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Early blonding and sister machines.
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Discussions > Espresso > Q and A > Early blonding...  
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ikotka
Senior Member


Joined: 24 May 2013
Posts: 4
Location: Bay area, Ca
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Quickmill Vetrano (1st ed.),...
Grinder: Gaggia MDF
Drip: Chemex
Posted Fri May 24, 2013, 5:02pm
Subject: Early blonding and sister machines.
 

Hi there. Long time lurker (like years!!), but just joining now to officially post. So I have a question or several. My main issue is unsatisfactory espresso pulls. We're talking 15 seconds and I'm blonding and about to have some crazy over extraction. Originally I blamed it on my grinder (Gaggia MDF, lots of static & crap doser) so I've done OCD methods to try and compensate (technique [stirring with a needle], weighing, different grinds, beans, different dosing, etc.). Never quite happy, but in a capp or latte I couldn't tell much. Not much bitterness/sour, just very strong.
Here's my new piece to the puzzle: my friend has a similar machine with a better grinder (Rocket Cellini/doserless Rancillo Rocky) and honestly his pulls are awful. Like worse than cowboy coffee. I always assumed through watching him that it was because he'd just blindly stand back and count in his head to 30secs. But my theory was turned upside down after he went to a 3-day barista training with Klatch Coffee (~$1300) down in SoCal and he came back able to make good lattes, but honestly his actual shots are still crud. I've always treated coffee as an art, feeling and watching (my bottomless PF), using the science for improvements. But now my curiosity is peaked. Why do both of us routinely get awfulness? My setup is Quickmill Vetrano/Gaggia MDF. I've used beans, always 2-14 days post roast, from Red Bird, Blue Bottle, Klatch, Peets, etc. I had been holding onto hope that a new grinder would solve my problems, but after hanging with him, I'm not so sure.
Only other thing, I can't updose, at least I've tried (!!!), it always hits the shower screen and ruins the shot. I believe my tamp is nice and consistent. The only other variable perhaps is boiler temp, but I have a thermometer installed on the group head and even if the temp was too high, that wouldn't impact how fast the shot pulls right?
I hope I'm just missing something minor in the whole scheme of things and that his are just crud because he's a nerd and over zealous....(??!!??)
So the question is: why do both of us have awfulness. Awfulness which often makes me forget about my (very pricey) beautiful machine and go across town to the local cafe   for my morning latte/americano/addiction?

Beca
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emradguy
Senior Member
emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 3,180
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 Fri May 24, 2013, 8:56pm
Subject: Re: Early blonding and sister machines.
 

Your friend's grinder isn't all that good, honestly. The steps are too wide, so it's tough to get the grind right where you need it and so when you're stuck between a rock and a hard place, all you can do is modify your dose. I'd suggest you both get better grinders. Frankly, I'd be surprised if Heather didn't already suggest that to your friend. I've been through her one day class and can assure you...there's absolutely no reason to be unable to produce good espresso after taking it.

Since you didn't take the class, you have an excuse. Having been lurking here for "years" perhaps you've stumbled upon one of the innumerable posts where someone suggests reading the Easy Guide to Better Espresso at Home on www.espressomyespresso.com It should help you a lot.

As far as your shot timing...yeah, 15 seconds is very fast. Have you tried grinding finer? If you dose properly (satisfy a nickel test), have a nice distribution, tamp level, and pull the shot without seeing channeling, finer grind ought to fix your shot timing. You are correct that temperature isn't your problem, though if your shots were that fast and you had no crema and they were cold if certainly could be.

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


Joined: 1 Dec 2012
Posts: 499
Location: Chicago IL
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Quick Mill Vetrano DB
Grinder: HG One, OE Lido 2, Baratza...
Drip: Chemex/V60
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Sun May 26, 2013, 1:46pm
Subject: Re: Early blonding and sister machines.
 

I would classify both you and your friend's grinders as inadequate (the rocky and mdf are essentially equal, I wouldn't say either is better or worse than the other). Especially considering the machines that you guys are pulling with. I cannot stress how much of a difference I found when i upgraded to a Vario from the MDF. I'm pulling in a pretty crappy machine, too, which goes to show it's not too important.
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calblacksmith
Moderator
calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,880
Location: Riverside, Ca, U.S.A.
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: ECM Vene. A1, La Cimbali M32
Grinder: Azkoyen Capriccio, Major
Vac Pot: 40s era Silex
Drip: Msl. Com. brewers
Roaster: gave it a try, decided no
Posted Tue May 28, 2013, 7:39am
Subject: Re: Early blonding and sister machines.
 

Rebecca,
Quite honestly you need a better grinder. If you have been here as long as you say, you know we place the grinder as more important than the machine.

 
In real life, my name is
Wayne P.
Anything I post is personal opinion and is only worth as much as anyone else's personal opinion. YMMV!

Feed the newbs, starve the trolls and above all enjoy what you drink!
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ikotka
Senior Member


Joined: 24 May 2013
Posts: 4
Location: Bay area, Ca
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Quickmill Vetrano (1st ed.),...
Grinder: Gaggia MDF
Drip: Chemex
Posted Tue May 28, 2013, 10:20pm
Subject: Re: Early blonding and sister machines.
 

So, yes I do know I need a new machine, I've known. It stinks to put it mildly. Though, with the MDF I have been able to pull some very decent espresso, get great crema, and with the bottomless portafilter can tell theres rarely channeling and usually perfect striping. But Thanks to you all, I hadnt really realized my friends grinder wasnt up to par. I assumed it was a decent one because I hadnt  a) researched his,  b) it was doserless and c) He got it new, recently. So I'm assuming his awfulness must just be because he's a high-energy nerd who doesn't pay attention and mine is because my grinder needs new burrs and has like 1 setting suitable for my machine.  I was confused when we both were getting crap shots and wondering if there were more factors than just my bad grinder.
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CMIN
Senior Member


Joined: 14 Jun 2012
Posts: 1,399
Location: South FL
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Crossland CC1
Grinder: Baratza Preciso
Posted Wed May 29, 2013, 5:45am
Subject: Re: Early blonding and sister machines.
 

ikotka Said:

So, yes I do know I need a new machine, I've known. It stinks to put it mildly. Though, with the MDF I have been able to pull some very decent espresso, get great crema, and with the bottomless portafilter can tell theres rarely channeling and usually perfect striping. But Thanks to you all, I hadnt really realized my friends grinder wasnt up to par. I assumed it was a decent one because I hadnt  a) researched his,  b) it was doserless and c) He got it new, recently. So I'm assuming his awfulness must just be because he's a high-energy nerd who doesn't pay attention and mine is because my grinder needs new burrs and has like 1 setting suitable for my machine.  I was confused when we both were getting crap shots and wondering if there were more factors than just my bad grinder.

Posted May 28, 2013 link

Yeh neither the MDF nor Rocky are good for espresso, even though they can grind for espresso. You need a good stepless grinder or one that has so many steps and micro adjustment it acts stepless (Baratza Preciso or Vario). You need those small adjustments vs wide steps b/c it'll help you dial in your dose easier (vs getting caught where 1 step = tight and 1 step = gusher) and as the beans age you'll need to make minor adjustments as the days go by and can't do that with a wide stepped grinder. Sure you could try to play with dose to compensate, but doing that daily will just frustrate you to no end and you'll waste a ton of beans since what you did one day most likely won't work the next lol.
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