Wet puck, how to fix it?

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks.
dealy663

#1: Post by dealy663 »

Hi,

I have Breville dual boiler that is a couple of weeks old now. One thing I haven't been able to figure out is why my pucks ar kinda wet and therefore hard to knock out. Everything else is fun and fine with this machine. Though I still have a lot to learn about pulling shots.

Oh btw I'm using the nonpressurized double shot basket.




Thanks Derek

BaristaBob

#2: Post by BaristaBob »

Need some additional information from you such as, what type of grinder are you using and what setting, what kind of coffee, how much in the pf, how much tamping pressure are you applying? Also, where are you on the pressure gauge during extraction?
I've owned my BDB for about a year and a half now and rarely are my pucks wet. Sometimes they even stick to my group head. You are going love this machine in the end, once you work through the learning curve.
Bob "hello darkness my old friend..I've come to drink you once again"

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HB
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#3: Post by HB »

This question comes up regularly. From Wet pucks:
HB wrote:I've not discovered a correlation between the appearance of the puck post-extraction and the taste of the espresso. Moreover, there's nothing inherently wrong with small puddles of water on the puck's surface, though it should be consistent from shot-to-shot. That is, if you see big puddles one time, dry as sand the next, that's a problem. But if the puck's surface looks and feels basically the same each time, I believe you've exhausted the value of "puckology."

That's why I am wary of claims that one can see evidence of channeling on the puck's surface. Afterall, most espresso machines have 3-way valves and they depressurize from 130 PSI to 0 in an instant. I think that any fissures are as likely caused by rapid depressurization as channeling during the extraction.
If you want drier pucks, dose more to reduce the puck to shower screen clearance. But I'd recommend following the recommendations on How to Adjust Dose and Grind Setting by Taste and not worrying about puckology.
Dan Kehn

mgthompson

#4: Post by mgthompson »

In my experience, "puckology" tends to not be terribly useful. Especially the correlation between dampness of the puck and flavor in the cup.

spearfish25

#5: Post by spearfish25 »

While a wet puck doesn't seem to impact my results, I share the annoyance of more challenging cleanup when they occur.

Things to try that may dry the puck are a more coarse grind and/or a lighter tamp. If the water flow is less impeded by the puck, it seems to be more dry when it comes time to knock it out. These changes may definitely impact your espresso though (better or worse) but it's easy to experiment.
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lancealot

#6: Post by lancealot »

"Dr. Strangespro Or How I stopped worrying about the consistency of my spent pucks and learned to love what is in the cup."

It seems the conventional wisdom around here is that there is not much to deduce from wet/dry puck after the pull. I used to worry about wet puck. After searching the forums and reading enough that said it didn't impact taste of espresso, I accepted it and believe it to be true.

Most people around here are trying to figure out how to get the best espresso in the cup. I am sure you are too. If you start making changes to your preparation in the pursuit of a dry puck, you will start doing things that run against getting the best espresso in your cup.

For example. I have a BDB and find that, with the stock basket, if I dose 18.5g with most coffees, I get a dry puck. If I dose at 18g with most coffees, I get either wet or dry pucks. Now the intensity of my shots are dose dependent. That is, if I want a softer-rounder shot, dose less. If I want a punchier shot, dose more. Now, if I get confused and start making coffee in pursuit of a dry puck, I would updose always. This would make it so that every shot I pulled would be a punchier example of what the coffee I am using can produce. I might try a new coffee and determine that I don't like it, but really because I was primarily concerned with dry pucks and updosed, I was unwilling to experience the full range of shots the coffee was capable of producing.

Espresso 101: How to Adjust Dose and Grind Setting by Taste

DanSF
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#7: Post by DanSF »

I'd never adjust dose or grind to dry a puck, but knocking out a wet, messy puck is not ideal. I think I get wet pucks more often when I remove the portafilter immediately after pulling a shot. If I wait a few seconds, e.g. to steam my milk and create my cappuccino, I think the wet puck is less common. My theory is that the puck re-absorbs the water while I'm working the milk but like any good theory (sun revolves around earth; disease reflects imbalance in four humors) it needs to be tested.

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dealy663 (original poster)

#8: Post by dealy663 (original poster) »

I'm using fresh beans that I roasted myself right now. It is a medium roast (though on the darker side).

I dose at about 18.5 grams. I've generally been tamping kinda hard, though this morning I reduced my tamp pressure and it didn't really make a difference. I'm using a Sette 270 grinder which I'm actually really happy with so far. My grind is fine enough that I'm generally getting between 7.5 to 8.5 bar. I'm still fine tuning the grind on these beans and getting used to the Sette.

My shot comes out at 2 oz in 30 sec.

I did the nickel test this morning and there was no imprint on my coffee puck.

As far as taste goes, I've gotten things to be pretty good IMHO. But I'm no expert and don't really have much to compare against.

Tonefish
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#9: Post by Tonefish »

DanSF wrote:I'd never adjust dose or grind to dry a puck, but knocking out a wet, messy puck is not ideal. I think I get wet pucks more often when I remove the portafilter immediately after pulling a shot. If I wait a few seconds, e.g. to steam my milk and create my cappuccino, I think the wet puck is less common. My theory is that the puck re-absorbs the water while I'm working the milk but like any good theory (sun revolves around earth; disease reflects imbalance in four humors) it needs to be tested.
This is what I've found too. SInce we want to push hot water, not steam or air, through our coffee, there is no avoiding water left between the shower screen and the puck top unless you reduce that distance.
LMWDP #581 .......... May your roasts, grinds, and pulls be the best!

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bluesman

#10: Post by bluesman »

re
dealy663 wrote:One thing I haven't been able to figure out is why my pucks ar kinda wet and therefore hard to knock out.
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!