Results 1 to 33 of 33

Thread: EM480 static and channeling

  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    759

    EM480 static and channeling

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hi Everyone,

    Im a Sunbeam Em6910/480 owner and am finding 90% of my shots have some sort of channeling, with obvious early blonding and wormholes in the puck. When this happens the puck is usually a bit mushy and wet when I remove the PF.

    Im wondering what sort of effect the noticable static and clumping of the em480 would be having on this and how to negate it as much as possible. Ive tried grinding directly in to the portafilter and also the little canister that came with the grinder. I am using a small plastic ruler to try and even out the grinds before I tamp and I use the NSEW method to tamp.

    Any suggestions?

    Thanks,
    ACog

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    792

    Re: EM480 static and channeling

    hey acog

    maybe some of these things may help.

    1. mushy pucks can be a symptom of underdosing - not having enough coffee in the puck. try the collapse method where you tap the portafilter down on the bench/knockbox whatever to allows space for more coffee in the pf. grinding a little coarser, may help too.

    2. with clumping, some people like to do the weiss distribution method which is basically finding a needle or the like to stir the grinds in the pf before distributing and tamping. helps to break up clumps.

    3. where are the pinholes? in the middle or the sides of the puck? if at the side, then this might be a tamping/tamper issue. you using the nsew technique indicates to me that perhaps your tamper is not a snug fit for your portafilter. if theres too much space between the sides of your tamper and the basket then you may not be getting good side adhesion, and having the water travel down the sides of the basket.

    4. play with how you tamp - hard, soft, straight down with or without a polish, nsew, one tamp, two tamps and see what works for you and your machine.

    maybe some em6910 can shed some machine specific light down upon you.

    aaron

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    433

    Re: EM480 static and channeling

    dose more coffee into the PF and grind a little coarser, dont use a ruler to scrape the coffee and aim to get about 1/2 the steel from te SB tamper (if that is what you are using) above the PF. I always get soggy pucks when levelling the coffee in the PF with the 6910, but not when updosed.

    You say channelling, is this known through holes left in the puck or do you have a bottomless PF?

    the 6910 likes more coffee than most as the shower screen is quite high, leaving lots of room for lots of coffee.

    Sen

  4. #4
    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Sydney
    Posts
    10,496

    Re: EM480 static and channeling

    As roknee and Senator said the Sunbeam doesnt like underdosing.

    The 0480 usually leaves some grounds behind in the chute but try this anyway......

    I use the double basket.

    Measure the beans into the basket level with the top of the basket.
    Feel the level with the centre of your palm.

    Grind the beans, fill the basket to a mound, settle with a few taps, add the rest of the grounds, tapping as needed so as to get them all in.

    Tamp, dont twist if using the Sunbeam tamper.

    Hopefully the tamper will be showing about half the metal as Senator said.

    Lock and pour.

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    792

    Re: EM480 static and channeling

    as with tg and senator -
    but Sen - only thing Id add at this point is that i think it IS important to have a flat, level surface of coffee before tamping.

    im talking about distribution here.

    if you want to cram in more coffe, then use the collapse method, but then distribute somehow: stockfleths, modded stockfleths; ruler or back of knife in circular motion, nsew motion etc (google and youtube)

    otherwise, if you have a mound of coffee and THEN tamp, there will be uneven density of coffee in the portafilter (therell be more coffee packed under the top of the mound than the perimter of the mound)

    aaron

  6. #6
    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Sydney
    Posts
    10,496

    Re: EM480 static and channeling

    Agreed aaron.
    I left that point out.

  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    759

    Re: EM480 static and channeling

    Hi Everyone,

    Thanks for the responses. A few answers:

    roknee, I have been underdosing, as the instructors at the SB coffee school said that the particular revision of Em6910 I have (the current one on the shelves) has a lower showerhead, and the silver of the tamper should be level with the top of the basket. I will try updosing slightly with a light knock or tamp and see if that gets rid of the soggies.

    The pinholes are generally in the middle of the puck, slightly off centre, not between the puck and basket. I am assuming this is channeling because of the holes and the sudden blonding about 5-10 seconds in. I dont have a bottomless PF.

    Ill also try the Weiss Distribution method and see if that sorts things out.

    Im using the tamper that comes with the unit. I would like a custom made one, but that will have to wait. I may try polishing the tamper to see if that improves the puck surfaces for now.

    One last thing, I have a 1kg bag of stale commercial beans. Is it worth wasting these on perfecting my grinding/tamping or will the stale qualities of the beans throw me off when I get back to the fresh ones? I nearly cry each time I have to pour a dud shot made from expensive beans down the drain.

    -ACog


  8. #8
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    433

    Re: EM480 static and channeling

    My thinking may be wrong here (and lack of experience), but if you compress the coffee with an even, flat tamp, how does the shape of the mound prior to the tamp effect the overall outcome, surely it "moulds" to the shape of the basket and the downward pressure applied spreads out the grounds evenly throughout the basket?


  9. #9
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    792

    Re: EM480 static and channeling

    hey acog
    i know the frustration - i still have it at home with my machine despite getting nice pours at work. so many variables...

    some more thoughts
    1. "oily" beans clump more than less oily beans
    2. polishing the puck doesnt always help, sometimes hinders (and i think i read that the SB tamper isnt good for polishing)
    3. with the stalies, maybe theyre useful to experiment with your dosing levels. play around with collapsing once twice three times etc, and try things like grind collapse grind collapse Vs grind collapse collapse. try different tamp pressure heavy v med v light. bathroom scales are almost at the height of geekiness but a great learning tool helping to calibrate your arm...

    aaron

    "it wont happen overnight but it will happen"

  10. #10
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    433

    Re: EM480 static and channeling

    oh, and the problem I found with TGs method of dosing on my 480 (measuring the basket into the hopper and grinding) is that there was always beans left sitting on the top of the top burr, gravity it seems isnt enough to draw them thgough with my grinder.

  11. #11
    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Sydney
    Posts
    10,496

    Re: EM480 static and channeling

    The 0480 isnt the best for that method i agree because it leaves a lot behind.

    My MDF and Macap both leave almost nothing behind.


    ACog the stale ones wont help as they behave differently to fresh beans.

    Senator, Greg Pullman did a study on tamping and published the results here somewhere.
    You might want to try search for it.

  12. #12
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    759

    Re: EM480 static and channeling

    Hi Everyone,

    A bit of an update and one more question. Firstly, Ive taken everyones suggestions on board and am now updosing slightly by tapping on the bench then very lightly tamping before adding a bit more coffee. Im also using the Weiss Distribution technique to remove clumping.

    While a little bit arduous, both the updosing and WDT have improved my shots remarkably and made them more consistent. So Thank You.

    The strange thing however, is, I am still finding the shots seem to blond a bit early. (roughly around the 15 - 20 ml mark when pouring directly in to two separate shot glasses) It still tastes great, and has a nice mouthfeel (though could be thicker/heavier for my liking) and there are no wormholes or gaps beside the puck to suggest channeling. Is it perhaps my uneducated guess that its blonding too early? I read a vague reference in the forums to the temperature. Could this need adjusting?

    Thanks

  13. #13
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Posts
    596

    Re: EM480 static and channeling

    Maybe try tamping on scales, bathroom scales will do, I have found to hard a tamp causes problems.

  14. #14
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    759

    Re: EM480 static and channeling

    I have bathroom scales that I occasionally tamp on. I try to hit around 15-20 kg.

  15. #15
    A_M
    A_M is offline
    Guest
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    6,381

    Re: EM480 static and channeling

    Quote Originally Posted by ACog link=1225755024/0#13 date=1226699809
    I have bathroom scales that I occasionally tamp on. I try to hit around 15-20 kg.
    1: Fresh beans... can not stress the difference that these make... Yes I can get reasonable shots from stale, but there are a few trick to it... So go fresh, before stressing too much.. :o

    2: I actually use a lighter tamp... Say about 8- 10kg at most and at work my thigh is my tamp base. :-X from behind people have commented that my whole stance and arm action is rather interesteng, unless you know what I am doing. :o

    3: I have to play with the mix of what beans Vs freshness Vs how fine a grind AND to then decide on the tamp pressure.. This is the learning ;) that you have to experience and what makes it all fun ;D

    4: Polish you SB tamp... Get some fine emery paper (Sand paper to some) Mitre ten or Burnings etc of at least 600 and then 1200 grit and use a flat surface. Place the emery paper on the FLAT surface... and then using thumb and forefinger little circular movements with little pressure - start with the 600. Then as your doing this make sure you also moving your hand in a slower circular pattern.

    I actually used 800 and then 1200 to add a fine polish. (these are harder to get).

    Your tamp can then be used with the twist method and that will assist you. It also adds value to the SB tamp as the main issue then is Weight and the slight miss fit. Over all better that the plastic jobs.

  16. #16
    Senior Member GregWormald's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Posts
    2,288

    Re: EM480 static and channeling

    Quote Originally Posted by ACog link=1225755024/0#11 date=1226662489
    *snip*The strange thing however, is, I am still finding the shots seem to blond a bit early. (roughly around the 15 - 20 ml mark when pouring directly in to two separate shot glasses) It still tastes great, and has a nice mouthfeel (though could be thicker/heavier for my liking) and there are no wormholes or gaps beside the puck to suggest channeling.*snip*
    IMO "blonding" can be very relative, its the taste that matters!
    Watching the videos of some of the competitions made me realise that I stop most of my shots because of blonding a good few seconds before the professionals. I kept on wanting to say "STOP" to them but they didnt listen! :D *

    I tried it like they did it and didnt like the taste--too bitter for me.

    My usual double shot is between 15 and 20 seconds and 15 and 25 ml--depending on the purpose. With more milk I like more bitterness, but I would never do what the Americans seem to espouse--a 60 ml double, and some go as far as 90 ml. :P

    Greg

  17. #17
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    433

    Re: EM480 static and channeling

    that is a very short double, super ristretto range.

    For me, I find that around 50ml in 25 secs is the ideal shot for my morning latte (300ml), sometimes a few ml more or a few secs less, but very close to that range. It is afterall whats in the cup set to each persons taste that counts

    Sen

  18. #18
    Senior Member GregWormald's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Posts
    2,288

    Re: EM480 static and channeling

    Quote Originally Posted by Senator link=1225755024/0#16 date=1226718795
    that is a very short double, super ristretto range.

    For me, I find that around 50ml in 25 secs is the ideal shot for my morning latte (300ml), sometimes a few ml more or a few secs less, but very close to that range. It is afterall whats in the cup set to each persons taste that counts

    Sen
    Absolutely. That is why the rules need to be taken lightly.

    One reason I like my ristretto short, even with milk, is that I have a low tolerance for milk and a 300ml latte would push me over the edge. My usual latte is a total of 100ml--including the doppio ristretto!

    Greg

  19. #19
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    759

    Re: EM480 static and channeling

    I personally prefer ristretto over espresso. if Im buying a coffee in the afternoon from a reputable cafe, will often order a ristretto straight up.


  20. #20
    enjoy black coffee JamesM's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Perth
    Posts
    672

    Re: EM480 static and channeling

    Ive been having really mixed results with my sunbeam grinder and EM6910... in my other thread, I mentioned Im griding on 7 or 8, which is considered really fine.. any coarser and I end up with a running-tap like extraction registering bugger all on the top pullometer on the front of the machine.

    This morning I tried a combination of two dosing techniques Ive been using and it worked well.. I also tamped a little lighter as suggested by AM above.

    dose, knock on bench to settle, very light tamp, dose, knock, light tamp, dose, final tamp not too hard, no polish, lock and load.

    This mornings pull was better than usual, considering Im using stale stuff from the local italian supermarket (Mago Coffee in big brass wall mounted containers which they swear is refilled almost weekly from the supplier). I managed between the sweet spot on the totally sik pullometer. Not quite there.

    I can say that this combination of knocking my basket to let the grind settle, then gently tamping/flattening to allow more grind has worked wonders compared to just knocking, or just gentle tamping. Maybe better grind distribution in the basket.

    The puck came out indented by the shower, in one lump and broke nicely in half.

    Im not going to bother trying to perfect my dose and pull until my fresh beans arrive, I almost feel like Im wasting my time! Oh well, practice I spose! Unfortunately I firmly believe that practicing with stale beans just isnt going to help me in the future.

  21. #21
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    759

    Re: EM480 static and channeling

    Hi James,

    Ive been getting quite good results for a few weeks now, since I started this thread.

    I had a 1kg bag of stale beans which act quite differently compared to the fresh stuff but was still worthwhile for practising my dose and tamping. I didnt consider it a waste of time. in fact, I had to use those beans up somehow.

    I only do two doses with a knock on the bench and light tamp in between now. Ive also found that I dont need to use the WDT as I did before. Perhaps thats the weather...Im not sure.

    Just remember, only change one variable at a time.

  22. #22
    enjoy black coffee JamesM's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Perth
    Posts
    672

    Re: EM480 static and channeling

    Nice!

    My shipment from beanbay just arrived, I ended up with Decaf Mocha Java, Peru Grace Villa Estate, PNG Wahgi AA, and Sulawesi Rante Kapua Torajah. As my wife doesnt really drink coffee, I opened the DECAF mocha Java first. Grinded a couple of steps higher (to 10) on my sunbeam than with my stale beans and dosed.. The extraction was too fast, so either I still need grind at around 8, or my dose technique sucks... Still tasted really nice!

  23. #23
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    759

    Re: EM480 static and channeling

    Wait until you get it right and then tell us all that the shot you just pulled tasted nice :)

  24. #24
    enjoy black coffee JamesM's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Perth
    Posts
    672

    Re: EM480 static and channeling

    Well I just pulled another shot, this time the Sulawesi Rante Kupua Toragah (what a mouth load to say).. It extracted at about 11oclock on the wankometer on the front of the EM6910... so still not perfect. I grinded at "10". grind, knock, grind, knock, grind, level with fingers/hand, then TAMP, tap, TAMP. It was dosed up a little high because I felt the resistance in the group handle as I locked it in.

    It still looks like its extracting too fast, turning from dark to light quite quickly... I cant believe I have to grind even finer!? I took a sip of the shot and it wasnt that pleasant, a tad bitter, so I added milk and drank it. *sigh*

  25. #25
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    433

    Re: EM480 static and channeling

    Ignore the numbers on the grinder, they are relevant as your own reference only, go by the shot.

    11 isnt nearly far enough round, should be hitting between 2 & 3 oclock for optimal pour. For a double (my std) this gives me around 50ml in 25 secs which is the point that it goes watery.

  26. #26
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    759

    Re: EM480 static and channeling

    James,

    If youre feeling resistance when you lock the PF in, its almost certainly over-overdosed. If this happens, I usually take it out to check for a showerhead impression, then on the next shot lower my dosage a little.

    You may also find if its got too much in there, youll get leaks down the side of the PF as the shot is running.

  27. #27
    A_M
    A_M is offline
    Guest
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    6,381

    Re: EM480 static and channeling

    Quote Originally Posted by ACog link=1225755024/20#25 date=1227695441
    James,

    If youre feeling resistance when you lock the PF in, its almost certainly over-overdosed. If this happens, I usually take it out to check for a showerhead impression, then on the next shot lower my dosage a little.

    You may also find if its got too much in there, youll get leaks down the side of the PF as the shot is running.
    I concur and have to say that OVER DOSING is as bad as Under dosing...

    In addition if you Over Tamp and / or it is uneven; it will find a fissure and channel.

  28. #28
    enjoy black coffee JamesM's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Perth
    Posts
    672

    Re: EM480 static and channeling

    Well this morning I tried yet another bean (super fresh) Peru Villa... ground at 13 on my grinder for sh1ts and giggles, dosed it, locked it in, removed the basket to look for an impression, it was only just touching the showerhead, maybe still too much dose!?

    Pulled the shot, it didnt even get past maybe 10oclock on the fullyawesomeshotometer. It extracted way too fast.

    Having said that, it tasted better than my last shot, much less bitter.

    I have no doubt its my dosing, Perhaps I need to dose a little less and let the water and grind do the rest. Im pissed I have to wait till the end of NOV to get into the sunbeam coffee school. Speaking of coffee school, should I take MY grinder with me, to assure myself that Im not going insane? (so I can have a pro check it all out?)

    This morning I went with the scotty dose technique.. grind into basket, knock on bench, grind, knock, grind, sweep with finger to top of basket, TAMP, tap, TAMP, lock in. I suspect I swept too close to the top of the basket.

    One of you super awesome sunbeam owners do a video of your dose and shot for me. hah

    Maybe Ill do one and post it so you can all tell me what Im doing wrong.

  29. #29
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    759

    Re: EM480 static and channeling

    James,

    It might take a lot of beans, but I would keep your routine the same, and adjust one notch finer each time until you reach what you would consider a good shot. Probably should be something like 12-2 o clock on the fullyawesomeshotometer and around 25 mls in 25 seconds.

    Theres a bunch of videos on youtube. Do a search for em6910 or em 6910.

    I did some videos the other day for my own reference, but they dont really show my technique; just the shot itself.

    If I can get the time, Ill try and do a few more vids showing my technique for you.

    oh, and I would try and stick with the one bean for now. changing from one SO or blend to another is going to change the game slightly. Just another variable to watch out for.

    Speaking of variables, I had some dud shots yesterday and couldnt work out why. Turns out the wife had the evaporative cooling on yesterday, which Im sure was causing the clumping in my ground beans. So many variables to watch out for.

  30. #30
    enjoy black coffee JamesM's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Perth
    Posts
    672

    Re: EM480 static and channeling

    Thanks, Ill stick with the peru beans I tried this morning when I get home instead of opening my next bag up.. Cant wait to actually have my first espresso instead of putting milk in all these failures! haha

  31. #31
    enjoy black coffee JamesM's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Perth
    Posts
    672

    Re: EM480 static and channeling

    OK. this evening I made three espressos (on same beans)

    First attempt, too quick, too course (grinded on 12)..
    2nd attempt, bloody awesome and perfect, (grinded on 8). consumed.... yum, lovely crema, tasty coffee!
    3rd attempt, exactly the same as attempt 2, added milk to this one, yum x2

    Sorry to those that say "you should be grinding on 12-15" or whatever.. I guess its not the case with my grinder (brand new EM0480). It extracts super fast on a courser grind setting, the pullometer hardly even rates... both of attempt 2 and 3 pulled at over 12oclock on the pullometer :) delish.

    the above attempts were with the single-cup basket. I might try again with the bigger basket to see if I can get a longer extraction and even more goodness :)

    got my dose technique down too, all good!

  32. #32
    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Sydney
    Posts
    10,496

    Re: EM480 static and channeling

    Quote Originally Posted by JamesM link=1225755024/20#30 date=1227785630
    Sorry to those that say "you should be grinding on 12-15" or whatever.
    Thats what the manual says IIRC.

    Not all 0480s grind identically on the same number.

    The numbers on your grinder are relative positions for you from one grind to the next.

    A lot of the "you should be grinding on 12-15" is said as a starting point.
    I know it is when I say it.

  33. #33
    A_M
    A_M is offline
    Guest
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    6,381

    Re: EM480 static and channeling

    Quote Originally Posted by JamesM link=1225755024/20#30 date=1227785630
    OK. this evening I made three espressos (on same beans)

    First attempt, too quick, too course (grinded on 12)..
    2nd attempt, bloody awesome and perfect, (grinded on 8). consumed.... yum, lovely crema, tasty coffee!
    3rd attempt, exactly the same as attempt 2, added milk to this one, yum x2

    Sorry to those that say "you should be grinding on 12-15" or whatever.. I guess its not the case with my grinder (brand new EM0480). It extracts super fast on a courser grind setting, the pullometer hardly even rates... both of attempt 2 and 3 pulled at over 12oclock on the pullometer :) delish.

    the above attempts were with the single-cup basket. I might try again with the bigger basket to see if I can get a longer extraction and even more goodness :)

    got my dose technique down too, all good!
    Single PF Vs Double shot will require a change in grind and tamp..



Similar Threads

  1. Channeling...
    By David8 in forum General Coffee Related...
    Replies: 19
    Last Post: 20th July 2012, 10:25 AM
  2. Best basket shape & tamper. Channeling?
    By Humphrey in forum Brewing Equipment (non-machine specific)
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 25th February 2009, 09:14 PM
  3. Tamping/channeling
    By fredo in forum Brewing Equipment (non-machine specific)
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 18th September 2006, 11:31 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •