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  • Espresso diagnosis needed, please help!

    Merry Xmas CSers,

    Today should be a happy day but I find myself in espresso hell (or perhaps purgatory is a better description?).

    Ive been enjoying espresso from Ms. Silvia for about nine months now, making do with a sub-par grinder and tamper. Managed to produced decent espresso with that setup nevertheless.

    One would think I would be over the moon now that Ive acquired a (Mr?) Rocky to accompany Ms. Silvia and a beautiful, custom made Pullman tamper with matching Synesso baskets. I should be over the moon... except I cant seem to produce anything even remotely resembling espresso.

    Your assistance would be appreciated in diagnosing where Im going wrong with my technique, which is roughly as follows:

    - Grinding about 22g of fresh beans directly into portafilter with Rocky at a grind setting of 5
    - Settle grinds with 2-3 taps on the bench, one mid-grind, the others post-grind
    - Levelling off grinds and dumping the excess
    - Firm ~15kg tamp

    The result is almost always 10-15 second gushers, and the sad part is that I get excited when I manage to draw it out as long as 15 seconds .

    Obviously the full 22g doesnt make it into the portafilter, but my hope is that the process of settling the grinds and levelling off the excess should consistently give me around about the right dose.

    Another observation is that the grind setting of 5 seems too fine (since my burrs touch one step lower at a setting of 4). Sadly, any higher grind setting and the result is catastrophic. Like Niagara falls, only with crema.

    This is a personal tragedy for me. I can just feel Ms Silvia, Mr Rocky and Mr Pullman Tamper rolling their eyes and making disparaging remarks about me behind my back :-[.

    Help!

  • #2
    Re: Espresso diagnosis needed, please help!

    Originally posted by 444A4E534F4455210 link=1261691767/0#0 date=1261691767
    Merry Xmas CSers,

    Today should be a happy day but I find myself in espresso hell (or perhaps purgatory is a better description?).

    Ive been enjoying espresso from Ms. Silvia for about nine months now, making do with a sub-par grinder and tamper.  Managed to produced decent espresso with that setup nevertheless.

    One would think I would be over the moon now that Ive acquired a (Mr?) Rocky to accompany Ms. Silvia and a beautiful, custom made Pullman tamper with matching Synesso baskets. I should be over the moon... except I cant seem to produce anything even remotely resembling espresso.  

    Your assistance would be appreciated in diagnosing where Im going wrong with my technique, which is roughly as follows:

    - Grinding about 22g of fresh beans directly into group handle with Rocky at a grind setting of 5
    - Settle grinds with 2-3 taps on the bench, one mid-grind, the others post-grind
    - Levelling off grinds and dumping the excess
    - Firm ~15kg tamp

    The result is almost always 10-15 second gushers, and the sad part is that I get excited when I manage to draw it out as long as 15 seconds .

    Obviously the full 22g doesnt make it into the group handle, but my hope is that the process of settling the grinds and levelling off the excess should consistently give me around about the right dose.

    Another observation is that the grind setting of 5 seems too fine (since my burrs touch one step lower at a setting of 4).  Sadly, any higher grind setting and the result is catastrophic.  Like Niagara falls, only with crema.

    This is a personal tragedy for me.  I can just feel Ms Silvia, Mr Rocky and Mr Pullman Tamper rolling their eyes and making disparaging remarks about me behind my back  :-[.
    Help!
    Where are you... Nth Side or Sth Side...

    I have my Rocky now spare... Setting is at 18 ( It means nought)...

    Chance that we could catch up ?  Sunday ???

    1: My first thought is beans... and then BEANS..

    2: If too fine it will choke... However with stale beans even fine will gush.. Until you go that next step.

    I forgot to roast, as was away...  Thus have no real supply of quality beans..

    So other than the BEANS... And maybe a meat up... Can not offer any thing other than.. Merry- Caffeine free x-mas.

    [edit]Looking back, when did the gushers start and what changed ?[/edit]


    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Espresso diagnosis needed, please help!

      Originally posted by 16393032251A36393630323A323923570 link=1261691767/1#1 date=1261692915
      what changed ?
      My first suspicion is the beans.

      But what has changed?

      Try the old grinder and tamper again with the same beans and tell us what happens.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Espresso diagnosis needed, please help!

        I agree with AM about the beans.

        Its either that or your new baskets are of a larger capacity and you havnt compensated for the extra?

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Espresso diagnosis needed, please help!

          Originally posted by 122B353B01195E0 link=1261691767/3#3 date=1261697208
          Its either that or your new baskets are of a larger capacity and you havnt compensated for the extra?  
          Im not sure you are right here Luke.
          If you use a larger basket the extra coffee will slow down the pour.

          The new baskets would have to be smaller to create a gusher; all other things being equal.
          However too many variables have changed at once here:
          *Grinder
          *Basket
          *Tamper(?)

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Espresso diagnosis needed, please help!

            Yeah good point Thundergod!

            BUT not if he is only putting 15gs in a 21 gram basket?

            I shouldnt be answering qustions as soon as i get outa bed lol

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Espresso diagnosis needed, please help!

              Originally posted by 6E5749477D65220 link=1261691767/5#5 date=1261698617
              Yeah good point Thundergod!

              BUT not if he is only putting 15gs in a 21 gram basket?

              I shouldnt be answering qustions as soon as i get outa bed lol
              Ya need coffee and a back rub first ;D

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Espresso diagnosis needed, please help!

                Originally posted by 1C253B350F17500 link=1261691767/5#5 date=1261698617
                Yeah good point Thundergod!

                BUT not if he is only putting 15gs in a 21 gram basket?
                Originally posted by 353B3F223E3524500 link=1261691767/0#0 date=1261691767
                Grinding about 22g of fresh beans directly into group handle with Rocky at a grind setting of 5

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Espresso diagnosis needed, please help!

                  Originally posted by 7F435E454F4E594C444F2B0 link=1261691767/7#7 date=1261700955
                  Originally posted by 1C253B350F17500 link=1261691767/5#5 date=1261698617
                  Yeah good point Thundergod!

                  BUT not if he is only putting 15gs in a 21 gram basket?
                  Originally posted by 353B3F223E3524500 link=1261691767/0#0 date=1261691767
                  Grinding about 22g of fresh beans directly into group handle with Rocky at a grind setting of 5
                  Interesting... Need to get scales... Every one seems to think that say a lot :-/

                  Grind and Dose levels followed by how hard ya tamping says more to me...

                  Unless ya have some background as to teh basket size and the gram levels that one might have previously used... If teh same... Then BEANS are the obvious change..

                  WHY...

                  Cause Beans always change... Age and roast...

                  It is not like ya can warranty an ongoing batch with teh exact same performance day in day out... Without some minor adjustments to the three main user issues... Grind / Dose / Tamp.

                  Yes, equipment can come into play... But one assumes... A smaller chance...

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Espresso diagnosis needed, please help!

                    AM Ive already agreed with you that the beans are suspect.

                    However everything now is conjecture until the squirrel tells us everything thats changed.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Espresso diagnosis needed, please help!

                      Originally posted by 4579647F757463767E75110 link=1261691767/9#9 date=1261702895
                      AM Ive already agreed with you that the beans are suspect.

                      However everything now is conjecture until the squirrel tells us everything thats changed.

                      ROFLMAO.......  TG you crack me up some times  

                      Not holding my breath... Squirrels known to get side tracked when lots of nuts around  ;D  After all, it is x-mas time... hic   :-?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Espresso diagnosis needed, please help!

                        Eveyone

                        thanks for the replies

                        agree I need to do some more investigation on what has changed

                        and yes... Did get sidetracked by nuts today ....

                        Will report back in the next day or so.

                        If its the beans perhaps Ill need to start dropping hints to my mrs about the advantages of a roasting setup

                        Tee hee!

                        *Hic*

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Espresso diagnosis needed, please help!

                          Two suggestions - take a video for proper diagnosis - there is no shortage of experts here and the 5 minutes it takes to film it might well be worth your time.

                          Secondly, change only one variable at a time. Sounds logical? Well sometimes its easy to get excited and change your tamp as well as tapping the PF that one extra time. Resist temptation. ONE variable only.

                          15kg tells you nothing, I have found. Tamp harder til you get a 30 second shot. Taste and refine from there.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Espresso diagnosis needed, please help!

                            p.s surely your tamper deserves a better name than Mr Pullman tamper

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Espresso diagnosis needed, please help!

                              Decaffeinated Squirrel reporting another sting of failures here

                              Thanks for the advice, tashie. Sadly, no matter how hard I tamp, still achieve only gushers...

                              ...that was, until I changed back to my old grinder this morning (a Saeco MC-2002). Managed a few decent shots on the Saeco, so logic tells me this isnt about the beans...

                              Odd thing is that my Saeco (which by all accounts, and personal experience, is a piece of junk) seems to be capable of a much finer grind than my Rocky. Ran the two side by side and compared the fineness of grind by hand, and the Rocky at a 5 setting (just one step above the burrs touching at 4) produced a notably coarser grind than the Saeco. Kept all other factors (basket, does, tamper and tamp) as constant as I could manage.


                              Logic tells me my problem is about one of two things. Either shifting to the Rocky requires some adjustment to my technique... or... my Rocky is f****d. Latter seems unlikely though since its brand new...

                              There is a third possibility... which if its the culprit Im going to feel very embarrassed about...

                              You know that plastic guard that sits in the hopper of the Rocky just above where the beans fall into the grinding mechanism? Well I thought it was a pain in the butt as I kept having beans get stuck in the holes where the screw goes etc... so I removed it. Assumed it was just something to protect idiots from sticking their fingers into the grinding mechanism...

                              Somebody please tell me this has nothing to do with it. Cant imagine how that piece of plastic could in any way affect the process, but that could be my ignorance speaking.

                              ...actually... somebody please tell me this is in fact the problem so I can just put the grinder back to its original state and start enjoying my espresso again.

                              These holidays really are going to suck if I dont fix this soon....

                              *Cry*

                              Comment

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