Consistent uneven extraction: close left to far right - Page 3

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks for making espresso.
danzimm (original poster)

#21: Post by danzimm (original poster) »

CoolHandLukey wrote:You likely didn't observe any change in the extraction after tamping and shifting the basket 180 degrees. To clarify, you likely observed the same extraction pattern initiating in the same spot of the basket - This would seem consistent with your conclusion(s) ?
Sorry, I don't quite follow-- I had shifted the basket 180 degrees prior to grinding any beans and observed the exact same uneven extraction (starting in the near left and ending in the far right). See below, though-- @Jake_G gave some really good advice which may have solved the issue.
Plinyyounger wrote:I sympathize with you but also love seeing other people prepping there puck. Drives me nuts but I watch every time, lol.

In my opinion it's not your machines, baskets or tamper. What I saw you do with Wdt was not really a great example. Just get the grinds into the basket and when you Wdt, try small circular motions around the out side of the basket and the bottom of the basket, working you way towards the middle reducing the depth as you go.

Before I figured out what worked for me, I too was having some unevenness and usually always on the same side of the basket.

I've experimented with my techniques and Wdt, my goal is to create great coffee with as little fuss and noise as possible. I hope this helps, and don't worry as long as the coffee tastes good that is what matters.
Thank you for the advice!
cafeIKE wrote:Re" slight water left bias:

The machine may have a slight leftward slope at the group. This can be caused by counter, feet, group mount to face. It can be checked with something like this laid across the machined face. That the stream is centered not much above a dribble says this is a red herring.


Check them with a known true level as all faces may not be correct. Mark the true faces. The true face goes against the group.

Perhaps don't reduce the pressure so much at the start. The e61 ramps pressure by design and overextending the ramp may be detrimental. [Personally, I'd never own a profiling device not under automation. If I wanted to manually futz with pressure, I'd buy a lever.]

No pro goes through all home barista machinations and many pull excellent shots all day long.

IMO, puck screens are just one more NTB* WoFTaM†. And yes, I have several.

Is it possible to grind directly into the basket, perhaps with a funnel? Dumping the DumBer cup on the Niche in favor of a Koonan funnel improved consistency markedly. Other funnels that fit inside the basket added a decidedly bitter note. If I had to speculate, a less dense ring at the basket that over extracts. [WDT not implemented]

* Next Big Thing
† Waste of Freaking Time and Money
Thanks for all the advice! I've ensured the grouphead is level. Fwiw the next stop on my espresso journey is to get a lever... but I don't want to inundate the kitchen with more coffee things quite yet (I share the kitchen :D). Thanks for the puck screen tidbit too-- I'll probably venture to try one of these out at some point.
Pressino wrote:The video clearly shows the stream exiting to left when the FCD valve is closing down. I suspect the machine is level and this is an effect of moving the needle valve towards the closed position. There may be a rotational component of flow velocity (clockwise or counterclockwise) that becomes noticeable at lower flow rates and less noticeable at higher rates. I doubt it's a machine defect but I haven't removed the shower screen to see if my machine does the same thing.

Your extractions look OK to me except for being a bit on the fast side...most appeared less than 30s. How do they taste? Less OCD may lead to more coffee enjoyment.
When the extraction isn't *too* uneven they taste pretty nice. They taste best when I have a decently long per-infusion phase. I think less OCD would lead to more enjoyment... in general
SandraF wrote:One suggestion I would make, in general about your process, is that right before you lock in the portafilter to pull a shot, pull some hot water through to warm up the group head. Maybe you normally do that or I spaced and missed it.
Thanks for the advice! I used to be more disciplined about doing this, but have gotten lazy. Thank you for the reminder!
ShotClock wrote:An important check as previously mentioned is to prep the basket in the PF as normal, then rotate by 180 deg before locking into the group head. If the channeling occurs in the same spot as before (in relation to the PF handle), the problem is the water dispersion. If the channeling is shifted to the other side of the PF, the problem is your puck prep.

You might also find that you are overfilling the basket a little - dropping to a 17.5g dose could help this. It has given me donut extractions and channeling in the past.
Ahhh this is great advice-- I hadn't thought of rotating the basket *after* doing my puck prep. After I rotated 180degrees post-puck-prep the channeling shifted to the other side! See below for where my puck-prep-search landed me.

As for dosing... thanks for the tip! I've heard that there can be downsides if there's too much headspace in the basket, too-- is the goal to find the happy-medium between too much and too little? Or have I heard wrong (I might be misremembering tbh)
Jake_G wrote:This is excellent advice.

However, this response...
Leads me to believe the following bit of diagnostic advice may have been missing:

Was the uneven extraction exactly the same when you rotated the basket 180 degrees, or did the unevenness move with the basket?

If it moved with the basket, something about your prep is the cause.

If it stayed exactly the same, something about the water distribution is the cause.

Does this make sense?

If the issue rotates with the basket, you can break your prep up into steps and find out which step is causing the issue by rotating the basket at various points.

I.E. rotate 180 right before tamping. If the problem rotates with the basket, your tamp is not the root cause. If the problem stays in the same spot, your tamp is to blame.

If it rotates with the basket before the tamp, then rotate the basket right before the step before you tamp. Eventually, you will find the culprit.

I'm with others as far as less is more with puck prep. You want to disturb the grounds as little as possible to get a good extraction, but no less.

Good luck!

- Jake

There isn't much
Thanks a ton Jake! I had misunderstood what "turning the basket" meant originally. After following the procedure you outlined I found that rotating the basket immediately after dumping the grounds into the basket (from the "magic tumbler") rotated the channeling, thus leading me to believe the Magic Tumbler was at fault.

I took off the WDT stirrer from the Weber Key and huzzah, the extraction is not longer uniformly uneven from near left to far right (however... if I screw up puck prep it's simply uneven due to laziness :D).

Combined with upgrading to VST baskets, now my extractions looks pretty nice. I'll upload a video when I get a chance... but that'll be a week or so (my quest to fix the uneven extraction revealed that I have a major scale & water quality problem :oops:)