Why is my first shot in the morning always poor compared to the second one with no changed settings?

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks.
karlingen

#1: Post by karlingen »

I always have to throw my first shot because it is not pouring fast enough. I only get around 20ml in 30 seconds. But the second shot and all shots after that is always 60ml.

I own a Sage Oracle (Breville 980xl) with all settings set to default and this is my morning routine:

1. With the portafilter locked in place I start the machine and wait until it is completely warmed up.
2. Pull some empty shots in a cup and also use warm water to pre-heat my cup.
3. Grind yesterday's beans that are left in the grinder and throw them away.
4. Fill enough coffee in the grinder and autogrind and autotamp into the portafilter.
5. Lock portafilter in grouphead and press the brew button (double).

Water starts pouring after around 9-11 seconds (7 seconds pre-infuse) and automatically stops at 30 seconds.
Espresso around 20 ml.

Dumping the puck and repeating steps 4-5 results in espresso at 60 ml.

This happens every morning and I just cannot understand why.
I've had the machine for a few months now but I cannot remember that it has always been like this.

I only use fresh coffee beans (roasted 2 weeks ago) and adjust grind setting everytime I switch coffee bag.

Any ideas why this is happening? Is this normal?

rand

#2: Post by rand »

I know you said you pull some "empty shots" through the portafilter before pulling your first shot. Do you mean that you run hot water through the portafilter before first pull?

I'm not sure about the thermal retention of that portafilter, but I wonder if running water through only heats the outer (let's say) 20% of the metal mass of the portafilter and quickly cools after that. But having a (relatively) giant puck of coffee inside that portafilter helps to heat it throughout. So running water through heats only the exterior while having a larger thermal mass inside the portafilter helps to heat the portafilter more thorougly. A lower water temperature on first pull as a result of a not quite hot enough portafilter could result in a slower shot as extraction is slowed by the inability to dissolve the soluble material found within the puck.

Here would be an interesting experiment. Tomorrow, rather than turning your machine off after your morning espresso, leave it on and leave the portafilter locked in place in the group head (most coffee shops do this, there is no danger in this whatsoever). Either that afternoon/evening/morning pull another shot and see how it pulls. If it pulls perfectly, than you could make a reasonable assumption that your morning routine to warm up your portafilter is not necessarily sufficient.
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karlingen (original poster)

#3: Post by karlingen (original poster) »

rand wrote:I know you said you pull some "empty shots" through the portafilter before pulling your first shot. Do you mean that you run hot water through the portafilter before first pull?
Correct!
rand wrote:Here would be an interesting experiment. Tomorrow, rather than turning your machine off after your morning espresso, leave it on and leave the portafilter locked in place in the group head (most coffee shops do this, there is no danger in this whatsoever).
I love how you're thinking. And that would've been a great experiment. The problem is, these machines comes with a "feature" called "auto shut-off" that you can set to either, 5, 10, 15 or 20. You cannot set the value higher nor shut it off completely. :lol:

According to the manual the machine only needs a few minutes (~8 minutes) to reach brewing temperature. The display shows the correct temperature as well.

RyanJE

#4: Post by RyanJE »

Are you putting one shots worth in the grinder at a time? Or multiple shots worth?

Also, time should not really be the goal. Lock in your coffee dose as well as beverage weight. It helps to use weight for everything and not volume. Volume is not telling the full picture. Read this by chance?

https://baristahustle.com/blogs/barista ... cipes-time
I drink two shots before I drink two shots, then I drink two more....

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another_jim
Team HB

#5: Post by another_jim »

How very retro! Welcome to the "second shot effect," a standard complaint of Silvia owners on alt.coffee in the early aughts. The Breville's brew boiler is roughly the same size, so the effect may be the same. Turns out that since the boiler refills substantially during each shot, the ambient temperature of the case is critical, and the first shot in a sequence has a greater temperature drop than the second. On dual boilers, there is a similar "cold nose" effect. Flushing unobstructed won't help, it will simply cool the brew boiler down more.

The simplest trick is by Schomer: do not knock out the puck after making a shot, but leave the spent puck in. Then when you make a shot, flush through the spent puck, knock it out, then make the next shot. This is the equivalent of making a throwaway shot (another thing desperate owners tried) Another trick is to turn the machine on a full hour early, and leave it on all day, providing the machine is not so "smart" that it helpfully saves you the electricity. Finally, you can wrap some insulation around the brew boiler, if the case has the room.
Jim Schulman

karlingen (original poster)

#6: Post by karlingen (original poster) »

another_jim wrote:The simplest trick is by Schomer: do not knock out the puck after making a shot, but leave the spent puck in. Then when you make a shot, flush through the spent puck, knock it out, then make the next shot.
So, instead of throwing away yesterday's shot I'll just leave it in the portafilter until the next day?
What happened to keeping your machine clean? :o

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another_jim
Team HB

#7: Post by another_jim » replying to karlingen »

I'm not sure how much the trick caught on. In any case "dirt is matter out of place" -- Mary Douglas; so if the SOP is to keep the puck in, it's no longer dirt.
Jim Schulman

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h3yn0w

#8: Post by h3yn0w »

I don't see how that would help a first shot that's problem is that it's too slow. Sounds more like a grinder issue, or human error.

pizzaman383
Supporter ❤

#9: Post by pizzaman383 »

As Jim said there has been a lot of investigation and experimentation into this. The difference in temperature of the first shot really will make it taste differently.

Pick a way to make a flush or shot to bring the machine up to temp that works for you.
Curtis
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“Taste every shot before adding milk!”

Bret
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#10: Post by Bret »

I've found that having the (empty) portafilter in place from power up lets it come up to temp nicely (on a heated group head). I noticed the 'first shot' problem went away for me when I started doing this.

(I had not been only because the handle was kinda in the way sometimes, but I shifted the machine back a bit more to minimize that, though sometimes I still take it off, and then I try to remember to put it back before bedtime, so it will be warming up when the machine auto-starts in the morning)