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Critique my dialling in technique please

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All,

 

I've recently purchased an ACS Minima, my first espresso machine, so going through the learnings of dialling in, brew rations etc. I'll inclide as much details as I can, so hope I can get some good feedback on improvements and direction to take.

 

I'm using a *.*g scales for weighing the grind in and the weighing the espresso also, recording time from shot timer (So includes ~9seconds) pre-infusion/pressure ramp.

 

I'm taking out basket to weigh and tamp before adding it back into portafilter, making sure the tamped basket is still compact and smooth at top after connecting basket.

 

I'm using a Mazzer Mini E grinder, setting a little finer (approx 2.3 on scale) than where factory indiacte starting point for espresso (reference 3.0 on scale).

 

Beans are Rave siganture blend, ~2weeks from roast date. Water being used is RO (which I know is non ideal, will change)

 

Details as follows

 

16.g espresso, very limited flow at grind setting 2.2.

  • Adjust grind setting coarser to 2.3

18.0g in, still limited flow

  • Adjust grind setting coarser to 2.4

16.6g in, 36.3g out (ratio 2.2), 30seconds, grind setting 2.4

  • Tasted salty, so adjusted grind setting slightly finer to 2.35

17.2g in, 39g out (ratio 2.3), 25.5seconds.

16.8g in, 33g out (ratio 2.0), 23seconds

17.5g in, 35g out (ratio 2.0), 24.6 seconds

  • a liitle sour, so small adjust finer to 2.33

17.1g in 37.7g out (ratio 2.2), 24.1seconds

  • some sour notes still, slight adjust agin to ~2.31

17.7g in 38.5g out (ratio 2.2), 27seconds

  • still a little sour

 

So in summary, the shots seem to be very quick, and still sour, which I understand a finer grind should help in both cases, however as don't seem to find a sweet spot before I am too fine.

 

Anyone care to offer guidance on what I may be doing wrong and next steps I can take to dial grind in?

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Don't change the dose....

Stick to one appropriate to your basket.

Then either and or grind finer or increase the ratio to increase sweetness.

Dont be afraid to go over 1 to 3 or 30 seconds


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All,

 

16.g espresso, very limited flow at grind setting 2.2.

  • Adjust grind setting coarser to 2.3

18.0g in, still limited flow

  • Adjust grind setting coarser to 2.4

................................

 

17.1g in 37.7g out (ratio 2.2), 24.1seconds

  • some sour notes still, slight adjust agin to ~2.31

17.7g in 38.5g out (ratio 2.2), 27seconds

  • still a little sour

I'm so confused.

 

So fire two shots: "limited flow" what does that mean?

 

16g at 2.2 then 18g at 2.4 nullifying to an extent the change you've made. Both shots have "limited flow"...

But then the last shot is at a setting of 2.31 which is finer than the second shot and almost as fine as the first (but with a higher dose) and you suddenly produce a shot in 27 seconds. That doesn't make sense. If your flow is limited with 16g at 2.2 and 18g at 2.4 you'd expect the same thing with 17.7g at 2.31. So what is "very limited flow"?

 

Constantly changing dose makes things harder.

 

Make sure you are purging the grinder properly of old grinds.

 

If you get sourness increase yield to start with.

 

I suspect you aren't purging the grinder based on the quoted info.


Expobar DB Office Leva IV, La Pavoni Professional -- FOR SALE: MBK HEFT, Torr Goldfinger Titan Convex & 58.55 Flat -- Ceado E8, Lido E, Pharos VDD -- 2 and 5 cup Syphons; Vintage Nicro Metal Filter -- Gene Cafe CBR101 with Dimmer Mod and Bean Mass Probe

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I'm so confused.

 

So fire two shots: "limited flow" what does that mean?

 

16g at 2.2 then 18g at 2.4 nullifying to an extent the change you've made. Both shots have "limited flow"...

But then the last shot is at a setting of 2.31 which is finer than the second shot and almost as fine as the first (but with a higher dose) and you suddenly produce a shot in 27 seconds. That doesn't make sense. If your flow is limited with 16g at 2.2 and 18g at 2.4 you'd expect the same thing with 17.7g at 2.31. So what is "very limited flow"?

 

Constantly changing dose makes things harder.

 

Make sure you are purging the grinder properly of old grinds.

 

If you get sourness increase yield to start with.

 

I suspect you aren't purging the grinder based on the quoted info.

 

WIth limited flow, essentially, nothing in shot glass until >>10s, then at a very slow rate, e.g. after 20s, only 3-4g, so I stopped the shot.

 

I was scratching my head with the grind settings also, have since made sure to apply even tamp pressure, in case that was a variable in previous shots.

 

I had been trying to aim for ratio of 1:2, so if I loaded 16 & 18g, I would adjust the weight in glass accordingly - that was what I was trying to keep constant. Some overshoot in glass due to me not shutting off pump early enough resulting in >1:2 ratios. Hope that explains better the data.

 

So bottom line, advise seems to be to fix the grind in basket (e.g. 17.0g). To adjust the yield, allow more weight in cup (higher brew ratio) to see if that can make the shot taste better. Leave grind alone now I'm in the ballpack. That's my next set of espresso's this evening.

 

Thanks for the feedback guys.

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Watching

may help you dial in your recipe.

Laissez les bons temps rouler

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WIth limited flow, essentially, nothing in shot glass until >>10s, then at a very slow rate, e.g. after 20s, only 3-4g, so I stopped the shot.

 

I was scratching my head with the grind settings also, have since made sure to apply even tamp pressure, in case that was a variable in previous shots.

 

I had been trying to aim for ratio of 1:2, so if I loaded 16 & 18g, I would adjust the weight in glass accordingly - that was what I was trying to keep constant. Some overshoot in glass due to me not shutting off pump early enough resulting in >1:2 ratios. Hope that explains better the data.

 

So bottom line, advise seems to be to fix the grind in basket (e.g. 17.0g). To adjust the yield, allow more weight in cup (higher brew ratio) to see if that can make the shot taste better. Leave grind alone now I'm in the ballpack. That's my next set of espresso's this evening.

 

Thanks for the feedback guys.

 

Hold your horses there before you waste more coffee....

 

Are you purging the grinder or not?

 

I don't see how you can be if you produce a 1:2 ratio in 25 seconds with a 17.7g dose at a finer grind setting than an 18g dose that choked the machine. There are either old grinds mixed in there or you've done something inconsistent. Taking the basket out and putting it back in could disturb the puck. It's unlikely tamping pressure is going to make a difference -- just keep it over 5kg, tamp level (obviously) and once.

 

Are you filling the hopper and grinding based on time hence the dose fluctuations? Were some of your previous shots single dosed or with the last bits left in the hopper?

 

If you adjust the yield and your shots are good you can either stick with it or try grinding finer and increasing strength (if you want) which means a lower yield. If you get bad channelling or spritzing then you've hit the limit of your grinder and need to accept what you can do with the particular bean. You could try increasing dose instead of grinding finer but there's a limit to how much you can get into the basket obviously.


Expobar DB Office Leva IV, La Pavoni Professional -- FOR SALE: MBK HEFT, Torr Goldfinger Titan Convex & 58.55 Flat -- Ceado E8, Lido E, Pharos VDD -- 2 and 5 cup Syphons; Vintage Nicro Metal Filter -- Gene Cafe CBR101 with Dimmer Mod and Bean Mass Probe

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Iny experience temperature issues are a cause of sourness. Try 1 degree warmer.

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Hold your horses there before you waste more coffee....

 

Are you purging the grinder or not?

 

I don't see how you can be if you produce a 1:2 ratio in 25 seconds with a 17.7g dose at a finer grind setting than an 18g dose that choked the machine. There are either old grinds mixed in there or you've done something inconsistent. Taking the basket out and putting it back in could disturb the puck. It's unlikely tamping pressure is going to make a difference -- just keep it over 5kg, tamp level (obviously) and once.

 

Are you filling the hopper and grinding based on time hence the dose fluctuations? Were some of your previous shots single dosed or with the last bits left in the hopper?

 

If you adjust the yield and your shots are good you can either stick with it or try grinding finer and increasing strength (if you want) which means a lower yield. If you get bad channelling or spritzing then you've hit the limit of your grinder and need to accept what you can do with the particular bean. You could try increasing dose instead of grinding finer but there's a limit to how much you can get into the basket obviously.

i

I was weighing but with varyng levels of beans to near zero in hopper. Since the feedback, I've taken extra care with weighing and significant purge if I touch grinder setting, also no longer removing the basket from portafilter, hopper topped up always. I've now locked in at 17.0g input, targeting a 2.5 ratio, shot time 40s (includes 10s pressure ramp / pre-infusion), shots now tasting pretty good. Happy to finally be pulling tasty shots!!

 

However I've noticed that I must not be tamping evenly as can see flow starting earlier from one spout before flow from both, so still plenty of improvement to be made...but its a start, thanks for the feedback.

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Iny experience temperature issues are a cause of sourness. Try 1 degree warmer.

 

I haven't adjusted temerature yet, however good to know, tks.

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i

I was weighing but with varyng levels of beans to near zero in hopper. Since the feedback, I've taken extra care with weighing and significant purge if I touch grinder setting, also no longer removing the basket from portafilter, hopper topped up always. I've now locked in at 17.0g input, targeting a 2.5 ratio, shot time 40s (includes 10s pressure ramp / pre-infusion), shots now tasting pretty good. Happy to finally be pulling tasty shots!!

 

However I've noticed that I must not be tamping evenly as can see flow starting earlier from one spout before flow from both, so still plenty of improvement to be made...but its a start, thanks for the feedback.

Try this to check if your machine is level, it might be the cause that coffee appears in one spout first... worth a looksy

http://coffeetime.wikidot.com/levelling-the-coffee-machine


It doesn't matter how you get there it's only the end result that matters

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However I've noticed that I must not be tamping evenly as can see flow starting earlier from one spout before flow from both

 

Check that your machine is level at the group head.

Then check you're distributing properly.

Then adjust tamping.


'it's all about the microbubbubbles'

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Not a bad start, however one of your variables needs to change to a constant.

 

As above, the best constant is to keep the dose level the same. If changing the grind setting reduces/increases the dose, manually adjust until you get the same dose bang on. For reference, the finer you grind, the smaller the dose so you need to increase the grind time to compensate or manually add some more.

 

Also, as above changing the grind level will require you to conduct a "flush grind" to remove a mix of the old grind particle size and the new particle size. I usually do a 1-2 second mini grind and dispose of the contents.


Kit: Some coffee bashers for the beans and some water heater thingies for the brewing bit.

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I was weighing but with varyng levels of beans to near zero in hopper.

 

Culprit.

 

keep at least 150g in at all times otherwise it will skew your extraction.

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Thanks for the help so far on thread. It really is a learning curve, however understand everyone has to go through it and know that there are loads on the forum here that have done already and can help me get there quicker.

 

So I've now switched to a different bean after running out of bean #1, so Round 2 of dialling in.

 

This bean is a bit fluffier / more volume after grinding, so switched to a 16.0g target dose size as too much leaving t he basker, I don't use a funnel.

 

QUESTION Can you confirm I'm right that the important thing to keep dose consistent when using the same bean, however can change from bean to bean

 

So I've pulled a few shots, increasing the yield based on tasting (sour), as follows, later one less sour, however still not close to being balanced/tasty.

 

16.0g in, 46.3g out, (2.9 ratio) 45seconds

16.0g in, 55.7g out, (3.5 ratio) 50seconds

 

Based on the results above, as I'm already at a ratio of 1:3.5 qnd extended time of ~50seconds (includes 10s of pressure ramp), I conclude that rather than continue to increase yield at this grind setting, I just need to increase grind setting finer to increase extraction potential of bean, and restart the dialling in process on yield at new grind setting like before. Is this correct?

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Thanks for the help so far on thread. It really is a learning curve, however understand everyone has to go through it and know that there are loads on the forum here that have done already and can help me get there quicker.

 

So I've now switched to a different bean after running out of bean #1, so Round 2 of dialling in.

 

This bean is a bit fluffier / more volume after grinding, so switched to a 16.0g target dose size as too much leaving t he basker, I don't use a funnel.

 

QUESTION Can you confirm I'm right that the important thing to keep dose consistent when using the same bean, however can change from bean to bean

 

So I've pulled a few shots, increasing the yield based on tasting (sour), as follows, later one less sour, however still not close to being balanced/tasty.

 

16.0g in, 46.3g out, (2.9 ratio) 45seconds

16.0g in, 55.7g out, (3.5 ratio) 50seconds

 

Based on the results above, as I'm already at a ratio of 1:3.5 qnd extended time of ~50seconds (includes 10s of pressure ramp), I conclude that rather than continue to increase yield at this grind setting, I just need to increase grind setting finer to increase extraction potential of bean, and restart the dialling in process on yield at new grind setting like before. Is this correct?

 

1. Yes. Keep dose consistent when dialling in, your dose will change depending on density of the bean.

 

2 . No. You are likely grinding too fine and need to go coarser. This sounds contradictory when you consider the advice for under extraction and/or sourness is to grind finer but at some point you start going backwards. If you go coarser you'll have to change your dose again unless 16g still fits in the basket without taking an impression or being disturbed by the shower screen.

 

What beans are you using now?

 

Also keep that hopper topped up, the grind gets inconsistent with varying amounts in there. You'll find you have to grind finer when the hopper is on its last shot vs full.


Expobar DB Office Leva IV, La Pavoni Professional -- FOR SALE: MBK HEFT, Torr Goldfinger Titan Convex & 58.55 Flat -- Ceado E8, Lido E, Pharos VDD -- 2 and 5 cup Syphons; Vintage Nicro Metal Filter -- Gene Cafe CBR101 with Dimmer Mod and Bean Mass Probe

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2 . No. You are likely grinding too fine and need to go coarser. This sounds contradictory when you consider the advice for under extraction and/or sourness is to grind finer but at some point you start going backwards. If you go coarser you'll have to change your dose again unless 16g still fits in the basket without taking an impression or being disturbed by the shower screen.

 

 

tks, definitely wouldn't try that way unless advised.

 

 

What beans are you using now?

 

Also keep that hopper topped up, the grind gets inconsistent with varying amounts in there. You'll find you have to grind finer when the hopper is on its last shot vs full.

 

I'm using Rave's Chatswood Blend now.

 

Am keeping plenty in the hopper now, I'm learning in small steps :)

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So I adjusted the grind coarser, and hey presto, the shots got better, so you were bang on, tks!!

 

So to capture the lesson learnt, does this sound right - for a given initial grind setting when dialling in a new bean, if the usual recipe adjustments don't seem to be working (e.g. higher yield if sour) and shot time long (~50s) or brew ratio getting high (>3.5), then likely culprit is that a have started with too fine a grind, and try a coarser grind and restart dialling in again.

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