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Discussions > Espresso > Q and A > Troubleshooting...  
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Gig103
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Joined: 12 Feb 2012
Posts: 225
Location: Arizona
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Crossland CC1
Grinder: Baratza Vario
Drip: French press!
Posted Tue Oct 2, 2012, 11:55am
Subject: Troubleshooting a gusher?
 

Hi all,

I bought some freshly roasted coffee a while back, but it didn't act that way. I am grinding just about as fine as my Vario can go (and it's calibrated finely), so it's nearly talc powder. I tried the WDT. I tried a short preinfusion (which has helped with older beans in the past). But while it starts to drip out nice and thick it ends up gushing out 2.5-3 ounces in under 17 seconds (including the 3 second preinfusion), and as it comes out the spout it looks the color of crema (so early blonding?). The actual crema that remains in the glass dissipates quickly.

My dose is done by filling the basket, WDT, level and tamp. I weighed it once and can't recall the value right now but it was at least 16-18g. Of course, being ground so finely the tamp does compress it down further from the screen, could that affect it?

It stinks I waited so long to post, because I am now using some of the same batch that was frozen 4 days after roast and now defrosted. My experience is that previously frozen coffee doesn't do as great in my CC1 as the never-frozen stuff, but the experience I'm seeing this week seems to be the same as when fresh.

It seems like channeling, but I'm not that great at this yet. Any other advice on what to try? Honestly I wondered if they put the ship date on the bag and not the roast date, but it's just conspiracy theory because it's more likely my technique.
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emradguy
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emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 3,024
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Duetto II; Twist v2
Grinder: M Major, Macap M4 x2, VDD...
Drip: Espro presses; Aeropress
Roaster: H-B "List of Favorites"
Posted Tue Oct 2, 2012, 12:30pm
Subject: Re: Troubleshooting a gusher?
 

This sounds like a dose, grind setting or distribution problem.  You'll need a systematic approach to figure which factor(s) is/are at play.  My recommendation is to read through the how-to guide "easy guide to better espresso..." on www.espressomyespresso.com.  It's number 12 about midway down the right hand column. I've found it incredibly useful and educational, and refer back to it occasionally myself to re-calibrate my own technique.

If you can post a video of your technique, it'll probably help everyone here get a better idea what's going on with your shots.

Let's assume you're using a "double basket" and filling it with 16-18g, as you suggested...you should have a small amount of play between the shower screen and the dry puck, to allow for expansion, but not so much that your puck dissolves.  Try performing the nickel test..place a nickel gently on your dry puck, then engage it on the group.  Take it off and look to see if there's is a small indentation from the nickel.  If not, you're under-dosing.  If there's a deep indentation or you can barely get it on, you're overdosing.

Tamp pressure should be consistent, but is not very important, as long as you're not putting your entire body weight into it.  WDT is to eliminate clumping, it's not really useful otherwise, and frankly, I've never used it - even though my decaf tends to clump.  It's also probably important to add, that I don't have spritz problems with my decaf.

I'd kill the pre-infusion idea, unless it's built into your machine...and I'm pretty sure the CC1 does not have pre-infusion.  My guess is, it's more likely to harm your puck than help it, since you can't control the pre-infusion pressure.

Make sure your coffee beans are fresh, i.e, roasted within about 2 weeks...play around with "to freeze or not to freeze" after you get your technique dialed in.

Last thing, are you using a naked (aka bottomless) pf handle?  It'll really help assess your shots, especially if you have channeling (which it does indeed sound like you do).

 
.
Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
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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
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Vac Pot: Cona D
Drip: Bona-Vita, CCD, Aeropress.
Roaster: Gene Cafe, Modded Poppers
Posted Tue Oct 2, 2012, 1:10pm
Subject: Re: Troubleshooting a gusher?
 

I think the CC1 does have preinfusion built in to the controller (as does the Auber PID on my Gaggia), but it's not the same a plumbed in e61 preinfusion, as it turns the vibe pump on for a few seconds before switching off again - this probably gives a higher pressure, followed by a relaxation before brewing.  I'd try to perfect things without it first - I didn't find the type of preinfusion available on the CC1 and my machine helped much with this, and it mostly gave me the results you are getting.

You might be grinding too finely and tamping too hard, with the puck then breaking up as it expands (particularly during preinfusion).  I have had this happen occasionally, and preinfusion makes that worse.  I backed off the grind a bit, and then approached from the non-spritzing slightly and consistently fast shot side of things.  Check the dose as above as well, and weigh it for consistency, at least while you try and tune things.  Make sure you are tamping in a single motion, rather than a couple of presses, as I find this tends to produces layers in the puck that break up as well.
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emradguy
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emradguy
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Location: Houston
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Espresso: Duetto II; Twist v2
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Roaster: H-B "List of Favorites"
Posted Tue Oct 2, 2012, 1:55pm
Subject: Re: Troubleshooting a gusher?
 

yes, I stand corrected.   The CC1 does indeed have built-in pre-infusion.  Here's an excerpt from the product page on SCG...

"Programmable Pre-Infusion: Did we mention consistency? The Crossland Coffee CC1 has the option for programmable pre-infusion, removing any inconsistency by pre-soaking the grinds prior to extraction to make sure the most flavor comes out of your pull."

 
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Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
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Coffeenoobie
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Coffeenoobie
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Location: PNW
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Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Tue Oct 2, 2012, 2:27pm
Subject: Re: Troubleshooting a gusher?
 

I had the same trouble with one batch of beans from a respected roaster.  I could not get it to do anything but gush out. I thought my grinder was broken at first. I did not get one good shot out of 12oz. Then I ran out of beans and the other beans were fine again.

When I did my coffee class they had very dark beans for us to use. I ended up at the finest setting on my vario and updosing in my largest basket before I got a non gusher. Because of this I am now thinking that one odd bag I had trouble with is because it was darker roasted than the medium-dark roasts I get normally.  How dark is this bean compared to your beans that work?

 
Coffeenoobie

Buying advice: GRINDER GRINDER GRINDER. Don't cheap out on the grinder.

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qualin
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qualin
Joined: 30 Jun 2012
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Location: Calgary, AB
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Espresso: Izzo Alex Duetto 3
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Posted Tue Oct 2, 2012, 10:13pm
Subject: Re: Troubleshooting a gusher?
 

When this happens, is it because the beans simply do not have enough natural oils in them to slow down the flow of water?

The first time I tried pulling a shot, I thought I was using beans which I thought were somewhat fresh were actually quite stale.
I knew because I wasn't get any crema at all and I was getting gusher after gusher, no matter how fine I ground.

I guess if I couldn't get a decent shot off of beans I recently purchased from a roaster, I'd bring them back to the roaster and
ask them to try to pull a shot with them and see what they are doing differently. Just IMHO.

One of the things I admit that I liked about one of the places here is that they pulled a shot for me to try out their blend before
I committed to spending $36 on a Kilogram of beans... which, lasts me about a month if I do two drinks a day.

If I can, I always make it a point to sample a shot from the very beans I plan on buying.

 
Garbage In, Garbage Out, for every step of the process. From Beans to grinder, grounds to machine, coffee to cup.
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Coffeenoobie
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Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 3,021
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Wed Oct 3, 2012, 8:33am
Subject: Re: Troubleshooting a gusher?
 

I know there are some people that understand the science of extraction that could tell us.  But I am guessing it must have a part of it.  The other thing I thought of is that darker beans shatter differently and that might affect how the water passes through it.

The 4 days from roast, deep cello, Bossa I put in my grinder yesterday is grinding at the top of the range I ground redbird at.  So, it is starting where red bird finished in fineness and I am guessing that is because it is a bit darker.

I will probably have to move my large adjustment on my grinder in a day or so.  Something I never did on redbird.  Redbird, I ground at 2r to start and end up about 2d.  I am at 2d right now and so in a day or so I will have to be at the bottom of 1.

 
Coffeenoobie

Buying advice: GRINDER GRINDER GRINDER. Don't cheap out on the grinder.

My coffee treasure map...
Click Here (maps.google.com)

Oscar trick out: http://s156.photobucket.com/user/GandBteam/story/14231
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emradguy
Senior Member
emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 3,024
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Duetto II; Twist v2
Grinder: M Major, Macap M4 x2, VDD...
Drip: Espro presses; Aeropress
Roaster: H-B "List of Favorites"
Posted Wed Oct 3, 2012, 8:45am
Subject: Re: Troubleshooting a gusher?
 

... The other thing I thought of is that darker beans shatter differently and that might affect how the water passes through it...x]

Definitely!  Since picking up my Lido, I've been able to feel the differencew when grinding.  I has a very light Rwandan coffee that was almost still green, that took a heck of a lot of elbow grease to grind, and then I put some liquid amber in and what a breeze, grinding through that was!

I've had similar experiences to your other one where Red Bird Blue Jaguar was like 3 full turns coarser on my Macap than Red Bird Espresso, just to get the same shot.

 
.
Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
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Gig103
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Joined: 12 Feb 2012
Posts: 225
Location: Arizona
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Crossland CC1
Grinder: Baratza Vario
Drip: French press!
Posted Wed Oct 3, 2012, 1:19pm
Subject: Re: Troubleshooting a gusher?
 

Thanks for all the feedback! I had some success this morning thanks to your help - the short of it was dosing!

Long version for those who wish to read on...
I got out the bottomless portafilter, set the Vario a little finer, and updosed. The basket looked very overfull, but by the time I leveled it off it was fine.  After tamping, I tried the nickel trick and it was totally embedded. Overfull! I tried pulling the shot anyway, and it was coming out at the right consistency, but I also had a bunch of streams off-center, enough that I stopped the shot a little early to clean up the counter!

For the second shot, I went back to the spouted portafilter, and put less coffee in so that the nickel just intended the screen. When I pulled the shot I ended up with a 1 ounce 30 second ristretto. I had forgotten to use my 'semi-auto' profile that goes for 60 seconds (i.e. until I stop it). But actually, as I like ristrettos, I was pleased with the results! :)

So it looks like the answer this time was dosing. I will probably use the same dose but grind a little coarser tomorrow to get a more traditional double, to taste.
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