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Thread: Help Needed Please!

  1. #1
    Senior Member Shotgun's Avatar
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    Help Needed Please!

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hi all,
    Happy New year to you all and thanks to anyone kind enough to attempt to help me out in my dilemma.

    I have a Mazzer Mini grinder and Vibiemme single group head espresso machine. Both are approximately 7 years old and seemingly in good condition.
    I only put through about 30kg of beans per year so the grinder blades are well within their usage for sharpening. Currently I'm using an organic single origin from the New Guinea highlands called Purosa Estate.
    It's a cracker of a coffee with milk and I must have used 30-40 kilo's over time.

    My trouble began before Xmas when for some reason I couldn't get a decent shot to save my life. This may be co-incidental but the trouble 'seemed' to appear after I did my fortnightly detergent flush (clean) pf the Vibiemme. (that may be unrelated)
    My problem is that when I grind, pack and tamp and put the handle on the VBM, it starts pouring okay but within seconds the water begins pouring through the group head, almost gushing.
    Normally if my shots are too fast, adjusting the grind and or packing and tamping will fix it, but now nothing I do changes the fast flow of my shots. Strangely, the 'pucks' seem to be evenly infused and are intact after knocking them out. They seem normal.
    The coffee is bitter to taste and I'm completely at a loss to fix the issue.

    I buy my beans from a mob called Clandestino Roasters up here in noosa and I went to their barista and ran the problem by him. He said he'd never heard of or experienced the problem before.
    There's a company up here that has serviced my Vibiemme in the past but I really don't know whether to take the Mazzer or the Vibiemme to them to try and work it out. I don't know if it's the grinder or the VBM that is the problem.
    Do any of you experienced souls have an idea what could be going on?
    Cheers and thanks in advance,
    Tony

  2. #2
    Super Moderator Javaphile's Avatar
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    Sounds like stale beans. Have you tried different beans or ones from a different fresh batch?


    Java "Say no to stale!" phile
    Toys! I must have new toys!!!

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    Senior Member Shotgun's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Javaphile View Post
    Sounds like stale beans. Have you tried different beans or ones from a different fresh batch?


    Java "Say no to stale!" phile
    Thanks Javaphile. I seriously doubt that stale beans is the answer though. Purosa Estate is one of their biggest sellers and it's not uncommon for me to go in to pick up a kilo and have to wait until the following Friday to get it. (They roast every Thursday)
    The kilo I'm using was (according to the bag) roasted on the 18th December and the first third of the bag poured perfectly.
    Cheers mate

  4. #4
    Super Moderator Javaphile's Avatar
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    If the beans were left open or loosely sealed they could easily have gone stale. The behavior you describe is exactly what is seen when using stale beans. Before fiddling with your hardware eliminate it as the problem by trying some new and known to be fresh beans. If that doesn't fix the issue then you can go chasing gremlins in the hardware.


    Java "And whatever you do no food after midnight!!!" phile
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    Senior Member chokkidog's Avatar
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    Hi Tony,

    Your Mazzer burrs are getting into the twilight zone, if they are the stock steel burrs they are rated for about 300 kgs,

    less if you have run a few stones through it, a bit more if you use a dark roast and no stones.


    Don't, however, jump to the conclusion that in order to solve your problem you just need a new burr set.


    I presume you have taken the burrs out and cleaned them and the burr carrier assembly and chamber as part of your problem solving

    and that you have regularly used 'Grindz'?

    You say that 'nothing I do changes the fast flow of my shots.'

    Does that mean you have tried but not succeeded, to choke your shots by adjusting the grind fine enough to do so?

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    Senior Member Shotgun's Avatar
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    Light bulb moment Javaphile. Thank you and I think you might be right.
    The current kilo was packed in a new type of paper bag, one with fold-over lugs on top. The bag immediately appeared to be of inferior quality to what I'd been getting for years from this roaster.
    This was the first time I'd ever had my beans in this type of bag.

    Okay, assuming your right and it is stale beans, and assuming the roaster won't accept the bags are inferior, how should I best store the beans at home? My wife and I are very happy with the Purosa SO.
    Cheers again,

  7. #7
    Senior Member Shotgun's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chokkidog View Post
    Hi Tony,

    Your Mazzer burrs are getting into the twilight zone, if they are the stock steel burrs they are rated for about 300 kgs,

    less if you have run a few stones through it, a bit more if you use a dark roast and no stones.


    Don't, however, jump to the conclusion that in order to solve your problem you just need a new burr set.


    I presume you have taken the burrs out and cleaned them and the burr carrier assembly and chamber as part of your problem solving

    and that you have regularly used 'Grindz'?

    You say that 'nothing I do changes the fast flow of my shots.'

    Does that mean you have tried but not succeeded, to choke your shots by adjusting the grind fine enough to do so?
    Okay I might sound like a rank amateur in answering your question. (makes my username seem a bit silly really :-)
    1) I haven't taken the burrs out and cleaned them or the burr assembly. AND I don't even know what 'Grindz' is. (Whoa!)
    2) yes I have tried to adjust the grind finer to choke my shots down and it hasn't worked.
    Cheers mate

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    Senior Member Vinitasse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shotgun View Post
    Light bulb moment Javaphile. Thank you and I think you might be right.
    The current kilo was packed in a new type of paper bag, one with fold-over lugs on top. The bag immediately appeared to be of inferior quality to what I'd been getting for years from this roaster.
    This was the first time I'd ever had my beans in this type of bag.

    Okay, assuming your right and it is stale beans, and assuming the roaster won't accept the bags are inferior, how should I best store the beans at home? My wife and I are very happy with the Purosa SO.
    Cheers again,
    I guess you could simply buy some foil-lined, re-sealable bags with one-way valves from BeanBay and bring one with you whenever you go there to buy beans or go find another mob who cares enough to bag their beans properly in the first place
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  9. #9
    Senior Member chokkidog's Avatar
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    Crikey! And I'd take said foil lined laminate bag, with zip and valve, empty your purchase into it at the counter and

    before you leave ask them if they don't mind heat sealing it for you.

    You said you've adjusted it 'finer' but have you adjusted it until it won't grind?

  10. #10
    Senior Member chokkidog's Avatar
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    Clean your grinder!

    Grindz.......Check it out here: ( complete with demo video)

    Grindz grinder cleaner | Talk Coffee

  11. #11
    Senior Member Shotgun's Avatar
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    Okay, here's my latest and I'd like to thank everyone for their help.
    I called Jaxon, the owner of Clandestino and as soon as I mentioned the problem he said, "Stale beans!"
    He's a very nice young bloke and he knows I'm a regular customer. Before I even mentioned the change of bags he said "I was thinking about you and wondered how your beans were holding."
    It seems they changed from foil lined bag to a plant based more environmentally friendly bag that he acknowledges doesn't seal as well.
    He is aware of potential problems and has 'given' me a (just roasted) kilo in the same type of bag to see the results. he wants to see if the problem re-occurs.
    He would like to continue with the environmentally friendly (and less costly) bag if possible but obviously not at the expense of coffee quality.
    We'll see and I'll keep anyone that's interested up to date. I'm not 100% sure that's the issue though because there have been times I've been away and had beans in my hopper for a week or so without a problem.

  12. #12
    Senior Member chokkidog's Avatar
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    Keep us posted! :-)

  13. #13
    TC
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    At the moment, if you want fresh, you need a high quality bag and paper doesn't cut it unless it's foil lined. Clandestino may well be using something called an "earth bag". We looked at them and rejected them as they just don't cut it. For us, freshness is a not negotiable and I would have thought most companies would feel the same.

    There is a product called Econic, but if their website pix are anything to go by...

    They also want large quantities and didn't respond to any communication....

    We're currently looking at a closed loop alternative- at least for walk-in sales. Work in progress....
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shotgun View Post
    Okay, here's my latest and I'd like to thank everyone for their help.
    I called Jaxon, the owner of Clandestino and as soon as I mentioned the problem he said, "Stale beans!"
    He's a very nice young bloke and he knows I'm a regular customer. Before I even mentioned the change of bags he said "I was thinking about you and wondered how your beans were holding."
    It seems they changed from foil lined bag to a plant based more environmentally friendly bag that he acknowledges doesn't seal as well.
    He is aware of potential problems and has 'given' me a (just roasted) kilo in the same type of bag to see the results. he wants to see if the problem re-occurs.
    He would like to continue with the environmentally friendly (and less costly) bag if possible but obviously not at the expense of coffee quality.
    We'll see and I'll keep anyone that's interested up to date. I'm not 100% sure that's the issue though because there have been times I've been away and had beans in my hopper for a week or so without a problem.
    Hi Shotgun

    Just to throw another POV out there -

    A bit of background:-

    Coffee beans HATE light, moisture, heat (and excess cold - i.e. a fridge) and airflow. AFAIC, any "non tasting" storage method that can deal with all 4 of those factors is fine.

    Those "one way valve" bags were developed because fresh roasts "degas CO2" for a few days (some roasts more than others). Having a container full of beans explode is not a good look...

    Using foil or wax paper imparts a taste into the coffee which I do not enjoy (I admit to being sensitive to stuff like that). I also find most foil lined bags tend to make the coffee beans sweat a little, or even oil up it they are roasted a bit too dark.

    Using "standard thickness" plain "unbleached" paper leaks air like a sieve so the beans stale too quickly - sounds like the ones you are trying as a guinea pig, doesn't it? In my experience, making the bags thicker does not help too much either...

    My own preferred method is to double up the container type. I use a plain paper bag or two inside a "90+% airtight" 500g coffee tin in a "temp & humidity stable" cupboard. The paper / tin combo acts like a one way bag during the degassing phase, so even "roasted that day" beans do not give a problem. The cupboard and the tin keep all the other factors which affect the beans to a minimum.

    FWIW, I would stay with those bags and find a 250 / 500 / 1000g (whichever size you need) "mostly sealed" tin and try that out.

    TampIt

  15. #15
    TOK
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    And the short answer is:

    (as others have said) / stale coffee.

    You live in a humid environment, good packaging / storage is vital.

    Supplier changed the packaging to something that doesnt suit.

    Did they also advise their clients that with the change in packaging, their clients should repack the beans into a suitable (air/heat/light proof) container ASAP on getting them home, because if they didnt, they should have, and this is why the owner is being so helpful (doing his duty) now... (no need to answer).

    My 2 cents: changing to "ethically superior" packaging which is not as good for the product, is like changing to fair trade movement coffee when a superior regular coffee is available. Doesnt make sense.

    Dont go trying to "fix" the equipment if it aint broke.
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  16. #16
    TOK
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    I will go one step further on this. If a coffee supply business that I had anything to do with, decided for whatever reason to change to another form of packaging this is inferior in its treatment of the product, at the same time as singing the praises of the new packaging (better "environmental ethics") I would also canvass the clients to bring their own air/heat/light proof container.

    There is a win/win in that. Client approval of your ethics, and a saving in packaging costs the more clients bring their own containers...



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