A complete beginner so go easy on me if any of the questions are stupid - I picked up a 2nd hand Gaggia Classic over the weekend and I'm putting aside money now until I can pick up a decent burr grinder. Until then, I'll be buying pre ground beans from either Nicks in Ranelagh or 3FE on Grand Canal Lower.
I popped over to 3FE on Sunday and picked up some Hasbean Nicaragua Limoncillo Washed 2012 beans on the suggestion of the barista there at the time (couldn't have been more helpful in there!). They ground the beans for me based on planning to use the Gaggia, and away I went. Since yesterday morning, I've pulled 5 or 6 espresso's (tries with both double and single baskets) and I've gotten a very bitter shot each time.
To give an idea of the method I'm using:
- I turn the machine on with the leftmost switch about 6-8 minutes before I start with the basket in to warm it up.
- I fill up the basket until it's slightly overflowing, shaking it with each spoon to ensure even distribution.
- I level the basket out with a knife making sure the to entire basket is full/even and tidy grounds from the edges.
- I then tamp the grounds firmly into the basket and again try keep the edges as even as possible. I'm using the tamper that came with the Classic which is small and plastic and doesn't really fit so takes a few times pushing down. I'm looking out for another tamper.
- I twist the basket into the machine.
- Flick the rightmost switch to turn on the pump.
I've changed the shot a few times (tamping more/less, waiting until heating cycle completes/close to finish) to see if I could get a less bitter shot, but no joy. Double basket seems to pull the best looking espresso (with crema), but I think it's running too fast. I'm getting 2oz in about 12 seconds which seems to be twice as fast as I should be getting it if aiming for 2oz in 25 second.
I've read that a bitter shot might also mean the water temperature isn't right, but haven't looked into it any more. Given that it's making 2oz in 12 seconds, I could hazard a guess that I need the coffee to be ground finer or tamped firmer. So any suggestions based on the long winded rundown above? Is there something glaringly obvious that I'm doing wrong?! Any advice really appreciated!