Weird "north-south" extraction pattern...

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks.
CoffeeRyokou

#1: Post by CoffeeRyokou »

Recently the shots on my bottomless portafilter have started in a weird pattern. If you could imagine a portafilter where north is the back of the machine, south is towards the user, west and east are on the sides of the machine, my extractions are always starting out at north perimeter (towards the machine) of the basket, and then the south perimeter (towards me), gradually fills in towards the middle, and then the left and right halves are barely contributing to the extraction.

I don't think it's a tamp or distribution issue. I've tried rotating the basket and the pattern is the same, so I think it's related to the machine.
Any ideas?

msimanyi

#2: Post by msimanyi »

On your Nothing Special, have you pulled the shower screen and given it a good cleaning?

You might want to let the board know what your equipment is, so someone with direct experience can chime in.

CoffeeRyokou

#3: Post by CoffeeRyokou »

Yeah, I've cleaned the screen recently. It's just a Breville Express I'm running at this point in time.

How do you like your Londinium? I'm shopping between that, a Profitec 800, or perhaps a Decent.

User avatar
another_jim
Team HB

#4: Post by another_jim »

As long as you don't get sprites, chokes, or gushers, you're good. The stream wandering around a bit doesn't usually affect the taste of the shot or the extraction levels.

IMO, the search for espresso porn flow is just as much a waste of time for good shot making as looking for dry knock out pucks. It's 100 times more important to be able to change the dose and grind without choking, channeling, or melting down the shot.

Now , if you're an aspiring espresso porn director, triple basket, overstuffed with a coarse grind, will get you a perfectly gorgeous looking flow, and a bone dry knock out puck. Great for youtube; just, whatever you do, never drink those shots.
Jim Schulman
★ Helpful

DamianWarS

#5: Post by DamianWarS »

CoffeeRyokou wrote:Recently the shots on my bottomless portafilter have started in a weird pattern. If you could imagine a portafilter where north is the back of the machine, south is towards the user, west and east are on the sides of the machine, my extractions are always starting out at north perimeter (towards the machine) of the basket, and then the south perimeter (towards me), gradually fills in towards the middle, and then the left and right halves are barely contributing to the extraction.

I don't think it's a tamp or distribution issue. I've tried rotating the basket and the pattern is the same, so I think it's related to the machine.
Any ideas?
Might seem like a silly question but have you check if everything is level?

Nate42

#6: Post by Nate42 »

another_jim wrote:As long as you don't get sprites, chokes, or gushers, you're good. The stream wandering around a bit doesn't usually affect the taste of the shot or the extraction levels.

IMO, the search for espresso porn flow is just as much a waste of time for good shot making as looking for dry knock out pucks. It's 100 times more important to be able to change the dose and grind without choking, channeling, or melting down the shot.

Now , if you're an aspiring espresso porn director, triple basket, overstuffed with a coarse grind, will get you a perfectly gorgeous looking flow, and a bone dry knock out puck. Great for youtube; just, whatever you do, never drink those shots.
Would you say that the dreaded "donut shot" also doesn't particularly matter? As long as it fills in eventually I can't say I've ever noticed a huge difference, but I don't claim to have done any kind of detailed study.

Jeff

#7: Post by Jeff »

For me, on donuts, I watch the color and perceived texture at the edges compared to just inside. Earlier blonding at the edges suggests to me faster extraction there. Being able to get more uniform extraction throughout the puck seems to be reflected in my greater success in pushing back unpleasant flavors.

(I still have first drops at the edges over half the time, but now the rest follows within a second or two.)

User avatar
another_jim
Team HB

#8: Post by another_jim »

Nate42 wrote:Would you say that the dreaded "donut shot" also doesn't particularly matter? As long as it fills in eventually I can't say I've ever noticed a huge difference, but I don't claim to have done any kind of detailed study.
I rarely get those; my usual imperfection is like the OPs, the stream starting out off center, or occasionally even split. I've never noticed a problem with these. It helps to have lever or other flow control machine that can choke the flow down in the second half of the shot, so everything is running clear by the end, signalling a full extraction, without having to go too Lungo.

But as far as I can tell, 80% of the taste quality is graven in stone by the time you see the first drops. You're just making marginal corrections to whatever the dose and grind are dictating.
Jim Schulman

msimanyi

#9: Post by msimanyi »

CoffeeRyokou wrote:Yeah, I've cleaned the screen recently. It's just a Breville Express I'm running at this point in time.

How do you like your Londinium? I'm shopping between that, a Profitec 800, or perhaps a Decent.
Sorry I didn't see this question earlier. I am loving it, and would easily buy it again without reservation, knowing what I know now. It's an absolute joy to use every day. The steam quality on it is so incredible that I've started making some milk-based drinks for myself too. It's kind of addicting, when it's so very easy to make fantastic microfoam.

But that's me. I like mechanical things. The Decent was a strong contender, but I decided I didn't want to scratch my head pondering "What to try today?"

If you're someone who loves the latest tech, the Decent is a solid option. And given the new version of the LR and the price increase, I think even I would have considered the Decent all the more carefully (and I struggled with that decision for probably 10 or 12 days, researching everything I could.)

CoffeeRyokou

#10: Post by CoffeeRyokou »

Interesting update. I think I was wrong about it not being a distribution issue. I tried dosing the grinds into a cup, and then I shook up the grinds before flipping into the basket and then spreading it all out evenly, and the dispersion pattern on the extraction changed to be more even.

Previously I was moving the basket in circles as it dosed out and then I would tap, level, and then tamp. Worked fine for a while - perfect extractions. Then suddenly the north to south extractions started.

I'm not sure how, but the grinds coming out of the spout are somehow compacting in such a way while dosing that it's making a weird but somewhat predictable pattern. Interestingly it wasn't doing this for my first month of ownership. Perhaps it's the beans in the grinder now? So many variables it's boggling.

It's a ceado e37s if anyone is wondering.