Problem with Grinder, Espresso Machine, or Me?

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks.

Postby Jonytsunami » Jan 13, 2019, 7:39 am


I have a very basic setup -

Graef Conical Burr Grinder - 25 settings -

Cecotec Power Espresso - 20 bar -

After trying to dial in my bean, I came to a seemingly unsolvable issue — Between two settings on my burr grinder, either my espresso extraction is too fast (leading to a sour taste), or not at all. I have kept dose, tamp, and brew temp (as much as possible) as constant as I could, but my first thought is that I would have to upgrade to a more expensive grinder, containing micro-settings that I could more effectively dial in the beans.

At the same time, the espresso machine is 50 euro and could easily not apply correct pressure/temp to the bean, causing the taste to be off, or not being able to push through the portafilter.

Has anyone experienced this kind of issue or have any advice on troubleshooting?

Please let me know —


Postby emradguy » Jan 13, 2019, 10:43 am

I'd say the problem lies at least with both the machine and grinder.

You've described the inherent problem with any stepped grinder - particularly one that has only 25 steps.

I've not heard of a machine before that sells for only 20€ and makes drinkable espresso. In fact, I would guess it has a pressurized portafilter, making the grind setting less important. The 20bar spec they give is advertising mumbo jumbo. Espresso is extracted at about 8-9 bars in most electric machines. To get even marginal pressure and temperature control people typically have to spend over 300€ to get something like a Gaggia Classic.

Next possible spoiler in your process chain is beans. If what you have wasn't roasted within the past couple of weeks, it'll make it all that much more difficult to pull a shot.
Could it also be your technique? Sure, but I think even those of us with many years of experience would find it impossible to get a good shot with your setup.


Postby erik82 » Jan 14, 2019, 9:03 am

Both the grinder and machine aren't very good for espresso.


Postby nuketopia » Jan 15, 2019, 5:42 am

Unfortunately, I don't think either device is adequate to the job. You might have better luck with this kind of espresso machine using pods. While I don't think you have to spend a bundle to make good espresso, there is a level equipment capability required to do the minimum job.

Or perhaps look into a quality grinder and an Aeropress or a pour-over brewer and a nice scale, which can make wonderful coffee.