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Thread: Uneven pour from dual spout

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    Uneven pour from dual spout

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    Hi all, I'm having lots of trouble getting an even pour from the dual spouts on my stock silvia v3 group handle, always seems to pour more from the left hand side.... But if anything the pour is restricted it's not gushing out that's for sure

    I also noticed that my tamper (GEC) doesn't go past a certain point in the silvia dual basket even when it's empty, just curious about other peoples setups and if the tamper is stopping me applying the correct pressure etc ??

    All advice appreciated

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    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    1- Check that the machine ia level.

    2- Check the spout is level and clear.

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    Thanks thundergod I had not actually checked that, have done it on the spouts etc and all seems level, the silvia spouts have a little bowl between them I'm wondering if one side is a little off being level but very hard to measure, does anyone know if you can replace with another spout that doesn't have this ??

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    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    There are a number of spouts available here, including an adjustable double Coffee Parts | Rancilio Silvia Coffee Machines Spare Parts I replaced the double spout supplied with my Silvia with a single, big improvement.

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    Life-long Learner DesigningByCoffee's Avatar
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    If a little tip of the machine helps (try it and see) then even some little spacers under the LHS or RHS legs might sort it out? Those little felt jobbies from Bunnings?
    Or could it be a tamping technique thing?
    Just a thought…
    Matt

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    My initial thought was that it was likely to be a distribution or tamping issue. Look forward to hearing about the resolution.

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    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    To test tamping or distribution, dose and tamp as normal tben rotate the basket 180 in the group handle before proceeding.

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    It's obvious...Coriolis effect...to test this one, take your machine to Paris and pull a shot there

    Seriously, I had the same problem, and it basically came down to how my grinder (Breville smart) was distributing the grinds. I now rotate the handle from left to right while grinding to even up the distribution, and problem fixed.

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    I found the same thing as Davo, same grinder but my machine has an E61.

    Pete

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    Bit puzzled as to how anything in the filter would affect where the pour goes in the handle. Unless one side is gushing so hard it doesn't hit the slope and instead drops straight into the left side spout, it seems to me the shot should always come out both sides. But if one side is significantly stronger in rate, surely that would mean the overall shot would be weak?

    Just curious as to what the cause might be for an uneven dose causing the shot to favour one spout over the other. I'm looking at a pic of the handle and it has a smaller central hole than I have in my SB one - given the mention of a little bowl it would make it even less likely a gusher could favour one side over the other.

    Tilting the machine is a good idea though - see if it evens out. Did you check how level it is with a level or by eye? You could use a straight jar with lid and mostly fill it with water then lay it on top and see if there is a slope.

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    Checked with a digital spirit level on several surfaces and all perfect, I'll try rotating the basket and see if it's a tamping issue, next will be to raise the right hand side slightly to see if it pours better. My guess is tamp as well

    So if everyone puts the tamper into an empty basket where does it stop ?? Below your normal coffee dose or about the same level ??

    I have attached a photo of the spouts and empty basket with tamp sitting in it ?? Should it go further in !!

    ImageUploadedByCoffeeSnobs1382516372.849238.jpgImageUploadedByCoffeeSnobs1382516411.115189.jpg

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    Oh and my grinder is a vario the grind seems to be fine I don't think it will be that

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    Can we see the filter? My SB filters taper to the bottom. When I started partial tamping (where you tamp every couple of mm's but at far lower pressure than the recommended 15kg) I noticed the tamper wouldn't tamp the first grind. The taper was preventing it.

    Now I have VST filters and they have much less taper on them so the gradual tamping works much better.

    I'm presuming you have checked inside the two spouts to make sure one isn't partially blocked? Have you tried running water through it to see if the flows are equal outside the machine?

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    Basket ImageUploadedByCoffeeSnobs1382518234.743662.jpgImageUploadedByCoffeeSnobs1382518264.075963.jpg

    Just pouring water through it results in an even flow

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    Unscrew the shower screen and see where the water actually comes out. It could favour one side of the screen (and thus puck) over the other (although this would be a terrible design). Sometimes at the point where water is released the puck gets broken up, causing channelling.

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    Update - I took shower screen off and gave everything a good clean, not that it was really dirty on a 3 month old machine

    Between that and perhaps paying a little more attention to my tamping seems to have cleared the issue, thanks for all the suggestions guys appreciate it

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    Still think I'm getting some bad channeling not sure if you can make out the indent/hole on the side of the filter I'm guessing water is gushing down here causing that to happenImageUploadedByCoffeeSnobs1383371565.405954.jpg

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pdockley View Post
    Still think I'm getting some bad channeling not sure if you can make out the indent/hole on the side of the filter I'm guessing water is gushing down here causing that to happenImageUploadedByCoffeeSnobs1383371565.405954.jpg
    Certainly looks like a lot of channeling. May I suggest you purchase a naked portafilter... that will quickly help you improve your technique (or else you'll get covered in espresso every time you attempt an extraction!).
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    That's got to be technique in tamping. Next coffee, note everything you do from the moment you start grinding.
    Do you grind it all in one grind then tamp it straight off?
    Does your grind pile up on one side?
    Do you 'shake' it to relatively flat and even?
    Do you tap the PF?
    Do you tamp hard and 'polish' before lifting the pressure?
    Do you check the even distribution of the tamped grinds? (i.e. do you see more metal on one side of the basket than another?)

    Given the side channels and the couple of holes closer to centre, I'm thinking you are not breaking up lumps in the grind before tamping. So when you tamp, there are areas more compressed than others. People with more experience with what goes wrong than me might give other possibilities.

    But, it is easy to see your puck is a place of widely different pressures within the puck. That has to be down to how you dose and tamp. You could try a gradual tamp method. Grind about a 1/4 of the coffee and tamp it LIGHTLY. Grind some more and tamp it LIGHTLY. Grind again to almost enough and tamp it LIGHTLY. Grind to the right amount and try nutating the tamp and then tamping centrally, LIGHTLY.

    Note: LIGHTLY means maybe 2.5kg to 3.5kg, NOT the 15kg recommended for a full basket.

    The idea is to make layers that are tamped evenly and level. And it is much easier to judge a 2.5kg tamp than a 15kg one. Get the lesser one wrong by 10% and you're tamping at maybe 2.75kg or 2.25kg. Get the 15kg one wrong by the same amount and you are 1.5kg wrong either way.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pdockley View Post
    Still think I'm getting some bad channeling not sure if you can make out the indent/hole on the side of the filter I'm guessing water is gushing down here causing that to happenImageUploadedByCoffeeSnobs1383371565.405954.jpg
    I just loaded your photo. I recently bought a Vario, and I cannot possibly get a grind that inconsistent out of it. Yes it is channelling, however it also looks way out on particle size (way too many fines and overall too coarse) from what I can see. Mind you, I seem to remember a Silvia did change the texture of the coffee, however that was years ago.

    Stupid qn: Have you cleaned out and recalibrated your grinder?

    If so, would you mind putting a gram or so of grind straight onto a piece of white paper, spread it out a little and photo that?

    Cheers

    TampIt

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    ImageUploadedByCoffeeSnobs1383432384.320087.jpg

    Hi Tampit

    Really appreciate the help, photo is above, this is after a good clean out as suggested

    I have the vario on fine -2 and finer-c

    I have never calibrated it using the tool

    It didn't come with one and was a little hesitant to remove the warranty voided if removed sticker :-) especially after investing a decent amount in it for my first grinder, didn't want to upgrade later.

    Opinions guys ??

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    ImageUploadedByCoffeeSnobs1383434254.635779.jpg

    Here is a follow up puck looks somewhat better I think

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    I think you need someone with a Silvia, but to me, that basket looks under dosed. If that rim is anything like as far down as the rim on the original SB ones you need more coffee in there so it tamps down to the sides of the basket above the rim. It looks like the water is free-falling into the basket if that centre crater is anything to go by.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pdockley View Post
    ImageUploadedByCoffeeSnobs1383434254.635779.jpg

    Here is a follow up puck looks somewhat better I think
    I would try a bit more coffee in the basket, looks to me like your underdosing slightly,so once its tamped your level with the top of the rim, that should give you a dry firmer looking puck , adding a bit more coffee may mean a slightly coarser grind is needed.

    I found a slight updose worked best when I had my silvia,

    Journeyman, that crater in the centre is from the head of the shower screen bolt, they stick out on the silvia's , not flush like the e61's.

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    Ah... wasn't sure. The SB showerscreen screw indents as well but it is very clear in the puck that it is a screw head. The 'crater' in the above looked more like erosion. Also it looks off-centre but that's probably the angle of the basket. My guess was because of the under dose the water had a gap to fall into.

    TBH that puck looks like it's a slightly overdone chocolate cake.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NakiChap View Post
    I would try a bit more coffee in the basket, looks to me like your underdosing slightly,so once its tamped your level with the top of the rim, that should give you a dry firmer looking puck , adding a bit more coffee may mean a slightly coarser grind is needed.

    I found a slight updose worked best when I had my silvia,

    Journeyman, that crater in the centre is from the head of the shower screen bolt, they stick out on the silvia's , not flush like the e61's.
    Hi NakiChap

    When you say rim do you mean the ridge in the basket ??

    If so ill give that a shot and back off the grind a little so I don't choke it

    Also as a previous silvia owner did you find that the 3way valve always pushed back into the drip tray ?? On every coffee.

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    It looks underdosed to me too. Does your machine have a convex or concave shower head or is it flat?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Darkfalz View Post
    It looks underdosed to me too. Does your machine have a convex or concave shower head or is it flat?
    Hi darkfalz, it's a flat screen with a hex nut that protrudes out

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pdockley View Post
    Hi NakiChap

    When you say rim do you mean the ridge in the basket ??

    If so ill give that a shot and back off the grind a little so I don't choke it

    Also as a previous silvia owner did you find that the 3way valve always pushed back into the drip tray ?? On every coffee.

    Yes the ridge for the spring

    Sometimes if you remove the group handle straight away after pulling the shot the puck can have a little puddle on top,

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    Quote Originally Posted by NakiChap View Post
    Yes the ridge for the spring

    Sometimes if you remove the group handle straight away after pulling the shot the puck can have a little puddle on top,
    Yes the puddle is quite often visible, I'll try upping the dose and see how it goes, thanks everyone

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    What's the inside of your PF (where the basket goes) look like? Only needs to be slightly biased towards one side, and you know what liquids tend to do, find the path of least resistance. I used to get a lot of uneven pours with my last machine because I had removed the plastic "stabilising baffle" and there was no other thing built in to try to pool the coffee before it hit the double spouts. This one has a funnelling sort of centre hole so works a lot better for even pours.

    Every machine is going ot be slightly uneven one way or another. Even if you test the top of the machine to see if it's perfectly level, there's really no way to test how level it is inside the group head when the PF is locked in. Did you try ever so slightly raising it on the left hand side to compensate? Just on a rubber mat or something 1-2mm thick may be enough to offset the bias in the machining.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Darkfalz View Post
    What's the inside of your PF (where the basket goes) look like? Only needs to be slightly biased towards one side, and you know what liquids tend to do, find the path of least resistance. I used to get a lot of uneven pours with my last machine because I had removed the plastic "stabilising baffle" and there was no other thing built in to try to pool the coffee before it hit the double spouts. This one has a funnelling sort of centre hole so works a lot better for even pours.

    Every machine is going ot be slightly uneven one way or another. Even if you test the top of the machine to see if it's perfectly level, there's really no way to test how level it is inside the group head when the PF is locked in. Did you try ever so slightly raising it on the left hand side to compensate? Just on a rubber mat or something 1-2mm thick may be enough to offset the bias in the machining.
    Inside is pretty clean although the countersink put on the hole that drops to the spout is a little off centre but it's front to back not left to right

    The taste on these pours is ok, not great but ok. Just really want to get more consistent, oh well more practice can't be a bad thing for the coffee habit

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    Naked portafilter- problem solved
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    Yep I think that's going to be the trick until I sort out my process

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    Quote Originally Posted by Talk_Coffee View Post
    Naked portafilter- problem solved
    It would take skill indeed to get an even double pour from a naked.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darkfalz View Post
    It would take skill indeed to get an even double pour from a naked.
    Nar- not really... I just have it in the one cup
    javabeen, chokkidog and TampIt like this.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pdockley View Post
    ImageUploadedByCoffeeSnobs1383432384.320087.jpg

    Hi Tampit

    Really appreciate the help, photo is above, this is after a good clean out as suggested

    I have the vario on fine -2 and finer-c

    I have never calibrated it using the tool

    It didn't come with one and was a little hesitant to remove the warranty voided if removed sticker :-) especially after investing a decent amount in it for my first grinder, didn't want to upgrade later.

    Opinions guys ??
    That looks like the kind of even particle spread I would expect (bit hard to tell off a photo, spreading it out a little more would have helped if you ever need to do it again). Nothing like the first photo "post shot stress".

    Your next puck looks a lot more even and, as all have commented, is quite underdosed. Silvia's have a hex head holding the showerscreen, and, unless you have replaced it with an aftermarket one (yes, they exist! ask talk coffee - he probably has them on a shelf somewhere) it should leave a really clean, deep (3mm?) impression post coffee shot if it is "correctly dosed". Another post coffee hint is whether you can see a faint showerscreen imprint on the puck - in your photos, no way, which is textbook underdosing for a Silvia.

    FWIW, the uneven pour is probably initially due to the underdosing exacerbating any other flow issues. The actual channelling I see is caused by poor tamping technique which will compound the effect of the underdose.

    I suggest you tamp just the first 3mm (uncompressed, i.e. out of the grinder) with around 3.5Kgs, ensuring it is dead level. Then repeat every further 3mm or so until you are about 3mm from the top of the basket. A quick height measurement I use on a Silvia is to have the grounds just touching the hex screw when the p/f is tightened (I often wondered if that is why they used a hex screw there in the first place?). When the height is correct, run the shot and see what it does. You can then adjust your grind as necessary to get the correct shot timing & flow. It may not be perfect like that, however it will be a sound starting point for you to tinker with.

    Cheers

    TampIt

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    Quote Originally Posted by TampIt View Post
    That looks like the kind of even particle spread I would expect (bit hard to tell off a photo, spreading it out a little more would have helped if you ever need to do it again). Nothing like the first photo "post shot stress".

    Your next puck looks a lot more even and, as all have commented, is quite underdosed. Silvia's have a hex head holding the showerscreen, and, unless you have replaced it with an aftermarket one (yes, they exist! ask talk coffee - he probably has them on a shelf somewhere) it should leave a really clean, deep (3mm?) impression post coffee shot if it is "correctly dosed". Another post coffee hint is whether you can see a faint showerscreen imprint on the puck - in your photos, no way, which is textbook underdosing for a Silvia.

    FWIW, the uneven pour is probably initially due to the underdosing exacerbating any other flow issues. The actual channelling I see is caused by poor tamping technique which will compound the effect of the underdose.

    I suggest you tamp just the first 3mm (uncompressed, i.e. out of the grinder) with around 3.5Kgs, ensuring it is dead level. Then repeat every further 3mm or so until you are about 3mm from the top of the basket. A quick height measurement I use on a Silvia is to have the grounds just touching the hex screw when the p/f is tightened (I often wondered if that is why they used a hex screw there in the first place?). When the height is correct, run the shot and see what it does. You can then adjust your grind as necessary to get the correct shot timing & flow. It may not be perfect like that, however it will be a sound starting point for you to tinker with.

    Cheers

    TampIt
    Hi Tampit

    Ok I'm starting to get a clearer picture of where I'm going wrong

    Issue I have is the tamp will not go that far into the basket, refer my earlier pics

    So I'm starting to think its time for a vst basket, I mostly pour doubles, should I go 15 or 18 gm in the silvia ?? And does the ridgeless make a big difference ?? Guessing I need to get a different spring ?

    This community is so great, I hope one day I can offer as much advice as you all.

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    I'm personally a fan of ridgeless. I also like 18 gram double baskets, but that's personal preference as I like quite heavy and viscous double shots. I tried VSTs myself and had some trouble, YMMV.

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    I'd go for ridgeless - why put anything in the path of an even tamp? I have VST's - got a 15g and a 22g - not sure why some folk have problems with them as mine have been excellent from day one. Mind you I had a twisted path leading up to using them (see http://coffeesnobs.com.au/brewing-eq...w-machine.html for my journey into the coffee world ) and TampIt gave some excellent advice that improved my coffee a lot even before I got the VST's.

    If your tamp will not go far enough into the filter, dose it higher? Did the tamp come with the system or is it an after market one?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pdockley View Post
    Hi Tampit

    Ok I'm starting to get a clearer picture of where I'm going wrong

    Issue I have is the tamp will not go that far into the basket, refer my earlier pics

    So I'm starting to think its time for a vst basket, I mostly pour doubles, should I go 15 or 18 gm in the silvia ?? And does the ridgeless make a big difference ?? Guessing I need to get a different spring ?

    This community is so great, I hope one day I can offer as much advice as you all.
    I am really short of time today, so please allow for terseness.
    1) Get a flat bottomed tamper that fits properly or remain hobbled / hamstrung. I posted somewhere on CS that I cannot get around a poor grinder. As I always carry my 2 1/2 (I know it is sad) 316 Pullmans with me if I am going to make coffee, I always have something decent that fits so it is not another issue. I hate using crappy tampers (have over 50 of all types in my collection).
    2) VST's: Go ridgeless. My longer answer is on http://coffeesnobs.com.au/general-co...tml#post513758. You probably don't need a different spring. As springs are only around $5, not a biggie. Size: Depends on how much you tinker. I have a love / hate thing with Silvia's. Using a decent medium roast in a Silvia and dialling it in properly I could make a 15g VST shot so strong it would need a lot of watering down in both cups (VST's take a lot longer to blond if used properly, so strength without bitterness is trivial to dial in). Going naked (highly recommended by many others as well as me for home use) makes it even stronger, and only has one cup. If you have the budget I would just save the postage and get them all (inc the 7g single) as a Silvia is not too difficult to dial any basket in. As you get your head around the process you will find that you can use smaller baskets to have the same flavour whack.

    3) Practice and you will find your mistakes will help others to avoid them. If I hadn't screwed up so many times in the past, I wouldn't have much to offer now. I also believe in paying it forward: the guys that patiently put up with me until I lost my first set of training wheels (I think we all have an infinite number of them) deserve thanks, and this is my preferred method these days.

    Hope this helps.

    Have fun experimenting


    TampIt

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    Ok so a follow up for everyone who might be interested, spent the last few days increasing dosage.

    This resulted in a much better taste but still massive channeling in fact far more than before.

    I started looking at how I was tamping, pressure etc and started to ease off on the pressure. Wow talk about a difference and the uneven pour almost instantly vanished.

    I know at one point we said how on earth could an uneven flow from above cause the two spouts to pour uneven, well guess what it did !!

    I'm getting far less obvious channeling, now to buy a naked and see if that is really the case

    Thanks again everyone for the valuable info and hopefully anyone following can learn from this

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    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    I'm thinking a lighter tamp with a finer grind could provide less channelling because there's less likely to be overly compacted tough spots the water tries to find a way around. I never had scales and my click-mat thing was never calibrated, so I don't even know what kg pressure it has. I don't have a scales to calibrate it. I've had good results from both light and harder tamp though. I generally tamp light when beans are fresh, and as they age dose higher and tamp harder rather than changing grind (the EM0480 grind steps are pretty coarse, so it's easier to change dose/tamp than rely on a finer grind).



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