Utterly lost - I am simply unable to produce a cup of espresso

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

#1: Post by ClintFeedwood »

Hello everbody,
for around half a year now I am the owner of a used Bezzera BZ10 and coffee grinder (see list below). Making espresso myself was something I was eager to get into as me and my partner do enjoy drinking a "good" cup of coffee. I got a great deal on the machine I bought and made sure to get as much information as possible from different sources online. I tried my best to understand brewing time, ratio, dosage and yield. Once the machine was at home, naturally, I started right away to "pull a shot" of espresso (or whatever the hell that soup was).
Having only a 8g VST Basket, I knew that I could do only 1 cup at a time. So I tried to the best of my abilities to do as researched. Aiming for a ratio of 1:2, I fill my basket with roughly 9g (+/-0.2g) ground coffee, knock the portafilter gently on the counter so all the ground coffee distributes evenly, tamper it and put it in the machine. I've generally heard that I wanna aim for 25s-30s of extraction time at 9bar and after that I should have my 18g-20g of yielded coffee.

The Issue
My flow of coffee, no matter how much I adjust the grind size or amount (went as high as 10g for my 8g basket!), seems to be too high.. While I seem to reach the right amount of pressure (shoots up to 9bar withing 1-3seconds) my yield is usually 1:8. A 10g basket will yield me 82g of coffee in a 25s window.

I am simply out of ideas as to what causes this. The "espresso" grind size starts at 13 and goes all the way down to 1. So far, I've tried up until setting size 7 and even then the yield was roughly the same in a 25s window. Knocking the puck out I felt like I was nearly cracking the container so I fear going even lower on the grind size (may be unreasonable but I don't wanna break my machine either).

Do I have to go even lower on my coarseness? Is there anything my smooth ape brain is forgetting? Any and all advice is really appreciated! If there is any more informatione I can give you or my write up is not comprehensive, please let me know. THANKS!

  • a 8g VST Basket
  • a 2 way spout portafilter
  • stainless steel tamper
  • Cleaning Brush
  • SOLIS Smart Grinder PRO
  • Scale
Edit, 24.10.2021 - 10am:
I am genuinely thankful for all the feedback I am receiving on this. I am looking forward to reply to as much comments as possible. :)

This morning I tried grind setting 4 (not much room left to go finer) and had less quick flow of coffee but still more yield than I should have, with roughly a 1:6.8 ratio in 25.3 seconds. The machine itself also reached 10bar which, apparently, is something I wanna aim for as mentioned in the video posted by member Ben C (thahnks for that). I will try going a step or two finer, adjust the amount in the basket and keep you guys updated for results.


#2: Post by maccompatible »

If your flow is too fast, the two possibilities are channeling from poor puck prep, or too coarse of a grind. Single shot baskets are much more difficult to use properly, which is why most people pull doubles with 14-18g of coffee per shot. Also, your equipment is designed to work at an espresso fine grind, so you don't need to worry about hurting any of it. Just grind finer until your flow rate is better. You're correct about the numbers to shoot for, and can then adjust from there based on taste. Good luck!
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ClintFeedwood (original poster)

#3: Post by ClintFeedwood (original poster) »

Thanks a lot for the reply.

I am glad to hear I am not totally of the right path. You mention poor puck prep - What does a good one look like? I believe to be pressing down the coffee grounds strong enough. But as with most of this topic - I am missing a reference of some kind ahha.

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#4: Post by HB »

My bet is on stale coffee and a grinder that's not espresso-capable.
Dan Kehn

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#5: Post by baldheadracing »

Um, besides the more likely options above, are you sure about that 8g VST basket?

There is a 7g VST basket which uses a 41mm diameter tamper (not a 58mm). See this thread for pics: [SOLD] Single espresso bundle (Tidaka Funnel, LM 7g basket, 41mm Tamper) (the basket in the pics is an LM, but is the same shape as the VST).

If you do have the 7g VST, then while you might be able to get 8g+ of some coffees in that basket, 7.5g is more typical, and in some coffees 7g is about it. I suspect that 10g of coffee will overflow that basket and side-channel.

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#6: Post by pj.walczak »

Change your basket to double, VST 18 or IMS SF - https://www.eb-lab.coffee/new-products- ... b702th24sf.
You will get much better results.


ClintFeedwood (original poster)

#7: Post by ClintFeedwood (original poster) »

The coffee is freshly bought. So I am not sure if that is possible (given you actually mean the freshness of it).

As for the grinder: https://www.sageappliances.com/uk/en/pr ... cg820.html it really should be capable of espresso grounds. No?

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ClintFeedwood (original poster)

#8: Post by ClintFeedwood (original poster) »

Thanks for your feedback.

This is the basket I am talking about. 10g was a test to see if my flow changes at all but I will try to stay withing the 9g max range with this basket.

ClintFeedwood (original poster)

#9: Post by ClintFeedwood (original poster) »

With a bigger basket like that, I will also double my caffeine intake, no? That I preferably wanna avoid as I want to drink many coffees (4-5/day) and feel like the less caffeine per cup the better.

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#10: Post by HB »

ClintFeedwood wrote:The coffee is freshly bought. So I am not sure if that is possible (given you actually mean the freshness of it).

As for the grinder... it really should be capable of espresso grounds. No?
I should qualify my response: Just bought or just opened coffee doesn't necessarily mean fresh. For example, store bought coffee around here can be anywhere from 1 week to 3 months old or more. I thought you were talking about the Solis Scala, which is not an espresso grinder. That said, I've never used the Sage / Breville Smart Grinder Pro, but according to posts, it's espresso capable.

I recommend getting a double basket; they have a greater margin of error than singles.
Dan Kehn