Struggling with channeling.

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks.

#1: Post by NickR »

Hi HBs,

Hope everyone is well! Attached is a video of my routine. I'm looking for advice to troubleshoot my shot-it seems there is channeling that is occurring constantly, or at minimum, I've been unable to achieve that beautiful bottomless shot.

Some notes: I tweaked grind size, changed the coffee twice, adjusted the flow rate (here, it is at 1 open turn, but have fooled around at others to see impact), changed dose-in for my 20g basket, and tried eliminating and adding things to my routine. Nothing's work. Then, cleaned out the grinder (again), cleaned out shower screen (again), and have run the gambit.

What are your thoughts? Is this just the limitations of the Sette? Of the ECM? Of my skillset? Happy to receive any and all advice from you all. Thanks very much, looking forward to your suggestions!

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#2: Post by PeetsFan »

I have nearly the same setup as you and I don't have that much channeling. There's always a little. My setup is a Sette 270 with a Bezzera Duo, a dual-boiler E61

Here are the only things I can think of:

1) Pre-infuse for 3 to 4 seconds
2) 20 g shots, for me, are just mind-numbing. It's a lot of caffeine, and I get a VERY strong shot. So I dose 15-16g, into an 18g VST basket (though the basket isn't the issue) aiming for about 30g in 25-30 seconds, PLUS the 3-4 sec preinfusion time. Reducing from 20 to 15-16g means finer grind.
3) Beans 5 to 14 days from roast date
4) I added the shims to my Sette grinder. When I did, I found that the screws inside the Sette had come loose. So try the shim procedure, just to make sure the screws are tight. You don't need to add the shims.
5) I use the large cup that comes with the Sette. It's anti-static, so no spritzing needed. I weight before and after I grind, +/- 0.2g doesn't matter to me. Then I shake the grounds in the cup to loosen them and pour into the portafilter. It's a little faster than what you're doing, though I don't think you're doing anything wrong.
6) One belief I have is "Tamp Once." I think the tamp creates a seal along the sides of the puck and a second tamp, or a sharp tap, will break the seal and channel. My thinking is use the distribution to tamp OR use your tamper to tamp. I set my disti tool so it just levels the coffee. After the disti tool, the tamper should depress the coffee a bit; if it doesn't, the disti tool is pushing down too far. (At this point, I don't know if this is science or religion, but don't insult another man's religion) :-)

If you want, you can PM me and we can setup a Zoom call and I'll be happy to walk you through and we can compare notes.

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#3: Post by cafeIKE »

WAY too much WDT. IMO, and it's only conceptual, but excessive stirring moves the fines to the bottom and when they let go, sploosh. [In the past 5 years, I've only had two darker roast coffees that benefited from WDT.]

How fresh is the coffee? Days post roast?

Show us the angle of the tamper from the handle and the side. IMO, feel the level of the tamper with thumb and fingers relative to the basket rim. There is no need to do a handstand on the tamper.

Run the water before the shot, not before grinding.

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#4: Post by happycat »


Settes can have degradation of the plastic gear set where the gears don't engage cleanly.

Symptom is much louder sound than when originally purchased.

Inside, my gear drive screw was loose where the drive was attached to the motor. That entire black circular part's mounting assembly could rock against the silver coloured motor due to the loose screws.

Might cause inconsistent grinding, especially over time, and perhaps with lighter roasts.

LMWDP #603

NickR (original poster)

#5: Post by NickR (original poster) »

Hey there! Thanks for the reply. WTD was one of the things I removed from the process and added back in when it appeared not to fix the issue. This morning I tried a minimal WTD and it did not seem to correct.

I did run water before pulling (not before dosing) and it didn't seem to help, but I do think that's a good tip, too.

Coffee is a month old. But, I had the same exact issue when this coffee was 5 days old, too. And, I had the same issue with a few other coffees.

I sincerely appreciate the trouble-shooting, they were all really good suggestions and I'll incorporate them. Back to ripping my hair out though *argh.*

NickR (original poster)

#6: Post by NickR (original poster) »

Hey! Thanks very much for the reply.

I contacted Baratza for their thoughts. I will say, though, that the Sette is not unusually loud. I took out the shims and everything appeared fine. Then I ran a few shots (1) with no shims (2) with one shim and (3) with both shims. Nothing worked. All the while, the machine has not been louder than when I got it (unless my hearing has since been impaired-which is probable, LOL), and no screw seems to be out of place. Maybe the burrs? Not sure. I contacted Baratza and will hopefully hear back Monday.

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#7: Post by cafeIKE »

Had another look at your video. The basket is plugged about 10 seconds into the shot. I imagine the grind is too fine to prevent an instant gusher.
Month old coffee is DTB - direct to bin.

FWIW, I buy several pounds, put up into 2-3 day [125g] hermetic jars and freeze. A new coffee takes up to a week or so to dial in perfectly and until it's gone, I don't adjust the Niche. The coffee changes little in the 6 or so weeks I use it and I compensate by adding about 0.1g after 3 weeks.

Grind, shake level with a knuckle rap or two if the distro is off too much, tamp level, brew.

It might be instructive to take a pinch grind, and spread it on a white sheet to see what the grind looks like. It could be the grinder is maladjusted and grinding unevenly.

Level Ground [Saanichton BC] Honduras / Ethiopia - 60/40 in the Niche from about 6 inches.

I don't see how the Sette shims could help. They just adjust the grind relative to the dial indicator. If the burrs can touch, there is too much shim.

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#8: Post by K7 »

1. I don't know, more thorough WDT with multiprolonged tool (e.g. Levercraft or DIY) may be worth a try.
2. Yeah, preinfuse a bit longer if possible.
3. Light roasts are often not espresso-friendly because they produce less fines and also puck integrity tend to degrade faster. If you grind too fine to compensate for this, you can have local chokes like that, especially if WDT is not done thoroughly. Lower pressure like 6 bar may help. Do you get these channeling even with conventional medium "espresso blends"?


#9: Post by Henry_k »

18g dose and lighter tamping didn't worked?


#10: Post by slaughter »

Is it me or your grinding seems too coarse ? Did you try to grind finer?