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Need help with naked portafilter spraying everywhere
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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > Need help with...  
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scanfield
Senior Member


Joined: 21 Nov 2011
Posts: 181
Location: Texas
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: La Nuovo Era Cuadra
Grinder: Baratza Vario
Posted Tue May 22, 2012, 6:56am
Subject: Need help with naked portafilter spraying everywhere
 

At the end of last year, I got my first real machine and I'm still not happy with my espresso.

I've started using a bottomless portafilter:

I believe it's a triple basket and I've been putting between 21 and 24 grams of coffee in the basket.

I've set up my grind so that 3 oz take approximately 35 seconds.

When I pull the shot, it starts after 7-8 seconds, spread over the entire screen. It collects into a single stream in the center of the screen but also sprays out high pressure thin streams all over the place.

I've tried all kinds of different distribution techniques and tamp pressure, but the spraying persists. Do I have the basic parameters of a triple shot correct? Am I doing something obviously wrong?

The machine is a La Nuova Era Cuadra and my grinder is a Vario. I've tried lots of different beans, right now I have some from Cuvee.
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emradguy
Senior Member
emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 3,066
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Duetto II; Twist v2
Grinder: M Major, Macap M4 x2, VDD...
Drip: Espro presses; Aeropress
Roaster: H-B "List of Favorites"
Posted Tue May 22, 2012, 7:59am
Subject: Re: Need help with naked portafilter spraying everywhere
 

I'd tighten the grind (more fine) slightly...and see how that works for you.


Also, I suggest reading the following...

www.espressomyespresso.com article 12, under the "how-to" section (about midway down on the right column).  It's called "...guide to better espresso..."

 
.
Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
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yiplong
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Joined: 19 Feb 2012
Posts: 80
Location: EU
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Tue May 22, 2012, 5:52pm
Subject: Re: Need help with naked portafilter spraying everywhere
 

likely a distribution issue.  

OP: have you tried stirring the ground in the basket before tamping?
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itsleighton
Senior Member


Joined: 17 Oct 2009
Posts: 56
Location: Texas
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: La Marzocco GB5, PID Silvia,
Grinder: Mazzer Robur E, Mazzer Major...
Posted Tue May 22, 2012, 8:32pm
Subject: Re: Need help with naked portafilter spraying everywhere
 

is your tamper too small? Are you noticing the streams coming from the edges of the portafilter?  
I use a la marzocco double basket on our LM machine / protafilter and noticed when I used my 58mm RW tamper, it got wedged, so I had to use a 57mm tamper.  BUT, I also have a Rancilio machine / portafilter and the triple basket accepts the 58mm tamper perfectly-- If I use the 57mm in my Rancilio , the edges dont get compacted when tamping and I get streams around the edges.  That is why I asked if the tamper was the right size.


I assume your beans are fresh? You asked about parameters for your shots-- I dont know which beans you have from Cuvee, but Cuvee will most definitely give you their preferred dosing, basket size, etc if you were to ask. The guys there are a wealth of knowledge. -- Here is a home-barista post regarding their Meritage blend. It gives the owner's suggestions in regards to water temp, dosages, basket size, etc. as well some posts by the owner of Cuvee further down the page.

Click Here (www.home-barista.com)

Are you in Austin?
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IMAWriter
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IMAWriter
Joined: 4 Jul 2002
Posts: 5,864
Location: Brentwood, TN
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Bezzera Strega
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Posted Tue May 22, 2012, 8:56pm
Subject: Re: Need help with naked portafilter spraying everywhere
 

Excellent help for Steve, folks!

If I may offer my .02....
Edge channeling is one of the tough things to ameliorate, but certainly fixable...was for me.
24 grams would keep me awake for DAYS! :>D.

I would suggest going to a double basket, and use the recommended brew parameters as suggested, as was said by Leighton.
And yes, though some try to blamer the grinder, You'll USUALLY find it's not so perfect distribution that is the ultimate cause...perhaps the tamper size as well.

I would simplify everything. Grind, dose as evenly as you can in the basket, lightly finger level, straight down tamp.
Doing the WDT (Weiss Distribution Technique....stirring with a VERY thin needle before leveling) can help, but your Vario should be, like mine, nearly clump free.

 
Rob J (LMWDP #187)
My Music Production web site:
www.robertjason.com
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slybarman
Senior Member
slybarman
Joined: 3 Nov 2011
Posts: 366
Location: usa
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: La Nuova Era Cuadra
Grinder: Baratza Vario
Posted Wed May 23, 2012, 7:05am
Subject: Re: Need help with naked portafilter spraying everywhere
 

Scanfield:

As you recall, you and I are using the same gear and I spent some time playing with the bottomless porta as well. My $.02:

1) Agree with others - pop in the double basket if that is what you normally would use.

2) I found the bottomless filter to be of somewhat limited usefulness as a training device. I cannot really distribute and tamp with the bottomless the same as I would with the regular porta, so in that regard it is not representative of my technique. As part of my normal method, I rap the porta a few times on the counter to help settle and distribute the grind. I can't do that with the naked. Also, I rest the porta leveled on the counter while I tamp. This is really tough to do with the naked ports since it has no "legs". The end result is not what I would get with my regular porta.

3) I thought the naked porta was kinda fun to play with, but results could be somewhat frustrating at times for the reasons mentioned above. Now it sits in the cupboard largely unused. I have my technique more-or-less down to make good shots with the regular porta. When I do get channeling, it is usually edge channeling as mentioned above and it is clearly visible when I inspect the puck. I don't think there is much more I would learn from the naked porta and it is only really useful for making the extraction kinda pretty to watch.

4) BTW - the onle thing I found is that the more I messed with the distribution by doing things like WDT, the more channeling I ended up having. Go figure! For me less was more.
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scanfield
Senior Member


Joined: 21 Nov 2011
Posts: 181
Location: Texas
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: La Nuovo Era Cuadra
Grinder: Baratza Vario
Posted Thu May 24, 2012, 4:28am
Subject: Re: Need help with naked portafilter spraying everywhere
 

Thanks for all the great advice.

My tamper is the one that came with the machine. The baskets (both my double and triple) have a slightly larger diameter at the top. The (plastic) tamper fits snugly at the bottom, but not the top.

I have played extensively with my grind and with distribution. Going to a finer grind does make the spraying less, but it also slows my shot too much or even chokes the machine. Like slybarman, redistributing using something like WDT made things worse. Oddly, I've had the best luck just grinding and tamping without even leveling. It feels wrong though, so I usually do at least level the coffee.

I like the idea of the bottomless pf for a couple of reasons. There's the obvious visibility advantages, but also I feel like I can clean it better.

I haven't paid particular attention to where the streams are coming from. I'm going to watch more closely to see if it is from the sides. Usually I'm just panicking as everything in the vicinity of the machine gets coated with a fine mist.
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itsleighton
Senior Member


Joined: 17 Oct 2009
Posts: 56
Location: Texas
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: La Marzocco GB5, PID Silvia,
Grinder: Mazzer Robur E, Mazzer Major...
Posted Thu May 24, 2012, 5:03am
Subject: Re: Need help with naked portafilter spraying everywhere
 

I just want to add this .02. Maybe it doesnt apply, but just in case-- I have a triple basket and when I fill it up with Cuvee's Meritage, the weight of the grinds is almost 27 grams.  I didnt know this until weighing it-- I had been over dosing and had slow shots- the correct timed shots were spraying because I either had too coarse of grind or had not tamped hard enough-- I decreased the dosage to the correct amount and when my times were right (25 seconds) it usually meant I had my grind and tamp right-- way less channeling.

I saw you are using the plastic tamper that came with the machine-- I know the plastic ones I have seen are pretty lame compared to a SS or aluminum one- unfortunately just because it came with the machine, it doesnt mean it is best suited for it-- I dont know what yours looks like, but I have seen one that are actually convex and not flat. The one that Rancilio sends with their Silvia is pretty bad.   I might suggest getting rid of the plastic one and getting a "permanent" tamper correctly sized for your baskets.

I would try this experiment- I might be headed in the wrong direction, but here goes....  weigh out exactly 18 grams using a double basket, grind a little finer and time your shots- once you hit 25 seconds for a 1.75 -2 ounces, see if the channeling decreased.  If it is coming from the sides, I would consider looking at your tamper.

Also-- I see your machine has a boiler pressure gauge-- what is the pressure when brewing?
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slybarman
Senior Member
slybarman
Joined: 3 Nov 2011
Posts: 366
Location: usa
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: La Nuova Era Cuadra
Grinder: Baratza Vario
Posted Thu May 24, 2012, 6:08am
Subject: Re: Need help with naked portafilter spraying everywhere
 

scanfield Said:

Oddly, I've had the best luck just grinding and tamping without even leveling. It feels wrong though, so I usually do at least level the coffee.

Posted May 24, 2012 link

My experience exactly. FWIW, if you have watched videos of Scottie Callahan, he just grinds and tamps. Like you though, I somehow feel obligated to do more. :)
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emradguy
Senior Member
emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 3,066
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Duetto II; Twist v2
Grinder: M Major, Macap M4 x2, VDD...
Drip: Espro presses; Aeropress
Roaster: H-B "List of Favorites"
Posted Thu May 24, 2012, 8:40am
Subject: Re: Need help with naked portafilter spraying everywhere
 

wondering if you've checked to see if your tamp is level.  You can do this by leaving the tamper in the pf and holding it all up to eye level...make sure to look at it from at least two viewing angles.

 
.
Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
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