Billyj66 Senior Member Joined: 8 Aug 2011 Posts: 22 Location: Washington DC Expertise: I live coffee
Posted Thu May 30, 2013, 9:59am Subject: Brew Pressure Issues
I'm kind of new to this and self taught espresso enthusiast. I use an Expobar Brewtus IV vibe (year and a half) and a new Baratza Vario, my coffee is always black cat 7 - 25 days from roast. the last several months I have had trouble consistently getting a good coffee and I'm hoping some of the experts can get me pointed in the right direction. here are some of the variables to consider. I'm quite sure its my lack of skills and not an equipent issue but the pressure gauge properly idles at or near 10 but when i try to pull a shot the gauge plunges to one - which i think is normal in the first few seconds - and then about 8-10 seconds later the pressure starts to build. so far sounds normal i think. but then the gauge goes up to 10 then sounds like it choking and drops and climbs and drops. So, i thought maybe my grind was too fine but with a minor adjustment on the micro side of my grinder. the gauge would only go up to 4-6.
i had considered that i was just grinding way to fine and thats the issue. could it be? why would a minor adjustment not build nearly enough pressure then?
also, i had considered that the heat and humidity in my kitchen had caused some of the issues because my kitchen is not as well conditioned as the rest of the house but that could just be me grasping. seems to be a fine line between choking the machine and pulling to ounces of not very good coffee with low pressure.
Thats precisely it. in fact i saw that video last night and was just logging on to show to you all. thanks for going the extra mile to be helpful. im not getting any visable leak from the opv. the guy in the video says he sent it to WLL and the replaced the opv and the pump. what do you guys think.
This happens to my brewtus when I grind too finely/tamp too hard. You have a vario, so I would imagine you can step back the grind just a tad. Odd that this does not happen on my machine when I use a blind filter basket. Perhaps this also has to do with over dosing your filter baskets. I first noticed this issue when I dosed 19.5g into my 18g basket.
Things to try:
Buy baskets to which you know the quantity they are rated for, these will provide enough clearance between the dispersion screen and the puck to all proper water flow.
Loosen your grind a tad, combine with pin clump distribution and rounded tamping for even pulls.
Don't try and kill you PF when you tamp, I get my best results with a fine grind and a ~20lb tamp.
Best of luck.
Currently pulling: Café Grumpy (NYC): heartbreak espresso
Update: I sent the video to WLL and spoke w customer service rep. she says pretty sure my grind is way to fine and need a macro adjustment not micro. I've started playing with it a little now that i'm back to user error rather than equipment error. still playing with it but early indication is its not the equipment. thanks all.
Not really just said that my grind was too fine. Doesn't sound right to me but I take comfort in the problem being user error over having an equipment problem. I will post in a few days to let you all know if adjusting grind works. Still, if anyone knows otherwise what the problem could be I'm still open. I don't remember exactly how it started but I had changed settings a bit while I was experimenting on other beans. For a year and a half I never had this problem though.
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