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Thread: Inconsistent Shots

  1. #1
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    Inconsistent Shots

    Hi All,

    I purchased my Lelit PL41TEMD back in January and I love it. 80% of the time I am happy however I have been having issues with some of my shots. My grinder is a Breville Smart Grinder Pro (I realise that this isn't the best). My routine is this:

    Weigh > Grind > Weigh > Tamp > Shot

    I weigh to ensure that I have 17g in the basket. The issue I have is that in one shot I can get a nice 60ml extraction within ~30 seconds and nice crema but if I do another shot using the exact same procedure (5 minutes later) I'm finding that I am almost choking the machine, so I increase the courseness to a point where I can get a good shot but then the next shot will run too fast so I will need to make it finer. It's slowly doing my head in.

    The only thing that is inconsistent in my routine is my tamp pressure, I try to aim for a certain pressure but I'm not measuring this.

    Any ideas? I am thinking that it's my grinder. I do plan to invest in a better grinder some time this year but would like to try and get this one sorted out if it's the issue.

    Thanks, Ben

  2. #2
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    Grind retention!
    The first shot uses most of the stale grinds left over inside the grinder. Subsequent shots then have no stale grinds so the pour changes completely.
    If you then adjust the grind to compensate, the grinder will retain some of the old sized coffee particles, often resulting in another adjustment, only to find that the next shot has gone too far... So you adjust again! And end up chasing around!
    Have you tried purging before your first shot of the day, and also purging after changing the grind setting? This is the most common cause and fix for your current issue.

  3. #3
    Life-long Learner DesigningByCoffee's Avatar
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    Great advice Timmy

  4. #4
    Senior Member level3ninja's Avatar
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    I have the single shot on the smart grinder set as low as our will go (2.0s) and use that to purge.

  5. #5
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    Hey guys,

    Just wondering if someone could help me out also,

    I have a breville dual boiler and smart grinder pro. Im roasting my own beans but I'm finding even on finest setting, burr setting 1,2 or 3 even and on LCD 1 shot at times still can run too fast for my likes. I haven't yet chocked the machine either so not sure whats going on.. I'm also using 20-23 grams in the basket and tamping pretty firmly.

    Any ideas?

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by K_Bean_Coffee View Post
    Hi Ben,

    Good post - I have been where you are now and remember the frustration....

    There are lots of potential causes of shot inconsistencies.

    +1 for Timmy's advice above as yes, old grind can effect your next shot.

    The first thing I would ask is what grinder do you have? You don't need an extra expensive grinder but you need a decent one.

    Next thing I would do is check your tamper. A 47mm tamper will fit the PL41TEMD basket like a piston.

    Next thing is to check your workflow.

    Take a look at my 20 step espresso workflow in the link below and try following that.
    www.kbean.com.au/training/

    Best of luck and report back on your progress.

    Cheers
    Paul
    Hi Paul, there was a mistype there and you meant 57mm, didn't want it confuse anyone who reads this later. Cheers Gee
    kbc likes this.

  7. #7
    Senior Member level3ninja's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NmBeasy View Post
    Hey guys,

    Just wondering if someone could help me out also,

    I have a breville dual boiler and smart grinder pro. Im roasting my own beans but I'm finding even on finest setting, burr setting 1,2 or 3 even and on LCD 1 shot at times still can run too fast for my likes. I haven't yet chocked the machine either so not sure whats going on.. I'm also using 20-23 grams in the basket and tamping pretty firmly.

    Any ideas?
    How long after roasting are you using the beans? Has anyone else tried your beans?

  8. #8
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    Varies I've tried the next day I've tried 6 days later... similar results. Others have used and seems to come out better on my father in laws breville barista express still on lowest setting but with no in burr adjustments?

  9. #9
    Senior Member level3ninja's Avatar
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    Have you tried any older than 6 days? Some beans / roasts need longer to degas.

    Have you used any other beans in your setup? If you can try beans from someone else it will eliminate them as a potential cause.

    Are you using the single or double wall baskets?

    There's a slim chance you've ground so fine that it's forcing the water to channel through/around the puck. When you feel the grinds in your fingers, where would you place then between table salt (10) and icing sugar (0)?

    20-23g in the stock double basket is a massive over dose (I assume you didn't start there but added more in an attempt to slow it down?) I have been using a VST 18g basket for a while now, but from memory the stock double single wall basket is designed for 14g and doesn't like much more than 15g.

    What weight of shot are you getting out in what time?

    Can you post a video of your whole process from grinding to end of shot?
    trentski likes this.

  10. #10
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    Oh really? the breville standard is 14? for a double heck. i always thought it was a lot more at least 18-20 as its the double basket. Im using the single wall double basket . From memory the grind is probably sitting around a 3 or 4 its more on the fine size. (you would think the lowest setting possible would be way to fine for espresso shot?).

    Id rather 18 grams but the shot is too watery if i use 18, hence upping the dose. I got a good shot out this afternoon with 23 grams usually i get a yield between 40-60gms from memory in 30-40 sec as i manually do that shot. ill try get a video next time i do it and let you see.

    Cheers

  11. #11
    Senior Member level3ninja's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NmBeasy View Post
    Oh really? the breville standard is 14? for a double heck. i always thought it was a lot more at least 18-20 as its the double basket.
    Not just Breville. Standard shot size is 7g, which is what Breville followed. Single / double / triple = 7 / 14 / 21. Most of us use more because too much of a good thing is fantastic. Different baskets can handle different amounts of updosing.

    Quote Originally Posted by NmBeasy View Post
    From memory the grind is probably sitting around a 3 or 4 its more on the fine size. (you would think the lowest setting possible would be way to fine for espresso shot?).
    Yeah I would expect it to choke the machine before the finest setting. That sounds a little coarser than I'd expect.

    As I see it there are two likely culprits: the beans and the grinder. Easiest way to prove which one is to try beans known to be ok.

    How long have you had the grinder? Has it ever worked ok?

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by K_Bean_Coffee View Post
    Hi Ben,

    Good post - I have been where you are now and remember the frustration....

    There are lots of potential causes of shot inconsistencies.

    +1 for Timmy's advice above as yes, old grind can effect your next shot.

    The first thing I would ask is what grinder do you have? You don't need an extra expensive grinder but you need a decent one.

    Next thing I would do is check your tamper. A 47mm tamper will fit the PL41TEMD basket like a piston.

    Next thing is to check your workflow.

    Take a look at my 20 step espresso workflow in the link below and try following that.
    www.kbean.com.au/training/

    Best of luck and report back on your progress.

    Cheers
    Paul
    Paul had you had a couple of drinks before you wrote this by any chance.
    kbc likes this.

  13. #13
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    I found this on a different forum from the guy who works at brevill Phil Mcknight.

    If you are using the stock baskets, then 17g will be a little on the low side as you will bottom out the tamper against the tapering walls of the basket at that level. 18-19g is what I've tested as the "optimum" level with the stock baskets. [snip].... adjust the grind until you see espresso start to drop from the spouts at between 11 & 14secs. If this happens then I guarantee you will have a good shot that runs from 30-35secs inc pre-infusion delivering a 50-60ml double (providing your dose distribution was OK).

    Cheers, Phil

    So i think the stock basket it comes with the double does fit up to 20..
    ill keep
    persisting and hopefully get it working. grinder is only new about 3 months old and it is a good grinder has worked ok in past.
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  14. #14
    Senior Member LeroyC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by K_Bean_Coffee View Post
    .....umm yes Gee. RED face

    .....umm no. I take full responsibility for my minor error of just 10mm. I hope no one rushed out and ordered a custom 47mm tamper !
    Not to mention asking the OP what sort of grinder they have when it's clearly stated as a Breville SG! Too much coffee yesterday maybe?!!

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    Thanks for the great replies, I (generally) weigh before grinding so that my grind generally runs the grinder until there's nothing left. Saying that, I don't do this every time and there definitely have been cases where I have a few beans left over which would have been used. So I will definitely start purging before i start. I have managed to pull two relatively good shots this morning after trying this method, I just hope that it stays that way

    Paul, I have the Jetblack Espresso PreciseFit Tamper which is a perfect fit for my machine. Thanks for the tips, I will definitely have a look.

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    Quote Originally Posted by level3ninja View Post
    Not just Breville. Standard shot size is 7g, which is what Breville followed. Single / double / triple = 7 / 14 / 21.
    That's the Italian definition not the Australian. More like 9 to 12 single,18 to 20 double and 23 to 25 triple. If I put 14gms in my standard Giotto double basket there would be an enormous amount of headroom under the shower screen. I've never seen a cafe use 14gms. Most of my local cafes use 18gms

  17. #17
    Senior Member trentski's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by barri View Post
    That's the Italian definition not the Australian. More like 9 to 12 single,18 to 20 double and 23 to 25 triple. If I put 14gms in my standard Giotto double basket there would be an enormous amount of headroom under the shower screen. I've never seen a cafe use 14gms. Most of my local cafes use 18gms
    You might want to check your maths. If 12gram is a single then 36 grams is a triple.

  18. #18
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    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    Quote Originally Posted by barri View Post
    That's the Italian definition not the Australian. More like 9 to 12 single,18 to 20 double and 23 to 25 triple. If I put 14gms in my standard Giotto double basket there would be an enormous amount of headroom under the shower screen. I've never seen a cafe use 14gms. Most of my local cafes use 18gms
    Nothing to do with Oz standards. Actually the reason most cafes use an 18g or 20g basket is to give them more latitude in balancing their shots. Add the fact that most bulk roasts are done conservatively and they are about 20% down on flavour compared to boutique roasts. Add the drop in flavour as dark roasts quickly age and "bigger is better". End result the cafe basket size has crept up from 14g. It also means that I could actually buy a 28g quad basket (not that I use it much these days - my 22g VSTs get more and better flavour at 22.8g dosage).

    Quote Originally Posted by level3ninja View Post
    Have you tried any older than 6 days? Some beans / roasts need longer to degas.
    Yep. I have found that the lighter the roast the longer is takes to come onstream. I suspect that is why very few cafes offer light to medium roasts - too hard to juggle the timing. I suspect that is why the odd denigrating "3rd wave wheatgrass" comments abound. FWIW, I smell the beans - if they have even the slightest whiff of green they are not ready.

    One other common inconsistent shot snafu sprang to mind.

    Most grinders use the weight of the beans to feed in properly. If you only put in the amount of beans you intend to grind into those grinders, two things happen
    1) The particle spread goes uneven
    2) The uneven spread makes the shot timing a lottery.

    Hope this helps.

    TampIt
    level3ninja, NmBeasy and zeezaw like this.

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