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Struggling with low extraction time / high pressure
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Discussions > Espresso > Q and A > Struggling with...  
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bendavis78
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Joined: 5 Feb 2011
Posts: 11
Location: Frisco, TX
Expertise: I live coffee

Posted Thu Feb 21, 2013, 11:07am
Subject: Struggling with low extraction time / high pressure
 

I have a Breville Dual Boiler. I've been experimenting for weeks trying to perfect all the variables and am getting a bit frustrated. I can't seem to get the shot anywhere above 20 seconds (not counting a 7 second pre-inf, 27 total). My shots are ranging from 15-20 seconds instead of 20-30 (again, not counting pre-inf). The pressure gauge always seems to max out at 11 bars, unless I grind to coarse and then it dips to around 7 or 8. What does it generally mean when the pressure is too high, but the shot time never goes over 20 seconds? I pulled one this morning that was 18 seconds after pre-inf at 11 bars, and it tasted like crap, even as a latte :-/

By the way, this is freshly roasted coffee -- sweet maria's liquid amber blend, roasted just 6 days ago.
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Buckley
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Joined: 25 Jan 2011
Posts: 423
Location: Internet
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Posted Thu Feb 21, 2013, 1:01pm
Subject: Re: Struggling with low extraction time / high pressure
 

Dear bendavis78,

You are not reporting your grinder and your grind fineness in your post.  Are you new to home barista-ing?  Welcome to the club!  You may have problems with channeling and the low-resistance channels are 'stealing' infusion away from traveling through the puck.  This may happen around the puck (edge channeling), as well.  Since the cause is often old beans and you are using fresh beans, your grinder may be lousy.  Try the Weiss Declumping Technique (Google it) and let us know if the infusion becomes slower and more uniform.

Buckley
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Coffeenoobie
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Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
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Location: PNW
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Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Thu Feb 21, 2013, 2:07pm
Subject: Re: Struggling with low extraction time / high pressure
 

Buckley is correct about channeling and you might have that if it tastes bad.  I am almost sure that you add the prefusion time to the total time.  Water touching grinds = brew time.   I don't have that feature so I am not 100% sure but I am sure I read that somewhere.

 
Coffeenoobie

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bendavis78
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Joined: 5 Feb 2011
Posts: 11
Location: Frisco, TX
Expertise: I live coffee

Posted Fri Feb 22, 2013, 10:38am
Subject: Re: Struggling with low extraction time / high pressure
 

Buckley: my grinder is the breville smart grinder, with the a 1.8mm shim adjustment for finer grinds. I'm able to get it ground very fine, enough to take a thumprint (and jam up the machine).  Of course, I've dialed it back from that to get a more ideal grind, but am still working to find the right setting for my roast (not to mention trying to fix my other variables).  I'm thinking I need to get the naked portafilter for the BDB, since that might help me determine if it's a distribution problem.  I also wonder if I'm concentrating too much on the shot timer, and not the actual volume that comes out into the cup. I've been trusting the machine to pull the right volume, but maybe I shouldn't? I need to pull into some shot glasses to be sure, I guess :-/

PS, regarding pre-infusion time, I was under the impression that it was combined pre-infusion + shot time (ie, a 30-second shot is 30+7). After some searching, it seems it's up for debate. Just for fun, I've emailed Breville support to see if they have an opinion on it.
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emradguy
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emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
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Posted Fri Feb 22, 2013, 11:44am
Subject: Re: Struggling with low extraction time / high pressure
 

bendavis78 Said:

...I'm thinking I need to get the naked portafilter for the BDB, since that might help me determine if it's a distribution problem.

Posted February 22, 2013 link

I think they are great tools for that p[urpose, and very useful for most people in early learning stages.  heck, I still use mine all the time.

For whatever reason, I can't seem to get this excerpt to quote properly ... I also wonder if I'm concentrating too much on the shot timer, and not the actual volume that comes out into the cup. I've been trusting the machine to pull the right volume, but maybe I shouldn't? ...end

basically, you're putting something you should be doing on a shot by shot basis into the "hands" of a machine that is preset to do one thing the same, no matter what. and yeah, don't get too caught up in the timer...it's just a tool to help you assess and modify the shot to your liking...not the word of god.

and now this section isn't displaying properly either...PS, regarding pre-infusion time, I was under the impression that it was combined pre-infusion + shot time (ie, a 30-second shot is 30+7). After some searching, it seems it's up for debate. Just for fun, I've emailed Breville support to see if they have an opinion on it...end

definitely up for debate.  I believe the extraction startes when water hits the puck, but that's just my opinion and, more importantly, it doesn't really tell you when to start your timer.  if you choose to time shots, it's best to merely be consistent what cues you use for start and end, and then...again...modify the shot to taste from there.

 
.
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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Posted Fri Feb 22, 2013, 12:21pm
Subject: Re: Struggling with low extraction time / high pressure
 

It seems to me you would have to factor in the water touching the grounds .... soaking grounds for 30 minutes would have to be different from 30 seconds or 3 seconds.

 
Coffeenoobie

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frcn
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frcn
Joined: 23 Dec 2001
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Posted Fri Feb 22, 2013, 12:31pm
Subject: Re: Struggling with low extraction time / high pressure
 

On my website www.EspressoMyEspresso.com, check out this article: 12 - EASY GUIDE TO BETTER ESPRESSO AT HOME. I just went through it and did a minor update.

 
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flyersfan
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Joined: 23 Feb 2013
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Location: nova scotia
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Sat Feb 23, 2013, 7:42am
Subject: Re: Struggling with low extraction time / high pressure
 

Hi, I'm new to the world of home made espresso and my new machine (cuisinart em100c) has me a bit frustrated.  at first when I would  run the water through with no portafilter on, the water would fly out of the little holes in the brewhead (i think that's what it's called).  then it started to shoot out in different directions and it seemed to be a bit clogged.  so I ran a mixture of water and vinegar through it, but now it seems to just pour out in four larger streams a lot slower.  I'm wondering if I damaged my machine and if there's anything I should do to get the pressure back.  I'm not too worried because it has a 3 year warranty
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Coffeenoobie
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Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 3,014
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Sat Feb 23, 2013, 10:27am
Subject: Re: Struggling with low extraction time / high pressure
 

It depends on the metal the insides are made of what you clean it with.  I don't know enough about your machine to tell you.  But if your machine is older and/or you have hard water you could have scale.

 
Coffeenoobie

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

My coffee treasure map...
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Oscar trick out: http://s156.photobucket.com/user/GandBteam/story/14231
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bendavis78
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Joined: 5 Feb 2011
Posts: 11
Location: Frisco, TX
Expertise: I live coffee

Posted Sat Feb 23, 2013, 11:16am
Subject: Re: Struggling with low extraction time / high pressure
 

flyersfan: Don't hijack threads. Start a new topic.

frcn: I've ready your article before, great stuff! What's your opinion on the pre-infusion time? Does pre-infusion count towards total shot time?

I think my bad tasting espresso from last time was because it was over-extracted, not bad distribution. Nonetheless, I'm using the weiss distribution technique to make sure that's not a factor. I've started measuring my shots into a 2oz shot glass and realized they were coming out *very* ristretto (just around 1oz when hitting the button for a double). So, I dialed back the grind more and got the right volume, but now the extraction seems too fast to me.

So, the variables I can think of that would cause a fast extraction are:

  • not fine enough grind
  • bad distribution (channeling)
  • not dosing enough
  • not tamping hard enough
  • old coffee

Is that right? I feel like I've addressed all of these variables, with the exception of maybe not dosing enough -- I need to experiment more. Damn this addicting hobby.
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