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.