Bitter espresso but decreasing yield won't do the trick

Hi everyone,

(I initially posted this question under Matt’s coffee compass article, but I think I should have posted the question here instead. Sorry for that!!)

I have been working with an ECM Giotto HX for a few months now, but lately I have run into a brewing mystery and the compass cannot help me to solve it: I am brewing an espresso with a very fat bean. The ratio I use is 1:2, 18 grams in and 36 out. This takes around 29 seconds. I use an Eric’s thermometer in my E61 brewhead to make sure brewing temperature is around 93-94 degrees. The taste of the espresso is quite rich, so I am quite happy with that. But somehow it keeps on having a slight bitter undertone and the texture feels a little grainy. That last thing must be because undoubtedly this espresso has a high TDS. I ended up with this ratio because I have tried to eliminate the bitterness continuously by decreasing the yield. The weird thing to me is that a 1:2 brewing ratio is close to a ristretto already, so it feels wrong to decrease the yield even more to balance out the bitterness with more sourness. I have also tried to grind finer, but when I do the machine does not manage to push any water through. Decreasing the temperature also doesn’t seem to do the trick… and I’m pretty sure I keep my machine pretty clean with regular backflushes with Cafiza… so bring it back home: what would you suggest I do to eliminate the bitterness and add sweetness and hopefully also a smoother mouthfeel to my shot? What variable am I missing? :slight_smile:



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Hey michel!

have you tried dropping the run time from 29s to 27/26/25s? if bitterness is creeping innit means you’ve actually gone past the sweet spot, so by coarsening the grind and therefore extracting less, you’ll be brought right back into the sweet zone.
The coarser grind will also help smooth out the body too :vulcan_salute:t3::nerd_face:

hope this helps,

Thanks! Ill give it a shot! Quite literally :smile: I thought coarsing the grind would increase the bitterness? Maybe i went past the sweet spot Mat Perger described in one of his youtube tutorials.


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Do let me know if it works Michel!

Hey Nico,

Coarsening the grind didn’t help unfortunately. What did help however was cleaning my portafilter thoroughly. (I thought once over 3 weeks would be enough, but I guess it was not)…
and then I ran out of beans… got the same beans from the same store… but the grind is totally of for the fresher beans. Back to the experimenting phase. I hope over time I get faster at dialing in the correct settings as I usually reach the perfect shot when nearing the end of my 250 gram package :slight_smile:

You might want to look into the beans themselves. If they are roasted even just slightly darker than other espresso you’ve had that could ad some bitterness. You also might try thinking about the water you are brewing with… :droplet::droplet::droplet: