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why do my shots vary so much?
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Discussions > Espresso > Grinders -... > why do my shots...  
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jttran28
Senior Member


Joined: 30 Jul 2012
Posts: 38
Location: San Jose, CA
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Crossland CC1
Grinder: Compak k3
Posted Thu Sep 13, 2012, 11:49am
Subject: why do my shots vary so much?
 

So I have my grinder all dialed in and working well and all of a sudden my coffee is squirting everywhere and too much water is being dispensed.

Does this mean my grinds need to be finer?  Does this happen to others?  I sure seem to waste a lot of coffee when this happens.
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calblacksmith
Moderator
calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,854
Location: Riverside, Ca, U.S.A.
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: ECM Vene. A1, La Cimbali M32
Grinder: Azkoyen Capriccio, Major
Vac Pot: 40s era Silex
Drip: Msl. Com. brewers
Roaster: gave it a try, decided no
Posted Thu Sep 13, 2012, 2:08pm
Subject: Re: why do my shots vary so much?
 

How old is your coffee? Old stale coffee is impossible to work with and expect to get anything drinkable from. Old and stale is about 2 weeks from the day it was roasted.

 
In real life, my name is
Wayne P.
Anything I post is personal opinion and is only worth as much as anyone else's personal opinion. YMMV!

Feed the newbs, starve the trolls and above all enjoy what you drink!
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NobbyR
Senior Member
NobbyR
Joined: 10 Jul 2011
Posts: 2,050
Location: Germany
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Poccino Opus One, Ariete
Grinder: Eureka Mignon Istantaneo
Vac Pot: N/A
Drip: Melitta Linea Unica de Luxe
Roaster: N/A
Posted Thu Sep 13, 2012, 2:27pm
Subject: Re: why do my shots vary so much?
 

It takes lot of practice to work really consistently. Once you have dialed in your grinder, you have to realize that this setting is only a temporary one. Beans age, humidity changes, and with it the right fineness of your ground coffee. You have to adapt your grinder setting accordingly.

 
***
"This drink of the Satan is so delicious that it would be a shame to leave it to the infidels." (Pope Clement VIII on coffee, when he was urged to ban the beverage)
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Joel_B
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Joel_B
Joined: 9 Oct 2007
Posts: 1,823
Location: Pacific NW
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Astra Mega II
Grinder: Mazzer SJ, Virtuoso
Vac Pot: Yama 5 cup
Drip: nope, french press
Roaster: Behmor, WP, BBQ drum
Posted Thu Sep 13, 2012, 3:03pm
Subject: Re: why do my shots vary so much?
 

+1 to these guys ;-)

But I also wouldn't over look technique.  How are you dosing your shots?  Are you using a scale or strictly by volume.  I'm pretty lenient with my coffee weight, but if you're just starting out or are having issues, break out the scale and see how much you're dosing.  If you've got 18grams one time and 14grams the next, you'll be all over the place.

Also distribution.  Those grinds need to be evenly distributed.  Check out the Weiss Distribution Technique is you haven't already (WDT).  It's not for everyone, but if you're having issues, distribution would be something to look at.

Lastly, what kind of grinder are you using?  It's such a key piece to the whole puzzle. Poor grind quality yields inconsistent and poor quality shots.
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JasonBrandtLewis
Senior Member
JasonBrandtLewis
Joined: 9 Dec 2005
Posts: 6,416
Location: Berkeley, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Elektra T1 - La Valentina -...
Grinder: Mahlkönig K30 Vario -...
Vac Pot: Yama 5-cup
Drip: CCD, Chemex
Roaster: No, no, not another...
Posted Thu Sep 13, 2012, 4:25pm
Subject: Re: why do my shots vary so much?
 

jttran28 Said:

So I have my grinder all dialed in and working well and all of a sudden my coffee is squirting everywhere . . .

Posted September 13, 2012 link

Not uncommon.

jttran28 Said:

. . . and too much water is being dispensed.

Posted September 13, 2012 link

What does that have to do with your grinder?

jttran28 Said:

Does this mean my grinds need to be finer?  Does this happen to others?  I sure seem to waste a lot of coffee when this happens.

Posted September 13, 2012 link

You haven't told us what sort of equipment you have -- it isn't in your profile.  

Describe your kit, and your method of preparation.  That will help us to diagnose you problem(s).

 
A morning without coffee is sleep . . .
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NobbyR
Senior Member
NobbyR
Joined: 10 Jul 2011
Posts: 2,050
Location: Germany
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Poccino Opus One, Ariete
Grinder: Eureka Mignon Istantaneo
Vac Pot: N/A
Drip: Melitta Linea Unica de Luxe
Roaster: N/A
Posted Fri Sep 14, 2012, 12:09am
Subject: Re: why do my shots vary so much?
 

Jimmy has completed his profile: Crossland CC1 and Compak K3, so it's a capable set-up.

Personally, I try to keep all parameters I can influence unchanging (dose, distribution, tamping etc.) and check percolation time and the quality of my espresso every day. Most of the time the grinder setting only needs minor adjustments. But it means that I waste at least one shot. That's just the way it goes.

 
***
"This drink of the Satan is so delicious that it would be a shame to leave it to the infidels." (Pope Clement VIII on coffee, when he was urged to ban the beverage)
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jttran28
Senior Member


Joined: 30 Jul 2012
Posts: 38
Location: San Jose, CA
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Crossland CC1
Grinder: Compak k3
Posted Fri Sep 14, 2012, 11:43am
Subject: Re: why do my shots vary so much?
 

I generally only measure by volume.  I did weight it and it usually comes out to about 14 grams.  I don't know how you all fit 16-18 grams into the portafilter.

I guess NobbyR answered my question.  When I pull a shot and it comes out like crap, I should adjust my grinder.  If it comes out to fast then just make it finer.  I just drives me crazy when this happens literally the next day.  I know alot has to do with technique as well but I think I got that down pretty well (in my opinion anyways).

How does one know the roast date?  I never see it on the bags.  Maybe the coffee i get is usually so old they don't bother with the dates?  Starbucks, Peets, Illya...have not seen a roast date on packaging.
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dyqik
Senior Member


Joined: 7 Oct 2011
Posts: 383
Location: Cambridge, MA
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Bezzera BZ07 PM
Grinder: Baratza Virtuoso Preciso...
Vac Pot: Cona D
Drip: Bona-Vita, CCD, Aeropress.
Roaster: Gene Cafe, Modded Poppers
Posted Fri Sep 14, 2012, 12:02pm
Subject: Re: why do my shots vary so much?
 

jttran28 Said:

I generally only measure by volume.  I did weight it and it usually comes out to about 14 grams.  I don't know how you all fit 16-18 grams into the portafilter.

I guess NobbyR answered my question.  When I pull a shot and it comes out like crap, I should adjust my grinder.  If it comes out to fast then just make it finer.  I just drives me crazy when this happens literally the next day.  I know alot has to do with technique as well but I think I got that down pretty well (in my opinion anyways).

How does one know the roast date?  I never see it on the bags.  Maybe the coffee i get is usually so old they don't bother with the dates?  Starbucks, Peets, Illya...have not seen a roast date on packaging.

Posted September 14, 2012 link

That'd be one of the issues.  Usually the Use By date is between 10-12 months after roasting on those brands.  I'd expect old coffee to at least be consistently bad, but you might occasionally get a fresh roast which is messing you up, or pack that is somewhat damper than the others.

Try buying some fresh artisan roasted coffee, at least for a while to eliminate that problem.
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jttran28
Senior Member


Joined: 30 Jul 2012
Posts: 38
Location: San Jose, CA
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Crossland CC1
Grinder: Compak k3
Posted Fri Sep 14, 2012, 1:33pm
Subject: Re: why do my shots vary so much?
 

Where do I find such coffee?
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NobbyR
Senior Member
NobbyR
Joined: 10 Jul 2011
Posts: 2,050
Location: Germany
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Poccino Opus One, Ariete
Grinder: Eureka Mignon Istantaneo
Vac Pot: N/A
Drip: Melitta Linea Unica de Luxe
Roaster: N/A
Posted Fri Sep 14, 2012, 1:53pm
Subject: Re: why do my shots vary so much?
 

Find a local roaster or get it on the internet like from Redbird, for example.

 
***
"This drink of the Satan is so delicious that it would be a shame to leave it to the infidels." (Pope Clement VIII on coffee, when he was urged to ban the beverage)
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