kind of unique in that we don't have that pressure, so
you focus on the taste instead and in order to keep everything consistent, start working with a set of metrics and adjust on the fly as you go until you find something you like. :)

These metrics can be:
  1. Measured Coffee into the grinder. (If you single dose. I don't do this.)
  2. Measured Coffee out of the grinder, measuring grind retention and dosage. (I care more about dosage than I do about retention.)
  3. Time brewed. 20-30 seconds is acceptable, ideally aiming for as close to 25 seconds as I can get, but adjusting -5 to +10 seconds, depending on the beans.
  4. Coffee Output. Depending on dosage, 28 grams out on 14 grams in is a good starting point. I aim for 32 grams out on 19 grams in as a starting point.
  5. Temperature - Usually I don't mess with this.. 200 F is good enough. Some people say lower this for very dark roasts and raise it for very light roasts. Meh.

shadowsnuzzy Said:

I've seen people use neither volume measurement nor a timer. How can I transition to eliminate the shot glass?)

Posted April 28, 2013 link

It's kind of funny you mentioned this. Some baristas have told me not to look at the timer. Just "guess" volume and stop the shot when it blonds, then use personal judgement
to adjust grind or dosage if the blonding happens too early or too late in the shot. Personally, I'm not that "skilled" yet to start doing that, so I focus on numbers. My scale is like
my "Training Wheels", kinda sorta. I can say, "Hmm.. This shot is too bitter on a 14 gram dose @ 25 seconds @ 28 grams out. What happens if I lower the output or raise the input?"

I personally use a Digiweigh DW-1001 scale because it measures down to 0.1 gram resolution and can weigh up to 1 Kilogram, so I can put a loaded portafilter on it without an error.
I've had good experiences with this scale so far, I'm tempted to write a review on it. Basically, this scale is how I kind of migrated away from using shot glasses.

shadowsnuzzy Said:

6) Is there any way to measure the temperature of the shot while brewing?

Posted April 28, 2013 link

Some geeks have a E61 thermometer they have connected straight to the brew head which tells them the brewing temperature on the fly. Google "Eric's Thermometer".

shadowsnuzzy Said:

7) How do people physically steam milk for a 5-6oz cappuccino?

Posted April 28, 2013 link

Same way I would for a 12 oz cappuccino.. I just steam the milk aggressively and build up lots of foam. Stop worrying about milk, foam and coffee volumes and do what you want.
Sometimes I just aim for a small latte so I can practice on making Microfoam. Other times, I just foam up the milk as much as I can and make myself a decent cappuccino. :-)

shadowsnuzzy Said:

Is it even possible to steam just 2 fluid ounces of milk in a pitcher with a powerful HX machine?)

Posted April 28, 2013 link

I've never tried it, but my guess is that it would foam up very quickly and scald if you steam it for too long. The only time I would ever do that is if I was making a Macchiato.

shadowsnuzzy Said:

8) If a cappuccino is 1 part espresso, 1 part milk, 1 part foam, how do you make latte art? (Isn't the 1 part foam much thicker than the consistency needed for latte art?)

Posted April 28, 2013 link

"Cappuccino milk" is very different than "Latte Milk". You foam it differently than you would a cappuccino. You don't build up foam for a latte. It takes practice, but when you pour the milk
for a latte, it will have only a very thin layer of foam ontop of the milk. It takes a lot of practice to get it right.

shadowsnuzzy Said:

is it not recommended to brew and steam at the same time?

Posted April 28, 2013 link

I've never heard of steaming while brewing to affect the brewing temperature so much that it would affect the shot. I'm not an expert though.

shadowsnuzzy Said:

10) My vario is on the finest setting and I'm still getting 15 second shots on the Andreja, what am I doing wrong?

Posted April 28, 2013 link

Try Calibrating your Vario first. There should have been a "key" which came with it. There are videos online as to how to do this. You should be able to choke your machine. If you can't, there's something wrong or it isn't adjusted properly.

shadowsnuzzy Said:

11) If I buy a bottomless/naked portafilter, will I ever use my double portafilter?

Posted April 28, 2013 link

I messed around with using a Bottomless portafilter, but went back to using my double portafilter. All that a bottomless portafilter lets you do is see if your grind is evenly distributed or not and if you are getting channeling.
It's a good diagnostic tool to find out what is going wrong with your shot and it is an excellent way to see how your shot is blonding. Personally, I just went back to using a standard double because I don't want to have to
put up with spurting espresso early in the morning. They're not for everyone. I use my bottomless every so often just to judge what is happening, especially if my shots are completely inconsistent and I want to find out what
the heck is going on. Channelling can really mess up dialing in your grinder and confuse you.

shadowsnuzzy Said:

should I just send my double in to be cut?

Posted April 28, 2013 link

Keep your double. If you want, buy a bottomless portafilter separately and maybe a spare basket to go with it. You may not want to use your bottomless portafilter all the time. Especially if you want to brew into two cups.

Bottomless portafilters are good if you are brewing into a cappuccino or latte cup, but they kind of suck at brewing straight into a small espresso cup or a shotglass.. At least IMHO.

shadowsnuzzy Said:

12) Does Andreja automatically pre infuse? (There is no half lever position or anything to turn on the pump a little bit, it's all or none. Does it automatically start off at low pressure then go to normal?)

Posted April 28, 2013 link

The very nature of an e61 allows for preinfusion. However, the machine itself has to also be able to support it as well. There's a bit of a trick to it. You raise the lever until you feel resistance and then you lift it up enough
where you feel something give, but not up far enough where the pump engages. Now, since you have a HX machine and you are probably running off of a reservoir, you most likely won't be able to pre-infuse. You can only
pre-infuse if you convert the machine to plumbed in operation. Some double boiler machines use the pressure from the steam boiler to pre-infuse. (My Duetto does) However, I've also noticed that since I've converted over
to plumbed-in operation, doing preinfusion is a lot easier.

Personally though, I don't pre-infuse because I find it does mess up my shot times somewhat. Again, that's a personal preference.

shadowsnuzzy Said:

13) Is there any way to chain the machine to a table if I take to my dorm?

Posted April 28, 2013 link

Don't even bother. It may actually be against your dorm rules to have a coffee machine in your dorm. I know that when I was going to college, the RA's were very adamant about banning machines which had heating elements
in them, this included anything that could bring water to a boil. Regardless, if you want your machine to get stolen and pawned off so that someone can eat something more than Mac & Cheese and/or Ramen, go ahead. Personally
though, it doesn't matter how thick a chain you could use, someone desperate will get some bolt cutters. Theft was extremely rampant at my old college campus. Once one of your roomies finds out that your coffee machine and
grinder are worth a few hundred, the temptation will be way too great to steal it.

shadowsnuzzy Said:

14) How often should I descale an Andreja at 1 latte a day? (I use soft, filter water only)

Posted April 28, 2013 link

Don't. Descaling the machine will cause more problems than it will solve. I would only resort to descaling if there were performance issues with the machine.

shadowsnuzzy Said:

15) What is a good, healthy water softness for espresso machine? (I heard 100 is good, is 50 too low? 150 too high?)

Posted April 28, 2013 link

I wouldn't worry about it unless you know that your water hardness is too high. Where I live, I have very hard water, so I need an in-line water softener for my plumbed in machine. Normally though, I shouldn't be
drinking softened water. The more minerals there are in the water, the more flavor it adds to the coffee, at the expense of mineral build up inside the machine. (Pure soft water will corrode the machine, believe it or not!
Don't use distilled water, your coffee will taste lousy if you do.)

In your case, I wouldn't worry about it.. although, if you are really concerned about it, you could put in an in-line resin water softening cartridge, something like this:
http://www.espressoparts.com/V_725  ... They're disposable, you can't recharge them. They're usually good for a few months, depending on your water hardness.

 
Garbage In, Garbage Out, for every step of the process. From Beans to grinder, grounds to machine, coffee to cup.
back to top
 View Profile Contact via ICQ Contact via MSN Messenger Link to this post
emradguy
Senior Member
emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 3,172
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Duetto II; Twist v2
Grinder: M Major, Macap M4, Pharos,...
Drip: Espro presses; Aeropress
Roaster: H-B "List of Favorites"
Posted Mon Apr 29, 2013, 11:50am
Subject: Re: 15 stupid questions I've come up with over the years
 

shadowsnuzzy Said:

3) Have I been making a ristretto, a double, or neither? (I stuck to the conventional wisdom of 2 fluid ounces of espresso per ~25 seconds. Is that a long ristretto or a short double? What taste best in a 6-8oz total volume latte, a ristretto, double, single, or something else?)

Posted April 28, 2013 link

what tastes best is drinker dependent.  try them all and decide for yourself.

shadowsnuzzy Said:

5) How do people brew shots straight into the cup? (I always brew the shot into a rattleware shot glass to measure the fluid ounces against time. I want to reduce clean up and brew straight into the cup I use for a latte. Do people just "feel" for 1.5-2 oz or do they just dial in then go off time? I've seen people use neither volume measurement nor a timer. How can I transition to eliminate the shot glass?)

Posted April 28, 2013 link

be consistent, when you do it the same all the time, it doesn't matter so much that you timed or weighed it...it was the same as every other shot you've pulled.


shadowsnuzzy Said:

8) If a cappuccino is 1 part espresso, 1 part milk, 1 part foam, how do you make latte art? (Isn't the 1 part foam much thicker than the consistency needed for latte art?)

Posted April 28, 2013 link

it's called latte art, not cappuccino art.  my suggestion is froth it so that it tastes and has the mouthfeel you want, and don't worry aobut making it look pretty.  once you are there, then you can start playing with pouring art

shadowsnuzzy Said:

11) If I buy a bottomless/naked portafilter, will I ever use my double portafilter? (What's the functional difference between the two? Instead of buying a whole new expensive protafilter, should I just send my double in to be cut? Everyone says a bottomless helps troubleshooting and shot perfection, is there any reason to keep my double?)

Posted April 28, 2013 link

I would keep the existing spouted pf handle and buy a naked/bottomless one.  it's always nice to have another pf  around. the spouted one is nice for splitting a double into two cups - which you might want to do on occasion, even if you find you prefer to always use the naked/bottomless.

shadowsnuzzy Said:

14) How often should I descale an Andreja at 1 latte a day? (I use soft, filter water only)

Posted April 28, 2013 link

depends totally on actual measured water hardness and useage.  read Jim Schulman's insanely long water faq, get yourself an API GH & KH test kit (either online or from a local aquarium/pet supply) and then take it from there.

 
.
Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
Coffeenoobie
Senior Member
Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 3,036
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Mon Apr 29, 2013, 3:36pm
Subject: Re: 15 stupid questions I've come up with over the years
 

I do pour latte art in a cap cup (7oz at the brim) And it is challenging to steam 3-4 oz of milk and pour it as art.  Not much room for error. Once you get used to seeing the pour with the timer and the scale you can eye ball it and you have a feel for how long the shot should run.  And you will get to know what blonding looks like.  I often pull into the cup now. Not at first.  Google the brew ratios on home-barista.com and start weighing the shot and see if you don't like a normal shot when done correctly.  That really helped me when I got the scale.  I could know what I was getting and why.

Use the right sized basket for the amount of grinds you have. I have 3 sizes and I want a 4th.

I would not take my machine unless I had my own apt. I am sure that thing will walk..... maybe even from your own apt.

Now that I am getting really comfortable with pulling shots and I have my steam wand controlled by a lever instead of a knob I can pull and steam.  Too much going on to do that at first.

I like the naked because you can see the cone collapse that signals blonding very easily. I don't use a spout except for when company comes and I split shots for them.  Husband and I drink doubles so I just keep making doubles and split them rather than try to pull singles.

 
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
back to top
 View Profile Visit website Link to this post
shadowsnuzzy
Senior Member


Joined: 8 Jan 2011
Posts: 70
Location: Pleasanton
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Mon Apr 29, 2013, 5:36pm
Subject: Re: 15 stupid questions I've come up with over the years
 

Thanks for the insight qualin, emradguy, and coffeenoobie!

So I got time to play around with the machine more and solved my problem of fast shots by manually adjusting the burrs on the vario so that they are significantly closer. I can choke my machine now :p

A lot of you are saying I should get off timer and go by weight/blonding. Since my drip tray is large enough, could I place my grams scale on the tray then place my shot glass on top and weigh the shot literally as it comes out? This would allow me to stop at any specific weight during the shot.

Also, you said you serve guest singles instead of doubles? I assume this is because you can double the number of drinks you make instead of doing a double shot per and then dealing with cleaning, loading, tamping over and over again. When you make lattes with a single shot, how much milk do you pour in so that the coffee flavor still comes out? Also, I'm assuming your single shot is ~1 ounce right? I have guest over sometimes and I'd like to speed up my preparation time if possible.
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
dana_leighton
Moderator
dana_leighton
Joined: 11 Jan 2002
Posts: 1,963
Location: Fayetteville, AR
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Isomac Relax; Caferina...
Grinder: Macap MXK; Baratza Vario-W;...
Vac Pot: Yama 5-cup
Drip: Technivorm; CCD; Melitta
Roaster: Poppery I w/PID controller
Posted Mon Apr 29, 2013, 5:58pm
Subject: Re: 15 stupid questions I've come up with over the years
 

shadowsnuzzy Said:

could I place my grams scale on the tray then place my shot glass on top and weigh the shot literally as it comes out? This would allow me to stop at any specific weight during the shot.

Posted April 29, 2013 link

You might be able to if your scale's latency is low enough. My scale does not respond quickly enough - there is a lag between the increase in mass and the reading on the scale so that if I stop it when it says 25g, the scale reads 30g a few seconds later.

I have guest over sometimes and I'd like to speed up my preparation time if possible.

I have done gatherings frequently. My experience is that a single isn't really satisfying. You just have to take the time to make the shots. This is why commerical machines usually have multiple groups.

 
Dana Leighton - Espresso hack and CoffeeGeek moderator
back to top
 View Profile Visit website Link to this post
Coffeenoobie
Senior Member
Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 3,036
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Mon Apr 29, 2013, 7:46pm
Subject: Re: 15 stupid questions I've come up with over the years
 

My guests are not real espresso drinkers and want it weaker. If they were I would serve what we drink, doubles.  Pulling singles is a pain and I would have to change settings.  If no one wants the other half I dump it in my drink, or husband's.  I time now, but to start with I weighed a lot.  Do it over and over and you will get a feel for it.  It helps to have a few pounds of the same roast batch so things are consistent that way.

 
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
back to top
 View Profile Visit website Link to this post
showing page 1 of 2 last page next page
view previous topic | view next topic | view all topics
Discussions > Espresso > Q and A > 15 stupid...  
New Topics updated topics   New Posts new posts   Unanswered Posts new unanswered     Search Discussion Board search   Discussion Board FAQ faq   Signup sign up  
Not Logged in: Log In to Postlog in
Discussions Quick Jump:
Symbols: New Posts= New Posts since your last visit      No New Posts= No New Posts since last visit     Go to most recent post= Newest post
Forum Rules:
No profanity, illegal acts or personal attacks will be tolerated in these discussion boards.
No commercial posting of any nature will be tolerated; only private sales by private individuals, in the "Buy and Sell" forum.
No SEO style postings will be tolerated. SEO related posts will result in immediate ban from CoffeeGeek.
No cross posting allowed - do not post your topic to more than one forum, nor repost a topic to the same forum.
Who Can Read The Forum? Anyone can read posts in these discussion boards.
Who Can Post New Topics? Any registered CoffeeGeek member can post new topics.
Who Can Post Replies? Any registered CoffeeGeek member can post replies.
Can Photos be posted? Anyone can post photos in their new topics or replies.
Who can change or delete posts? Any CoffeeGeek member can edit their own posts. Only moderators can delete posts.
Probationary Period: If you are a new signup for CoffeeGeek, you cannot promote, endorse, criticise or otherwise post an unsolicited endorsement for any company, product or service in your first five postings.
Rancilio Silvia - How to
Step by step guide for easy brewing and steaming with the Rancilio Silvia
www.seattlecoffeegear.com
Home | Opinions | Consumer Reviews | Guides & How Tos | CoffeeGeek Reviews | Resources | Forums | Contact Us
CoffeeGeek.com, CoffeeGeek, and Coffee Geek, along with all associated content & images are copyright ©2000-2014 by Mark Prince, all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated. Content, code, and images may not be reused without permission. Usage of this website signifies agreement with our Terms and Conditions. (0.637803077698)
Privacy Policy | Copyright Info | Terms and Conditions | CoffeeGeek Advertisers | RSS | Find us on Google+