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Genuinely feel like chucking all my coffee equipment


Crema
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On 14/04/2021 at 14:30, Emily said:

I hope you get on better with this. I am on my second bag and have got it tasting really nice with every shot. It has only taken me nearly 4 months to get to this point so don’t despair! 😂

What are you actually tasting? I am currently on a liquorice flavour 🤦‍♂️

 

Just had a play date for the kids a d the other dad said wow this is a really smooth sipping coffee 🤣 but when asked what it tastes like he just said coffee 🤦‍♂️

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6 hours ago, ajohn said:

Thanks for making me laugh.

8 hours ago, antinwales said:

 

Thank you, that was very therapeutic. 

 

This made me laugh, I also feel much of the pain you sense.

 

I wonder if my taste buds are not mature enough to taste anything.

 

I'm the guy that drinks Red wine and says, yea it's red, it's dry, it's watery and wet... it will do  🤷‍♂️🤦‍♂️

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I really struggled when I started out and went through similar frustrations. 

For me it was the fact that I have no idea what the difference between bitter and sour is, so I had 0 idea whether I was over or under extracting. 

My hints tips having gone through it myself would be.

Get a simple blended coffee to start out, your not trying to create the worlds best expresso in the first month of owning your machine, your trying to get something out that doesn't make you want to throw it down the sink. I went with Rave signature blend you will want at least 500g of you given coffee to start out. 

Fresh beans. Buy fresh beans from a roaster. Beans start to dry out after being roasted and the longer they been on a shelf/in a warehouse the harder it is going to be to get something decent.

Set aside a few hours to play with your machine and grinder / waste a ton of coffee. I was coffee blind when I started and the only way I managed to get anything decent out was to stand there for ages making cup after cup till I got something drinkable and then try to replicate it. Only ever change 1 variable at once. don't trying to change multiple things you will just get overwhelmed.

 

 

 

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@antinwales A great way, however "bitter", to share your experience. I did enjoy reading it 😀.

Lelit Grace seems a capable machine, the PID should help the temperature stability.

What surprised me, although no comments were made with regard to it, was the temperature you mentioned. 90 deg C is on the low temperature for me. I pull my shots at 94 deg C. 

Have you tried to raise the temperature to 94/94 deg C and see how much the taste changes?

This might have been discussed, but do you have control over the OPV (overpressure valve, if there is one) of the machine to set it at 9 or 9.5 bar?

I hope you find the taste of good coffee. I liked the analogy with beer and wine, but doing experiments for living, they are done at extremely strict conditions with attention to any tiny details, the investment doesn't allow for even marginal error.

Here we are dealing with too many parameters, even difficult to list all of them in single go. 

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Nothing succeeds as planned.

 

ACS Vesuvius, Nuova Simonelli Apia I 1 gr, San Remo 1 gr., Bezzera BZ35e, Fracino Heavenly, Saeco Via Veneto Combi de Luxe, Mythos Plus Nuova Simonelli, Anfim Super Lusso, Cunill Space, Gene Cafe

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16 minutes ago, John Yossarian said:

@antinwales😀

Have you tried to raise the temperature to 94/94 deg C and see how much the taste changes?

This might have been discussed, but do you have control over the OPV (overpressure valve, if there is one) of the machine to set it at 9 or 9.5 bar?

Here we are dealing with too many parameters, even difficult to list all of them in single go. 

Thanks John

I dropped to 90C as Twilight recommended there - 94 would be normal so will push it up.

OPV very difficult to adjust on the Lelit (pressure is set so high so ESE pods work, grr). I did have a time manually reducing each shot's pressure via the wand valve, but was dissuaded. Incorrect pressure can't be helping.

Yes, beer and wine are quite simple processes, and made by trained professionals. Nobody tries to make bourbon with instructions off a forum.

My grumble isn't that I can't get anything decent out. I'll accept it's sometimes better than Lidl beans in a B2C. It's just not as better as I'd expected. I'll

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7 hours ago, Tinkstar said:


I'm the guy that drinks Red wine and says, yea it's red, it's dry, it's watery and wet... it will do  

@Uriel4953- to be honest, for 3x the cost in kit and beans, I kinda was hoping for the world's best espresso. Or something noticeably better. 

@Tinkstar - I can do a bit of the "I'm getting blueberries, paraffin, tears" in other foodstuffs - that's what I'm after! - but I seem to find them disgusting in coffee. Bailies LSOL range seemed an inexplicable attempt to make something nice (coffee) taste like something disgusting (floral tea)

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1 hour ago, antinwales said:

@Uriel4953- to be honest, for 3x the cost in kit and beans, I kinda was hoping for the world's best espresso. Or something noticeably better. 

@Tinkstar - I can do a bit of the "I'm getting blueberries, paraffin, tears" in other foodstuffs - that's what I'm after! - but I seem to find them disgusting in coffee. Bailies LSOL range seemed an inexplicable attempt to make something nice (coffee) taste like something disgusting (floral tea)

Just because you enjoy craft beer, doesn’t mean you will enjoy all coffee. Me I love a floral , fruity filter coffee, but I can’t stomach the craft beer my friends love. I’m much more of a Tuborg guy. 

Re the Baillies, if it was described by the roaster as a floral light brew and you described it as a floral light brew then perhaps you just don’t like it, no shame in that. 

Do you actually enjoy espresso from cafe’s and your b2c or were they milk based drinks ? 

Lastly your analogy about something nice “ coffee”  like a lot of the other things you list , coffee is not one thing, one taste, often people ascribe coffee to taste like the more prevalent larger chain type mass produced coffee, when it can be lots of things.  Same with me and me turborg...

A fair analogy might be someone making their own artisan bread and asking , why it doesnt Taste like mighty white. 

Edited by Mrboots2u
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@Mrboots2u -  re: Bailies, of course. That's my point.

We enjoyed a decade of Americano from the B2C. I liked the espresso, but felt the grind wasn't fine enough to really get it. All beans came out similar, and upgrading grinder & machine has definitely made the beans seem different. Just not as "better" as we'd hoped.
Rarely drink coffee Out as we're mean.

There will always be a place for Mighty White - lots of people enjoy it on a bacon sandwich - but an artisan bread is clearly better.  No one buys artisan bread and asks why it's not like Mighty White. But there won't be many people who will prefer the MW, surely?
I appreciate that this is a forum for the people who do get it (confirmation bias) and I'm complaining about the emperor's clothes to people who think he looks very nice.

The Tuborg simile is probably the closest to the explanation.
It's not just you - there are others. I do know such people, and it seems incomprehensible to me. Much as not liking floral coffee must seem incomprehensible to you (and other people I know who can't believe I've not got with the programme).

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9 hours ago, Tinkstar said:

What are you actually tasting? I am currently on a liquorice flavour 🤦‍♂️

 

Just had a play date for the kids a d the other dad said wow this is a really smooth sipping coffee 🤣 but when asked what it tastes like he just said coffee 🤦‍♂️

 It tastes of coffee mostly to me but that’s not a bad thing 😂. I can get cocoa powder ( I’ll take that as being close enough to chocolate) and maybe something reminiscent of hazelnuts. I can’t get fudge but that to me is always something incredibly sweet and this isn’t. I think I understand your liquorice flavour. Going to be looking for that now. Tbh, it doesn’t actually taste of any of those things but there is a hint of something .....

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10 minutes ago, antinwales said:

@Mrboots2u -  re: Bailies, of course. That's my point.

We enjoyed a decade of Americano from the B2C. I liked the espresso, but felt the grind wasn't fine enough to really get it. All beans came out similar, and upgrading grinder & machine has definitely made the beans seem different. Just not as "better" as we'd hoped.
Rarely drink coffee Out as we're mean.

There will always be a place for Mighty White - lots of people enjoy it on a bacon sandwich - but an artisan bread is clearly better.  No one buys artisan bread and asks why it's not like Mighty White. But there won't be many people who will prefer the MW, surely?
I appreciate that this is a forum for the people who do get it (confirmation bias) and I'm complaining about the emperor's clothes to people who think he looks very nice.

The Tuborg simile is probably the closest to the explanation.
It's not just you - there are others. I do know such people, and it seems incomprehensible to me. Much as not liking floral coffee must seem incomprehensible to you (and other people I know who can't believe I've not got with the programme).

My mum bought Artisan and asked why it didnt taste like mighty white :)

I get why people dont like floral coffee, i cant drink it all the time, i always nearly have a comfort blend or Brazilian to turn to .

I am off an age when my dad used for home brew in the 70’s Christ that was awful. 

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39 minutes ago, Emily said:

 It tastes of coffee mostly to me but that’s not a bad thing 😂. I can get cocoa powder ( I’ll take that as being close enough to chocolate) and maybe something reminiscent of hazelnuts. I can’t get fudge but that to me is always something incredibly sweet and this isn’t. I think I understand your liquorice flavour. Going to be looking for that now. Tbh, it doesn’t actually taste of any of those things but there is a hint of something .....

Well you are closer than me.. its liquorice or something coffee like from a jar... I will keep trying. 

 

Well done you!!!

 

I can do art consistently though now 🤣

IMG_20210415_114820_394.jpg

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I think flavour notes set such an expectation...it's usually very subtle. I do suspect some roasters do things to try and get those flavour notes...roasting lighter and lighter in a "fruitless"  😉 hunt for the flavours and sometimes the coffee ends up not tasting of ....coffee. Then those same flavours might be replicated on the packaging...for the consumer to try and taste.

I want my coffee to taste like coffee first.... I had one coffee (sadly all gone now), that in the green smelt sort of fruity....it smelt quite amazing really. The tasting notes were: Cherry, dark chocolate and blueberry with a velvety body. ...when I roasted it, it smelt strongly of dark chocolate and black cherry. When drinking it there was a good rich coffee taste, with that dark chocolate note and the black cherry was there somewhere. The smell and taste made you think of drinking a coffee with a big slice of Black Forest gâteaux in front of you...and you could almost taste it. It wasn't a sweet coffee though, I tried blending with a Brazilian, but it took too much away.

Rarely do all the tasting notes come through.....I have a coffee just arrived Daterra Blossom, tasting notes Jasmine, raspberry, mango, nuts, caramel, honey sweetness...cupping at 88-89. Will I be able to get all those notes...probably not.

The key thing to remember...the flavour notes were from a cupping roast...which is also used to check for defects. It's usually not the sort of roast you would use in an espresso machine and is not done in a big roaster (which the coffee in your bag is done by), but a sample roaster

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Sticks and Stones, sours…or rancid (horrible). Quakers hide until roasted, pick em out and flick them in the bin. Life is too short for bad coffee

 

 

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And after saying that, Ive just really enjoyed Extract's "Cast Iron" espresso.
Strong and coffee-like, but with 'other things' going on to keep it interesting.

Great latte art @Tinkstar - I need to look into that next. We don't have many (oat) milky drinks, but when they do, I steam the milk in the cup and add the espresso in on top (single boiler machine and lack of knowledge).

@Mrboots2u - (not for a long time) Around halfway through my parents' visit, my dad will sign "Do you have beer that tastes like beer?"

@DavecUK - coffee seems to be the hardest product to describe. Tastes are very subjective, and training helps, but it works adequately elsewhere.
Agreed that flavours apparent in the gentle world of cupping aren't going to translate in the aggressive world of 10bar espresso.

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9 minutes ago, DavecUK said:

I think flavour notes set such an expectation...it's usually very subtle. I do suspect some roasters do things to try and get those flavour notes...roasting lighter and lighter in a "fruitless"  😉 hunt for the flavours and sometimes the coffee ends up not tasting of ....coffee. Then those same flavours might be replicated on the packaging...for the consumer to try and taste.

I find lighter drinks make detecting tastes a lot easier. It's why I stick with americano and don't always use the same sized basket. I find some beans just have a taste - end of story. Lighter roasts clearly offer more in this direction. I also feel that some tasting notes apply to a series all together rather than some specific flavour that might be noticed while it's being drunk. Like most things coffee related I think tasting has now gone OTT as well. When I started it was easy to find a web page that started at the basics along with what they meant and also explained the difficulties in going further. ;) One I always remember is herbal - ok but what herb. Earthy is another one - it's a style of taste.

I'd agree entirely with your comments about that wonderful bean. Honey sweetness - really especially along with the rest. Rasberries are not sweet but a taste similar to sweetened rasberries may still be possible. I've just finished a batch that mentions white sugar. If I couple that with lychee yes maybe but not on it's own.

The thing I am finding disturbing with roasters is lack of roast details and also lack of darker roasts. Having tried several suppliers of dark roast and noted variability I can only conclude that medium and lighter is way easier for them to do. Some just can't reliably produce dark roasts so don't. Seems to be more of these around of late. The excuse seems to be roast taste creeping in rather than the bean itself. Essentially rubbish with some of them and may be on all really.

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I get a slow start which looks promising but 5/10 seconds in, it runs really fast again which is troubling to decipher what’s happening haha. Coffee still tastes like arse 🤣

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9 minutes ago, Crema said:

I get a slow start which looks promising but 5/10 seconds in, it runs really fast again

Hmm. It sounds as though if the shot is rapidly running faster you are getting some channelling. This is where there are weak spots of low density in the coffee puck, and water preferentially goes through those points. This causes a horrible combination of both over-extraction of the channelled areas, giving you very bitter flavours, as well as under-extraction of the other areas, giving very sour flavours.

Are you doing anything to distribute your coffee in the portafilter like stirring or declumping it? Might be worth having a look at your puck prep.

Edited by _HH_
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25 minutes ago, Crema said:

I get a slow start which looks promising but 5/10 seconds in, it runs really fast again which is troubling to decipher what’s happening haha. Coffee still tastes like arse 🤣

OK, so can you tell us what the ratio & weights are, ad how long the pump runs to get there?

 

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38 minutes ago, Crema said:

I get a slow start which looks promising but 5/10 seconds in, it runs really fast again which is troubling to decipher what’s happening haha. Coffee still tastes like arse 🤣

Do you have the option of using a naked portafilter? This might help with any prep issues you might be having.  

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1 hour ago, condy01 said:

Do you have the option of using a naked portafilter? This might help with any prep issues you might be having.  

I use mine all the time. Showed that (Lelit Grace's limited) pre-infusion worthwhile, as is WDT and a bit of tapping.

And, to be fair, the Extract Cast Iron Espresso espresso I had earlier was very good. 🤯

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