[Homeroast] Sour espresso taste

Mike Wilkens mike.wilkens at gmail.com
Tue Jun 12 15:17:48 CDT 2012

Thanks all for the feedback on the espresso taste!  I believe I'm now able to better control temperature on the Gaggia Classic.  My problem may be partly a thermostat that opens a little too quickly (making water a little too cold), but also I was following advice to draw water just before making a shot (to turn the heater on), and that was cooling down the brew water by 13*F.  Plus it cooled the group down by 10*F.  Flushing water seems like a counter-productive procedure on this machine.

As a result of controlling brew temperature, shots no longer taste intensely sour (sour cream sour), but instead taste sharp, metallic, maybe salty.  Not burnt.  Crema color is no longer yellowish tan, but instead medium brown or even reddish brown, which looks normal to me.  Crema amount is pretty small (maybe 10-25%), and flow is thin.

The taste I described may be normal too, or temperature may still be a little low.  I have to use the steam switch to get the unit up to temperature consistently.

I've been grinding finer aiming for about 2 oz in 28 s, although my best tasting coffees have been lungos.  (Probably not a good sign!)  I use 14 g or 15 g doses (+- 1 g).

In general grinding finer lowers the flow, plus, for espresso brewing, it changes the distribution of sour, sweet, and bitter that you get during extraction.  The sour part, the initial part, is shortened.

One thing I tried is continuously tasting the flow as it came out.  It tastes remarkably different at different times.

Andrew: you mentioned the water debit test: I get 100 ml of water in 10 seconds.


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