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Date: 08 Jan 2007 21:39:36
From: Tony B.
Subject: Am I defining "blonding" correctly?
Hi all,

I've had Silvia about 2 years now, but have just recently (past few
months) really been making an effort to improve my skills with her. I
used to think my espresso was "pretty good", and at least better than
the sub par coffeshops in town, but the more I work with her the more I
realize I have been to complacent. The past 2 years I've been limping
along producing only mediocre espresso!

With the recent addition of a PID on Saturday, I've really noticed a
difference. Things are getting better.. maybe not exponentially
better, but at least (it's only been a few days)... but much more
consistent! The addition of the PID was probably the best thing I've
done to improve my abilities so far... with the temp surfing out of the
way I am able to concentrate more on dosing and distribution.. making
dosing/distribution, tamping, and temprature ALL more consistent!

Like I said, things are getting better.. just not really "great". My
espresso has always seemed to taste fairly strong or intense, and most
times somewhat bitter.. of course on the occasion I get some severe
channeling, really sour sink shots do ocurr from time to time.. but on
the whole, the ones I deem "good" are very intense, result in about
1oz-1.25 oz shots, and are mildly bitter, regarless of the beans I use.
(I do some home roasting or purchase fresh online)

Until the past few days, I had been thinking my shots have been
"blonding early", and only pulling 1 oz doubles in about 25 seconds in
order to stop before I make my shots "sour" from pulling them too long.
Then I started looking at a few videos of pours from bottomless
portafilters I found on the web and started thinking I may have been
confused as to what my idea of "blonding" was, and I may have been
stopping my shots a bit short all this time!

Although hard to see on some of the videos/photos I've been looking at,
I think maybe I needed to let my shots go a littlle longer, which would
give me the volumes I'm looking for (1.5-2.0 oz in 20-25 sec). My idea
of "blonding" (until the past few days) was when the stream becomes
light "blonde"/tanish color...then stop the shot so it doesn't get too
"sour" tasting. I've been stopping it when just after it turns a light
tannish, but has very, very thin fine dark stripes still comming, but
the fluid is still "opaque"... (I'm using a bottomless portafilter).

I decided to let my last couple shots go a bit longer by 5-7 seconds
and see what the fluid looks like. I thought the resulting shots
definately tasted better... less bitter, a bit more balanced, better
"thicker" mouthfeel, even with some of the poor quality beans I've been
using for practice. It was definately more drinkable than I've been
able to produce over the past few weeks stopping the shots shorter...

So, in trying to get a better understanding of what I'm seeing and
tasting, my questions are:

1. How do you all describe the look of blonding...

In describing what I see when I pull a shot using my bottomless PF, the
stream begins dark, then quickly lightens a bit with dark thick tiger
stripes, then becomes lighter and lighter through the middle of the
shot as the shot progresses, with the tiger stripes becomming thinner
and more and more faint, but the stream/liquid is still "opaque" or
"creamy" looking.

I used to stop the shot around this point, but I'm beginning to think
that "blonding" really starts just a tad later (5-7 seconds or so) when
the liquid may still have some very thin light striping, but becomes
more "transparent" and I can just begin to "see through" the fluid
comming out of the bottom of the basket. At this point I am barely
beginning to see the basket holes.

Is that right? Is that what I'm looking for when looking for
"blonding"? Is the "blonding" really when the liquid makes the
transition to a more watery consistancy and becomes more transparent?
The color stays about the same near the end of the shot, but the
transition to "watery" is pretty distinct. I've been watching the
basket holes to get an idea of when "blonding" really starts, is that a
good way to look for this?

2. Would stopping the shots about 5 or so seconds short of blonding
make the espresso taste more bitter and intense? If so that would be a
good indicator that I'm on the right track with identifying "blonding"
more accurately.

Thanks for any advice or descriptions you can offer... It seems the
more I use Silvia, the more determined I am to make better tasting
espresso... It's more of a challenge than it looks like it should be..
but enjoyable all the same.. :-)

Tony B.





 
Date: 09 Jan 2007 20:18:15
From: Barry Jarrett
Subject: Re: Am I defining "blonding" correctly?
On 8 Jan 2007 21:39:36 -0800, "Tony B." <tonyandjulieb@yahoo.com >
wrote:

>Is that right? Is that what I'm looking for when looking for
>"blonding"? Is the "blonding" really when the liquid makes the
>transition to a more watery consistancy and becomes more transparent?
>The color stays about the same near the end of the shot, but the
>transition to "watery" is pretty distinct. I've been watching the
>basket holes to get an idea of when "blonding" really starts, is that a
>good way to look for this?
>
>2. Would stopping the shots about 5 or so seconds short of blonding
>make the espresso taste more bitter and intense? If so that would be a
>good indicator that I'm on the right track with identifying "blonding"
>more accurately.
>

i would stop short of the watery bits. if you can capture that latter
portion of the pour in a separate cup and then taste it on its own,
you'll probably agree.

i would also suggest you verify that your shorter shots are truly
"bitter" and not just overwhelmingly intense. it might be you prefer
the longer shots because of the added dilution provided by the watery
bits. most folks i've worked with have tended to automatically
classify an overpowering taste as "bitter", when a more apt
description would be "strong". take your shorter shot and try
diluting it a little with hot water and see if that tastes better or
if the "bitter" remains.



  
Date: 09 Jan 2007 21:10:27
From: Marshall
Subject: Re: Am I defining "blonding" correctly?
On Tue, 09 Jan 2007 20:18:15 GMT, Barry Jarrett
<barry@rileys-coffee.com > wrote:

>i would also suggest you verify that your shorter shots are truly
>"bitter" and not just overwhelmingly intense. it might be you prefer
>the longer shots because of the added dilution provided by the watery
>bits. most folks i've worked with have tended to automatically
>classify an overpowering taste as "bitter", when a more apt
>description would be "strong". take your shorter shot and try
>diluting it a little with hot water and see if that tastes better or
>if the "bitter" remains.

I find that many people use "strong" to describe anything other than
sweet (e.g. dry wine is "strong;" bitter coffee is "strong"). It's
almost always a negative term.

shall


 
Date: 09 Jan 2007 00:26:12
From: Dave2012
Subject: Re: Am I defining "blonding" correctly?
Hi,

Two things I look for with blonding with my naked pf are (1) a change
in the 'reflectivity' of the flow from foamy to watery - it is a
distinct change and you'll know it when you see it. (2) You can also
see it in the crema - the entrance point of your pour into the crema
will be a light tan spot relative to the rest of the crema
(particularly noticeable with spouts). I'd expect the pour to get
lighter-coloured towards the end of the shot.

A 1 oz double in 25 seconds is a pretty low volume - you should be
getting around twice that volume for a normal espresso. If you like
your shots intense though, just let them run another 6 or 7 seconds
giving you more in the 1.5oz range in about 32 seconds. These would be
less bitter I'd have thought - I tend to like these.

Dave

Tony B. wrote:
> Hi all,
>
> I've had Silvia about 2 years now, but have just recently (past few
> months) really been making an effort to improve my skills with her. I
> used to think my espresso was "pretty good", and at least better than
> the sub par coffeshops in town, but the more I work with her the more I
> realize I have been to complacent. The past 2 years I've been limping
> along producing only mediocre espresso!
>
> With the recent addition of a PID on Saturday, I've really noticed a
> difference. Things are getting better.. maybe not exponentially
> better, but at least (it's only been a few days)... but much more
> consistent! The addition of the PID was probably the best thing I've
> done to improve my abilities so far... with the temp surfing out of the
> way I am able to concentrate more on dosing and distribution.. making
> dosing/distribution, tamping, and temprature ALL more consistent!
>
> Like I said, things are getting better.. just not really "great". My
> espresso has always seemed to taste fairly strong or intense, and most
> times somewhat bitter.. of course on the occasion I get some severe
> channeling, really sour sink shots do ocurr from time to time.. but on
> the whole, the ones I deem "good" are very intense, result in about
> 1oz-1.25 oz shots, and are mildly bitter, regarless of the beans I use.
> (I do some home roasting or purchase fresh online)
>
> Until the past few days, I had been thinking my shots have been
> "blonding early", and only pulling 1 oz doubles in about 25 seconds in
> order to stop before I make my shots "sour" from pulling them too long.
> Then I started looking at a few videos of pours from bottomless
> portafilters I found on the web and started thinking I may have been
> confused as to what my idea of "blonding" was, and I may have been
> stopping my shots a bit short all this time!
>
> Although hard to see on some of the videos/photos I've been looking at,
> I think maybe I needed to let my shots go a littlle longer, which would
> give me the volumes I'm looking for (1.5-2.0 oz in 20-25 sec). My idea
> of "blonding" (until the past few days) was when the stream becomes
> light "blonde"/tanish color...then stop the shot so it doesn't get too
> "sour" tasting. I've been stopping it when just after it turns a light
> tannish, but has very, very thin fine dark stripes still comming, but
> the fluid is still "opaque"... (I'm using a bottomless portafilter).
>
> I decided to let my last couple shots go a bit longer by 5-7 seconds
> and see what the fluid looks like. I thought the resulting shots
> definately tasted better... less bitter, a bit more balanced, better
> "thicker" mouthfeel, even with some of the poor quality beans I've been
> using for practice. It was definately more drinkable than I've been
> able to produce over the past few weeks stopping the shots shorter...
>
> So, in trying to get a better understanding of what I'm seeing and
> tasting, my questions are:
>
> 1. How do you all describe the look of blonding...
>
> In describing what I see when I pull a shot using my bottomless PF, the
> stream begins dark, then quickly lightens a bit with dark thick tiger
> stripes, then becomes lighter and lighter through the middle of the
> shot as the shot progresses, with the tiger stripes becomming thinner
> and more and more faint, but the stream/liquid is still "opaque" or
> "creamy" looking.
>
> I used to stop the shot around this point, but I'm beginning to think
> that "blonding" really starts just a tad later (5-7 seconds or so) when
> the liquid may still have some very thin light striping, but becomes
> more "transparent" and I can just begin to "see through" the fluid
> comming out of the bottom of the basket. At this point I am barely
> beginning to see the basket holes.
>
> Is that right? Is that what I'm looking for when looking for
> "blonding"? Is the "blonding" really when the liquid makes the
> transition to a more watery consistancy and becomes more transparent?
> The color stays about the same near the end of the shot, but the
> transition to "watery" is pretty distinct. I've been watching the
> basket holes to get an idea of when "blonding" really starts, is that a
> good way to look for this?
>
> 2. Would stopping the shots about 5 or so seconds short of blonding
> make the espresso taste more bitter and intense? If so that would be a
> good indicator that I'm on the right track with identifying "blonding"
> more accurately.
>
> Thanks for any advice or descriptions you can offer... It seems the
> more I use Silvia, the more determined I am to make better tasting
> espresso... It's more of a challenge than it looks like it should be..
> but enjoyable all the same.. :-)
>
> Tony B.



  
Date: 09 Jan 2007 07:28:22
From:
Subject: Re: Am I defining "blonding" correctly?
On 9 Jan 2007 00:26:12 -0800, "Dave2012"
<davecorbett2012@googlemail.com > wrote:

>Hi,

>A 1 oz double in 25 seconds is a pretty low volume - you should be
>getting around twice that volume for a normal espresso. If you like
>your shots intense though, just let them run another 6 or 7 seconds
>giving you more in the 1.5oz range in about 32 seconds. >
>Dave
>

Or try grinding a click coarser.




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