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Noooooob Needs Some Pointers
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Discussions > Espresso > Q and A > Noooooob Needs...  
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Whitcoatsyndrom
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Whitcoatsyndrom
Joined: 25 Apr 2013
Posts: 165
Location: Roanoke, VA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Expobar Office Pulser
Grinder: Baratza Vario
Drip: Newco-OCS 12
Roaster: HG/BM
Posted Tue May 7, 2013, 12:30pm
Subject: Noooooob Needs Some Pointers
 

Oh dear, I'm going to ask some questions that a lot of you will roll eyes at.  Let me make the disclaimer that if there are already-written threads which you like that answer these questions please post me the links.  Part of the problem is that there is so much discussion that pointers on where to look would be helpful too.  These questions originally started in the grinder forum but have evolved into lots of questions.  You are awesome for working me through some of this stuff.

Short story:  After years of crappy espresso with a 16+ y/o machine and PPF and lack of grinder, I got new stuff:  Gaggia Classic, Baratza Preciso, 58mm flat Rattleware tamper.


1) I didn't have a ton of time to play with the grinder last night when I received it or this morning but I'm I've been moving between a maco 7 and 8, with some various micro settings.  My shots this morning were at 8F, beans roasted within 7 days ago, and a shot time of 26s.  I later realized that I am so not-used to seeing that much crema that I ended up under-filling my glass (there is a rubber grip around the width of it), so shot time might have been more towards 27s or so.  This might be a little bit too long so I'm worried about over-extraction.  As an experiment I pulled at a macro of 10 and jumped down to 12+ seconds.  Ambiguous question, but any advice related to grind is always good; I think I'm in the general realm of the correct grind finness (hard to describe w/o pics).

2) I also noticed that the left spout had more flow than the right, I'm guessing this is some channeling going on.  My tamping needs work, I've read a few different methods of going about it, whether to knock or not knock (the "staub" method).  I'm not a huge guy but I still worry about over-tamping.  Sources seem to differ on whether or not there is such a thing...either way I doubt I'm going too far over 30 lbs.  When I polish, am I just spinning the tamper a few times after tamping, or is it more of a tamp--twist with constant pressure--continue twisting on way up sort of thing?


3) One of my main concerns is that the screen on my brewgroup is definitely making contact with the grinds when I measure 18g (or is at least dirty).  At 19g the portafilter doesn't want to fit, and at 17 I'm getting an indentation from the center brewgroup screen screw (a good thing from what I understand), but along with an indentation from the outer circle of the brewgroup that fits into the inner perimeter of the portafilter basket.  I measured beans out before, ground, and then checked how much I was getting out of the grinder...it varied but was usually within a gram.  I ground as necessary to get up to my desired dose.  Does this all have to do with tamping/distribution problems?  My scale might be sliiiightly off but probably only +/- 0.5 g.

4) For distribution, some people advocate using a pinkie finger or some other straight tool.  I assume when people distribute the measured dose they are not just swiping overflow out of the portafilter (this is an assumption), but pictures of post-finger leveling for 19g doses make it look like its part distribution and part slight finger tamping the dose down into the basket prior to tamping.  I hope that makes sense.  

5)  Should I be adjusting the pressure on the Gaggia out of the box?  I'm not positive but I believe I read somewhere that they are being sent out at 11 bar now.

Alright I think that's it for now, thanks a lot and happy brewing!
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jwoodyu
Senior Member
jwoodyu
Joined: 31 Dec 2010
Posts: 847
Location: Michigan
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Allex Duetto II
Grinder: Mazzer Major
Posted Tue May 7, 2013, 12:48pm
Subject: Re: Noooooob Needs Some Pointers
 

Whitcoatsyndrom Said:

2) I also noticed that the left spout had more flow than the right, I'm guessing this is some channeling going on.  My tamping needs work, I've read a few different methods of going about it, whether to knock or not knock (the "staub" method).  I'm not a huge guy but I still worry about over-tamping.  Sources seem to differ on whether or not there is such a thing...either way I doubt I'm going too far over 30 lbs.  When I polish, am I just spinning the tamper a few times after tamping, or is it more of a tamp--twist with constant pressure--continue twisting on way up sort of thing?

Posted May 7, 2013 link

As long as the tamp pressure is about the same every time it is not usually a big deal but see below.  IMO lookup WDT for distribution and DO NOT POLISH

Whitcoatsyndrom Said:

3) One of my main concerns is that the screen on my brewgroup is definitely making contact with the grinds when I measure 18g (or is at least dirty).  At 19g the portafilter doesn't want to fit, and at 17 I'm getting an indentation from the center brewgroup screen screw (a good thing from what I understand), but along with an indentation from the outer circle of the brewgroup that fits into the inner perimeter of the portafilter basket.  I measured beans out before, ground, and then checked how much I was getting out of the grinder...it varied but was usually within a gram.  I ground as necessary to get up to my desired dose.  Does this all have to do with tamping/distribution problems?  My scale might be sliiiightly off but probably only +/- 0.5 g.

Posted May 7, 2013 link

Use the tare on the scale. Weigh the basket after it is prepped. If your really throwing your weight into your tamp you might consider backing the tamp off and tightening the grinder up. When you get to it .5g is sort of a lot.

Whitcoatsyndrom Said:

4) For distribution, some people advocate using a pinkie finger or some other straight tool.  I assume when people distribute the measured dose they are not just swiping overflow out of the portafilter (this is an assumption), but pictures of post-finger leveling for 19g doses make it look like its part distribution and part slight finger tamping the dose down into the basket prior to tamping.  I hope that makes sense.  

Posted May 7, 2013 link

Distribution methods are like noses. They are both plentiful and personal if all things are equal and your getting poor result try someone else's.

Whitcoatsyndrom Said:

5)  Should I be adjusting the pressure on the Gaggia out of the box?  I'm not positive but I believe I read somewhere that they are being sent out at 11 bar now.

Posted May 7, 2013 link

9 bar for rotary pump is about right and 11 bar for a vibe pump against a blind is about right depending on who you listen to and your own taste.

 
Yes i have a reason for leaving SCG off my list, yes it is my opinion, yes it is subjective as opinions are by definition, no don't start a flame war because you disagree.
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emradguy
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emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 2,951
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 May 7, 2013, 1:02pm
Subject: Re: Noooooob Needs Some Pointers
 

pretty much agree with John's answers.  If you want somewhere to read, all of your questions are answered or become moot if you read the Easy Guide to Better Espresso at Home, article 12 under "how to" on www.espressomyespresso.com

 
.
Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
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frcn
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frcn
Joined: 23 Dec 2001
Posts: 3,350
Location: Northern California
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Vibiemme Domobar Double
Grinder: Mazzer Kony, Baratza...
Vac Pot: Hario, 2 Cory pots, 1 Cory...
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Posted Tue May 7, 2013, 1:03pm
Subject: Re: Noooooob Needs Some Pointers
 

On my website www.EspressoMyEspresso.com, check out this article: 12 - EASY GUIDE TO BETTER ESPRESSO AT HOME

 
Visit My Website
www.EspressoMyEspresso.com
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Whitcoatsyndrom
Senior Member
Whitcoatsyndrom
Joined: 25 Apr 2013
Posts: 165
Location: Roanoke, VA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Expobar Office Pulser
Grinder: Baratza Vario
Drip: Newco-OCS 12
Roaster: HG/BM
Posted Tue May 7, 2013, 1:55pm
Subject: Re: Noooooob Needs Some Pointers
 

That. Is. Awesome.  Thanks a lot, really great stuff.
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Whitcoatsyndrom
Senior Member
Whitcoatsyndrom
Joined: 25 Apr 2013
Posts: 165
Location: Roanoke, VA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Expobar Office Pulser
Grinder: Baratza Vario
Drip: Newco-OCS 12
Roaster: HG/BM
Posted Tue May 7, 2013, 7:45pm
Subject: Re: Noooooob Needs Some Pointers
 

I went ahead and just bought a 100g scale at .01g sensitivity (it was under $10 for a scale with really nice reviews, the 100g calibration weight was cheap as well).  I have 2 other scales that measure larger masses so I'm not worried about only going up to 0.2+ lbs as its only getting used for measuring beans/grind without the portafilter on it.  Your website is a wealth of knowledge and I'll be using it for a long time to come, thanks a lot!
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emradguy
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emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 2,951
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 Wed May 8, 2013, 7:51am
Subject: Re: Noooooob Needs Some Pointers
 

that scale will serve you well for dosing.  0.01g sensitivity is even more than typically recommended, nice deal.  you might want to get a lower mass calibration weight too (thinking something like 10g or less - though 1 g would be in the middle of the scales operating range), just to measure its precision.

 
.
Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
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steamer
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steamer
Joined: 11 Feb 2005
Posts: 893
Location: socal
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Expobar Brewtus IV R
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Vac Pot: Krubs Moka Brew, vacPot
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Roaster: Hottop
Posted Wed May 8, 2013, 10:01am
Subject: Re: Noooooob Needs Some Pointers
 

Drop your grinds to 16 grams, not real reason to go higher till up got the basics sorted out.
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Whitcoatsyndrom
Senior Member
Whitcoatsyndrom
Joined: 25 Apr 2013
Posts: 165
Location: Roanoke, VA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Expobar Office Pulser
Grinder: Baratza Vario
Drip: Newco-OCS 12
Roaster: HG/BM
Posted Wed May 8, 2013, 12:02pm
Subject: Re: Noooooob Needs Some Pointers
 

I went ahead and dropped down to 16g.  I'm still using my larger scales as the new one hasn't come in the mail yet but indeed, the shots are worlds better.  I knocked down the grind size a hair (1 and then 2 micro-adjust units) and was pulling more efficiently.  Pucks still aren't as dry as they should be but I think that's just going to get better with time as I become more consistent in my actions.  

I think I'll probably take that advice and get a lower calibration weight in addition to the 100g.  I ended up going with the 100g bc it was the one the manufacturer recommended with the particular scale but I agree with your point.  A smaller mass weight will allow me to measure the accuracy at another portion of the scale's spectrum, but I could use any solid object around the house to measure the scale's precision.  It would be useful if the scale allowed for multiple calibration points but I'm not sure if it does at this point.  I'll report back!

Don't know what my coffee would taste like without this forum, I'm so thankful for you all :-)
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jwoodyu
Senior Member
jwoodyu
Joined: 31 Dec 2010
Posts: 847
Location: Michigan
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Allex Duetto II
Grinder: Mazzer Major
Posted Wed May 8, 2013, 12:57pm
Subject: Re: Noooooob Needs Some Pointers
 

cool. more flow from one side or the other can just the machine is not quite level.

 
Yes i have a reason for leaving SCG off my list, yes it is my opinion, yes it is subjective as opinions are by definition, no don't start a flame war because you disagree.
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