[Homeroast] Help! - Bad Shots

Scott Thile sethile.pipes at gmail.com
Fri Apr 20 10:34:11 CDT 2012

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...


On Thu, Apr 19, 2012 at 10:21 PM, Larry Dorman <ldorman at gmail.com> wrote:

> 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
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*Scott E. Thile*
*S.E.THILE Handmade Pipes*
Sysop for Pipedia, the wiki for pipes*

*A laborer uses his hands. A craftsman uses his hands and heart. An artist
uses his hands, heart, and soul. (St. Francis of Assisi)*

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