Proper espresso newb struggling a bit

For generic information on making espresso alt.coffee, coffee geek, Sweet Maria's web site and many others excel at this tutorial level of information. However, if you've been there and done that but have specific questions and concerns about getting the best espresso on the S1/VII/Mini-VII/Dream/Dream T, post those topics here.
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brendonsmall
Freeze Dried
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Jul 12, 2013 11:54 am

Proper espresso newb struggling a bit

Post by brendonsmall » Fri Jul 12, 2013 1:00 pm

Hi all,

I just got my Mini Vivaldi II and Mazzer Mini (timer) last week, and am struggling to get my shots the way I want them. Prior to this I had a Breville 800ESXL and a Solis Maestro grinder, so this is very exciting for me :)

Anyway, here's what I am trying:

-Single porta filter, with 10g of beans (+/- a bean or two probably)
-Pre-infusion chamber installed
-93 degree temp set, default water volume (as set by Chris's Coffee)
-Default plastic tamper (yes, that one...reg barber on the way! :grin: )

I have been timing the shots, and the first 6-7 seconds are seemingly consumed by the pre-infusion, which from what I''ve read so far is about right. My shots were starting okay, but the back half was resulting in sort of a sloppy quick pour for about the last 5-10 seconds. I've tried to make the grind finer, but even slightly finer is resulting in low volume shots that are super bitter. I've been trying to keep the tamp level and even pressure, and not too hard. The plastic tamper is making this a bit of a pain, but it's going okay I think.

Should I just keep trying to find the sweet spot with my grind? Or are there some obvious things that I am overlooking? :-? Any and all advice is welcome and appreciated. Thanks in advance!

Also, I'm so happy to have found a forum community dedicated to this machine! :grin:

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Abnuceals
Espresso
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Joined: Tue Mar 29, 2011 11:29 am
Location: Gatineau, Qc, Canada

Re: Proper espresso newb struggling a bit

Post by Abnuceals » Fri Jul 12, 2013 2:31 pm

Hi Brendonsmall,
Did you try the double basket ? Unless you are very experienced with a single basket, you will find the double basket more forgiving. Expect a 30-32 seconds shot with the preinfusion chamber. You may think the plastic tamper is OK, but even a cheap steel tamper (around $20) will help a bit to do a better job. And play again with your Mini Mazzer and you will find the sweet spot. Oh and by the way, how fresh are your beans ? It is not because I mention it last that it is not the most important factor in a good espresso.
Have fun with your new baby.
Last edited by Abnuceals on Fri Jul 12, 2013 5:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
La Spaziale Mini Vivaldi II w/p-i chamber
Compak K8, K10, modified OE Pharos and Baratza Vario grinders, Espro Tamper
Elektra MCAL
Behmor Roaster

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brendonsmall
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Joined: Fri Jul 12, 2013 11:54 am

Re: Proper espresso newb struggling a bit

Post by brendonsmall » Fri Jul 12, 2013 3:56 pm

Thanks Abnuceals! I will give the double a go this evening and see if it goes a little better for me. The beans I was using were not fresh, but I just got some new ones that are more fresh, and that made a noticeable difference in shot color and crema quality. My roaster is missing me, so I might roast a new batch tonight and give that a try too. :-)

Edit: I tried the double basket with ~14-15g of coffee, and got a tasty result. I had to program the double shot button, and did so when it filled 2 standard looking espresso cups about 2/3-3/4 full. Still seeing some bursts of inconsistent pour near the end of the shot, but getting there! Now to enjoy this tasty doppio and let some time pass before "testing" again...haha :bounce:

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Abnuceals
Espresso
Posts: 71
Joined: Tue Mar 29, 2011 11:29 am
Location: Gatineau, Qc, Canada

Re: Proper espresso newb struggling a bit

Post by Abnuceals » Fri Jul 12, 2013 6:06 pm

You're going on the right side. Quantity of grinds and coffee are matter of taste. With 15,5 gr I pull shots of 2/3 full cup. That's the way I like it.
The mini Vivaldi is a very forgiving machine. Give you some time to practice and improve your shots. See it like a game, it's the best hobby on earth (except motorcycling :bom: ).
La Spaziale Mini Vivaldi II w/p-i chamber
Compak K8, K10, modified OE Pharos and Baratza Vario grinders, Espro Tamper
Elektra MCAL
Behmor Roaster

peter
Ristretto
Posts: 83
Joined: Wed Jun 02, 2010 9:13 pm

Re: Proper espresso newb struggling a bit

Post by peter » Fri Jul 12, 2013 7:38 pm

You might consider weighing the espresso, and using that (along w/ color) as your means of determining when to end the shot. If you're eyeing the volume of two cups, it's hard to tell how much espresso was produced; even if you know the volume of the output, the amount of crema will vary and can throw you off.
Vivaldi II, Compak K10 WBC, SC/TO, Ambex YM-2K

jfrescki
God Shot
Posts: 100
Joined: Tue Nov 20, 2012 9:30 am
Location: NJ

Re: Proper espresso newb struggling a bit

Post by jfrescki » Mon Jul 29, 2013 10:50 am

Don't forget it's going to take quite a few pounds of beans to break in the new burrs so your shots settle in.
John

Mini Vivaldi, EPC-8, SJ, Steel Burr Vario
Behmor, Modded Poppery
Coffee Stuff

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