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Thread: Help! Channelling with Vibiemme Piccolo?

  1. #1
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    Help! Channelling with Vibiemme Piccolo?

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    I used a Breville Ikon for years (in combination with my Sunbeam EM0480) and was getting pretty consistently good results by the time the electronics packed it in late last year. As a replacement I bought a secondhand Vibiemme Piccolo in an online auction. I got it for a pretty good price and felt quite pleased with myself. Of course the previous owner said that it worked fine, although he was a bit vague about how old the machine was (the highest figure he gave was 7 years, so let's say it's at least 7 years old). He also said that he'd had the machine serviced a few months ago and all the seals had been replaced. This made me slightly suspicious - I figure you'd only want to sell a machine you'd just had serviced if it STILL wasn't making decent coffees even after the service...

    After buying a new double basket and tamper to go with it, I thought that I wouldn't have any more hassles, but unfortunately I'm still not able to get shots as good as I could with my Breville.

    The shots pour too quickly and the crema is usually quite pale. I'm getting reasonable pressure (14 bars). The end result is a shot that's too watery and bitter. If I dial the grind down on my EM0480 it tends to get blocked completely.

    What I assume is a big clue as to what's going on is that the pucks always seem to have a big chunk out of them on the right-hand side (photos below). So I assume there's some channelling (?) going on. Does this sound like a plausible cause of the bad shots? And if so, what could be causing the channelling, and how can I fix it?

    Obviously I'm concerned that the previous owner had the same problems and that even after servicing the machine he still couldn't pour a decent shot, and that I've bought a dud.

    So: Vibiemme Piccolo, EM0480 grinder, fresh Domenico coffee beans (Melbourne). Obviously a better grinder would help, but just to repeat - I didn't have any of these problems with the Breville.

    Thanks for any help you can offer!

    Edit: after numerous attempts, I couldn't get the photos to display. Will try again later. Let me know if you can see them.


    Last edited by Kofe; 13th February 2017 at 05:25 PM. Reason: can't get photos to display (URLs from google photos)

  2. #2
    Senior Member Stan's Avatar
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    It sounds more like a grind problem. However the photos didn't load. If the beans are fresh and the water is flowing from the shower screen is distributed evenly then it comes to the grind. When you say it chokes when you grind fine do you mean the grinder or the Portafilter?

  3. #3
    Senior Member Stan's Avatar
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    Another thing to check might be the group seal make sure it is sitting evenly.

  4. #4
    Senior Member noonar's Avatar
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    It sounds like not enough qualifying posts to allow posting up pics. Minimum 5 from memory?

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kofe View Post
    The shots pour too quickly and the crema is usually quite pale. I'm getting reasonable pressure (14 bars). The end result is a shot that's too watery and bitter. If I dial the grind down on my EM0480 it tends to get blocked completely.
    My personal opinion is that 14 bar is way too high for the inter-shot pressure. Your OPV should be set to create 9-10 bar during the pour. This will also help prevent the chunk out of the side of the puck and what sounds like channeling issues.
    Kevo likes this.

  6. #6
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    OK, that's interesting timmyjj - that sounds about right. Hopefully adjusting the OPV on the E61 is a pretty straightforward operation..? So then I'd want to adjust the grind to make sure the coffee comes through at the lower pressure?
    Noonar - that also sounds about right. Thanks
    Stan - yes, I meant the portafilter chokes. Pretty sure the seal on the group head is OK.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Stan's Avatar
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    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    If the Portafilter chokes then the grind is to fine. I missed the bit about 14 bar pressure, that is to much most machines are set to the area suggested by timmyjj21.



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