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  • Check out my puck!

    hey guys

    had a bad pour this morning and had a look at my puck after. not pretty. can anyone help diagnose problems?


  • #2
    Re: Check out my puck!

    A tectonic plate under your house moved half way through your extraction.....

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Check out my puck!

      Originally posted by 150A0D0E07110A0D16030E0D1407620 link=1305758156/1#1 date=1305758322
      A tectonic plate under your house moved half way through your extraction.....
      Haha. yes thats true - its a natural disaster in my portafilter!

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Check out my puck!

        realised i didnt put any details in.  might help![list bull-greenball][*]Pour was uneven - flowed fast from left spout and right spout was probably a quarter of the speed
        [*] Extraction was pretty bitter - even with milk[/list]

        Not quite sure what went wrong - not much different except new bean

        using WDT and tamp looked level to the eye.  I guess this is what you call "severe channelling"!

        thanks for helping a newbie out

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Check out my puck!

          Are you using standard Filter Baskets "iggs", i.e. non-pressurised?

          Looks to me as if the distribution was quite a ways off, despite using the so-called WDT method. Also may be a little under-dosed.

          Can you describe the method you use to dose, distribute (before applying the WDT) and tamp your coffee before locking the Group Handle in? Also, when you lock the prepared GH into the Group and then unlock (without pouring a shot), can you see any disturbance to the top of the coffee cake?

          Mal.

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          • #6
            Re: Check out my puck!

            hi mal

            thanks for reply

            using depressurised baskets modified by Gregwormald

            also i think you are right with the underdosing because when i lock in the pf, there is no disturbance

            recently been experimenting with my method and WDT (maybe i should go back to non WDT haha)

            right now method is...

            [olist][*]grind directly into basket (using bottom cut off plastic cup as per WDT) until full.  [*]stir grinds with paper clip [*]tap on knock box bar to settle[*]grind more into basket until mound forms[*]stir grinds with paper clip[*]tap on knock box bar to settle[*]level off with finger using some sort of NSEW method [*]light tamp with pf on edge of benchtop then check if level[*]hard final tamp
            [/olist]

            other things to note
            there is no tap on side of pf in between tamps
            Recently i changed from a wooden skewer to paper clip

            anyway this process is sort of made up from info from all over - very experimental and far from perfect. 

            any tips for my dose, distribute, tamp?

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            • #7
              Re: Check out my puck!

              Gregs modified baskets look pretty good so that wont be an issue.... 8-)

              With regard to the WDT, I really prefer to use what is already in my hands rather than go through all this extra fiddling but I guess if it helps you out, well then thats OK.

              Dont know if youve ever heard about a Nutating Action with the Tamper - The same sort of motion you see when a spinning top has lost enough momentum that the top of it starts to scribe a circular path while the point remains stationary on the floor. This is what Ive been using for yonks and it takes but seconds to apply immediately before the proper tamp. Theres quite a discussion about this in Home Barista with "Another Jim" aka Jim Schulman and might be worth reading. Also, it is best to only tamp once rather than one light one and then the real tamp. Less disturbance to the coffee cake.

              What sort of Tamper are you using iggs? If its something substantial (not plastic) then you should be able to develop a technique that allows you to apply a level tamp all in one go by referring to some kind of datum on the tamper itself. I spose you could engrave a reference line around the perimeter of the tamper base near the top edge that could be used for a reference. Little things like this might help you develop a more efficient and consistent technique.

              Just back to the Dose.... After tamping, locking in the Group Handle and unlocking again, you should notice just the barest impression of the shower-screen, just touching the top of the tamped coffee surface. At the most, you dont really want any more than 1.0-1.5mm clearance between the two. Some people recommend sitting a five cent piece on top of the tamped coffee and adjusting the dose until such time as the coin is just very slightly pressed into the surface after locking-in/unlocking. Which ever method you use, you need to develop a technique that allows you to fill the Filter Basket consistently to the same level and one that can be employed within an efficient routine. Less to go wrong then...

              Anyway mate, hope some of this is helpful. The Nutating Tamp discussion on Home Barista is an interesting read too, even if you dont think its what you want to use. In the end, its what ever you can make work for you, in the simplest and most efficient manner. All the best,

              Mal.

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              • #8
                Re: Check out my puck!

                Grind too coarse??? :-/

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                • #9
                  Re: Check out my puck!

                  thanks for all the advice mal (and JDCrema, the grind seems to be fine enough, thx)

                  this morning got rid of all the fiddly extras and went back to grinding direct to basket, tapping to settle and then one firm tamp. 

                  pour was much better! - still slightly uneven (right side spout slower) but i attribute that to my dodgy tamping skills which still is causing a not quite level tamp.

                  mal - will do some more reading on nutating tamp - sounds a bit scary!  but if it works for you it must be alright my tamper is a solid di bartoli one (see avatar) so can do the job

                  will keep an eye on my dosing too!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Check out my puck!

                    Originally posted by 2729293760392120294E0 link=1305758156/8#8 date=1305937840
                    thanks for all the advice mal (and JDCrema, the grind seems to be fine enough, thx)
                    Hope you get it sorted,
                    I only made my suggestion as everything else you outlined would appear that you are doing everything right (without seeing your technique)
                    I wanted to add a shoulder shrug emoticon to my comment but coudn t find one 

                    Good luck

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Check out my puck!

                      Originally posted by 212F2F31663F27262F480 link=1305758156/8#8 date=1305937840
                      mal -  will do some more reading on nutating tamp - sounds a bit scary!  but if it works for you it must be alright my tamper is a solid di bartoli one (see avatar) so can do the job
                      Sounds like its starting to come together mate 8-).... The important thing to remember as you develop your technique, is to only do small single changes at a time. That way, if the change doesnt do what you expect, you can easily revert back to your previous method and rethink what youre trying to achieve.

                      The nutating tamp isnt scary at all.... Its just one of those things that takes five minutes to demonstrate but half-an-hour to explain. I think there are a couple of you-tube videos out there somewhere which will give you a bit of an idea. Its not a biggie though, its just what Ive been using for close on to a decade and since it worked from the outset, Ive stuck with it....

                      Mal.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Check out my puck!


                        Originally posted by 4D43435D0A534B4A43240 link=1305758156/8#8 date=1305937840
                        right side spout slower
                        I found once this was because my machine was not level, as its a liquid it will take the path of least resistance and flow downhill

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Check out my puck!

                          whoa, now that is a pick! rapture!

                          My advice is this:

                          grind in to your PF, tap it in the bench to settle the grinds. grind a little more

                          TAMP, polish, brew

                          forget all the rest of the technique youve been doing in the past, lets go KISS and go from there!

                          Which grinder are you using? EM0450? and machine is SB too? (SB basket in your PF I see also). Your dosage looks fine from the pic (amount of coffee).

                          Once you have gone right back to basics, then perhaps add in one more step. Grind, tap on bench, top up, then level off with a knife or something. (do not use your hand or do DWT), just level it back and forth with a knife. then tamp, polish, brew.

                          Dont lean on your tamp either, just give it a firm press with wrist-pressure.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Check out my puck!

                            Originally posted by 0B202C24320C410 link=1305758156/12#12 date=1306020940
                            Which grinder are you using? EM0450? and machine is SB too? (SB basket in your PF I see also). Your dosage looks fine from the pic (amount of coffee).

                            Once you have gone right back to basics, then perhaps add in one more step. Grind, tap on bench, top up, then level off with a knife or something. (do not use your hand or do DWT), just level it back and forth with a knife. then tamp, polish, brew.
                            hi james

                            yep using the em450 and em5900 - depressurised baskets

                            might give levelling with a spatula a go.  thx for tip


                            had cracks in my puck again this morning - sigh.  other than the distribution problem that mal suggested, what does everyone else think could be the cause? 

                            Tamping too hard/soft/unevenly?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Check out my puck!

                              Gday "iggs"...

                              It is really too difficult to try and diagnose this sort of thing via the written word mate. Do you know of any other experienced CSers who may live in your neighbourhood? If so, he/she may be happy to drop over and help you sort out your technique because it really does sound like a technique issue.

                              I take it youve made sure the dose is consistent as described above? This is usually where most people come unstuck, as an inconsistent dose will wreak havoc on the quality of the shots in the cup. It might even be worth your while to purchase a small set of electronic scales and weigh your shots, until such time as you gain confidence in your technique anyway. Youll be able to ensure that dose is ruled out of the equation at least.

                              Looking at the puck can be a useful tool if your shots are just not turning out how you expect them to but if the coffee is great, dont get too hung up on what the puck is doing.

                              Hope some of this is helpful mate....

                              Mal.

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