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Question from a newbie.

Driek

New member
Jan 3, 2022
5
0
Netherlands
Hello, I'm new to coffee making and I tried to get all the information off videos and posts online but I have a question. I bought a delonghi dedica. I read and watched a lot before I want to try make a decent espresso. Don't roast me on the machine or my skills because I don't have any money for good machinery and no knowledge for espresso making. I know how to set time on the dedica and set the single shot button to 26sec. Now I want to get the grind size right but I get confused on how to do it. Everyone says that my grind size will affect the shot time but I don't understand how the shot time can be affected when the button always runs 26sec. I thought I would just adjust my grind size to the 1:2 ratio so I don't have to worry about the timing. Is this the way? Or do I need to do something else for decent espresso.
 

topher

Super Moderator
Staff member
Aug 14, 2003
3,796
29
Boca Raton
The grind will affect the shot time. If it is too coarse it will pour fast and if it is too fine it will not come out or very slowly. Humidity will affect your grind as well. You might have the grinder set for that perfect shot and the next day it will not be as good. The settings on the grinder are not set in stone..they are reference points. Think of sand versus dirt. If you pour water through sand it just runs through it...dirt it takes longer. Its been a long day and hope that made sense.
 
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Driek

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Jan 3, 2022
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Netherlands
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The grind will affect the shot time. If it is too coarse it will pour fast and if it is too fine it will not come out or very slowly. Humidity will affect your grind as well. You might have the grinder set for that perfect shot and the next day it will not be as good. The settings on the grinder are not set in stone..they are reference points. Think of sand versus dirt. If you pour water through sand it just runs through it...dirt it takes longer. Its been a long day and hope that made sense.
So it doesn't matter how long I set the time on the espresso machine? And the time is measured from first drip (or first touch of the water hitting the Puck) until the coffee stops pouring out?
 

Musicphan

Well-known member
May 11, 2014
1,577
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Kansas City
Yes that is correct... I often explain grind size this way. Imagine you have a large tube and you filled it with gravel. If you poured water into the tube it would flow very quickly because there is a lot of space between pieces of gravel. Now if you took that same tube and filled it with fine sand and did the same thing... the water would slowly flow out the tube. Much slower than the gravel because the space between the sand is very minimal. Coffee is similar.. if you want your brew time to be faster - increase the size, slower - decrease the size. hope that helps.
 
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Driek

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Jan 3, 2022
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Yes that is correct... I often explain grind size this way. Imagine you have a large tube and you filled it with gravel. If you poured water into the tube it would flow very quickly because there is a lot of space between pieces of gravel. Now if you took that same tube and filled it with fine sand and did the same thing... the water would slowly flow out the tube. Much slower than the gravel because the space between the sand is very minimal. Coffee is similar.. if you want your brew time to be faster - increase the size, slower - decrease the size. hope that helps.
Okay I get that. And what to do when my grind size is at its lowest setting and my ratio is wayyyy off at 26sec? (18g ground to 49g coffee). If the answer is buy a new grinder I need to live with it I guess because I can't afford a better one.
 

Musicphan

Well-known member
May 11, 2014
1,577
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Kansas City
Yes - a new grinder is the solution most likely. What grinder are you using? For espresso it's somewhat of a key. Are you using freshly roasted coffee (less than 1 month old at max?)
 
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Driek

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Yes - a new grinder is the solution most likely. What grinder are you using? For espresso it's somewhat of a key. Are you using freshly roasted coffee (less than 1 month old at max?)
I guess my beans are fresh but there's no way to know because I order them online. I use the delonghi kg520 grinder. I like it because it obviously fits with the dedica I have.
 

Musicphan

Well-known member
May 11, 2014
1,577
29
Kansas City
Well - I would first try a local roaster if possible - just to see if its possible with that grinder. I looked up the spec's on the grinder - its an all around use grinder vs. specific for espresso. Most likely the grinder simply can't grind fine enough for you. Often grinders for espresso are diff than general purpose grinders.
 

shadow745

Active member
Aug 15, 2005
1,617
15
Central North Carolina
Thing is to not get overwhelmed as espresso IS quite involved and takes time/effort/patience to figure out. It's never the same day-day, never push button easy, etc. The things you will read/watch regarding time, volume, yield are just very basic and mean little as every setup, every environment, every coffee will vary and you just have to work toward what you find YOU like and then work on replicating that. After tens of thousands of extractions done on various machines, grinders using lots of different coffees I have figured out exactly what I like and how to achieve that. My 'standards' might be mindblowing to others, but it works for me and in time you will figure things out. Take what you read/watch with a grain of salt (or coffee) and just make small changes until things come together. None of us can really give much advice as taste is subjective and expectations wildly vary.
 
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Driek

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Jan 3, 2022
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Netherlands
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Thing is to not get overwhelmed as espresso IS quite involved and takes time/effort/patience to figure out. It's never the same day-day, never push button easy, etc. The things you will read/watch regarding time, volume, yield are just very basic and mean little as every setup, every environment, every coffee will vary and you just have to work toward what you find YOU like and then work on replicating that. After tens of thousands of extractions done on various machines, grinders using lots of different coffees I have figured out exactly what I like and how to achieve that. My 'standards' might be mindblowing to others, but it works for me and in time you will figure things out. Take what you read/watch with a grain of salt (or coffee) and just make small changes until things come together. None of us can really give much advice as taste is subjective and expectations wildly vary.
Thankyou I don't know what good coffee is yet because I haven't tasted many different coffees. I'm going to try a lot of different things with what I got and go from there I guess.
 
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