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Thread: New to everything, holey puck problems

  1. #1
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    New to everything, holey puck problems

    Hi All,

    Firstly thank you everyone who's contributed to make this site such a great resource.
    I've spent a lot of time reading on here the past few weeks as I've researched and bought my first machine and all the bits to go with it.

    2KG of coffee later I'm starting to pull some nice shots, but I seem to still struggle with what I think is channeling in the puck, see photo below:
    https://imgur.com/a/plRvj

    Equipment:
    Expobar Minore IV (vib pump), Pesado shower screen, Pesado double portafilter, VST 20g ridged basket
    Eureka Atom
    Pesado tamper
    LW Blind Shaker

    Beans: five senses dark horse (roasted 31-Oct)
    D: 20g, Y: 40g, T: 25-28s
    5 second pre-infusion (pre-wet? I think because the vib pump doesn't reach line pressure..)
    Temp: 94 degrees C
    Pressure: 9 bar

    Taste: strong... not unpleasant but a little boring compared to the sweetness I've tasted from this bean in my local cafe.

    I was just reading about the coin test so I'll try that tomorrow, anything else I should try to fix the puck?

    Cheers,
    David

  2. #2
    Senior Member flynnaus's Avatar
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    Patience grasshopper. It took me quite a while to be able to pour consistent shots. Keep trying and watch your distribution especially in the area near where the handle connects to the portafilter. Think about investing in a bottomless portafilter to help diagnose uneven extraction. you can also try adjusting the grind and the brew temperature
    As you don't have the same espresso machine and grinder as your local cafe, you won't necessarily get the same results but you can still get great results.
    Last edited by flynnaus; 10th November 2017 at 10:13 PM.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member level3ninja's Avatar
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    What are your habits with grinding, from start to finish of the day, do you purge? How many shot do you make in a session? How many sessions a day? How do you site the beans? How much do you keep in the hopper?
    How do you distribute? and tamp?

    You say this is your first machine, what experience do you have making coffee before this?

    Best yet upload a video to YouTube and post the link here of you making a shot how you normally do, that'll be the quickest way.

    Also did you get the recipe from your local cafe? If you're not using the same recipe it probably won't taste the same.

  4. #4
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Also, some one-on-one training would give you a huge leg-up in getting up to speed quickly...
    Quite a few reputable specialist retailers run basic barista courses and are well worth attending.

    Mal.

  5. #5
    Senior Member level3ninja's Avatar
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    Another thought, if it's just a little boring, it might just be a little overextracted. To reduce extraction grind slightly coarser, or lower temperature to 93 or even 92, tamp a little lighter... Is your preinfusion part of the 25-28 or additional to?

  6. #6
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    Agree with flynnaus a naked portafilter will assist with correcting any problems with distribution and tamping.

    I have a similar setup to you. Minore IV, IMS screen, Rocket naked portafilter, 20g VST basket.

    I get a little clumping from my grinder so I grind into a container and breakup my grinds before filling basket and tamping.

    This routine gives even extraction. I can monitor the results at the other end of the naked portafilter.

    My beans at the moment are Padre Coffee DG, my recipe is 20g in 40g out. Time 35 secs from time lever is activated.

    I have gone out to 45 secs with good results, shorter times however, give thin under extracted pours. At 35 seconds, I get a thick, syrup like pour.

    Results have been consistent from one bean to another, with minimal adjustment of the grind.

    I drink my coffee with milk so more forgiving than espresso shots.

    The best advice here is to go "naked".

    Sam.

  7. #7
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    It just struck me that I never came back and replied to this thread, oops!
    Just after posting I bought a house and baby number 3 arrived, so life has been eventful lately

    Thanks for all the replies, you all kick started me off on a lot more research and testing. It turned out I was facing a multitude of issues, so I'll go through them for anyone else starting out with this machine.

    First, the US sites (and local distributor) recommended 10 bar with a blind basket, to give 9 bar at extraction. I was getting this but only for a few seconds then it would start dropping back to 8 bar for majority of the shot. Some UK users mentioned 11, even 11.5 so I started experimenting. The guys at Five Senses were super helpful also - suggesting with this particular machine you shouldn't trust the gauge entirely and feel free to experiment. So it turns out for this machine (or maybe just mine?) 11 bar blind is the go.
    I then dial it in for:
    D: 20g
    Y: 42-44g (depending on the bean)
    T: 27-30 seconds

    This ramps up to a pressure of ~10 bar for a few seconds, then drops to 9 bar for the majority of the shot. What a difference!

    Secondly, I was at first attempting to single dose with the Atom grinder, big no no. I've found it's super consistent when the hopper is about 40% full or more. As it starts getting low the shots go all over the place.

    Third, I was grinding straight into the 20g VST basket, with some beans this would pile well over the top and it was hard to distribute it nicely before tamping - even with an OCD. I got an Orphan Espresso dosing funnel and problem solved. Now it's easy to pile it right in the middle, give it some vertical taps if needed with the funnel still on top to level it out, then remove the funnel and tap until even then OCD (mostly to satisfy my own OCD I think - not sure there's any difference in taste

    I've tried nearly all of Five Senses blends and singles, some I haven't been able to dial in, most have been nice. Tightrope, El Durazno and Leonid Ramirez however, have been out of this world. As good, possibly better than the best I've ever had out at my favorite cafe on their $30k Synnesso - so that I am pretty impressed with!
    The kilos of coffee down the drain, hours and hours on youtube and forums like this one, now all seems worthwhile.
    Matt from Barista Hustle has also been a great resource.

    Entertaining is now a joy and being able to start each morning with amazing coffee is a life changer!
    Thanks again to everyone making CS such a great resource.
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  8. #8
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    Oh and in regard to the naked portafilter, I did get one and it was helpful to diagnose my distribution and tamping, however I'm mostly making single espressos for two, so I got a Pesado double portafilter and that's been perfect.
    Dimal and Yelta like this.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by flynnaus View Post
    As you don't have the same espresso machine and grinder as your local cafe, you won't necessarily get the same results but you can still get great results.
    I would venture to say, with a little practice and a supply of fresh quality beans, in most cases you will get superior results.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yelta View Post
    I would venture to say, with a little practice and a supply of fresh quality beans, in most cases you will get superior results.
    The main difference between the 2 would be at home you make one or two coffees. It’s far more difficult to produce consistent quality with a docket run full and a line out the door for a few hrs.
    Not impossible, I think I do a pretty good job, but much different to home use

  11. #11
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    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    Quote Originally Posted by dbaus View Post
    Secondly, I was at first attempting to single dose with the Atom grinder, big no no. I've found it's super consistent when the hopper is about 40% full or more. As it starts getting low the shots go all over the place.

    Most grinders are gravity fed and rely on a minimum weight for consistency, itís achievable with less but easier with more beans in the hopper.

    You can grind straight into any basket, a few light taps during grind time will settle the grounds enough that the wonít spill over.

    Also your fav cafes with their high end machines need much more from the machines. With the majority of coffees being large milk drinks you need temp stability and steam(amongst other things). I can turn on the steam at work, walk away for lunch & itíll still be producing steam after lunch. No problems. Commercial machines need much more consistency than home machines
    Last edited by Ronin; 27th February 2018 at 08:02 PM. Reason: Spellcheck

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