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Exact dialling in for espresso


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Now this may be a bit subjective, but with some beans, I struggle to nail the dialling in... I don’t mean getting to the point where I can drink it or sink it, but the last little bit to remove the last little bit of bitterness/sourness.

 

What I struggle with is as these flavours become less pronounced and ‘closer’ on the spectrum of underover extracted, I can’t identify whether it is bitter or sour. I know this is due to lack of experience, but any tips tricks would be amazing!

 

On the other beans I must just get lucky and can produce a very smooth and balanced espresso on my first couple of adjustments. Just so people are aware, I’m using a DTP paired with a Niche. Currently drinking Origin San Fermin.

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Now this may be a bit subjective, but with some beans, I struggle to nail the dialling in... I don’t mean getting to the point where I can drink it or sink it, but the last little bit to remove the last little bit of bitterness/sourness.

 

What I struggle with is as these flavours become less pronounced and ‘closer’ on the spectrum of underover extracted, I can’t identify whether it is bitter or sour. I know this is due to lack of experience, but any tips tricks would be amazing!

 

On the other beans I must just get lucky and can produce a very smooth and balanced espresso on my first couple of adjustments. Just so people are aware, I’m using a DTP paired with a Niche. Currently drinking Origin San Fermin.

 

You're too fine, or not pulling enough out of the puck in grams.

 

If there is sourness, you are most likely under.

 

If there is sourness with bitterness, you are still under, but maybe too fine on grind.

 

As you dial in, under & over are not that close, that a little adjustment will send you from one to another. Most of the time with medium roasts, you will struggle to over-extract at all at normal brew ratios (1:2 to 1:4). You will be able to make a normal extraction taste flat & a little dry, try pulling a little less weight out if so.

Edited by MWJB
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You're too fine, or not pulling enough out of the puck in grams.

 

If there is sourness, you are most likely under.

 

If there is sourness with bitterness, you are still under, but maybe too fine on grind.

 

As you dial in, under & over are not that close, that a little adjustment will send you from one to another. Most of the time with medium roasts, you will struggle to over-extract at all at normal brew ratios (1: to 1:4). You will be able to make a normal extraction taste flat & a little dry, try pulling a little less weight out if so.

 

Ok thank you!

 

This is challenging my basic understanding of espresso and how to dial in[emoji23]

 

Typically, I thought if you were under-extracting, you could pull more out or go finer.. so you’re saying if it’s sour and bitter simultaneously, it’s under-extracted but too fine, so go coarser and extract more in grams? I understand that as you go finer you extract more until you go too fine, then you start extracting less again.

 

But your last sentence suggests I could try pulling less weight out? Not trying to say your wrong, just trying to understand so that I can learn!

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There are multiple causes of bitterness & types. So, saying you have bitterness doesn't necessarily mean that you are over-extracting, but yes, you might try grinding coarser & pulling a longer shot, until you have the least sourness, bitterness & strike a pleasing balance.

 

When you get to this stage you might find if you pull too much coffee from the puck, that the flavour flattens off again, as you go past peak sweetness/balance. In this case, keep the same grind setting & see how much less coffee you need to pull to get back to a balanced taste.

 

Sharpness/tartness is pretty much always under-extraction. As you say, grinding finer can fix this, but if your brew ratio is too short/grind on the fine side already, going finer still may not shake the tartness, but may add bitterness/dryness/powderyness to the problem. In this case, grinding finer can't lift the extraction, but it will increase silt in the cup.

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  • 4 weeks later...

There's a comprehensive guide in US parallel universe, written by Jim Schulman:

https://www.home-barista.com/tips/espresso-101-how-to-adjust-dose-and-grind-setting-by-taste-t16968.html

 

Once you get the hang of it, the accompanying graphics might still be helpful after many rounds of dialling in new beans:

 

11853espresso_101_diagram_1.jpg

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There's a comprehensive guide in US parallel universe, written by Jim Schulman:

https://www.home-barista.com/tips/espresso-101-how-to-adjust-dose-and-grind-setting-by-taste-t16968.html

 

Once you get the hang of it, the accompanying graphics might still be helpful after many rounds of dialling in new beans:

 

11853espresso_101_diagram_1.jpg

 

Only problem is, it says "begin with a balanced shot".

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Many years ago
[emoji23]

 

Well, I'd say in the first part it gives you directions to arrive at a balanced shot.

Not in terms of flavour but brew ratio. That's at least how I read that image in light of the writing.

 

Doesn't mean it's helpful for everybody, for me it was [emoji1303]

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It's an interesting process, as with a new grinder and baskets I am drilling in and thinking about how I get to "balanced"

I read the Hb post, it works for people but not for me. There is reference to if your shot is under or over extracted but taste and extraction are not linear.

I see alot of " my shot is over extracted " thrown around and when you ask for brew ratios etc, it's highly unlikely they are.

Do i have a better process than the HB one i can post , not at the moment, but ill have a think .

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It's an interesting process, as with a new grinder and baskets I am drilling in and thinking about how I get to "balanced"

I read the Hb post, it works for people but not for me. There is reference to if your shot is under or over extracted but taste and extraction are not linear.

I see alot of " my shot is over extracted " thrown around and when you ask for brew ratios etc, it's highly unlikely they are.

Do i have a better process than the HB one i can post , not at the moment, but ill have a think .

yes please!
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