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Thread: Espresso Shot Issues

  1. #1
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    Espresso Shot Issues

    Hi All, looking for a bit of advice. I have a Bezzera Bz99 (not plumbed) and a Eureka Atom grinder. I have been having real trouble getting my shots right since getting the Eureka. My shots are coming out a bit watery with little to no crema and are sour. The coffee I'm using is fresh roasted to order and I start using it no earlier than 10 days after roast date. I'm using the espresso parts double portafilter dosing 16g and measuring with a brewista scale (if I do 18g the Puck has a mark from the shower screen screw). I do a cooking flush before pulling the shot. The shots are producing 32g in 25 seconds.
    So, what am I doing wrong/what should I change?

    Thank in advance,

    Nick

  2. #2
    Senior Member WhatEverBeansNecessary's Avatar
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    First I think both the grinder and machine are more than capable of producing great tasting coffee, unless there is something broken with them. Do you still have your old grinder as back up you could do some tests on to rule it out?

    25 sec is slightly too fast, but not unreasonable. Might make it a little sour. Can you grind finer to get somewhere over the 30 sec mark? Maybe look to the extreme and hit 40 sec? Aim for a 30g shot in 30 seconds and see if this is better in flavour.

    Have you descaled the machine recently? I don't think the Bz99's have a pressure gauge, so the water temp/pressure may not be right. 9/10 times a descale will fix this.

    Finally, what beans are you using? Some types produce significantly less crema than others. If need be, pop down to your local and grab some 'house' blend beans for a test. Most cafe's 'house' blend will generally produce an all round okay quality coffee with at least some crema.

    There are lots and lots of variables that could affect the shot. But if you nail the basics of 30 in 30 you are well on your way.

    If nothing else works then maybe get someone to look at the machine and service it. Could be a pressure stat or anything else. But save your cash and eliminate anything you can before going down that path.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by WhatEverBeansNecessary View Post
    First I think both the grinder and machine are more than capable of producing great tasting coffee, unless there is something broken with them. Do you still have your old grinder as back up you could do some tests on to rule it out?

    25 sec is slightly too fast, but not unreasonable. Might make it a little sour. Can you grind finer to get somewhere over the 30 sec mark? Maybe look to the extreme and hit 40 sec? Aim for a 30g shot in 30 seconds and see if this is better in flavour.

    Have you descaled the machine recently? I don't think the Bz99's have a pressure gauge, so the water temp/pressure may not be right. 9/10 times a descale will fix this.

    Finally, what beans are you using? Some types produce significantly less crema than others. If need be, pop down to your local and grab some 'house' blend beans for a test. Most cafe's 'house' blend will generally produce an all round okay quality coffee with at least some crema.

    There are lots and lots of variables that could affect the shot. But if you nail the basics of 30 in 30 you are well on your way.

    If nothing else works then maybe get someone to look at the machine and service it. Could be a pressure stat or anything else. But save your cash and eliminate anything you can before going down that path.
    Yes both machines are awesome, really love them. I have my old grinder, which I have used for this same coffee, Bellisimo Mocha Java. It definitely produced more crema and would pull 32g closer to 30secs.

    I have tried going finer with grind but when I do this I don't have any espresso coming out for around 15 seconds. Seems like that's a bit too long?

    You're correct mate no pressure gauge unfortunately. It was descaled late last year but I could do that tonight and see how it goes tomorrow morning.

    Regards,

    Nick

  4. #4
    Senior Member WhatEverBeansNecessary's Avatar
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    Worth giving the old grinder another go side by side with the Atom (with the same beans etc). Will tell you if it's the grinder doing something funky or pointing toward the Bezerra.

    15 sec is maybe a little bit long, but not terrible I don't think. Maybe 5-10 is more universal, but it's not out of the ballpark.

    Will be interesting to see the results of the grinders side by side and before/after a descale.
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    Quote Originally Posted by WhatEverBeansNecessary View Post
    Worth giving the old grinder another go side by side with the Atom (with the same beans etc). Will tell you if it's the grinder doing something funky or pointing toward the Bezerra.

    15 sec is maybe a little bit long, but not terrible I don't think. Maybe 5-10 is more universal, but it's not out of the ballpark.

    Will be interesting to see the results of the grinders side by side and before/after a descale.
    I will do a side by side tonight after descaling and go from there. Hopefully I can get to the bottom of it.

  6. #6
    Senior Member coffeechris's Avatar
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    How long after starting the shot are you seeing coffee come through the portafilter? I ask this as I too had a little "learning curve" adjusting my grinder when i first got it with my new machine. The grinder is the Eureka Zenith. I found shots were starting rather fast which lead me to chance a finer grind. Mine now start pouring at approx 8-10 sec.

    Chris

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    Could be brew temp or pressure. First, would check brew temp. Run water from head without handle. Should be >80.
    Pressure check is not as easy without equipment.

    Hope this is helpful. Good luck.

  8. #8
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    How much are you adjusting the Atom between this too quick setting and the taking too long to come out setting? What are the numbers? The Atom has relatively high retention compared to some other grinders so changes in the grind setting won't show up in the grinds for at least a double shot, maybe a little more. If it's drinkable I would suggest making a small change and then waiting at least 3-5 pours later to make the next change. Keep drinking the coffee. After a while you'll get used to how long it takes for a change to come through and can make them as needed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by coffeechris View Post
    How long after starting the shot are you seeing coffee come through the portafilter? I ask this as I too had a little "learning curve" adjusting my grinder when i first got it with my new machine. The grinder is the Eureka Zenith. I found shots were starting rather fast which lead me to chance a finer grind. Mine now start pouring at approx 8-10 sec.

    Chris
    About 10 seconds with the setting I have, going any finer its getting up around 15 seconds

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    Im no guru, but i read that it was the tamp that controlled the initial start of pour. So maybe suggesting a lighter tamp on a finer grind.

    I think you need to check the pressure too. Maybe its a bit low.

    My2c...not really qualified to comment...

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    Quote Originally Posted by level3ninja View Post
    How much are you adjusting the Atom between this too quick setting and the taking too long to come out setting? What are the numbers? The Atom has relatively high retention compared to some other grinders so changes in the grind setting won't show up in the grinds for at least a double shot, maybe a little more. If it's drinkable I would suggest making a small change and then waiting at least 3-5 pours later to make the next change. Keep drinking the coffee. After a while you'll get used to how long it takes for a change to come through and can make them as needed.
    Awesome advice, will start waiting a bit longer between changes. Currently sitting on about 2 1/4 on the dial.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jackster View Post
    Im no guru, but i read that it was the tamp that controlled the initial start of pour. So maybe suggesting a lighter tamp on a finer grind.

    I think you need to check the pressure too. Maybe its a bit low.

    My2c...not really qualified to comment...
    My worry is that because the shots are already pouring watery even with a finer grind that a lighter tamp will just make the shot more watery. But I will give it a whirl and see what happens.

  13. #13
    Senior Member CafeLotta's Avatar
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    Did you do the side by side with the old grinder? Assuming your issues started with the new grinder and you've ground finer to the point of choking your Bezerra, it might be worth re-visiting your dosing and tamping technique. The improved quality of the grind with the Eureka Atom could be highlighting some short comings in technique?

    Have you checked that you are not getting channeling? Easiest to do with a bottomless portafilter but sometimes inspecting the edges of the puck after extraction can show signs too.
    An overly loose fitting tamper can encourage channeling also.

    Check some YouTube videos for clues or maybe a refresher on dosing and tamping eg. -

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iqoYAD5TVRc

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kC508VQUc7k

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o3oSlZSXHog
    Last edited by Javaphile; 18th January 2018 at 04:46 PM. Reason: Commercial link removed

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by CafeLotta View Post
    Did you do the side by side with the old grinder? Assuming your issues started with the new grinder and you've ground finer to the point of choking your Bezerra, it might be worth re-visiting your dosing and tamping technique. The improved quality of the grind with the Eureka Atom could be highlighting some short comings in technique?

    Have you checked that you are not getting channeling? Easiest to do with a bottomless portafilter but sometimes inspecting the edges of the puck after extraction can show signs too.
    An overly loose fitting tamper can encourage channeling also.

    Check some YouTube videos for clues or maybe a refresher on dosing and tamping eg. -

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iqoYAD5TVRc

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kC508VQUc7k

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o3oSlZSXHog
    My dosing is always fairly consistent, at least in terms of the steps I take. I dose by weight and shake and tap with my hand 6-8 times to distribute before I tamp. I think some of the problem lies in my tamping technique and/or possibly the tamp itself. I have a standard 58mm tamp and there is a bit of wiggle room between it and the portafilter. Should I be considering a 58.3mm tamper? Using the espresso parts 58mm basket.

    I have checked out with a naked portafilter this morning. Not getting an doughnut effect or anything like that. I think maybe some channelling is happening around the outside. Are there any ways of improving this without getting a slightly bigger tamper?

    Really appreciate all the tips and videos, thank you

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    Quote Originally Posted by bosco View Post
    Could be brew temp or pressure. First, would check brew temp. Run water from head without handle. Should be >80.
    Pressure check is not as easy without equipment.

    Hope this is helpful. Good luck.
    I think I found one contributing factor. After descaling last night and letting the machine heat up uninterrupted for a bit longer than 30 minutes just to be sure. I measured the temp of the water straight away (without a cooling flush) and it read at 88 degrees c. This seems a tad low to me, is that correct? I only had it serviced on the 28th of August last year and they adjusted the brew temp then, I wouldn't think I would have to re-adjust this so soon?

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    Quote Originally Posted by nickrauksts View Post
    I think I found one contributing factor. After descaling last night and letting the machine heat up uninterrupted for a bit longer than 30 minutes just to be sure. I measured the temp of the water straight away (without a cooling flush) and it read at 88 degrees c. This seems a tad low to me, is that correct? I only had it serviced on the 28th of August last year and they adjusted the brew temp then, I wouldn't think I would have to re-adjust this so soon?

    I had the same issue with my BZ99. Upon measuring the brew temp using an insulated foam cup and an instant thermometer, my brew temp was too low. As a result all of my shots were sour and thin. To solve my issue I adjusted the pressurestat to get an initial temp of 92 degrees ramping up to as high as 94-96 degrees celcius. The BZ99 being a HX machine requires some sort of cooling flush depending on the type of beans that you. Higher extraction temps for lighter roasts and not as high for darker roasts is the general rule that I use. Of course, you only should change one variable at a time and keep tasting the coffee.
    nickrauksts likes this.

  17. #17
    Senior Member CafeLotta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nickrauksts View Post
    Should I be considering a 58.3mm tamper? ...........I think maybe some channelling is happening around the outside. Are there any ways of improving this without getting a slightly bigger tamper?
    You could try a modified tamp technique. Fill the filter with coffee grinds until it mounds. Give it a couple taps down onto the bench to collapse the mound. Grind until it mounds again. Gently level the coffee with your finger without compressing it, making sure you have even distribution and no pockets. A quick swipe to level off. Tamp down once with even pressure without twisting.

    Normally this is where you would stop. If you think you're getting edge channeling because of tamper size you can try this. Looking down on the filter visualize a clock face and the 12, 3, 6 & 9 o'clock positions. Position your tamper lightly against the inside of the filter basket at the 12 o'clock and try a 3/4 weight tamp straight down. Lift and re-position at the 6 o'clock and repeat tamp followed by 9 o'clock, then 3 o'clock position. Try an extraction and see how it goes. There is a risk of over doing the tamp but may help to diagnose channeling. The shot may not be the best but worth a try.

    With all the info coming your way take it back to basics. Originally you said that your issue started when you changed grinders even while still using the same beans. If the change was that instant it may be easy to get distracted from the real issue. Were you able to re-produce satisfactory results by going back to the old grinder? If not the machine may need to get checked for temp and pressure but before spending the money, go through some beans and make sure its not dosing, tamping and grind settings.

    Some time back when I changed grinders to a Compak K3, it took a frustratingly long time to come up to speed due to my inexperience with it. When I realised how little adjustment was required on the K3 to change the extraction I was on my way again.
    Last edited by CafeLotta; 18th January 2018 at 02:44 PM.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by GeoffSG View Post
    Upon measuring the brew temp using an insulated foam cup and an instant thermometer, my brew temp was too low.
    Unfortunately, this is not an accurate way to determine Brew Water Temperature. By the time it falls into the cup, it will have cooled considerably. If you possess a DMM that can utilise a Bead Type Thermocouple, it would be much better to load a Filter Basket with coffee as per normal, then site the t/c bead on top of the coffee puck prior to locking it in to the Group. You may have to lock it in a bit more firmly to prevent leakage but this won't hurt anything.

    Pull your shot as per normal and note the temperature being displayed. It may move around a bit but you should be able to record a temperature within a degree or so that will be quite accurate.

    All the best,
    Mal.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dimal View Post
    Unfortunately, this is not an accurate way to determine Brew Water Temperature. By the time it falls into the cup, it will have cooled considerably. If you possess a DMM that can utilise a Bead Type Thermocouple, it would be much better to load a Filter Basket with coffee as per normal, then site the t/c bead on top of the coffee puck prior to locking it in to the Group. You may have to lock it in a bit more firmly to prevent leakage but this won't hurt anything.

    Pull your shot as per normal and note the temperature being displayed. It may move around a bit but you should be able to record a temperature within a degree or so that will be quite accurate.

    All the best,
    Mal.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dimal View Post
    Unfortunately, this is not an accurate way to determine Brew Water Temperature. By the time it falls into the cup, it will have cooled considerably. If you possess a DMM that can utilise a Bead Type Thermocouple, it would be much better to load a Filter Basket with coffee as per normal, then site the t/c bead on top of the coffee puck prior to locking it in to the Group. You may have to lock it in a bit more firmly to prevent leakage but this won't hurt anything.

    Pull your shot as per normal and note the temperature being displayed. It may move around a bit but you should be able to record a temperature within a degree or so that will be quite accurate.

    All the best,
    Mal.
    Unfortunately I don't have a DMM. I have a really accurate thermometer for my smoker but it won't take a Bead Type Thermocouple. I'm guessing my reading from this morning is pretty far off then if it would have cooled a fair bit by time it hits the cup?
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  20. #20
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    I'd reckon if you're getting 88C in a styrofoam cup, then the brew water temp. won't be a mile off; might even be a bit hot...

    Mal.
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    Actually mine was lower than that. The method was from one of the other forums where you cut the bottom of a cup out, put that into a naked portafiller, make a hole at the bottom for the water to flow through and a hole for the probe on the side so that the probe is just under the shower screen. Anyway. If the shot is consistently sour as mine was it was fixed by increasing the temp.

  22. #22
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    I just tried the old grinder, with similar results.

    I almost gave up but had a breakthrough!

    I have no idea how this works but I just tried dialing in for the triple basket that I have. 22g in, 44g out, time was approx 30 seconds and it produced awesome crema and tastes amazing.

    While I'm still not happy that I can't figure out what's going on with the double basket (maybe need to play around with 14g doses), I'm stoked with the coffee I just had using the triple. More coffee in my cup is never a bad thing

    Thanks to everyone for your tips, tricks and advice. I think I need to book in for a course where I can take my machine and grinder and spend a day getting everything dialed in perfectly. Brisbane and Sunny Coast are 2.5hrs drive away but I think it may be worth it

    Nick
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    Good job mate. I admire your dedication. Hopefully, your shots only improve going forward.
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    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    Quote Originally Posted by bosco View Post
    Good job mate. I admire your dedication. Hopefully, your shots only improve going forward.
    Thanks mate. I've somehow gone from below par shots to one of the best coffees I've made with the Bezzera haha
    Coffee is a wonderful thing!
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