Grinding finer and channeling

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks for making espresso.
Chase106G
Posts: 18
Joined: 3 months ago

#1: Post by Chase106G »

Hi, I have the BaristaPro 18g nanotech basket, and I know I need to grind finer, but since then I'm having channeling and side spritz.

To avoid all of this, I need to grind coarser, and then I'm under extracting with 1:2 in about 20s, I can't find the grind size that will be good for timing and avoiding channeling/side spritz.

mgrayson
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#2: Post by mgrayson »

You have just described every experience I've had with expensive baskets.

(I love their shower screen, though... easy to clean!)

Quester
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Joined: 8 years ago

#3: Post by Quester »

Chase106G wrote:To avoid all of this, I need to grind coarser, and then I'm under extracting with 1:2 in about 20s, I can't find the grind size that will be good for timing and avoiding channeling/side spritz.
How does it taste? Shot time is the thing I pay the least attention to, unless I'm looking at consistency.

It's possible for shot times to increase with a larger grind size and decrease with a finer grind size. If water has trouble moving through a very fine grind, it may create a channel, and the shot will run faster. I've experienced this dozens of times.

bznelson91
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#4: Post by bznelson91 »

mgrayson wrote:You have just described every experience I've had with expensive baskets.
Maybe I'll end up regretting that Unibasket :\

One of the things that is oft speculated as a plus for the rigid baskets is that they don't allow the puck to change shape because the bottom doesn't flex. What if that flex actually helps the puck compress and filter better towards the end of the pull, and that's a GOOD thing, rather than bad? I feel like the science is far from settled here (to the extent that science is EVER completely settled on most topics, but that's another story).

Funny story: I ordered a 20g Unibasket a few weeks ago. The package arrived yesterday, and it had been ripped open and the basket was missing. Fortunately, WW uses "Route" for shipping insurance, and they quickly approved my claim and are sending another basket, but now I wonder, should I have just accepted the refund and called it even? I have an 18g and 22g basket purchased from Decent with my machine, and they're treating me well so far. But like many folks, I'm always enamored with toys :)

Brad

Quester
Posts: 590
Joined: 8 years ago

#5: Post by Quester »

bznelson91 wrote:Maybe I'll end up regretting that Unibasket :\
I enjoyed experimenting with mine. I compared it to a VST for several months and then used it as my primary basket for a while. With some coffees, the Unibasket tasted better. The issue I never got past was the increased frequency of not-as-great shots. I also didn't like the mouthfeel quite as well with a paper filter on the bottom, so I eliminated it. But that means you need to clear the holes, which I got good (and fast) at using my steam wand. The time and hassle factor is why I've switched back to VST, but I don't regret purchasing the Unibasket, and I still use it when I'm playing with especially light coffees. It's been a nice addition to my toolbox.

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Jeff
Team HB
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Joined: 19 years ago

#6: Post by Jeff »

From the sound of things and previous threads such as:

Hard tamping and channeling
"Tasteless" coffee
DF83 v1 zero point shifted

I would suggest going back to basics.

Use a more traditional basket in your machine. I don't know what you have so its stock basket may be more than sufficient. If not, I would go with something that is more rounded or tapered with relatively reduced hole coverage.

I don't know which SSP burrs you have. If you are running the equivalent of 64 MP or 98 HU, you will probably need a lot more care and skill in puck prep if you are trying to get traditional espresso shots along the lines of "18 g in, 36 g out, in 25 seconds".

Work with a reasonably fresh, quality espresso blend that is roasted medium or medium dark. Something in the middle between shiny or oily and starting to look like a dark "filter" roast. Use it within a week or 10 days of opening.

Work to become repeatable as well as to learn how to dial in by taste. Espresso 101: How to Adjust Dose and Grind Setting by Taste is a good start if you learn by reading. James Hoffmann's videos might help if you are more of a video learner.