Dosing to heap, distribute and pack = too much coffee - Page 3

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks for making espresso.
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#21: Post by barry »

JonR10 wrote: Image

hhmmmm.... based on your finger position, i would call "bad form" and penalize you for a wrist-killing tamp.


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#22: Post by JonR10 »

barry wrote:hhmmmm.... based on your finger position, i would call "bad form" and penalize you for a wrist-killing tamp.

LOL :lol:

OK smartguy, YOU try taking a picture of your own hand while you tamp... :wink:

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#23: Post by malachi »


1) What coffee are you using? How old is it?
2) Are you using a naked portafilter or are your comments about channeling from puck evaluation?
3) What is your brew pressure?
4) How old are your burrs?


1) 3oz is nearly guaranteed to end up blonding and will almost always taste overextracted.
2) I doubt the problem is your grinder.
3) Doserless grinders are more likely to see clumping.
4) Every coffee has its own "optimal" (to your taste) dose, extraction volume and extraction time.
5) Every coffee also has its own "optimal" (again to your taste) brew temp.
6) The goal of distribution is to create an even density of coffee within the basket.


1) Ignore the "default" setting on your grinder. It is a meaningless concept. Adjust the grind to the point where you are extracting the volume you're looking for in the time you are shooting for. Suggest a starting point for most coffees of 2oz in 27 seconds (fine tune from there based on specific coffee and your tastes).
2) Once you have the grind set for this extraction, taste your shots and fine tune the grind based on taste.
3) Ignore the "golden rule" on weight. Dose based on volume. Be flexible on the dose.
4) Don't stress the clumping. It is what it is.
5) Keep it simple. Dose a heaping pile, distribute with downward pressure (suggest Stockfleth's or Schomer methodology). If you need to get more coffee in the basket, dose a heaping pile then tap the portafilter (straight down and gently) on the grinder fork 1-3 times and then redose the heaping pile before distributing.
6) Do not shake the portafilter side to side. Do not whack the portafilter with things.

And some random final thoughts...
Espresso is hard. Assuming that nice equipment is going to make it all easy is falling into a trap. 90 percent of a good shot lies in the combination of the skill of the barista and the coffee.
Espresso is complex. Assuming that the problem with the end result is one specific aspect of the process is risky. Even identifying which aspect is the problem is hard.
You need to be patient and focused.
Enjoy the process... focus on simply understanding espresso and the quality will come on its own.
"Taste is the only morality." -- John Ruskin

CoffeeAddict (original poster)

#24: Post by CoffeeAddict (original poster) »

I've tried few different blends but I was doing my latest shots with Platinum Blond from Gimme Coffee in Brooklyn, about 5 days old.

I am using naked portafilter but also look at channeling on the puck.

I bought the grinder in Nov and only used it for french press until I got the machine in December.

Don't know the brewing pressure. The machine is set to 1.1 but I don't have a gauge and can't measure brew pressure. I've tried to measure it using blind basket but I always get about 2oz whether I hold it for 10 sec or 30 sec. Does it make any sense?

Temperature: I have radioshack multimeter, which might be pretty far from accurate but here's what I get: about 211 straight from hot water wand. On the cooling flush after about 15min idle, I also get 211 and it stays like that for about 15sec until dropping down.

On my most "scientific" shots to date I've used triple basket, used about 22g of coffee, used chicago chop, and also broke all clumps with knife tip. Didn't tap portafilter when grounding nor when tamping. Tamped straight down 30 to 40 lbs (few shots on a scale), following by 20 lbs polish. Also tried NSWE with polishing twist. Got nice color and full shot glass of crema (which separates fairly quickly though). Didn't even taste too bad. But looking at the naked portafilter, the flow still starts at the back and starts blonding there faster. However, if I just look at the water flow, there's more flow towards the front and there's channeling on the puck on the edges on the front or sides but not on the back wall. Does that make any sense? Why does it flow on the back if there's channeling at the front?

I am going to visit the place I bought the machine from and take my grinder along so that I can a) have someone look at what I'm doing, b) compare to other machines, and c) look at the brew pressure and temperature. Hopefully that can answer some questions. I don't think there's anything wrong with the machine but I'd like to make sure since I have no other reference points.

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#25: Post by zak42 »

CoffeeAddict wrote:But looking at the naked portafilter, the flow still starts at the back and starts blonding there faster.
This totally sounds like the MiniE distribution problems I mentioned earlier, the flow seems to start at the back of the basket and move to the front. Are you grinding into the PF and not moving the PF around ? See this thread on CG for the details of the problem I had and fine current solution

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#26: Post by malachi »

It's not the grinder.

The extraction issue you're seeing is related to your distribution. Suggest two things.

1 - rotate the portafilter from left to right and back again while dosing.
2 - Stockfleth's for distribution (with pressure).

In addition... you're getting way too involved (chopping, using a knife to break stuff up). Keep it simple. Seriously.

I'm confused about the temp. How are you measuring?
In general... what are you doing to arrive at a target brew temp? i.e how are you managing your brew temp?

finally... it doesn't matter what it looks like if it tastes good.
"Taste is the only morality." -- John Ruskin

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#27: Post by jrtatl »

Wild Theory Warning:

Maybe you are not holding the PF level when you insert it into the group, and the rear of your puck is hitting the shower screen assembly upon insertion.

I'm just taking a stab at it since I haven't heard this one mentioned yet.

I recently added a Mini-E cone to my Super Jolly. I rotate my basket in a circle while grinding, to help distribute the grounds evenly. Then I use my finger to do a sort of "chicago chop," and that seems to be all the distribution I need.


I also added the screen to the chute. This really helps break up the clumps. Is your still in your grinder? Or did you remove it?




#28: Post by mrosco »

HB wrote:It sounds like you are tapping (settling) the grounds too much, resulting in excessive coffee in the basket even after distributing/leveling. A couple gentle taps of the portafilter on the grinder fork while dosing is enough. It's not uber-precise, but I "tap tap" at a different fill level to get the desired amount of coffee. Tapping the portafilter with the basket filled midway will increase the dosage by about two grams compared to tapping at 3/4 full.

The key of course is consistency in the force, number of taps, fill level, and distribution technique. I prefer the Stockfleth's move (rotational distribution) compared to Schomer's NSEW sweep, although it's easier to explain (and learn) Schomer's method.

I realized after reading this thread that I also tap too much (I think). I tap several times at 2 different intervals when filling the PF then level and tamp. I tried tapping less and found the shot to extract too quickly (sub 20 seconds). I went back to my normal "double tap" and had good shot extraction so I thought maybe I wasn't tamping with enough pressure when I did fewer taps. Regardless of how hard I tamped with fewer taps my shot extraction was quick. I'm using Black Cat beans that are less than a week old and my grind seems ok. Should I adjust my grind and try tapping less or is it something about my technique I need change? Or if I'm getting good shot extraction and like the taste does it even matter? Being relatively new I'd like to develop good technique before I pick up too many bad habits.



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#29: Post by HB »

mrosco wrote:I adjust my grind and try tapping less or is it something about my technique I need change? Or if I'm getting good shot extraction and like the taste does it even matter?
Tapping while you dose settles the grinds, resulting in more coffee in the puck (and thus a coarser grinder setting). I'm not one to argue with good results, but How do you explore the extraction space? offers some thought-provoking suggestions and Chris' blog entry Learning suggests concrete steps. My #1 priority is consistency, and of course avoiding bad habits that disturb the results of the good habits (e.g., excessive rapping the portafilter to knock down loose grinds when tamping, which can break the puck's adhesion to the basket and cause side channeling).
Dan Kehn

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#30: Post by malachi »

If your extraction is too fast - adjust the grind finer.
"Taste is the only morality." -- John Ruskin