Coffee puck channeling

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks for making espresso.

#1: Post by Oje »

I have breville barista touch machine.
I've been using balzak coffee from Costco for a while without any problems. I know it's not the best but it worked ok.
I would go for 18 g and I would get around 36 ml of coffee.
Also I would use decaf version of the same coffee roasted locally, also without any problems.
We use decaf lot more than regular coffee. Anyway I noticed after quarter of the bag I start getting longer shots.
They would reach 45-50 ml mark. I tried finer settings for grind but it would slow it only little bit but coffee would be bitter and hardly any crema. Also puck is on wet side, and what I believe has channeling in it.(see picture).
I bought another bag and it didn't make any difference.
Is it possible that I bought two bad batches?
And in the same time I have no problem with decaf.

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#2: Post by Jeff »

The symptoms you describe are often due to stale coffee.

Coffee with a "best by" date on it, at least from US suppliers, is generally not as fresh as needed for reliable espresso. "Roasted on" at least lets you make a more informed decision about the coffee's freshness.

Darker roasts (anything labeled "espresso" in the US, and anything with visible sheen or oil) usually don't have much of a shelf live once opened. The can age significantly in a week or two, even when kept in a resealed container and away from light and heat.

Many home machines only "time" a shot, rather than measuring volume. If the coffee puck is more porous than when you set up the timing, the flow rate will usually be higher, resulting in more in the cup in a given time period.

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#3: Post by BaristaBob »

I would have to agree with Jeff on this one. Somehow the previous bags must have been fresher than the recent bags you purchased.

For decaf...most need to be ground much finer than their caffeinated counterpart. Actually there is a whole lot of science going on and I've read (believe it or not) that the caffeine when extracted under high pressure and temperature actually binds with the water molecules and slows the flow rate to some degree (at least more than the decaf version of the same coffee). I also believe the brittleness of decaf beans causes them to form more uniform particles under grinding, hence faster flow thru.

Anyway, age is a big factor which you should be able to overcome by grinding really fine (if your grinder is capable). You might up dose as well to 19g in, 30g to 36g out. If it's will know once you taste it.

Hope that helps.
Bob "hello darkness my old friend..I've come to drink you once again"

Oje (original poster)

#4: Post by Oje (original poster) »

Thank you so much for your opinion... I really couldn't believe that I got two bad batches, but it looks like I did.
Looks like I have to switch back to locally roasted coffee.
It's twice as much but I think my luck with Costco coffee ran out lol.

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#5: Post by iploya »

Oje wrote:Looks like I have to switch back to locally roasted coffee.
It's twice as much but I think my luck with Costco coffee ran out lol.
How much do you spend at Costco per lb. of coffee?

Try buying a 5 lb. bag. Then store it in 16 oz. Ball canning jars (maybe about 10-12 jars). Take the jars out one at a time as you use the coffee and don't return the jar to the freezer.

This is just one of many roasters I buy from, and in the past I've had 5 lbs to my door in 2 days for around 60 bucks when I had a discount code.

Oje (original poster)

#6: Post by Oje (original poster) »

I have one of those fellow vacuum twist lid container, it does really good job.
I bought 16 oz fresher batch of same coffee local grocery store.
What a difference... I had to adjust from 18 grind settings to 20 to get 24 mil. in 24 seconds out of 16 grams of coffee.
It came out really nice and sweet even it was a little short for my taste...
Next time I will try going to 22 settings on the grinder see what happens with longer shot, trying to get to 36 mil.


#7: Post by yalag »

can you show a photo of puck with new beans as comparisons?