Need help! Pouring too fast

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks.
davescoffeejourney

#1: Post by davescoffeejourney »

Hi all,

I have recently been gifted an older Rocket Giotto ECM machine by a friend which has kick started my interest in coffee!

I am having some serious troubles in getting a decent espresso. It is pouring far too quickly and i can't seem to slow it down. From the research I have done I should be able to grind the coffee bean finer to slow it down but the problem is that I am grinding on the finest possible setting from my grinder. I have the Smeg Grinder which I understand isn't the best (nor the worst) but it has a conical burr and 30 grind settings so you would think it can do the trick.

Currently it takes about 4 seconds from when i pull the lever for the first drip to occur. Then about another 8 seconds to pour 60ml of espresso.

I have attached a couple of photos of the set up. I believe I am tamping correctly. I'm pretty sure i have a double basket (hard to tell as there is no writing on it).

Does anyone have any advice for me?
I am starting to think that I have wasted $350 on a Smeg Grinder that just can't do what I need it to do. Perhaps the Smeg Grinder only works if you have the Smeg Espresso machine too????

NOTE: I don't have a scale so i haven't tried weighing the grind to be consistent. I feel this is a small problem and not related to the fact that i can only get about an 8 second 60ml pour!!

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks
Dave

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Qporzk

#2: Post by Qporzk »

Without a scale, it is possible that you are getting a lot of crema, making the shot appear more voluminous than it really is. However, it is likely the grinder. Smeg is more of a design brand, and espresso generally requires grinders purpose built for espresso. You could always try going to a local shop and having them grind a little coffee for espresso, then running home and pulling a shot to rule out the machine.

greenbeans

#3: Post by greenbeans »

I agree with Qp. Would you be able to borrow an espresso grinder? If not you will have to consider buying one. I use a Niche Zero from Great Britain. I use it with a La Spaziale Dream machine. Grind fineness is critical and a major influence on flow speed and flavor. Others will likely chime in re a grinder.

dreadnatty08

#4: Post by dreadnatty08 »

Agree with the others. Weighing your grinds and resulting shot will give you far better info. Looking at this grinder though, I'm a little skeptical it's going to work well for espresso. If you can't choke your machine on its finest setting, you may have to look elsewhere for an espresso only grinder.

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mckolit

#5: Post by mckolit »

How old are the beans you're using? That could be an issue. Also, there could be a mod for your grinder so you could adjust the settings all the way down to the blades touching. You'll need to open it up and take a look.

DamianWarS

#6: Post by DamianWarS »

davescoffeejourney wrote:Hi all,

I have recently been gifted an older Rocket Giotto ECM machine by a friend which has kick started my interest in coffee!

I am having some serious troubles in getting a decent espresso. It is pouring far too quickly and i can't seem to slow it down. From the research I have done I should be able to grind the coffee bean finer to slow it down but the problem is that I am grinding on the finest possible setting from my grinder. I have the Smeg Grinder which I understand isn't the best (nor the worst) but it has a conical burr and 30 grind settings so you would think it can do the trick.

Currently it takes about 4 seconds from when i pull the lever for the first drip to occur. Then about another 8 seconds to pour 60ml of espresso.

I have attached a couple of photos of the set up. I believe I am tamping correctly. I'm pretty sure i have a double basket (hard to tell as there is no writing on it).

Does anyone have any advice for me?
I am starting to think that I have wasted $350 on a Smeg Grinder that just can't do what I need it to do. Perhaps the Smeg Grinder only works if you have the Smeg Espresso machine too????

NOTE: I don't have a scale so i haven't tried weighing the grind to be consistent. I feel this is a small problem and not related to the fact that i can only get about an 8 second 60ml pour!!

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks
Dave

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getting a new grinder probably is the best but here are some workarounds that you can try that might help you slow the shots.

Tamping hard doesn't really have much of an effect however you can do something called a nutating tamp which kind of binds the coffee together more. Matt Perger is famous for doing this during in his WBC routine and he has a blog entry explaining why he did it that you can read (it also explains how you do a nutating tamp) but essentially it does have an effect of slowing shots so it might be something quick you can try but it probably isn't ideal or long term.

You also may be able to shim your grinder. with conical burrs, there is an inner burr (the conical one) and the outer burr (which is the outside burr where the inner burr goes inside. To get finer that inner burr needs to move closer to the outer burr and you can accomplish this by removing the burr and putting something under it (a "shim") to raise it up (or lower it down whatever your case maybe). The effect will move all your settings finer. Often times you can use a washer or buy some 0.1mm and 0.2mm washers and slowly add them to move the burr a little closer to get a finer grind out of it but sometimes a washer is the wrong shape so you need to take it off and see what you can use to shim it. A little can be a lot so don't get too ambitious because if it's too close the burrs are going to be rubbing against each other and it's going to cause damage. If you do shim turn the grinder on at a coarse setting and slowly move down checking how the coffee is. it's nice to have a sample of your previous "fine" so you can compare and you know when it's gone fine, just be careful about going to far.

some other things to consider is new coffee is more brittle and there will be more shearing action with the grinder producing more fines (which you want) the older the coffee the more rubbery it becomes and it may produce fewer fines. Old coffee also has depleted CO2 levels. High CO2 levels (found in fresh coffee) will produce a back pressure during the shot which will slow the shot, with no back pressure, the shot will run faster so you want fresh coffee.

Studies also show that colder coffee is more brittle so you could freeze coffee and it may actually perform better and give you more fines. But it probably isn't practical because you would have to freeze small portions because taking coffee in and out of the freezer is going to produce condensation and degrade the coffee. So you could freeze 20g portions in ziplock bags and put them somewhere in the back then take out a portion as you need it, grinding immediately to take advantage of it's more brittle properties but it might not be worth the hassle.

the burrs may also need to be replaced. with conical burrs often you can only replace the inner burr and not the outer burr but if you can replace them both if you think they are too worn (and easy/cheap enough to install/buy) then do so but I wouldn't invest too much money into it unless you know it will work otherwise save your money for a new grinder

Lastly, one thing you can try and do is go to a cafe and ask them to grind you some espresso grind and run home and use that and see the difference it makes. It may not be the best shot but you can compare the grind level to know if you grinder just isn't up to the job (and maybe if you should shim it). Grocery store espresso may also be able to show you this too (but maybe not) and it should be cheaper, again it may not give you amazing shots but it may show you how fine the coffee needs to be to get the extraction time you are looking for.

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yakster
Supporter ♡

#7: Post by yakster »

Check the age of the coffee. As for the grinder, when you grind it on the finest setting it should be fine enough that if you press it with your fingers you can see your fingerprints in the powder. If not, you may want to look into the grinder.
-Chris

LMWDP # 272

lagoon

#8: Post by lagoon »

Visit your local roasters and get 100g of fresh beans. Have them grind it on the spot for espresso, and take it straight home and try it out.

That will immediately tell you if your grinder is the problem. I'm pretty certain it is. Most of those appliance brand grinders are designed for French press, drip etc.

davescoffeejourney

#9: Post by davescoffeejourney »

HI all,

Thank you all for your time and input! I really appreciate it.
I took your advice and had my in-laws grind some fine coffee from their grinder and this has immediately given me a huge improvement!

Looks like I'm off to buy a new grinder and try to flog my Smeg Grinder second hand!

Thanks
Dave