[Homeroast] Help! - Bad Shots

Michael espressoperson at gmail.com
Fri Apr 20 10:25:53 CDT 2012

On Apr 19, 2012, at 11:21 PM, Larry Dorman wrote:

> 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.

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.

espressoperson at gmail.com

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