Ok gang, I would like some advice here. I have a Grimac Royal Falcon, Diadema machine and a Mazzer Super Jolly grinder with flat burrs. I noticed this week our shots smell/taste burnt. I cleaned machine well, which I do everyday but did some extra. Checked temp, 201 degrees. no change. Then I noticed a bit burned smell right our of grinder. I cleaned grinder. The burrs looked like might be dull. I ordered new. I know they are very old! I have contacted my roaster and they're going to come around when I get the new burrs. I posted this in Machine heads group and the southeastern group but they are not too active. So here goes here

However I wondered what all of you thought?? Thanks in advance

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Let’s start from the beginning…

Could be the roast. If the profile changes (time and temperature variation) it will affect the taste character and the burnt taste could be carbon in the beans. Also, it the coffee changed from origins, altitudes, harvest years/age, etc it will effect the taste of the brew.

Check the humidity - try air will dry out the coffee beans causing increased staling and changing the flavor.

Other than that - test your water for changes in pH, hardness, or other flavor and aroma factors.

About you, did you change any of your regular habits? Change toothpaste or mouthwash, have you been drinking a lot of high acid beverages like orange juice? Did you have pepperoni pizza before pulling your shots?

There are literally thousands of variations to the change in flavor perception and your issue may not be mechanical with your equipment.
Spencer, thanks for the reply. Humidity is definetly an issue here in SE Virginia. The shop is 1000 feet from the southern Chesapeake Bay. I discovered this problem when I recently did evaluations on all my Barista's over a weeks time. My owner thought the same thing. Funny though...one of my loyal espresso drinkers, (1 every day) said he didn't notice it. Now he always puts a packet of sugar in.

I'll change both water filters today and see from there. I do get self critical of the coffee because I want to serve the best we possibly can.
"I do get self critical of the coffee because I want to serve the best we possibly can." - EXCELLENT!

Quality is back in fashion.....
I second spencer about a change in your habits. from time to time my ankle gives me trouble, I have broken it twice and sprained it three times now sometimes I will go on a pretty high and protracted dose of Ibuprofin to get the swelling down when it acts up. Each time I have had to do this I have found that my appreciation of the flavours prominent in our espresso has skewed strongly towards burnt and acrid flavours rather like you are describing. after going off the high dose a couple days later the flavour profile returned to normal while still using beans from the same roast date.
I guess it's a little late, but I happened to come across your post, and I'd like to offer my thoughts.

Assuming your machine is working properly, and you cannot sense any difference in your roast, you were right to zero in on the grinder burrs.

Dull burrs set to grind espresso will actually re-roast the coffee, because of the added friction.

You can counteract humidity by adjusting your usual grinder setting plus or minus one notch, with sharp burrs, of course!
Yeah, Brian... since this thread's been bumped, did you every figure out what it was?
Yes we did. It was two fold. dull burrs in the grinder and machine water temp 9 degrees to hot. Everyone should invest in a themometer that fits into the group head like a portafilter. I will also take the machine repair class at the next coffeefest expo

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