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Problem with my Espresso shots
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Discussions > Espresso > Q and A > Problem with my...  
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MorneDJ
Senior Member


Joined: 10 Dec 2013
Posts: 7
Location: South Africa. Pretoria
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Fri Dec 27, 2013, 1:43am
Subject: Problem with my Espresso shots
 

So I got myself a new Brewtus IV and after brewing a few shots, reading everything I can find on it and some minor adjustments I still have a rather serious issue.

First, details:
- I use beans bought from a local roaster. Both claimed to be roasted last week.
- I use a Scala Solis grinder on its finest setting. I have ordered a La Cimbali Jnr grinder but will only get this next week. The grind is fairly fine and fluffy and I think that it looks similar to the grinds I have seen at the coffee shops.
- I weigh out 16 grams of coffee beans each time.
- I follow the WDT in dosing and tamping. The puck shows no visible signs of channeling afterwards. I will get a naked portafilter some time early next year.
- The brewtus is set at 91 deg C, 9.5 Bar. When I switch it on in the mornings it shows these settings once ready (about 15 - 20 minutes).
- When I do anything (open the steam tap, the brew level, the hot water tap), the brew pressure fall to less than 2 bar ??? I forgot to take a photo before I opened the steam to vent out any water. No matter how long I wait, it never goes higher than 2 bar again.
Photo before - Click here
- During the time that I am trying to pull a shot the pressure increase to 2.5, increasing to about 3 bar.
Photo during - Click here
- The shot that comes out is black like charcoal and blonds very fast. I have tried different temperatures, more beans (18 grams), harder tamp, etc. Not much of a different. Thinking the beans is old I went out and bought some other beans, roasted a few days ago (claim ?). I get about 100 ml in 26 seconds. I also bought some pre-ground coffee to compare the grind size with mine. Same result. My grind seems a bit finer.
- There is very little crema. I cannot see any streaking in the pour.
- The taste is similar to what I would be getting at a coffeeshop, but it appears that they are generally serving crap. OK, at least I do not taste ash and cardboard like I have tasted before. Even at 91 degrees bitter tastes dominate and the body is quite "thin".

Quite frustrating. While I am a extremely new at trying my hand at Espresso I have tried to follow online guides, how-tos and videos to the letter. Something is clearly off. Any opinions, help or advice ?
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takeshi
Senior Member
takeshi
Joined: 12 Oct 2002
Posts: 963
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Alex Duetto 3.0
Grinder: Super Jolly
Roaster: Amaya Roasting
Posted Fri Dec 27, 2013, 1:28pm
Subject: Re: Problem with my Espresso shots
 

MorneDJ Said:

I use a Scala Solis grinder on its finest setting.

Posted December 27, 2013 link

That's a problem.  The Solis really isn't suited for espresso.

MorneDJ Said:

The grind is fairly fine and fluffy and I think that it looks similar to the grinds I have seen at the coffee shops.

Posted December 27, 2013 link

Unfortunately looks aren't very reliable.  You have to dial in by pulling shots and if you're on the finest setting you have no ability to adjust finer if needed.

MorneDJ Said:

I get about 100 ml in 26 seconds. I also bought some pre-ground coffee to compare the grind size with mine. Same result.

Posted December 27, 2013 link

It's a given that preground is stale and will produce fast shots.  If the online conversion site is correct then 100mL is about 3.4 oz and that is, as a guideline, too much volume for 25 seconds.  You really need to be able to adjust your grind finer.  We're back to the grinder being the issue.

MorneDJ Said:

There is very little crema. I cannot see any streaking in the pour.

Posted December 27, 2013 link

If the beans are good then that also points to your grinder being insufficient.

Things should greatly improve once you get the La Cimbali Junior and get it dialed in.
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boar_d_laze
Senior Member


Joined: 21 Nov 2006
Posts: 1,106
Location: Monrovia, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: La Cimbali M21 DT/1 Junior...
Grinder: Ceado E92; "Bunnzilla"
Vac Pot: Royal Coffee Maker
Drip: Chemex + Kone; Espro Press
Roaster: USRC Sample Roaster
Posted Sat Dec 28, 2013, 9:52am
Subject: Re: Problem with my Espresso shots
 

This may be the wrong thread to say so, but...

The La Cimbali Junior -- especially if it has the Max-Hybrid burrs -- is a great grinder which has a serious issue in that beans and bean fragments get caught between the hopper and deck or at the grinder throat where they can go rancid and taint your grinder's output.  

You'll need to unscrew and remove the hopper every couple of weeks at minimum to clean off the deck and pick out anything caught at the throat; and run Grindz (or instant rice) at least once a month.  PITA, but there you go.  

My Junor Max Hybrid has filled me with intense ambivalence for the three years I've owned it.  But what to do?  Anything which adjusts as precisely and grinds as well or better -- there are three or four grinders which do grind a little better -- costs a fortune; a fortune I can't afford since spending so much on roasting equipment AND a new non-espresso grinder; so it's too good to get rid of.  On the other hand, it really IS a PITA.  
Meantime, good luck with your Brewtus!

BDL
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EndTwo
Senior Member


Joined: 13 Mar 2013
Posts: 89
Location: Denmark
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Apscaso uno steel prof
Grinder: Mazzer Major DR + Mahlkönig...
Drip: french press, ceramic v60...
Roaster: skillet
Posted Sat Dec 28, 2013, 10:11am
Subject: Re: Problem with my Espresso shots
 

I will agree that grinder is the main problem. But I would like to add, without experience with the brewtus, that your warmup time sounds really short. I would think halfhalf to a whole hour...
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Coffeenoobie
Senior Member
Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 3,014
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Sat Dec 28, 2013, 10:55am
Subject: Re: Problem with my Espresso shots
 

Go to espressomyespresso and look for the article that says something like make better espresso at home.  His site is set up in such a way it doesn't let me link the story I want directly.

 
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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emradguy
Senior Member
emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 2,966
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 Sat Dec 28, 2013, 10:21pm
Subject: Re: Problem with my Espresso shots
 

Coffeenoobie Said:

Go to espressomyespresso and look for the article that says something like make better espresso at home.  His site is set up in such a way it doesn't let me link the story I want directly.

Posted December 28, 2013 link

it's article 12 under how to...Easy Guide to Better Espresso at Home. read it thoroughly so that when your new grinder (the crux of your problem) arrives you'll be ready to go.

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