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  • Coffee puck always a bit wet?

    Hey there,

    I am finding that my coffee puck always comes out a bit wet (and sometimes sloppy) rather than harder and drier as I see in almost every cafe. I am pretty happy with the quality of the espresso I am getting (but I am sure it could improve), however it bugs me that the puck is sloppy.

    I think the problem is that the basket is too large for the amount of coffee I am using (14g in a double basket), so there is quite a bit of space at the top of the basket. There is always a layer of water on top of the puck because of this gap. I tried increasing to 16 or 17g (which fills the basket nicely) but I didn't like the taste - even after changing the grind a bit to get the same length of pour. I tend to use quite a fine grind, so I don't need to tamp very hard, and I get 60mL in around 30 seconds.

    I am using a Gaggia Classic and a Eureka Mignon grinder at home.

    Any suggestions on this front? Do I just not worry about it or is there something I should do which might ultimately lead to better coffee?

    thanks in advance!

  • #2
    Does sound like a bit of an underdose, but if you like the taste and it is not blonding early, probably not a big deal. Are you stopping the shot at or around the commencement of blonding?

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    • #3
      Why not try increasing the dose by a gram or two and grind a touch coarser? don't be afraid to experiment, that's what home espresso is all about.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by neon View Post
        Hey there, I am finding that my coffee puck always comes out a bit wet (and sometimes sloppy) rather than harder and drier as I see in almost every cafe. I am pretty happy with the quality of the espresso I am getting (but I am sure it could improve), however it bugs me that the puck is sloppy. I am using a Gaggia Classic and a Eureka Mignon grinder at home. Any suggestions on this front? Do I just not worry about it or is there something I should do which might ultimately lead to better coffee?. Thanks in advance!
        The Classic's shower head sits fairly deep in the basket, so that 14/15 grams does not leave a really big space. Does the solenoid valve outlet pipe spit some water into the drip tray when you turn the brew switch off. ??. If it doesn't the solenoid could be faulty or the tubing may be blocked. Do you back flush with a blind basket or an insert ??.

        If the valve is working OK and the pipes are clear then maybe you could try up-dosing and stopping the shot earlier to get the taste you want, and a drier puck.

        Cheers, deegee.

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        • #5
          I'm a newbie here, but I'm dosing at 17g in my Classic and have been getting wet pucks to - still solid, but the top is usually a bit muddy.

          The coffee is great and the extractions are fine (no channeling, between 20-35 seconds depending on when I choose to stop it) so I don't worry about it. I was getting perfect pucks when I started but the coffee wasn't nearly as good and the shots were channeling a lot of the time (if my first few attempts with a naked PF are anything to go by).

          If you're getting good coffee out the other end I don't see a problem.

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          • #6
            Standard double basket on the classic needs 18 - 20g depending on the coffee / grinder to get a nice dry puck and you end up with a slight imprint of the shower screen.

            I tried many times to dose lower and grind finer but it always resulted in sloshing / channelling of the puck, more bitterness and fines in the cup.

            You may find that a VST 15g basket is more to your liking, i have found that a finer grind and 15 - 16g and around 45ml in 30sec is very nice.

            I got mine from Pullman Tampers / Things coffee Things Coffee | Pullman Tamper, Coffee Tamper, VST Filter Basket, VST Refractometer, Hottop, Coffee Roaster, KN-8828B-2

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            • #7
              need to go coarser for a dryer puck but that will speed up your extraction so offset that by updosing...find the balance. At the end of the day, if it taste good to u then who cares about a wet puck?

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              • #8
                Thanks all, very helpful.

                To answer some of the questions posed:

                Barry - yes I am watching for blonding and stop when I see it. I am still learning so I almost always have the stopwatch going as well, so that's how I know the pour tends to be around the 30 secs mark.

                Yelta/Saoye - I tried increasing dose/grinding coarser and I didn't like the result. It was a few weeks ago so I don't remember what exactly I didn't like. I tend to use 14grams for one cup of espresso (60mL) or for one latte, and if i recall correctly, kicking it up to 16g for a cup felt too strong. Maybe the higher dose really should be split between two cups instead of all going into a single coffee? Any thoughts on this?

                Deegee - yes, usually there is a spit from the outlet valve when i turn off the brew switch. I back flush with a blind filter basket and I recently had the machine serviced by the nice guys at De Bartoli. They cleaned out the solenoid thoroughly, so I think I'm good on that front.

                Dragunov - I don't get any channeling, however I am pretty fussy about the distribution and tamping process. Interesting that you are still getting wet pucks even with 17g.

                Steve - sounds like a smaller basket may be the answer (other than just putting up with it). I'll check out the link.

                Thanks again to all.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Barry O'Speedwagon View Post
                  Does sound like a bit of an underdose, but if you like the taste and it is not blonding early, probably not a big deal. Are you stopping the shot at or around the commencement of blonding?
                  Hi Barry, I'm also having a wet puck issue...

                  What I do for dosing is grind to fill half of the basket, tap, fill again, tap, fill to a nice mound and then level off with the back of a knife before tamping.

                  I'm assuming that with this method I get a consistent 20 grams every time? Extraction is ok and takes around 30 secs, but still end up with a wet, hard puck (not dry and a little puffy like it should be). My machine is a diadema Jnr semi auto with a k3 grinder.

                  Any thoughts? Thanks

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by 13bob View Post
                    Hi Barry, I'm also having a wet puck issue...

                    What I do for dosing is grind to fill half of the basket, tap, fill again, tap, fill to a nice mound and then level off with the back of a knife before tamping.

                    I'm assuming that with this method I get a consistent 20 grams every time? Extraction is ok and takes around 30 secs, but still end up with a wet, hard puck (not dry and a little puffy like it should be). My machine is a diadema Jnr semi auto with a k3 grinder.

                    Any thoughts? Thanks
                    Hi bob,

                    Firstly, if you like the taste I'd not be panicking. I've got similar gear to yourself, and I wouldn't say that my pucks are always bone dry. 20 grams can still be slightly under-dosed on my machine. Are you using the ridged basket that came with the machine? If so, if you can see all of the ridge above the puck you may well be slightly underdosing. I can easily get 21g+ (dependent on bean) into my basket and leave sufficient headroom. Get your dosing level 'right' first (doesn't matter what the weight is...but no harm in weighing it), then adjust grind to get acceptable extraction for that dose level. But remember, we all have different tastes. I actually prefer a very slight 'underdose' (if one can call 20g in a double an underdose.......) and finer grind for some beans. In the end, enjoy your coffee and don't sweat too much about pucks.


                    Edit: After saying all of that, why do I know how much my doses weigh? If my other half is working from home on a given day, before I go to work I can give her a dose weight appropriate for today's beans....she's not so interested in other approaches.
                    Last edited by Barry O'Speedwagon; 21 April 2013, 06:38 PM.

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                    • #11
                      Thanks barry, the taste of the coffee so far is fine, so I won't worry too much.

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                      • #12
                        I've been experimenting and have been getting shots I'm pretty happy with, but with a slightly wet/sloppy puck. I have seen others give advice along the lines of 'you don't eat the puck' i.e. if you're happy with the taste of the coffee, don't worry about the puck consistency (if something was really very wrong, the taste would be adversely affected). The classic advice would be to increase the dose and coarsen the grind, but if this gives you a worse flavour then it's pointless. If you let the group handle sit in the machine for a bit before you take it out, some of the water should get reabsorbed and the top of the puck appear drier.

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                        • #13
                          Wet/damp puck? if the coffee is to your taste don't worry about it, no big deal, it's what's in the cup that's important.

                          The time to worry is if you have a wet/dry puck and the coffee tastes like crap.

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