For the last few days, I have been keeping a journal of my espresso brews. Here is a journal entry from earlier today:
16g in, 7 Encore, 46s, 32g out, changed the grinder during grinding, a nice shot
Keeping this journal has been useful because I now have a record of what changes have resulted in positive shots. The first shot I pulled today was based on the recipe I have found to work best but with one exception: I changed the grind setting mid-grind. I thought this would get me a bit closer to the grind that I want while I wait for my REMI hand grinder with espresso burrs to be delivered.
In my next shot, I am going to change the grinder during grinding again to see if I can replicate the shot. I had a good shot (better than my average so far) and I want to see if I can make another shot of the same or similar quality. I know with a change like "changed the grinder during grinding" I can only expect results to be so consistent but I am working within the parameters that are in my control.
Because I do not have the best grinder in the world, I have relied on changing my dose to come up with a good recipe for me. I have also experimented with WDT (which is not noted in my journal because I now do this with every shot). I have a record of my changes in dose. When I shift coffees, I'll need to add a heading in my journal so I know the recipe I used to dial in for a particular coffee. Apparently, every coffee dials in slightly differently.
I am unsure how long I'll keep this practice up but for now taking quite detailed notes is useful. I do admit that at first I was pretty bad about taking notes. I would often forget or end up missing something important. Now, however, taking notes has become part of my workflow. And an invaluable part of my workflow at that.
This post is just a quick reflection on journaling. There is nothing groundbreaking for me yet to share because I am still trying to figure out how to pull a "great" (aka much better) shot with my Flair Espresso maker. My major limitation is my grinder so for now I am probably going to experiment more with the grinder technique I noted in my journal today (as seen above) and switch to a coffee with less acidic flavour notes than the one I am using at the moment.