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DDoe

Under/Over extracted?

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Have I got things right - underextracted coffee tastes sour and overextracted coffee tastes bitter? I'm talking generally. 

I'm trying to dial in some new beens and can't remember which way I need to adjust.

Thanks.

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Under-extracted can often be sour, but it can be bitter too. There are lots of kinds of bitterness in coffee. "Bitter means over-extraction" is the pretty much the most unhelpful coffee advice there is.

If you stick to the same ratio, under-extracted coffee will be weaker.

May also be oily, fatty. Salty. Strawy. Cereal. Green tree bark/twigs.

Over-extracted is smoky, sickly maybe overly caramelly. 

Again if you stick to a ratio - one coffee comes out sour & under, then the tiniest nudge finer makes it bitter, this is very unlikely to be over-extraction. If it is a charred, carbony like taste that wasn't there before it could be just the low side of good, so try going finer.

Simply going too fine at reasonable extraction can flatten off sweetness, as the drink gets more silty...may also be pithy too.

No cup of coffee is under & over at the same time. It is one or the other, or even an ideal extraction, but with some other malfunction that extraction can't account for.


“Coffee evokes the most insane reactions in people”, Rene Redzepi.

 

https://markwjburness.wordpress.com/

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Thanks guys. 

At least I have some idea of what I should try.

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But you could try the one for espresso..

https://baristahustle.com/blog/the-espresso-compass/

John


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I really struggle to distinguish sourness and bitterness (doesn't help I find raw lemon a tasty fruit) as well and have always been too focused on avoiding bitnersses. After reading the Barista hustle on putting all the variables together I actually think I have been this all business wrong and in fact think I pulled the best shot on my gaggia this week as I was trying to adjusting the grind size. 18g, 36g out at 42s which should be way over the limits if you read any guide but it was the sweetest shot with lots of clarity which is something I really struggle to get with my current setup  

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18 minutes ago, Bacms said:

I really struggle to distinguish sourness and bitterness (doesn't help I find raw lemon a tasty fruit) as well and have always been too focused on avoiding bitnersses. After reading the Barista hustle on putting all the variables together I actually think I have been this all business wrong and in fact think I pulled the best shot on my gaggia this week as I was trying to adjusting the grind size. 18g, 36g out at 42s which should be way over the limits if you read any guide but it was the sweetest shot with lots of clarity which is something I really struggle to get with my current setup  

It's a 1:2 shot, that's pretty common. If it took a grind so fine the shot took 42s that's just what it is and not outside any guide (e.g. Illy describe an espresso as taking 15 to 50s, that's a pretty massive span, I've had tasty shots around 20s, or up to a minute). 

Also, it doesn't really matter too much whether you can distinguish sour/bitter, just grind finer until the things you do like come to the fore, go too fine and they'll drop off again. Focus on the pleasant attributes of the shot and change grind methodically (though, sharp, tart flavours are usually under-extraction/too coarse/too little beverage extracted).

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“Coffee evokes the most insane reactions in people”, Rene Redzepi.

 

https://markwjburness.wordpress.com/

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19 hours ago, DDoe said:

Have I got things right - underextracted coffee tastes sour and overextracted coffee tastes bitter? I'm talking generally. 

I'm trying to dial in some new beens and can't remember which way I need to adjust.

Thanks.

Focus on what it tastes like, not on labelling it under or over extracted. 

As most people label this incorrectly when posting and it can lead to incorrect advise. 

Other than that what @MWJB said. 


I write a blog, it's nothing to do with coffee ...

https://rjwinc.wordpress.com

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1 hour ago, MWJB said:

It's a 1:2 shot, that's pretty common. If it took a grind so fine the shot took 42s that's just what it is and not outside any guide (e.g. Illy describe an espresso as taking 15 to 50s, that's a pretty massive span, I've had tasty shots around 20s, or up to a minute). 

Also, it doesn't really matter too much whether you can distinguish sour/bitter, just grind finer until the things you do like come to the fore, go too fine and they'll drop off again. Focus on the pleasant attributes of the shot and change grind methodically (though, sharp, tart flavours are usually under-extraction/too coarse/too little beverage extracted).

@MWJB yes I understand the brew ratio is 1:2 but I now understand that pretty much means nothing in espresso. I started this whole coffee journey when I moved to the UK back in 2009 and couldn't find decent coffee anywhere. At the time I found home barista and read as much as I could on the subject and back than the advice was to brew 2oz of liquid in rough 25-30s so I kind of stuck on that. I obviously got shots shorter or longer than that but because my taste buds lack the distinction between sourness and bitterness I never quite managed to go much further than the rough guide. I also picked other interest so was spending as much time on coffee so didn't really care that much anymore about "wasting" coffee trying to dial grind, dose and so on when I am on a subscription that gives me only 250g of a coffee. 

However I was recently in Glasgow and went to Artisan coffee which made me realise my coffee quality had really dropped. So I joined this forum and starting spending time on forums and youtube. Reading the Barista hustle guide on dose, yield and extraction recently  really clicked and I know realise I got the entire concept wrong and as you say I should just focus on getting the pleasant attributes of the shot. I am also starting to think my grinder isn't quite appropriate for the things I like but that is a different story...

Anyway back to the original point. If you trying to dial new beans I would highly recommend the already mentioned barista hustle espresso compass and the articles linked to that 

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19 minutes ago, Bacms said:

@MWJB yes I understand the brew ratio is 1:2 but I now understand that pretty much means nothing in espresso.

It means that you get twice the beverage out compared to the dose that went in, that's all.

Sour/bitter/balanced/nice/nasty have nothing to do with ratio, if the ratio allows a normal extraction with your gear. Grind setting drives flavour balance. 1:2 just sets the range of concentration +/-10% when you hit that flavour balance...espresso can be sour at any ratio. 

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“Coffee evokes the most insane reactions in people”, Rene Redzepi.

 

https://markwjburness.wordpress.com/

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6 minutes ago, MWJB said:

It means that you get twice the beverage out compared to the dose that went in, that's all.

This pretty much sums it. But somehow I was so focused on it that it took me 10 years to figure out it's just that 

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I'm working my way through the Baristahustle stuff. I can feel myself becoming wiser the more I read 😁.

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6 hours ago, DDoe said:

I'm working my way through the Baristahustle stuff. I can feel myself becoming wiser the more I read 😁.

It should usually have the inverse effect.

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I don't think the BH guide is very useful, at least doesn't correlate with my experience and just seems to repeat the "common wisdom" out there.

When making drip brews, underextraction typically means water didn't hit all the bed, too fast flow, severe channeling or something similar. This is quite hard to achieve if you're doing a V60 or similar with a reasonable recipe, but happened to me quite a lot with electrical brewers which were not dialled in correctly - water wasn't just getting to all the grounds. These brews tasted horribly, undrinkably bitter.

With immersion brews, it just means short brew time and/or coarse grind size. These taste more or less like the coffee, would still have sweetness but kind of very muted flavours and very diluted. I've had some interesting immersion brews at 12-13% using a a high g/L ratio, which still tasted good (but too wasteful IMHO).

Overextraction would taste astringent, smoky and very dry. For drip, it's easy to simulate these flavours by just continuing to pour hot water over the coffee after you've finished brewing. You can also smell the spent coffee bed perhaps?

Bitterness can also comes from roast or green issues. Sourness for me is also from the bean/roast, I've had some very sour naturals at high extractions.

For espresso things maybe a bit different though.

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