Newbie advice after upgrading to a non pressurized portafilter - Page 2

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks.

#11: Post by Jeff »

2x 16 g = 32 g -- yes, good benchmark to shoot for.

"grind finer"


#12: Post by danstar10 »

hmm how could I be getting in the 80g range then? Seems like I am doing something very wrong...

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#13: Post by yakster »

What happens when you grind finer?

LMWDP # 272


#14: Post by danstar10 »

I tried the finest grind and it was still above 80g of coffee.
I measured the volume of the double shot and it was almost exactly 100ml, maybe a tiny bit less (without any crema, just liquid)
Does this give any clues? Could my machine be putting out too much water?


#15: Post by Jeff »

I tried the finest grind and it was still above 80g of coffee.
I'm assuming that was in 25-30 seconds or so, not until the machine stopped itself, if it does that automatically.

Looking at the CA$36 grinder you linked on the first post, you unfortunately need a better grinder if you want to pull espresso shots.

Edit: There are some very specific hand grinders that start around US$160 with several in the US$200-300 range that are suitable for espresso.


#16: Post by danstar10 »

Jeff wrote:I'm assuming that was in 25-30 seconds or so, not until the machine stopped itself, if it does that automatically.
No I left it till the machine stopped itself, which is about 26 seconds after first drip, or 33 after the pump turns on. I'm not sure which is correct as people seem to have differing opinions here. No one has ever mentioned stopping the flow before the machine does before. Maybe I need to try that?

Yeah I agree the grinder is definitely the weak point but I want to just try to get the best I can with what I have for now as I don't have a load of cash to put towards a better grinder at the moment.

Also if anything my shots are a bit slow so I should grind coarser, which I can obviously do with that cheap grinder. A fancy grinder will definitely have better consistency etc but it doesn't seem like how fine I can grind is a limiting factor at the moment? So I'm a little lost now...


#17: Post by Jeff »

I was more concerned that it had a 60-second timer or so. Getting a little over twice the expected mass in roughly twice the time would not be surprising.

Timing is always a hot topic. For classic, pump-driven machines, I tend to go with "from switch on" as it's self-consistent and consistent with my understanding of common, commercial practice. "First drops" is then just the part of the extraction process where the basket fills and the grinds saturate. If I vary my grind, dose, or basket, switch on to first drops will also change a bit.

If you're getting 80 g roughly 30 seconds from 16 g of coffee that fills your basket, you are still too coarse. That's a 1:5 ratio, and typical espresso ratios are around 1:2. If you're at the finest that grinder will go, it is pretty clear that it is not suitable for espresso.

If you can't afford a better grinder right now, I'd suggest a V60 (plastic is the favorite of many), Kalita (glass or ceramic), Clever dripper, or other immersion/percolation coffee maker. I'm not a fan of French press clean up, but with a grinder of uncertain quality, you might benefit from immersion brewer like the Clever or a French press.


#18: Post by danstar10 »

One of my friends has a good grinder so maybe I will try borrow it to see what difference it makes.

Do you think that if I grind finer the weight of the shot will be closer to what it should be because of the additional resistance of the finer coffee? Or will I just need to stop my machine mid flow as it is putting out too much water...



#19: Post by Jeff »

You will need to adjust the grind to get the ratio you are shooting for (typically 1 g grinds to 2 g in the cup) so that it finishes extracting (by color and apparent viscosity of the stream) at your target time (often 25 s). You should manually stop the machine manually when you see the stream change character.

From there, adjust by taste.

It's unlikely you'll ever use the pre-programmed timer for "real" espresso.