Knock out the puck immediately or leave it until next shot?

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

I have a question about cleaning a espresso machine:
When one has prepared a shot of espresso does one leave the puck in the PF or does one clean out the machine before one is to enjoy one's coffee?
I ask this because i see in cafe's that the barista is leaving the coffee in the pf, but when i clean out my machine my coffee is "cold".

What is your opinion?

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#2: Post by Beezer »

You should always dump the puck immediately to prevent the oils and grounds from getting cooked onto the group and PF. Also, I like to flush some water out of the group and wipe the screen and PF basket out with a towel. It only takes a few seconds, and it keeps things much cleaner.
Lock and load!

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#3: Post by uscfroadie replying to Beezer »


Al deHyde
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#4: Post by Al deHyde »

+2 - those coffee oils cook on hot portafilters surprisingly quickly, and chemically transformed to foul tasting stuff. Beezer's comments are dead-on. Rinsing of portafilter and flushing of the group takes only seconds.

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#5: Post by jonny »

My regimen is as follows: Pull shot, when finished I set the cup on top of the machine to wait for milk, while boiler is rebounding I knock out the puck and rinse under the group head, wipe basket, wipe group head, By now the heater has turned off and I steam milk, pour and enjoy. Between the end of the shot and drinking it I'd say is well less than a minute, and less than 30 seconds to enjoy without milk.

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#6: Post by RegulatorJohnson »

get the puck outta there!!
2012 BGA SW region rep. Roaster@cognoscenti LA

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#7: Post by nitpick »

I can usually easily knock the puck out of the portafilter right after brewing. On the other hand, if I leave the puck in the PF for any length of time, it becomes nearly impossible to dislodge and I often have to grab a fork or something to scrape it out.

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#8: Post by Flasherly »

boomdijk wrote:I have a question about cleaning a espresso machine:
I ask this because i see in cafe's that the barista is leaving the coffee in the pf, but when i clean out my machine my coffee is "cold".
Mine's definitely hot. After I've cleaned the puck out with a blunt-tipped knife, I don't know where they come from if the puck doesn't contact screen, but with a portion of extra hot water levered through the PF & basket, on occasion I'll see a few grind residuals flushed into the basket. Every so often I also fold a washcloth thickly to wrap the tip of the same knife for running around the outer edge that couples the PF. There may be a little blackness to wipe out, never much, and even less than when I stick my fingers up inside to feel after removing the piston of a La Pavoni.

They probably have a daily cleaning routine at the cafe shop before closing for the night.

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#9: Post by spiffdude »

Wow, rarely see a thread we can all agree on. Get the puck out, pro baristas are in a rush to get the drinks out, sometimes dealing with multiple group machines and waiting customers. Reputable shops clean up too as soon as they get a chance; you'll notice that when you walk into a shop and there's no line, the groups are usually empty and clean.
Damn this forum, I've had too m..muh...mah..mmmm..much caffeine!

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#10: Post by boar_d_laze »

Plus whatever.

If your coffee gets cold in the time it takes to clean the pf and get the grinds off the screen, you have other issues. Probably you're cups aren't hot enough to begin with. Try warming them with the machine's hot water tap before brewing.

The longer you leave the puck in the basket, the more likely you are to taste old oils in your succeeding shots, and the more effort it's going to take to clean everything when you're session's over.

My regimen is: 1) Knock the puck out; 2) Rinse the pf with the hot water tap; 3) Lock in the pf and run a short, blank shot to get the grinds off the screen; 4) Rinse the pf with hot water again; and 5) Wipe the basket with my "Official Barista Towel."

You don't have to do the exact same thing... but you get the idea.

After you've finished your drink, if you're planning to leave the machine hot but won't want another drink for awhile, you may want to backflush and or "wiggle" to keep the screen and group clean.

Hope this helps,
Drop a nickel in the pot Joe. Takin' it slow. Waiter, waiter, percolator