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Trying to improove my espresso shots. Can somebody help?
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nicolas107
Senior Member


Joined: 24 Oct 2013
Posts: 6
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Wed Oct 30, 2013, 8:39am
Subject: Trying to improove my espresso shots. Can somebody help?
 

It is not that my espresso shots as a newby are bad (or at least that is what I want to believe) but they are not great either =]


I would like to get a bit more complexity and more cream out of my shots. I love the crema on a good espresso and mine arent quite there yet..


My setup:

Machine: De'Longhi Motivo

Grinder: Bodum Bistro Electric Burr Grinder.

Beans: Lavazza premium  (not very fresh, bought from a local store, medium aroma and medium strength).


I use around 16 to 18 grams on the pressurized double filter that came with my de'longhi.  

I use a new solid tamper for the tampering process, tamper with aproximately 30 pounds of pressure and two full 360 rotations at the end.

I let hot water to run through the machine and then adjust the portafilter on to begin extraction.

My 2 espresso shots are ready in betwween 25 and 28 seconds.


I know my beans are not very good, but I am waiting for these two varieties to arrive soon which I would like to try,  did anyone have any experiences with them?

Click Here (www.realcoffee.co.uk)

Click Here (www.realcoffee.co.uk)


This is what my routine is to get my espresso shots every morning, and as I told you I would like to step it up a bit.

Any tips or reccomendations would be very welcome.
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emradguy
Senior Member
emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 3,181
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 Wed Oct 30, 2013, 9:04am
Subject: Re: Trying to improove my espresso shots.
 

First...as you mentioned your beans are not fresh, and that's killing you right there.  without fresh beans, you can forget about making god espresso.

Second...your grinder is killing you too.  you need to save up for something that is truly designed for espresso, not just marketed that way.  The Bistro is arguably adequate for pour over and press (but that's not the issue here, so we don't need to start a debate in this thread), but not espresso.

Third...once you are using an espresso quality grinder and fresh beans, you'll need to ditch the pressurized pf, and replace it (or, if possible, just convert it) to non-pressurized.

For basket prep technique (and a ton of other excellent information on espresso)...check out 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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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 Oct 30, 2013, 9:53am
Subject: Re: Trying to improove my espresso shots. Can somebody help?
 

Agree with above. Lavazza is already stale, but you mention you know that.

The main problem is the Delonghi's are pressurized PFs, they don't make espresso, they force coffee and water out through a tiny hole that leads to the spouts . You can modify it by removing the pressure clip mechanism, or most of these entry machines accept Krups baskets to replace with a real basket (just have to search for the right model). But then if you do that your problem will be the grinder, Bodum Bistro doesn't grind for espresso at all, it's ok for entry coarse use for drip etc. And I don't think your using 16-18g if you weight, Delonghi baskets are tiny, their all the same and I had a Bar32 and it was more like 12g for a double maybe a little more. My CC1 can hold 16-18g easily but the basket is way larger then on the Delonghis. You don't even really need to tamp as the machine is a pressurized portafilter. They come pressurized b/c majority of people getting them don't know better, get them as wedding gifts etc, the pressurized PF helps to negate if you don't have a good grinder or a grinder at all and use preground, and most people with a machine like this don't know to tamp except with the little plastic attachment they come with. Unfortunately the pressurized PF in turn then makes coffee more like a shot of drip, the crema is fake to as it's similar to when you have a water hose running and then put your finger over the opening causing it to spray hard (that's what the clip does).

I modded my Bar32 to be depressurized but then you'll need a good grinder. However it will then pull much better shots then with the pressure basket in.
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nicolas107
Senior Member


Joined: 24 Oct 2013
Posts: 6
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Wed Oct 30, 2013, 6:13pm
Subject: Re: Trying to improove my espresso shots. Can somebody help?
 

Thanks for your answers.

Yes I did know that my coffee was stale.  Actualy I knew it at the time of purchase but at 10 pounds a kg I found it a cheap way to experiment and play around for the first couple of weeks.


I am a bit dissapointed about the grinder since I thought it would be at least acceptable for espresso on the finer options even without too much adjustment possibilities.And for me as an amateur it seems that it does grind fine enough without any visible dust. Apparently it is not good enough.

I am considering my options here and thinking whether I should stick with it for a little bit longer, and if I can adjust all other variables first, see what differences it will make and then decide whether I will spend more.

Unfortunately I am a student and therefore spending big is out of the future for the foreseable future...

The other option is to sell this one, I hope for around 70-80 pounds and try get a Baratza Encore from this website: Click Here (www.caterkwik.co.uk)

It sells mostly to shops but it seems like I can buy one product only as well. I would need to pay 30 to 40 pounds on top after  I sell my Bistro.


Regarding the portafilter, I know my De'Longhi uses 6 bars of pressure more than what is considered acceptable for espresso. Does that mean that all pressurized prortafilters are NOT good for espresso? And if yes what are they good at?

Nicolas
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emradguy
Senior Member
emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 3,181
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 Thu Oct 31, 2013, 8:29am
Subject: Re: Trying to improove my espresso shots. Can somebody help?
 

15 bar advertising hype doesn't necessarily mean that full pressure is delivered to the group...and that's what's important.  I think the problem is Nespresso has popularized the 15 bar concept and the general public bought into it so well, that other companies trying to compete for mass market shares has had to say "me too".

Most of us don't consider the Encore adequate for espresso either, and 1) wonder why Baratza advertises it that way, and 2) recommend at least a Preciso for espresso needs. I would say, stick with what you've got for now, and when you can afford it, look for a better grinder. Consider picking up a Hario Skerton is another very good option, and there's a simple stepless mod that's really cheap - involves changing out a washer.

 
.
Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
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nicolas107
Senior Member


Joined: 24 Oct 2013
Posts: 6
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Thu Oct 31, 2013, 6:58pm
Subject: Re: Trying to improove my espresso shots. Can somebody help?
 

Emradguy thanks for your reply,

There is a point i dont get though..

How is a manual grinder without any adjustability better than my bistro?

Also what would you suggest as a step up grinder on a reasonable budget given my situation?

Nicolas
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OregonCityMan
Senior Member
OregonCityMan
Joined: 30 Oct 2013
Posts: 40
Location: Portland, Oregon
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Salvatore SES Semi
Grinder: Ascaso I-2 mini
Roaster: Torrefattore 1KG, DIY 1/2lb
Posted Thu Oct 31, 2013, 7:39pm
Subject: Re: Trying to improove my espresso shots. Can somebody help?
 

It's your beans. I roast my own beans every two days and I notice the difference in just that amount of time. I roasted some Laotian last night, I  know you have never had  specialty beans from Laos. There is a company there called Delta Coffee. My wife was born there and has a connection. An airline pilot we know that works for Delta Airlines brings us back 10 pounds when he travels to Thailand. Delta & Delta have no connection.

http://deltalaocoffee.com/Delta_Lao_Coffee/Welcome.html

I don't know if that URL will work, but you can google deltacoffee.

I pull a shot of fresh beans and get so much crema you can't see the water in the shot glass for 5 seconds. Those same beans a week later and you get 1/8 to 1/4 inch of crema in your shot with all else being equal as far as your set up.
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friendlyfoe
Senior Member


Joined: 14 May 2013
Posts: 122
Location: toronto
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Fri Nov 1, 2013, 11:37am
Subject: Re: Trying to improove my espresso shots. Can somebody help?
 

nicolas107 Said:

Emradguy thanks for your reply,

There is a point i dont get though..

How is a manual grinder without any adjustability better than my bistro?

Also what would you suggest as a step up grinder on a reasonable budget given my situation?

Nicolas

Posted October 31, 2013 link

Why do you think the manual grinder has no adjustment? If you're referring to the stepless comment that means it has a smooth range of adjustment, instead of individual notches, although i'm not familiar with the modification he's talking about. A manual grinder is probably going to be the only thing in your budget that will give you a good espresso grind.

You also asked about pressurized portafilters. The point in being pressurized is that it will not release liquid until it hits 9 bars, so no matter how bad your grind, how stale your coffee, or even if you dont tamp what comes out of the machine will at least vaguely look and taste like espresso. Emphasis on the word vaguely.

Quick fluids lesson, a pump creates flow, it is the resistance to flow that creates pressure. An espresso machine with a regular portafilter relies on proper grind and tamp to achieve 9 bars.
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tglodjo
Senior Member
tglodjo
Joined: 16 Oct 2012
Posts: 209
Location: Jackson, TN
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: La Spaziale Mini Vivaldi II
Grinder: Baratza Vario, Virtuoso
Drip: Wave, V60, Chemex, Clever
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Fri Nov 1, 2013, 11:57am
Subject: Re: Trying to improove my espresso shots. Can somebody help?
 

nicolas107 Said:

I am a bit dissapointed about the grinder since I thought it would be at least acceptable for espresso on the finer options even without too much adjustment possibilities.And for me as an amateur it seems that it does grind fine enough without any visible dust. Apparently it is not good enough.

Posted October 30, 2013 link

If you go back and read some threads similar to yours, you'll find that most responses revolve around spending hundreds (thousands!) of dollars more to get what you're asking for. Now, if you're wanting excellent espresso on par or exceedingly better than many coffee shops, that's true. You're setup won't get you there.

However, if you're just wanting good enough as a noob, you're beginner setup is fine to at least feel like a barista-to-be. Many of us started where you are. The Bistro is insufficient for great espresso because its adjustments are too large, but on your machine and a pressurized portafilter, it's sufficient. Play around with it. Just have realistic expectations about the result you'll get in the cup. I started this hobby with $300 (for machine and grinder) and now I'm well over $2.5k into it. The community here offers great advise, but many of us are enthusiasts that have invested a lot into the hobby, so be prepared for plenty of comments telling you to get better equipment. Definitely follow emradguy's advice for moving forward:


emradguy Said:

First...as you mentioned your beans are not fresh, and that's killing you right there.  without fresh beans, you can forget about making god espresso.

Second...your grinder is killing you too.  you need to save up for something that is truly designed for espresso, not just marketed that way.  The Bistro is arguably adequate for pour over and press (but that's not the issue here, so we don't need to start a debate in this thread), but not espresso.

Third...once you are using an espresso quality grinder and fresh beans, you'll need to ditch the pressurized pf, and replace it (or, if possible, just convert it) to non-pressurized.

For basket prep technique (and a ton of other excellent information on espresso)...check out Easy Guide to Better Espresso at Home, article 12 under how-to on www.espressomyespresso.com

Posted October 30, 2013 link

Again, if you stick with the pressurized pf, your Bistro is enough. But if you're asking how to make great espresso, you're gonna have to upgrade equipment. But fresh beans is priority. Beans then grinder, IMHO.
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nicolas107
Senior Member


Joined: 24 Oct 2013
Posts: 6
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Fri Nov 1, 2013, 12:24pm
Subject: Re: Trying to improove my espresso shots. Can somebody help?
 

Thank you for your replies guys, for someone like me who is just starting there as some very good tips!

I must be getting 2, 1/2 kg bags of fresh beans on monday so I am excited to try them and see what difference they will have in the whole process.


I am playing around with my bistro, I specifically measure my portafilter weight on 15grams on my de'longhi every time and by adjusting the grind I am trying to find which setting will give me  2 oz  in  25 to 30 seconds.  It is a very fun process and I definetely enjoy it.


I know I cannot pull a magnificent espresso shot with my equipment, but I know there is A LOT room for improovement right now so that is what I am trying to do. Simply get better doing something I enjoy.


Quick question on one of the above posts:  "Quick fluids lesson, a pump creates flow, it is the resistance to flow that creates pressure. An espresso machine with a regular portafilter relies on proper grind and tamp to achieve 9 bars. "


Does that mean that I should or should not try to depressurize my 15 bar delonghi since I have an adequate grinder plus more bars of pressure?
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