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Discussions > Espresso > Q and A > Help me...  
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ecelis
Senior Member


Joined: 19 Aug 2008
Posts: 22
Location: Tampa FL
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Alex Duetto II
Grinder: Mazzer Mini
Roaster: Behmor
Posted Mon Nov 12, 2012, 5:15am
Subject: Help me troubleshoot my espresso pulls
 

Just transitioned from an Andreja Premium/Rocky Rancillio combo to an Alex Duetto/Mazzer Mini Dosserless, and I am having problems pulling good shots. I am doing both with and w/o pre-infusion and I get the same problem: Pressure goes to 9-10 in brewing gage, shot comes out in 10 se or less. Coffee is not old (I roast it myself less than 1 week ago). I think I am grinding pretty fine, I am almost close to where the burrs would touch each other. I think I am getting channeling, I tried my naked portafilter and in the beginning  it skirts all over the pace. Any suggestions on what to work on?
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NobbyR
Senior Member
NobbyR
Joined: 10 Jul 2011
Posts: 1,991
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 Mon Nov 12, 2012, 6:31am
Subject: Re: Help me troubleshoot my espresso pulls
 

As long as the bottomless portafilter squirts there's something wrong with distribution.

How do you prepare your shots? That is to say: Which basket do you use (single or double shot)? What dose? Do you use the WDT? How do you tamp?

Maybe you could post a video of a typical shot.

 
***
"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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calblacksmith
Moderator
calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,474
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 Mon Nov 12, 2012, 7:09am
Subject: Re: Help me troubleshoot my espresso pulls
 

Fast shots are not enough coffee grounds, not ground fine enough, bad channeling or old coffee. Take your pick and work on that.
14 to 18g of coffee grounds, in a double basket, tamped to about 40 pounds pulled at about 9 bar of pressure at 195 to 205 F

 
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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frcn
Senior Member
frcn
Joined: 23 Dec 2001
Posts: 3,287
Location: Northern California
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Vibiemme Domobar Double
Grinder: Mazzer Kony, Baratza...
Vac Pot: Hario, 2 Cory pots, 1 Cory...
Drip: Behmor Brazen, Bunn A10 mod...
Roaster: computer controlled Hottop,...
Posted Mon Nov 12, 2012, 7:18am
Subject: Re: Help me troubleshoot my espresso pulls
 

Sprites can be caused by:
- clumping of ground coffee
- other poor distribution-related problems
- too fine of a grind
- too high brew pressure
- too small of a dose
- too fresh coffee
- too high of a dose
- uneven tamping
- too low tamping force
- cracked portafilter basket
- use of WDT when using a grinder that makes too much fines in the ground coffee
On my website www.EspressoMyEspresso.com, check out this article: 12 - EASY GUIDE TO BETTER ESPRESSO AT HOME

 
Visit My Website
www.EspressoMyEspresso.com
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ecelis
Senior Member


Joined: 19 Aug 2008
Posts: 22
Location: Tampa FL
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Alex Duetto II
Grinder: Mazzer Mini
Roaster: Behmor
Posted Tue Nov 13, 2012, 5:23am
Subject: Re: Help me troubleshoot my espresso pulls
 

Thanks for the suggestions.  That's a pretty long list....

First, I think I may be grinding to fine. How do I find out what is the appropriate setting for my grinder? I have read that 15.25 g of coffee for a double basket should be a right amount of coffee. However 15.25g does not completely fill my basket and I needed close to 20 g, which tells me that most likely my grind is too fine. I have a 17 gram "VST Precision Insert Basket" in my portafilter.  A description for a grind as "should look like fine sand" is in my opinion not accurate enough.  Should I adjust the grinder so 15.25 g or 17 g (if this is the correct amount for my VST Precision Insert Basket) of coffee completely fills my basket? Or are there better methods (besides getting a micro-particle sizer), to find out whether my grind is right or not.
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faaparasite
Senior Member


Joined: 19 Jun 2003
Posts: 290
Location: Dallas Metroplex
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Bezzera BZ99
Grinder: Mazzer Super Jolly
Drip: Technivorm
Posted Tue Nov 13, 2012, 5:59pm
Subject: Re: Help me troubleshoot my espresso pulls
 

If you are getting a 10 second shot with fresh coffee, the culprit is usually not grinding fine enough.  Certainly distribution, channeling, coffee volume, and tamping can create that problem as well, but assuming your technique for these things is fair or better it usually comes down to the grind.

Channeling is fairly easy to diagnose.  If your puck has what looks like pencil indentations, you are probably getting channeling.
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frcn
Senior Member
frcn
Joined: 23 Dec 2001
Posts: 3,287
Location: Northern California
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Vibiemme Domobar Double
Grinder: Mazzer Kony, Baratza...
Vac Pot: Hario, 2 Cory pots, 1 Cory...
Drip: Behmor Brazen, Bunn A10 mod...
Roaster: computer controlled Hottop,...
Posted Tue Nov 13, 2012, 11:22pm
Subject: Re: Help me troubleshoot my espresso pulls
 

ecelis Said:

Thanks for the suggestions.  That's a pretty long list....

First, I think I may be grinding to fine. How do I find out what is the appropriate setting for my grinder? I have read that 15.25 g of coffee for a double basket should be a right amount of coffee.....

Posted November 13, 2012 link

My article covers the various parameters as well as suggestions for solutions. But you need to start with the basics. Fill teh portafilter, level off across the top, and do the nickle test. Adjust the grind accordingly, and if you get "lost" experiment. Two pounds of wasted coffee now in the learning stage will save many times that as the years go by. Grind too coarse and then too fine (download the Vibiemme Domobar Double owners manual as there are three dynamic images there to show the extremes as well as a proper extraction). You will get to the point that by taste alone you will know what to do.

The other tip I will offer is that you should find a local barista (whether home or pro- and I DO NOT mean Starbucks) and invite them over. Bribes of BBQ or scotch usually work. let them play with the setup and teach you as they go. An experienced barista will pull one or two doubles and tell you exactly what you are doing wrong.

Read my guide....

 
Visit My Website
www.EspressoMyEspresso.com
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ecelis
Senior Member


Joined: 19 Aug 2008
Posts: 22
Location: Tampa FL
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Alex Duetto II
Grinder: Mazzer Mini
Roaster: Behmor
Posted Wed Nov 14, 2012, 11:54am
Subject: Re: Help me troubleshoot my espresso pulls
 

Found that my main problem was the grind. When I first got my new grinder I marked the "Zero" setting (where burrs start touching) and either I did not do this correctly or after 2 weeks it changed. I was afraid to grind to close to "Zero" so my grinds were too course. Now after doing finer grinds and using the WDT my shots are 95% better. I need to fine tune my tamping and adjust the amount of coffee I add (the nickel/dime method is very helpful). Many thanks especially to Randy (frcn) for help, tips and fantastic Website.
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emradguy
Senior Member
emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 2,743
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Duetto II; Twist v2
Grinder: M Major, 2 Macap M4s, OE...
Drip: Espro presses; Aeropress
Roaster: H-B "List of Favorites"
Posted Thu Nov 15, 2012, 3:19pm
Subject: Re: Help me troubleshoot my espresso pulls
 

yeah, Randy's website rocks...especially that article on troubleshooting and improving your extractions.  I can't count how many times I've recommended that article to people who have been in the same place you were before you read it.

A bit off topic, but since you are a new Duetto II owner, something to consider...some of us other Duetto owners have converted our "no-burn" steam wand to the "burn-me" type and noticed a drastic improvement in our frothing capabilities.  There's a thread over in the mods section you might want to read.  It's a super simple process, and your only cost is something to keep you from actually burning your fingers (like the less than $4 rubber sleeve from www.espressoparts.com).  I can't think of one person whose done it and then regretted it.

Also, I just recently brought down my group pressure to 9 bar.  It's as easy as turning a screw (in fact, that's exactly what's involved).  So far, I have no complaints at all.  I also kicked up my steam temp to 260, which brings me just shy of 1.5 bar frothing pressure.  Similar settings on your machine might vary, depending on altitude.

 
.
Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
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