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Thread: Importance of shower screen

  1. #1
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    Importance of shower screen

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    I am a bit lost here and would really appreciate some advice. Though I very much enjoy my espressos, I canít deny that they lack somewhat in the crema. So Iíve bought a naked portafilter, and no matter the adjustments Iíve made so far, the results are pretty much the same. I get two to three jets of coffee that only just manage to come together as one at the very end of the (double-)shot. Iíve gotten a tight-fitting tamper, Iíve tried different distribution methods, and Iíve even tried running the grounds through a sieve. Same result. So now Iíve got my eyes on the shower screen. It clearly doesnít distribute the water evenly, in fact the jet patterns kind of resemble the patterns of the coffee. Iíve always thought that poor distribution would not matter once under high pressure, but maybe it does?
    Anybodyís got any experience with this?
    Cheers, Leo

  2. #2
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    Leo, I would look at beans before anything else. Fresh beans are more likely to have more crema, old supermarket ones not so much. If you roast your own there are a couple on beanbay listed as crema monsters, I think Indian Monsoon or Indian Elephant Hills. Read the description and you will find the ones. But freshly roasted beans would be my starting point. Of course after that, if it doesn't work let everyone know your machine, etc


    Ps the theory is that new beans have lots of gas therefore good crema, old stale beans have lost the gas so little or no crema. Agree with Ninja comments below
    Last edited by 338; 23rd February 2019 at 12:02 PM. Reason: to add ps
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  3. #3
    Senior Member level3ninja's Avatar
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    Leo we need to know a few things before suggesting too much. What machine and grinder are you using? What beans are you using? What is the roast date of the beans (different to expiry date)? How many grams of coffee are in your double shot? How many grams of liquid coffee do you get out? How long does a double shot take in seconds?
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    Thanks, both. I‘ve been experimenting with the naked portafilter for almost two weeks now. It’s not the lack of crema per se, it’s more the sign of something not being right that is evident when I ser the coffee running. I’ve used Kenya that is now close to four weeks old, and yesterday I started with a Yirgecheffe that is only three days old. I roast my own beans.
    The machine is a Spanish brand, Ascaso Dream PID. (at around 1500 AUSD). Grinder is also Ascaso, for a while I suspected that was the problem, it is maybe a bit too cheap. But - the thing is that the way the coffee leaves the basket is very consistently the same. I’ve been all over the map, from under eight to over ten bar, from twenty to almost forty seconds brewtime. Once the coffee starts running, I get the three jets, about a third from the center of the basket.
    I haven’t weighed coffee in/coffee out. The reason I now suspect it could be the water distribution is that I seem to have the same outcome no matter what. I admit to not having been very scientific, so the only two things that have been the same all along are water distribution and filter basket.

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    I am not reading a problem in your last post. If it tastes good and looks funny coming out of the portafilter, I would just drink it and be happy. I would probably convert back to the standard portafilter and never think about distribution again (based on you saying you had spent two weeks trying distribution methods). Your machine has an oversized thermoblock, that also could have some effect on water flow, really no idea. A different showerscreen, like ims may give a different result. Worth doing a google search on naked and your machines name, just to confirm if other are having problems or using them successfully.

    Your problem has moved from crema to unsatisfying aesthetics on your pour, probably worth thinking is there a taste problem or are you trying to justify the naked (either being valid)? Analysing the real problem will help in finding a solution.


    Ps A quick google shows good results from the naked on your machine, so disregard above
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    Thanks 338, you are right, of course. The thing is, though, if there’s a potential for more goodness, it would be a shame to not pick it up.

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    Senior Member level3ninja's Avatar
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    I'd be curious to know how close the puck is to the shower screen before your pull the shot. I know a number of Breville and Sunbeam machines like the puck quite high in the basket (but not touching the shower screen obviously).

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    Quote Originally Posted by level3ninja View Post
    I'd be curious to know how close the puck is to the shower screen before your pull the shot. I know a number of Breville and Sunbeam machines like the puck quite high in the basket (but not touching the shower screen obviously).
    That's really difficult to measure with any precision, but my best estimate is 2-3 mm.
    Discovered that NJD is asking about water flow in a different thread, and I guess that's really what I'm asking too.
    As is obvious from the pics underneath, my shower screen is not functioning properly, but I'm wondering how much this might affect my shots?
    shower screen.jpg water from porta.jpg
    Leo

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    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by knastoer View Post
    That's really difficult to measure with any precision,
    Not at all difficult, the 5 cent piece test, mentioned over and over in this forum will get it sorted in no time.

    As we keep saying, there is nothing mysterious about issues like this, approach the problem logically and methodically, start by going back to the spouted PF, for most the naked create more issues than they solve.

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    Hi Yelta, any input concerning the shower screen pics?

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    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by knastoer View Post
    Hi Yelta, any input concerning the shower screen pics?
    Morning Knastoar, I don't see any problem, water will pool and spread when it hits the puck, when the pressure builds sufficiently coffee will flow, just ensure there is a gap between the screen and puck.
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    Senior Member noonar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by knastoer View Post
    That's really difficult to measure with any precision, but my best estimate is 2-3 mm.
    Discovered that NJD is asking about water flow in a different thread, and I guess that's really what I'm asking too.
    As is obvious from the pics underneath, my shower screen is not functioning properly, but I'm wondering how much this might affect my shots?
    shower screen.jpg water from porta.jpg
    Leo
    Hi knastoer,

    Those pics look completely different to the even spread of drips I get across my IMS screen with a naked and no puck loaded. I will post some shots this arvo to show what I get on a R58.
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    Senior Member Jackster's Avatar
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    I'm using a 6910 at moment as my Musica is having a pump fitted.
    But, water straight out of the shower screen comes into the glass cloudy. Looking closer, it is bubbles that clear to the top of the glass.
    I just cleaned both shower screens making sure all holes are clear. Now the bubbles are even finer, fine like Guiness bubbles.

    I think these bubbles add to the crema. As my Crema reduces over a similar timeframe to the clearing of the bubbles (10sec..), leaving a normal size Crema in the cup. But initially, the Crema is 90% of the double shot.

    I think shower screen has at least some effect on Crema, certainly does on my machine.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Doesn't the 6910 use a dual wall basket?

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    Senior Member Jackster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yelta View Post
    Doesn't the 6910 use a dual wall basket?
    18g vst ridgeless on mine. Fresh beans, and lido E grinder here.

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    Senior Member noonar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by knastoer View Post
    That's really difficult to measure with any precision, but my best estimate is 2-3 mm.
    Discovered that NJD is asking about water flow in a different thread, and I guess that's really what I'm asking too.
    As is obvious from the pics underneath, my shower screen is not functioning properly, but I'm wondering how much this might affect my shots?

    Leo
    As mentioned, shot of IMS (no puck) water flow.IMSScreenFlow.jpg
    From an R58.
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jackster View Post
    I'm using a 6910 at moment as my Musica is having a pump fitted.
    But, water straight out of the shower screen comes into the glass cloudy. Looking closer, it is bubbles that clear to the top of the glass.
    I just cleaned both shower screens making sure all holes are clear. Now the bubbles are even finer, fine like Guiness bubbles.

    I think these bubbles add to the crema. As my Crema reduces over a similar timeframe to the clearing of the bubbles (10sec..), leaving a normal size Crema in the cup. But initially, the Crema is 90% of the double shot.

    I think shower screen has at least some effect on Crema, certainly does on my machine.
    I don't get cloudy water out of my group head shower screen. It is clear, odourless and tasteless - I just tried it.

  18. #18
    Senior Member Barry O'Speedwagon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jackster View Post
    I'm using a 6910 at moment as my Musica is having a pump fitted.
    But, water straight out of the shower screen comes into the glass cloudy. Looking closer, it is bubbles that clear to the top of the glass.
    I just cleaned both shower screens making sure all holes are clear. Now the bubbles are even finer, fine like Guiness bubbles.

    I think these bubbles add to the crema. As my Crema reduces over a similar timeframe to the clearing of the bubbles (10sec..), leaving a normal size Crema in the cup. But initially, the Crema is 90% of the double shot.

    I think shower screen has at least some effect on Crema, certainly does on my machine.
    Hmmm...I'd be careful in generalising from what you observe when pulling a shot without the resistance of a puck. I have little doubt that the shower screen could have some impact on crema, but I think this bubbles thing is unlikely to be the causal factor.
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  19. #19
    Senior Member Jackster's Avatar
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    IMG_20190225_182543.jpg

    Musica shower screen dispersion pic attached.

    Clear and bubble free water too from the musica.
    Will fire up the 6910 and compare.
    It's only a observation I'm sharing, I have formed no opinions to its significance or lack of.
    The 6910 water was odourless and tasteless too, but cloudy with the fine bubbles clearing to the top of cup.
    Most likely is that it may have some air through its system still and the shower screen is splitting it up.
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  20. #20
    338
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    Just out of interest Knastoer, have you taken the shower screen off and cleaned it?
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  21. #21
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Can't help but think that focussing on the efficacy or otherwise of a shower-screen, is just another thing taking the focus of things that actually matter...

    Mal.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yelta View Post
    Doesn't the 6910 use a dual wall basket?
    Not normally, however just like some up market machines it does have two showerscreens to spread the flow out more evenly.

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    Thanks very much to all who offered advice! Right now this is where I am: If there was no point in a shower screen, it probably wouldn't be in every machine, there'd just be a hole instead - so I guess it does matter.
    Until today, my shower screen had never been off for cleaning, since there were no visible screws, I had assumed it was somehow an integral part of the machine and hard to take off. Popped it off today, cleaned it (not that it was very dirty), put it back - no difference whatsoever in the flow. The screen is slightly curved, and the holes in the screen are big enough so that no pressure builds on the inside, the water just falls through the holes in the center. You'd think that when there's coffee in the basket and the pressure builds, that would force the water to come out evenly from all the holes of the screen...wouldn't you?
    So...I don't think I'll get much further in this direction. I'll have to look elsewhere for the crema.
    Thanks again all of you
    Leo

  24. #24
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by knastoer View Post
    Thanks very much to all who offered advice! Right now this is where I am: If there was no point in a shower screen, it probably wouldn't be in every machine, there'd just be a hole instead - so I guess it does matter.
    Until today, my shower screen had never been off for cleaning, since there were no visible screws, I had assumed it was somehow an integral part of the machine and hard to take off. Popped it off today, cleaned it (not that it was very dirty), put it back - no difference whatsoever in the flow. The screen is slightly curved, and the holes in the screen are big enough so that no pressure builds on the inside, the water just falls through the holes in the center. You'd think that when there's coffee in the basket and the pressure builds, that would force the water to come out evenly from all the holes of the screen...wouldn't you?
    So...I don't think I'll get much further in this direction. I'll have to look elsewhere for the crema.
    Thanks again all of you
    Leo
    Morning Leo,
    If the shower screen has never been removed for cleaning I suspect there is quite an accumulation of coffee grot and oil up there, have you ever back flushed using a cleaning agent? it's an important part of machine maintenance.

    Do you have a blind filter?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Yelta View Post
    Morning Leo,
    If the shower screen has never been removed for cleaning I suspect there is quite an accumulation of coffee grot and oil up there, have you ever back flushed using a cleaning agent? it's an important part of machine maintenance.

    Do you have a blind filter?
    Oh yes, Yelta, done back flushing regularly, so it really wasn't very bad "up there". Just didn't know how to take it apart.

  26. #26
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by knastoer View Post
    Oh yes, Yelta, done back flushing regularly, so it really wasn't very bad "up there". Just didn't know how to take it apart.
    Good stuff, that's disposed of that line of thought.
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    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by knastoer View Post
    If there was no point in a shower screen, it probably wouldn't be in every machine, there'd just be a hole instead - so I guess it does matter.
    Never said "There's no point...", of course there is.
    I think though, that one needs to keep everything in context and make an effort to understand the science behind the characteristics of various components of the "Espresso System", including the operator. In this overall scheme of things, the way any particular shower-screen performs, is a very, very small contributor.

    Mal.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dimal View Post
    Never said "There's no point...", of course there is.
    I think though, that one needs to keep everything in context and make an effort to understand the science behind the characteristics of various components of the "Espresso System", including the operator. In this overall scheme of things, the way any particular shower-screen performs, is a very, very small contributor.

    Mal.
    Didn’t mean to be rude, I was very much talking to myself, trying to justify the time spent on this. I’m sure the naked portafilter is trying to tell me something, this just wasn’t it. I’ll keep working on it...
    Leo
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  29. #29
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by knastoer View Post
    Iím sure the naked portafilter is trying to tell me something,
    Leo
    It is Leo, its saying put me away and get things right using the spouted PF, when you master that, try me again, I (may) be able to help with fine tuning.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yelta View Post
    It is Leo, its saying put me away and get things right using the spouted PF, when you master that, try me again, I (may) be able to help with fine tuning.
    Haha - good one!

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    Well, something has happened after cleaning the shower screen and diffuser, even though everything seemed pretty okay. I really don't understand it, but the fact is that I'm no longer ashamed of my crema. I'm not setting new world records, but it's pretty good and has been okayed by the missus. Unfortunately, the taste of my shots seem to have gone more bitter, it's not just the crema but the whole cup. I've started another thread seeking advice on that. Thanks for your help here!
    Leo
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  32. #32
    Senior Member level3ninja's Avatar
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    If the crema has changed the pressure has likely changed as a result of the cleaning. If it's bitter you'll need to adjust the grind coarser.
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    Quote Originally Posted by knastoer View Post
    Well, something has happened after cleaning the shower screen and diffuser, even though everything seemed pretty okay. I really don't understand it, but the fact is that I'm no longer ashamed of my crema. I'm not setting new world records, but it's pretty good and has been okayed by the missus. Unfortunately, the taste of my shots seem to have gone more bitter, it's not just the crema but the whole cup. I've started another thread seeking advice on that. Thanks for your help here!
    Leo
    Or clean out the rest of the descaler out of the machine properly.

    For my tastes, white vinegar takes about 6 litres to dissipate, caffetto clones over double that (if ever - not a fan).

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    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    I have found when cleaning various things that it takes at least three times the container volume as a minimum amount of flushing water, five preferable.

    Or do it ten times, creating homeopathically active coffee water so you never need to buy beans again.
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