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Author Topic: Extraction. A gentle guide  (Read 12341 times)

caspresso

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Extraction. A gentle guide
« on: 11/04/2009, 01:15 PM »
Fundamentally the main dilemma with coffee is extraction. For barista this is well known. But for the consumer; Extraction has a few very important components.

 Firstly, the coffee machine, especially at the head (where the coffee comes out), has to be set at the right temperature. This is a little understood part of the making process. Now its not a difficult thing to grasp, but unfortunately as most """barista""" aren't taught anything about machine settings, this sadly goes unchecked and isn't regarded as highly as is necessary.

Once the temps have been adjusted appropriately; We move on to the grinder. There are a huge range of these and it (again) generally is little understood how important they are. I think for any begginer a "MAZZER - Super Jolly" or "DIAMOND - K6" give you a good start. Reasons being; Solid performer, reliable, good technology, proven to handle a heavy-ish workload. DO NOT buy a step ginder, this is the type where you have to press down a button to adjust the grind settings. BAD SYSTEM, not enough control. Micro adjustment grinders are the ones. Anyway a good grinder is very important.

Now to Bean - Whats important is to like the bean you are using. Cause there are soooooo many different ones. There is no right or wrong with region or organic or fair trade. What it comes down to is quality. If your ethics are swayed toward making specific choices, so be it. But make sure the quality is there. OK, from a proffessional point of view, freshness is vital. 72 hours - 10 days after roasting is the optimum window of perfection. Some say its smaller, some wider. But this is a good range to aim for. Anything over 14 days really shouldn't be put through any bean lovers machine. But for the less concerned, its up to you how bad you like your coffee to taste.

Tampers - All I'll say is make sure its comfortable to use and the right size for the group handle (the bit you put the coffee) you're using. My suggestion is not to use the small, really heavy stainless ones. They're hard to hold correctly while applying pressure to the puck (coffee in porterfilter/group handle)

Dose and grind - This is a very controversial and broad debate. Though essentially its a fairly basic formula. Big dose - Course grind. Small dose - Fine grind. Medium dose - Medium grind. But....There are a few who like to extract a dripping pour, which gives high level sweetness and body. But is prone to bitterness if incorrectly dosed. Also it tends to lose flavour as you get to the bottom of a milky brew. I suggest this extraction for hardend espresso drinkers.

Along side and vital to the dose and grind, is the Tamp - Again a very personal approach. I personally tamp at approx. 15kg. Now this isn't the gods word on tamping, but in my opinion soft tamping is unreliable and inconsistant. I'll write more on tamping another time

When the coffee is pouring, its preferrable to see a warm, honey-like stream. If the coffee is super fresh, this may be hard to achieve. you can either up-dose or simply be ok with the taste you get. I think avoid making the grind too tight to get the right pour. Find out off your supplier how fresh the bean is.

Thats all for now, feel free to reply, I encourage it....



moto coffee

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Extraction. A gentle guide
« Reply #1 on: 11/04/2009, 05:06 PM »
Where to start? Interesting post, agree in genera,l different opinions on some, but if the majority of "baristas" followed your post then the quality of coffee would jump dramatically.
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ohbillygreat

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Extraction. A gentle guide
« Reply #2 on: 11/04/2009, 09:07 PM »
I like that you mostly avoided setting out any hard rules, just guidelines with the underlying theory behind each. This emphasis on why over how is something that's lacking in most of the trainers working today that I've seen. It's also the only approach that's going to lead to better all-round espresso... people following their senses.

moto coffee

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Extraction. A gentle guide
« Reply #3 on: 12/04/2009, 12:03 PM »
From my experience most people aren't encouraged to extend themselves (education, society, government take your pick) and so will go with whatever the norm is. In coffee the norm is terrible, all people need to do is do a little research and they will be able to make mega steps in seconds. Anyway I am starting to rant Happy Easter.
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Extraction. A gentle guide
« Reply #4 on: 17/04/2009, 03:11 AM »
just got back from Wellington in New Zealand where I have to say the standard and overall quality of coffee from top cafes to the numerous coffee carts (even 50km from the city) was a vast improvement on what I have experienced as a whole in Melbourne - which is not to say that Melbourne does not have great coffee (if you know where to find it) - but that I found better consistency and improved fundamentals across the ditch!
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caspresso

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Extraction. A gentle guide
« Reply #5 on: 17/04/2009, 08:26 AM »
My wish is for a better understanding of the sensitivity the bean has. And that the coffee making process is a mutual exchange between the bean and barista and equipment. Methods are important, but ultimately subtle changes need to be made from person to person. My understanding of the bean is that dose and grind vary based on body mass, hight and technique. There is no golden rule, just a golden mean. Balance is aquired with learning, focus and experience. Not a set of rules based on old ideas.

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Extraction. A gentle guide
« Reply #6 on: 10/08/2010, 07:32 PM »
thought this was a thread worth resurrecting for comment!

A

Dry bean.

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Extraction. A gentle guide
« Reply #7 on: 10/08/2010, 10:55 PM »
Caspresso has the bases pretty well covered, I certainly agree with most of what he says, to disagree or quibble over any minor points would only be nit picking.
I do get the impression the post is aimed at those in the cafe business, perhaps an abridged version for the home user could be of value, I know its not that complex but suspect some of the info may go over a novices head. :)
Cheers,

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Double Ristretto

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Extraction. A gentle guide
« Reply #8 on: 26/08/2010, 10:51 AM »
love those rules... one of the funniest things was the person who'd done a course and told me that coffee must be used 20 minutes after it's been ground ...

dR  ;)

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Extraction. A gentle guide
« Reply #9 on: 09/07/2011, 09:24 PM »
Capresso,

perhaps you could edit to add distribution? the only reason you'd actually need to tamp hard enough to give yourself RSI is that the coffee wasn't even in the basket.  :P

I'm sure a lot of people on here have seen me tamp with the group head - it's only worth a couple of clicks difference on the grind setting ;)
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Extraction. A gentle guide
« Reply #10 on: 09/07/2011, 09:40 PM »
I grind & tamp according to the bean
Some like a course grind and a hard tamp
Some like a fine grind & a light tamp

Every new batch of beans that I start gets both methods at the start and what I like most is the procedure I stick with until the next lot of beans

I sometimes pull a shot short in volume and time at around 18-20 seconds if I think it tickles my taste buds

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Kelsey

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Extraction. A gentle guide
« Reply #11 on: 16/11/2011, 12:51 AM »
I'm reviving this thread rather than starting a new one as its relevant here.

I've always assumed the 25s - 30s extraction time was counted from when the coffee starts appearing in the spout, but a couple of vids I've seen recently (particularly that YouTube vid posted on CS with the Italian barista and the single basket pour) and some other conversations have made me doubt this.

My method involves stretching the milk first, so I never forget to prime the boiler. I then run a little water through the group, insert the PF and pull my shot.

Typically the machine will run from a few to a dozen or so seconds before the tone of the pump changes and the coffee begins to pour.

I've always thought these first few seconds were pre-infusion, but now I wonder.... Should my 30sec count down begin the moment I hit the brew switch?
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Kelsey

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Extraction. A gentle guide
« Reply #12 on: 16/11/2011, 11:43 AM »
I'm really going to have to play with this some more.

I ground more coarsely this morning, counted about four seconds (which I claimed as 'pre-infusion') before the 'tone' of the pump changed and a second or so later the coffee started to flow for a 'perfect' 30ml in 30 secs.

The flavour wasn't all that, however.

Ground a little finer, slightly longer pre-infusion, another 30ml in 30secs. Still not great. (Better than yesterday's Caffeine Culture tho!)

Then again, could be the beans. They're probably past their peak.

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Full disclosure: I have commercial arrangements with Bezzera (AU) and Londinium Espresso. I am not required to market them on this forum & any opinions expressed are my own.

coffeehorse

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Extraction. A gentle guide
« Reply #13 on: 16/11/2011, 10:49 PM »
Generally a good way of working out a balanced shot is when you start fine and get oils left when wiping the basket, then get coarser and coarser til you have minimal oil (eg. none visible, possibly a little left on the underside if using bottomless portafiler. At that point, vary dose to achieve best mouthfeel/shot length/balance and/or vary grind+collapses+tamp to get the same effect.

I wouldn't worry too much about Xml in Xseconds, instead aiming for shots you find tasty. Shots even blonded and seemingly over-long can still taste really good.

Trust your taste-buds and write down what you experience, so it sticks in your head.

IMO!
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Kelsey

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Extraction. A gentle guide
« Reply #14 on: 17/11/2011, 07:33 AM »
Thanks CH, I'll give that a try.

I almost feel like I'm having more difficulty atm than when I started out!
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Brett H

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« Reply #15 on: 17/11/2011, 08:56 AM »
Just like singing technique mate.  How long have you had your machine?  A month... two... tops?  It'll take some time to get to know Betsy really well.  We are not pros!  We pull 300 shots... not in a day but in 6 months.  So don't pressure yourself.  Get comfortable with your set routine and if you are getting close (which I more than suspect you consistently are) then don't change anything for a while... familiarity breeds consistency.  Like singing however, if you are completely wrong with an aspect (which I suspect you are not) then you're stuffed for ever and need to aquire a palate for tea.........ARGHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!  Just like singing try not to over-think it and get a complex... it doesn't work like that.  My secondo passagio is still a little smothered (Eflat) but thanks to this modus operandi, above that I am very happy to a G (2005 sang Gianni Schicci for Powerhouse Opera to rave reviews).  I am a Heavy Bass (Sarastro)!

All technical based activites require the same modus operandi.  Less is more and hasten slowly!
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hiphipharrar

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Extraction. A gentle guide
« Reply #16 on: 17/11/2011, 11:10 AM »
Thanks CH, I'll give that a try.

I almost feel like I'm having more difficulty atm than when I started out!
Join the club. I think we all started out as complete novices, managed to pull a few shots that are usually better than what you have experienced out of the coffee jar or the local cafe.

Then you start reading forums like this and wonder what you are missing out on and think you can't rest until you have tweaked every last  improvement from it.

You are normally provided a list of requirements for how to make good coffee: good quality beans, freshly ground from a good grinder is usually at the top of the list. But the quality that is most overlooked is patience. That's the gist of Brett H's post but I wouldn't be annoying my neighbours by breaking into song or I might end up singing castrato  ;)

I rarely hit 30ml in 30 secs; I never aim for that. I simply prepare a shot and, if it doesn't taste right, adjust the grind and/or dose to suit. How you manage that adjustment is what experience will bring probably more than any advice you can read.

As you try more and more coffee, note what worked and start working out rules such as adjusting your grinder finer as the beans age, working out a rough grinder adjustment for a certain bean. For example, Monsooned Malabar requires a very fine grind; Ethiopian beans usually require a looser grind etc.

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Extraction. A gentle guide
« Reply #17 on: 17/11/2011, 11:19 AM »

I wouldn't worry too much about Xml in Xseconds, instead aiming for shots you find tasty.

And just to confuse things even further, a 30ml shot is bit always the same amount.

The other day I pulled a double -   60ml, but only 45g.

Any time I measure shots, I use mass not volume, more consistent.
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« Reply #18 on: 18/11/2011, 01:04 AM »
it gets a bit confusing when you start using triple sized baskets etc but I still reckon 30ml from 30sec is a good guideline - and the timing should start from as soon as you you press the button - in order to ensure consistency

I've got built in shot clock displays for each group at work and I constantly refer to these as a measure of how the coffee is performing - making adjustments to the grind as necessary - but at the end of the day its the individual pour that is the best indicator - and I'll either pull a shot short or run it a bit longer, based upon the effect I'm trying to achieve

And whilst timing is a good indicator, its only one of a number of factors that needs to be taking into consideration when extracting a coffee

I for one am more interested in maintaining consistency across my dose and tamp technique, than watching the shot clock, as an even an consistent technique will eradicate a lot of other variables - which means that the 'pour quality' should speak for itself  :coffee2:
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« Reply #19 on: 18/11/2011, 09:03 AM »
I still reckon 30ml from 30sec is a good guideline - and the timing should start from as soon as you you press the button - in order to ensure consistency

Agreed. It is a good guideline for those starting out, timed from when the brew process is fist started (press the switch or raise the brew lever). I think the point here is that it is a guideline, not a hard and fast rule. You don't assume that if you haven't poured 30ml in 30 seconds, you aren't doing it right. I imagine that in a commercial situation with volumetric machines, the timing is more critical.

If I'm making a short black, I will generally pour 45 -50 ml (double ristretto) I still find myself counting occasionally but I generally use visual  and taste clues for shot quality.

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Extraction. A gentle guide
« Reply #20 on: 18/11/2011, 10:38 AM »
"Now to Bean - Whats important is to like the bean you are using. Cause there are soooooo many different ones. There is no right or wrong with region or organic or fair trade. What it comes down to is quality. If your ethics are swayed toward making specific choices, so be it. But make sure the quality is there. OK, from a proffessional point of view, freshness is vital. 72 hours - 10 days after roasting is the optimum window of perfection. Some say its smaller, some wider. But this is a good range to aim for. Anything over 14 days really shouldn't be put through any bean lovers machine. But for the less concerned, its up to you how bad you like your coffee to taste."

OK, time to get the flame-thrower out.....it's such a hot day down here in Melbourne.

Time and time again I get very annoyed with guidelines plastered all over the internet stating beans need to be used within 10 days.

As a roaster who constantly tests the product 4+ times a day, 7 days a week using any number of various control samples ranging from 4 days to 45 days old, the 10 - 14 day rule is simply not true and in fact is highly misleading.

It has the side-effect of driving customers to aggressively seek beans that are too fresh and adding at least another 2 completely unnecessary variables into the mix that work against consistency.

There are beans and blends that can throw absolute you the worst set of WOBBLES imaginable around day 9 - 11 only to come good again from day 12 and work exceptionally well up to day 40+. I'm not talking here about the sort of bubbly, gassy extractions that people generally refer to with fresh beans, I'm talking about TASTE, FLAVOR and BALANCE which are the most important aspects in the cup.

It comes down to how the bean(s) are roasted as to the expected peak usage window - this will rarely be fully understood (even by some roasters).

As for quality - how is this measured and what sort of index should be used ? - price, brand reputation, attractive packaging, elaborate over the top descriptions, freshness, marketing, etc.

Only the roaster understand the quality metric and in general this is rarely espoused in any terms the consumer can understand as it generally needs a "marketing" filter.

Quality = what you produce in the cup and when you can do this repeatedly within the smallest of variations.

Suggest segmenting rules around bean quality

1. I believe there are subtle differences between home and commercially roasted beans - for commercial roasted beans use from day 9 through 45. Look for suppliers who put roast dates on packs and disregard any UB/BB dates.

2. Quality metric - literally impossible to categorize. Any roaster can have good and bad days as well as good and bad (green) beans. Only you can judge the quality of a bean by how it cups. My advice is to develop a relationship with one or many roasters - speak to the person ACTUALLY roasting and cupping the coffee - ask them what they like at the moment and only then will you know you are getting QUALITY.



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Extraction. A gentle guide
« Reply #21 on: 18/11/2011, 08:58 PM »
I've gone a little quiet on this thread - I'm waiting for fresh beans - they're approaching 30 days old and just don't seem to have the body they did previously. I don't think these ones would be a keeper at the 44 day mark!

I feel it's a variable that's throwing me off, I haven't had a truly good cup  from them since I returned from Sydney.

So I guess I'll stop fiddling with technique until I can rule out the beans.
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« Reply #22 on: 19/11/2011, 08:11 AM »
I did a little with the popper, but the batch size annoys me. I've got my eye on some components to build a cheap KKTO tho, so if I get those I'll order some greens and start popper roasting again until the KKTO is done.
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Kelsey

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« Reply #23 on: 21/11/2011, 07:16 PM »
It was the beans.
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« Reply #24 on: 21/11/2011, 10:46 PM »
It was the beans.

Just like choral conducting: "always look to the source!"
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