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  • Coffee spurting out of basket

    This is an odd problem I've had in and off over the last couple of years.

    I'm using a naked portafilter with either its supplied basket or a VST ridged basket.

    The problem is that I'll often get little streams of coffee spurting out of the basket at odd angles. It's almost as if the water has found a weak spot and then a little jet forms and coffee shoots out.

    I notice the problem more with the VST basket. I'm using a Pullman tamper; which is a better fit for the supplied basket than the VST.

    Tamping technique and operator doesn't seem to make much of a difference, but some beans are better than others.

    Adjusting grind/tamp doesn't make a difference.

    This is really frustrating as not only is it messy it leads to poorer quality coffee.

    Equipment: Super Jolly E, Giotto Premium, original Pullman tamper. Doses being weighed.

  • #2
    I've had this issue with a couple of customers' machines. I turned down the pump pressure and that solved that issue. The shots were better. One machine was at 10bar; the other @ 9+bar.

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    • #3
      It sounds like you are single dosing your SJ?

      Most likely a problem with grind/dose/distribution/tamp.

      Make sure you have weight on the beans in the grinder. Either add more beans or something on top to stop the beans bouncing in the grinder throat.

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      • #4
        Hi David,

        Agreed. Rather than being an issue with pressure per se (not that there is anything wrong with having your machine set to 9Bar- as it should be), the issue lies with your dosing distribution technique. In addition, the nature of the VST is that they live to channel.

        Best bet is revert to a standard basket with your naked portafilter, read up or get some training and then when you can reliably dose the standard basket, chuck the VST in the bin....No just joking. Try it again...and then chuck it.

        You may have gathered that I still don't rate VST for any other than the most retentive of users.

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        • #5
          If the coffee tastes good, then don't worry about the occasional misfire. If only you are noticing this, then we promise not to tell anyone if you don't.
          I've tried all sorts of techniques (Weiss distribution technique, stockfleths move, nutating tamp) over the years and found a relatively simple technique works for me which is dose half full, lightly tap to settle then fill the basket and tamp, one light then one heavier.I very lightly tap the side o the basket between tamps to loosen grounds sticking to the side of the basket
          I always use the Orphan Espresso dosing funnel and that helps me get a consistent level in the basket as well as leaving my benchtop cleaner.

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          • #6
            Replacing the VST's with a couple of EP baskets will go a long way toward solving the problem.

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            • #7
              Thanks to all for the replies.

              The VST baskets were in fact worse than the standard baskets, so I'm glad to hear a confirmation about why.

              I did suspect my technique was the problem.

              As it happened I went past a coffee specialist on the way to work, and they had a great range of stuff and seemed to know the problem too. I ended up buying a Pesado 58.5 basket, tamper and handle. I got to try them out in the store (on both my model of machine and a Linea Mini) and they worked well. I'll see how I go when I get home tonight!

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              • #8
                Originally posted by DavidR View Post
                Thanks to all for the replies.

                The VST baskets were in fact worse than the standard baskets, so I'm glad to hear a confirmation about why.

                I did suspect my technique was the problem.

                As it happened I went past a coffee specialist on the way to work, and they had a great range of stuff and seemed to know the problem too. I ended up buying a Pesado 58.5 basket, tamper and handle. I got to try them out in the store (on both my model of machine and a Linea Mini) and they worked well. I'll see how I go when I get home tonight!
                Let us know how you get on David.

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                • #9
                  Humour me. Instead of doing a single tamp, fill the basket in thirds and tamp each time. I used to do this when I have a naked PF and works a treat.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Yelta View Post
                    Replacing the VST's with a couple of EP baskets will go a long way toward solving the problem.
                    Your EQ / HQ "precision" baskets are only slightly above whatever cheapie comes with your machine in quality. I still have to put "precision" in quotes as anyone with a moderate magnifying glass can see that the word is being stretched by its use by the EP / HQ people. Considering the VST holes are actually slightly bigger in diameter as you go up in basket size - also easily seen with a magnifying glass - that is actual precision manufacturing on clear display for anyone who cares to look. Different order of magnitude (or three) of quality altogether.

                    The VST bashing from you and TC was boring a year ago. Numerous posts from all over the world's best sites have stated that if you have any technique probs the VSTs will bite you (as they should - they are truly precision made). As TC picked up early in this thread - spraying = channeling = poor distribution. Considering a VST has around 50% more flow than a "standard basket" (i.e. like your EP faves) than it has to spray harder. Don't believe me, try it with a garden hose.

                    Your comments are a bit like critisising a Ferrari because your wife cannot drive it to the local shops easily. Considering most of the world's top Baristas and Barista Competitions use VSTs, it must be good in the right hands... I need not say more.


                    TampIt
                    PS The more you slag off the VST, the more it is apparent that your technique must not be up to scratch.

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                    • #11
                      Fact.

                      Many, many users find them difficult to use. Especially those new to espresso.

                      In my case, I tried them, ditched them and I don't feel the need to go back. We range gear which we believe in.

                      Guess what? There may well be people on this earth who have an opinion which differs from yours. Get over it.

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                      • #12
                        I tried a VST basket once, spent a fair bit of time dialing it in on my mates machine. When we finally got it, it was good but the grinder died so we couldn't pull anymore. The plastic gears in the grinder fell apart - grinder was only 12 months old. Guess what grinder it was?

                        If you keep telling people that rain is not wet, they tend to stop listening to anything else you have to say.....

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                        • #13
                          I like my VSTs. I wouldn't advise someone to bin them, but surely tongue in cheek is the spirit in which to take it... It's still a valuable piece of equipment which could be on-sold to the right person. But one shouldn't persist with a piece of equipment just cause the Internet tells them to. That makes little sense. Likewise, trumpeting into the Internet void that your gear is the be all and end all is naive and unhelpful. This equally applies to EP baskets, however fwiw they generally don't get the complaints round here...
                          I cycle, a lot of my mates like to use the drops, but I prefer to stay on the hoods cause I'm just not that flexible not interested in riding as fast as possible. Why gain speed when I'm also gaining back pain? I could stretch more and do Pilates, and then I could ride 3km/hr faster, but it's too much effort for what amounts to too little gain.

                          Personally I had to spend more time getting used to upgrading to my Profitec flat burr than I did for my VSTs (they came 4 months later). Slotting the VSTs into my workflow was easy for my scenario, and I've enjoyed the benefits since. Can you replicate my exact setup, muscle memory and approach to coffee making? Nope. Should one use VST on my recommendation? I wouldn't say so. Decide for yourselves what you want to use.

                          I think half of the problem is that baskets tend to be ordered over the net, and so no one gets a chance to try using them before making a decision. That's the best part about David's story, he went and tried the Pesado gear in the shop. We didn't buy our machines that way... I'd never buy without trying first - maybe that's my over cautious personality and my general inclination to keep my money in my pockets...

                          DavidR - enjoy your Pesado gear

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                          • #14
                            Well said Al...

                            Mal.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by TampIt View Post
                              Considering the VST holes are actually slightly bigger in diameter as you go up in basket size - also easily seen with a magnifying glass - that is actual precision manufacturing on clear display for anyone who cares to look. Different order of magnitude (or three) of quality altogether.
                              You're very hung up on precision. Any engineer worth their salt will tell you greater precision != better design.

                              Originally posted by TampIt View Post
                              Numerous posts from all over the world's best sites have stated that if you have any technique probs the VSTs will bite you (as they should - they are truly precision made). As TC picked up early in this thread - spraying = channeling = poor distribution. Considering a VST has around 50% more flow than a "standard basket" (i.e. like your EP faves) than it has to spray harder. Don't believe me, try it with a garden hose.
                              A) VSTs being "finnicky" has nothing to do with precision. At all. I would suggest it has everything to do with the greater open area, which lowers basket resistance relative to puck resistance (which means small changes in puck resistance have a greater impact).

                              B) "it has to spray harder" ? Nonsense. While a garden hose is a terrible analogy for espresso extraction, "spraying" happens when the flow area is reduced, but the flowrate is not - like when you put your finger over the end of the hose, increasing the velocity (and thus the distance it will reach).

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