Dosing to heap, distribute and pack = too much coffee - Page 2

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks.
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malachi

#11: Post by malachi »

CoffeeAddict wrote: If I dose to a heap then distribute and pack, it seems like there's too much coffee. I watched David Schomer's video and he says there should be about 3mm space between the dispersion screen and the puck and also you should be able to insert the portafilter into the head and take it out and have no coffee grounds on the screen. If I do it - I have plenty of coffee on the screen.
This works well for David's coffee and his machine set-up.
It does not mean it will work as well for all machines and all coffees.
Also... note that he uses triple baskets - which make the above technique far easier.
"Taste is the only morality." -- John Ruskin

k7qz

#12: Post by k7qz »

RapidCoffee wrote:After stirring, you can level using the Schomer method, the Stockfleth, or the Chicago chop (my current favorite).
Sorry, this is getting off topic a bit, but hey RapidCoffee what is this "Chicago chop" you refer to? I'm wondering if this is the technique I noticed some of the baristas using at the Seattle coffee show in October?

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RapidCoffee
Team HB

#13: Post by RapidCoffee »

HB wrote:If all this NSEW / Stockfleth's move mumbo-jumbo is making your head swim, try the Chicago Chop (named by the crew at Intelligentsia Coffee): Dose as usual, remembering to rotate the portafilter as you dose (i.e., no "towering pyramid" allowed). Take a straight edge / back of a knife and gently "chop chop chop" across the grinds, simultaneously settling them and making a first pass at equalizing the distribution. Then simply pass the straight edge back and forth a few times to push the grounds towards areas needing filling, followed by a final sweep across to remove the excess. This should produce a nicely level, even density puck with the correct depth. Tamp and go.
I'd never heard of this terminology before (look a few posts back), but I'm happy to start using it! I use the wooden handle of my dissecting needle, but the back of a knife should work fine.

k7qz

#14: Post by k7qz » replying to RapidCoffee »

Thanks! I'm glad to know there's a name for what I've been doing! This is what I saw baristas doing at the Seattle show and I've been copy-catting it for a few months now.

I haven't used a dissecting needle since gross anatomy :lol: but I never argue with success!

For me, the back edge of my wife's silicone KitchenAid spatula works like a champ! It also serves double-duty when pouring off from my steaming pitcher. FWIW to the other newer guys like me reading this thread, I've had no more of the occasional side channeling since using the "Chicago chop".

CoffeeAddict (original poster)

#15: Post by CoffeeAddict (original poster) »

Thank you for excellent suggestions, everybody. I'll try a few things over next few days and see if I get consistent results.

CoffeeAddict (original poster)

#16: Post by CoffeeAddict (original poster) »

Unfortunately, after trying different techniques my situation hasn't changed a bit. So, I'll try to rephrase my problem:

Overdosed shots are palatable (somewhat) and non-overdosed shots aren't.

Just to give more background: I have mazzer mini-e and the defaults espresso setting is about 2. At that setting it comes out nice and clump-free but unfortunately I get blond gushers (about 10 sec for 3oz double). After I dial it down to about 1 1/2, it looks a bit better. However, now the ground has quite a few clumps and seems a lot less dry.

Now, that's where overdosing comes in. When I start distributing, it's a lot easier to break the clumps in the overdosed basket. Also, I supposed overdosing doesn't let the puck expand. So the result is more or less palatable shots (by which I mean floral character and no sour taste, although I can't get the bitterness out).

I looked at it more and it seems like there's channeling on the side or the middle sometimes. Also, I do see much faster noticeable blonding at the back of the basket. I tried to tap on the back, tap on the front, not to tap. I tried NSWE, I tried straight down. Same result - much faster blonding, which usually occurs on the rear.

Please, help me. I feel like I a new driver who decided to learn driving on a porsche and driving it like a bump car. Very frustrating. Is there such term as "espresso rage"?

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JonR10

#17: Post by JonR10 »

CoffeeAddict wrote:Unfortunately, after trying different techniques my situation hasn't changed a bit.

Dangit. Sorry to hear that...
CoffeeAddict wrote:Also, I do see much faster noticeable blonding at the back of the basket. ...<snip>...much faster blonding, which usually occurs on the rear.
This is a classic distribution problem, it seems to be more coffee ends up in front. What happens is, after tamping, the density of the puck is heavier in front so the water chooses the rear AND since there is more flow + less coffee in the rear that side goes blond faster.

Since you have a mini-e you might try no distribution at all. By that I mean you can just grind into a pile centered in the basket, clumps and all, and then tamp straight down with 30 pounds and pull the shot. It may help to reduce the dose, grind finer, and tamp lighter or heavier (say 20-30 pounds or maybe 50-60 pounds).
CoffeeAddict wrote:Please, help me. I feel like I a new driver who decided to learn driving on a porsche and driving it like a bump car. Very frustrating.
I feel your pain - believe me!
But persevere, because you'll be so very pleased when you start getting nice, even extractions...

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RapidCoffee
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#18: Post by RapidCoffee »

CoffeeAddict wrote:Unfortunately, after trying different techniques my situation hasn't changed a bit. So, I'll try to rephrase my problem:

Overdosed shots are palatable (somewhat) and non-overdosed shots aren't.

Just to give more background: I have mazzer mini-e and the defaults espresso setting is about 2. At that setting it comes out nice and clump-free but unfortunately I get blond gushers (about 10 sec for 3oz double). After I dial it down to about 1 1/2, it looks a bit better. However, now the ground has quite a few clumps and seems a lot less dry.

Now, that's where overdosing comes in. When I start distributing, it's a lot easier to break the clumps in the overdosed basket. Also, I supposed overdosing doesn't let the puck expand. So the result is more or less palatable shots (by which I mean floral character and no sour taste, although I can't get the bitterness out).
Let's get back to basics. It sounds as though you are a) grinding too coarsely and b) overextracting. 3oz is on the very high end for a double shot - I typically limit mine to 2oz or less. (No wonder overdosing helps.) Overextraction will cause bitterness in the cup. Another general guideline is an extraction time of roughly 25sec; 10sec is far too short. This means your grind is too coarse.

So first tighten up your grind (make it finer) until you extract roughly 2oz in 25sec. Cut off your pour when the stream starts to blond, even if the volume is under 2oz. Then start playing around with other variables, each time adjusting your grind to fit this "golden rule" of espresso.

Hang in there, we've all gone through this at some point.

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zak42

#19: Post by zak42 »

CoffeeAddict wrote:Just to give more background: I have mazzer mini-e
As Jon said this sounds like a distribution problem, and when i first got my miniE i went through a very frustrating period of having distribution problems. The clumping combined with the angle of the cone (the cone btw is fairly useless, the grinds only slide down the side of the cone nearest the grinder) lead to an uneven distribution in the basket. I tried a whole bag of tricks (the details are on CG somewhere) my current tactic is to grind the basket half full with the PF handle to the right side of the grinder, then turn the PF 180 degrees, continue grinding, then top off and build the pile with the PF in the normal position. A standard NSEW sweep leaves with a fairly good distribution. I recently got my hands on a 2nd hand Major and was surprised at just how different a result it produces in terms of distribution (and lack of clumps).

Given the MiniE status as probably the best home grinder available, I'm surprised there hasn't been more written about the distribution problems it generates.

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HB
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#20: Post by HB »

RapidCoffee wrote:Let's get back to basics.
I was thinking the same thing and wondered (a) what's the brew pressure? and (b) what coffee is CoffeeAddict using? The Giotto Premium that I evaluated was initially regulated pretty high; see Help Me Adjust Overpressure Valve on a Giotto Premium for instructions. Unusually high brew pressure and short volumes mean a higher risk of channeling. Lowering the max brew pressure to a more manageable 8.5 bar might help.
Dan Kehn