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Saeco Via Venezia/2002 grinder combo

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  • Saeco Via Venezia/2002 grinder combo

    Good People,

    I am the owner of the two pieces of machinery in the header and am having some difficulty. Up until today - and after trawling through the boards here - I have used the pressurised porta filter that came with the machine. I ordered a non pressurised PF and it arrived today and I have just spent close on the last 90 minutes pouring shots down the sink.

    Some salient facts:

    The beans are fresh (Merlo Private Blend)
    The machine is clean
    I am tamping (I have done a Barista course but rate my skills at novice level)
    The grind is set at 2.5 on the 2002 grinder

    My problem is I just cant seem to get any consistency in the shot - one pull will give me about 30 mls in 20 odd seconds, the next will burn because it takes so long. I realise that this is probably due to my tamping consistency (all other things being equal) but I am really frustrated particularly when it feels like I am applying the same amount of pressure each tamp.

    My questions then:

    How long should it take to get 30mls from my machine - on the course I attended, the trainer suggested that it would be about 20 seconds but I am not sure if he was referring to the PPF or non PPF version? :-?

    Has anyone any experience using the single basket - it is producing an even worse result than using the double? :-[

    Is it my lack of practice that is giving me the grief or is it partly the machines fault?

    Any assistance would be greatly appreciated, I have gone from producing a passable shot to something the I cannot drink. I got so frustrated that to avoid throwing the thing across the room I made a cup of tea using the kettle....

  • #2
    Re: Saeco Via Venezia/2002 grinder combo

    Hi there,

    Just answering your questions in any random order:

    (a) Most people find that most double baskets are easier to use than most singles.

    (b) If I were you, I would aim for a shot that would extract 30mL in 30 seconds, give or take a few, but I would stop the shot a little bit early ... so, for example, it might be 20mL in 22 seconds or so (or 40mL from the double basket). Sorry to complicate things, I just always felt with my old machine, which was the same sort of machine, that getting a full 30mL (or 60mL from a double basket) was a big ask. This way, you get the more chocolatey part of the pour and dont risk getting anything that might be a bit sour in it.

    (c) The single hardest thing - and probably the most overlooked - is dosing. Youd be surprised how much difference dosing can make. If you dose, say, half a gram more or less, that can be the difference between gush and choke. Most hard copy literature doesnt really emphasize that, which is sad. You need to develop a consistent dosing technique. There are heaps and heaps of different techniques that work. Personally, Id just grind until the portafilter was heaped up, rap it on the bench a few times to settle the pile down, then get something with a straight edge, like a knife, and use it to level off, fillling any gaps. Then tamp. If you do something like that, you get the dose relatively under control and you can start focussing on grind coarseness.

    (d) When youre sure that youre dosing consistently, you might want to look at getting a grinder with stepless adjustment. I have found that most grinders with stepped adjustment dont have small enough steps. Failing that, you might want to get a burr replacement - apparently they wear fairly quickly in your grinder. Before spending money, though, you should test your consistency by getting out the old stopwatch and shotglasses and seeing if you can get the same volume within a few seconds time five times in a row.

    Hope that helps - if I missed anything important, Im sure someone else will fill in.




    • #3
      Re: Saeco Via Venezia/2002 grinder combo

      Hi Flasho13 and welcome to CoffeeSnobs....

      Well you have just pulled the trainer wheels of your coffee machine - and once you get the grind/dose/tamp thing right you will be glad you did!

      Firstly pressurised PFs are VERY forgiving - the beans can be old, the tamp far too light, too little coffee in the basket and the grind over quite a range - and you will still get something --- er--- drinkable (just)...

      But now you need to have the correct quantity (so it just touches the shower screen as you put the PF in), the tamp must be correct but the grind has also to be just right- not only the correct size but also all the grains of coffee have to be the same size...... and many cheaper grinders produce a mix of actual grinds and fine powder...

      So first take a pinch of your grinds and rub them gently in the palm of you hand.... is it like uniform little grains of salt or is it a mixture of those and quite a bit of powder as well - if you have more than just a little powder - the grinder isnt good enough!

      Then dose so that after tamping - to 13.5Kg with a tamper which goes right to the edge of the basket (use bathroom scales to get the weight right) and with enough coffee grinds so that it just touches the shower screen as I mentioned above.

      Use the double basket by the way - the single is much, much harder to get decent coffee from (many people dont use it at all - including me!)

      From a correctly loaded and tamped double basket you should get 60ml total (normally 30ml in each cup) in about 25 seconds....

      If it is less than 25 seconds - make the grind finer
      More than 25 seconds- grind coarser....

      That should get you on the way - but i suspect you might have a grinder problem - many of the cheaper ones are fine for pressurised PFs (because you grind more coarse for those - hence less dust) but when you start to grind fine enough for a normal basket - far too much dust.

      Good luck.


      • #4
        Re: Saeco Via Venezia/2002 grinder combo

        Hi Flasho13 and welcome to CoffeeSnobs.

        Dont give up.
        Have a look at this thread first for encouragement:

        Firstly, single baskets are renowned to be difficult.
        I think most here avoid them.

        Secondly, grind settings really mean nothing beyond relative settings on your particular grinder.
        Ive gathered that a lot of the time the same setting on identical grinders will be different due to manufacturing methods (lack of QC).
        Unless you set the machine yourself to "true zero" to match the markings, then you dont really know where its at.

        Thirdly, you are aiming at 30ml in about 25 seconds no matter which basket.

        Why were you throwing them down the sink.
        Apart from the ones you said were burnt, what was wrong with the other ones?

        I would agree that inconsistant tamping may be your problem.
        Can you tamp on a set of bathroom scales to make sure of your pressure?

        Gee you guys type fast (or am I just getting slower?).


        • #5
          Re: Saeco Via Venezia/2002 grinder combo

          Thanks Luca and JavaB. As usual, well informed and useful answers.

          I have a doser for the grinder but was loathe to use it because of the need to grind more coffee to fill the doseing triangles and the whole "stays fresher unground" thing - maybe I should try it?

          I do agree with you on the grinder though - I was concerned when I purchased it but it is only new (about 3 months old). The machine Ive had considerably longer.

          My plan had been to upgrade to something like the Sunbeam everyone is raving about ut Im now thinking that if I cant get the grind/tamp pull combination right on a machine I am familiar with, Ill probably have the same issue on the better machine.


          • #6
            Re: Saeco Via Venezia/2002 grinder combo


            Id get burnt ones and then straight after Id get little or no Crema, or Crema that dispersed in about 30 seconds.

            Could the cup shape have anything to do with it? I switched from using a Latte "glass" to a wide cappuccino cup half way through. Interestingly, I was going to make a capp because I thought I had the grind dialled in correctly - I was getting about 3-5mm of good coloured crema.

            It was at about this time that my consistency flew out the window.....


            • #7
              Re: Saeco Via Venezia/2002 grinder combo


              Yep, Im thinking more and more check the quality of the ground coffee from your grinder....

              I had a similar problem with a Solis166 grinder - too much dust sometimes (blocks the holes in the coffee puck - takes f--o---r---e---v---e---r to extract,
              then it will grind a bit more cleanly next time- and a gusher!!

              Either that or your tamping is varying - and just use some scales to check tamper pressure.


              • #8
                Re: Saeco Via Venezia/2002 grinder combo

                Gday Flasho13 and welcome to CoffeeSnobs [smiley=thumbsup.gif],

                From what Ive been able to find out about the MC2002 Grinder you have, it is considered to be very marginal at best for use with an espresso machine so I think some of your problems are probably originating with it. There is absolutely no substitute for a good quality grinder that is capable of reliably and consistently producing properly cut coffee grounds. As JB mentioned above, there is a good chance that the MC2002 is producing a high fraction of "dust" within each dose of coffee and this will play havoc with your attempts at achieving consistently good espresso pours.

                Perhaps if you know someone else close by who is also a bit of a coffee snob, you might be able to borrow a more capable grinder for a little while just to see if that makes any difference to your shots.... Id be very surprised if it didnt.

                Hope some of this helpful mate, and all the best,



                • #9
                  Re: Saeco Via Venezia/2002 grinder combo

                  which leads me to the obvious (and Im sure theres a thread here somewhere):

                  Which Grinder?.....


                  • #10
                    Re: Saeco Via Venezia/2002 grinder combo

                    Where are you?


                    • #11
                      Re: Saeco Via Venezia/2002 grinder combo

                      Brissie - more specifically Cleveland.


                      • #12
                        Re: Saeco Via Venezia/2002 grinder combo

                        OK then.

                        Any CSers close enough to Flasho13 to pop in and grind him some beans with a better grinder?


                        • #13
                          Re: Saeco Via Venezia/2002 grinder combo

                          Thanks for the thought Thundergod.

                          I currently have a leading bid on an EM6910 and will upgrade my grinder if I win the auction. What do you think of the matching Sunbeam grinder? Ive read mixed reviews on the board. Also what is a Rocky worth? And/or what should I buy (how much?)

                          Finally, whats a Crazy Popper????


                          • #14
                            Re: Saeco Via Venezia/2002 grinder combo

                            I hear the matching grinder can have its problems but will let others with actual experience guide you on that.

                            A Crazy Popper is a popcorn machine.
                            A cheap, easy, entry level way to roast your own beans.


                            • #15
                              Re: Saeco Via Venezia/2002 grinder combo

                              Contrary to other Cs`ers experiences my Via Venezias 53mm non-pressurised double basket gives consistent pours using a Delonghi KG100 grinder.
                              From what I have read ,you can get away with a slightly uneven grind using a deep, smaller than commercial size double basket.
                              If I ever upgrade to better machine I realise I will have to get a better grinder.
                              But with fresh home roasted beans and care with regard to grind, dosing, temperature stability, tamping etc I feel that upgrading will not improve the milk -based coffees we drink very much.