HomeRoast Digest


Topic: Help! - Bad Shots (3 msgs / 126 lines)
1) From: Larry Dorman
So...  I'm using an Andreja Premium these days and absolutely love
it...  I always use the double basket and have likely done at least
100 shots at this point and until about 15 minutes ago I've maybe
thrown away two.  I just got done throwing away four of them.  This
machine has an analog gauge that shows the pump pressure which I tend
to observe as one of the indicators of a good/bad shot.
I'm using a Rancillo Rocky grinder that's in good and clean
operational condition.  The grind is dialed in nicely.  I have both
some Sweet Maria's beans that I roasted about a week ago and some
decaf beans that I bought from a high quality local coffee shop and
which were roasted on the 14th.  I got great shots with both beans
yesterday without having to change the grind for either.
Tonight I set out to make some decaf espresso and all seemed to be
going well.  The grind was just what I expected.  My process was just
like what has been working fine.  The tamp looked good.  I went ahead
and started to pull the shot and when the pump pressure got to just 4
bars (which it always does almost right after starting) I started
getting a dark coffee like substance pouring out, then it slowed, and
the pressure went to about 8 or 8.5 bars.  Once the pressure got high
enough I started getting a little crema.  So I dumped this shot.
I adjusted my grind a notch finer, repeated the process, and got the
same results.  I tasted this shot thinking maybe the gauge was wonky?
(I new better since I got liquid entirely too fast and in volume.)  As
you might expect, it smelled and tasted terrible.  Another one down
the drain...
I then back-flushed a couple times and made sure the group was clean
thinking maybe there was a problem sealing.  I also adjusted the grind
just slightly finer still even though the grind really looked correct.
 I still got the exact same behavior.  I did an autopsy on the puck
and it appeared to be equally wet throughout with no hints of
channeling.
At this point I'm really starting to think that there must be
something wrong with the machine, but just to test I pull a shot from
the regular beans.  This shot is darn near perfect and might have been
improved only slightly by a very modestly coarser grind.  This makes
sense as I had adjusted the grind finer while troubleshooting with the
decaf.
Now that I knew the machine was fine I decided to try the decaf one
more time and with the exact same failed results.  Another attempt at
regular gave me a beautiful shot.  An autopsy of this regular puck
didn't show anything notably different from the decaf puck.
My regular beans are stored in a mason jar while my decaf beans are
stored in a plastic lined paper coffee bag that has been kept closed.
Again, I've had successful shots from this same batch of decaf
yesterday.
So...  what the heck is going on?  I'm really at a loss to explain
this one and since I'm trying to cut back on my caffeine intake, I
really want/need to be able to pull shots with the decaf.
Thanks for your insights...
LarryD
Homeroast mailing list
Homeroasthttp://lists.sweetmariascoffee.com/mailman/listinfo/homeroast_lists.sweetmariascoffee.comSweet Maria's Forum
Our new Coffee Library

2) From: Michael
On Apr 19, 2012, at 11:21 PM, Larry Dorman wrote:
<Snip>
There's your problem. IMO it is more important to home roast decaf to ensure max freshness, not to mention having a Sweet Maria bean to ensure the best quality and likelihood for successful decaf espresso.
I always have Donkey Blend on hand and various SM decaf SOs and blends for wife (she drinks only decaf) and occasional late night shots for me. In my experience decaf has very different characteristics than regular coffee. It does not need extensive resting before use. When I roast first thing in the morning I can get a good shot of decaf the first night. And my decaf has passed its peak at just five days or less. Shots of old decaf will gush and produce flavorless, crema-less results. Sound familiar?
You can do a bit to extend the useful life of beans for decaf espresso. The best thing to do is to keep the grind the same or even go coarser (Yes! Coarser!), but increase the dose significantly. I start fresh decaf at 14 g and slowly increase the amount by a few tenths of a gram every day so that at the end of a week I'm up to 16 - 17 grams. The increased amount of grinds will help somewhat to reduce gushing and increase the flavor of the shot. But really, the best thing is to roast small amount of decaf, use them quickly, and always have a fresh batch on hand. Do that and you will have most folks tasting your decaf shots and not believing they are decaf.
michaelb
espressoperson
Homeroast mailing list
Homeroasthttp://lists.sweetmariascoffee.com/mailman/listinfo/homeroast_lists.sweetmariascoffee.comSweet Maria's Forum
Our new Coffee Library

3) From: Scott Thile
Hello Larry,
My experience is that Decaff goes stale much faster
than caffeinated coffee. From what your describing, and especially
considering the storage difference, my guess is that decaf went stale on
you. I find my decaf normally peaks after a day or two of resting after
roasting, and it's starting to decline after a week (stored in sealed mason
jars). While I find that my caffeinated coffee more often peaks after 3
days, and stays pretty decent for 10 days to 2 weeks in the sealed mason
jars. I often have to adjust my grinds fast as the decaf ages after the
roast, but have come up with a decent compromise between the two as long as
I can keep the decaf fresh enough.
Actually, decaff was main reason for getting into home roasting. More on
that in a reply to your other post...
Scott
On Thu, Apr 19, 2012 at 10:21 PM, Larry Dorman  wrote:
<Snip>
-- 
*Scott E. Thile*
*S.E.THILE Handmade Pipes*http://pipedia.org*A laborer uses his hands. A craftsman uses his hands and heart. An artist">http://sethilepipes.com*Sysop for Pipedia, the wiki for pipes*http://pipedia.org*A laborer uses his hands. A craftsman uses his hands and heart. An artist
uses his hands, heart, and soul. (St. Francis of Assisi)*
Homeroast mailing list
Homeroasthttp://lists.sweetmariascoffee.com/mailman/listinfo/homeroast_lists.sweetmariascoffee.comSweet Maria's Forum
Our new Coffee Library


HomeRoast Digest