Apologies if this has been covered before. I waded through a whole bunch of these depressurized topics but didn't see what I need.
Anyways, I depressurized my stock portafilter on a Starbucks Barista, and got myself a good tamp. After playing around with grind sizes (its amazing what a difference it makes!) I can taste a pretty good flavour, something I've never noticed before (Almost fruity, or 'berry-ish with my Peets blend) so I'm very happy thus far.
Question is, the crema/shot consistency is still quite thin, despite getting about a 19 second pour time with all my settings.
I think this is because of the portafilter mod. I noticed that water and or espresso will come out of the 'screw holes' on the porta filter bottom, where the screws with the sleeves are attached, in addition to the two plastic pour spouts. I'm guessing this is causing me to lose pressure, and have yet to be able to solve it. If I fill up the basket with water from the sink, I can see the same thing; water pouring out from the screw / sleeve area.
For what its worth, it's a totally naked portafilter, I also removed that plastic bottom and orange gasket, leaving only the portafilter itself and the espresso basket.
Anyone else experience this and have a solution or work around? Should I put the plastic disc/bottom and gasket back in place?\
If you need clarification or a picture, please let me know!
The only pressure generated once you depressurize is the seal between the basket and group gasket. After the basket everything should be open. The screw holes could leak, but it would seem that the path of least resistance would be the PF holes. The screw holes are not really sealed, just tight with the sleeves. Sounds like you did the job correctly. If anything other than a little drip from around the screws I would be surprised.
I want to encourage you to use coffee with a roast date of a couple days to about 10 days as crema and the shot in general will rapidly diminish after. Peets does not always roast at site and you may not get actual roast date. Look for local roasters or a great place is Redbird.
You will next also need to weigh your beans and determine and track coffee weight in and probably shot weight out. 19 seconds is quick, for single or double and how much liquid?
You may need a different grinder to grind fine enough consistently. You need to be able to choke the machine to know that you can grind fine enough and have small enough steps, or stepless grinder. What grinder?
No offense meant, but not knowing where you are in the espresso journey, here is a good starting place.
The Peets (general dickinson blend) is a brand new bag, use by June 29th. I opened it 2 days ago, so its 'fresh' based on that assumption, but you could be right about the roasting location. The beans still have quite a bit of oil on them however, if that is any reliable indication as to freshness. I have talked to some local baristas and will try local roasts for my next batch.
The grinder is the el cheapo cuisinart that everyone starts out with. I did however shim it, and can grind down to the point where the burrs actually mesh. I would like to have a local shop grind some for me to see if there is a difference; but even just one click on my grinder made a huge difference (12 seconds to 16 and up for instance) so the importance of grind is not lost on me.
Right now I weigh out 7-8 grams of ground coffee (my scale only measures in 2 gram increments)and put it in the single basket and tamp; using a bathroom scale to about 30-32lbs of pressure, however the 7-8g falls short of the rim of the basket so I then tried to grind some more until I could 'scoop and level' the basket flat before the tamp. Is one or the other a better approach? My thought was I would lose a lot of pressure if there was a large gap between the grouphead and the espresso in the basket. The good news is that I'm getting a solid puck now (as opposed to a soupy mess) but the pull times are still pretty quick, which leads me to believe its either the grind or the screw holes.
Finally, just starting this journey. Today I got my tamp in the mail, so just starting out and willing to get all the advice I can. I've read and practice all the other 'tweaks' for this Barista / SIN006 model like temp surfing, and aside from its rock solid durability and ease of getting parts, the tweakability/mod options for this model are partially what drew me to it.
Thanks for the sites, I'll check them out and report back. This is only day 1 of the real journey after using the pressurized filter for about 4 months, so I've still got a long way to go!
"Use by" is subjective with the dealer/roaster setting the outdate, not usually early. Only go by roasted dates and that will eliminate many of the franchise milk drink places. Oil on the bean is probably an indication of over roast, not freshness. You will find amazing flavors as you find fresh beans properly roasted, not charcoaled.
About the pressure, it is all at the basket if you removed all of the pressure device. Many use bottomless PF as there is no pressure after the basket and with bottomless you can check for distribution issues and channeling. Most of that is covered in the article noted prior.
Doubles are much more forgiving and reproducible than singles. If you do not wish a double to drink, it is still better to brew when you are learning. Split with a friend. You would like a basket that holds 16 - 18 gms.
The Barista model does not have a 3 way valve so the pucks will not be dry, at least not normally. You can fill with coffee until the used wet puck just touches the screen screw, part 48.
If the sleeves are in and not an overly loose fit, I would not expect much drip, if any. If I view the system correctly there is the metal basket holder and the screws go into the bottom of that, not through it. It has a central hole and then that goes into the bottom molded piece with the 2 outlet holes. The only way to get significant drip from the screw holes is to feed the molded piece more flow that the 2 holes allow out thus causing some possible filling of the molded cavity and overflow into the screw holes. Sorry for the wordy sentence. If you slow the flow through the basket and into the molded piece the screws may get less tendency to drip.
You need to solve grind and flow/extraction and I think that the drip from the screws will lessen or stop.
I think you can find better beans even if the roast date is ok. You will read a lot about that on CG, and perhaps in this thread :)
Reassembled the portafilter, slight leak to start off on the left side, but none on the right. It stops shortly after.
Using 7g espresso and ~32lbs of force for the tamp.
Shot pull was still over 30 seconds (I again cut it off at 2/3 once the stop watch hit 27 seconds, no use totally wasting a cup) but it seems like I may have narrowed it down to grind size from here on out. I'll keep you posted, although the machine does not choke out.
One thing to note for anyone encountering this problem in the future, the metal part of the portafilter has a "U" shaped bump on it and a corresponding indentation on the plastic attachment that screws into it. I suspect that I had it backwards to begin with, its very slight in size, but could have made the difference.
Sorry, I missed on the basket fill. Noted before I read your post, use a double if possible and fill, double or single, so that after you tamp and use the puck, the wet puck just touches the screw. Minimal visible indent. You will be recording weights and learn the amount to do this, different for different coffee.
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