Inconsistent Espresso Shots with New Niche Zero and Rancilio Silvia - Looking for Help/Advice - Page 2

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RapidCoffee
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#11: Post by RapidCoffee »

Personability wrote:I'm experiencing inconsistency with my shots, despite using the same puck prep technique. I'm currently working with a new Niche Zero grinder, which I've had for about two weeks, along with some new (roasted approx 14 days ago) coffee of "espresso" roast.
Are you using the Niche Flow Control Disc? If so, try removing it. It's an ingenious device that is designed to reduce popcorning and increase grind consistency. Unfortunately it produced significantly worse extraction consistency for me. (My guess: zero bean load => finer grind settings => greater grind setting sensitivity.) Worth a try.
John

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#12: Post by Personability (original poster) »

Thanks so much, everybody, for your suggestions. I will try to simplify my puck prep steps - basically just WDT from bottom to top and leave out the OCD. I'll take a look at the WDT tools you recommended above. I'll also have a look at the bellows-equivalents.

With regard to seasoning, is it possible to get such a big difference in consistency at the same grind setting? I always assumed it was a gradual process.

In response to cafeIKE's question, I am using a VST 20g ridgeless basket with a bottomless portafilter (the official Rancilio Silvia one).

I'll definitely try to remove the control disc and see what happens to the consistency! I'm a bit confused by your suspected explanation, would it be possible to explain it in more detail?

espressoren
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#13: Post by espressoren »

coyote-1 wrote:So much for effortless workflow lol
FWIW I don't think this is a normal thing Niche owners need to do. There are so many steps in OPs process it is really hard to tell. Could be variation in moisture or distribution of it from the imprecise nature of RDT, for example. Or the grinder burrs initially getting moistened from the first few shots and reaching equilibrium.

As OP wondered, I would also suspect some sort of warm up in water temp from shot to shot if it consistently changes from the initial shots.

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#14: Post by jmc999 »

I think someone hypothesized that with rdt, the feed rate of the beans through the grinder could end up getting slowed on subsequent shots. The effect of this would be reduced fines and a faster flow.

I know that I've personally dosed what I thought should have been 2 identical, dialed in shots, only to see the second one run significantly faster.

Thoughts?

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#15: Post by Personability (original poster) »

I came from a Sage Smart Grinder Pro, so I had to do a fair amount to get consistency between my shots. Now that I'm using the Niche, I probably need to streamline my process (only adding in steps where necessary). So, I'd probably remove the disc and avoid OCD. As the static has calmed down, I guess I should probably stop playing with RDT.

I guess after all that is done, if it's still not giving me consistent shots, I would probably then think about returning it.

espressoren
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#16: Post by espressoren »

jmc999 wrote:I think someone hypothesized that with rdt, the feed rate of the beans through the grinder could end up getting slowed on subsequent shots. The effect of this would be reduced fines and a faster flow.

I know that I've personally dosed what I thought should have been 2 identical, dialed in shots, only to see the second one run significantly faster.

Thoughts?
That's a good point too, I know with my niche RDT definitely changes the dial in, and also occasionally beans get stuck in the "hopper" due to the slight damp. I don't think I used much at all, just one spritz and a shake up but the moisture still is apparent in the dosing cup and at the feed. I ditched RDT.

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Jeff
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#17: Post by Jeff »

At least in my kitchen, typically at around 50% RH, and medium-dark (no oil or sheen) through light roast levels, I never needed RDT on the Niche Zero. I always used the disc and had tightly repeatable shots. It may be that this is climate-dependent.

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RapidCoffee
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#18: Post by RapidCoffee »

Personability wrote:I'll definitely try to remove the control disc and see what happens to the consistency! I'm a bit confused by your suspected explanation, would it be possible to explain it in more detail?
A bean load assists bean feed into the burrs and prevents popcorning. Without a bean load, beans bounce around, allowing larger bean fragments to escape the burrs. Single dosing therefore requires a finer grind setting than grinding with a bean load in a hopper. The flow control disc takes single dosing to its logical extreme, feeding beans into the burrs one by one. This theoretically increases grind consistency, since the bean load is constant (zero). But with zero bean load, you need a finer grind setting, grind adjustments get more sensitive, and practically speaking... consistency suffered for me. Without the disc, Niche extraction consistency approaches my large dosered conicals. With the disc, the Niche is much worse. YMMV.
John

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cafeIKE
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#19: Post by cafeIKE »

RapidCoffee wrote: Without the disc, Niche extraction consistency approaches my large dosered conicals.
...
With the disc, the Niche is much worse. YMMV.
I'd agree on the first point. However, large conicals single dosed have a much larger start to finish variation.

I'd used mini-hoppers with weights for years before the Niche.



And disagree on the second point. I've never looked back since the disc arrived in the post. [It was not included in the original release.] IMO, the main advantage of the Niche was NO DOSER CLACKING and about 10db quieter when grinding. Fair point is my 'large conical' was Macap MXK, not a Mazzer Robur.

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#20: Post by RapidCoffee »

@Jeff and @Ian:
Extraction consistency has always been important to me. When I first got the Niche, extraction times were annoyingly inconsistent. I tried cleaning and recalibrating the burrs, RDT (low RH here)... nothing helped until I removed the FCD. Bingo! Problem solved. Not sure why, but I'm convinced that was the solution.

Now extraction consistency is excellent again. A couple of multi-day comparisons:

EP "14g" basket, 17g Oslo Odin, 1:2 brew ratio, 90C


Decent 18g basket, 18g Cimarron Courthouse, 1:2 brew ratio, 85C
John