Wet puck, how to fix it? - Page 2

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

#11: Post by mrjag »

bluesman wrote:1. How do you know that the moisture is the reason for a "sticky puck?
2. Why do you care?

If your shots are delicious, the character of the puck is irrelevant - and if they're not, it's irrelevant. My pucks are wet with Malabar Gold, dry with Redbird espresso, and in between with some other blends, but the coffee's excellent. Go with the flow and enjoy!
I'm sure all machines produce the occasional wet puck but it is particularly bad on the Breville. As you mentioned, it doesn't impact taste but it makes the post-shot routine difficult enough that it's worth the effort to avoid altogether. The cleanup options are:
1. Washing the PF in the sink after every shot then waiting for it to recover from the heat loss. There is also the issue of what flushing pounds of coffee grounds will do to the plumbing over time.
2. Use the knock box, repeatedly, with additional force to dislodge the sludge. This generally results in some amount of splatter on the adjacent wall/window that will need to be wiped down. Also, from personal experience I know consumer grade knockboxes like the matching Breville knock box can't handle the beating. You'll need to upgrade to something more industrial.

HB nailed the solution, which is to dose higher to reduce the gap between the puck and the grouphead. Aim for a minimum of 18-18.5g. Some beans need a lower dose to be properly dialed in and in this situation you will want to invest in smaller basket sizes (VST, IMS, etc).

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bluesman

#12: Post by bluesman »

mrjag wrote:The cleanup options are:
1. Washing the PF in the sink after every shot then waiting for it to recover from the heat loss. There is also the issue of what flushing pounds of coffee grounds will do to the plumbing over time.
2. Use the knock box, repeatedly, with additional force to dislodge the sludge.
I knock, flush a bit of water from my machine into the PF, knock out any remaining puck, then flush a little more to remove any remaining chunks. Rather than rinse out the basket, I've always wiped any residual grunge out with my coffee towel (I have brown towels for coffee, white ones for surfaces that touch milk, and red bar towels for general cleanup).

I wouldn't pour grounds down an open drain, but I've been putting them down a running disposal (with a 30 second flush after the grinding sound stops) for decades. We lived in our house for 36 years without a clog.

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jchung

#13: Post by jchung »

I haven't found a wet puck to be much of a problem when it comes to taste of shots. If you want it to be a little drier, wait a couple seconds before you remove the PF. But then you also run the risk of the puck sticking to the shower screen.

Usually I will remove the PF, knock the puck out in a knockbox, then manually run water through the group head onto the PF/basket by holding button 1 down for 5 seconds in order to rinse out the PF/basket. Then I wipe the basket with a towel. Using the hot water helps maintain PF/basket temp.

pizzaman383
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#14: Post by pizzaman383 »

I didn't see this mentioned so here goes. My VBM always had wet pucks. I found that leaving the portafilter in the group head after the shot until I have prepped the next filter basket dries the puck enough that it pops out nicely.
Curtis
LMWDP #551
“Taste every shot before adding milk!”

spearfish25

#15: Post by spearfish25 »

Updosing definitely resolves it as well. Increased my dose from 18.5g to 20g today. Initially pucks were soupy before the change. After...Dry solid pucks.
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Alex
Home-Barista.com makes me want to buy expensive stuff.