Problem with New ECM Classika II PID

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#1: Post by Erich114 » Nov 09, 2019, 3:15 am


I'm a newbie so please forgive my stupidity!

I recently bought a new ECM Classika II PID with Eureka Atom grinder.
The first shot was awful, even with the finest grind, my machine is pumping out watery coffee, the flow was too quick (25 secs will reach 150ml), the gauge reads around 3-4 bars when brewing. Did I miss a step or doing something wrong?

Much appreciated your help!!


#2: Post by Erich114 » Nov 09, 2019, 4:04 am

Ah! Just now I switched to single basket it was working fine, must be something wrong with my double basket...or I didn't fix it properly in place!

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#3: Post by truemagellen » Nov 10, 2019, 4:15 am

Congrats on the new machine. What grinder do you have? How fresh are beans?


#4: Post by Erich114 » Nov 10, 2019, 10:20 am

thanks mate!
I've got a Eureka Atom

I've done soooo many tests, since I haven't got a tamper so I've using the stock plastic thing, and it seems I'm either tamping too hard or soft, so for single shot I either get 3g or >45g of coffee...... I'm going to get a proper tamper and try again....... :x


#5: Post by Erich114 » Nov 10, 2019, 10:27 am

beans are like 2 weeks old, so I don't think it's the cause of problem..
now i'm getting problem with the single basket as well, on 14g dose, it's either brewing too quickly or slowly.. (with 20secs I get either 3g or >45g of coffee), tried adjusting my grind and marked down it's not very consistent, so I guess it's my tamping..

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#6: Post by Bluenoser » Nov 10, 2019, 4:15 pm

Single baskets are usually designed for 6-10g.. and double about 15-20g.. You might want to try 15-16g doses in the double basket and you might find it easier to dial in.. The tamper should be okay.. can't see that being the big culprit.. and can't see it being the double basket. However, do you have a bottomless portafilter..? If not, that is the first thing to buy. Your issue might be inconsistent distribution. This will cause channeling that you can only see with the bottomless. It's a nuisance to have to pay more for accessories.. but the bottomless is invaluable to progressing in the whole .. distribution - tamping ... phase. Channeling will cause the water to take a fast path through a 'crack' in the puck and so you get a lot of water really fast, but no coffee extracted.

I think most people use a 'double' in their drinks.. the single basket is harder to dial in than the double; and many people only use their double baskets.. If they want a single, they still use the double dose and double basket with the double-spouted PF and let one drain into the tray..

If you buy a tamper, you might want to consider a 58.4mm one. Slightly larger than 58mm as they generally fit your stock baskets more precisely.. However, take your baskets into a shop to test with tamper, if purchasing from a store. I think flat is considered better than concave. But even with stock tamper you should be able to get good shots.


#7: Post by JRising » Nov 11, 2019, 10:08 am

I'm going to repeat Bluenoser's suggestion that you use the double basket. I know I found it much easier to learn dosing and dialing in a grinder with the double basket. For one thing, it has so much more perforated surface area that you're relying on the coffee grounds to provide the pressure drop, the basket creates very little resistance to flow. A single basket can start making your espresso look decent even when your grinder is still way off.
If you're not sure your grinder is dialed in, start from the choked off point. Keep setting your grinder finer and finer in large steps until you get to the point where it chokes off all the flow in your basket. Then back off, adjusting just slightly coarser in small steps until the flow looks like what you expect. Then you can adjust slightly either way to try to get your 28-29 second 1.5 oz shot. From there, start tasting or actually drinking them, adjust slightly up or down after every 2 or 3 shots to see what difference or improvement it might make.


#8: Post by Erich114 » Nov 15, 2019, 10:28 am

Thanks Bluenoser!
I was trying 14g in single and 18g in double basket.. but the water really come out so quickly which looks like there was no coffee inside the basket, would channeling cause the water run this quick? It's like 3-4bar when brewing..
So far I haven't got a bottomless, but will be on my list!
But with your tamper size suggestion, it's quite difficult to find a 58.4mm, I see most of them are 57.5 or 58mm, but I do feel like a well-fitted one, else leaving coffee at the rim.

Thanks also JRising!
I actually started off from the finest point (where the grinder is stuck), and go coarser from there, I think the coffee should be fine enough for espresso.. Is this also okay?

Anyway, I'm waiting for some more coffee gear before I restart with the trials..

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#9: Post by Bluenoser » Nov 15, 2019, 11:18 am

58.4 or 58.5mm tampers are very common.. do a google search.. cafelat; barista hustle; reg barber .. I wouldn't pay a lot.. and make sure you try it in your baskets before purchasing just to ensure it fits..

Channeling usually doesn't make it flow that fast.. but it can certainly cause faster flow and lighter pressure. It sounds to me like your grind is not fine enough.. maybe the distribution and tamping is bad..

use, say 16-17 g in your double basket.

So.. you need to get your grounds really well distributed in your portafilter.. Some use a paper clip end to stir the grounds, then a finger technique to move the grounds so they are even.. I like to fill the portafilter 1/2 full, then rap the edges of the PF to get grounds even, then rap the bottom to settle the grounds; I fill rest of coffee and repeat. Then you need to tamp with enough pressure to remove all the air.. Put enough pressure so that you feel its good and compact.. You don't need to overdo it.. somewhere between 15 and 30 lbs.

Pull a shot.. if it comes out too fast. (32g in under 25 sec) then you need to grind finer.. You have a good grinder, so this should not be an issue. If you can't get a fine enough grind.. clean the burrs to see if there is a bean stuck or something odd.. (don't use grindz.. actually brush out the burrs)..

I used to just go to my local walmart where they have Lavazza in 2 lb bag and learned how to dial in. The coffee is not fresh, but that should not matter with a good grinder. This way I didn't waste 'good' coffee just learning about the dialing in process. Don't wait for fancy tools.. your tamper will work fine.. lots of practice and experience will teach a lot. Watch some YouTube videos.. tons of info out there on this stuff.. plus lots of posts on HB about it. It's a fun process and there is no exact 1.2.3 set of instructions that will ensure a perfect extraction.. You try something and then adjust whatever is necessary.

Things I've acquired that help in my setup over time.
1. Good 500g 0.01g resolution scale.. Taylor-salter make a cheap one I got at walmart.. stay away from "American Weigh" they are very slow. Usually only about $20 and nice and small.
2. The bottomless PF.. use this daily
3. A dosing ring .. cheap on eBay.. sits on top of the PF and makes it easier to shake the grounds level.. (also easier to grind into PF without grinds escaping.
4. Few cheap 350ml stainless jugs for steaming.. different spout designs for latte art
5. Some milk-clean to soak the steam tip occasionally... even with purging I found the holes sometimes seem to narrow a bit over time.
6. A denture brush with bristles on both sides helps me clean my Sette grinder burrs..

One thing about your Classika, is that it has an E61 group head.. Even though the PID display will show the machine is up to temp, the group will not be. (The PID only displays the temperature in your boiler.. not what temperature your brew water is). You should warm up the machine for about 40 minutes.. otherwise the hot brew water will get cooled by the large mass of the group.