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Can't stop channeling

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  • Can't stop channeling

    Recently downgraded from a sunbeam conical burr, to a mini-mazzer (it seems).

    My mini mazzer + Lelit PL41 + naked portafilter setup gives only two outcomes:
    1- Brew head blocks up and only slightly drips
    2- Paints my wall, floor, splash back in coffee encouraging thoughts to end my life with a rock.

    I have tried all combinations of the following: (all with beans 2 weeks old)
    - Fine/coarse grinds
    - Tapping/no tapping during dosing and before tamping
    - Different volumes of grinds (always with dosing tool)
    - Tamping low/high pressure
    - Used traditional and naked portafilters

    After all experimenting, brought old sunbeam grinder back out, perfect shot achieved (FML).

    Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.

  • #2
    Interested in trying a quick experiment to help diagnose?

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Melbroaster View Post
      Interested in trying a quick experiment to help diagnose?
      Fire away.

      Comment


      • #4
        Sounds to me like maybe distribution related. One thing you might try is getting both grinders adjusted so the shots you produce are blocked and slightly dripping about the same rate based on the same grind weight, purging as you need to.Then back off the grind a bit to coarsen it on both grinders just a bit, ie 1 notch on each, and purge again as needed so the grind output reflects the new grind size. Then using scales, grind a specific grind weight via the sunbeam that is appropriate to your filter basket into a small cup, shake the cup to break up any clumps, dose into the basket, distribute and pull your shot. Try the exact same steps, including dosing and distributing in the same way with the mazzer. Describe each of the shots via this thread

        Comment


        • #5
          You mention you are tapping, so maybe this won't be of any use - but barista hustle has an interesting piece about distribution. Might be worth a peek.

          Comment


          • #6
            Wondering if the Mazzer is a manual or an electronic.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by tobeanornottobean View Post
              You mention you are tapping, so maybe this won't be of any use - but barista hustle has an interesting piece about distribution. Might be worth a peek.
              Tried tapping, and not tapping. I'll check out that article.
              Thanks.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by kwantfm View Post
                Wondering if the Mazzer is a manual or an electronic.
                Manual. I measure between 16 -19 grams of beans in an empty hopper, and empty the doser each time.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Melbroaster View Post
                  Sounds to me like maybe distribution related. One thing you might try is getting both grinders adjusted so the shots you produce are blocked and slightly dripping about the same rate based on the same grind weight, purging as you need to.Then back off the grind a bit to coarsen it on both grinders just a bit, ie 1 notch on each, and purge again as needed so the grind output reflects the new grind size. Then using scales, grind a specific grind weight via the sunbeam that is appropriate to your filter basket into a small cup, shake the cup to break up any clumps, dose into the basket, distribute and pull your shot. Try the exact same steps, including dosing and distributing in the same way with the mazzer. Describe each of the shots via this thread
                  Will try and report back tomorrow.
                  Thanks

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Heston View Post
                    Manual. I measure between 16 -19 grams of beans in an empty hopper, and empty the doser each time.
                    Really interesting... the doser generally does a great job reducing the preconditions that often lead to channeling. Looking forward to hearing the results of the "quick experiment".

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      If the burrs are new, then single dosing could definitely be causing problems, also if the burrs are old and worn out (unlikely unless its ex cafe been on decaf duty)

                      Load up the hopper at least half full and grind a decent amount of coffee and see what happens....

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Have you tried the layering technique.

                        Put in 3mm of grinds and lightly tamp (2-3kg), put in 5-6mm and lightly tamp, fill up to required dose amount and lightly tamp. You can add smaller layers if you want. Pull shot.

                        I believe the theory is you are setting up layers within the coffee to help evenly distributing the ground and water as it flows. This method is too cumbersome in a commercial setting but not cafes don't use naked PF so no one can tell if the shot is channelling anyway.

                        One experiment has shown that even with a tamping pressure of 300lb, only the first 6mm is compressed leaving the remainder unaffected and susceptable to channelling. Layering addresses this.

                        Good luck

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          First things first. The beans being used. The number one cause of channeling is old beans. At 2 weeks old they could be just now coming into peak flavor/time to use, or they could be ancient beans that are only good for the compost pile.

                          What coffee are you using? Where did the coffee come from? How and where is it being stored?


                          Java "By the numbers" phile
                          Toys! I must have new toys!!!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Aparently the beans were sufficiently fresh to pull a great shot after using a sunbeam grinder but not the mazzer, so the problem as I understand it is to troubleshoot the variance in outcomes from the 2 grinders?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Melbroaster View Post
                              Aparently the beans were sufficiently fresh to pull a great shot after using a sunbeam grinder but not the mazzer, so the problem as I understand it is to troubleshoot the variance in outcomes from the 2 grinders?
                              When looking at problems with brewing espresso the first thing that should always be looked at is the quality of the beans being used. Only once it's been established that the beans themselves are not the problem is it time to start looking at all the many other things that may be.

                              A Mazzer can easily show up problems with marginal beans that a Sumbeam grinder won't.

                              The original poster has no history here so we have no way of knowing what a "perfect shot" is to them. It could be simply a shot that took a 'reasonable amount of time', again an undefined phrase for us due to the users lack of history here. Many new users think because a shot using supermarket beans took 20-25 seconds it's a 'perfect shot'. Until we get a response from the OP and he gives us some more details we don't know where they fall in the spectrum of experience.

                              We could have them chasing their tails for days and never solve the problem because the beans were never looked at.


                              Java "First things first!" phile
                              Toys! I must have new toys!!!

                              Comment

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