La Pavoni Pro - Channeling Help

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sgtsassafras

#1: Post by sgtsassafras »

I am a new La Pavoni Pro user (post-millennium model, brand new) using a Niche Zero grinder. I am consistently seeing channeling to the left side of the portafilter. This occurrs on both the standard and bottomless styles - in fact on the standard it only comes out the left spout, never both. Here is my workflow:

Beans: 14g, Kicking Horse Smart Ass
Portafilter: Double Bottomless
Grind Setting: Niche Zero 18
Distributor: WDT & Leveler set to 8 mm
Tamping: None

I get pretty decent crema, but clearly something is wrong. A setting of 18 on the niche seems light (20 is the start for espresso) - but if I go up a setting or two it chokes. Perhaps the leveler is too deep - but I am not tamping so I figured this would be a good setting based on finger press testing the basket.

Anyone have suggestions on changes to make?

ojt

#2: Post by ojt »

The Pavoni spouted portafilter is notorious for distributing coffee unevenly, but you might just not have the grouphead level. This is the most common (IME) reason for coffee coming out from either left or right side. It is quite easy to level the grouphead, I use a small electricians bubble level and carefully align the grouphead. I wouldn't necessarily call that channeling though. Channeling you would see as spritzers or bulging out of the bottomless portafilter.

The narrow range in grind setting instead may be due to very dark and/or stale beans since the grinder should be OK. I don't know the coffee you're using but it does seem quite a dark roast.. do you know the roast date or is there only a best before? In case you don't know the roast date I would recommend getting some fresh medium to medium-dark roast.
Osku

sgtsassafras (original poster)

#3: Post by sgtsassafras (original poster) »

Thanks for the response. The level maybe part of the issue - the group head was a bit loose when it was received, I'll check this tomorrow. Still, with this said the stream is nit coming together until late in the shot.

Regarding beans, these are them:

Kicking Horse Coffee, Smart Ass, Medium Roast, Whole Bean, 2.2 Pound - Certified Organic, Fairtrade, Kosher Coffee https://a.co/d/2tOoFsa

I have typically used Lavazza in the past which was no issue on my Quickmill Anita. I did not check the roast date, I do store the beans in vacuum containers. I've had this issue since starting a week ago. Will this machine require higher demand bean freshness? I previously had a paradise roasters subscription - something if that level would be better?

ojt

#4: Post by ojt »

Sorry, I'm in Italy and do not know the US coffee offering. Still I would suggest trying some freshly roasted beans. I'm not sure if the Pavoni is necessarily much more demanding.. from what I've observed it does often require a finer grind than most other machines (namely E61 boxes) which might add up to being a bit more finicky in extraction. In general I've found it to be a very forgiving machine to brew with but them I only use very fresh beans and almost never dark roasts. The few times I did try dark roasts they were quite finicky to get right, requiring super fine grind.

Though I don't necessarily out that much weight on the shot coming together or not, it could be a distribution issue.If the beans tend to clump a lot or are prone to static (sticking a lot to the grinder chute) you could try also a light RDT. Just take a tea spoon, rinse the handle end in water and stir the beans with it. I only do this with darker roasts, usually lighter roasts with my grinder do not need it.

You say you're doing WDT but what are you doing it with? I think using a not quite good enough tool with too thick needles may be counter productive for distribution. For example toothpick might be a bad idea.

Finally I think it's also just a matter of practice. You may want to try a bit longer pre-infusion or at least start the pull slowly, lik a 2-3 bar pressure, and only ramp up the pressure when you start seeing a few drops. Then let the pressure decline. For comparison I grind so fine that wouldn't see any drops unless I pull at least a little, or I'd have to wait minutes. I like to look the extraction from below while pulling. When all is good you should see the filter bottom saturate fairly evenly with drops of coffee.

Well, then there's the issue of a high pressure water jet from between the piston and the inlet hole that sometimes, especially on post-millennium Pavonis I'd say, would break the puck and lead to channeling. You would see clear craters on the puck if this is the case. If it is I suggest using either paper filter discs or the metal mesh puck screens.
Osku

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mrgnomer

#5: Post by mrgnomer »

Kicking Horse where I am is a grocery store bought bean. I like it and use it but don't expect a whole lot from it. If I had to guess it's roasted and degassed to the point where it can ship without popping the bag. A bit of time probably passes between shipping, hitting the shelves then purchase. It woudn't act like a fresh roast that blooms and drops lots of crema with a traditional extraction. I find it better with a coarser grind than what I'd use with a fresh light roast, a good preinfusion and a lower pressure extraction that you can ramp up for more body if you want. With a LaPavoni I start loose portafilter lock, pull up slowly and only lock in when I hear the chamber starting to fill, hold for 10sec+, fellini move enough to get resistance at the top and maybe some preinfusion drip then pull down slow and watch for an even extraction. If the extraction is even the I pull down a bit harder. If it's not, let up until it is. Watch for blonding and stop if you want a traditional shot or keep going a bit for an allonge style.

Most of what I found with my Europiccola is dialing in a good grind and finding the dose that with an even and consistent puck prep lets me control the extraction. With the right grind, dose and prep an even extraction lets me ease up to lower pressure and slow it down but I can't pull harder than the resistance allows. Find where the max resistance grind wise is and you can peddle back by coarsing the grind to target an even extraction at a rate that gives you the pull and taste you like best.
Kirk
LMWDP #116
professionals do it for the pay, amateurs do it for the love

baldheadracing
Team HB

#6: Post by baldheadracing »

A Pavoni deserves better than Kicking Horse - commodity-grade beans burnt to a crisp with some added marketing flavour. Arguably the poorest-quality whole bean coffee roasted in Canada.

In Canada, if you're on a budget, Kimbo, Lavazza, and Melitta(roasted in Canada) whole bean are widely available. All three are less expensive than Kicking Horse and are much better.
-"Good quality brings happiness as you use it" - Nobuho Miya, Kamasada

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mrgnomer

#7: Post by mrgnomer »

Kicking Horse isn't that bad. Store bought beans I find are good to experiment with and use as a base for latte drinks. With a good fresh roast I feel bad making a latte or flat white out of it.

For a good roast a straight double shot is my preference. You can savour the notes better. A good source for fresh roasts that favour quality single origins and light roasts I found is a place called Pilot.
Kirk
LMWDP #116
professionals do it for the pay, amateurs do it for the love

sgtsassafras (original poster)

#8: Post by sgtsassafras (original poster) »

Everyone,

Thank you for your help, my shots have improved - here is what I did:
  • Level the portafilter - it wasn't far off (1 or 2 degrees) but it seemed to help
  • Apply the WDT more delicately leading to better dispersion
  • Increase the grind size until I had little to no drip until doing a Fellini press after 10 seconds of pre-infusion
  • Let the lever sit for another 10 seconds after pulling up, starting to see more drops
  • Pull down slowly and let it gather itself before ramping up pressure to a single stream
  • Lower the pressure just enough so I maintain the single stream and consistent flow but not applying excess pressure
Lessons learned I was too aggressive with the WDT, did not pre-infuse long enough (at least for these beans) and pulled far too hard too fast which just caused more problems.

Regarding the beans - where is a good place for recommendations? I have not used Kicking Horse before, I normally use Lavazza, and I previously had a Paradise Roasters subscription (but that was difficult with work travel).

Is this a good source?
https://www.coffeereview.com/types/espresso/

I was also considering this for my next purchase:
https://volcanicacoffee.com/collections ... rry-coffee

Thanks for all the help.

buckersss
Supporter ♡

#9: Post by buckersss »

mrgnomer wrote:Kicking Horse isn't that bad. Store bought beans I find are good to experiment with and use as a base for latte drinks. With a good fresh roast I feel bad making a latte or flat white out of it.

For a good roast a straight double shot is my preference. You can savour the notes better. A good source for fresh roasts that favour quality single origins and light roasts I found is a place called Pilot.
Not to derail the thread but you should try hatch crafted in Markham. I pick up a bag from them when I visit some family members. They have some good SO offerings. That said I haven't tried pilot, but have looked at their offerings.

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mrgnomer

#10: Post by mrgnomer »

Thx for the tip. I'll look into Hatch.

Yeah, not wanting to take over the thread, the light single roasts from Pilot are really bright depending on how you pull them. With a good preinfusion and Fellini moves to fully fill the group for a long pull their light roast Yirgacheffe gives up some good citrus notes. I've just been going there a short while. They SO roast until their supply is gone and move on to other SOs so the availability varies. They pull the roast off the shelves past a certain date so what they have out is always fresh.
sgtsassafras wrote:Everyone,

Thank you for your help, my shots have improved - here is what I did:
  • Level the portafilter - it wasn't far off (1 or 2 degrees) but it seemed to help
  • Apply the WDT more delicately leading to better dispersion
  • Increase the grind size until I had little to no drip until doing a Fellini press after 10 seconds of pre-infusion
  • Let the lever sit for another 10 seconds after pulling up, starting to see more drops
  • Pull down slowly and let it gather itself before ramping up pressure to a single stream
  • Lower the pressure just enough so I maintain the single stream and consistent flow but not applying excess pressure
Lessons learned I was too aggressive with the WDT, did not pre-infuse long enough (at least for these beans) and pulled far too hard too fast which just caused more problems.

Regarding the beans - where is a good place for recommendations? I have not used Kicking Horse before, I normally use Lavazza, and I previously had a Paradise Roasters subscription (but that was difficult with work travel).

Is this a good source?
https://www.coffeereview.com/types/espresso/

I was also considering this for my next purchase:
https://volcanicacoffee.com/collections ... rry-coffee

Thanks for all the help.
Sounds like you're doing great. If you're doing WDT in the basket you can give it a tap(s) to settle it out and level it before tamping. Helps with the distribution for even extraction that is found to increase the TDS. I'm not familiar with the roasters from your links. There's lots of artisanal roasters were I am and I roast at home as well.

In my time Intelligentsia Black Cat was a big thing. I liked it. They roasted to order and shipped so you could get it as fresh as possible, usually within 4 days I think. If you like traditional espresso roast it's very good.
Kirk
LMWDP #116
professionals do it for the pay, amateurs do it for the love