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Uneven extraction - normal?
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Discussions > Espresso > Q and A > Uneven...  
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strawberrykoi
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strawberrykoi
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Posted Tue Jun 18, 2013, 2:40pm
Subject: Uneven extraction - normal?
 

Hello every one! I guess I'm just so full of questions. I couldn't find a whole lot on the particular subject, and what I did find didn't really help me understand/troubleshoot...

I have been playing with extracting into two shot glasses, just to get a perfect espresso-milk ratio for my lattes. I've noticed that the right shot glass almost always fills sooner than the left... and I can't figure out why or if its even an issue. (I have a brand new Alex Duetto iii). I watched the shower screen without the portafilter in, and I can't really tell that it's brewing/extracting unevenly... Could the portafilter be uneven? My counter top? Does it just make more sense that it's the shower screen, and it's just difficult for a newbie to tell? I really don't like the idea that somethings wrong with my machine... I really hope there isn't.
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CoffeeRon
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Posted Tue Jun 18, 2013, 5:53pm
Subject: Re: Uneven extraction - normal?
 

The first thing I'd investigate at is your grounds distribution in your basket. It may look even after you tamp but if there's more coffee on one side- and the other is thus not tamped as tight- it would go through the looser side first. Have you tried the WDT?
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emradguy
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emradguy
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Posted Tue Jun 18, 2013, 7:14pm
Subject: Re: Uneven extraction - normal?
 

Yeah, sorry to say I agree the most likely problem is your distribution. I think it's pretty safe to say that most of the time people are having trouble the very last thing to look into is the machinery. It's almost always the mano.

I'd highly recommend getting hold of a bottomless pf.

.

 
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strawberrykoi
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strawberrykoi
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Posted Tue Jun 18, 2013, 7:23pm
Subject: Re: Uneven extraction - normal?
 

CoffeeRon Said:

The first thing I'd investigate at is your grounds distribution in your basket. It may look even after you tamp but if there's more coffee on one side- and the other is thus not tamped as tight- it would go through the looser side first. Have you tried the WDT?

Posted June 18, 2013 link



I haven't tried the WTD yet, so I'll give it a go. It could certainly be my tamping or distribution technique, since I'm still such a newbie, but I am confused that it would be consistent to the right side. Thanks for the tip, I'm off to experiment :)
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strawberrykoi
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strawberrykoi
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Espresso: Izzo Alex Duetto 3,...
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Posted Tue Jun 18, 2013, 7:27pm
Subject: Re: Uneven extraction - normal?
 

emradguy Said:

Yeah, sorry to say I agree the most likely problem is your distribution. I think it's pretty safe to say that most of the time people are having trouble the very last thing to look into is the machinery. It's almost always the mano.

I'd highly recommend getting hold of a bottomless pf.

.

Posted June 18, 2013 link

Oh, I'd RATHER it be my fault! I'm still so new but my fears were running wild to think it could be my machine's error... that's a scary thought, because there's simply no replacing it. I'll be getting a bottomless portafilter as soon as I can muster up the money after I've over-extended us with this machine, heh ;)

Now I'm off to experiment with different distribution and tamping techniques... wish me luck! :)
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emradguy
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emradguy
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Posted Tue Jun 18, 2013, 7:36pm
Subject: Re: Uneven extraction - normal?
 

strawberrykoi Said:

... I am confused that it would be consistent to the right side. Thanks for the tip, I'm off to experiment :)

Posted June 18, 2013 link

I think it's actually good that it's always "off" the same. This means your technique is consistent. Now all you have to do is figure out how to tweak it and you'll be consistently spot on. If it is your tamp, you might want to take a look at one of the machine demo videos of Chris Nachtrieb. He has a tamp method where his fingers help him guide the tamper onto the pf while keeping it very vertical. I noticed this once and found it so helpful that I started doing my own tamping the same. If that doesn't solve your problem then you could look at making changes to distribution.

Oh, I almost forgot...Good Luck!

 
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D4F
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Posted Tue Jun 18, 2013, 7:50pm
Subject: Re: Uneven extraction - normal?
 

Did you check the countertop and machine for level?  Always one side would prompt me to check for level.

 
D4F also at
http://www.gaggiausersgroup.com/
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CMIN
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Posted Tue Jun 18, 2013, 8:08pm
Subject: Re: Uneven extraction - normal?
 

D4F Said:

Did you check the countertop and machine for level?  Always one side would prompt me to check for level.

Posted June 18, 2013 link

This. My tamp is perfect and even and yet I was still getting sometimes odd extractions with a bottomless, and one spout on the double would always pour more. Checked my counter and too the naked eye it looked level, but come to find out with a gauge it's off just a bit to the right which would explain the extraction issues I had pouring more to the right. Crazy that slight difference made such a difference lol. Have it level now and shots pull fine.

Course could also be your tamp and distribution, just in my case after so much practice I figured something else had to be wrong. I use my finger tips to tamp down first and evenly (like said above helps you feel the edges of the basket and whether your even or not), then I pull it out and tamp down normally. Don't polish the puck as depending on pressure you can cause some fractures in the surface, I used to polish even lightly and would get channeling more often. Stopped polishing and never had channeling issues again.
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strawberrykoi
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strawberrykoi
Joined: 11 Oct 2012
Posts: 43
Location: USA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Izzo Alex Duetto 3,...
Grinder: baratza vario, Hario...
Drip: chemex
Roaster: whirly pop
Posted Tue Jun 18, 2013, 8:18pm
Subject: Re: Uneven extraction - normal?
 

Hey guys!

So I experimented with the WDT method and not only did I get a 100% even extraction, the TASTE improved! I'm doing a little jig. Yes, my counter top itself is down-tilt to the right, so it could make the whole extraction a little extra sensitive... but I do believe (even though this is the first test to prove it true) that it was my distribution technique causing the issue, which I hadn't put enough importance on before now. BTW, I am using Chris's tamping technique with the fingers flat against the portafilter top :)

Thanks everyone!
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emradguy
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emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
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Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Duetto II; Twist v2
Grinder: M Major, Macap M4, Pharos,...
Drip: Espro presses; Aeropress
Roaster: H-B "List of Favorites"
Posted Wed Jun 19, 2013, 7:24am
Subject: Re: Uneven extraction - normal?
 

Sweet news!

In case you don't know, the feet on the Duetto are designed to allow you to level the machine. It kind of baffles me why that's not included in the setup instructions.

.

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