La Pavoni Pro - Channeling Help - Page 2

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sgtsassafras (original poster)

#11: Post by sgtsassafras (original poster) »

Thank you for the recommendations...

I bought a bag of Volcanica Ethiopian Yirgacheffe, and went through the entire bag without a decent shot. I don't know what to make of this, I even wrote them tonight. The shots started out water, then quickly went to chocking. I settled on some crappy results at 14g and a setting of 18 on the Niche - but it was dreadful compared to Kicking Horse...

I bought a bag of the tried and true Lavazza Super Crema to at least establish a baseline. For a more precise machine like the La Pavoni, are there some catches I should keep in mind while selecting beans like origin or roast? Should I stick to something specifically called out for espresso?

Thank You.

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#12: Post by mrgnomer »

Not sure what the cause of bad extraction might be with the Volcania roast. If it's a very fresh roast could be expansion from blooming is causing a really tight showerscreen tamp that restricts flow. If you see deep showerscreen marks on the top of an extracted puck and the showerscreen is caked with grinds dose less until the marks aren't so deep and the showerscreen doesn't get so dirty. Also look for indications of channeling which would look like holes or cracks in the puck. Channeling can be dealt with by better distribution and more even puck prep along with dialing in grind and dose. A grind too fine can cause channeling as the water tries to find a way through the puck. If your extractions are choking that's a sign of good puck prep. Try a coarser grind maybe.

What works for me when I feel a choke coming with the LaPavoni is to completely let up on pressure until dripping starts then gently apply pressure to get more flow. You'll get a pretty restricted shot but atleast you get a shot.

Another cause for water initially flowing then a choke could be from raising the lever. When you raise the lever with a tight packed puck it creates a vacuum that could suck up the puck and disturb all the careful work you did. Water will flow but when the puck settles back it may not extract well because it was disturbed. To avoid the puck getting sucked up make sure the basket is dry before you prep it, raise the lever up to the point just before water flows, hold the lever there and lock in. Continue to raise slowly and hold for preinfusion and then gently Fellini move if that's your plan. If you still get a choked shot dose less and or grind coarser to see if extraction control changes.

Store bought roasts can be pretty stale and don't expand much during extraction so what works for them doesn't always work for fresh beans. Store bought beans also are generally darker roasts which are less dense and extract easier than denser light roasts. The Volcanic is a light roast and light roasts can be tricky. There was a time that light roasts were avoided for espresso extraction but with the development of better grinders and burr sets and extraction control it's possible to consistently extract what they've got easier than it used to be.
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sgtsassafras (original poster)

#13: Post by sgtsassafras (original poster) »

Thank you for the insight, this helps explain what I was seeing and the drastic difference between Kicking Horse. I have probably half a dozen shots left, I'll go from where I left off and back of grind or weight a bit each shot to see the results. I'll keep my leveler set at the max 8mm since I'm not tamping additionally, and so I don't change other variables. I'll pull up more slowly than I do with kicking horse, I think I broke the puck on early shots.

I'll use my bag of Super Crema to get a standard baseline I can come back to, as it appears I may go through a bag of new beans each first go around. I tend to like the fruity and earthier Africa beans which are lighter by nature and will be more difficult to pull. I'm eager to try their Kenya AA and Tanzania Peaberry next.

Wish me luck, and thanks for the advice again!