Help with Grinder/Espresso Machine

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

Hi HB forum!

I have just upgraded from my sette 270 to a Eureka Oro Dolce Vita grinder and have run about 6lbs of coffee through it. I am using a profitec pro 600 espresso machine. In order to get a 1:2 ratio, I am finding that I am having to grind extremely finely (almost Turkish grind) and am getting lots of clumping. (picture below)

With WDT and level tamping I can get pretty good shots and am using a bottomless portafilter so I don't see any channeling happening but I can barely hit 9Bar and the clumping is really bothering me and since I am grinding so fine, my pucks are coming out in pieces and sticking to the basket, making cleanup a much larger issue than would be desired. Using an 18g VST basket, I have tried varying both the dose and the grind coarseness. I cannot come anywhere close to choking my machine. I called the distributer about my grinder and he suggested I was grinding too fine and to try coarser and that just led to gushing shots with lots of channeling and not even reaching 8bar of pressure. This is all with the same coffee which is a medium roast.

Does this seem like a grinder problem or could this be a machine issue? I know that on a friends identical machine with the same beans, and with a Specialita grinder he can choke his machine with what feels like a similar consistency grind.

Any help would be appreciated!

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#2: Post by cafeIKE »

What dose in the VST?

What happens with the stock basket?

It's likely very dry in Torona, so perhaps try RDT.

What coffee and how fresh? It looks like a light roast.

zgoodman (original poster)
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#3: Post by zgoodman (original poster) »

I have tried different doses. Settled on around 18.2 based on nickel test. Beans are fresh, have tried as early as 3 days post roast to 3 weeks. They claim it's medium roast but agree it looks lighter.
Have not played around with stock basket much but tried it once and it was definitely a slower shot

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#4: Post by cannonfodder »

Stick to your stock basket. All of the precision baskets, VST, Strada, and others require a very high level of grind. Your grinder may simply not be up to the task, or you need more breaking time. Give it 10-20 pounds of coffee then try the VST basket again, or keep with the stock basket.
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#5: Post by GDM528 »

zgoodman wrote: I cannot come anywhere close to choking my machine.
I recall that trauma: Is there a too-fine grind barrier, really?

I fell into this pit twice: first when I was experimenting with 'pulling' Turkish-ish espresso, and again when I started metering the flow of beans into my grinder (similar to yours: 64mm flat burr with way-too-fast rpm). Common to both incidents was dialing down the nominal grind size, narrowing of the overall distribution of the grind, and extended preinfusions - and likely a several other factors I'm unaware of.

I've since managed to work my way out, but it would be a disservice to the art of espresso to claim I know exactly how I managed it. It was a series of small adjustments and adaptations to the unique quirks of my equipment and roasts. Metering a small amount of chaos into the system can uncover new pathways. A few things that helped me: small changes in the development phase of my roasts (beans matter), RDT (per cafeIKE), WDT, and a myriad of shot-pulling techniques. If one insists on their daily coffee and never exactly repeats their process, I assert they're doomed to find success.