I am trying to perfect my routine for pulling a shot of espresso as I begin working with a new grinder. I have a 53mm bottomless portafilter to help, and am really struggling with a couple things.
Much of the information I've read says to start with 14 or 15g of beans for a double shot. Aim for a 25-30 second pull, resulting in 25-30g of espresso. My previous routine was to overdose, grinding about 18-20grams, and then using the weiss distribution technique to get rid of clumps. Then using a leveler to knock the excess off the top, leaving a flat surface to be tamped. It worked pretty well for me, and I could get a nice pull without spitting with my bottomless pf.
Now I have a better grinder (Pharos) so I wanted to simplify my routine and stop overdosing so much to be a bit more consistent with the amount of coffee used. So I started grinding 15g. The problem is the 14 grams doesn't come up to the top of the basket, meaning I can't level it as I normally would. I tend to use WDT and then shake the pf until the grounds looks flat. Then tamp with 30lb pressure. Every pull spits and streams left and right through the pf like crazy.
The paradox I've run into is that all advice says to be really consistent with the amount of beans you use. But doing that for me leaves the basket less full, and causes problems with extraction. Is there something in my technique I'm doing wrong or can fix?
btw, don't know if this impacts things but my espresso machine is a pretty cheap via venezia.
I would have to do some serious cramming to get 20 grams in the standard 58mm baskets that Vibiemme uses. About 16.2 to 16.3 is just above level. I would assume that a 53 has slightly less volume? Never used one so just guessing. But any given grinder + basket + espresso machine will necessitate adjustments for best results.
I have the Espro tamper, and once I hit the "click" which is 35 pounds, I can tamp as much more as I want (to WELL over 50 if I want) and cannot see the difference. My advice is tamp hard until the coffee stops moving, and if you have to, adjust other parameters to match, namely the grind, while keeping the dose constant. Once that gives consistent results, and you feel you have a good grasp of the process and situation, then you can start making changes to other factors like dose, and further changes to match that dose. You might find you like 15.4 grams, ground fine and tamped lightly (like 25 to 30 pounds) or not. But you will never know unless you develop consistency and make a lot of espresso.
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