Still haven't extracted a good cup

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks for making espresso.

#1: Post by Robb1821i »

Hello everyone! So for the last year I've used a delonghi specialista. It worked well but I was a novice and was over packing the basket. Eventually I broke the plastic where the portafilter mounts. Up until that I was making good shots in a non pressurized basket.

So we go the gaggia classic pro to replace it. I have a bottomless 22g filter. Upgraded to a 9 bar spring. Other than that it's stock. I cannot make a decent shot to save my life. No matter how fine or coarse I end up with a fast extraction and channeling. I am using a that small whisk like tool to fluff, tamping flat and with just enough pressure for it to push back. I have a conical burr grinder from amazon. No name. Under $100. It seems to make consistent grinds to almost powder.

Now of course with the pressurized basket it makes a good shot. But I really want to make a good shot in the bottomless.

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#2: Post by Nunas »

The 9-bar spring is a popular, and sensible, mod. I doubt it is relevant to your issue. Try this. Set your grinder to the finest setting and try to pull a shot. If it does not choke the machine (no or very little coffee comes out) then that's your issue. Even quite old coffee should choke the machine with a grinder set to the finest setting. If you can choke the machine, then gradually coarsen the grind until you get the pull in the time you desire (called dialing in the grinder).

Robb1821i (original poster)

#3: Post by Robb1821i (original poster) »

Should have mentioned that...I can't choke the machine from what I see. Unless it's choking for a second then channeling.


#4: Post by dmw010 »

Almost certainly it's your grinder. Plenty of threads on here about how a good grinder is more important than the espresso machine. It's not just about grinding fine, it's about particle distribution and consistency. You could grind coffee to powder in a $10 blade grinder and it would never produce good espresso.

Beyond the grinder, you didn't mention whether you are weighing your grounds and liquid output. That's the best way to ensure consistency shot to shot. The most common starting place is a 1:2 ratio, like 18g of coffee yielding 36g espresso in around 30 seconds. Then adjust ratio to taste if desired. Also might consider going with an 18g basket after you get a better grinder, it might be easier to dial in.

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#5: Post by Milligan »

How much coffee are you putting in the basket? I assume around 22g but wanted to make sure. I'm with the others, sounds like a grinder issue.


#6: Post by iyayy »

1. try dosing more if you havent. some beans are lighter and take extra few more grams to fit basket.

2. your puck might still be too loose after tamping. maybe try tamp a bit more until it stops compressing. it doesnt take that much force to do anyway.

3. try both 1 and 2.

just to share i can grind espresso with my wobbly hario ceramic.
as you go finer, grinds look more similar. but pulling a shot is never consistent, sometimes fast, sometimes slow.
the bigger issue is you will have a mix of both sour (under extract) and bitter (overextract).
also it was not so easy with breville 54mm, but 58mm is a lot more challenging to work with.

years ago i tried to cheapout on grinder for espresso, because i think their price is too exorbitant for something that just grind coffee..
i got a timemore c2 with skeptism on how much a grinder can improve coffee. despite having only 1 settings that 'may work' on some beans, the improvement of good flavor being extracted is significant to warrant the upgrade. i dont recommend ithe c2 however, it was too tiring.

unfortunately there are no grinders that have both good consistency AND enough gradient at espresso range until you spend more.. a lot lot more. it kinda seem like intentional conspiracy to keep espresso grinders price very high.

good luck trying.