HomeRoast Digest

Topic: First Shot (14 msgs / 308 lines)
1) From: Rich M
So I had the day planned. Received my Anita via FedEx last night.  
Today, wife works and kids are going to the circus all day with my  
sis.  I planned on reading up on extraction techniques and pulling a  
few outstanding shots before the wife got home.  What could go  
wrong?  Well... shoveling my and a few elderly neighbors' driveways  
and walks due to the unpredicted snowstorm took much of the morning.  
Then, spending almost 5 hours in Children's Hospital ER with my  
daughter (basketball 1, daughters' eye 0).  So I get home at 3:00 and  
decide to go for it. I line up all my gear, take one last, quick  
glance at my Home-Barista materials and.... not so good.
The shot was very strong and pretty bitter. Initially, the crema  
looked nice (maybe a little dark) but it disappeared relatively  
quickly.  I'm using SM liquid amber. I'm thinking maybe  
overextracted? Too hot of water? Too much coffee?
Any suggestions on a path to a remedy will be appreciated!
Rich M

2) From: Barry Luterman
All 3 possible variables. Main culprit is probably temperature.

3) From: Sherry Hausner
I have an Anita too. I have had her for about 5-6 months. So I am still new 
to this slippery slope.
I have been timing everything as I pull my shot to try to get some 
consistency. I grind my coffee and then I start the "water dance" and that 
usually takes about 15 to 19 seconds. Then I stop the timer and reset. I 
take my PF off and dry it and clean around the group head. I fill the PF and 
stir with my skewer and then tamp with my Espro tamper - because it clicks 
at 30 lbs - I load the PF and wait until the timer reaches 40 seconds and 
then lift lever - reset the timer - then after 25 - 30 seconds stop 
everything - and I usually have americanos. If it blonds too soon adjust the 
grind to be finer for the next shot. If it stalls too long then adjust grind 
coarser for the next shot.
Hope this helps some.

4) From: Ross
Shovel a narrower path and try more shots.  Go thru a couple pounds of 
coffee, you will get better.

5) From: Rich M
Thanks Sherry-
When you do the water dance portion, do you have the filter basket in  
the portafilter or do you put it in after the water dance is done?  
Does it matter?
By the way, second shot was better than the first. Hopefully, the  
third (coming up in a few minutes) will be better yet! Thanks again  
for the suggestions.
Rich M
On Feb 25, 2007, at 1:18 PM, Sherry Hausner wrote:

6) From: Leo Zick
Easier to hear without the pf there, just don't burn your hands from the
splashes!  Also can build the basket while the pf is out, helps save time.
When the flashing stops, estimate water to be around 206F, so start counting
down from there.  Flush n go or flush n wait is a personal preference, so
see what works best in your machine.
If flush and wait, figure a 20-30 second wait, and that'll get you within
the HX hump for your machine.
Sherry - a 25sec Americano straight from the grouphead?  That's not typical,
normally you add hot water after a 25sec 2oz shot.

7) From: Rich M
Had to add this to my last post. I just pulled my third shot and it  
was markedly better than first two. I used your timing suggestions.  
The biggest diff I noticed was that I was doing the "water dance" for  
closer to 30 seconds vs the 15-19 you recommended. See, this is why  
our mutual obsession, I mean hobby, is so addictive. Just when you  
start having doubts, a little tweak and you're back on the right  
track. Thanks again.
Rich M
On Feb 25, 2007, at 1:18 PM, Sherry Hausner wrote:

8) From: Rich M
I'll give the "no PF" method a shot. I think I'll stick with the  
flush n wait--seems to be working. So, after sputtering stops, about  
5 more seconds of running water?
Also, and please bear in mind I'm new so this may be a dumb question,  
how do you get an Americano straight from the grouphead? I mean,  
isn't an Americano just a double shot of espresso and then  
immediately adding hot water from the hot water spout?
Rich M
On Feb 25, 2007, at 4:17 PM, Leo Zick wrote:

9) From: Sherry Hausner
I know in my mind what I mean by what I say - but I guess you don't :)
I do add the hot water to my espresso shot for my americano! I get about 2-3 
oz mostly crema when I pull my 25 sec shot.
I leave my porta filter in place when I do the water dance and mine is more 
of a flush and wait since that is when I am building my shot. The time from 
when I stop until I start again is the 40 seconds. I used to wait only 30 
sec but someone else on the list was talking about waiting longer and how 
much better his shots were. So I started waiting longer and I do think they 
are better.
That's what is working for me right now  :)

10) From: Leo Zick
It depends on the blend you are using, and what temp range your machine
responds well to.  Mine seems to be best with a ~200F stop temp, and a 20sec
wait. So I figure its still at 200F, and just nearing the HX hump.
I have the same question as you re: the Americano!

11) From: Ross
Rich and all,
I am happy to hear that you guys with the high end E61 HX machines have to 
"flush and wait."  I was feeling sorry for myself with my lowly non PID 
Silvia having to draw a couple blanks and temp surf.  I still like to drool 
over the reviews of your machines while sitting at my computer drinking some 
good SM coffee. 

12) From: Rich M
I was drooling too. Unfortunately, it was from the extreme bitterness  
of my first couple of  shots!  I've gathered from this list that it  
isn't as much the equipment as the persistence and knowledge of the  
operator. I'm getting better, albeit verrry slowly.
Rich M
On Feb 25, 2007, at 6:29 PM, Ross wrote:

13) From: Les
Espresso has been talked about on the last few posts.  First off, espresso
is a drink not a roast or a bean.  I pulled the most awesome SO Kona Moki's
Farm this morning.  I am not sure if I should praise or ....... oh well
Praise!  Thank Mike McKoffee!  Just for fun, I worked out a very gentle ramp
on a very bright Kenya that Tom said, couldn't make a good espresso.  I
served him a double shot at PNWG II and he was amazed that it was that
Kenya.  Some coffees are easier to make espresso with that is for sure.
With a light roast, temperature control of the shot is very very important.
Roast everything real dark and you only have to worry about bringing out the
caramellization of the sugers, not the origin flavors.  The quest for
awesome shots continues.  Don't be discouraged, continue to experiment and
enjoy your coffee.  If you get discouraged, avoid Stumptown or Barefoot and
try one of the generic espresso places just to appreciate your efforts more!
On 2/25/07, Ross  wrote:

14) From: Barry Luterman
That's the HX machines. No waiting with a double boiler.

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