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15 stupid questions I've come up with over the years
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qualin
Senior Member
qualin
Joined: 30 Jun 2012
Posts: 653
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, 8:58pm
Subject: Re: 15 stupid questions I've come up with over the years
 

shadowsnuzzy Said:

A lot of you are saying I should get off timer and go by weight/blonding.

Posted April 29, 2013 link

Kinda sorta. Use your timer as a guide, but don't always aim for 25, 25, 25, 25 all the time. Use the input and output as well as time all together
to determine the kind of shot you want to make. For example, On 19 grams in, 32 grams out on 25 seconds is "Textbook new wave" style.
Traditional Italian style is 14 grams in, 2 fl.oz out in 25 seconds, which I think equates to approximately 28 grams out. (A bit over 1 g per second)
(Someone here correct me on this?)

Here's a good thread about volumes:
http://coffeegeek.com/forums/espresso/general/543087

Realistically though, you always use that as a starting point and adjust on the fly from there as you see fit.

Now that I think about it, try this.. Take your favorite blend and DELIBERATELY make an overextracted shot.. Don't adjust grind, but rather updose to
something almost unrealistic. Maybe aim for a 45-60 second shot. Now, take a few sips. Notice the extremely bold flavor? Also notice how it kind of tastes
burnt or like tires? Now, Deliberately downdose, go 2 grams or 3 grams lower than you normally go and pull a 15 second shot. Notice how all of a sudden
there is a bright citrus-like taste? Maybe the coffee tastes "Flat" like someone turned down the bass & treble controls on your stereo?

Suddenly, when you can taste the two extremes, you now know what balance of "Bass and Treble" you need to get it right, to use another bad analogy..
It all really comes down to the blend of beans, the roast and your own personal preferences. This is why highly trained experienced baristas are so sought
after, because they have tastes that the owner knows people will like. :-)

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?

Posted April 29, 2013 link

I wouldn't recommend doing this for a few reasons. One of which is that you don't ever want to be in a situation where coffee is getting dumped on your scale.
The second is that even if the scale can react fast enough to the changing weight, it isn't the best way to determine when you should stop the shot.

Again, you stop the shot for three reasons, blonding, volume and time. I always weigh after the fact to tell me what kind of shot I will be expecting.

shadowsnuzzy Said:

Also, you said you serve guest singles instead of doubles?

Posted April 29, 2013 link

I wouldn't even bother with the singles basket. I've messed with it and there's too much fuss and muss that needs to be done to get everything right. If I
drank lots of straight shots without milk and preferred having a single shot all the time, I'd probably use my single basket, but I don't bother. I always prefer
making double shots, only because it is just easier and gives me the volumes I want.

I don't even bother making drinks using single shots either, unless my guests specifically request a short cappuccino or latte.

---

BTW, I thought I should mention, maybe I'm coming off as an over-educated snobby expert here, but I don't mean to. I'm just spouting my own personal opinions,
knowledge and experience. Regardless, I am in no way an expert on this stuff. I've only been brewing espresso since about June of last year.

The one thing I've learned about espresso is that everyone has a different take on what it should be and how it should be prepared. It's not an exact science.
I think one of the best things you can do is experiment and share your experiences with other people. It's such a social thing...

 
Garbage In, Garbage Out, for every step of the process. From Beans to grinder, grounds to machine, coffee to cup.
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shadowsnuzzy
Senior Member


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

Posted Mon Apr 29, 2013, 9:14pm
Subject: Re: 15 stupid questions I've come up with over the years
 

Qualin I really appreciate your feedback, it is extremely useful!

That "extremes" exercise definitely sounds like a great idea to train myself. For the longest time I wasn't sure what a "good" shot was because of temp variability on the silvia (before I learned to temp surf well). I will try this soon!

Regarding singles, I meant making a double but placing a cup under each of the two spouts to produce two singles. However, I just remembered I actually have a single portafilter that i never ever intend on using. Should I get this machined into a Naked portafilter? Machining is much cheaper right? I already spent a ton on the new set up and my dad won't be too ecstatic about buying a bunch of accessories, so cost effectiveness is very important to me. If there is a significant difference in quality between machining and factory made bottomless, I'll just go for the factory one.
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qualin
Senior Member
qualin
Joined: 30 Jun 2012
Posts: 653
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, 10:25pm
Subject: Re: 15 stupid questions I've come up with over the years
 

shadowsnuzzy Said:

Regarding singles, I meant making a double but placing a cup under each of the two spouts to produce two singles.

Posted April 29, 2013 link

Well, I suppose you could do that.

shadowsnuzzy Said:

However, I just remembered I actually have a single portafilter that i never ever intend on using. Should I get this machined into a Naked portafilter? Machining is much cheaper right?

Posted April 29, 2013 link

I think it would cost as much to machine it as it would just to buy a bottomless portafilter. I'd stick with buying a factory made one.. They're not that expensive.

 
Garbage In, Garbage Out, for every step of the process. From Beans to grinder, grounds to machine, coffee to cup.
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emradguy
Senior Member
emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 3,047
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 Tue Apr 30, 2013, 6:45am
Subject: Re: 15 stupid questions I've come up with over the years
 

shadowsnuzzy Said:

Regarding singles, I meant making a double but placing a cup under each of the two spouts to produce two singles.

Posted April 29, 2013 link

yeah, that's the best way to make singles.

shadowsnuzzy Said:

However, I just remembered I actually have a single portafilter that i never ever intend on using. Should I get this machined into a Naked portafilter? Machining is much cheaper right?

Posted April 29, 2013 link

Is your Dad handy with tools?  You could ask him to convert it for you.  Not only would it save money, but he would feel like he got to help in your hobby.  I haven't done it myself, but I've read several posts from people who have. The procedure is to place the handle in a vice and then using a metal cutting hole saw bit on a drill, cut down through the metal to remove the bottom.  Then he files down the edge so nobody gets cut handling it.

Another method to learn when an extraction ends is to taste the stream using a small spoon.  you start about halfway through the shot, taking as many tiny samples as you can until they taste bad.  It's pretty easy to tell.  while you do this, you watch the physical appearance of the stream, looking not only for color, but also for thickness and viscosity changes. when it tastes bad, you'll notice it is getting watery and thinning out.  The goal to to learn this well, so that when you're pulling your regular shots, you can stop them at the moment this is about to happen.

Then, you time and/or weigh your shots for a while (using this known endpoint).  You make microadjustments in grind settings (assuming you keep your dose stable) until you achieve your goal shot time and/or weight.  Once you realize you can do this consistently, you no longer need to time/weigh every shot.  You simply go back to that to double check you haven't drifted or to recalibrate yourself.

 
.
Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
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dana_leighton
Moderator
dana_leighton
Joined: 11 Jan 2002
Posts: 1,939
Location: Little Rock, 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 Tue Apr 30, 2013, 10:04am
Subject: Re: 15 stupid questions I've come up with over the years
 

shadowsnuzzy Said:

I just remembered I actually have a single portafilter that i never ever intend on using. Should I get this machined into a Naked portafilter? Machining is much cheaper right? I already spent a ton on the new set up and my dad won't be too ecstatic about buying a bunch of accessories, so cost effectiveness is very important to me. If there is a significant difference in quality between machining and factory made bottomless, I'll just go for the factory one.

Posted April 29, 2013 link

At the risk of repeating myself, I will. ;) My experience on having mine cut by a (very experienced) machinist resulted in failure. The difference in cost wasn't worth the hassle.

 
Dana Leighton - Espresso hack and CoffeeGeek moderator
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Coffeenoobie
Senior Member
Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 3,023
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Tue Apr 30, 2013, 11:39am
Subject: Re: 15 stupid questions I've come up with over the years
 

Mine was cut for $30 and he did a fine job.  I can't remember how he said he did it but the left overs were curls of metal.

 
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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myallawala
Senior Member
myallawala
Joined: 25 Dec 2012
Posts: 86
Location: San Antonio, TX
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Crossland CC1
Grinder: Mazzer Major & Baratza Vario
Vac Pot: Yama Burner
Drip: Hario V60 & Chemex
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Tue Apr 30, 2013, 9:25pm
Subject: Re: 15 stupid questions I've come up with over the years
 

Looks like a lot of stuff was covered. I noticed you're in the same position I'm in. I'm also going to be a freshman next year and I've been thinking a lot about what I want to bring next year. My gut says bring the cheap, easily replaceable stuff. I know that I want my machine though. I took a Chemex on a 4 day trip recently and I could not have been happier to have a shot when I got back home.

Thankfully my siblings will be living near and I can put my roaster in one of their houses, but no use in keeping my machine there. It's staying home.

How long have you been in to coffee? I think I started when I was a High School freshman and the wakeup (pun?) call that is large amounts of homework each night demanded I stay up really late. I got serious when I turned about 16 and had a real Cappuccino at a cafe in North Texas. Since then it's just been a real great deal of fun. Started off with a Mr. Coffee Steam machine that I could pick up with chop sticks and now I have my heavy duty gear that can be backbreaking to lift. I got a job this past summer just to fund this hobby.

Sorry--I know that's off topic. It's just fun to hear these stories. And while i'm at it--what's your family think? Do they drink coffee? How about your friends?
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NobbyR
Senior Member
NobbyR
Joined: 10 Jul 2011
Posts: 2,040
Location: Germany
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Poccino Opus One, Ariete
Grinder: Eureka Mignon Istantaneo
Vac Pot: N/A
Drip: Melitta Linea Unica de Luxe
Roaster: N/A
Posted Wed May 1, 2013, 4:10am
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 :p

Posted April 28, 2013 link

There are no stupid questions, only dumb answers! You got none here, by the way.

Unless this information slipped my attention, you didn't tell us what kind of beans you use. It could be important, because old beans might be the reason why you can't choke your machine on the finest setting of your Vario-W.

 
***
"This drink of the Satan is so delicious that it would be a shame to leave it to the infidels." (Pope Clement VIII on coffee, when he was urged to ban the beverage)
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shadowsnuzzy
Senior Member


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

Posted Wed May 1, 2013, 9:19am
Subject: Re: 15 stupid questions I've come up with over the years
 

Myallawala, great to see another student on these forums! I actually started my journey with Starbucks (of course....). After school I would always want their hot chocolate because it was so good, so eventually my dad told me to find a milk steamer so we could make them at home and save money. After months and months of research sophomore year, I gradually convinced my dad to dish out not $100 but $400- and with that we bought a Bosch super automatic. This unit was HUGE and is meant to be installed into the wall, but we just had it sitting out on a table. After a while of crap shots and okay milk, I decided to upgrade to a smaller and better unit, the Silvia and Rocky. Then for the next year I was on and off with coffee, sometimes not using the Silvia for a month on end, because of the crap shots it gave me (didn't know about temp surfing). I almost decided to sell it for good and just buy hot chocolates once in a while at Starbucks. But then I discovered a few tricks, and tried my first "god shot" from the silvia. From there, I always made mochas, never just hot chocolate. A lot of this had to do with the workload of school along with time commitment of marching band... I needed something to keep me awake. And eventually after 6 months, I got too lazy to put the chocolate in and started drinking lattes with a little sugar, then after a few more months, just straight lattes. Now, about 2 and a half years after the Bosch, I own an Andreja and Vario and only make lattes with the occasional mocha for friends.

My dad makes jokes that I'm a "coffee snob." He doesn't believe that the minor details of grind size, tamp consistency, temperature, and bean quality matter. I could never really prove to him that they do because the Silvia was still fairly finicky. Now, with an HX machine, I plan to do a side by side shot test for him and my brother to compare the high quality Verve beans I buy, versus Peet's coffee from Safeway, versus some old coffee grinds that we've had in the back of our cabinet for months. My friends think I'm a little obsessive about coffee but always ask me to make them a drink

I really wish I could take the machine to college but it's very big and expensive. If I still had my Silvia I probably would've taken that, but I'm not about to buy another Silvia just to take it with me. Maybe I'll just take the Vario and an aeropress with me to make great coffee, however, I guess I won't have access to lattes in college.

And NobbyR, I use Verve beans for the most part, sometimes I'll try other kinds but my beans are always fresh and from award winning roasters. I also freeze by beans in airtight glass jars wrapped in multiple layers of aluminum foil.

That was a fun reflection, I look foreword to where this journey takes me!
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shadowsnuzzy
Senior Member


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

Posted Wed May 1, 2013, 7:36pm
Subject: Re: 15 stupid questions I've come up with over the years
 

Also on a side note, does anyone know if it's possible to build a cheaper version of Eric's Thermometer? Maybe connect some higher quality, longer lasting version of a type K thermocouple through the e61 brewhead and have it read an output on a $10 digital screen. Or are there any cheaper substitues out there?
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