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Hi, barely one month in. Purchased items below from the nice people at Black Cat Coffee on 16th February '21. ONLY used Waitrose bottled water. Did lots of reading on espresso. Not producing the coffee flavour we like - so considering offering machine and grinder for sale. The machine group head is cleaned after every use, and we have tried blends too. 

Motta 58mm Flat Bottom Olive Wood Tamper
1

Motta 58mm Flat Bottom Olive Wood Tamper1£21.00

Eureka Mignon Specialita 55mm Flat Burrs On Demand - Red / Black Chute
1

Eureka Mignon Specialita 55mm Flat Burrs On DemandRed / Black Chute

  •  DSW57YDXX5V2 (-£10.65)

1£355.00
£344.35

Izzo Alex PID Plus
1

Izzo Alex PID Plus

  •  DSW57YDXX5V2 (-£49.47)

1£1,649.00
£1,599.53

 

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Why give up? I can tell you with certainty, that there is nothing wrong with your equipments. That leaves technique and beans. You cannot learn a craft by reading a forum! Also, it may well be that the beans you have bought are not to your taste. Start off by telling us what coffee you enjoy, where it is from, what size is the drink etc etc. Once we have sorted that, technique can be addreeesed

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Bye Bye...........come back when you have less time

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Hold you horse's Sir , WAAAAAAAY to early to give up 

Some coffee providers do test small packs foy you to try wothout buying 250 / 500 gram packs , As said above what coffee do you like ?

Its also getting the grind correct , To course and the water gushes through the beans extrackting very little flavour / taste , To fine and it chokes the portafilter then acting like clay stopping the water flow , You need to be in the correct place , I'm just dialing in my ne machine now , I am almost done :coffee: , You have good equipment so keep at it 

Are you weighing your beans ? if not each extraction will vairy , are you using a single or double basket in the portafilter , Is a single person extraction or for 2 people . We can help but need info 

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ECM Synchronika  , Mahlkonig EK43S , Osmio.

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Hi, good morning, thank you for reply. Well, we have not finished it, but we have Rao's 'The professional barista's handbook'. We like occasional real espresso (short) but equally long coffees - basically a flavoursome mug of coffee. We have tried blends, but also a few of the offerings from Black Cat, and in past two weeks their Signature Blend. Why give up? - it is a big investment for coffee that is not better than our old Dualit which just requires a new pump (he says eyeing a garden where 1500 would put in some nice trees!).

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7 minutes ago, Instant no more ! said:

Hold you horse's Sir , WAAAAAAAY to early to give up 

Some coffee providers do test small packs foy you to try wothout buying 250 / 500 gram packs , As said above what coffee do you like ?

Its also getting the grind correct , To course and the water gushes through the beans extrackting very little flavour / taste , To fine and it chokes the portafilter then acting like clay stopping the water flow , You need to be in the correct place , I'm just dialing in my ne machine now , I am almost done :coffee: , You have good equipment so keep at it 

Are you weighing your beans ? if not each extraction will vairy , are you using a single or double basket in the portafilter , Is a single person extraction or for 2 people . We can help but need info 

Hi, thank you for reply. Yes, using scales and timings. Double basket. I admit it would take time, but so much coffee simply poured away and eyed raised to the ceiling!

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1 minute ago, Denis McKeown said:

Hi, thank you for reply. Yes, using scales and timings. Double basket. I admit it would take time, but so much coffee simply poured away and eyed raised to the ceiling!

Double basket for 1 or 2 drinks ? I used a single basket for a single dring and found it very weak ,lacking in taste , Changed to a double basket with 18 grams of beans with the correct grind and it's now much better 

You have not yet mentioned the coffee you like ? 

ECM Synchronika  , Mahlkonig EK43S , Osmio.

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Denis....I have been involved in coffee as a hobby for almost 20 years.....I'm still learning today. My shots have improved and improved, at some point you get the espresso and you think you added sugar by mistake...or that latte that you never forget. Gradually these events become more and more consistent as you get to know your machine. I am involved in the design of espresso machines, roasters (I roast myself as well as teach) and grinders....even with all that knowledge, when I am reviewing a machine, I like to use it for a month before I start writing a review, the reason, I don't know it well enough to get the best out of it and really understand it until then....and that's with my experience!

You have some nice kit there, but you're not giving yourself the time. I did the top level design for the Original Duetto some 17 years ago (still have serial number 0001 in my workshop). There have been quite a few changes since then, and it's possible temperature offsets are different to what I originally advised. I used to test temperatures using my equipment which was similar to a SCACEII that came out over 12 years later. It might just be a temperature issue with your machine.. and a slight tweak of temps will fix it.

Where in the UK are you based, as there may be a member nearby who can help you. Absolutely don't give up yet...it's akin to having 1 month of piano lessons and deciding the Steinway piano you're using is no good. Seriously, give it time....at least 6 months.

If you can make some unlisted YouTube videos and link to them here....then we can watch over your shoulder, so to speak and offer help and suggestions.

This image is old hat, but it applies to all of us in everything we do....at the bottom two levels it's easy to get frustrated and give up.  This forum will help you and from a personal perspective, everything I do in coffee as part of my hobby, is aimed at making that competence journey easier for people, or to help them on their way.

 

Four stages of competence - Wikipedia

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Nothing here...

 

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17 minutes ago, DavecUK said:

Denis....I have been involved in coffee as a hobby for almost 20 years.....I'm still learning today. My shots have improved and improved, at some point you get the espresso and you think you added sugar by mistake...or that latte that you never forget. Gradually these events become more and more consistent as you get to know your machine. I am involved in the design of espresso machines, roasters (I roast myself as well as teach) and grinders....even with all that knowledge, when I am reviewing a machine, I like to use it for a month before I start writing a review, the reason, I don't know it well enough to get the best out of it and really understand it until then....and that's with my experience!

You have some nice kit there, but you're not giving yourself the time. I did the top level design for the Original Duetto some 17 years ago (still have serial number 0001 in my workshop). There have been quite a few changes since then, and it's possible temperature offsets are different to what I originally advised. I used to test temperatures using my equipment which was similar to a SCACEII that came out over 12 years later. It might just be a temperature issue with your machine.. and a slight tweak of temps will fix it.

Where in the UK are you based, as there may be a member nearby who can help you. Absolutely don't give up yet...it's akin to having 1 month of piano lessons and deciding the Steinway piano you're using is no good. Seriously, give it time....at least 6 months.

If you can make some unlisted YouTube videos and link to them here....then we can watch over your shoulder, so to speak and offer help and suggestions.

This image is old hat, but it applies to all of us in everything we do....at the bottom two levels it's easy to get frustrated and give up.  This forum will help you and from a personal perspective, everything I do in coffee as part of my hobby, is aimed at making that competence journey easier for people, or to help them on their way.

 

Four stages of competence - Wikipedia

Morning. Thankyou so much, I know you must be right - I know I must go back to lessons, I'm definitely at the base of this pyramid. Machine filled, turned on, with Scott's book on the table. Denis

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29 minutes ago, Instant no more ! said:

Double basket for 1 or 2 drinks ? I used a single basket for a single dring and found it very weak ,lacking in taste , Changed to a double basket with 18 grams of beans with the correct grind and it's now much better 

You have not yet mentioned the coffee you like ? 

Hi, Emma just mentioned "Well, we like a nice mug of coffee with a nice crema" And I am hunting the perfect espresso. I use double basket and 18 gr. for two drinks, sometimes one full mug. Maybe someone can recommend a non exotic bean for beginners?

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@Denis McKeown Hi Denis, sorry to hear it's frustrating you! 

26 minutes ago, Denis McKeown said:

Hi, Emma just mentioned "Well, we like a nice mug of coffee with a nice crema" And I am hunting the perfect espresso. I use double basket and 18 gr. for two drinks, sometimes one full mug. Maybe someone can recommend a non exotic bean for beginners?

Can I clarify - 18 grams per drink or are you splitting a double espresso from one 18g basket into two single shots for yourself and your other half? 

And re: "one full mug" are you pulling the espresso until it fills the mug like a lungo or adding hot water to an espresso?  

(PS I'm definitely at the bottom of the hierarchy of competence and think it's really helpful to learn and troubleshoot with others - i feel your pain but don't give up)

Gaggia Classic PID & Niche Zero

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1 minute ago, LMartin said:

@Denis McKeown Hi Denis, sorry to hear it's frustrating you! 

Can I clarify - 18 grams per drink or are you splitting a double espresso from one 18g basket into two single shots for yourself and your other half? 

And re: "one full mug" are you pulling the espresso until it fills the mug like a lungo or adding hot water to an espresso?  

(PS I'm definitely at the bottom of the hierarchy of competence and think it's really helpful to learn and troubleshoot with others - i feel your pain but don't give up)

Hi, filling the mug from the machine - I think I know I should be adding water to an espresso instead, yes. 18gr for one sometimes, evenings 18gr for two. I expect it's crowded down here at the bottom of the learning curve.

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I'd just like to add to this. I've just gone the best part of a year with no espresso machine to practice on and just made a huge investment in some really great kit (or  at least in my opinion it is!). I knew that it is unlikely to get a decent shot the first few times out of the machine, but still, when you spend a lot of money the expectation is still there in your head that really, all shots should taste amazing, straight away.

I am not an exception to that rule sadly and even knowing that beforehand, I'm hugely disappointed in what I'm pulling from the setup right now. But I know that I've got to go through a learning process, to not only remember what to do, but to adjust to a totally new setup. It just takes time and practice.  It'll be worth while sticking with it and seeing a return on that investment!

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10 minutes ago, LMartin said:

@Denis McKeown Hi Denis, sorry to hear it's frustrating you! 

Can I clarify - 18 grams per drink or are you splitting a double espresso from one 18g basket into two single shots for yourself and your other half? 

And re: "one full mug" are you pulling the espresso until it fills the mug like a lungo or adding hot water to an espresso?  

(PS I'm definitely at the bottom of the hierarchy of competence and think it's really helpful to learn and troubleshoot with others - i feel your pain but don't give up)

@Denis McKeown crowded is good. More bodies to cushion our falls!

Sounds like you should post a video of the whole process end to end and get some non judgmental feedback from forum members.
 

Just initially sounds like you could be focussing on one “recipe”at a time, keeping grind, dose in, time and coffee out at a consistent rate. Then tweak one variable at a time testing what brings you closer to the perfect drink incrementally. But then again, as they say, what do I know... 🤣

Gaggia Classic PID & Niche Zero

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39 minutes ago, Denis McKeown said:

Hi, filling the mug from the machine - I think I know I should be adding water to an espresso instead, yes. 18gr for one sometimes, evenings 18gr for two. I expect it's crowded down here at the bottom of the learning curve.

Never just run water through the group to fill your mug...that's a massive cafe crema and not a good idea, won't taste good either. Pull an espresso amount, and then top up with water from a Kettle, or something like an Osmio.

Nothing here...

 

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@Denis McKeown

You say you've got scales, let's use them. Don't run water through the group to fill a mug.

When you're producing a shot record and communicate the following:

Dose: 
Shot Weight:
Time:
Taste: Just general characterisation. Bitter, sour, tart, acidic, silty, gritty, astringent, drying, dull, smooth, thick, balanced, sweet, fatty, 

As a general pointer the dose you're using should sit high up in the basket but when you lock the portafilter into the group the puck should not be disturbed. Simple test, stick a 5p on the puck, lock the portafilter in and remove, tip the coin out....if there's an imprint your dose is too high. A high dose can be lowered by grinding finer (but this may slow the shot too much), simple thing is to decrease the dose weight a little.

Shot weight is dependent on what you want and the coffee. A good starting point is a 1:2.5 ratio, or with a darker roast coffee maybe 1:2, e.g 20g dose: 50g or 40g shot respectively. You can absolutely run a longer ratio if you wish, a longer ratio gives you more room to adjust the grind setting and if you are accustomed to americanos or brewed coffee rather than straight espresso a longer ratio may be easier for you to judge.

Fill the hopper of your grinder to get the best from it. Purge 3-5g of old grinds from the grinder before the first shot of the day, maybe a little more if you're adjusting finer or coarser to dial in. Only adjust finer while the grinder is running (push the gate of the hopper shut to avoid wasting coffee). I used to pick the Mignon up and tip it upside down to avoid wasting any that gets under the gate too but that's me.

Time: don't worry about it. 25-40 seconds. A little more or less can be fine. Judge by taste not shot time. Time just communicates grind size changes all else being equal.

Crema is not an indicator of good coffee. It tastes awful by itself, best to either skim it off or mix it in. My point is a nice crema is purely a visual thing, you can get a nice crema with really bad coffee.
 

Edited by Rob1
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2 hours ago, BruceB said:

I'd just like to add to this. I've just gone the best part of a year with no espresso machine to practice on and just made a huge investment in some really great kit (or  at least in my opinion it is!). I knew that it is unlikely to get a decent shot the first few times out of the machine, but still, when you spend a lot of money the expectation is still there in your head that really, all shots should taste amazing, straight away.

I am not an exception to that rule sadly and even knowing that beforehand, I'm hugely disappointed in what I'm pulling from the setup right now. But I know that I've got to go through a learning process, to not only remember what to do, but to adjust to a totally new setup. It just takes time and practice.  It'll be worth while sticking with it and seeing a return on that investment!

Hi, yes we were almost stunned by how bad our first coffee days were, and barely beating that except with pre ground supermarket coffee. 

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55 minutes ago, Rob1 said:

@Denis McKeown

You say you've got scales, let's use them. Don't run water through the group to fill a mug.

When you're producing a shot record and communicate the following:

Dose: 
Shot Weight:
Time:
Taste: Just general characterisation. Bitter, sour, tart, acidic, silty, gritty, astringent, drying, dull, smooth, thick, balanced, sweet, fatty, 

As a general pointer the dose you're using should sit high up in the basket but when you lock the portafilter into the group the puck should not be disturbed. Simple test, stick a 5p on the puck, lock the portafilter in and remove, tip the coin out....if there's an imprint your dose is too high. A high dose can be lowered by grinding finer (but this may slow the shot too much), simple thing is to decrease the dose weight a little.

Shot weight is dependent on what you want and the coffee. A good starting point is a 1:2.5 ratio, or with a darker roast coffee maybe 1:2, e.g 20g dose: 50g or 40g shot respectively. You can absolutely run a longer ratio if you wish, a longer ratio gives you more room to adjust the grind setting and if you are accustomed to americanos or brewed coffee rather than straight espresso a longer ratio may be easier for you to judge.

Fill the hopper of your grinder to get the best from it. Purge 3-5g of old grinds from the grinder before the first shot of the day, maybe a little more if you're adjusting finer or coarser to dial in. Only adjust finer while the grinder is running (push the gate of the hopper shut to avoid wasting coffee). I used to pick the Mignon up and tip it upside down to avoid wasting any that gets under the gate too but that's me.

Time: don't worry about it. 25-40 seconds. A little more or less can be fine. Judge by taste not shot time. Time just communicates grind size changes all else being equal.

Crema is not an indicator of good coffee. It tastes awful by itself, best to either skim it off or mix it in. My point is a nice crema is purely a visual thing, you can get a nice crema with really bad coffee.
 

 

1 hour ago, DavecUK said:

Never just run water through the group to fill your mug...that's a massive cafe crema and not a good idea, won't taste good either. Pull an espresso amount, and then top up with water from a Kettle, or something like an Osmio.

Noted, thanking you

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56 minutes ago, Rob1 said:

@Denis McKeown

You say you've got scales, let's use them. Don't run water through the group to fill a mug.

When you're producing a shot record and communicate the following:

Dose: 
Shot Weight:
Time:
Taste: Just general characterisation. Bitter, sour, tart, acidic, silty, gritty, astringent, drying, dull, smooth, thick, balanced, sweet, fatty, 

As a general pointer the dose you're using should sit high up in the basket but when you lock the portafilter into the group the puck should not be disturbed. Simple test, stick a 5p on the puck, lock the portafilter in and remove, tip the coin out....if there's an imprint your dose is too high. A high dose can be lowered by grinding finer (but this may slow the shot too much), simple thing is to decrease the dose weight a little.

Shot weight is dependent on what you want and the coffee. A good starting point is a 1:2.5 ratio, or with a darker roast coffee maybe 1:2, e.g 20g dose: 50g or 40g shot respectively. You can absolutely run a longer ratio if you wish, a longer ratio gives you more room to adjust the grind setting and if you are accustomed to americanos or brewed coffee rather than straight espresso a longer ratio may be easier for you to judge.

Fill the hopper of your grinder to get the best from it. Purge 3-5g of old grinds from the grinder before the first shot of the day, maybe a little more if you're adjusting finer or coarser to dial in. Only adjust finer while the grinder is running (push the gate of the hopper shut to avoid wasting coffee). I used to pick the Mignon up and tip it upside down to avoid wasting any that gets under the gate too but that's me.

Time: don't worry about it. 25-40 seconds. A little more or less can be fine. Judge by taste not shot time. Time just communicates grind size changes all else being equal.

Crema is not an indicator of good coffee. It tastes awful by itself, best to either skim it off or mix it in. My point is a nice crema is purely a visual thing, you can get a nice crema with really bad coffee.
 

Thanking you, ordered some pre-ground just now, to concentrate on the Ozzo, and will order beans too ... I do think the "unusual" beans we got from Black Cat might have made things tricky for us ... will report back

 

Brazil Camocim Espírito Santo Organic - Roast Coffee 1kg

SKU: TRBCES1KG-TRBCES1KGE

Grind Level
espresso
Espresso
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