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Date: 13 Nov 2006 04:17:07
From: ramboorider@gmail.com
Subject: Does this happen to you more experienced folks?
Hate to keep trotting out newbie questions, but here's one more:

After a few bad shots in the first couple of days with the new
Silvia/Rocky combo, I seem to have found the beans and settings that
work for me and I've had consistently good to very good shots for a
couple of weeks now. Maybe even great, but I'm not sure I'd know a very
good shot from a great one. I had one day when it suddenly got very
humid (pouring rain out, basically), and the shot poured VERY quickly,
so I adjusted the grind and did fine.

But this morning, I'm not sure what's going on. I made my wife a latte
and myself a cappa and both of these first two shots were wonderful -
perfectly timed, great crema, great taste (I take a small sip before
adding milk just to check) etc. Then I went back about half an hour
later to make myself another espresso. The machine has a PID and the
temp had re-stabilized after all of the steaming and I used the same
grind, tamp, etc, and it nearly choked the machine. Barely one oz after
30 seconds. I thought maybe I hadn't refilled the boiler adequately
after steaming, so I turned on the hot-water switch, ran several ounces
into a cup, and then waited 15 minutes for the temp to stabilize again.
The next shot wasn't quite as bad, but was still very low-volume after
a long pull.

I don't think anything changed between the first two great shots and
the next two sorry ones. Nothing I could isolate anyway.

Am I doing something wrong here? Or is this just the coffee gods
telling me not to get too complacent?

-Ray





 
Date: 15 Nov 2006 20:57:28
From: jgriff
Subject: Re: Does this happen to you more experienced folks?
Thanks for the advice. I've been thinking I should just get some cheap
towels or washcloths to avoid going through so many paper ones.
Earth-friendly sustainability and all.... ;-)
Justin

Moka Java wrote:
> Lloyd Parsons wrote:
> > In article <1163617175.298522.324110@h48g2000cwc.googlegroups.com>,
> > "jgriff" <justin.griffeth@gmail.com> wrote:
> >
> >
> >>I know this post is a bit older, and this is a real FNG question,
> >>but...you don't rinse your portafilters between shots??? I don't have
> >>a 3-way, so my pucks are kinda sloppy and there is usually some coffee
> >>goop still in the basket after I knock it out. I rinse it in the sink
> >>under hot water, rinse the group/showerscreen, do the "portafilter
> >>wiggle" dance to clean it out a little more, and then wipe the basket
> >>out with a paper towel. Bad technique?
> >>
> >>Justin
> >
> >
> > I have a 3-way on my Silvia, but even after knocking, there is some
> > residual grounds left. I quick rinse and then do the portafilter wiggle
> > and backflush every time.
>
> IMO you guys are way over doing it. Rinsing the PF draws off heat which
> can lead to a cooler shot in the cup. Not so much a problem with a
> bottomless PF where there's less metal in contact with the coffee.
> Using a paper towel for each shot is a big waste. I use cheap Walt
> or K-t wash cloths that cost <$1 each. They get washed when dirty
> and thrown out when I can't stand them anymore. I've been rotating the
> same 10 pack for 2+ years now.
>
> I rinse the PF with water from the group but I have a plumbed in HX
> machine so water consumption isn't an issue. Lloyd, do you backflush
> and PF wiggle after each shot?! I only do that when I'm done using the
> machine for a while. Do that with a Sylvia and you can wait 40 minutes
> for the thing to get back to a stable brewing temperature.
>
> R "yes, I own a PID'd Silvia and tested w/a tc in the pf" TF



 
Date: 15 Nov 2006 14:29:07
From: PhilB
Subject: Re: Does this happen to you more experienced folks?
On Nov 15, 8:28 pm, Lloyd Parsons <lloydpars...@mac.com > wrote:
> For me, it isn't an issue about temp stability and level. I make a cafe
> crema about every hour or so during the day (if I'm not on the golf
> course! <G>), so any temp I might lose with the quick rinse is certainly
> back up by then.
>
> I do this after each brew:
> 1. Run a quick 'brew' without PF in place to clear grinds
> 2. Knock puck out and quick rinse PF.
> 3. Backflush and PF wiggle
>
> This keeps my Silvia in perfect, or near perfect, cleanliness. And it
> is minimal work and time. From start of grind, temp surf (cup warming),
> brew and cleanup is just under 3.5 minutes.
>
> When I brew close in shots or cremas, I do as you suggest. But, I use
> some ugly brown towels I got at the dollar store.

I may have missed something, but what's the portafilter wiggle? And for
backflushing do you need a blind basket? This is all pretty interesting
as I'm just getting started with my Gaggia Classic, and I'm trying to
work out the full start-to-finish process (including cleanup).

Also, are you leaving the machine on all the time when you're making
one drink an hour?

Phil B



  
Date: 15 Nov 2006 16:39:44
From: Lloyd Parsons
Subject: Re: Does this happen to you more experienced folks?
In article <1163629747.067136.52870@b28g2000cwb.googlegroups.com >,
"PhilB" <philip.bowman@gmail.com > wrote:

> On Nov 15, 8:28 pm, Lloyd Parsons <lloydpars...@mac.com> wrote:
> > For me, it isn't an issue about temp stability and level. I make a cafe
> > crema about every hour or so during the day (if I'm not on the golf
> > course! <G>), so any temp I might lose with the quick rinse is certainly
> > back up by then.
> >
> > I do this after each brew:
> > 1. Run a quick 'brew' without PF in place to clear grinds
> > 2. Knock puck out and quick rinse PF.
> > 3. Backflush and PF wiggle
> >
> > This keeps my Silvia in perfect, or near perfect, cleanliness. And it
> > is minimal work and time. From start of grind, temp surf (cup warming),
> > brew and cleanup is just under 3.5 minutes.
> >
> > When I brew close in shots or cremas, I do as you suggest. But, I use
> > some ugly brown towels I got at the dollar store.
>
> I may have missed something, but what's the portafilter wiggle? And for
> backflushing do you need a blind basket? This is all pretty interesting
> as I'm just getting started with my Gaggia Classic, and I'm trying to
> work out the full start-to-finish process (including cleanup).
>
> Also, are you leaving the machine on all the time when you're making
> one drink an hour?
>
> Phil B

The wiggle is done by holding the PF up to the grouphead and wiggling
back and forth while running the brew cycle. Kind of sloppy, but it
helps clean the grouphead gasket a bit.

Yes, you need either a blind filter basket or a rubber filter thing,
which is what I use.

And my machine is turned on when I get up and gets shut down after I
make the last cup of the day. I would just leave it on 24/7, but I'm
not comfortable with that.


 
Date: 15 Nov 2006 10:59:35
From: jgriff
Subject: Re: Does this happen to you more experienced folks?

Moka Java wrote:
> Ken Fox wrote:
>
>
> >
> > With all due respect, Richard (and you are owed a lot), your shotmaking
> > approach (which is more or less the same as mine, except that I
> > intentionally updose the baskets) comes from years of experience and the
> > confidence that this brings.
>
> We've both done a lot of fishing around. I recall you blessing the
> virtues of canned Illy and rinsing your portafilter between shots. :-)
>
I know this post is a bit older, and this is a real FNG question,
but...you don't rinse your portafilters between shots??? I don't have
a 3-way, so my pucks are kinda sloppy and there is usually some coffee
goop still in the basket after I knock it out. I rinse it in the sink
under hot water, rinse the group/showerscreen, do the "portafilter
wiggle" dance to clean it out a little more, and then wipe the basket
out with a paper towel. Bad technique?

Justin



  
Date: 15 Nov 2006 13:32:05
From: Lloyd Parsons
Subject: Re: Does this happen to you more experienced folks?
In article <1163617175.298522.324110@h48g2000cwc.googlegroups.com >,
"jgriff" <justin.griffeth@gmail.com > wrote:

> Moka Java wrote:
> > Ken Fox wrote:
> >
> >
> > >
> > > With all due respect, Richard (and you are owed a lot), your shotmaking
> > > approach (which is more or less the same as mine, except that I
> > > intentionally updose the baskets) comes from years of experience and the
> > > confidence that this brings.
> >
> > We've both done a lot of fishing around. I recall you blessing the
> > virtues of canned Illy and rinsing your portafilter between shots. :-)
> >
> I know this post is a bit older, and this is a real FNG question,
> but...you don't rinse your portafilters between shots??? I don't have
> a 3-way, so my pucks are kinda sloppy and there is usually some coffee
> goop still in the basket after I knock it out. I rinse it in the sink
> under hot water, rinse the group/showerscreen, do the "portafilter
> wiggle" dance to clean it out a little more, and then wipe the basket
> out with a paper towel. Bad technique?
>
> Justin

I have a 3-way on my Silvia, but even after knocking, there is some
residual grounds left. I quick rinse and then do the portafilter wiggle
and backflush every time.


   
Date: 15 Nov 2006 16:02:38
From: Moka Java
Subject: Re: Does this happen to you more experienced folks?
Lloyd Parsons wrote:
> In article <1163617175.298522.324110@h48g2000cwc.googlegroups.com>,
> "jgriff" <justin.griffeth@gmail.com> wrote:
>
>
>>I know this post is a bit older, and this is a real FNG question,
>>but...you don't rinse your portafilters between shots??? I don't have
>>a 3-way, so my pucks are kinda sloppy and there is usually some coffee
>>goop still in the basket after I knock it out. I rinse it in the sink
>>under hot water, rinse the group/showerscreen, do the "portafilter
>>wiggle" dance to clean it out a little more, and then wipe the basket
>>out with a paper towel. Bad technique?
>>
>>Justin
>
>
> I have a 3-way on my Silvia, but even after knocking, there is some
> residual grounds left. I quick rinse and then do the portafilter wiggle
> and backflush every time.

IMO you guys are way over doing it. Rinsing the PF draws off heat which
can lead to a cooler shot in the cup. Not so much a problem with a
bottomless PF where there's less metal in contact with the coffee.
Using a paper towel for each shot is a big waste. I use cheap Walt
or K-t wash cloths that cost <$1 each. They get washed when dirty
and thrown out when I can't stand them anymore. I've been rotating the
same 10 pack for 2+ years now.

I rinse the PF with water from the group but I have a plumbed in HX
machine so water consumption isn't an issue. Lloyd, do you backflush
and PF wiggle after each shot?! I only do that when I'm done using the
machine for a while. Do that with a Sylvia and you can wait 40 minutes
for the thing to get back to a stable brewing temperature.

R "yes, I own a PID'd Silvia and tested w/a tc in the pf" TF


    
Date: 15 Nov 2006 15:28:02
From: Lloyd Parsons
Subject: Re: Does this happen to you more experienced folks?
In article <4s1djhFsfqk0U1@mid.individual.net >,
Moka Java <rtwatches@yahoo.com > wrote:

> Lloyd Parsons wrote:
> > In article <1163617175.298522.324110@h48g2000cwc.googlegroups.com>,
> > "jgriff" <justin.griffeth@gmail.com> wrote:
> >
> >
> >>I know this post is a bit older, and this is a real FNG question,
> >>but...you don't rinse your portafilters between shots??? I don't have
> >>a 3-way, so my pucks are kinda sloppy and there is usually some coffee
> >>goop still in the basket after I knock it out. I rinse it in the sink
> >>under hot water, rinse the group/showerscreen, do the "portafilter
> >>wiggle" dance to clean it out a little more, and then wipe the basket
> >>out with a paper towel. Bad technique?
> >>
> >>Justin
> >
> >
> > I have a 3-way on my Silvia, but even after knocking, there is some
> > residual grounds left. I quick rinse and then do the portafilter wiggle
> > and backflush every time.
>
> IMO you guys are way over doing it. Rinsing the PF draws off heat which
> can lead to a cooler shot in the cup. Not so much a problem with a
> bottomless PF where there's less metal in contact with the coffee.
> Using a paper towel for each shot is a big waste. I use cheap Walt
> or K-t wash cloths that cost <$1 each. They get washed when dirty
> and thrown out when I can't stand them anymore. I've been rotating the
> same 10 pack for 2+ years now.
>
> I rinse the PF with water from the group but I have a plumbed in HX
> machine so water consumption isn't an issue. Lloyd, do you backflush
> and PF wiggle after each shot?! I only do that when I'm done using the
> machine for a while. Do that with a Sylvia and you can wait 40 minutes
> for the thing to get back to a stable brewing temperature.
>
> R "yes, I own a PID'd Silvia and tested w/a tc in the pf" TF

For me, it isn't an issue about temp stability and level. I make a cafe
crema about every hour or so during the day (if I'm not on the golf
course! <G >), so any temp I might lose with the quick rinse is certainly
back up by then.

I do this after each brew:
1. Run a quick 'brew' without PF in place to clear grinds
2. Knock puck out and quick rinse PF.
3. Backflush and PF wiggle

This keeps my Silvia in perfect, or near perfect, cleanliness. And it
is minimal work and time. From start of grind, temp surf (cup warming),
brew and cleanup is just under 3.5 minutes.

When I brew close in shots or cremas, I do as you suggest. But, I use
some ugly brown towels I got at the dollar store.


 
Date: 14 Nov 2006 13:29:44
From: ramboorider@gmail.com
Subject: Re: Does this happen to you more experienced folks?
On Nov 14, 2:13 pm, "fixedgear" <tom5...@hotmail.com > wrote:
> OK I have to hijack this for a min....You're right. My wife freaked out
> when I had some issues with my Zurich that I converted so I had to
> rebuild my old GTB and ride that in the city (nyc) with the Nitto bars,
> therefore, no brakes. It was only for a few days but she lost it with
> that one. We were also are in the process of relocating from Brooklyn
> to New Canaan CT for her job. NOt exactly what I had in mind, but I
> managed to convince her that as a part of my relocation package I
> needed a mountain bike. I'm now the proud parent of a Surly Karate
> Monkey singlespeed.

Nice work! The key with bikes is having enough of them and keeping them
moving enough (constantly buying and selling) that she couldn't keep up
with what was new and what wasn't. That happened somewhere around 4-5
(depending on how fully built a frame has to be before you can really
call it a 'bike') .

I don't think that strategy is going to work with espresso machines,
nor would multiples do me any good :)

-Ray



 
Date: 14 Nov 2006 11:13:56
From: fixedgear
Subject: Re: Does this happen to you more experienced folks?

> Judging from your handle, we share more than one obsession. I have a
> mess 'o velos, including a couple of fixies, (#3 and #1849 at
> http://www.fixedgeargallery.com) and my wife finally gave up trying to
> keep up with THAT hobby. This one has some impact on her, though,
> because she likes her latte in the morning but was more than happy with
> what we had before with a pressurized portafilter machine. This is
> screwing her up a bit since she doesn't really want to learn to deal
> with the Silvia and gets mildly exasperated with my obsession with it.
> She LOVES it when I try to show her my pucks! It's not REALLY a problem
> at all - she's cool with it. And I probably will eventually try a
> crotchless, but I don't think I'll call it that around her :)

OK I have to hijack this for a min....You're right. My wife freaked out
when I had some issues with my Zurich that I converted so I had to
rebuild my old GTB and ride that in the city (nyc) with the Nitto bars,
therefore, no brakes. It was only for a few days but she lost it with
that one. We were also are in the process of relocating from Brooklyn
to New Canaan CT for her job. NOt exactly what I had in mind, but I
managed to convince her that as a part of my relocation package I
needed a mountain bike. I'm now the proud parent of a Surly Karate
Monkey singlespeed.
Anyway back to topic....just got the naked portafilter and it's cool.
You should totally get one. And my wife is the same witht he coffee,
most mornings it's "can you make me a cappucino?"



 
Date: 14 Nov 2006 07:55:47
From: ramboorider@gmail.com
Subject: Re: Does this happen to you more experienced folks?
On Nov 14, 10:19 am, "fixedgear" <tom5...@hotmail.com > wrote:
> I've been trying out dosing into another container and then filling the
> portafilter and I havn't really noticed that much of a difference-if
> any-from dosing from the rocky to the portafilter.
> Maybe just sticking with the same beans for a while until you get it
> all to where you want. I read one of your previous posts and I thought
> I sounded like you were using different beans. Maybe I'm wrong.

I had some problems on the second and third day with the machine that I
attribute to some really dark, oily beans. I was getting good pucks and
hitting the shot timing pretty closely, but the shots tasted horrible
to me. I got them to where I could stomach them in a milk drink, but no
way in a straight shot. Since then, I've been using the same beans that
I've had good experience with in the past, and no such problems.

> You'll get it for sure. I agree that keeping it all simple is the best, don't
> get too carried away with everything.
> I've also been stubborn for a few months since getting my silvia. I
> just ordered a bottomless portafilter and a pid kit. I have to say that
> I've been pretty happy with how it all works on it's own and by being
> stubborn I really see the potential that it all has, but I'm totally
> excited to see what I can do now with the new additions.

Enjoy. I'm glad I got it with the PID to start. Temperature just seems
like such a key thing to be able to hold pretty constant. Some of the
minor problems I've had have been related to getting everything back
down to a stable shot pulling temp after steaming. Even WITH the PID.
Without it, I think I'd have been all over the place and had more
problems than I did.

> As for a naked (crotchless) portafilter and your wife...maybe if you
> get one and the first time you use it, don't wear pants. That might
> take away from the new part on the machine, so hopefully she wont
> notice it. Somehow, I've been lucky with my wife, she just says "ok".
> Maybe I have some crazy look that scares her?

Judging from your handle, we share more than one obsession. I have a
mess 'o velos, including a couple of fixies, (#3 and #1849 at
http://www.fixedgeargallery.com) and my wife finally gave up trying to
keep up with THAT hobby. This one has some impact on her, though,
because she likes her latte in the morning but was more than happy with
what we had before with a pressurized portafilter machine. This is
screwing her up a bit since she doesn't really want to learn to deal
with the Silvia and gets mildly exasperated with my obsession with it.
She LOVES it when I try to show her my pucks! It's not REALLY a problem
at all - she's cool with it. And I probably will eventually try a
crotchless, but I don't think I'll call it that around her :)

> Good luck, and keep posting. Everyone has always been helpful whenever
> I've had a problem.

That's certainly my experience so far. Thanks for chiming in.

-Ray



 
Date: 14 Nov 2006 07:19:43
From: fixedgear
Subject: Re: Does this happen to you more experienced folks?
I've been trying out dosing into another container and then filling the
portafilter and I havn't really noticed that much of a difference-if
any-from dosing from the rocky to the portafilter.
Maybe just sticking with the same beans for a while until you get it
all to where you want. I read one of your previous posts and I thought
I sounded like you were using different beans. Maybe I'm wrong. You'll
get it for sure. I agree that keeping it all simple is the best, don't
get too carried away with everything.
I've also been stubborn for a few months since getting my silvia. I
just ordered a bottomless portafilter and a pid kit. I have to say that
I've been pretty happy with how it all works on it's own and by being
stubborn I really see the potential that it all has, but I'm totally
excited to see what I can do now with the new additions.
As for a naked (crotchless) portafilter and your wife...maybe if you
get one and the first time you use it, don't wear pants. That might
take away from the new part on the machine, so hopefully she wont
notice it. Somehow, I've been lucky with my wife, she just says "ok".
Maybe I have some crazy look that scares her?

Good luck, and keep posting. Everyone has always been helpful whenever
I've had a problem.



 
Date: 14 Nov 2006 06:49:01
From: ramboorider@gmail.com
Subject: Re: Does this happen to you more experienced folks?
On Nov 14, 8:28 am, Moka Java <rtwatc...@fishyahoo.com > wrote:
> If you can find the opportunity to watch someone who knows what they're
> doing it would be a big help. Where do you live?

I'm in a small town near Philly. I've already been referred to John
Hornall up in Chestnut Hill (by shall I think). I haven't made it up
there yet, but I will.

> You might almost be better off dosing into a small container, mixing
> with a skewer and dosing from there.

That adds yet another step though - weren't you recommending that I
SIMPLIFY the process? I'm not sure why it would be better. Stirring in
the basket gets rid of the clumps and also SEEMS to distribute the
grounds more evenly around the edges. Stirring it around in another
container would take care of the clumps, but not the distribution, no?

> Go through your dose and
> tamp ritual and pull a shot then try another with no tamp (HEAVENS!) and
> see if there's much of a difference.

I'll try it. Thanks.

-Ray



  
Date: 14 Nov 2006 12:36:49
From: Moka Java
Subject: Re: Does this happen to you more experienced folks?
ramboorider@gmail.com wrote:

> On Nov 14, 8:28 am, Moka Java <rtwatc...@fishyahoo.com> wrote:
>

>
>>You might almost be better off dosing into a small container, mixing
>>with a skewer and dosing from there.
>
>
> That adds yet another step though - weren't you recommending that I
> SIMPLIFY the process? I'm not sure why it would be better. Stirring in
> the basket gets rid of the clumps and also SEEMS to distribute the
> grounds more evenly around the edges. Stirring it around in another
> container would take care of the clumps, but not the distribution, no?
>

The PF basket is a small vessel for stirring the grounds. You want to
overfill the basket then strike off the excess from the top. This will
get you on the path to consistency in your dosing. Seems simpler than
what you're doing but I've never had a clumping problem to deal with.

R "glad I never got a doserless grinder" TF


 
Date: 14 Nov 2006 03:17:36
From: ramboorider@gmail.com
Subject: Re: Does this happen to you more experienced folks?
On Nov 13, 10:01 pm, Moka Java <rtwatc...@fishyahoo.com > wrote:

> I've been to some of the best cafes in NYC and Seattle, gone to 3 SCAA
> conferences, seen barista competitions, watched pros up close and
> discussed what they're doing and NONE of them NOT A ONE of them goes
> through anywhere near as much crap as you do to dose and tamp. YEOW!!!
> I've heard that baristas in Italy don't tamp at all or just use a light
> upward tap on the tamper attached to the grinder. For me, dose over
> full, level and strike off excess with pinky, light press and polish
> with a very heavy stainless steel tamper, lock and go.
>
> What the heck is a click tamper?
>
> Have all the people who still advocate a 30 lb. tamp ever tried anything
> else? Have you found any difference? C'mon, speak up!

Yeah, but those world champ baristas KNOW what they're doing. I'm just
figuring it out. The bit with stirring the grounds around in the basket
with a chopstick is a newbie cheat I saw on Coffee Geek or HB or
somewhere and, having pulled shots with and without, I'm sticking with
it for a while. Particularly with a doserless grinder you get a lot of
clumps and that's a good way to break them up and even everything out.
The tamp I'm probably too anal about because I want to keep it constant
and eliminate it as a variable. The "click tamper" is also a newbie
cheat - a tamper that gives you a little 'click' type feedback at 30
pounds or something close to it. Again, for consistency, if not the
'optimal' tamp. I've played with this as needed though. When shots have
come a bit slow, but not enough to change the grind setting on the
Rocky, I'll lighten up on the tamp and that seems to do the trick. I
suspect the tamp is one of the variables I'll change first as I get
more comfortable with all of this, but for now, it's nice to know its
pretty consistent. It was also useful to know that 30 pounds really
isn't a very heavy tamp at all - if I'd been left to imagine what it
felt like, I'd have likely given it a lot more pressure. The 'stirring
for distribution' though, works well and isn't that time consuming for
the few shots I pull each morning. If I was a professional and doing
zillions of shots per day (with a far less clumpy grinder), I'm sure
I'd eliminate that pretty fast, but that's in no danger of happening.

> R "and I examine each coffee particle, reject fines smaller than 5
> microns or any grounds with more than 6 angular cuts, interlock them
> closely, pray to the coffee god Harrar and only pull shots when the moon
> is aligned with a water sign" TF

I might be this anal if I knew what five microns looked like - guess
I'll have to get a set of really fine calipers and a scope to see how
many angular cuts each ground has :)

Praying to the coffee gods has met with mixed sucess.

-Ray



  
Date: 14 Nov 2006 08:28:54
From: Moka Java
Subject: Re: Does this happen to you more experienced folks?
ramboorider@gmail.com wrote:


>
> Yeah, but those world champ baristas KNOW what they're doing.

If you can find the opportunity to watch someone who knows what they're
doing it would be a big help. Where do you live?

I'm just
> figuring it out. The bit with stirring the grounds around in the basket
> with a chopstick is a newbie cheat I saw on Coffee Geek or HB or
> somewhere and, having pulled shots with and without, I'm sticking with
> it for a while. Particularly with a doserless grinder you get a lot of
> clumps and that's a good way to break them up and even everything out.

You might almost be better off dosing into a small container, mixing
with a skewer and dosing from there.

> The tamp I'm probably too anal about because I want to keep it constant
> and eliminate it as a variable. The "click tamper" is also a newbie
> cheat - a tamper that gives you a little 'click' type feedback at 30
> pounds or something close to it. Again, for consistency, if not the
> 'optimal' tamp. I've played with this as needed though. When shots have
> come a bit slow, but not enough to change the grind setting on the
> Rocky, I'll lighten up on the tamp and that seems to do the trick. I
> suspect the tamp is one of the variables I'll change first as I get
> more comfortable with all of this, but for now, it's nice to know its
> pretty consistent. It was also useful to know that 30 pounds really
> isn't a very heavy tamp at all - if I'd been left to imagine what it
> felt like, I'd have likely given it a lot more pressure. The 'stirring
> for distribution' though, works well and isn't that time consuming for
> the few shots I pull each morning. If I was a professional and doing
> zillions of shots per day (with a far less clumpy grinder), I'm sure
> I'd eliminate that pretty fast, but that's in no danger of happening.

Who started this 30 lb. thing anyway? It was Schomer, wasn't it!
Schomer was wrong about a lot of things. According to Schomer, Ken Fox
can't make espresso because he lives on top of a big hill. But I've
been to Ken's house and he can make espresso. Go through your dose and
tamp ritual and pull a shot then try another with no tamp (HEAVENS!) and
see if there's much of a difference.

R "but I leave roasting to the pros" TF


 
Date: 13 Nov 2006 18:27:12
From: ramboorider@gmail.com
Subject: Re: Does this happen to you more experienced folks?
Thanks for the input again, everyone. I'm actually quite happy with my
progress - I'm getting a very high percentage of shots that seem very
good to me, whether or not they would to the more experienced of you. I
think I've minimized the variables - I have a PID and keep the temp
constant these days (a bit of experimenting in the first week got me to
what seems like a sweet spot). I use the four corner tamp method
(lightly) and then a click tamper so I always get a 30 pound firm tamp
after going around the edge, which may or may not be optimum, but is at
least consistent.

In terms of dose and distribution, which everyone is pointing to as the
likely culprit in the OCCASIONAL poor shot, you may be right but I sure
don't see any evidence of it. I use a doserless grinder, fill the PF
about 75%, stir the grounds around with the sharp end of a chopstick to
break up any clumps and distribute the coffee out to the edges. Then I
fill the rest of the way and break up any new clumps at the top and
level the dose with a finger or the same chopstick before tamping. My
pucks have been uniformly very good, with no evident chanelling or
breakdown around the edges and just a light impression of the screen on
the top. And, with the exception of this morning and the second or
third day I had the machine, my shots have been consistently pleasing
either straight in in a milk drink. The remaining variable is the grind
setting, which I've had to vary a bit depending on conditions and the
beans I'm using. But I've had pretty good results for the most part.

Anyway, it's not like I think I'm miles from where I should be at this
point or that I'm not satisfied with my experience or purchase. Even
this morning, I pulled five shots and three of them were wonderful, so
it was just those two that didn't work out. Those two were just such an
anomoly I thought I'd ask. And the input, as always, has been very
helpful, particularly getting more methodical about running blank shots
to cool the grouphead down after steaming, which I hadn't been doing
(generally just relying on the steam wand to cool the boiler). Although
mostly I've waited long enough between steam and pulling the next shot
that its worked out OK. (I work at home, so it's not like I have to do
all of this in a hurry in order to get out of the house on a deadline).

Anyway, thanks again. I'll try to keep from bugging you all with my
newbie questions unless something truly different comes up. Although,
if I ever do get a naked PF, I'll probably post about the experience.

-Ray


On Nov 13, 8:57 pm, Moka Java <rtwatc...@fishyahoo.com > wrote:
> Ken Fox wrote:
> > "shall" <mrf...@ihatespamearthlink.net> wrote in message
> >news:3b5il2dethn7um5hjkmnl68ff7nse6c81c@4ax.com...
>
> >>>As an aside, for those who use a bottomless PF, one tip I picked up at the
> >>>Elysian Room in Vancouver BC: use a ramiken or something similar under
> >>>your
> >>>espresso cup when you make shots. This brings the espresso cup closer to
> >>>the bottomless PF, and reduces splatter.
>
> >>I've never experienced splatter. Occasionally a single, very fine
> >>channeling spray. That's not to say all my shots are masterpieces
> >>(would that they were), just that I've never seen splatter.
>
> >>shall
>
> > Depends on what you mean by splatter. If I had to guess, the distance
> > between the drip tray top and the bottom of the PF screen of a naked PF in a
> > commercial machine (such as my Cimbalis) is greater than the same measured
> > distance on a Zaffiro or other semi-commercial. It is a hair under 5" in my
> > machines. Assuming this distance on a commercial machine is greater, and
> > given the rapid acceleration of a falling substance (the espresso) under
> > gravity, even a relatively small difference such as an inch could make a big
> > difference in the force with which the espresso strikes the bottom of the
> > cup. In addition, the the extent that the espresso comes out in other than
> > an absolutely straight trajectory (such as with microchanneling) there is
> > also more "room" for the errant particles to "fan out" and go outside the
> > confines of the cup.
>
> > Of course, these concerns would be reduced by setting the cup on top of a
> > ramiken, as I'd suggested:-)
>
> > I'll leave the detailed mathematical explanations to those who understand
> > them, such as David Ross.
>
> > kenThe counter gets hit once in a while, I've been hit a couple of times.
> Fresh coffee = neat shots, stale coffee = splatter.
>
> R "that's right, blame it on the coffee" TF



  
Date: 14 Nov 2006 13:42:15
From: jim schulman
Subject: Re: Does this happen to you more experienced folks?
On 13 Nov 2006 18:27:12 -0800, "ramboorider@gmail.com"
<ramboorider@gmail.com > wrote:

> I use a doserless grinder, fill the PF
>about 75%, stir the grounds around with the sharp end of a chopstick to
>break up any clumps and distribute the coffee out to the edges. Then I
>fill the rest of the way and break up any new clumps at the top and
>level the dose with a finger or the same chopstick before tamping. My
>pucks have been uniformly very good, with no evident chanelling or
>breakdown around the edges and just a light impression of the screen on
>the top. And, with the exception of this morning and the second or
>third day I had the machine, my shots have been consistently pleasing
>either straight in in a milk drink.

As others have said, I would invest time perfecting a simpler
technique. This is like any other investment -- the song and dance you
are doing will get you there faster, but in the long run it's a waste
of time. Perfect a simple dosing technique from the start, and the
investment will be payoff big down the road.


  
Date: 13 Nov 2006 22:01:12
From: Moka Java
Subject: Re: Does this happen to you more experienced folks?
ramboorider@gmail.com wrote:

I've minimized the variables - I have a PID and keep the temp
> constant these days (a bit of experimenting in the first week got me to
> what seems like a sweet spot).

Good.

I use the four corner tamp method
> (lightly) and then a click tamper so I always get a 30 pound firm tamp
> after going around the edge, which may or may not be optimum, but is at
> least consistent.
>
> In terms of dose and distribution, which everyone is pointing to as the
> likely culprit in the OCCASIONAL poor shot, you may be right but I sure
> don't see any evidence of it. I use a doserless grinder, fill the PF
> about 75%, stir the grounds around with the sharp end of a chopstick to
> break up any clumps and distribute the coffee out to the edges. Then I
> fill the rest of the way and break up any new clumps at the top and
> level the dose with a finger or the same chopstick before tamping. My
> pucks have been uniformly very good, with no evident chanelling or
> breakdown around the edges and just a light impression of the screen on
> the top.

I've been to some of the best cafes in NYC and Seattle, gone to 3 SCAA
conferences, seen barista competitions, watched pros up close and
discussed what they're doing and NONE of them NOT A ONE of them goes
through anywhere near as much crap as you do to dose and tamp. YEOW!!!
I've heard that baristas in Italy don't tamp at all or just use a light
upward tap on the tamper attached to the grinder. For me, dose over
full, level and strike off excess with pinky, light press and polish
with a very heavy stainless steel tamper, lock and go.

What the heck is a click tamper?

Have all the people who still advocate a 30 lb. tamp ever tried anything
else? Have you found any difference? C'mon, speak up!

R "and I examine each coffee particle, reject fines smaller than 5
microns or any grounds with more than 6 angular cuts, interlock them
closely, pray to the coffee god Harrar and only pull shots when the moon
is aligned with a water sign" TF


   
Date: 15 Nov 2006 14:16:41
From: Brent
Subject: Re: Does this happen to you more experienced folks?
ah, come on Richard - click tamper - when you click your heels while tamping
:)

> What the heck is a click tamper?
>
> R "and I examine each coffee particle, reject fines smaller than 5 microns
> or any grounds with more than 6 angular cuts, interlock them closely, pray
> to the coffee god Harrar and only pull shots when the moon is aligned with
> a water sign" TF




    
Date: 15 Nov 2006 08:30:36
From: Moka Java
Subject: Re: Does this happen to you more experienced folks?
Brent wrote:

> ah, come on Richard - click tamper - when you click your heels while tamping
> :)
>

Is that Dorothy's click form the Wizard of Oz or the German school boy's?

R "just tried it but can't get much of a click out of bedroom slippers" TF


   
Date: 13 Nov 2006 21:03:02
From: Ken Fox
Subject: Re: Does this happen to you more experienced folks?
"Moka Java" <rtwatches@fishyahoo.com > wrote in message
news:4rsq0bFsme5aU1@mid.individual.net...
>>
> I've been to some of the best cafes in NYC and Seattle, gone to 3 SCAA
> conferences, seen barista competitions, watched pros up close and
> discussed what they're doing and NONE of them NOT A ONE of them goes
> through anywhere near as much crap as you do to dose and tamp. YEOW!!!
> I've heard that baristas in Italy don't tamp at all or just use a light
> upward tap on the tamper attached to the grinder. For me, dose over full,
> level and strike off excess with pinky, light press and polish with a very
> heavy stainless steel tamper, lock and go.
>
> What the heck is a click tamper?
>
> Have all the people who still advocate a 30 lb. tamp ever tried anything
> else? Have you found any difference? C'mon, speak up!
>
> R "and I examine each coffee particle, reject fines smaller than 5 microns
> or any grounds with more than 6 angular cuts, interlock them closely, pray
> to the coffee god Harrar and only pull shots when the moon is aligned with
> a water sign" TF

With all due respect, Richard (and you are owed a lot), your shotmaking
approach (which is more or less the same as mine, except that I
intentionally updose the baskets) comes from years of experience and the
confidence that this brings. Unless you are different than me, I'd bet that
you also vary those "supposedly fixed" variables such as dosing, from time
to time. For example, if the last shot came on a little fast, and then you
forgot to adjust the grinder, I'd be willing to bet $100 that you would just
intentionally overdose the basket more than normal and go with it, knowing
that you could probably pull off a very good if not exceptional shot.
That's only because we've gotten to the point where making espresso shots
(in our homes with gear we know) has become like doing the laundry.

We need to be a little careful with these newbie but serious types. They
are the future of online coffee, the people we would prefer to hear from
over the next so many years, as opposed to some of what has come in
recently, some of whom have driven regulars out to the point where we almost
never hear from them anymore. You were one of those "lost almost forever"
types, if memory serves:-)

On that note, I salute you, serious and "reasonably normal" newbies. We're
all rooting for you; you are the future.

ken




    
Date: 14 Nov 2006 07:55:43
From: Moka Java
Subject: Re: Does this happen to you more experienced folks?
Ken Fox wrote:


>
> With all due respect, Richard (and you are owed a lot), your shotmaking
> approach (which is more or less the same as mine, except that I
> intentionally updose the baskets) comes from years of experience and the
> confidence that this brings.

We've both done a lot of fishing around. I recall you blessing the
virtues of canned Illy and rinsing your portafilter between shots. :-)


Unless you are different than me, I'd bet that
> you also vary those "supposedly fixed" variables such as dosing, from time
> to time. For example, if the last shot came on a little fast, and then you
> forgot to adjust the grinder, I'd be willing to bet $100 that you would just
> intentionally overdose the basket more than normal and go with it, knowing
> that you could probably pull off a very good if not exceptional shot.

I don't throw away many shots these days but keep your money, I'd more
likely tweak the grind than very the dose. The way I level I really
can't vary the dose.

> That's only because we've gotten to the point where making espresso shots
> (in our homes with gear we know) has become like doing the laundry.

Yeah, but I bet either one of us could walk up to the other's machine,
ask a couple of questions and be pulling good shots after a few trys.

>
> We need to be a little careful with these newbie but serious types. They
> are the future of online coffee, the people we would prefer to hear from
> over the next so many years, as opposed to some of what has come in
> recently, some of whom have driven regulars out to the point where we almost
> never hear from them anymore. You were one of those "lost almost forever"
> types, if memory serves:-)

Ray has a sense of humor, he's one of us.

>
> On that note, I salute you, serious and "reasonably normal" newbies. We're
> all rooting for you; you are the future.
>
> ken
>
>
R "reasonably normal, yeah, yeah, that's the ticket" TF


 
Date: 13 Nov 2006 15:00:59
From: Heat + Beans
Subject: Re: Does this happen to you more experienced folks?
Ken Fox wrote: >
> There is inherent variability in espressomaking; as you get more experienced
> this will be reduced but not eliminated.

I'd add: the wild swings of variability diminish, but not the number of
variables. With experience you start to notice (and struggle with) new
and unforeseen variability. Ask anyone who loves his work, sport,
hobby . . . .
tin



 
Date: 13 Nov 2006 14:37:43
From: jim schulman
Subject: Re: Does this happen to you more experienced folks?
On 13 Nov 2006 04:17:07 -0800, "ramboorider@gmail.com"
<ramboorider@gmail.com > wrote:

>Barely one oz after
>30 seconds

The only mistake you made is not trying it.


 
Date: 13 Nov 2006 11:18:47
From: ramboorider@gmail.com
Subject: Re: Does this happen to you more experienced folks?
On Nov 13, 1:47 pm, "Ken Fox" <morceaudemerdeThisMerdeG...@hotmail.com >
wrote:

> -RayEspecially early on, periods of time where you think you have mastered your
> technique will vary with periods where it seems like you can't pull a
> drinkable shot to save your life. That is normal. The cycle will repeat
> itself, of that I am certain.

> I have no idea of your financial situation, but if you can afford it, be
> assured that a bottomless PF will not complicate matters, it will simply
> help explain what is going wrong, and more obviously, then trying to devine
> your errors from what drips out of a PF spout. Dosing, distribution, and
> all other aspects of shot preparation remain unchanged, it is only the
> feedback you get that is changed.

I could afford a bottomless PF, but to the extent that I'm getting a
little bit better as I go and am reasonably satisfied with the results
MOST of the time, I'm not sure I want to hear what the bottomless PF
has to say at this tender point in my development. Self-esteem's gotta
count for something, even if its mostly misplaced. Once I'm at the
point where I feel pretty certain of basic competence, then I might
want to look a bit closer at how I can go from good to better. But a
really bad experience with a bottomless PF at this point could just
about send me back to a pressurize PF setup.

Plus, my wife is already pretty sure I've lost my mind (espresso is the
most recent example, not the first time) and I like to keep her anxiety
about her ital choice within certain limits. The first time I make a
horrible mess and blame it on the 'crotchless' PF, I think one of us
might be looking for a new place to live :)

Anyway, I'll keep it in mind for future reference.

-Ray



  
Date: 14 Nov 2006 06:20:22
From: wlcna
Subject: Re: Does this happen to you more experienced folks?
<ramboorider@gmail.com > wrote in message
news:1163445527.160476.148750@f16g2000cwb.googlegroups.com...
> ...Plus, my wife is already pretty sure I've lost my mind (espresso is
> the
> most recent example, not the first time) and I like to keep her
> anxiety
> about her ital choice within certain limits. The first time I make
> a
> horrible mess and blame it on the 'crotchless' PF, I think one of us
> might be looking for a new place to live :)...

ROTFLMAO. Oh man, good one. Yes, better keep it to one demented thing
at a time (well, or six, as the case may be :). Getting her to watch
you work the crotchless can be deferred to next year's to do list.




 
Date: 13 Nov 2006 10:19:14
From: ramboorider@gmail.com
Subject: Re: Does this happen to you more experienced folks?
Thanks for the advice Ken. At this point, I'm trying to be as
methodical and consistent as possible to eliminate variables and get
consistently 'good' shots, rather than going for the 'God' shot. I
thought I was there, but then the wierd variation this morning. I'm
fully cognisant that my definition of 'good' might not even be
acceptable to a lot of the veterans around here, but I gotta start
somewhere and if I like what I'm turning out, that'd be the place.

In time, I'm sure I'll get more intuitive and may even go for a
bottomless portafilter, but I'm trying to keep it simple for now.

-Ray

On Nov 13, 12:25 pm, "Ken Fox"
<morceaudemerdeThisMerdeG...@hotmail.com > wrote:
> <ramboori...@gmail.com> wrote in messagenews:1163437299.094462.321640@b28g2000cwb.googlegroups.com...
>
>
>
> > And Ken, I tried those small shots and hated them. That could have been
> > because I let them run for quite a while when I saw how short they were
> > and they were probably over-extracted. Next time it happens, I'll stop
> > at 25-28 seconds regardless and see if I like 'em. Not sure I was
> > messing up the dosing or distribution, though, because I've had such
> > consistent results up until this point and didn't THINK I was doing
> > anything differently. Thanks for the thoughts, in any case.
>
> > -RayAll other things being equal, a shorter shot, known also as a "ristretto,"
> will tend to be sweeter than a "normal" sized shot. If we are talking about
> doubles, I'd include shots in the 0.8oz-1.5oz range as fitting the
> discription of a ristretto, with those up to twice as large being normales.
> In Italy, they tend towards ristrettos, but since they overwhelmingly use
> single baskets, the volumes are halved. The general rule is that the
> shorter the shot, the longer it should take to produce. Therefore, I don't
> think that arbitrarily cutting a shot at 25-28 seconds is a good practice to
> follow; you will do much better by eyeballing the shot as it is produced and
> cutting the shot at the first sign of blonding. The purchase of a
> bottomless ("naked") Portafilter would be money well spent, if you don't
> already have one. They are great training tools and in my own view, make
> better shots.
>
> Obviously, a shot of any volume can be overextracted, and the longer that a
> shot takes to produce, especially on a machine like a Silvia, the more
> likely you are to have undesirable temperature variations.
>
> It is my sense that most experienced home users do not use a shot timer
> regularly, and don't really know how long their shots take to produce. I
> know of at least two regular participants in this ng who have told me
> personally that they were surprised to find out (with a timer) that their
> average shots take on the order of 40 seconds or so to produce. Mine
> average around 35 seconds, for (my) typical 1.25 oz. (or so) ristretto that
> has become my preferred espresso volume. I have, however, had good shots
> within the range of maybe 20 seconds to 40 seconds depending upon the
> coffee, the shot, and the phase of the moon.
>
> As to dosing and distribution, these are skills not acquired in two weeks
> use. You will find a bottomless PF invaluable in your quest to perfect
> them.
>
> ken



  
Date: 13 Nov 2006 11:47:54
From: Ken Fox
Subject: Re: Does this happen to you more experienced folks?
<ramboorider@gmail.com > wrote in message
news:1163441954.857960.247900@h54g2000cwb.googlegroups.com...
> Thanks for the advice Ken. At this point, I'm trying to be as
> methodical and consistent as possible to eliminate variables and get
> consistently 'good' shots, rather than going for the 'God' shot. I
> thought I was there, but then the wierd variation this morning. I'm
> fully cognisant that my definition of 'good' might not even be
> acceptable to a lot of the veterans around here, but I gotta start
> somewhere and if I like what I'm turning out, that'd be the place.
>
> In time, I'm sure I'll get more intuitive and may even go for a
> bottomless portafilter, but I'm trying to keep it simple for now.
>
> -Ray
>

Especially early on, periods of time where you think you have mastered your
technique will vary with periods where it seems like you can't pull a
drinkable shot to save your life. That is normal. The cycle will repeat
itself, of that I am certain.

I have no idea of your financial situation, but if you can afford it, be
assured that a bottomless PF will not complicate matters, it will simply
help explain what is going wrong, and more obviously, then trying to devine
your errors from what drips out of a PF spout. Dosing, distribution, and
all other aspects of shot preparation remain unchanged, it is only the
feedback you get that is changed.

As an aside, for those who use a bottomless PF, one tip I picked up at the
Elysian Room in Vancouver BC: use a ramiken or something similar under your
espresso cup when you make shots. This brings the espresso cup closer to
the bottomless PF, and reduces splatter.

ken





   
Date: 16 Nov 2006 11:21:27
From: Omniryx@gmail.com
Subject: Re: Does this happen to you more experienced folks?

jim schulman wrote:
> Since it is defined as the form of rotation where the axis of rotation
> moves in a cone, rather than remaining still, it is the absolutely
> precise word to decribe the tamper motion I'm talking about.

And besides that, it just sounds so damned cool....

Lighten up a trifle, Jim.



   
Date: 14 Nov 2006 01:05:10
From: Marshall
Subject: Re: Does this happen to you more experienced folks?
On Mon, 13 Nov 2006 11:47:54 -0700, "Ken Fox"
<morceaudemerdeThisMerdeGoes@hotmail.com > wrote:

>Especially early on, periods of time where you think you have mastered your
>technique will vary with periods where it seems like you can't pull a
>drinkable shot to save your life. That is normal. The cycle will repeat
>itself, of that I am certain.

What he said.

>I have no idea of your financial situation, but if you can afford it, be
>assured that a bottomless PF will not complicate matters, it will simply
>help explain what is going wrong, and more obviously, then trying to devine
>your errors from what drips out of a PF spout. Dosing, distribution, and
>all other aspects of shot preparation remain unchanged, it is only the
>feedback you get that is changed.

Which I said in your first thread.

>As an aside, for those who use a bottomless PF, one tip I picked up at the
>Elysian Room in Vancouver BC: use a ramiken or something similar under your
>espresso cup when you make shots. This brings the espresso cup closer to
>the bottomless PF, and reduces splatter.

I've never experienced splatter. Occasionally a single, very fine
channeling spray. That's not to say all my shots are masterpieces
(would that they were), just that I've never seen splatter.

shall


    
Date: 13 Nov 2006 18:26:57
From: Ken Fox
Subject: Re: Does this happen to you more experienced folks?
"shall" <mrfuss@ihatespamearthlink.net > wrote in message
news:3b5il2dethn7um5hjkmnl68ff7nse6c81c@4ax.com...
> >
>>As an aside, for those who use a bottomless PF, one tip I picked up at the
>>Elysian Room in Vancouver BC: use a ramiken or something similar under
>>your
>>espresso cup when you make shots. This brings the espresso cup closer to
>>the bottomless PF, and reduces splatter.
>
> I've never experienced splatter. Occasionally a single, very fine
> channeling spray. That's not to say all my shots are masterpieces
> (would that they were), just that I've never seen splatter.
>
> shall

Depends on what you mean by splatter. If I had to guess, the distance
between the drip tray top and the bottom of the PF screen of a naked PF in a
commercial machine (such as my Cimbalis) is greater than the same measured
distance on a Zaffiro or other semi-commercial. It is a hair under 5" in my
machines. Assuming this distance on a commercial machine is greater, and
given the rapid acceleration of a falling substance (the espresso) under
gravity, even a relatively small difference such as an inch could make a big
difference in the force with which the espresso strikes the bottom of the
cup. In addition, the the extent that the espresso comes out in other than
an absolutely straight trajectory (such as with microchanneling) there is
also more "room" for the errant particles to "fan out" and go outside the
confines of the cup.

Of course, these concerns would be reduced by setting the cup on top of a
ramiken, as I'd suggested:-)

I'll leave the detailed mathematical explanations to those who understand
them, such as David Ross.

ken




     
Date: 14 Nov 2006 03:52:45
From: Marshall
Subject: Re: Does this happen to you more experienced folks?
On Mon, 13 Nov 2006 18:26:57 -0700, "Ken Fox"
<morceaudemerdeThisMerdeGoes@hotmail.com > wrote:


>Depends on what you mean by splatter.

Yes. You meant what happens to that very fine stream after it hits a
surface. I was thinking of what it looks like as it exits the
portafilter basket.

> If I had to guess, the distance
>between the drip tray top and the bottom of the PF screen of a naked PF in a
>commercial machine (such as my Cimbalis) is greater than the same measured
>distance on a Zaffiro or other semi-commercial.

But you don't have to guess. It's 5-3/8" on the Zaffiro. If an errant
channeling stream appears, it almost always hits the frame of the drip
tray cover, making a very fine splatter (nothing that Rumpole would
have cared much about).

shall


      
Date: 13 Nov 2006 21:09:20
From: Ken Fox
Subject: Re: Does this happen to you more experienced folks?
"shall" <mrfuss@ihatespamearthlink.net > wrote in message
news:90fil2phbmpssduia865pae3flhrghphck@4ax.com...
> On Mon, 13 Nov 2006 18:26:57 -0700, "Ken Fox"
> <morceaudemerdeThisMerdeGoes@hotmail.com> wrote:
>
>
>>Depends on what you mean by splatter.
>
> Yes. You meant what happens to that very fine stream after it hits a
> surface. I was thinking of what it looks like as it exits the
> portafilter basket.
>
>> If I had to guess, the distance
>>between the drip tray top and the bottom of the PF screen of a naked PF in
>>a
>>commercial machine (such as my Cimbalis) is greater than the same measured
>>distance on a Zaffiro or other semi-commercial.
>
> But you don't have to guess. It's 5-3/8" on the Zaffiro. If an errant
> channeling stream appears, it almost always hits the frame of the drip
> tray cover, making a very fine splatter (nothing that Rumpole would
> have cared much about).
>
> shall

my splatter's better than your splatter?

ken
:-)




     
Date: 13 Nov 2006 20:57:38
From: Moka Java
Subject: Re: Does this happen to you more experienced folks?
Ken Fox wrote:

> "shall" <mrfuss@ihatespamearthlink.net> wrote in message
> news:3b5il2dethn7um5hjkmnl68ff7nse6c81c@4ax.com...
>
>>>As an aside, for those who use a bottomless PF, one tip I picked up at the
>>>Elysian Room in Vancouver BC: use a ramiken or something similar under
>>>your
>>>espresso cup when you make shots. This brings the espresso cup closer to
>>>the bottomless PF, and reduces splatter.
>>
>>I've never experienced splatter. Occasionally a single, very fine
>>channeling spray. That's not to say all my shots are masterpieces
>>(would that they were), just that I've never seen splatter.
>>
>>shall
>
>
> Depends on what you mean by splatter. If I had to guess, the distance
> between the drip tray top and the bottom of the PF screen of a naked PF in a
> commercial machine (such as my Cimbalis) is greater than the same measured
> distance on a Zaffiro or other semi-commercial. It is a hair under 5" in my
> machines. Assuming this distance on a commercial machine is greater, and
> given the rapid acceleration of a falling substance (the espresso) under
> gravity, even a relatively small difference such as an inch could make a big
> difference in the force with which the espresso strikes the bottom of the
> cup. In addition, the the extent that the espresso comes out in other than
> an absolutely straight trajectory (such as with microchanneling) there is
> also more "room" for the errant particles to "fan out" and go outside the
> confines of the cup.
>
> Of course, these concerns would be reduced by setting the cup on top of a
> ramiken, as I'd suggested:-)
>
> I'll leave the detailed mathematical explanations to those who understand
> them, such as David Ross.
>
> ken
>
>

The counter gets hit once in a while, I've been hit a couple of times.
Fresh coffee = neat shots, stale coffee = splatter.

R "that's right, blame it on the coffee" TF


      
Date: 13 Nov 2006 19:08:08
From: Ken Fox
Subject: Re: Does this happen to you more experienced folks?
"Moka Java" <rtwatches@fishyahoo.com > wrote in message
news:4rsm95Fsr3ajU1@mid.individual.net...
> >
> The counter gets hit once in a while, I've been hit a couple of times.
> Fresh coffee = neat shots, stale coffee = splatter.
>
> R "that's right, blame it on the coffee" TF

My counter never gets hit but I'm sure that is machine design dependent.

I also never use stale coffee, however I do get a bit of splatter on the
"backsplash" of the machine.

ken




 
Date: 13 Nov 2006 09:01:39
From: ramboorider@gmail.com
Subject: Re: Does this happen to you more experienced folks?


On Nov 13, 10:11 am, Randy G. <f...@DESPAMMOcncnet.com > wrote:

> >-RayWhen the machine sits idling for a long period there are factors that
> can affect the next shot. Among them are:
> 1) Steam can build up in the boiler and can be passed through the
> coffee before water hits it. Run some water through the steam wand to
> clear the steam and refill the boiler before proceeding with pulling a
> shot.

Does it matter whether you do this with the 'hot water' switch on?
Versus with the brew switch on, to pull the blank shot, release the
steam, and prime the boiler all at once? Versus just opening up the
steam knob without any of the switches on which seems to release a lot
of steam and get you down to a water flow pretty quickly right after
steaming? Post steaming, I generally just turn the steam button off,
turn the hot water button on, and then run some water through the wand
into a cup of water to release the steam, clean off the wand, and
refill the boiler. Should be doing something different?

> 2) The brewhead and portafilter can overheat. To remedy this, run some
> water through the brewhead (a blank shot- about .5 to one ounce), not
> just through the steam wand. Then allow the machine to sit for a
> minute or two for the temps to stabilize.

Hadn't been doing this after every use of the steam - maybe I should
start.

Thanks for the recommendations.

And Ken, I tried those small shots and hated them. That could have been
because I let them run for quite a while when I saw how short they were
and they were probably over-extracted. Next time it happens, I'll stop
at 25-28 seconds regardless and see if I like 'em. Not sure I was
messing up the dosing or distribution, though, because I've had such
consistent results up until this point and didn't THINK I was doing
anything differently. Thanks for the thoughts, in any case.

-Ray



  
Date: 15 Nov 2006 06:48:35
From: Omniryx@gmail.com
Subject: Re: Does this happen to you more experienced folks?

ramboorider@gmail.com wrote:
> I also sort of 'nutate' (new term for me) the tamper
> when doing what I've been calling the four corners tamp to the extent
> possible.

I'm always amazed and amused at the way one discipline appropriates
language from another. "Nutation" refers to involuntary nodding or
turning movements of the head, to the circular movement of plant shoots
as they grow, and to the conical movements of a spinning object such as
a gyroscope. Some coffee folks have adopted it to mean rocking the PF
around in a more-or-less circular manner.

Well, why not? Sounds cool, sophisticated, a bit exotic, altogether
special. It lends an air of class to the endeavor and reinforces the
impression of a specialized body of knowledge. What could be more
insider-ish than to rek offhandedly, that one nutates briefly
followed by a modified Stockfleth maneuver.

Go for the image!



   
Date: 15 Nov 2006 14:51:40
From: jim schulman
Subject: Re: Does this happen to you more experienced folks?
On 15 Nov 2006 06:48:35 -0800, "Omniryx@gmail.com" <Omniryx@gmail.com >
wrote:

>and to the conical movements of a spinning object such as
>a gyroscope. Some coffee folks have adopted it to mean rocking the PF
>around in a more-or-less circular manner

There's also nutating disk flow meters, the nutating sun or earth, and
settling coins.

Since it is defined as the form of rotation where the axis of rotation
moves in a cone, rather than remaining still, it is the absolutely
precise word to decribe the tamper motion I'm talking about.

Using the precise word, rather than "sorta" and "like," is, ofcourse,
highfallutin, and downright rude, when describing one's normal
unglamorous leisure activities. but making espresso is a hobby, which
like regular work, relies on precise descriptions.


  
Date: 14 Nov 2006 15:38:56
From: ramboorider@gmail.com
Subject: Re: Does this happen to you more experienced folks?
On Nov 14, 6:20 pm, jim schulman <jim_schul...@ameritech.net > wrote:

> Tap while the basket is filling, nutate the tamper (twirl it so it
> rotates on its edge around the basket, like a flipped coin settling),
> or use the Stockfleth maneuver. Any of these will settle the grinds.

I hadn't thought about it, but I essentially do tap while filling,
against the grinder and the basket holder. This distributes the dose
somewhat so it doesn't all pile up in the middle of the basket, but it
doesn't really break up the clumps. Or if it does, is still leaves
plenty of them. I also sort of 'nutate' (new term for me) the tamper
when doing what I've been calling the four corners tamp to the extent
possible. But the tamper is sort of a tight fit, so it won't angle very
much. I'll try just doing these two things a few times and skip
stirring with the chopstick and see how it goes.

> The thing I saw an Italian do at the SCAA, essentially flipping the
> grounds as if they were in a saute pan, might take a lot more
> practice, and require a relatively underfilled single basket.

That sounds like its just showing off! Don't think I'll try that one.

-Ray



  
Date: 13 Nov 2006 18:35:06
From: Eric Svendson
Subject: Re: Does this happen to you more experienced folks?
Ray:

The process of raising the boiler up to steaming temperature, say 290-300 F,
as measured on your PID and sensed via a thermocouple mounted underneath the
brew thermostat screw raises the grouphead temperature about 15-20 degrees
above "optimum". The process of steaming also dramatically lowers boiler
temperature about 40 degrees from the temperature at which you began the
steaming process - you can observe this on the PID readout.

Even though your PID may show a stable temperature (your Sv setpoint)
within, say, 3 to 4 minutes after steaming, the grouphead is still way to
hot. In order to take it down to a temperature close to where it was when
you initiated your shot, you need to flush about 3 to 4 ounces of water
through the grouphead. If you run the same amount of water through the
wand, you would only be indirectly cooling down the group because of the
lower boiler temperature caused by the influx of cold water. Doing it with
the wand would either require more water or more cooling off time after you
stop the water flow.

Unfortunately, this does not answer your original question because I, too,
have not ever experienced "that problem" nor can I think of any reason for
it to occur.

Eric S.



<ramboorider@gmail.com > wrote in message
news:1163437299.094462.321640@b28g2000cwb.googlegroups.com...
>
>
> On Nov 13, 10:11 am, Randy G. <f...@DESPAMMOcncnet.com> wrote:
>
>> >-RayWhen the machine sits idling for a long period there are factors
>> >that
>> can affect the next shot. Among them are:
>> 1) Steam can build up in the boiler and can be passed through the
>> coffee before water hits it. Run some water through the steam wand to
>> clear the steam and refill the boiler before proceeding with pulling a
>> shot.
>
> Does it matter whether you do this with the 'hot water' switch on?
> Versus with the brew switch on, to pull the blank shot, release the
> steam, and prime the boiler all at once? Versus just opening up the
> steam knob without any of the switches on which seems to release a lot
> of steam and get you down to a water flow pretty quickly right after
> steaming? Post steaming, I generally just turn the steam button off,
> turn the hot water button on, and then run some water through the wand
> into a cup of water to release the steam, clean off the wand, and
> refill the boiler. Should be doing something different?
>
>> 2) The brewhead and portafilter can overheat. To remedy this, run some
>> water through the brewhead (a blank shot- about .5 to one ounce), not
>> just through the steam wand. Then allow the machine to sit for a
>> minute or two for the temps to stabilize.
>
> Hadn't been doing this after every use of the steam - maybe I should
> start.
>
> Thanks for the recommendations.
>
> And Ken, I tried those small shots and hated them. That could have been
> because I let them run for quite a while when I saw how short they were
> and they were probably over-extracted. Next time it happens, I'll stop
> at 25-28 seconds regardless and see if I like 'em. Not sure I was
> messing up the dosing or distribution, though, because I've had such
> consistent results up until this point and didn't THINK I was doing
> anything differently. Thanks for the thoughts, in any case.
>
> -Ray
>




  
Date: 13 Nov 2006 10:25:28
From: Ken Fox
Subject: Re: Does this happen to you more experienced folks?
<ramboorider@gmail.com > wrote in message
news:1163437299.094462.321640@b28g2000cwb.googlegroups.com...
>
>
> And Ken, I tried those small shots and hated them. That could have been
> because I let them run for quite a while when I saw how short they were
> and they were probably over-extracted. Next time it happens, I'll stop
> at 25-28 seconds regardless and see if I like 'em. Not sure I was
> messing up the dosing or distribution, though, because I've had such
> consistent results up until this point and didn't THINK I was doing
> anything differently. Thanks for the thoughts, in any case.
>
> -Ray
>

All other things being equal, a shorter shot, known also as a "ristretto,"
will tend to be sweeter than a "normal" sized shot. If we are talking about
doubles, I'd include shots in the 0.8oz-1.5oz range as fitting the
discription of a ristretto, with those up to twice as large being normales.
In Italy, they tend towards ristrettos, but since they overwhelmingly use
single baskets, the volumes are halved. The general rule is that the
shorter the shot, the longer it should take to produce. Therefore, I don't
think that arbitrarily cutting a shot at 25-28 seconds is a good practice to
follow; you will do much better by eyeballing the shot as it is produced and
cutting the shot at the first sign of blonding. The purchase of a
bottomless ("naked") Portafilter would be money well spent, if you don't
already have one. They are great training tools and in my own view, make
better shots.

Obviously, a shot of any volume can be overextracted, and the longer that a
shot takes to produce, especially on a machine like a Silvia, the more
likely you are to have undesirable temperature variations.

It is my sense that most experienced home users do not use a shot timer
regularly, and don't really know how long their shots take to produce. I
know of at least two regular participants in this ng who have told me
personally that they were surprised to find out (with a timer) that their
average shots take on the order of 40 seconds or so to produce. Mine
average around 35 seconds, for (my) typical 1.25 oz. (or so) ristretto that
has become my preferred espresso volume. I have, however, had good shots
within the range of maybe 20 seconds to 40 seconds depending upon the
coffee, the shot, and the phase of the moon.

As to dosing and distribution, these are skills not acquired in two weeks
use. You will find a bottomless PF invaluable in your quest to perfect
them.

ken




   
Date: 14 Nov 2006 11:15:34
From: Neal Reid
Subject: Re: Does this happen to you more experienced folks?
In article <4rro28FshjdjU1@mid.individual.net >,
"Ken Fox" <morceaudemerdeThisMerdeGoes@hotmail.com > wrote:

> It is my sense that most experienced home users do not use a shot timer
> regularly, and don't really know how long their shots take to produce. I
> know of at least two regular participants in this ng who have told me
> personally that they were surprised to find out (with a timer) that their
> average shots take on the order of 40 seconds or so to produce. Mine
> average around 35 seconds, for (my) typical 1.25 oz. (or so) ristretto that
> has become my preferred espresso volume. I have, however, had good shots
> within the range of maybe 20 seconds to 40 seconds depending upon the
> coffee, the shot, and the phase of the moon.

I keep a timer at eye level beside my machine - as an indicator,
not a 'rule maker'. That is, I tend to use a fixed amount of
coffee to pull a constant amount of espresso (as measured by
height in the cup) then look at the time it took.

I then taste the stuff. If it's good, I make note and will repeat
that grind et. al. with that coffee. As reported before (and, it
seems to me) a number of others, I've found I usually prefer
longer pulls than the 'standard' 28 seconds.

If it ISN'T good, I use the time as part of the puzzle; too short,
finer grind, too long coarser - iterate...

--
M for N in address to mail reply


 
Date: 13 Nov 2006 07:05:29
From: Ken Fox
Subject: Re: Does this happen to you more experienced folks?
<ramboorider@gmail.com > wrote in message
news:1163420227.931296.211110@m7g2000cwm.googlegroups.com...
> Hate to keep trotting out newbie questions, but here's one more:
>
> After a few bad shots in the first couple of days with the new
> Silvia/Rocky combo, I seem to have found the beans and settings that
> work for me and I've had consistently good to very good shots for a
> couple of weeks now. Maybe even great, but I'm not sure I'd know a very
> good shot from a great one. I had one day when it suddenly got very
> humid (pouring rain out, basically), and the shot poured VERY quickly,
> so I adjusted the grind and did fine.
>
> But this morning, I'm not sure what's going on. I made my wife a latte
> and myself a cappa and both of these first two shots were wonderful -
> perfectly timed, great crema, great taste (I take a small sip before
> adding milk just to check) etc. Then I went back about half an hour
> later to make myself another espresso. The machine has a PID and the
> temp had re-stabilized after all of the steaming and I used the same
> grind, tamp, etc, and it nearly choked the machine. Barely one oz after
> 30 seconds. I thought maybe I hadn't refilled the boiler adequately
> after steaming, so I turned on the hot-water switch, ran several ounces
> into a cup, and then waited 15 minutes for the temp to stabilize again.
> The next shot wasn't quite as bad, but was still very low-volume after
> a long pull.
>
> I don't think anything changed between the first two great shots and
> the next two sorry ones. Nothing I could isolate anyway.
>
> Am I doing something wrong here? Or is this just the coffee gods
> telling me not to get too complacent?
>
> -Ray
>

There is inherent variability in espressomaking; as you get more experienced
this will be reduced but not eliminated.

The problem is almost certainly in your dosing or your distribution, both of
which will improve over time.

I hope you drank those 1 oz shots; they were probably "better" than the
higher volume shots you pull normally.

ken




 
Date: 13 Nov 2006 06:02:15
From: ramboorider@gmail.com
Subject: Re: Does this happen to you more experienced folks?
And then after an hour and a half or so, I just pulled and enjoyed a
near-perfect shot without changing any of the variables. Go figure
(because I can't).

-Ray



  
Date: 14 Nov 2006 13:46:05
From: ramboorider@gmail.com
Subject: Re: Does this happen to you more experienced folks?
On Nov 14, 2:42 pm, jim schulman <jim_schul...@ameritech.net > wrote:

> As others have said, I would invest time perfecting a simpler
> technique. This is like any other investment -- the song and dance you
> are doing will get you there faster, but in the long run it's a waste
> of time. Perfect a simple dosing technique from the start, and the
> investment will be payoff big down the road.

I appreciate the suggestion, but I'm honestly not sure where I'd
simplify it, other than a straight tamp without doing the four corners
thing first. That would save 3-4 seconds maybe? As long as I'm using a
doserless grinder (which I really like for other reasons), I'm gonna
have some clumps and I'm gonna have to break them up somehow. I suppose
I could try just doing it with my finger while levelling the dose
rather than bringing the chopstick into play, but I don't think this is
going to save me more than a few seconds per shot, which just isn't a
big deal when I'm only doing 3-5 shots per day.

-Ray



   
Date: 14 Nov 2006 17:20:37
From: jim schulman
Subject: Re: Does this happen to you more experienced folks?
On 14 Nov 2006 13:46:05 -0800, "ramboorider@gmail.com"
<ramboorider@gmail.com > wrote:

> I'm gonna
>have some clumps and I'm gonna have to break them up somehow

Tap while the basket is filling, nutate the tamper (twirl it so it
rotates on its edge around the basket, like a flipped coin settling),
or use the Stockfleth maneuver. Any of these will settle the grinds.

The thing I saw an Italian do at the SCAA, essentially flipping the
grounds as if they were in a saute pan, might take a lot more
practice, and require a relatively underfilled single basket.


  
Date: 13 Nov 2006 07:11:34
From: Randy G.
Subject: Re: Does this happen to you more experienced folks?
"ramboorider@gmail.com" <ramboorider@gmail.com > wrote:

>And then after an hour and a half or so, I just pulled and enjoyed a
>near-perfect shot without changing any of the variables. Go figure
>(because I can't).
>
>-Ray

When the machine sits idling for a long period there are factors that
can affect the next shot. Among them are:
1) Steam can build up in the boiler and can be passed through the
coffee before water hits it. Run some water through the steam wand to
clear the steam and refill the boiler before proceeding with pulling a
shot.
2) The brewhead and portafilter can overheat. To remedy this, run some
water through the brewhead (a blank shot- about .5 to one ounce), not
just through the steam wand. Then allow the machine to sit for a
minute or two for the temps to stabilize.

Randy "works for me" G.
http://www.EspressoMyEspresso.com