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  • beginners problems

    Appreciate help with a few problems - Just bought Gaggia Classic and Sunbeam 0480 Grinder.

    1. Grinder setting tried 15 and seemed ok . The portafilter was full but after light tamp(with useless plastic tamper) was 5/6mms below top . The shot lasted only about 9/10 secs was quite dark and afterwards there was water/mud pack mixture in portafilter. Any suggestions.

    2. There seems quite a lot of coffee left in grinder spout after grinding (if this was instant coffee  I could make 2 cups of coffee out of this ?

    3. Sunbeam state fill bean hopper befor grinding , but wont beans go stale as hopper cover is not airtight  ?

    4. I used plastic end on milk frother but it was hard to rotate it below surface of milk as the there is insufficent space (even after tilting milk jug) from machine to bench top - also after allowing heating milk  until jug is just too hot touch the milk produced adequate froth but added to the coffee seems  rather cool .

    Prevously with stove top coffee maker I  heated  milk in plastic container and use hand (battery operated ) frother with quite good results.

    Hope not too many questions but all help is very much appreciated for a new user.

    Gus

  • #2
    Re: beginners problems

    Welcome to Coffee Snobs pricespringer.

    I cant answer all your questions.

    1. Tap the PF onto a teatowel (I use a cork tile) to settle the grinds under their own weight then youll have room for more before tamping.

    2. Make sure the grinder is sitched off and use the cleaning brush to poke loose the grounds in the chute; catch them with the PF.

    3. I only put enough beans in for what I need right now.

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    • #3
      Re: beginners problems

      Hi Gus, the Sunbeam is a good grinder but a messy little b........r!! I only put enough beans in hopper for current use. Before putting fresh beans in tap the top of machine while running it and the stale grinds from last batch should fall out onto tray, I then grind fresh beans giving top of grinder the occasional love tap as some beans sit up the side of hopper.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: beginners problems - follow up

        Thanks for the replies to date.

        Would somebody like to comment on query 1 - re mudpuck in PF  as to its cause and remedies (not mudpack as I originally posted) and query 2 with difficulties in using milk frother in Gaggia  - i.e. should frothing be done before or after pulling shot bearing in mind Gaggia Classic is single boiler unit ?

        Gus

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: beginners problems

          Usual cause of wet muddy pucks is underdosing....
          tap pf on bench as suggested by TG will help.
          May also need finer grind, but work on dosing amount first.

          Always pull the shot first, then froth the milk.
          Helps to preheat your cup/glass so that the shot stays relatively warm while steaming milk.
          My first efforts at steaming were a bit on the cool side, till I got a milk thermometer, which are commonly available in kitchen-ware stores now. Usually stretch till around 30-40C, and stop steaming around 60-65C.

          As far as steaming technique with the Gaggia goes I cant help,
          but there are some other users on here who will be able to help you.

          Regards
          Bullitt

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: beginners problems

            I think bullitt has it with the dose, dosing is crucial to a good shot, generally you should see an imprint of the shower screen screw in your nice dry puck. Get your dose right and then adjust your grind until you get it right, get a decent tamper that fits the basket and before long you should be producing good espresso.
            When steaming milk I usually hold my hand under jug and when I cant hold hand there any longer its usually a good temp but not burnt.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: beginners problems

              re. mudpuck - possible solutions.

              Increase dose - if you feel more than normal resistance when locking the portafilter in though youve dosed too much. Should have imprint of showerscreen or screw in puck after brewing. Slight imprint of screen before brewing is ok too as long as its not crammed tightly against the showerscreen, just lightly touching it.

              Tamp harder

              Throw out useless plastic tamper and get a proper fitting one.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: beginners problems

                hi gus

                i recomend frothing the milk first , then pulling shot.
                if you do it the other way round the crema starts to disipate and the temp drops quicker
                the froth on top of the milk holds the heat in longer

                when using the standard steam arm and pannarella(black thing on end) when temp right for milk, open steam knob to let out excess water, submerse the pannarella as far into the milk as possible. hetato apporox 45 degrees then start to lower jug.
                stop when you reach 60 degrees if using cheap thermometers(<$50)
                the froth will separate and sit on top of the milk whilst it is sitting.
                to overcome this either keep milk swirling in jug or give it a good beat with a whisk. this will combine the milk and froth giving you a soft cremier froth
                milk jug no bigger than 600ml
                preheat cup and handle etc
                pour milkfroth into cup slowly trying not to damage the crema
                enjoy

                graham

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                • #9
                  Re: beginners problems ongoing saga

                  Absolutely no luck to date with shots . Using Sunbeam EM0480  grinder on 15(recommended) setting no shot at all. Adjusting setting to 18 produced a  slow darkish shot. The puck produced was wet and dark.  Filled P/F as recommended/levelled off /tamped lightly - with Gaggia Classic sometimes a little difficult to align P/F to lock into brewing head.   Milk frothed and left jug until just to hot to handle about one minute but still coffee cold - heated coffee in micro wave for 30 seconds to be acceptable.
                  Huge effort to produce coffee - much  easier with stovetop pot coffee .  The grinder is messy/wasteful and the c/machine shots seem to be so tempermental in fact at the moment quite hopeless .I was hoping for more from Gaggia after the recomendations . I would hope that I dont have to have different grinding settings each time I buy a new batch of coffee beans.

                  Going back(next week) to where I bought machine and hoping a demo will indicate where I am going wrong .

                  Sorry for all the ranting - but not having much fun at present.

                  Hope somebdy can help.

                  Gussy

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: beginners problems

                    Use the plastic container that came with the machine to grind into then pour grinds into portafilter over knock box, this will eliminate the grinder mess issue. When I use my Sunbeam its usually around 12-14 mark for Silvia.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: beginners problems ongoing saga

                      Originally posted by pricespringer link=1206874120/0#8 date=1207209735
                      I would hope that I dont have to have different grinding settings each time I buy a new batch of coffee beans.

                      Gussy
                      Well Im sorry to have to say this but yes, each time you change beans....

                      also as the beans age....

                      also as the humidity changes....

                      To get a good espresso you have to change the grind A LOT!!! - there is no way around that....

                      If you sit in a cafe where they serve quality coffee and watch - you will often see them tweaking the grind setting...

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: beginners problems ongoing saga

                        Originally posted by JavaB link=1206874120/0#10 date=1207210950
                        Originally posted by pricespringer link=1206874120/0#8 date=1207209735
                         I would hope that I dont have to have different grinding settings each time I buy a new batch of coffee beans.

                        Gussy
                        Well Im sorry to have to say this but yes, each time you change beans....

                        also as the beans age....

                        also as the humidity changes....

                        To get a good espresso you have to change the grind A LOT!!! - there is no way around that....

                        If you sit in a cafe where they serve quality coffee and watch - you will often see them tweaking the grind setting...
                        With due respect I havent  a clue how a novice could check for all this

                        Say the grind looks ok - the beans have kept in airtight container ? humdity? I am sure I couldnt be discerning as this - I have never seen tweaking the grinder setting as coffee machine is not facing the customer - usually the barista operation is quick and mostly not visible to customer.  I feel its a bit like wine- I know if I drink a rubbishy bottle @$4 but can find quite good acceptable brands ranging from $9 - $15. What I am saying I am not sure that I could know how to adjust for the factors you state from an eye test only.  

                        Thanks anyway - it still doesnt help why the puck was wet and muddy - will wait until
                        I get a demo on my machine . Maybe I will go back to cafe coffee

                        Gussy

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: beginners problems ongoing saga

                          Originally posted by pricespringer link=1206874120/0#11 date=1207212817

                          With due respect I havent a clue how a novice could check for all this

                          Gussy
                          Gussy,

                          You dont need to check all those things..... just be aware they will need to be taken into account.

                          The golden rule of espresso making is to extract 30ml in 25 seconds from a single basket or 60ml in 25 seconds from a double basket....

                          The rate of extraction is determined by:

                          The quantity of coffee
                          How hard you compress the coffee (tamping)
                          How fine the grind is.....

                          Now two of these you can keep constant without too many problems...

                          Quantity - use either a scoop to gauge the volume (or the amount in the basket) or even weigh the amount to make sure it is the same each time...

                          Tamping - aim for about 13.5 Kg.... practice this on a set of bathroom scales until it is the same every time....

                          Grind size.... OK the only variable left!!!
                          If the 30ml comes out in less time - 15 seconds say- then it is too coarse - adjust your grinder a little finer.....
                          If the 30ml comes out in 40 seconds - your grind is too fine - make it coarser....

                          You dont need to worry why the time is wrong.... just note that it is wrong and make a small adjustment in the right direction to correct it.... That does mean occasionally (especially when you change beans) the first shot might have to go down the drain.... but you will rapidly get a "feel" for what is needed.... and do it instinctively.

                          Coffee making is an art.... not a science..... and just like any art it depends on the person doing it having a feeling and a passion for what they are doing...

                          If coffee is made mechanically, just grind however, stuff it in a basket and push some water through.... it wont be even decent coffee.... This is what the super automatic machines do...

                          But for quality coffee.... you need passion and put in the effort required - and you will be rewarded.

                          And good luck getting help from where you purchased the machine (if a normal retail outlet). They quite possibly know less about the machine than you do..... and Im not joking!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: beginners problems

                            Im having similar problems (bought new machine 2 weeks ago). First I was blaming plastic tamper and was waiting to get proper one. Pullman tamper arrived and there are some improvements but its still far from good shot. I can make great crema (it looks great to me anyway) but unfortunately Im not drinking milk coffee
                            So my suggestion is get yourself proper tamper, couple of kilos of fresh coffee and start playing (thats what Im doing right now and if I don’t  succeed,  Ill come back here and scream for help   )

                            Mario

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: beginners problems

                              I
                              f coffee is made mechanically, just grind however, stuff it in a basket and push some water through.... it wont be even decent coffee.... This is what the super automatic machines do...

                              But for quality coffee.... you need passion and put in the effort required - and you will be rewarded.
                              your right it needs passion
                              some of the super automatics can make as good a short black as a commercial machine
                              it depends on the passion and knowhow of the person who sets up the machine
                              the passion of the person who cleans the machine
                              and the passion of the person who services the machine

                              a lot of the crap put on automatics is due to the machine not being set up correctly, (taken out of the box and still on factory test settings) largely due to lack of knowledge, passion or care

                              graham

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