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Ascaso i-Steel I-2 Grinder:  Problems dialing it in, clogging portafilter.
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chrisbuzzard
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chrisbuzzard
Joined: 14 Oct 2012
Posts: 4
Location: Austin, TX
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Sun Oct 14, 2012, 3:45pm
Subject: Ascaso i-Steel I-2 Grinder:  Problems dialing it in, clogging portafilter.
 

I have a newly purchased ascaso steel grinder and steel duotronic espresso machine.  I'm a super newbie, and I've been practicing making espresso with some cheap supermarket mexican roast.  So I got that down for the most part, it's coming out at the right speed, dark, lots of creama.  

So today I got my hands on an espresso blend from a local roaster.  Dull, semi dark, not shiny beans.  They taste FANTASTIC, except I am having a problem dialing it in.  It keeps clogging the portafilter or slowing to barely a dribble. The duotronic backflushes and lets out an infernal beeping.  I have to hit the button two, three, four five etc times to get a shot that takes forever.  I turn the adjuster dial on the grinder to make a larger grind and it doesn't seem to stop?  it just keeps turning and turning all the way around?  Is that how a burr grinder with a worm gear works?  Does it just turn forever but only adjusts a finite amount?  Because even after turning the stepless adjuster for a larger grind, it clogs.  I've tried undertamping to the point of just lightly pushing the grind down, and I've tried underfilling the portafilter.  Still clogs or just drips out.  A single shot is even worse than a double about clogging.

So what am I doing wrong?  Some help please!  I had some friends over today celebrate and so I could practice, but it was embarrassing...
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qualin
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qualin
Joined: 30 Jun 2012
Posts: 646
Location: Calgary, AB
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Izzo Alex Duetto 3
Grinder: Mazzer Mini Elect. Type A
Vac Pot: Looking to buy
Drip: Manual
Roaster: Considering?
Posted Sun Oct 14, 2012, 8:51pm
Subject: Re: Ascaso i-Steel I-2 Grinder:  Problems dialing it in, clogging portafilter.
 

Are you sure you are adjusting your grinder coarser instead of finer? It sounds to me like you are really over-extracting your coffee.

You just have to keep adjusting coarser until you get a gusher. This particular grinder doesn't look like it has any reference points to refer to how coarse or fine the grind is.
Considering this is a worm gear grinder, you may need multiple revolutions of the grind adjustment knob until you get the grind you desire.

Without any coffee in the portafilter, get a glass and measure how much water your machine is actually dosing without any coffee. How much liquid are you getting?

Have you had the luxury of trying other types of grinders?

BTW, Every different coffee needs to be ground just a little differently and sometimes it takes time to dial it in properly. Be patient and hang in there!

 
Garbage In, Garbage Out, for every step of the process. From Beans to grinder, grounds to machine, coffee to cup.
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chrisbuzzard
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chrisbuzzard
Joined: 14 Oct 2012
Posts: 4
Location: Austin, TX
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Mon Oct 15, 2012, 6:55am
Subject: Re: Ascaso i-Steel I-2 Grinder:  Problems dialing it in, clogging portafilter.
 

Thanks for your help.  I'll give it another go.  Perhaps I am misreading the way the dial is supposed to twist.  Other than that, the dosing is fine w/ the proper amount of water.  There doesn't seem to be a limit to how many times I can rotate the adjuster.  Does it stop adjusting the burrs after a certain number or rotations?
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dyqik
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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 Mon Oct 15, 2012, 8:45am
Subject: Re: Ascaso i-Steel I-2 Grinder:  Problems dialing it in, clogging portafilter.
 

The worm gear has a very high ratio for adjusting the grind coarseness (maybe 1:50 or 100).  This is one of the good things about this kind of grinder.  So a couple of rotations will only make a small difference to the coarseness of the grind.  There won't be much of a limit that you come across quickly.
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chrisbuzzard
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chrisbuzzard
Joined: 14 Oct 2012
Posts: 4
Location: Austin, TX
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Mon Oct 15, 2012, 9:29am
Subject: Re: Ascaso i-Steel I-2 Grinder:  Problems dialing it in, clogging portafilter.
 

Ok, so the small knob has large coffee beans on the left side, small coffee beans on the right.  I turn the dial LEFT for a more coarse grind (this rotates the knob toward the small beans printed on the knob)?  Because I've tried turning the dial four, five, six, seven upwards with little change.  So I just turn the bejesus out of it?  Twenty, thirty or more times?  I also noticed that the bean hopper rotates when I turn the knob, and this is normal?  Thanks for all the help, I really appreciate it.  I am going to assume that this is a grinder issue and not the new machine (hopefully...).
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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 Mon Oct 15, 2012, 10:18am
Subject: Re: Ascaso i-Steel I-2 Grinder:  Problems dialing it in, clogging portafilter.
 

Yeah, if it's like my I-1, the bean hopper rotates with the upper burr carrier.  According to the manual (poorly translated, like all espresso related manuals ;) ) turning the dial clockwise  (top of the knob towards the smaller bean symbols) makes the grind finer, anti-clockwise for coarser.  They arrive set somewhere in the middle of the range, so you might have to turn it quite a few times to get to the right point.

Fresh beans will require a significantly coarser grind than old stale beans.  You should also make sure that you are using a consistent amount of coffee for each shot, and tamping consistently.  It's best to use a scale with 0.1g resolution to make sure you're using a consistent dose.
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chrisbuzzard
Senior Member
chrisbuzzard
Joined: 14 Oct 2012
Posts: 4
Location: Austin, TX
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Mon Oct 15, 2012, 10:31am
Subject: Re: Ascaso i-Steel I-2 Grinder:  Problems dialing it in, clogging portafilter.
 

Ha!  Ok Ok.  Now I see the problem.  These beans were roasted the day before yesterday, AND I was turning the wrong way AND I thought the dial would only take a few turns max, but it looks like it takes many MANY turns.  I got it down.   Thanks for all the help.  I feel silly.
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