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  • Spluttery stream

    Hi all. Pardon my novice question, but here it is. Just got a commercial machine (and old single San Marino). Working great, with a Sunbeam grinder to go with it. But still experimenting with tamping, grind variables. It seems to me I can get a pour which is about 25 seconds easily enough. But I seem to probably be putting more than 7g of coffee in. And also, the pour is not a smooth stream for the whole shot. It starts that way, but then gets splashy and spluttery making a mess of my nice clean cup. I dont like it.

    Should I be grinding more coursely, using less coffee and tamping harder? There are bigger issues in the world, I know... but still. Id welcome any thoughts.

  • #2
    Re: Spluttery stream

    you probably need to distribute the coffee better in the filter by tapping / stirring / levelling, using more than 7g is not uncommon - if you are using a single shot basket (7g, narrow at the bottom) try doing doubles as they should be easier to grind for and distribute. Search for distribution above and give that a go!

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    • #3
      Re: Spluttery stream

      Cool. Will give that a try... Thanks.

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      • #4
        Re: Spluttery stream

        Originally posted by 56737C7B777E252A120 link=1323048032/0#0 date=1323048032
        There are bigger issues in the world
        Not to coffee snobbers

        Hi & Welcome.  Im going through similar issues if you want to look at here.

        Firstly, the sputtering sounds like channeling - where the water breaks through a weak spot and flows unevenly.  Finding the cause is not so simple!

        Secondly, dont play the numbers game - 7g, 8g, whatever - it depends on too many other variables such as basket size, beans, machine, etc. Many people will use the double basket and not the single, and hence more like 18g at a time.

        Some causes of chanelling (and other problems):
        • Flow from the shower screen, especially if its an old machine - is it even?
        • beans - are they fresh? When were they roasted? Do you clean out stale beans from the grinder before using? Do you grind just before using?
        • grind - is the Sunbeam performing? Can you borrow something better and see how that goes?
        • Dose - fill the basket to just under the screen, and try and make this consistent each time (look up the "5c test")
        • distribution - are the grinds settled evenly? do you tap the pf, sweep, mix, whatever? There are many techniques, especially useful for cheaper grinders
        • tamp - is it even and not lopsided?
        • experience - it gets better as you do it more!


        Hope that helps a bit!

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Spluttery stream

          That is a helpful post. Some interesting thoughts. The machine isnt new. But it has just been serviced. The beans are are only roasted a week ago, and Im grinding second beforehand. Havent tried the 5c test, but Ill give that a go. With regard to dosing and the 5c test then, presuming Im using a single basket, to get the calculation right, Id still need to have a number in mind for grams, surely? Im thinking, if I aimed for 8g then I could work on getting the grind just right for the coin to sit just below the shower. But that grind would be different if I were aiming for 9gm or 7gm wouldnt it? Often the stream starts beautifully smooth, but then things go a bit wild. The puck doesnt look like its channeling, but it might be. Im tamping pretty well I think, and evenly, but I am new and I could be wrong. Sometimes it seems like the spluttering is because the pour is actually coming through TOO slowly, and so I wonder if Im actually overdosing, or grinding too fine. But when I was dosing less, I was finding that the puck was floating and finishing up stuck to the shower screen, so I had the opposite problem.

          This is both science, and art, seemingly... :-/

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          • #6
            Re: Spluttery stream

            Originally posted by 26030C0B070E555A620 link=1323048032/4#4 date=1323131478
            if I aimed for 8g then I could work on getting the grind just right for the coin to sit just below the shower. But that grind would be different if I were aiming for 9gm or 7gm wouldnt it?
            not quite... If you aim for x grams and modify the grind, youre changing a variable that affects the speed of the flow, so youll have little to no hope of getting the volume & speed right (unless you happen to fluke it).

            Baskets are made to be filled to the right spot. If youre using too much coffee I would suggest trying a different basket. But why is 8 or 9 or 10 grams too much? The determining factor is the flavour of the output, and after that everything else comes second!

            The usual rule of thumb is to grind as fine as you can without choking, fill as much as you can (over the top), sweep to distribute it evenly, and tamp to bring it back down to the "5c mark". The tamp pressure determines the amount of coffee - too much coffee and you have to press to hard to get it to the right mark, too little coffee and you dont press hard enough.

            If its too fast / slow then adjust your grind and dose, but try and keep the other things the same (except of course grinding finer makes it compress more, but dont press harder or it will pour slower still)

            Yes its an art and a science with multiple variables affecting the one output.

            Some other thoughts - do you do a cooling flush? I dont know much about the SMs - is it E61 or single boiler? You could be getting some steam in the water causing it to go spluttery.

            Also, your sunbeam may be a bit inconsistent leading to different sized grinds causing some issues, just guessing. If you can take the machine to a sponsor or friend who has a different grinder you can compare.

            Can you do a video on the tube? Limit it to the problem bit if youre limited in upload capacity, otherwise include the whole process. Coffe vids are fun to watch!

            HTH

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            • #7
              Re: Spluttery stream

              Great thoughts again. Ill have a few more cracks over the next few days. And I might even be able to make a video or two... Thanks for the help!

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              • #8
                Re: Spluttery stream

                no probs - keep coming back with questions! Photos are a good second to videos.

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                • #9
                  Re: Spluttery stream

                  So I had a good look tonight. The 5c test was interesting. The first time I did it, I didnt run the coffee through, I just put the coin there, put the portafilter in and then removed it. Half the coffee remained stick to the shower screen, and the 5c was in there somewhere with it! Lesson: I assume it was seriously overdosed.

                  So on closer inspection, I notice that the shower screen really does sit down inside the basket quite a few mills on my machine. In fact, it sits down probably near where the ridge is on the single basket where is steps/slopes in. But that seems to present a problem, because if thats as low as I need to have the coffee, how on earth am I supposed to tamp it with a 58mm tamper, when the slopes/ridges will prevent the tamper pushing the coffee down lower than where the screen will hit? Does that make any sense?

                  Edit: Just put some photos in this post to try to illustrate what Im describing. I reckon the shower screen sits as low as the step in the basket - that makes it hard to tamp doesnt it? Or is that normal?



                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Spluttery stream

                    hm, that step is interesting - I dont use a single basket for various reasons, and the taper is one of them, so I dont have much advice to offer. Two thoughts are buying a different shaped single basket, or using a smaller tamper so it fits within the ridge.

                    Ive attached a shot of 4 baskets to give you some comparison, from left to right:

                    Giotto double, Giotto single, VST 18g ridgeless, VST 15g rideless.

                    You can see on the Giotto baskets, there is a ridge for holding on to the pf clip, and they are both tapered. I like the VSTs because there is no taper, so tamp pressure runs evenly down the sides, there is no ridge to mess things up, but there is no single version either (oh, yes there is now). You could try a single synesso?

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                    • #11
                      Re: Spluttery stream

                      Originally posted by 5A525A5D5751330 link=1323048032/9#9 date=1323214042
                      hm, that step is interesting - I dont use a single basket for various reasons, and the taper is one of them, so I dont have much advice to offer.  Two thoughts are buying a different shaped single basket, or using a smaller tamper so it fits within the ridge.

                      Ive attached a shot of 4 baskets to give you some comparison, from left to right:

                      Giotto double, Giotto single, VST 18g ridgeless, VST 15g rideless.

                      You can see on the Giotto baskets, there is a ridge for holding on to the pf clip, and they are both tapered.  I like the VSTs because there is no taper, so tamp pressure runs evenly down the sides, there is no ridge to mess things up, but there is no single version either (oh, yes there is now).  You could try a single synesso?
                      Ok. Well Ill try to change baskets then. I have a feeling that the one I might might not even be the right one for the filter. I have great difficult pulling the handle to 90 degrees with the basket in (in fact, I flat out cant pull it past about 50 degrees), but without the basket it in comes to 90 degrees really easy, which I assume means its sitting up a bit too high. So it might not even be right. I assume those ones youve listed fit my filter ok? I dont really want to change tampers, since I was just given a lovely pullman one to fit my filter! Im guessing that that VST one would still be fine with my tamper, so that might be the go...! It does still have a step down, but its obviously much lower, so I could still hopefully tamp...

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                      • #12
                        Re: Spluttery stream

                        If you have a Pullman tamper I would recommend contacting Pullman himself, who will advise you on the best baskets to fit, since he measures everything to within fleas hairs breadth... well Im sure he actually uses real units but you get the point. Hell have the measurement of your tamper on file, as well as know what basket will fit what machine.

                        Also ask him if my advice is sound as he may have a better idea

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                        • #13
                          Re: Spluttery stream

                          Id also say get a naked portafilter and see whats going on from underneath - you will instantly see if you have distribution and tamp issues.

                          Oh, and make sure your new basket isnt a single!

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                          • #14
                            Re: Spluttery stream

                            Originally posted by 323A32353F395B0 link=1323048032/9#9 date=1323214042
                            hm, that step is interesting - I dont use a single basket for various reasons, and the taper is one of them, so I dont have much advice to offer.  Two thoughts are buying a different shaped single basket, or using a smaller tamper so it fits within the ridge.

                            Ive attached a shot of 4 baskets to give you some comparison, from left to right:

                            Giotto double, Giotto single, VST 18g ridgeless, VST 15g rideless.

                            You can see on the Giotto baskets, there is a ridge for holding on to the pf clip, and they are both tapered.  I like the VSTs because there is no taper, so tamp pressure runs evenly down the sides, there is no ridge to mess things up, but there is no single version either (oh, yes there is now).  You could try a single synesso?
                            Can I ask one more probabyl silly question then? So with these baskets (VST), does getting a ridgeless one mean that it doesnt hold on to the spring properly or something, and its going to be falling out when I knock out the puck? Or what is the different between the ridge and ridgeless then?

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                            • #15
                              Re: Spluttery stream

                              There are no stupid questions, only stupid people... wait :-? I think I got that wrong...

                              INHO theres no issue with the ridgeless baskets and staying in the pf - and when you knock out the puck, youre tapping the pf upside down on the basket itself, so the basket cant fall out as its hitting the knock box bar and being pushed up against the pf, if you know what I mean. Maybe if you had a different method of tapping, such as on the pf handle, because you didnt have a knock box it may dislodge?

                              My experience is only with the Giotto.

                              Theres more info here from the experts!

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