Sour and salty fermented espresso, pull can't hit 20-30 seconds even with a smallest grind setting

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks.

Postby ydnewt » Apr 15, 2019, 2:04 am

Hi, I just got a new Delonghi 685. My espresso always tastes sour, salty and fermented.

I read that the espresso pull should take 20-30 seconds for a 30ml shot. I have grinded with my WPM ZD15 grinder using the smallest setting available but it will only hit around 10-15 seconds. Tamping harder doesnt help much either. What should I do?

I tried adding milk to the espresso but it turned out ok. I dont understand why my espresso tasted so horrible. Or is it supposed to taste that way??

I am using a medium roast coffee.

I am confused. Please help me. Thank you.

User avatar
Team HB

Postby cannonfodder » Apr 15, 2019, 11:19 am

Sounds like old coffee beans may be the start of the issue. When were they roasted?
Dave Stephens


Postby mrjag » Apr 15, 2019, 11:39 am

You should always be able to choke the machine by grinding finer. If you cant then your grinder is probably at fault.


Postby Nunas » Apr 15, 2019, 11:42 am

You should always be able to choke the machine by grinding finer. If you cant then your grinder is probably at fault.

Agree! All but the most stale beans should choke. Of course, this says nothing about the taste issue; salty & fermented...that'll be the beans!


Postby Mrboots2u » Apr 15, 2019, 12:00 pm

You are using a pressurised basket ?
You are using a good tamper ?
You are using decent beans ?

User avatar
Team HB

Postby another_jim » Apr 15, 2019, 5:21 pm

This type of equipment will never make espresso as good as you get at a cafe; even if an expert uses it. A beginner doesn't stand a chance with it. That said ... Use fresh coffee, from a cafe, not a supermarket ... use the finest grind setting ... use the biggest basket supplied ... experiment filling it with coffee until you get a nice flow (buying a cheap 1/10 gram scale to wweigh your doses helps)

For this stale coffee, try the ESE basket. These baskets have a flow restriction on the base.
Jim Schulman


Postby Kemo_88 » Apr 16, 2019, 2:16 am


I have the same machine 680, i have depressurized the supplied basket and i am using a Brevile smart grinder and get a vert good result,, make sure coffee is not old, because no matter what you did it will turn out black fast with no crema and taste horrible,, i am using lavazza super crema, lavazza terra and carraro dolci arabica, they both very good,, also make sure you heat up the machine very well and basket too.
The supplied double basket will not take more than 12-13 grams of coffee, i extract 30 ml in 20-23 sec , any time longer than that will choke the machine (for 30 ml)


Postby ydnewt » Apr 16, 2019, 5:07 am

Hi everyone, thank you so much for your replies.

Yes, I am using some old coffee. I thought it would be fine if i didnt open the package! :oops: (Sorry i am a newbie, so i'm still trying to figure everything out!!) Surprisingly, adding frothed milk to it turned out good! How long can i keep the beans before it becomes stale?

Seems like my machine has got limitations...I should have done some research before purchasing the Delonghi. :(

I will definitely try to use freshly roasted beans next time. Does anyone use medium or light roast for espresso? Or is it usually just dark for espresso??


Postby Kemo_88 » Apr 16, 2019, 6:15 am

Keep it medium to dark, light roast needs higher water temperature which is already an issue for your machine.
Are you using pressurized basker?


Postby ydnewt » Apr 16, 2019, 8:29 am

Yes, I think so. Since its a Delonghi 685 and i havent done any modifications on the baskets. Could that be the reason why I can't hit 20secs pull?

It got me wondering since the machine is claimed to be fool-proof, the pulled espresso should tastes good.
Will it make any difference if i get a depressurized basket? Does depressurized baskets make better espressos compared to pressurized baskets?(providing that the correct method is used)