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Is it 25 seconds from button push or from first drip?
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Discussions > Espresso > Q and A > Is it 25 seconds...  
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Gallansio
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Posted Thu Jan 9, 2014, 7:57pm
Subject: Is it 25 seconds from button push or from first drip?
 

I'm curious if I should start my time when I push the button or when the first drop starts to come out of the portafilter.  Thanks!!
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frcn
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Posted Thu Jan 9, 2014, 11:20pm
Subject: Re: Is it 25 seconds from button push or from first drip?
 

My best advice: Ignore the clock. Watch the stream. taste the espresso. Repeat for the next three or four decades and get back to us.
Seriously. The clock is good for the first week or two, as is the 2 ounces in 25 seconds rule, and about the same as some specific tamping force. These are all pretty much starting guidelines and places to fall back on when things go teets up. The mass of coffee for each pull is more valuable than all the rest I mentioned above combined.

 
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Nurk2
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Posted Fri Jan 10, 2014, 11:21am
Subject: Re: Is it 25 seconds from button push or from first drip?
 

"+1"

 
If it sounds good, it is good.
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acasabia
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Posted Fri Jan 10, 2014, 11:42am
Subject: Re: Is it 25 seconds from button push or from first drip?
 

This is difficult to say, it depends on your method and pre-infusion, but most machines that time this automatically go by the button push. I like to count the lag separate from my shot time as an indicator of a grind or tamping defect, but I only ever even think about this if I cleaned out my grinder and need to reset it.

Typically if the flow looks good, and tastes good, I ignore timing.

 
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boar_d_laze
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Posted Fri Jan 10, 2014, 12:08pm
Subject: Re: Is it 25 seconds from button push or from first drip?
 

+1 more.  Very much +1 more.  

The clock is meaningful in the sense that if the shot flows too quickly it is something which MUST be addressed; while a shot which flows too slowly is a shot which MIGHT need tweaking.  

There is an official "Italian Standard" time range of 25sec plus or minus 5sec, which is nice to know I suppose, but doesn't have as much to do with what matters as you might think.  Sophisticated measurement tells us that at appropriate temperatures, brew ratios, puck depths, grind sizes and grind consistency, yields level out at the 20 second mark.  

So, as a practical matter, it's possible to pull some very good shots which run longer than 30sec.  

You do want to avoid over-extraction, but things you can see like spurting, and/or premature blonding are better indicia of problems than time.  For most people, the four most common technique problem areas are temperature, distribution, grind and dose; and the last three are best diagnosed visually using the U.S. GI Mk IV Human Eyeball.

At uber levels of barista-ing, where extraction and yield are well understood as the goals, getting consistent times in the high 20sec range while using a flow meter to insure consistent amounts of brew water becomes important as a diagnostic that ALL of the other variables are equally well controlled.  

I might not be a good enough barista to get it, but in my opinion that sort of consistency and the expensive equipment necessary to measure it are only important to cafes and not in the home; not even at the highest level.  

So anyway, as long as you understand that it doesn't mean anything:  The H-B espresso contingent differentiates "dwell time" from time when the shot is actually running; with dwell time beginning at the onset of pressure (including pre-infusion) and ending at beginning of visual flow; and calculates "shot time" as 1/2 dwell time + visual flow time.

Other people -- including the Istituto Nazionale Espresso Italiano -- calculate it as pressure start (including pre-infusion) to end of visual flow.  

I believe Jim Schulman aka "Another Jim" was the first to come up with the formulation (but maybe not).  In any case, Jim knows a LOT about espresso and you could do worse than reading him.

BDL
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brianl
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Posted Mon Jan 13, 2014, 7:42am
Subject: Re: Is it 25 seconds from button push or from first drip?
 

i'm just reaffirming whats been said. I started out with the 25 second rule but had lackluster results. I now flirt with the blonding point and as long as thats over about 20 seconds from when i flip the switch, i'm good.

I count the blonding point when I don't see any dark color left anywhere. Does anyone do sooner or later?
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calblacksmith
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Posted Mon Jan 13, 2014, 12:00pm
Subject: Re: Is it 25 seconds from button push or from first drip?
 

The flow can lighten up as the shot progresses, blonding is when you see the white spot start to form in the cup at the point of the stream entering the coffee.

I just watch the clock, from pressure on, to the end of shot to make sure things are not way out of wack, the taste is king. You can have a 25 second shot that tastes like garbage but I have had even 40 second shots taste good. YMMV!

 
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CMIN
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Posted Mon Jan 13, 2014, 12:36pm
Subject: Re: Is it 25 seconds from button push or from first drip?
 

brianl Said:

i'm just reaffirming whats been said. I started out with the 25 second rule but had lackluster results. I now flirt with the blonding point and as long as thats over about 20 seconds from when i flip the switch, i'm good.

I count the blonding point when I don't see any dark color left anywhere. Does anyone do sooner or later?

Posted January 13, 2014 link

I agree, same here. I do preinfusion and aim for around 27-30 seconds timed after 1st drips start. I've played with preinfusion, no preinfusion, used other machines like the Silvia which is just on or off.... and have never liked the taste of the shots that are 25 seconds from turning on the pump. I usually do 1.75-2oz and done the timed from turning on the pump way always makes a shot that looks and taste more like a gusher and early blonding to me. I've never been able to pull a double in 25 seconds doing no preinfuse on my machine and timed from pump turning on, or any machine for that matter.

It's like when I see the SCG vids, they time from turning on the pump and for like 20-25 seconds fora  double, 99% of the time the shots look like gushers to me and early blonding. I've seen them pull doubles at like 20 seconds and loved the taste and flavors, I did that playing around and man did that taste seriously underextracted lol.
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frcn
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frcn
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Posted Mon Jan 13, 2014, 2:31pm
Subject: Re: Is it 25 seconds from button push or from first drip?
 

For the "blonding point" also watch the viscosity of the flow. The flow will start like warm molasses, change to hot honey, then turn to light-tan water. It's the last you try to avoid.

You can also test if this is important to you at all. Starting with a clean palate, use four or five shot glasses. Start an extraction and catch 4 or five seconds of extraction in each. taste them in reverse order (last one captured first) after the extraction is completed.  You tell us if the blonding point is a real problem. The late captures will lack body, and possibly dramatically so, but try to ignore that and focus on only the taste.  Sip each and take a short drink of water in between each taste test.

 
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brianl
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Posted Tue Jan 14, 2014, 7:50am
Subject: Re: Is it 25 seconds from button push or from first drip?
 

frcn Said:

For the "blonding point" also watch the viscosity of the flow. The flow will start like warm molasses, change to hot honey, then turn to light-tan water. It's the last you try to avoid.

You can also test if this is important to you at all. Starting with a clean palate, use four or five shot glasses. Start an extraction and catch 4 or five seconds of extraction in each. taste them in reverse order (last one captured first) after the extraction is completed.  You tell us if the blonding point is a real problem. The late captures will lack body, and possibly dramatically so, but try to ignore that and focus on only the taste.  Sip each and take a short drink of water in between each taste test.

Posted January 13, 2014 link

This sounds like a good weekend project.

I time but just out of habit as i usually ignore it ha. I get about 16g in 20g out in about 35 seconds. I count when the switch is flipped. I never heard anyone say blonding is when you see a white part in the coffee surface, i'll have to try that out too.
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