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Grinding help in plain English....
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Senior Member
Joined: 4 Jul 2002
Posts: 6,161
Location: Brentwood, TN
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Bezzera Strega
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Roaster: Behmor 1600+
Posted Thu Jul 19, 2012, 9:43pm
Subject: Re: Grinding help in plain English....

inadequate Water temperature (too low) can also lead to messy pucks.
I believe the pressurized PF needs to go away, he needs to bleed his steam wand when the brew light first goes out , as I'm assuming this machine runs similarly to a Saeco/Starbucks Athena? False press till you open the wand, and allow the machine to reach proper temperature?
Agree with Russel that the OP's distribution technique is not precise enough.

I believe his grinder is more than adequate for now.

Rob J (LMWDP #187)
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Senior Member

Joined: 14 Jul 2012
Posts: 7
Location: Essex
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Fri Jul 20, 2012, 6:02am
Subject: Re: Grinding help in plain English....

Thank you for the reply. I genuinely do appreciate the help and any further help given, thank you.

So, to put this bluntly I should be pulling off a double shot in or around 26 seconds based on a 14g measure.

What if it takes 30 seconds or 20 seconds to pull a double would that mean either my shots are too course or too fine? In my experience. If I dial in to my grinder too fine, the espresso then drips and if I dial in to my grinder too course then the espresso flows (but crema is not very good or limited).

I used my milk frothing thermometer yesterday to test the temperature of water extracted from the group head and it struggled to reach 75 and I know that espresso should be extracted at around 92 (I think?). So my DeLonghi is not heating up to what it should be and that's despite testing with a 15 minute and 30 minute warm up.    

If I cannot extract espresso at the desired heat then I think that the machine is obsolete.

I have made my mind up and will be going for a Gaggia Classic with Wand Upgrade and will get a PID fitted.
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Joined: 12 Mar 2010
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Posted Fri Jul 20, 2012, 3:29pm
Subject: Re: Grinding help in plain English....

First off, I think that you need a non-pressurized PF if you are going to a) get something meaningful out of the technique discussions here, and b) get the most out of your machine/beans/time.  I strongly recommend picking up a pocket scale with 0.1g accuracy.  Use it to measure out your dose and then use it to measure the resulting shot.  This way you can actually know what you are doing and what you are getting.  The destiny of crema varies depending on the roast and how the shot is pulling, so measuring the volume doesn't allow you to accurately asess how changes to your dose/grind/temp/tamp etc are effecting the result.

Generally: finer grind = slower flow, courser grind = faster flow, heavier dose = slower flow, lighter dose = faster flow

When people make espresso they are often at the physical limit of what their baskets can hold.  At this point things can get wacky.  Depending on your machine, dosing slightly above what fits in your PF can result in faster flow.  Flow is also effected by how evenly the grounds are distributed in your PF.  Clumps or other oddities can create soft spots, which get turned into little channels by the water pressure, and result it fast and quickly to blond shots.

Now, I don't know what it costs to buy a Gaggia Classic + PID in the UK (or the US for that matter), but my inclination is to avoid machines that only work really well when you trick them into doing what they aren't naturally capable of doing.  This is my argument in favor of HX, DB, or under the right circumstances a lever.  Making really good espresso is difficult, and it doesn't make sense, to me, to spend money on a machine that has to wrangled into doing its job.
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Joined: 18 May 2012
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Location: WA
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Espresso: Isomac Millenium I
Grinder: Mazzer S.J. Auto & MDX
Posted Tue Jul 24, 2012, 12:54pm
Subject: Re: Grinding help in plain English....

You have already been given great info here and I am sure when you do get your new machine it will be very helpful. I owned a delonghi bar 14 it was my first machine, your machine is basically a prettier version of it. Until you get rid of the pressurized portafilter you really cant time your shots. When I first started getting serious about espresso I bought a hand grinder and worked really hard at following the guidelines to make a great shots I quickly realized that even with proper grind, tamp, dose etc. the "crema enhancers" aka pressurized PF make it impossible to get a great shot with true crema. I know my filters barely held 14g as they were so tiny and they always came out very fast regardless of grind because of the extra pressure if it came out slow the machine was choked. It can be very deceiving as the golden crema you can obtain with the presurized PF looks great however its really just foam. There are several videos and how tos online of how to make it unpressurized however to do it properly you would need to order a standard basket from Delonghi which takes time so it may not be worth the extra effort and money if you really do get a new machine so soon. I found out after upgrading that my Delonghi was no where near hot enough for proper espresso either knowing what I know now I believe it is possible to get it high enough with a very long warm up and using the seam wand to raise temps before pouring your shot. Personally I would just wait it out and buy a new machine.
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