Espresso troubleshooting - starts slow, ends fast

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coffeelocomotive
Posts: 7
Joined: Mar 25, 2017, 6:00 pm

Postby coffeelocomotive » Sep 12, 2017, 7:33 pm

Help needed! So I have a Laranzato 1 group espresso machine and the Breville Smart Grinder Pro. The drop time on my shots are super long, around 15 - 18 seconds but then the rest of the shot goes by really fast. Then my shots are a total pull time of 32 seconds. Also when the shot is waiting to drop there is slight water leaks coming through the group head.

Is my machine messing up? Am I doing something wrong with the espresso grind prep? I can't figure it out and I want my daily espresso!

biketo
Posts: 29
Joined: Jun 02, 2017, 9:21 am

Postby biketo » Sep 13, 2017, 1:23 pm

Just spitballing, but maybe too much coffee in the basket is causing the leaks, i.e. the puck is mashed against the shower screen before a complete seal is established at the group gasket. Your description of flow suggests too fine a grind with some distribution issues that eventually lead to channeling. Make your grind a little coarser until you are down to 5-7 seconds to first drop and stir with a toothpick before you tamp to distribute the grounds more evenly.

nuketopia
Posts: 640
Joined: Mar 08, 2016, 9:52 pm

Postby nuketopia » Sep 13, 2017, 4:42 pm

Sounds like several problems going on.

First, the leaking issue. Clean your brewhead and especially the gasket. If you have a blind flush basket, use it to troubleshoot the issue. You may just need a new gasket. It is common to replace these 1-2 times a year in a home, far more frequently in commercial service.

This "nothing to gushing" problem indicates a grind or bean problem. Stale beans will do this in the best of circumstances. In that case, the only cure is freshly roasted beans.

Grinding issues also cause the problem. If the grinder is not producing uniform particles and is set fine, the first flow will be slow from the fine grinds, then channeling takes over and the water breaks through the coarser parts and starts gushing. Try grinding coarser. Once you eliminate all other causes, you may just need to service or replace the grinder with something better.

coffeelocomotive
Posts: 7
Joined: Mar 25, 2017, 6:00 pm

Postby coffeelocomotive » Sep 14, 2017, 10:45 am

biketo wrote:Just spitballing, but maybe too much coffee in the basket is causing the leaks, i.e. the puck is mashed against the shower screen before a complete seal is established at the group gasket. Your description of flow suggests too fine a grind with some distribution issues that eventually lead to channeling. Make your grind a little coarser until you are down to 5-7 seconds to first drop and stir with a toothpick before you tamp to distribute the grounds more evenly.


Thanks! I'll try both. I'm grinding around a 12 on the Breville but I'll go coarser!

coffeelocomotive
Posts: 7
Joined: Mar 25, 2017, 6:00 pm

Postby coffeelocomotive » Sep 14, 2017, 11:05 am

nuketopia wrote:Sounds like several problems going on.

First, the leaking issue. Clean your brewhead and especially the gasket. If you have a blind flush basket, use it to troubleshoot the issue. You may just need a new gasket. It is common to replace these 1-2 times a year in a home, far more frequently in commercial service.

This "nothing to gushing" problem indicates a grind or bean problem. Stale beans will do this in the best of circumstances. In that case, the only cure is freshly roasted beans.

Grinding issues also cause the problem. If the grinder is not producing uniform particles and is set fine, the first flow will be slow from the fine grinds, then channeling takes over and the water breaks through the coarser parts and starts gushing. Try grinding coarser. Once you eliminate all other causes, you may just need to service or replace the grinder with something better.


Thanks. I feel like I keep my grouphead fairly clean but maybe not. I'm still learning all the espresso machine tricks and regular maintenance. I'm also getting a new gasket today so hopefully that helps. It's not a ton of leaking just a few drops right before the espresso drops.

And the grinding makes sense! Hopefully I can get this grinder to work. It's only 2 weeks old and took me months to convince my wife to get it!

nuketopia
Posts: 640
Joined: Mar 08, 2016, 9:52 pm

Postby nuketopia » Sep 14, 2017, 12:39 pm

The grinder is the most critical bit of equipment in the chain. I understand the budget constraints. I think Sette 270 is about $150 more than the Breville. The new Sette AP is only $50 more, but I don't know much about it.

The Sette 270 will definitely produce a good espresso grind.

RyanJE
Posts: 987
Joined: Jun 25, 2015, 10:53 am

Postby RyanJE » Sep 14, 2017, 1:10 pm

What about your coffee?? Where from and when roasted.
I drink two shots before I drink two shots, then I drink two more....

coffeelocomotive
Posts: 7
Joined: Mar 25, 2017, 6:00 pm

Postby coffeelocomotive » Sep 14, 2017, 1:23 pm

RyanJE wrote:What about your coffee?? Where from and when roasted.


The coffees I've used since I've had the grinder/ notice the problem is Onyx, Stumptown, & Huckleberry. All with 2 weeks of roast.

coffeelocomotive
Posts: 7
Joined: Mar 25, 2017, 6:00 pm

Postby coffeelocomotive » Sep 14, 2017, 1:28 pm

nuketopia wrote:The grinder is the most critical bit of equipment in the chain. I understand the budget constraints. I think Sette 270 is about $150 more than the Breville. The new Sette AP is only $50 more, but I don't know much about it.

The Sette 270 will definitely produce a good espresso grind.


The Sette is the dream! Maybe once I pay off my student debt. Ha! Also the my grinder budget was just around 120 which is why we got the Breville. (Bed bath and beyond gift cards)

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YDandA
Posts: 13
Joined: Jul 15, 2017, 8:06 pm

Postby YDandA » Sep 15, 2017, 2:29 pm

You got the Smart Grinder Pro for $120? :shock: Damn. I paid way too much at BB&B a couple of years ago. :roll:

But for now, don't worry about your Breville grinder. You have yours set at 12; I have mine hovering around 13, so there's lots of room to go finer, should you need that. If you take up Turkish, then I dunno.

The issue with the SGP is clumping, not fineness of grind, though. The Sette is said to be less susceptible to clumping with the grinds falling straight down through the machine. The Breville produces clumps. Using the Weiss Distribution Technique (WDT), I break those up somewhat and my coffee just keeps getting better. Well, with that, and that I reset my Gaggie's over pressure to 9.75 bar (static).
Regards,
Jon
ManCaveCoffee

 
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