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different precisio woes
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dspear99ca
Senior Member


Joined: 17 Jan 2013
Posts: 93
Location: BC, Canada
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Coffee
Grinder: Mazzer Mini
Posted Tue Jan 29, 2013, 9:51am
Subject: different precisio woes
 

I just bought a Baratza Precisio last week.  After the usual half a dozen test shots, I had it dialed in for my Lavazza beans.  Macro setting = 11, micro setting = H gave me a 28-second double-shot, good crema, good taste (yeah yeah I know they are factory beans that are months old but they work well for calibrating a grinder and for guests).  My wife was away on business last week and came home with a couple of bags of delicious looking and smelling fresh-roasted beans for me, so yesterday I set up the grinder as I always do, same settings as for the Lavazza.  The machine choked, so I increased the micro setting to I, to J, finally to K (the "k"oarsest micro setting).  Getting a shot now, but still too slow... just for fun I ran one through to 2.5oz and it took 65 seconds.  Very bitter and gross.  So I changed my macro setting to 12, the next coarsest setting (while the grinder was running) and dialed the micro setting back to A.  Now I get a 15 second shot with zero crema.

So... apparently not only is there no overlap between the macro/micro settings, there is a GAP!  A significant gap, at that.  

Do I have a dud, should I be returning it?  A grinder with 440 gradations is of no use to me if the two or three I need most are between macro settings.

I'm quite sure there is an internal adjustment for calibration that I could tweak to allow me to get a good shot with these beans, but I do not relish the thought of doing that every time I change coffee beans.

I feel exceptionally spoiled that a crappy cup of joe can ruin my morning.  But life is too short for bad coffee.

Dave
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jbviau
Senior Member
jbviau
Joined: 12 Jul 2010
Posts: 711
Location: Pembroke Pines, FL
Expertise: I love coffee

Grinder: Preciso / LIDOs
Drip: Trifecta MB / Eva Solo...
Posted Tue Jan 29, 2013, 10:19am
Subject: Re: different precisio woes
 

I remember reading a while back that if you go down to the finest (macro) setting on the Preciso and then back off to your desired setting, e.g. 11-H, you might get better results than if you head to that desired setting directly. Not speaking from personal experience here, but it's something to try.
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IMAWriter
Senior Member
IMAWriter
Joined: 4 Jul 2002
Posts: 5,689
Location: Brentwood, TN
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Bezzera Strega
Grinder: Forte, Preciso/Esatto, KyM...
Vac Pot: Adcraft SS, Yama 8 cup
Drip: Brazen, Kalita, Chemex,...
Roaster: Behmor 1600, CO/UFO combo
Posted Tue Jan 29, 2013, 10:22am
Subject: Re: different precisio woes
 

Dave. First thing....adjusting with old beans isn't always the best way to go. They are dry, and.....OLD.
Good that you are working with freshly roasted beans.

OK, Know that your Preciso at 11, for MOST folks is normally too coarse a setting for espresso. For instance, mine is at 8, occasionally 9.
I'd advise you to empty all the beans in the hopper, grind thill there is nothing less, then completely clean your Preciso.

Make sure when you replace your upper burr that the red marking is facing "5 o'clock."

Then I would set the hopper setting at 9, micro at K, throw in 15 grams of beans (the "fresh" ones, grind, do your usual distribution, tamp as usual, but not a monster tamp.

Pull your shot. Remember, if your beans are LESS than 4 days old, you might get a tight shot, due to the excess co2. If you have  bottomless portafilter, this might manifest as squirts.

If you are still choking your Gaggia, then the calibration screw inside the grinder may have been set to the finer setting. Go to the Baratza website, and search for the "calibrating the Preciso."
Keep us posted.
BTW, perhaps edit your profanity while you're at it.

 
Rob J (LMWDP #187)
My Music Production web site:
www.robertjason.com
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IMAWriter
Senior Member
IMAWriter
Joined: 4 Jul 2002
Posts: 5,689
Location: Brentwood, TN
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Bezzera Strega
Grinder: Forte, Preciso/Esatto, KyM...
Vac Pot: Adcraft SS, Yama 8 cup
Drip: Brazen, Kalita, Chemex,...
Roaster: Behmor 1600, CO/UFO combo
Posted Tue Jan 29, 2013, 10:25am
Subject: Re: different precisio woes
 

dspear99ca Said:

I'm quite sure there is an internal adjustment for calibration that I could tweak to allow me to get a good shot with these beans, but I do not relish the thought of doing that every time I change coffee beans.


Dave

Posted January 29, 2013 link

Once set, you're good, as a change of beans should only involves moving the Micro 3-5 steps either way. I've had my Preciso nearly 2 years, and have not had to change that calibration.

 
Rob J (LMWDP #187)
My Music Production web site:
www.robertjason.com
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dspear99ca
Senior Member


Joined: 17 Jan 2013
Posts: 93
Location: BC, Canada
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Coffee
Grinder: Mazzer Mini
Posted Tue Jan 29, 2013, 10:38am
Subject: Re: different precisio woes
 

I read through the manual when I got it, and started off with a setting of "8" on the macro.  The machine choked, like zero flow not even drips after a few seconds.  So I went to "9" then "10" and finally settled on "11" as that's what gave me the grind I wanted/needed with the beans at hand.  I will go ahead and clean the machine as you suggest and report back.

Thanks very much for your help.  BTW, profanity edited, my apologies.
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IMAWriter
Senior Member
IMAWriter
Joined: 4 Jul 2002
Posts: 5,689
Location: Brentwood, TN
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Bezzera Strega
Grinder: Forte, Preciso/Esatto, KyM...
Vac Pot: Adcraft SS, Yama 8 cup
Drip: Brazen, Kalita, Chemex,...
Roaster: Behmor 1600, CO/UFO combo
Posted Tue Jan 29, 2013, 10:54am
Subject: Re: different precisio woes
 

dspear99ca Said:

I read through the manual when I got it, and started off with a setting of "8" on the macro.  The machine choked, like zero flow not even drips after a few seconds.  So I went to "9" then "10" and finally settled on "11" as that's what gave me the grind I wanted/needed with the beans at hand.  I will go ahead and clean the machine as you suggest and report back.

Thanks very much for your help.  BTW, profanity edited, my apologies.

Posted January 29, 2013 link

No worries!  You get CG points for RTFM (reading the freakin' manual.) ;>D

Occasionally, a Preciso might go out with the screw set in the finer position. As it is all relative, leave it where it is (don't remove the cover, etc)
Do your 11 setting, maybe the Micro half way..

Before grinding, pull a shot with the PF and basket, but no grind. How does the water flow look?
If slow, perhaps see if your group screen needs a cleaning (Joe Glo, etc)
If all is good, then have at it with coffee.

Each Micro step is VERY small. Glad you adjust with the grinder running. Some folks forget how important that is, to prevent beans getting jammed between the burrs. THAT was my suspicion till you mentioned you adjust while the grinder is running.
Let us know how it goes.

 
Rob J (LMWDP #187)
My Music Production web site:
www.robertjason.com
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dspear99ca
Senior Member


Joined: 17 Jan 2013
Posts: 93
Location: BC, Canada
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Coffee
Grinder: Mazzer Mini
Posted Tue Jan 29, 2013, 11:35am
Subject: Re: different precisio woes
 

I know the flow is good through the grouphead and screen, I clean the screen fairly recently.  I would not suspect that cleaning the grinder is going to change my grind, but I have been wrong about this type of thing many times before so I am going to try it with an open (and hopeful) mind.  The grinder makes the proper noises, and adjusting the settings does what it's supposed to... it's just that I seem to need a grind between 11-K and 12-A (call it 11-L)... 11-K is just a touch too fine and 12-A is significantly too coarse.  It seems that the difference between 11-K and 12-A is far far bigger than one (or even two) micro adjustments on the same macro setting (like between 11-I and 11-K).

Assuming that I disassemble and brush the burrs and see no change in the product, would my next step be to adjust the calibration a bit?  I can't seem to find any Preciso-specific calibration instructions on the Baratza site found a post on Roaste.com with some pictures and it looks like adjustment is the same as for other lower-end Baratza grinders with a set screw and three adjustment windows on the adjustment ring.

Ideally I'd adjust so that settings for dry (okay, OLD) lighter roast beans (of which I have a large costco-sized bag) and newer darker roast beans are on the same macro setting.  I may just have to play with it.  Hate disassembling something brand new though.  I have sent a note to Baratza too, asking if opening it up will void the warranty.
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Intrepid510
Senior Member


Joined: 30 Dec 2010
Posts: 344
Location: California
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Tue Jan 29, 2013, 12:18pm
Subject: Re: different precisio woes
 

You don't need to mess with the calibration, the only time you would want to do that is if you are are at either 0-A or 40-H and either getting too coarse or too fine.

I don't think the Preciso lines up perfectly with 11-H being one step finer than 12-A. I am not sure why you would go from choking to pulling a gusher. Are you weighing your dose? If you are grinding and leveling you could get quite a bit of difference shot to shot, thus going from choking to gusher.

If anything I would've expected what you did not to really change anything, so pull another shot and see if it happens again then come back here if it does or try going finer.

 
Less water, more grounds.
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dspear99ca
Senior Member


Joined: 17 Jan 2013
Posts: 93
Location: BC, Canada
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Coffee
Grinder: Mazzer Mini
Posted Tue Jan 29, 2013, 12:32pm
Subject: Re: different precisio woes
 

Intrepid510 Said:

You don't need to mess with the calibration, the only time you would want to do that is if you are are at either 0-A or 40-H and either getting too coarse or too fine.

I don't think the Preciso lines up perfectly with 11-H being one step finer than 12-A. I am not sure why you would go from choking to pulling a gusher. Are you weighing your dose? If you are grinding and leveling you could get quite a bit of difference shot to shot, thus going from choking to gusher.

If anything I would've expected what you did not to really change anything, so pull another shot and see if it happens again then come back here if it does or try going finer.

Posted January 29, 2013 link

No, I didn't weigh the dose, do not have a scale.  I grind 9 seconds into the PF, use the WDT to break up the chunks.  The dose is just below the top of the basket at that point.  Any more and it's too full and I get the impression of the screen on top of the puck.  11-K = 65 seconds, lots of crema, bitter shot.  12-A = 15 seconds, no crema, no bitter taste but lacking in sugars.  I've done 3 shots at 11-K and 3 at 12-A, 100% reproducible results so far.

I really tamped the last 12-A shot hard and it was a bit better, maybe I should try the 11-K dose with very light tamping?  Or use smaller dose?

I am not enjoying using half a bag of expensive beans to yield a couple of marginally OK shots and many awful ones.  I thought that I had purchased a grinder that would give me enough control that I could adjust using grind only to achieve a particular flow rate through a particular dose.  Am I being unrealistic?  I know there is a lot of barista skill involved in making really good espresso, but if the case is that it takes this much coffee to dial in a setting I'll need to start buying it by the multi-kilogram sack and buying one of those tamper-pressure-measuring devices... 8-(

On a positive note my bad shots are no worse than what most coffee chains serve...
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Intrepid510
Senior Member


Joined: 30 Dec 2010
Posts: 344
Location: California
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Tue Jan 29, 2013, 2:50pm
Subject: Re: different precisio woes
 

I would strongly strongly recommend getting a pocket scale that you can weigh your dose weight on that measures to tenth gram. It will greatly improve your consistency.

This is my speculation what could be happening and it may be wrong. I believe that 11-K does not equal 12-A, in fact I think 12-A is actually finer than 11-k. So when you are grinding for 8 seconds you are actually getting less coffee than at 11-k, a gram or two may not be that noticable to your eye but it is when trying to make a shot.

In the mean time just grind a little more or less, depending on what setting you choose. 11-K = less 12-A = more.

 
Less water, more grounds.
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