HomeRoast Digest

Topic: Liquid Amber grind strangeness (7 msgs / 163 lines)
1) From: Loyd Blankenship
I've now verified this on two different roasts, and am wondering if
anyone can explain the physics of it. Using SM Liquid Amber blend, my
Silvia blows through the shot at twice the rate of anything else I'm
using. I'm using a Rocky and a La Marzocca double basket, 18 grams by
weight per dose.
The first time it happened, I thought "tamp harder you wuss". Tamped
harder, still a 12-second 2.5 oz pull. "Strange," I thought. That was
the last I had roasted, so I roasted some more (FC+ in both cases)
This morning, my usual routine, another 10-second shot. "Ok," says I,
and cranked the Rocky 2 notches finer, and tamped as hard as I could.
Still blew through.
Both days, I immediately pulled a shot, same technique, using a
different bean (El Salv. Orange bourbon in one case, Monsooned Malabar
this morning). Both were perfect 25-30 second shots using my regular
grind and tamp.
So what gives? I probably have only a half-pound of the amber left,
I'll just roast it for my wife to use in her drip machine, but I'm
curious as to why this might behave differently than any other bean
I've tried so far.
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2) From: miKe mcKoffee
"Rules" for dialing in shots don't change. Shot too fast, grind finer. Tamp
can be used to slightly tweak pull timing, but not the primary method and
best to be consistent and change only one variable keeping dose and tamp
consistent. FWIW needed grind can vary widely between SO's/blends, sometimes
as much as 3 or 4 steps on Rocky. Too fresh usually requires much finer
grind. Generally speaking 5 days rest needed for shots.
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3) From: Tom & Maria - Sweet Maria's Coffee
It can be simply degree of roast - darker roasts= more 
porosity=faster shot. Then again, darker roasts compact more under 
tamp pressure. I expect Monsooned coffees are more porous too just 
because of the monsooning process. In any case, modifying your 
technique for different coffees is par for the course - for me, every 
singe shot I pull with different coffees seems to vary, so there is 
never an absolute "dialed in" state you can acheive with espresso. 
It's a moving target.
                   "Great coffee comes from tiny roasters"
            Sweet Maria's Home Coffee Roasting  -  Tom & Maria
                      http://www.sweetmarias.com                Thompson Owen george_at_sweetmarias.com
     Sweet Maria's Coffee - 1115 21st Street, Oakland, CA 94607 - USA
             phone/fax: 888 876 5917 - tom_at_sweetmarias.com

4) From: Mike Koenig
I haven't roasted liquid amber in a while,  on my Rocky I had to dial
down to almost the zero point (where the burrs touch) with LA blend,
otherwise I'd get gushers, just like you did.
There is usually some tweaking in grind for different blends, but LA
always required an "extreme" adjustment for me.  Something weird from
the monsooned beans I guess.
On Dec 20, 2007 11:50 AM, Loyd Blankenship  wrote:

5) From: raymanowen
Thankfully, I have not had the disconnect between packing and brewing that
you're experiencing. So far, it sounds like a phenomenon. There are probably
more facts, since L-A was, in fact, the very blend that convinced me I was
rong about my espresso doubts.
(They weren't doubts- I was positive espresso was the house drink in every
Black Hole cafe in the universe.) Then I began to understand the problem,
the more posts I read here. I took some baby steps towards trying to brew
Now that your times have drifted completely off, what has happened to your
flavor and aroma? When I first got the green L-A blend I wondered, "How am I
ever going to roast these- they're different beans?"
Whenever a brew doesn't follow the Golden Rule, if it tastes great I
consider publishing it.
Cheers, Mabuhay -RayO, aka Opa!
On Dec 20, 2007 9:50 AM, Loyd Blankenship 
"When the theme hits the bass, I dance the Jig!" - -Virgil Fox at the Mighty
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6) From: Brian Zambrano
I've experience the exact same thing with the Liquid Amber from two separate
orders.  And, my reaction was exactly the same (tamping harder).  I've since
just learned to grind a little bit finer.  The funny thing is that I get the
most consistent shots from this blend.  Even if I over/under tamp or grind
too fine/coarse, I pretty much always get a pretty good shot.
On Dec 20, 2007 8:50 AM, Loyd Blankenship 

7) From: Slinkster
Loyd Blankenship wrote:
The bag of LA I have currently is from the first batch Tom offered after 
he found suitable robusta (at least I think it was the robusta that went 
out of stock) (some might recall that LA and a couple other house blend 
espressos were unavailable for a short while earlier this year).  I have 
with it the same problem you do: I can't grind finely enough or tamp 
hard enough to pull a 2oz, 23-28sec shot, regardless of roast level.
So I pull for a 2oz shot and call it good.  The end product in my cup is 
acceptable to me, and my friends who mooch shots use *$ as their gold 
standard so by that comparison ANY shot I pull is acceptable.
It may be worth noting that the first bags of LA I had were pre-new 
robusta and my shots were on the money at 2oz and 24 seconds.

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