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Confused about shot quality.
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Discussions > Espresso > Q and A > Confused about...  
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trevormc
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trevormc
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Posted Wed Jul 17, 2013, 6:45am
Subject: Re: Confused about shot quality.
 

Hi,

Ok, I was also thinking of doing the steam switch for a few seconds. Will try that, thanks!
I also make sure there is no air. :)

"Just adjust your grinder courser and add some more grounds, you'll get it." - this doesn't make sense to me yet, as I can't fit more than 16gms in before it touches the shower screen during extraction?
Making a courser grind will just decrease shot time surely? Or is that the idea?

Keep the advice coming, I do really appreciate it!
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pstam
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Posted Wed Jul 17, 2013, 7:00am
Subject: Re: Confused about shot quality.
 

If you grind too fine, the coffee would be watery, and it will become blond soon.

 
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brianl
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Posted Wed Jul 17, 2013, 8:42am
Subject: Re: Confused about shot quality.
 

By your description i'd stop it around 25 seconds and see how it tastes. Usually when it gets watery so fast you should consider adding more coffee to your dose. I don't think VST has a 17g basket. I have 15 and 18 gram baskets from them.

Based on just what I read, i'd keep going finer. The weather, bean roast and tons of factors can explain why the grind is different.

Since you can only fit 16g in there, I take it you have the 15g basket.
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brianl
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Posted Wed Jul 17, 2013, 8:49am
Subject: Re: Confused about shot quality.
 

pstam Said:

If you grind too fine, the coffee would be watery, and it will become blond soon.

Posted July 17, 2013 link

Really? When i grind finer I get more syrupy espresso and it blonds just the same (except since the dwell time is longer, you get a shorter pull time)
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jonr
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Posted Wed Jul 17, 2013, 10:49am
Subject: Re: Confused about shot quality.
 

I'll add that if you aren't going to add a PID, then timing your shots to be in sync with the on/off cycles of the boiler makes sense (I say that as an engineer with a pretty good knowledge of thermodynamics).   Maybe start 10 seconds after the ready light goes out, but that's a guess and I'm sure others have actual data.
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trevormc
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Location: Cape Town, South Africa
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Posted Wed Jul 17, 2013, 12:54pm
Subject: Re: Confused about shot quality.
 

Here is the 17gm Strada basket. Even 16gm of coffee tonight was touching the screen. Sigh..

I reckon that my stupid scale is out.. it doesn't measure in points either.. which I know doesn't help.

I coarsened the grind, got better, thicker flow, but still really light blond in colour.
1.5oz in 25sec.

I'll try take a video and show what I mean on Friday.

trevormc: IMG_20130717_214150~01.jpg
(Click for larger image)
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brianl
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Posted Wed Jul 17, 2013, 2:04pm
Subject: Re: Confused about shot quality.
 

You said VST in your original post.

For ristretto, you should not have a 'thicker' flow. by that i assume you just mean wider flow.

Mine sort of just trickles.

just to make sure. Do you measure with the scale after you grind or just before? if just before than changes are you're short. i doubt it but thought i'd ask.

I still say your best bet is going as fine as you can and then back it off till you get a trickle. I wouldn't worry about color unless it tastes bad.
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Frost
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Posted Wed Jul 17, 2013, 3:48pm
Subject: Re: Confused about shot quality.
 

A light colored crema can also be a sign of low brew temperature. Taste will tend towards sour.
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trevormc
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trevormc
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Posted Wed Jul 17, 2013, 11:01pm
Subject: Re: Confused about shot quality.
 

The basket says Strada on the other side but I think it's a VST copy? The official name is a Lar Marzocco Strada 17gm.
Apologies for the confusion.

I pulled a better shot this morning, and it had a well shaped, deep cone, centred quickly, but poured in 20 seconds. 1.7 oz to watery blond.
Pressure at 9.5 bars.
Maybe I coarsened a bit too much.
Colour was a bit browner towards tan, for longer. Somehow the crema always comes out as a mid tone brown..?
Taste: (in milk) bland and thin.

I'm thinking of changing the beans completely to an espresso blend. Something I know the Coffee shop at the roasters uses every day successfully.
Maybe something is up with these beans from Panama

I weigh the beans before grinding. The nice thing about this grinder is the it does a good job of getting pretty much all of the grinds out..  I will do a comparison to before and after grind next time to confirm.

Also: Whenever I see coffee particles on the shower screen, I'm assuming it's touched.. when it's probably just the stray coffee from the side of the basket being pushed upward in the process. This happened this morning, and I didn't see any obvious marks on the puck. hmmmm

I am using a 57mm cheapie aluminium tamper with a  slightly convex base, in a 58mm basket.. Is this a problem? I think I only paid the equivalent of $20 for it.

Thanks again for the advice everyone! It keeps me thinking, and I'm sure I'll come right soon :)
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brianl
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Joined: 1 Dec 2012
Posts: 441
Location: Chicago IL
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Espresso: Gaggia Classic (w/PID)
Grinder: Baratza Vario
Drip: chemex
Posted Fri Jul 19, 2013, 8:55pm
Subject: Re: Confused about shot quality.
 

I recommend getting a 58mm or whatever size the basket is. I tried one smaller than the basket before and it never seemed consistent.

You're delving out of my territory going to around 2 oz as I normally do half of that with a double shot (btw, the metric system is so much easier). I normally do around 20-25 ml for a shot in ideal scenarios. I'm also not familiar with milk but i'd think you'd want something more on the bitter side to balance the sweeter frothed milk.

The first problem to fix should always be to try new beans. please let us now how this effects the shot. Also let us know how weighing after the grind works out. I have a vario that has low grind retention but it's still inconsistent in what I actually get.

I personally never worry about 'coffee on the show screen' unless the puck gets stuck there after removing the portafilter.
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