Our Valued Sponsor
OpinionsConsumer ReviewsGuides and How TosCoffeeGeek ReviewsResourcesForums
Espresso: General Discussion
Grinding too fine? Over-tamping? Underdosing? Help
Cafe Espresso Machines
Video reviews, nationwide installation, leasing options... Nuova Simonelli, Rancilio, La Marzocco.
www.seattlecoffeegear.com
 
Not Logged in: Log In to Postlog in
New Topics updated topics   New Posts new posts   Unanswered Posts new unanswered  
Search Discussion Board search   Discussion Board FAQ faq   Signup sign up  
Discussions > Espresso > General > Grinding too...  
view previous topic | view next topic | view all topics
showing page 1 of 2 last page next page
Author Messages
Laowai
Senior Member


Joined: 29 Oct 2012
Posts: 21
Location: Beijing, China
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Eupa TSK 1819A
Grinder: Feima 600N
Posted Tue Oct 30, 2012, 2:30am
Subject: Grinding too fine? Over-tamping? Underdosing? Help
 

Trying to figure out where this is going wrong.  I have a Feima 600N grinder and what is essentially a Cuisinart EM-100 (OEM badged Eupa TSK-1819A).  I have gotten an unpressurized basket and removed the stupid plastic dohicky that was in the bottom of the portafilter and sealed off that middle screw-hole with a gasket.  Compared to the way it came stock, it's already MUCH better.  Pucks come out dry or at least mostly dry and pop out instead of being scraped out, there is actual crema instead of froth and short of going naked, the portafilter is just about as good as it's gonna get.

For the grinder, I took it apart and removed part of the spring for the pin, so it is fully variable, while it still gives a slightly audible click for the settings.  I also reset the dial so the initial click is one click away from horrible grinding noises from the internals... giving a better full range of settings.  The dial goes from 1-8 but there are half-settings at either end, so it really goes from 0.5 to 8.5.  With this as a reference, here's what's going on:

If I dial it to about a 2, I get a somewhat fast shot, about 20 seconds.  Starts out with some striping, then goes blond.
If I dial in a 1.5 or lower, I get a painfully slow extraction, we're talking in the 2-3 minute range here.  Counting the pitch black drops as they come down.  Oddly, it's not gritty, it's just thick enough to chew.  Tamping hard or light seems to make no difference apart from the puck being solid or soup.

I'm using fresh coffee that was roasted about 4 days ago and actually underdosing by a few grams probably due to the grounds coming out of the 600N light and fluffy.  And yes, I know, I should get my own roaster, but the coffee store roasts and delivers to the door same day essentially for free. :)

All that being said, I am a total noobie to this and this was about the upper range of what was possible (without being killed by the wife), and even then it took some doing to get away dropping $150 as a replacement setup for a (finally dead) $10 dripper.  There's a sorta weird pricing scheme here, wherein I can get a N600 for $40 and a mid-range machine for $110.  Getting into anything that would be considered "high range" with more bells and whistles, and it jumps up to a good $1600+, and if I'm not dead for that, I'm dead for taking over the kitchen. :)
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
NobbyR
Senior Member
NobbyR
Joined: 10 Jul 2011
Posts: 2,021
Location: Germany
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Poccino Opus One, Ariete
Grinder: Eureka Mignon Istantaneo
Vac Pot: N/A
Drip: Melitta Linea Unica de Luxe
Roaster: N/A
Posted Tue Oct 30, 2012, 2:58am
Subject: Re: Grinding too fine? Over-tamping? Underdosing? Help
 

Welcome to CoffeeGeek, Dave, and congratulations on your set-up!

Provided that you dose, distribute and tamp your ground coffee really consistently, extraction time is solely regulated by dialing in the grinder, i.e. finding the right setting when you get about 25 ml of espresso for a single shot (or 50 ml for a doppio) in roughly 25 seconds. Sometimes a slight change can make the difference. The way you describe your situation, the correct grinder setting is somewhere in between 2 and 1.5 on the scale of your grinder. If you cannot set the grinder correctly, because your grinder is stepped and you get stuck betwixt and between two steps, you'll have to compensate by adjusting the dose accordingly. That is to say, set the grinder on 1.5 and lower the dose or set it on 2 and boost the dose by 0.1 g until you get the best possible extraction. Most people will prefer to updose. Since you claim to be underdosing already, I think you should do the same.

Tamping is the least important factor in all of this. Just do it with the same pressure each and every time. As long as you have access to freshly roasted beans, which seems to be the case, you don't need to start home roasting. That's a whole new craft. Before you think about that, you should get a grip on handling your espresso machine.

 
***
"This drink of the Satan is so delicious that it would be a shame to leave it to the infidels." (Pope Clement VIII on coffee, when he was urged to ban the beverage)
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
Laowai
Senior Member


Joined: 29 Oct 2012
Posts: 21
Location: Beijing, China
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Eupa TSK 1819A
Grinder: Feima 600N
Posted Tue Oct 30, 2012, 4:28am
Subject: Re: Grinding too fine? Over-tamping? Underdosing? Help
 

NobbyR Said:

Welcome to CoffeeGeek, Dave, and congratulations on your set-up!

Provided that you dose, distribute and tamp your ground coffee really consistently, extraction time is solely regulated by dialing in the grinder, i.e. finding the right setting when you get about 25 ml of espresso for a single shot (or 50 ml for a doppio) in roughly 25 seconds. Sometimes a slight change can make the difference. The way you describe your situation, the correct grinder setting is somewhere in between 2 and 1.5 on the scale of your grinder. If you cannot set the grinder correctly, because your grinder is stepped and you get stuck betwixt and between two steps, you'll have to compensate by adjusting the dose accordingly. That is to say, set the grinder on 1.5 and lower the dose or set it on 2 and boost the dose by 0.1 g until you get the best possible extraction. Most people will prefer to updose. Since you claim to be underdosing already, I think you should do the same.

Tamping is the least important factor in all of this. Just do it with the same pressure each and every time. As long as you have access to freshly roasted beans, which seems to be the case, you don't need to start home roasting. That's a whole new craft. Before you think about that, you should get a grip on handling your espresso machine.

Posted October 30, 2012 link

Well, on the plus side, it's something that seems to be within my control, and it's also nice to know that the machine is capable of grinding too fine for espresso.  The pucks being spat out have been very consistent so far.  No channeling, nice flat topped.  The grinder is auger-based and despite having a clicky dial, it can basically be ignored and set to anything in-between.  Not bad at all for $40.  Dis one

I do wonder though, does the size of dose, and consequently the amount of headroom have an effect that allows for finer grounds?
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
NobbyR
Senior Member
NobbyR
Joined: 10 Jul 2011
Posts: 2,021
Location: Germany
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Poccino Opus One, Ariete
Grinder: Eureka Mignon Istantaneo
Vac Pot: N/A
Drip: Melitta Linea Unica de Luxe
Roaster: N/A
Posted Tue Oct 30, 2012, 4:51am
Subject: Re: Grinding too fine? Over-tamping? Underdosing? Help
 

Well, basically the puck should not touch the shower screen, in order to allow an undisturbed flow of water, so there should not be an imprint of it on the used puck, except for the screw or nut that secures the shower screen on some machines. If there's a mark, the filter basket was too full. Apart from that, there's a negative correlation between dose and required fineness, i.e. the higher the dose the coarser the grounds can be and vice versa.

 
***
"This drink of the Satan is so delicious that it would be a shame to leave it to the infidels." (Pope Clement VIII on coffee, when he was urged to ban the beverage)
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
frcn
Senior Member
frcn
Joined: 23 Dec 2001
Posts: 3,348
Location: Northern California
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Vibiemme Domobar Double
Grinder: Mazzer Kony, Baratza...
Vac Pot: Hario, 2 Cory pots, 1 Cory...
Drip: Behmor Brazen, Bunn A10 mod...
Roaster: computer controlled Hottop,...
Posted Tue Oct 30, 2012, 9:10am
Subject: Re: Grinding too fine? Over-tamping? Underdosing? Help
 

1 - On my website www.EspressoMyEspresso.com, check out this article: 12 - EASY GUIDE TO BETTER ESPRESSO AT HOME

2 - Just tamp. It really doesn't matter haw hard. Just don't go nuts, but anything from 15 to 60 will work about the same in most cases.

3 - The dose is important and should be exactly the same each time. Get a scale that measures to 0.1 grams and use it.

 
Visit My Website
www.EspressoMyEspresso.com
back to top
 View Profile Visit website Link to this post
Coffeenoobie
Senior Member
Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 3,008
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Tue Oct 30, 2012, 11:26am
Subject: Re: Grinding too fine? Over-tamping? Underdosing? Help
 

A scale makes all the difference in getting consistent pulls when you are first starting out.  I still use one but it is but it is built into my grinder now.  I don't weigh the shot glass any more but if I am dialing in a new bean I might do that again.

 
Coffeenoobie

Buying advice: GRINDER GRINDER GRINDER. Don't cheap out on the grinder.

My coffee treasure map...
Click Here (maps.google.com)

Oscar trick out: http://s156.photobucket.com/user/GandBteam/story/14231
back to top
 View Profile Visit website Link to this post
Laowai
Senior Member


Joined: 29 Oct 2012
Posts: 21
Location: Beijing, China
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Eupa TSK 1819A
Grinder: Feima 600N
Posted Wed Oct 31, 2012, 9:12pm
Subject: Re: Grinding too fine? Over-tamping? Underdosing? Help
 

Coffeenoobie Said:

A scale makes all the difference in getting consistent pulls when you are first starting out.  I still use one but it is but it is built into my grinder now.  I don't weigh the shot glass any more but if I am dialing in a new bean I might do that again.

Posted October 30, 2012 link

Yep, we have a cheap scale that does not go out to decimals, but it's not the worst thing.... next thing on the list to replace.

I like how my pucks are coming out now.  My underdosing was from failing to take into account the fluffiness of the grounds as they came out.  Now I'm grinding into a paper cup, stirring and have a bottomless cup that fits right into the basket to act as a funnel.  Only after a lot of stirring around does a full 16g even come close to fitting, and on the finer grinds, it maxes out around 14g.  Turns out my previous attempts were essentially trying to pull a double out of 7~8g and the pucks were waaaay too small.  On my current bean of choice, it's demanding around a 2~2.5 setting on the machine and the spent pucks are now generally rather dry with no channeling, ridges and seem to be rather uniform... no obvious layered separation going on.

Thanks everyone for the tips :)


edit: woohoo, got it dialed in perfectly for this damned bean.  16g @ 2.35~2.4. Lotsa crema, great flow, nice striping going on.  Grinder takes 10.5 seconds and the result is absolute heaven.  On a non-adjusted stock 600N, this is about 1.85~1.9.

Could a better grinder do better? Probably.  A better machine? Most definitely.  But what I'm making now beats the hell out of the local cafes.  It's not bitter or sour and needs no sugar to compensate.  Not bad at all for a measly $150.  Machine pays for itself after the first 500g bag of beans (which is just about gone now).

Anyone else based in Beijing looking for a good setup, I highly recommend the seller http://521coffee.taobao.com/ on taobao.

edit 2: just noticed that the board doesn't like chinese characters
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
NobbyR
Senior Member
NobbyR
Joined: 10 Jul 2011
Posts: 2,021
Location: Germany
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Poccino Opus One, Ariete
Grinder: Eureka Mignon Istantaneo
Vac Pot: N/A
Drip: Melitta Linea Unica de Luxe
Roaster: N/A
Posted Sat Nov 3, 2012, 11:16pm
Subject: Re: Grinding too fine? Over-tamping? Underdosing? Help
 

Laowai Said:

Could a better grinder do better?

Posted October 31, 2012 link

Definitely. Whenever you think about upgrading, think about upgrading your grinder first unless you already have a high-end commercial grinder. The influence of the grinder on espresso quality is much bigger than the machine.

Laowai Said:

A better machine?

Posted October 31, 2012 link

Maybe, but the difference will not be as noticeable as with a better grinder.

 
***
"This drink of the Satan is so delicious that it would be a shame to leave it to the infidels." (Pope Clement VIII on coffee, when he was urged to ban the beverage)
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
takeshi
Senior Member
takeshi
Joined: 12 Oct 2002
Posts: 961
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Alex Duetto 3.0
Grinder: Super Jolly
Roaster: Amaya Roasting
Posted Mon Nov 5, 2012, 12:54pm
Subject: Re: Grinding too fine? Over-tamping? Underdosing? Help
 

Laowai Said:

Could a better grinder do better? Probably.  A better machine? Most definitely.

Posted October 31, 2012 link

Other way 'round actually.  Grinder first, as always.
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
Laowai
Senior Member


Joined: 29 Oct 2012
Posts: 21
Location: Beijing, China
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Eupa TSK 1819A
Grinder: Feima 600N
Posted Mon Nov 12, 2012, 12:45pm
Subject: Re: Grinding too fine? Over-tamping? Underdosing? Help
 

Possible to get some puck analysis?

Angled view of ejected puck: http://i.imgur.com/mBfw7.jpg

Cross section: http://i.imgur.com/yFGjU.jpg

Please pardon the stray grounds on the surface... they came from the knockbox :)

This is pretty much what I get every time now.  A nice, firm, solid puck that comes out clean.
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
showing page 1 of 2 last page next page
view previous topic | view next topic | view all topics
Discussions > Espresso > General > Grinding too...  
New Topics updated topics   New Posts new posts   Unanswered Posts new unanswered     Search Discussion Board search   Discussion Board FAQ faq   Signup sign up  
Not Logged in: Log In to Postlog in
Discussions Quick Jump:
Symbols: New Posts= New Posts since your last visit      No New Posts= No New Posts since last visit     Go to most recent post= Newest post
Forum Rules:
No profanity, illegal acts or personal attacks will be tolerated in these discussion boards.
No commercial posting of any nature will be tolerated; only private sales by private individuals, in the "Buy and Sell" forum.
No SEO style postings will be tolerated. SEO related posts will result in immediate ban from CoffeeGeek.
No cross posting allowed - do not post your topic to more than one forum, nor repost a topic to the same forum.
Who Can Read The Forum? Anyone can read posts in these discussion boards.
Who Can Post New Topics? Any registered CoffeeGeek member can post new topics.
Who Can Post Replies? Any registered CoffeeGeek member can post replies.
Can Photos be posted? Anyone can post photos in their new topics or replies.
Who can change or delete posts? Any CoffeeGeek member can edit their own posts. Only moderators can delete posts.
Probationary Period: If you are a new signup for CoffeeGeek, you cannot promote, endorse, criticise or otherwise post an unsolicited endorsement for any company, product or service in your first five postings.
Coffee Kids
Help folks who help folks in coffee producing nations.
coffeekids.org
Home | Opinions | Consumer Reviews | Guides & How Tos | CoffeeGeek Reviews | Resources | Forums | Contact Us
CoffeeGeek.com, CoffeeGeek, and Coffee Geek, along with all associated content & images are copyright ©2000-2014 by Mark Prince, all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated. Content, code, and images may not be reused without permission. Usage of this website signifies agreement with our Terms and Conditions. (0.341150999069)
Privacy Policy | Copyright Info | Terms and Conditions | CoffeeGeek Advertisers | RSS | Find us on Google+