I grind direct into the portafilter with a Sette 270. One continuous grind, but I shake a bit as it goes. It's usually a little mounded and fluffy after grinding, I tap it a bit on the table. Once mostly even, I use a leveler (Apexstone via Amazon) then tamp straight down. Maybe a spin, no idea why. Blame YouTube.smmorrow wrote:Sam mentioned (in passing) channeling. I think we must stress puck preparation before we start talking about flavors and acidity. Can you share how you evenly distribute the grounds in the basket and how you tamp? I wonder if we can learn anything about the difficulty you have tasting "clarity" from errors in puck prep? If channeling is occurring, or if the water temperature is too low/high (have you checked this?), tasting the espresso will be misleading. Just a thought.
The puck is usually pretty even by my eyes, but I've had 6 months with the machine, my 1st, and use it mainly on weekends.
I just made an espresso, puck picture below. Not sure it is useful.
Reading the above and below, I'm thinking I'm stuck on the acidic/sour end. If I picked a fruit to match, today it's lime. The coffee Dukunde Kawa by Black Oak (excellent roaster FYI, though I use pourover mainly) says strawberry, chocolate, blueberry notes.
Water temp I'm not sure. My machine is quite basic, it has an integral PID. It's similar to the other lower lever Breville machines, I believe. Is water temp something I could measure running a blank shot with the portafilter?