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Date: 28 Jul 2007 16:36:01
From: Justin Case
Subject: noob needs some help - what am I doing wrong?
I'm still kind of new to this home espresso addiction and I'm stuck and
really don't know where to look. Every shot I pull has a bitter taste
to it. As a baseline comparison, I went down the local Human Bean and
ordered a straight shot. Theirs was better damn it.

I've got a ghetto roaster and have tried some cheap Brazil beans, liquid
amber from SMs and some pure Columbian from SMs as well (I try to roast
to a full Vienna, pulling them shortly into the second crack). I use a
Rocky dosserless and a Saeco Classical Espresso machine with a non
pressurized PF. I preheat the PF, toss the first gram or so out of the
grinder and always wait 2-3 days after roasting to brew.

While I have various brew times, most of my shots are now around 25
seconds, but they all taste about the same.

So my question is, where do I start looking for what I'm doing wrong? Am
i roasting too quickly, too light, too dark? Am I tamping wrong?

I don't have a good way of measuring the temp of the water, but it
"feels" about the same as my Bunn-o-matic produces, which btw makes
excellent coffee.

Thanks in Advance!

Stu




 
Date: 30 Jul 2007 18:08:33
From: Flasherly
Subject: Re: noob needs some help - what am I doing wrong?
On Jul 28, 6:36 pm, Justin Case <JustinC...@somethingorother.org >
wrote:
> I'm still kind of new to this home espresso addiction and I'm stuck and
> really don't know where to look. Every shot I pull has a bitter taste
> to it. As a baseline comparison, I went down the local Human Bean and
> ordered a straight shot. Theirs was better damn it.

Rule out the bean selection. Never been to a Human Bean, or any other
espresso establishment, but if I were in your shoes, I'd go back when
they're least likely to be busy. Have a seat and explain my
problems. Try and talk out what I'd want, in your case, a ground
dispensation or comparable shot, wrapped in paper to take home and
test on a Saeco. Their grinder's results, no. #1. No. #2, hey pal,
can you spare another sample wrapper of measured beans, not ground
(maybe they'll sell by ounces as sampler packs). . . then, you've the
second variable for testing the Rocky. Neither or either, depending,
might offer a few pointers, points of deviation to consider for
alternatives. If there's a noticeable improvement from a Saeco not
steaming or burning up acceptable beans.

Personally, I've not much better of roaster, aside from iRoast I
wouldn't trade for yours, but that's only because I push it too hard.
Basically never stops running more than a few seconds as I roast - 3
or more pounds straight through, maxed right at overload. The grinder
may be worse than yours, though, a Capresso's at its finest that's
incapable of beyond, in case that's not fine enough. The Gaggia tends
require some oversight in tamping the PF, (as well an eye to
temperature), otherwise it's going to be a surefire gusher.
Relatively heavy-duty PF for a domestic.

End result is sour isn't to my thinking as bad as bitter. Maybe a
hint and bite of bitter combined with sour, but not rancid. Bitter
and watered-down non-descriptively, flatly, and without body. Akin to
leech-brewed weak coffee. Drink half and throw the rest in the sink at
home and start over. Sour over-roasted coffee beans sitting in hot
kitchen heat, wasting countertop space, growing fungus. Fish-sour and
also rancid. Distinct from sour and tart espresso, crisp with fresh
lemon citrus flavors, less sweet, more sour than light bitter bites,
and without being under-roasted. The espresso flavor, as I experience
it, tends to go beyond into sweetness with accents on a darker roasted
aspect. The traditional espresso "coffee experience" being overall
one of a stronger and concentrated impression. Very flavorful, even
though I prefer a lighter, contemporary concoction, sour and acidic
notes, and can do without accented sugars or darker flavors -- whether
expressly prepared from ground or not roasts, which I'd also rightly
expect -- although through results less dedicated to optimizing any SO
distinction, I should add. It's just a "pushed" iRoast churning
consecutive 4.5 min.batches for the time being. Very good tasting
and a consistent value on SO bean selections, I think (until some
later point for expanding profiles).



 
Date: 29 Jul 2007 05:00:02
From: lockjaw
Subject: Re: noob needs some help - what am I doing wrong?
On Jul 28, 6:36 pm, Justin Case <JustinC...@somethingorother.org >
wrote:
> I'm still kind of new to this home espresso addiction and I'm stuck and
> really don't know where to look. Every shot I pull has a bitter taste
> to it. As a baseline comparison, I went down the local Human Bean and
> ordered a straight shot. Theirs was better damn it.
>
> I've got a ghetto roaster and have tried some cheap Brazil beans, liquid
> amber from SMs and some pure Columbian from SMs as well (I try to roast
> to a full Vienna, pulling them shortly into the second crack). I use a
> Rocky dosserless and a Saeco Classical Espresso machine with a non
> pressurized PF. I preheat the PF, toss the first gram or so out of the
> grinder and always wait 2-3 days after roasting to brew.
>
> While I have various brew times, most of my shots are now around 25
> seconds, but they all taste about the same.
>
> So my question is, where do I start looking for what I'm doing wrong? Am
> i roasting too quickly, too light, too dark? Am I tamping wrong?
>
> I don't have a good way of measuring the temp of the water, but it
> "feels" about the same as my Bunn-o-matic produces, which btw makes
> excellent coffee.
>
> Thanks in Advance!
>
> Stu

bitter -- too hot
sour -- too cool.

start w/ store bought beans -- after tasting them at the store.


dave
www.hitechespresso.com



 
Date: 29 Jul 2007 09:07:01
From: D. Ross
Subject: Re: noob needs some help - what am I doing wrong?
You need to cut down on variables during the learning phase.



  
Date: 29 Jul 2007 14:03:40
From: Justin Case
Subject: Re: noob needs some help - what am I doing wrong?


D. Ross wrote:
> You need to cut down on variables during the learning phase.
>
>


  
Date: 29 Jul 2007 21:22:42
From: Natalie Drest
Subject: Re: noob needs some help - what am I doing wrong?

"D. Ross" <ross@math.hawaii.NOSPAM.edu > wrote in message
news:46ac5721.387017241@localhost...
> You need to cut down on variables during the learning phase.
>
>


   
Date: 29 Jul 2007 14:08:34
From: Justin Case
Subject: Re: noob needs some help - what am I doing wrong?

Natalie,

Nope, never has a burnt taste to it. Never get steam, unless I've
been frothing right before I pre-warm the PF, but I'll give it a try
with out. Thanks!

Stu

Natalie Drest wrote:
> "D. Ross" <ross@math.hawaii.NOSPAM.edu> wrote in message
> news:46ac5721.387017241@localhost...
>> You need to cut down on variables during the learning phase.
>>
>>


    
Date: 29 Jul 2007 22:48:46
From: Moka Java
Subject: Re: noob needs some help - what am I doing wrong?
Coffee has a lot of complex flavors so it might take some training and
experience for a noob to distinguish bitter from sour. As others have
suggested, get some roasted coffee to learn with.

I'm not familiar with your machine and have no first hand experience
with Seacos. I do recall some posts from years back to the effect that
Saeco single boiler machines run cool. The work around is to blip the
steam switch for some period of time to bring the temp up so you can get
a decent shot. You might try a Google group search to see if you can
find some of those posts.

Also, check Ebay or do a web search for a multimeter with a
thermocouple. the thermocouple is a piece of wire that works as a very
fast reading thermometer. With a little finagling you can get the
thermocouple in the PF and get a good idea what's happening as the shot
is pulled. Just lay the wire over the edge of the PF when you clamp it
in the group.

R "hopelessly romantic" TF

Justin Case wrote:
>
> Natalie,
>
> Nope, never has a burnt taste to it. Never get steam, unless I've
> been frothing right before I pre-warm the PF, but I'll give it a try
> with out. Thanks!
>
> Stu
>
> Natalie Drest wrote:
>> "D. Ross" <ross@math.hawaii.NOSPAM.edu> wrote in message
>> news:46ac5721.387017241@localhost...
>>> You need to cut down on variables during the learning phase.
>>>
>>>


     
Date: 30 Jul 2007 21:14:56
From: D. Ross
Subject: Re: noob needs some help - what am I doing wrong?