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Lets talk about COFFEE - Page 88

post #1306 of 4391
Oh and non-homogenous steamed milk means either your vortex sucked or you let the pitcher stand too long after steaming (or quite possibly both). The former is a serious flaw and can easily be remedied by improving your steaming skills, the latter is unfortunate and should be avoided but can, as I've said, be fixed to some extent by circling the pitcher until it's more or less homogenous again (this often incorporates some bubbles into the milk so tapping the pitcher is necessary). Try making latte art with non-homogenous milk and you'll quickly notice why it sucks.

It's also possible that you steamed too long so the milk got too hot. I'd recommend using a thermometer at first (it's like 8$) until you know what 140°F feel like.
post #1307 of 4391
A mistake I made was to spend too much time stretching the milk, it should be around 4 to 6 seconds. Then go deeper to roll and incorporate for better consistency. Then go even deeper for the last leg.

Blonding is synonymous with over extracting. If you prefer a more bitter shot. Let it run and blonde is okay.
post #1308 of 4391
Yeah, I stretched the milk too much in the beginning and wondered for weeks why I couldn't even pour the simplest latte art (see last page). D'oh.

Regarding over extracting, I'm no expert, but maybe take a look at
Originally Posted by Jim Schulman 
I need to make a personal mea culpa here. When we all started to talk about blonding many years ago, we though you could go too blond, and told b people to avoid light marks in the crema. But the truth is you can't go too blond. You can make the shot needlessly weak; but you can't really overextract by using too much water (that is more a question of heat and pressure). Heather Perry (the only two time USBC champ) taught us this; she always took all her shots to a fairly clear point.
Originally Posted by Jim Schulman 
There is at least one very simple truth to all the extraction stuff -- it is very difficult to overextract coffee. You need prolonged or high pressure exposure to temperatures above 95C. This happens by design in instant coffee plants and by accident in poorly designed HX machines and hot plate coffee carafes. Otherwise, not so much. On a proper machine, going to far into blonde just dilutes the shot without afecting the taste
post #1309 of 4391
I still don't know what blonding looks like. I've read that it's when the crema stops flowing but how do I recognize that. It hard to tell if its crema in the stream. I stop when the stream turns tan and usually there's a few drops often in my shot

My milk skills are getting better. Made a heart today
post #1310 of 4391
That's the tough part without a naked portafilter. It's much easier to see the coffee extraction progression from dark, to tiger striping which is dark and light, and finally the uniformly light phase without one. My best advice to you is to pay attention to the portafilter spout leading into the cup, when all you see flowing into the cup is uniformly light, that is your sign it is blonding.
post #1311 of 4391
Regarding tapping the sides of the portafilter, Scott Rao (thanks again, indesertum) writes:
It is hard to see how incorporating a few loose grounds into the coffee bed is worth the potential harm by tapping.
He then recommends that if you absolutely have to tap, you should do so with your wrist, rather than with the tamper.

Moreover, he states that there is minimal difference between light and hard tamping regarding the flow rate, so I stand corrected. It usually just delays it. So tamp as hard as it's comfortable while you still have control over the evenness of the tamp.
post #1312 of 4391
I got my book the other day (finally sprung for one) and its funny I read that same passage.
post #1313 of 4391
Speaking of Scott Rao, he endorses storing coffee beans in the freezer. I think I'll give it a try.
post #1314 of 4391
New espresso bar in Williamsburg called cafe momo. They are pulling old style Italian shots with Cafe Sacco. Very dark, yet smooth. Little acidity compared to the 3rd wave stuff. Very refreshing.

Ironically it is across the street from gimme coffee. I was excited to see try had that dark/light blend still called Picolo Mondo that I mentioned the other day.
post #1315 of 4391
Love piccolo mondo. Also tastes good brewed
post #1316 of 4391
My milk gets too hot before it gets viscous enough. What to do?
post #1317 of 4391
Incorporate more air more quickly.
post #1318 of 4391
The easiest method is to refrigerate your steam pitcher. Lower the temperature of the pitcher and milk, you get more time.

What type of machine are you using?

If it is an heat exchanger or double boiler, or even professional grade, it will have plenty of steam power. You can reduce the steam power to gain more time, but not enough steam power and it won't reach the texture you desire.

Other options are to use more milk, you will waste some, but you get more time to steam.
post #1319 of 4391
Yeah, keep the milk well chilled. He's working in a cafe (I think) so chilling the pitcher might prove difficult. If it's possible, do it, it's the best way to get a bigger temperature buffer. Reducing the stemaing power is a good idea but should be the last straw. He's using a Marzocco.
post #1320 of 4391
Now I feel like an idiot, afraid practice is the only way in that setting.
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