Endless channeling

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks.

#1: Post by Crawdaddy »

Medium roast coffee, 197deg, 18g VST filter basket, 17.5g dose, fluffed, distribute, tamped, not tamped, tamped hard, tamped easy. 99% of the time I get channeling. Never get a good shot of coffee. I've watched all the videos on dialing in the shot, videos on tamping and all the things you are supposed to do to get a good puck. Bezzera BZ13 DE PDI, Baratza Sette 270wi, local roasted beans. Been through about 10 pounds of beans in the last two weeks trying to get it dialed in. That's not gonna happen until I get the channeling problem fixed. HELP!! I've stopped trying to make espresso until I get this figured out.


#2: Post by SandraF »

How much liquid do you get in how many seconds?

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#3: Post by Plinyyounger »

Channeling is normal. Keep adjusting the grind and temp until you get the taste you like.
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Crawdaddy (original poster)

#4: Post by Crawdaddy (original poster) »

Hi Sandra, That seems to vary with the channeling. I know that doesn't sound right, But I just can't get any consistency with time or volume .
The only consistency I get is the craters I get in the puck.


#5: Post by Castillo2001 »

You say you never get a good shot, but what does that mean? Bitter, sour, watery? Maybe start focusing on flavor and what adjustments changes the flavor of the shot. Channeling is a good indicator of puck prep but even if you got it looking beautiful that doesn't mean it is going to taste good. Focus on taste in cup and make adjustments accordingly, then along the way you might stumble on a fix for the channeling.


#6: Post by Sideshow »

Distribution? Are you doing wdt? Age of coffee? What is your bottomless pf looking like during the extraction? This info would be useful to know to help.


#7: Post by BodieZoffa »

Paid much attention to extraction/pump pressure as too high can easily lead to channeling regardless of other changes made?

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#8: Post by SandraF »

Essentially we need more specific information.

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#9: Post by Nunas »

It sounds like you're doing all the right things in preparing your portafilter. Also, your Sette grinder has a reputation for providing grinds that are a cut above what one might expect, given the price. Tell us why you think you're getting 'channeling' in your shots. Also, why do you think this is affecting taste? Without a group head manometer, it is challenging for most people to tell if they are getting channeling. For example, if you see little fissures or holes in your spent puck and conclude that this is channeling, these may not be channeling at all. After the pressure comes off the puck, it suddenly expands. It's normal to see little holes and sometimes even small cracks. Those pinpricks, divots and cracks may not have been present during the pull; also, even if they were there during the pull, they may not extend deep enough into the puck to cause much channeling. True channeling allows brew water to pass easily through a weakness in the puck or the seal of the puck edge to the basket so that the brewing water does not evenly permeate the grounds. With a manometer, one can see channeling quite easily as unusually low pressure in the group head. Sometimes we assume that early blonding is caused by channeling. But, blonding can be caused by other things.

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#10: Post by DamianWarS »

Crawdaddy wrote:Hi Sandra, That seems to vary with the channeling. I know that doesn't sound right, But I just can't get any consistency with time or volume .
The only consistency I get is the craters I get in the puck.
inconsistencies like that do point to channeling. sometimes people grind too fine and it gives you a misleading shot at about the time you're targetting and you think you've broadly dialed it in. you try and try again and it never seems repeatable, or 1 out of 5 times, but because it was too fine various amounts of channeling are giving you any number of results and the results that do seem to hit the mark are still the results of channeling and would be false. if you target 25-30 second @2:1 ratio and pull a shot in that target but with a lot of channeling then that shot without channeling would run slower so you can't use that result, despite it hitting your targets, to determine x grind/ratio/temp etc.. is dialed into my target time.

every shot has channeling so this is more when you have an excess amount of channeling that makes your shots too inconsistent. if you have channeling and the shot is consistent it's less of an issue because you can still further dial in or experiment with puck prep and improve the shot but when it's inconsistent you can't get a stable reference point to know to go up or down when dialing in so the results are not useful and you just end up pulling your hair out trying to figure it out.

when I've reached that point I grind coarser, coarse enough that I know it will be a fast shot. it might be a 15-second shot but it's a consistent 15-second shot so I can use it to dial in. keep grinding finer and as long as the shot remains consistent you can continue to dial in the shot. when the shot turns too inconsistent channeling has taken over but if you can isolate when that happens it will help you to troubleshoot it and reduce the channeling at that breaking point or you may find you were too fine to begin with and a coarser grind was the fix that still got you in your targets.

if you can't eliminate the channeling an option you can try and do is add Aeropress filters cut to fit the bottom of the PF basket then another at the top of the puck (after tamping) this will help reduce channeling, the bottom will keep the holes clear of getting clogged up and the top will keep the integrity of the puck longer, but will reduce channeling. it's a bit of a bandaid solution but if it works it works.