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Bitter Coffee

I'm on day 1 of a steep learning curve I'm sure.

Just unpacked a Breville Dual Boiler and Smart Grinder...
Two hours in, having followed the instruction books to the letter, I'm finding that EVERY double shot I extract is too bitter to drink.

I'm using quality beans, roasted 6th Jan.... Have extracted approx 20 cups so far, and every variation has been bitter to the point of undrinkable.....

Please help. What is the first step in adjusting to reduce bitterness? I've tried more coffee, less coffee, finer grind, coarser grind, and less/more extraction time...

But I may be varying too much....

Comments

  • Welcome Taihara! You are on a steep learning curve... Well done! Grind, dose and tamp are where it's at! Keep your dose and tamp absolutely consistent.  This is the hardest part. Then adjust your grind so you get 30mls in 25 seconds.  Only when this is happening consistently do you change temperatures.  Set your machine initially at 92degC. Make a plunger coffee with the beans and drink it black. The worst coffee Ive ever tasted was roasted 3 days ago by a "specialty roaster" ;) Welcome and, why not post a video of a shot so we can be of further assistance. Cheers!!
  • Thanks for your assistance Brett After a few more failures, I decided to get out the scales and check what 15 - 20 Kgs of tamping pressure was.... and I found what was apparently my main failing... not enough pressure.... So now my coffee has finally become reasonable.... It took me near 1/2 a Kilo to get there..... So it may be still a long way from perfect, but at last worth making, and one step closer to my goal... :)
  • Ahhhh .. a fresh n00by with their new equipment. :D Lol .. it's me just over 12 months ago .. the frustration at not being able to produce God shots straight up. Buckle in Taihara .. and welcome. It is quite a journey this coffee making business .. and well worth it. You have certainly come to the right place to help you along .. I have had a lot of assistance from people on this forum .. trying to make a good quality cup of coffee. Patience Grasshopper ;P Hahaha .. that's what I got told .. lol Good coffees will happen .. only it won't happen overnight. What's your preference .. espresso, latte ..? I got a lever machine .. and I reckon I got the hang of it after around 10 months.. 3 months ago. Keep posting how it is going, as there are many variables .. and you need to improve on each .. which is a gradual process. * Good beans * Grind setting * Dose * Tamp * Pour time/shot volume ps. 'Instant drinker'  .. hmm? lol. :D
  • on 1421496834:
    Thanks for your assistance Brett After a few more failures, I decided to get out the scales and check what 15 - 20 Kgs of tamping pressure was.... and I found what was apparently my main failing... not enough pressure.... So now my coffee has finally become reasonable.... It took me near 1/2 a Kilo to get there..... So it may be still a long way from perfect, but at last worth making, and one step closer to my goal... :)
    Welcome to The Coffee Forum Taihara. 15 to 20 kg seems like a lot of unnecessary tamp pressure to me, grind a touch finer then 5 to 10 would be my suggestion, perhaps the Breville requires a heavier tamp, perhaps not. Of course no one has mentioned the elephant in the room, sugar, I have always enjoyed sugar with coffee, not mountains of it, approx 3 grams per cup regardless of type or size. Purists will shudder and alternative life stylers will tell me I'm poisoning myself, to them I would say to each his own, hasn't done me much harm to this point so will continue on with my sweet stuff of choice.
  • on 1421548400:
    Of course no one has mentioned the elephant in the room, sugar, I have always enjoyed sugar with coffee, not mountains of it, approx 3 grams per cup regardless of type or size. Purists will shudder and alternative life stylers will tell me I'm poisoning myself
    Let's set the Geekspeak aside for a moment Db .. 3 grams? .. blimey - how many teaspoon/s of sugar is that? ;P
  • on 1421549256:
    Let's set the Geekspeak aside for a moment Db .. 3 grams? .. blimey - how many teaspoon/s of sugar is that? ;P
    G'Day Moon, 3 grams is approx 1/2 a teaspoon.
  • Welcome to The Coffee Forum Taihara :) Well we have all been there so we totally understand.  When I got my first machine I remember nearly throwing it out the window! lol.  I went though 2kg and then found out my grinder was to blame. Grrrr.  The Smart grinder is pretty easy to use though.  I love mine (and it's not messy). Have you thought about training?  Someone to show you in your home on your machine some techniques?  It worked for me when I was just starting out. I would personally start out with a 5cent piece test to make sure you got the dose right.  Just place one on your tamped coffee and lock it in.  You should end up with a feint impression on the coffee puck.  Take not of how that looks with your tamper on top so you can do it that way over and over.  Tamp pressure isn't all that critical just as long as it's level, and your consistent in my opinion.  As DB said about you can grind finer to compensate.  What ever feels comfortable, there's no point aiming for 15kg tamp if it's hurting your arm. :) Are you using the double basket? It's going to take you a few bags of coffee to get it down pat, but once you do you'll look back and think what was I worrying about.  Post up a few photos of videos if you want.  We are all here to help :)
  • Again thanks all for your kind suggestions and comments. Just to clarify, I'm now using about 12 Kgs tamping pressure, because as some of you have suggested, 15 - 20 Kgs may be a little excessive... and possibly would require gym membership... But prior to that I'd estimate I may have been at the 5 Kgs level. Anyway, the difference has been worth the results. As for the suggestion of sugar, I do sugar my expresso shots, but not when I drink milk based beverages. I'm also gong to try the 5 cent piece suggestion on my next series of "experiments". They won't be today though... I estimate I pulled about 40 shots yesterday and though I only had a sip of each, I was still buzzing at 2.00AM this morning... So having a rest day today. :) Thankyou all for your many "Welcomes".
  • on 1421553289:
    Again thanks all for your kind suggestions and comments. Just to clarify, I'm now using about 12 Kgs tamping pressure, because as some of you have suggested, 15 - 20 Kgs may be a little excessive... and possibly would require gym membership... But prior to that I'd estimate I may have been at the 5 Kgs level. Anyway, the difference has been worth the results. As for the suggestion of sugar, I do sugar my expresso shots, but not when I drink milk based beverages. I'm also gong to try the 5 cent piece suggestion on my next series of "experiments". They won't be today though... I estimate I pulled about 40 shots yesterday and though I only had a sip of each, I was still buzzing at 2.00AM this morning... So having a rest day today. :) Thankyou all for your many "Welcomes".
    Sounds like your well on the road mate, keep us informed.
  • on 1421553513:
    Sounds like your well on the road mate
    Crikey Db .. if he keeps up practicing at the 40 a day rate .. blokes on a mission .. as we all are ;)
  • My mission is to enjoy the fruits of my labour.
  • My mission is to have good quality coffees available to enjoy 24/7 .. 365 days of the year. Hanging out on this forum for a while ensures this mission is accomplished
  • How are we going Taihara?  Any news yet?
  • my advice would be to go to the supermarket and buy a kg or 2 of the most rubbish beans that you can find - and to put these through your grinder but with no intention of drinking them with new grinders you need to take the edge off the blades with a bit of use - to wear them in a little, this will help with consistency with the grind, otherwise you're constantly adjusting the grind to compensate for the newness of the blades  just a thought cheers, P
  • And a good one Pat!  All of my grinder have been wildly inconsistent after burr changes from Lux all the way up to the 83mm A8!
  • Hi guys, my coffee is bitter too. I'm also a newbie when it comes to semi automatics. Im using the barista express from breville. Should I be programming it to 25 sec?
  • Hi mate and welcome!  Semi-autos are a bit different. Il wait for an experienced member to help out here before chiming in with advice that is academic but possibly misleading!
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