Alright, I may not be able to help much but let's try and throw a few ideas.
correarc1 wrote:4- tamp the side of the portafilter a few times/tamp
I tried this, and it only resulted in problems, at least for me. What happened, and what has been suggested on this forum before, is I think it broke the side wall adhesion or something of sorts, resulting in water escaping from there. What I do now is RDT, grind, slight shake of the portafilter (I mean very slight), WDT, nutation with the tamper, tamp, polish. Been getting much more consistent results.
correarc1 wrote:Coffee results:
- I have not been able to predict weight that will come out when I keep everything else the same but just change the coffee input by 0.5g. I believe this is due to inconsistencies in my tamping pressures.
- No matter what I've done, even when I got the 2-1 ratio in 25 seconds, the coffee has had a thin and crunchy(??) crema. Also, it has been unbalanced in how acidic it has tasted.
- No matter what I've done, the flavor is always overpowered when I add the milk.
I'm no expert by any means, but this sound to me like something I get when the machine / group is not hot enough, and also sounds like you might want to grind finer. Just try to go hotter, and grind so fine that you will choke the machine. If you get the machine choked, just go slightly more coarse until you hit the sweet spot.
Ok, that's it, just a couple of ideas
I hope someone wiser will chime in.