Help with extreme channeling

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks.

#1: Post by disaster999 »

Hi, new to the board and hope someone can give me pointers on how to pull a decent shot.

I don't know if it's me and my technique, my espresso machine, or my grinder. But nothing I'm doing now seem to be making a huge difference with my channeling problems. The shots I pulled with a bottomless portafilter all look very uneven and seems like only about half the holes on the basket is extracting coffee where the other half is blocked. Ive tried beans roasted within the month, Lavazza coffee which I've seen some decent shots pulled from it, and even coffee from big box stores. All have very little to no difference with how the shot is pulled.

An example of the shot
My shower screen flow
Flow out of an empty portafilter
Slowmo of the shower screen
Grind size

Ive been busy for the past 2 weeks reading up different forums and facebook pages, googling distribution, level tamping, dosage, grind size, pre-infusion, brew temperature etc...nothing seems to help. I bought a Decent precision machined 18g portafilter basket thinking it would magically fix my problem, but it's the same. Then I bought an Amazon distribution and level tamp tool taking my pour tamping technique out of the equation, the shot came out a little bit better, but still have channeling issues.

My espresso machine is a WPM KD-310. I didn't know much about espresso back then when I bought it, but it has 3 thermo block heaters, one for the brew, one for the steam and one to keep the group head warm as per their advertising jargon. It has 7 adjustable steam pressure and 4 pre-infusion settings. The styling was something I was after and it was half the price as other units in its calibre, so I bought it. They were having a Christmas sale on KD-17 grinders as well so bought one as well.

Espresso Machine

I JUST bought fresh locally roasted beans which they said are roasted with in 7 days of shipping so they should be as fresh as possible as a last resort. I have a feeling that, although I might see more crema/oils being extracted being fresh coffee, I highly doubt it ill see a difference in my channeling issue. Im not sure if my machine is the culprit here for not having an even enough shower on my grounds, or that my coffee grinder just isn't doing a good job at grinding coffee anymore. Im leaning more towards my grinder for now since its cheaper to replace it than a new espresso machine.

Any thoughts or input are welcome.

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#2: Post by guijan12 »

Welcome Lawrence, at the forum.

It can't be such a disaster that you want to use it as your username, can it? :)

That first shot does look a bit weird, yes. :o
Without knowing both machines, my first thoughts (2 cents) are:
  • Your coffee grinds looks even, except for some big pieces: can your burrs be damaged?
  • get back to the basics, get rid of the fancy tools and read this: /weiss-dist ... steps.html very good. A simple WDT tool can be easily made with a cork and some wire.
Hope this helps a bit. :D



#3: Post by ojt »

Try first with freshest possible beans you can get. Lavazza etc are in my experience harder to pull right, and no matter what you do they come out bad. Most bars I have seen (here in Italy too) give to customers extremely channely (sorry for new english word, heh) shots.

If the fresh beans do not help then you most likely have a grinder issue. Grinding for espresso does not really allow a lot of tolerance on grind quality.


#4: Post by disaster999 »

Thanks guijan12 and ojt

Im leaning towards a grinder issue as well. Its not a particularly a good quality piece of kit and has TONS of retention. So I'm always trying to get every last piece of coffee out from it by banging and shaking it...Probably damaged the gears in the process probably. OH WELL, I have my eyes set on a Niche Zero for a while, probably gonna get that soon.

Anyways, here's a video of the entire process of me making a double shot, see if there's anything I can improve on


#5: Post by greenbeans »

How does the espresso taste?

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#6: Post by Jake_G »


#7: Post by disaster999 »

greenbeans wrote:How does the espresso taste?
slightly bitter at first, then becomes sour and acid as you swallow, and has a nice long finish...yeah, not good


#8: Post by disaster999 »

Jake_G wrote:Improve your Espresso with Weiss Distribution Technique

This is all you need.


Forgot to mention, but I tried the WDT method as well...fluffed up the grounds and broke the clumps and that didnt help much. Ended abandoning it since its just adding extra time to the whole process with little to nothing to gain (to me).

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#9: Post by Jake_G »

You should try it again.

Most folks who first try this don't go nearly vigorously enough. you really need to whip the grinds into oblivion. Otherwise your shot did not look bad...


#10: Post by OldmatefromOZ »

Both the machines are re-badged Sunbeam, Aus brand.

You can not single dose these cheap domestic grinders and no amount of WDT will fix the poor grind quality.

Try keeping your hopper loaded at least half full likely you will be able to grind coarser as well and you will end up with more uniform grind.

The espresso machine should be able to pull pretty decent shots with a great grinder.