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Extraction time is about 10 seconds, have I destroyed my equipment?

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  • Extraction time is about 10 seconds, have I destroyed my equipment?

    Hi everyone,

    Espresso machine: Sunbeam EM4820 (depressurised filter baskets)
    Grinder: Sunbeam EM0480

    Basically I havn't used my coffee machine and grinder for about 3 months. I just left it sitting there with stale water in the tank and beans in the hopper and burrs (yes I'm a terrible person). Fast forward to last week, I clean the espresso machine and descale it using vinegar, according to the manual. I also cleaned the grinder burrs and any left over grinds using a soft bristle brush.

    I bought fresh beans from where I always buy them, but my extraction time is now 10 seconds. A nice fat blob of crema initially pours out, but then its very pale water pouring very quickly. I normally grind it on setting 3-4, any finer and the machine will easily choke. However, even on the finest setting and the hardest tamp, the coffee still extracts in 10 seconds.

    So I went out and bought another pack of beans yesterday, to make sure it wasn't a bad batch. The day after and day before that, I got a nice 22 second extraction time with a solid steady pour. However, today it's the same story. Even on the finest setting, the coffee just pours out in 10 seconds.

    The beans were roasted 5 days ago (according to the packet).

    Any ideas to what I may be doing wrong? Have I destroyed my machines by leaving it unused for 3 months?

    Thanks

  • #2
    Welcome to CoffeeSnobs.

    If you can get a couple of good 22 second pours, you haven’t destroyed your machine. For some reason you are inconsistent. How did the 22 sec pour coffees taste?

    I think you are getting channelling where the flow of water through the coffee puck is uneven. Part is over extracted giving watery coffee, while the rest is under extracted and the flavour is missed. You have to play around with your grind, dose and tamp, changing only one thing at a time.

    Let us know how you go.

    Barry

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Barry_Duncan View Post
      Welcome to CoffeeSnobs.
      Thanks

      Originally posted by Barry_Duncan View Post
      How did the 22 sec pour coffees taste?
      They tasted great (well as great as you can get with a $200 machine)

      I've been experimenting with grind/tamp/dose since March last year, and thought I had it pretty worked out. Always dose the same and never tap the portafilter with the tamper, etc. I really can't think of anything I've done different this last week compared to 3 months ago. I've even used the same bean (Campos superior blend). Maybe I've lost my touch.

      I'll keep trying

      Comment


      • #4
        I did something similar to a Gaggia I had a few years back when I was OS for 6 months. Mine ended up with scale on one of the valves so it didn't work properly, (that was luckily easy to get at on that machine). Suggest you at least give it a proper descale with a commercial de-scaler.

        Comment


        • #5
          Did you take care to line up the arrows on the outside of the burr carrier and the white marks on the inside when you reassembled the grinder after cleaning?

          If not, the grinder won't be grinding as it should be.
          Last edited by CafeLotta; 28 January 2013, 01:52 PM.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by richard_m_h View Post
            Suggest you at least give it a proper descale with a commercial de-scaler.
            Would something like eBay link removed per the http://coffeesnobs.com.au/general-ne...icy-rules.html be suitable?

            Originally posted by CafeLotta View Post
            Did you take care to line up the arrows on the outside of the burr carrier and the white marks on the inside when you reassembled the grinder after cleaning?

            If not, the grinder won't be grinding as it should be.
            Yes, I've taken it apart many times. I ended up adding a washer to the grinder, and now on the finest setting it creates a very fine powder (lot's of clumping). I was a bit scared about the burrs grinding on each other, but it seems okay. So on about setting 9, I am getting about 20 second extraction with 1 week old beans. Tastes alright, and has a nice layer of crema.

            Still confused to as why I had to increase the fineness of the grinds by a lot to get a decent extraction...
            Last edited by Javaphile; 30 January 2013, 01:57 AM. Reason: eBay link removed

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by themirror View Post
              Still confused to as why I had to increase the fineness of the grinds by a lot to get a decent extraction...
              One of the issues I had with the EM0480 was the grind retention up near the junction of the grind chamber and chute/spout. I discovered this by accident during a regular clean. I had the grinder body upside down to shake out loose grinds. The kitchen spotlight shone up the spout to reveal a whole lot of clumped-up grinds way up there which were out of sight normally. Even with vacuuming and normal brush cleaning they stayed there. Had to use a small toothbrush and long bristled grinder brush to remove them and inspected regularly after that.

              The upshot of this is that this blockage slowed the exit of grinds from the grind chamber which meant some "reprocessing" of grinds. This resulted in some variation of grind size and needing to back off to a coarser grind setting. I imagine some heating up of grinds also occurred. Once the blockage was cleared the grind setting had to be adjusted finer. It took me a while to twig to this but came to the conclusion that the chute design on the Sunbeam EM0480 leaves a bit to be desired. As long as you check this area at the top of the spout and around the slight dog-leg with a torch regularly or when cleaning, the issue can be minimised.

              Comment


              • #8
                your e-bay link disappeared. I use this stuff
                Restore - Cafetto Online
                only because it was what the coffee shop near work had. (just saw they are a sponsor)
                I believe vinegar can cause problems with the seals and hoses

                Comment

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