I am encountering some discrepancy between a "14 gram" basket and how much coffee will actually fit in one.  I'd love to hear from others.

 

Regardless of what brand of machine or type of basket I might use, I generally aim to pack a shot so that after tamping, the coffee is in line with the ridge on the inside of the basket. (I even called a machine manufacturer to ask how much coffee they recommend dosing for a double shot, and they said 14 grams, in line with the ridge inside.)  HOWEVER, I have been able to pack as much as 18 grams into a "14 gram" basket and still be within that line. I'm finding that 14 just doesn't come anywhere close to the line.  My question is, have you ever packed just 14 grams in a 14 gram basket and had it line up with that inside ridge?  If so, HOW?

 

thank you!

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What you're seeing is a difference in mass dependent on the roast level and inherent density of the coffee.

1lb. of dark roasted coffee takes up considerably more volume than 1lb. of light roasted coffee.

No two espresso blends will be the same, and the dose rating of the basket is only an estimation.

Not only that, but the grind setting will also have an impact on the amount of compression the puck experiences during tamping, so even the same coffee with exactly the same density may have variation from dose to dose, assuming the practice of dosing is by volume.

I find that "normale" style dosing yields 15-16g on average in a 14g basket with most coffees that I use. (which, btw, are rarely ever of the dark roasted variety)

Forget the tag on the basket. How does it taste?
No, I can't say that I have intentionally put just 14g in a basket. Nor do I think I've ever used a 14g basket.

The volume that a given weight of ground coffee will occupy in the basket clearly varies pretty widely, depending on bean density, grind size and structure, dosing technique, tamping, etc. The size and shape of "double" baskets vary pretty wildly too. If that wasn't enough... that groove is pretty wide, so one person's "fill it to the line" may be way different from another's.

As a practical matter, coffees "prefer" different doses, and this can vary over time (hours, days, etc). Seems like the dose weight is something that the coffee should tell you.

"The line" can be a useful reference for the position of the shower screen though. Your machine probably has an amount of headspace that it likes, regardless of the weight of coffee that it takes to get there.

Out of curiosity, which manufacturer did you call? Did you call the manufacturer, the US importer, the local distributor? I've seen wide variation in the amount of coffee knowledge that the different people associated with the manufacture and distribution of espresso machines. There are some that are pretty knowledgeable, but many are stuck in traditional Italian dogma or just generally don't know much about the actual use of the machines that they sell. Both situations lead to myths like "fill it to the line" being blindly perpetuated.

Hope this helps.
I found this cool equation. (brew time)x 1/ (dose x grind). Im not too sure if it is feasible or not but it shows the relationship between grind and dose. The lower your dose, the finer your grind. Iv found that the more coffee you dose, the longer it takes for your shots to blonde. It also helps eliminate soggy pucks. I think up doseing creates a better tasting shot. But thats just me.
More to extract means more time before blonding. That's more shot volume, but I'm not certain that it's necessarily better.

Also, what's wrong with soggy pucks?

Dirk Maritz said:
I found this cool equation. (brew time)x 1/ (dose x grind). Im not too sure if it is feasible or not but it shows the relationship between grind and dose. The lower your dose, the finer your grind. Iv found that the more coffee you dose, the longer it takes for your shots to blonde. It also helps eliminate soggy pucks. I think up doseing creates a better tasting shot. But thats just me.
Jason Haeger said:

Also, what's wrong with soggy pucks?

They splatter when I throw them at people. Not like the lil brick -like ones that just shatter. ; >

I've discovered that up-dosed (I have a collection of ridge-less that cover 14, 16, 18, and 21 g) shots tend to be 'darker' and chocolaty-er, and a bit more forgiving than down dosed. Down-dosing brings out more of the 'terrior' of the bean, and tends to be a bit brighter, more acid, and more complex. I've only recently started to understand what a lot of connoisseurs are referring to when they say nuts, berries, leather, tobacco, flowers, oranges, etc., because I'm so fond of the sweet, dark, rich chocolate bomb.
I'd suggest experimenting. Keep the dose the same, and vary the grind to adjust pull times. Then try finer and finer grinds, varying dose along the way adjust pull times. Do it when it';s slow, with a few of the staff around, and taste the differences.
Then start puling the ones that you really like!
In my experience soggy pucks means that you do not have enough espresso in the basket. The more espresso in there, the fuller the flavor. I'm sure there are exceptions, but that is just what I have experienced.

Jason Haeger said:
More to extract means more time before blonding. That's more shot volume, but I'm not certain that it's necessarily better.

Also, what's wrong with soggy pucks?
Its was sort of a leading question that Chris followed up on, so I never did.

Some coffees need to be more honestly expressed with a lower dose. Some coffees don't have as much to express and require a higher dose to be satisfying.

Also, different people "expect" different things out of espresso. I am in the camp that doesn't believe in the notion of pre-defined espresso flavor profiles. It should taste like the coffee that was used to make it, and nothing else. It's just a brew method like any other. But that's just my take.

Terika said:
In my experience soggy pucks means that you do not have enough espresso in the basket. The more espresso in there, the fuller the flavor. I'm sure there are exceptions, but that is just what I have experienced.

Jason Haeger said:
More to extract means more time before blonding. That's more shot volume, but I'm not certain that it's necessarily better.

Also, what's wrong with soggy pucks?
Jason Haeger said:
different people "expect" different things out of espresso. I am in the camp that doesn't believe in the notion of pre-defined espresso flavor profiles.

I've become happier now that I've given up on the 'perfect' espresso. I'm now in the habit of pursuing whatever beans I can grab, and seeing what they have to offer. It was absolutely frustrating to try to get whatever I could get my hands on to try to taste like 'that espresso I had at Barefoot while driving through Santa Cruz three years ago' or 'that shot that that great barista at Murky pulled me in DC, back when there was a Murky in DC'. The closest thing I do to that is try to find the best shot in a pound of beans.
I start by dosing twenty grams, grinding and leveling that, and weighing the result. Then I continually adjust grind that weight until I get within thirty seconds, working my way from where it starts (where the last bean ended, which is usually a bit tight, as they tend to be ten to fourteen days old when I get done with them) futzing around with grind and dose around that pull time, and finally working my way toward restretti. Around halfway through the bag, I usually find what I like from that particular bean or blend, and will probably stay in that comfort zone til I find another bean to pay with.
Since the blend and roast that is being supplied for most decent specialty coffee espresso blends is going to be dependent on just how much of that particular green the roaster has on hand form *this year's* crop, and how good he is at matching blends and roasts form one batch to another, deciding that one particular mathematical approach to anything beyond a five pound bag might be folly.
If it were that simple, super-autos would simply rock.
Amen.

Chris said:
If it were that simple, super-autos would simply rock.
That makes perfect sense. I knew there would be exceptions, I just haven't had personal experiences with discovering them for myself. I would like to add that equipment can play a huge factor as well. (I know that you're probably 'duh' at this point, but hear me out.) With our last espresso machine we had to use triple baskets in order to achieve what we wanted out of our espresso. When we switched to our present machine, we went back to double baskets and it is still phenomenal. It just amazed me that changing equipment could accomplish the same desired result, but with using only 2/3rds of the espresso.

Jason Haeger said:
Its was sort of a leading question that Chris followed up on, so I never did.

Some coffees need to be more honestly expressed with a lower dose. Some coffees don't have as much to express and require a higher dose to be satisfying.

Also, different people "expect" different things out of espresso. I am in the camp that doesn't believe in the notion of pre-defined espresso flavor profiles. It should taste like the coffee that was used to make it, and nothing else. It's just a brew method like any other. But that's just my take.

There are a lot of factors that go into espresso production. Changing the shape of the basket, and the volume of the "brew chamber" (contingent on equipment) can have a huge impact on the result in the cup.

It's part of what makes it so fun. :)

Terika said:
That makes perfect sense. I knew there would be exceptions, I just haven't had personal experiences with discovering them for myself. I would like to add that equipment can play a huge factor as well. (I know that you're probably 'duh' at this point, but hear me out.) With our last espresso machine we had to use triple baskets in order to achieve what we wanted out of our espresso. When we switched to our present machine, we went back to double baskets and it is still phenomenal. It just amazed me that changing equipment could accomplish the same desired result, but with using only 2/3rds of the espresso.

Jason Haeger said:
Its was sort of a leading question that Chris followed up on, so I never did.

Some coffees need to be more honestly expressed with a lower dose. Some coffees don't have as much to express and require a higher dose to be satisfying.

Also, different people "expect" different things out of espresso. I am in the camp that doesn't believe in the notion of pre-defined espresso flavor profiles. It should taste like the coffee that was used to make it, and nothing else. It's just a brew method like any other. But that's just my take.

 Temperature and pressure through the group head are the only consistencies that can be monitored and kept in adjustment. The grind will need adjusting several times throughout any given day which throws all the dosing theories out the window and all the variables become a moot point. Keeping it simple and tasting good usually can be accredited to a simple phone call or text from the roaster who has done all the homework for you. Always start with a good water source. Never become complacent with your grinder and machine maintenance and adjustments. You will only be as good as your equipment . Time those shots !

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