Got My Niche Zero in and apparently have no idea what I'm doing

Grinders are one of the keys to exceptional espresso. Discuss them here.

#1: Post by Elfmaze » Dec 04, 2019, 12:22 pm

So I got my Expobar Office lever plus (rotary pump) last spring and I've been using it with a ROK grinder. I've had a usable flow that I would grind my 18grams, pour it into the funnel and distribute it agitate with a bamboo skewer, give it a spin, and tamp... ROK was maxed out on grind setting most of the time. It usually worked for me.

Now I have the niche in, and attempting the same routine I'm finding the puck compacts a lot more, and I'm choking the EXPOBAR, leading to 15-20 seconds to first drips and 40+ seconds to my 2 oz shot. The niche is set to factory 20, and Ive tried moving it to coarse a bit more but haven't gotten it to flow right yet.

Any help on my workflow now that I have a proper grinder? I believe the expobar might have a bit of preinfusion design that makes the timing a bit slower?



#2: Post by LObin » Dec 04, 2019, 1:00 pm

It seems like you need to recalibrate your NZ. Use this method here:

You should do it on a clean grinder though. Check DaveC's detailed video for all the steps:

This one too if you haven't seen it already:

Then just dial in your coffee again. You can always start at 16g and then move up to 18 once you have the proper grind. For me, usually +2g = +1 notch coarser.

You'll figure it out!
LMWDP #592


#3: Post by thirdcrackfourthwave » Dec 04, 2019, 1:47 pm

Why wouldn't a more coarse grind improve flow from a choke?

This is a YMMV issue. Machine, beans, dose etc., all go to grind size. FWIW, recently (yesterday in fact) cleaned and calibrated, I was at 18 this morning with a Robot and 16.5 gms 9 day old city + S.American beans in. DW would probably want it around 21 :D


#4: Post by belegnole » Dec 04, 2019, 2:34 pm

I watched the video and then read the manual on how to calibrate the Niche. Then I went and calibrated it before I even used it. I figured it couldn't hurt and I wanted to get to know the machine.

The first time I got some beans dialed in I was around 23 on my dial I believe. At this point around five pounds later I'm at 20.75 or so. Your grinder will probably not be at the same setting as mine, so don't worry about the numbers.

Just adjust the grind until you get the pour you want.

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Randy G.

#5: Post by Randy G. » Dec 04, 2019, 4:17 pm

Some info on the beans you are using would be helpful- blend, roast level, and time since roast would be a good start.
Is the scale you are using capable of displaying tenths of a gram? If not, you can be anywhere from around 17.5 to 18.4 grams. That is a big range.
You have ground fine enough to get a choke. Just keep grinding more coarse until you have a fast flow. At that point you will know the range between too fine and too coarse.
Espresso! My Espresso!

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#6: Post by Nunas » Dec 04, 2019, 5:31 pm

Don't despair, it's almost easier to do than to explain dialing in. Don't worry about the numbers on the dial; they cannot be compared between machines. They are there primarily so that you can get back something near your ideal setting after cleaning. You really only "need" to calibrate if you can't grind fine enough. Adjust your grind to achieve the desired pull time. Then make very small changes to grind and dose to achieve the taste you desire.


#7: Post by LObin » Dec 04, 2019, 5:47 pm

I think that calibrating your NZ after unboxing (and going through the long and informative videos from daveC) is a very good way to better understand how this simple but yet "different" grinder works.

I can see why it'd be worrysome for a new owner to grind for espresso in the "FILTER DRIP" range. First thing we do when we get a new toy is usually to assess if it we just made a good or a bad purchase.

There are multiple possible causes for this issue but if it were me starting with a new NZ, I'd want to make sure it is properly calibrated first. Also helps if you're going to be keeping a file on grind settings and dose/yield for each coffee.
LMWDP #592


#8: Post by Elfmaze » Dec 04, 2019, 6:16 pm

Beans are about two weeks old generic espresso blend I bought from a local roaster since I figured I was going to burn through some. the Niche seems to be doing its job fantastically! I just heard so many stories of it working right out the box that I was worried my tamping method was "over doing" it. I'll keep loosing her up till I get a good flow.

I'm trying three notches looser for tonight's espresso. Guess let the process work its self out.

My scale is a problem (1 gram res and it jumps a bit) I mentioned it, I believe the new 1/10th gram scale became a Christmas present to me so I'll have to wait and pretend I don't know its coming :lol:


#9: Post by iploya » Dec 04, 2019, 7:08 pm

Sorry, something doesn't seem right here. A "20" seems too high for a *calibrated* unit to still be choking the flow of an 18g puck. And the calibration video above does not make any sense to me.

The adjuster is a big silver ring that you grab onto with your fingers. It turns smoothly without making any noise. The black calibration ring has a raised dot that points to where you are in the adjustment range. The black ring normally moves WITH the silver ring, unless you deliberately grab and move the black ring RELATIVE TO the silver ring (the black ring will click as it moves relative to the silver ring). Most of the time you do not touch the black ring, which is easy because the silver ring is much bigger and the black ring is sort of tucked away below it.


To confirm my understanding, calibration involves first turning the silver ring all the way clockwise until the silver ring will not move any further. Turning it all the way clockwise requires closing the lid and pulsing the grinder a few times along the way, to clear out any coffee from the burrs.

Then, with the silver ring in the fully clockwise position (burrs touching), leave the silver ring alone and just turn the lower/black click ring relative to the silver ring (it will click), until the dot aligns with the arrow, like this:


Now that you are calibrated, turn the main/silver adjuster ring back counter-clockwise until the dot on the black ring (which turns with the silver ring) is somewhere in the espresso range to start dialing in for your particular beans. On my unit, that is somewhere in the 9-12 range.

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#10: Post by Nunas » Dec 04, 2019, 8:39 pm

Those words for types of brew are rather meaningless and not a compelling reason to calibrate (of course it can't hurt). They're just a rough guide. In the end, dialing in for espresso and cupping for both espresso and pour over are the answer. It isn't what some dial says that's important. What matters is whether what's in the cup appeals to you.