Need help troubleshooting my shot
I was just wondering if someone could help me do some trouble shooting.
I'm very new to this. Got my first machine yesterday after using a Map pod machine for the last year and instant before that.
I picked up a Sunbeam mini barista, em4300.
Tried to make my first shot and it tasted horrible. Worse than any pod or instant before.
It had a crema, but as I understand it that's just a result of the pressurised filters. It was bitter beyond belief, with no other flavours I could taste.
At the Cafe, the bean I'm using is full bodied, smooth, very little acidity, a slight bitterness at the back of your tongue and a really nice chocolate hint.
It's the Ogranico bean from Merlo. They ground it at 4.7 on thier machines. I rushed home and poured my first shot. So maybe 15 minutes after being ground.
I measured out 16g of coffee into the single basket but the machine is so unbelievably tight I couldn't muscle the portafilter at all... I heard scary plastic sounds coming from where I was having the machine. So I switched to the double basket and was able to get it in easier. The basket looked filled to the right height this time.
I put it on for a single shoot and timed the poor at only eight seconds. As I said, the pour was very very dark and extremely bitter.
I know the pour is too short. Should I program in a 20 second pour or try the double shot?
When I measured the single shot water volume, without any coffee, it was about 35mm. Seems almost too much.
Anyway, long story short, I have no idea what I'm doing.
35ml is reasonable, but certainly not in 8 seconds.
A good rule of thumb is 30ml in 30 sec from 15g.
So fine up the grind a little and try again.
its probably not going to be an easy fix, using pre ground beans although fresh from a roaster. I used to get merlo to grind at a 4.2 for an old breville i had.
Since the coffee is already ground the only adjustment you have left is the dose of coffee in the basket. You need to leave a little head room between the coffee puck and the shower screen,
to allow for the coffee to expand. Try using a 5cent coin on top the the dry puck after tamping lock it into the grouphead then remove it should only leave a small impression, indicating a gap.
Jamming the handle around is really only pushing the coffee puck into the shower screen.
To be honest you will struggle to get something drinkable without buying a basic home grinder like the breville smart grinder.
Keep posting though,
Thanks for the replies :-)
I'll try a finer grind. I have some 3.7 merlo I packed my pods with. It'll be stale of course, but it'll be good to experiment with timing wise. It'll indicate the direction I need to go for my next grind at least.
Would tamping on the 4.7 make any difference?
The five cent tip is good. I'll try that too, thanks. ☺ I definitely would have been jamming the portafilter in on the single basket, but the double basket + coffee went it just the same as when the basket is empty. The head is just really really stiff. Apparently common on the low end Sunbeams.
I'll definitely get a grinder soon. May just have to wait to next month due to cash flow. Thinking of just grabbing a Hario hand grinder. I don't mind doing it myself.
I was thinking though, surely the coffee, only just ground, should still taste better than the stuff that been sitting in the pre-packaged pods for months? Or instant?
Agree. Fresh ground from the cafe will taste better but it will be fresh for really only a few hours at best.
A grinder will make things much better. Have a look around here for a second hand entry level grinder.
Thanks for the reply!
I had a look on the forums but there nothing for sale right now. I'll keep an eye on it though. ☺
I went back to Merlo and the lady was really nice. She ground me some more coffee at 4.0 and said to just come back if it's still not right.
I had much better results on the 4.0. It still seems to be a tad to fine though. I'm thinking 4.2 might be the sweet spot.
At any rate, the last cup of coffee was actually drinkable with a little milk. So it's a step in the right direction.
The only thing I find a little interesting is that they either don't know what a pressurised filter basket is, or they tell you they are fine to use, at Merlo, depending on who you speak too. I'm too clueless to deal with this conflicting info! ;-)