When should you start timing the shot? When you turn on the water switch, or when the espresso starts to flow? Why? Does it depend on the type of machine you have?

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Chadwick Rookstool said:
I start timing my shots the moment I start the pressure, that time that the water is in the coffee is relevant. If you are truly going to measure and time shots, the time before you see the espresso is just as important as the time after

Well put.
For me, I basicly time the pump. Time starts when I turn the pump on, and ends when it turns off. I've noticed that some like to add a sec or two to account for the last couple drops of 'spro, but in the tasting that I've done, shots timed at 25 including the extra sec or two seem just a touch underextracted. Not aweful, but not super-awesome either.
That said, I also highly agree with what was said about taste. It all depends on taste. All coffee is a little different, and will brew a little differently, so it's a good idea to get into the habit of tasting often and adjusting time to get the best flavor.

That's my two cents.
Cherie
One of the better shots I've had in my life was pulled for 36 seconds on a Slayer. That's when my own personal debate started. Pre-infusion... geez... Makin' our 'spro and our debates thicker and thicker all the time.

-bry
Brady said:
For the record, I have changed my stance on timing since my post last November. I now start timing when I hit the button. FWIW, isn't this is how the timing works on La Marzocco machines with Chronos pads/timers?


That's how it is on the GB5s
Over the years, I've always timed from the moment I start the brewing cycle, pre infusion or not. I don't have pre-infusion on my current machine. One critical element that I haven't seen discussed, is consideration for your grind and tamp settings, which directly effect how long it'll take for the extraction to exit your PF. I've found that if I go too fine on the grind, or over tamp and compress the grounds in the PF, the longer the 9 bar, 200+ degree F water pressures against the puck........ and theoretically, and maybe in practice, the hotter the brewing water temp will be. So, if you don't include the seconds before you see the first drops leave the PF, you discount part of the process....... or so I have found. The result, as I've experienced it, of an extended wait for the first drop usually can be tasted as burnt coffee. This is probably because it's taking so much longer to hit even my minimum volume of 1.25 oz. for my double PF load. I don't do singles.

For me, I usually hit the brew button on my automatic, and simultaneously hit the seconds counter on my timer. I don't see anything for about 6-8 seconds. I watch my timer, even though I have the volumetric settings, and manually cut my shot off when I start seeing a transition to blonding. I then adjust the grind to make that anywhere from 24 to 32 seconds, totally depending on the coffee type, how I've loaded the PF, etc. I see the logic in timing the entire brew cycle.
Do you mean even a single oz extraction would use a double basket. Wouldn't that be a somewhat up dosed ristretto rather than technically a straight shot? If that is standard practice my assertion above is blown out of the water...

Brady said:
Chris Hooton said:
Thanks Brady, that helps make sense of this for me.

Good. Like I said, this is something that I've been pondering as well, so it was good to dig in a little and think about it.

As far as your initial statement regarding timing for a doppio... I think its fair to say that every reference you've ever seen here to shot timing has been referring to extraction using a "double" basket. I realize that's not definitive, but it does say something.

Mike, if I understand the equation correctly, Illy captured temperature as a contribution to hydraulic resistance. We should obviously also consider its contribution to the extraction process.

For the record, I have changed my stance on timing since my post last November. I now start timing when I hit the button. FWIW, isn't this is how the timing works on La Marzocco machines with Chronos pads/timers?
my question is just barely relative to this thread, but i've seen some good information here.
i've just started in a new shop where baristas don't even know what "timing shots" means. my first shot that i pulled there took 4 seconds, tops.
I've adjusted the grind the draw the shot out to 24 seconds, but the spro is still no good. we have an automatic la Cimballi, so the water-portion is pre-set. the pre-infusion is nearly non-existant, maybe two seconds, and the shot runs blond for nearly half the time.
I don't know when the grinder burrs where last changed, and I don't know the reputation of our roaster or their coffee very well.
what could be the most likely cause for our lifeless espresso?
Apparently I don't know what pre=infusion is. I've done more research on my issue, and that is the one thing i've learned.
i've only used automatic machines, and it looks like I'm missing out on a lot of fun espresso terminology.

Katherine said:
my question is just barely relative to this thread, but i've seen some good information here.
i've just started in a new shop where baristas don't even know what "timing shots" means. my first shot that i pulled there took 4 seconds, tops.
I've adjusted the grind the draw the shot out to 24 seconds, but the spro is still no good. we have an automatic la Cimballi, so the water-portion is pre-set. the pre-infusion is nearly non-existant, maybe two seconds, and the shot runs blond for nearly half the time.
I don't know when the grinder burrs where last changed, and I don't know the reputation of our roaster or their coffee very well.
what could be the most likely cause for our lifeless espresso?
I'd say your problem is beans and bean freshness all the way.

-bry
Hi Katherine,

Glad you found the discussion useful.

There are lots of potential causes, though Bryan hit the most likely. Not to be a jerk, but if you'd like to see this discussed a little more, please start a new topic on the subject. You'll probably get more replies that way. You also may find useful information in a discussion from a few months ago about lacking crema... though that doesn't mean you shouldn't start the discussion.

Good luck,
b

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