Newbie - espresso tips - flowing too fast

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

I got my first espresso machine yesterday and have been pulling shots this morning. All of the shots I've been pulling have been going pretty fast. I'm thinking it is a matter of getting to a finer espresso grind, but when I did the finest setting last night, it tasted over-extracted and bitter... possibly I need to revisit that finest setting. But before I continue to burn through beans and overdose of caffeine, here is a view of the average shots I've been pulling this morning. Looking for advice on how to improve from here:

Machine: ECM Classika with PID
Grinder: Bratza Virtuoso Plus (my temporary grinder until my Niche Zero arrives next week)
Portafilter: Bottomless. Appears to be flowing into a single stream after about 5-6 seconds with no visible channeling (but I don't really know what to look for, so not sure on this one)
Water: rPavlis water
Grind: Almost as fine as the machine will go at setting 2. Can go as low as setting 0.
Beans: Medium Roast blend of East Africa and Columbia
Puck prep: WDT, Asso leveler, Bravo calibrated tamper, Flair 58 puck screen
Dose: 18 g
Yield-out: approximately 36 g
Shot time: 17 seconds

Thanks!

JamesB517

#2: Post by JamesB517 »

Try upping your dose.
Life is like a shot of espresso. You never know what you're gonna get.

Milligan

#3: Post by Milligan »

Rule of thumb is to go finer. So play with the 1-0 range. It may be that your grinder doesn't offer a lot of espresso resolution. I believe this to be the case with the Virtuoso Plus. It is marketed as a jack-of-all-trades so its dial in range for espresso is low. I think your problems will get better when you get your Niche. Just know, small adjustments on that grinder will have a big impact on the espresso grind.

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BaristaBoy E61

#4: Post by BaristaBoy E61 »

Keep weighing & timing - grind finer!
"You didn't buy an Espresso Machine - You bought a Chemistry Set!"

lmolter

#5: Post by lmolter »

FWIW, I know my beans are stale when the water runs right through. And fiddling with the grind on the stale beans only produces stale-flavored and/or bitter pulls.

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Kaffee Bitte

#6: Post by Kaffee Bitte »

Revisit the finest setting. If it is still flowing fast at such settings the beans are most likely stale. Post roast 10 days the coffee will be past peak and heading down the trough of staling. Somewhere in the third week is where I give up and move to some new beans, though it's been years since I had to worry much about staling. I usually only roast enough for about two weeks so I can enjoy the climb to peak and a little of the dive.

The 7 to 10 days rule is somewhat reliable except for very light roasts, which seem to need greatly increased rest periods also some naturals will peak later possibly past the 10 days. I have had naturals that didn't peak until 14 or 15 days post roast and some wild outliers past that too. Wet process tend to hold in that 7-10 rule pretty reliably for me.

It is probably equally possible that the virtuoso is just not really capable of grinding consistently enough for espresso, and your Niche, once you get a feel for it may show that it wasn't the coffee but the grinder.
Lynn G.
LMWDP # 110
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Nunas
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#7: Post by Nunas »

Kaffee Bitte wrote:It is probably equally possible that the virtuoso is just not really capable of grinding consistently enough for espresso, and your Niche, once you get a feel for it may show that it wasn't the coffee but the grinder.
IMO, this is your most likely answer. Even stale coffee should choke the machine if the grinder is truly espresso capable, unless the coffee has been badly abused (i.e., really old and totally dried out).

LittleCoffee

#8: Post by LittleCoffee »

18g dose seems fine.
I think your grinder ought to be able to grind fine enough so that it chokes itself at some (fine enough) setting.
And at a coarser setting than that it ought to be able to grind fine enough so that it chokes your machine and you get no flow.
And it also sounds like you're not getting that with your combination of beans and grinder. So I'd buy beans you know that are fresh and if you're still not getting the result you want (or one of the above) then you know it's your grinder. Otherwise it's your beans.