Newbie frustrations: Fast and/or very gassy shots - Page 2

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Postby aecletec » May 18, 2017, 9:41 pm

The feedback can be messy!

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Postby Nunas » May 18, 2017, 10:14 pm

There's no reason not to use it, and it is useful to see if you are doing a proper tamp. But, there is a basic learning principle involved here; that is, don't mess with a bunch of variables at once. Frankly, I'd wait a bit; stick with one coffee, one temperature, one basket, and just mess with the grind/dose for a while. When you get somewhere you like and can duplicate it most of the time, then try leaving those things alone and change the shot temperature. Then try different coffees and so on. But, should you choose to go for a botomless portafilter now, you should stick with it. Don't pull some shots with one partafilter and some with'll mess with your cupping. I'm not smart enough to know why, but I do notice a slight difference between my usual double spout portafilter and my bottomless.

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Postby mikeje » May 19, 2017, 12:29 am

Point taken on not messing with variables.

Across about two hours of tinkering, I discovered and adjusted a few things. At 1A on the Vario, I still pulled >2oz in 15 seconds with 16g. Adjusted the Vario, still pulled 1.5oz. Got a bit more aggressive, and then gave myself an online lesson is cleaning out the jammed and stalled Vario!

Adjusted it back and eventually got the Classic to choke 0.4oz in 30 seconds at 1A with 16g of coffee, if that's sluggish enough to be considered a choke. Chased that with a 30s pull at 2F that extracted 1.6oz and tasted quite nice. Unfortunately in the middle of this I ran out of the Coffee Lab beans, having ripped through well over a pound in the last day, so I switched by necessity. But I was able to get to a better starting point.

Thank you for all of the input and advice. This was a very welcoming and extremely helpful first interaction on these forums. I really appreciate it.

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Postby stahlee » May 19, 2017, 10:43 am

For a newbie, I always suggest start by choking the machine and then work backwards. Your shots tasted terrible because of the fast extractions. There are numbers that are great to start from. 15-18g to pull between 25-30 seconds with output of 1:2. Thus you should have 16g in and 32g out in the 25-30s range.

Right now, don't mess with anything other than grind until you get the above numbers. That means tamp with the same pressure, don't mess with temp. If you use 16g in the basket, stay with that only and work from there. Like others have said, making changes to more than one part will not help you at all, just make it more difficult.

Get a 25-30s pull, then move to your next variable. Choke the machine and slowly work back until you get the above extraction. Use good beans even if you have to order them. You can then move to taste. You can start adjusting temps and extraction volume, but only one at a time.

Order a few pounds of coffee because you will burn through it during calibration, but that is half the fun. I know you want good espresso quickly, but be procedural and you'll be successful.

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Postby dominico » May 19, 2017, 1:04 pm

If it took 1A to choke your machine, perhaps you want to try recalibrating the Vario?
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Postby mikeje » May 19, 2017, 1:17 pm

I have it calibrated now perhaps too tight, but today pulling about 1.6oz over 30s on 16g around 2Q on the vario.

Thanks for the starting point two posts back. I will buy a few more pounds this w/e and stick to one at a time.

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Postby cmin » May 19, 2017, 2:41 pm

Bill33525 wrote:When changing the setting on the grinder the grind size does not change right away. Retention in the grinder causes the grinds to contain particle sizes from the previous setting for a while. Your grinder may need to run for several shots before the particle size stabilizes.

Additionally, you need to weigh the shot output and a good starting point for 14g would be 28g out. Get a cheap jeweler scale with .XX accuracy.
Not really, Vario is almost 0 retention or with my flap in chute flipped is 0 retention, definitely not after multiple shots... I could change a setting and next shot and subsequent ones are the same maybe the 1st shot after the change is a bit different once in awhile in my experience.

That said OP might need calibrating
mikeje wrote:I have it calibrated now perhaps too tight, but today pulling about 1.6oz over 30s on 16g around 2Q on the vario.

Thanks for the starting point two posts back. I will buy a few more pounds this w/e and stick to one at a time.
FWIW had a Vario for years and when I've recalibrated it's always in the 3 macro range and then micro adjusted to wherever depending on bean/blend. Use a scale that weighs to .1g to figure out your brew ratio, I'd stick around 50% (ex: 18g in 36g out) and then go from there. Stick with same beans till you have it dialed then make note of where you are, that way if you change beans around you'll know what settings to use. I single dosed the Vario so if a shot pulled fast or slow, I adjusted with grinder running, then dosed again... make adjustments with grinder running whether empty hopper or not.

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Postby majora » May 22, 2017, 6:30 pm

Deebo wrote:As far as dosing, once you have it at the right height after tamping (I am unfamiliar with the Gaggia myself, but my guess is that the manual tells you where that is, and the portafilter probably has a mark in it to give you an idea anyways), stick with that and don't change it. Beginners I think end up overwhelmed and make too many changes at once... if you change more than one thing at a time, you don't really know what worked and what didn't. A good way to check your dose is if it's too high it will impact the screen, and if its too low it will be come out mushy. A good start for roasts you are unfamiliar with, IMO, is 18 g.

Keep everything you do consistent (dose/tamp/temp), so the only thing you need to change is your grind.

This hit home just now. Newbie with about a month in and I've been getting 13 second blonders that hit all the right parameters but end up with a ton of foam that fills my 2 ounce shot glass and settles at about 1.5 ounces of coffee with a small crema top after a few minutes. I've been adjusting grind and dose but switch beans after burning through a bag unsuccessfully dialing it in only to fail again with the new bag. I have however pulled something drinkable with sightless beans. I've been getting mushy, wet pucks that slop out and leave wet clumps of grounds in my basket that I then make a mess cleaning with a towel in my sink. Another issue I have is I see about 2-4 channeling holes in the center of my puck almost every shot. I dont really use any techniques for tamping and i kind of change what I do if I find something better. I've seen videos of people using a dosing rim sleeves just tamping straight from the grind without shaking or leveling ( I assume its dosed perfectly but how can that yield a level tamp?). I've also seen people use the "V finger twist around the rim of the portafilter" method and I've been using it (probably improperly) and would like to know what the purpose of it is? I currently use it to slightly tamp in the edge of the grounds around the rim of the basket. It probably looks pretty awkward when I do it because I dont have the rotating tecniquie down but it yields a circular doughnut shape around the edge of the puck after brewing so I suppose its better? Should I aim to have a completely full portafilter pre tamp? I currently use around 17 grams which at my grind setting is filling my double shot basket, since the advice is to tighten up the grind from Deebo, should i also up the dose to end up with a full portafilter around 18 grams with the new finer grind setting?

Additional info: 1 month experience and I've watched all the newbie videos. Espro 30# convex tamper with redbird blue Jaguar espresso beans less than 10 days old. 17-17.5 grams with a tap and shake mid grind, "V" method followed by finger level to get weight and fill in gaps and holes, tamp, polish. Bottomless portafilter with 2 shot basket, little to no spurting with slight bubbling but overall centered and clean (apart from the blonding and channeling). Shot is bitter which leads me to down dosing but the bitterness may be a result of the channeling and blonding so it may be the exception to the rule.