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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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calblacksmith
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calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 8,031
Location: Riverside, Ca, U.S.A.
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: ECM Vene. A1, La Cimbali M32
Grinder: Azkoyen Capriccio, Major
Vac Pot: 40s era Silex
Drip: Msl. Com. brewers
Roaster: gave it a try, decided no
Posted Thu May 24, 2012, 7:58am
Subject: Re: Need help with naked portafilter spraying everywhere
 

Just to recap the high lights, the most common reason for sprites are old coffee, bad distrobution, edge channeling due to poor fitting tamper.

I personally do have a triple basket but I never use it, I prefer the shots from a double. YMMV!

 
In real life, my name is
Wayne P.
Anything I post is personal opinion and is only worth as much as anyone else's personal opinion. YMMV!

Feed the newbs, starve the trolls and above all enjoy what you drink!
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SamTonin
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SamTonin
Joined: 4 Feb 2009
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Location: Sydney, Australia
Expertise: Professional
Posted Thu May 24, 2012, 11:23am
Subject: Re: Need help with naked portafilter spraying everywhere
 

A cafe I knew in Soho had this problem, looking back at it now I think it was an improper grind, but in any case, they solved it by lifting one side of the tamper and kind of rolling it around the edge of the already packed coffee, doing this made a slight indentation around the edge of the unspent puck. In theory this will promote channelling, it looked odd, it is odd, but it solved it.

 
My micro-roastery is up and running, be sure to check it out! www.beanofatree.com.au
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itsleighton
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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, 11:32am
Subject: Re: Need help with naked portafilter spraying everywhere
 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=327q2csmH4g

This video explains alot IMO. Up until very recently, I used to knock the sides until getting advice from both a champion Barista and the owner of a roaster that it causes channeling and they no longer recommend it.  I stopped and to be honest, I have had better results.  I used to think it was necessary and those who didnt do it were doing it very wrong, but I now feel like I was wrong all this time.  My problem is I only get to practice once a day when I make my own coffee.
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JonR10
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JonR10
Joined: 26 Apr 2004
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Location: Houston, Texas
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: E61 Legend, Livietta,...
Grinder: Robur, B-Vario-W
Vac Pot: Hario Tabletop, Yama...
Drip: Technivorm
Roaster: 1-lb US Roaster, Behmor 1600
Posted Thu May 24, 2012, 4:42pm
Subject: Re: Need help with naked portafilter spraying everywhere
 

Well I love my bottomless, so I'd like to give the positive argument for it.  
Besides being *much* cleaner, it also gives direct visual feedback on every shot that just isn't available any other way.  

My opinion in no way invalidates anything anyone else believes, I'm just giving a counterpoint.  
I firmly believe that people should do whatever works best for THEM.  

slybarman Said:

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.

Posted May 23, 2012 link

I don't understand.  When using a bottomless PF, the "bottom" is a flat basket, so it sets flatter than almost anything else you can use.  Just set the PF at the edge of your table prep board with the handle part extended off the table.  

But I work with ridgeless baskets out of the PF and slip it in at the end just before pulling the shot, so either works the same for me.  


slybarman Said:

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.

Posted May 23, 2012 link

If one uses the table edge then the bottomless PF sets very flat, and theres no problem rapping it to settle.  
And if one uses the basket alone, it is as flat as can be, and also easy to tap to settle grinds.  

slybarman Said:

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.

Posted May 23, 2012 link

Whatever one sees looking at a spent and knocked-out puck is generally not evidence of the shot dynamic.  The 3-way valve "whoosh" at the end of the shot upsets the puck and knocking the puck out damages the edge character (edge-to-basket seal).  

Many folks have decided that "puckology" isn't helpful, except maybe for spotting gross errors or major issues.  The only true way to examine the shot dynamic development is to use a bottomless PF.  It's possible to identify "channeling" by early blonding and underextracted/sour-ish taste (and watery texture) without a bottomless, but it's more difficult to identify the source of the issue with a spouted PF

slybarman Said:

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.

Posted May 23, 2012 link

I do WDT, but it is my practice to keep the tamping simple (once, straight down, no tapping)

What seems to matter most for my consistency is to weigh the dose.  This is one of the major factors affecting flow that people often ignore.  For example, if the shot flows too fast at 18g for a given coffee and grind setting then try 19g instead to slow it down.  

Playing with dose and different size baskets lets me run almost any coffee without ever changing grind settings.  In fact, it has been months (literally) since I changed the grind setting on my big conical.  of course, as they say, YMMV.


slybarman Said:

FWIW, if you have watched videos of Scottie Callahan, he just grinds and tamps. Like you though, I somehow feel obligated to do more. :)

Posted May 24, 2012 link

Barista champions get the distribution right while dosing and often have subtle techniques that we wouldn't notice.  After hundreds of thousands of shots pulled during endless hours of practice and professional work they often make it look so easy, right?  

To end the sprites (as others have said); start with fresh artisan roast, grind finer (move the Vario macro finer to start out), then adjust the dose, and use a simple tamp routine.  Also, as others have said, using a double basket may be more forgiving for developing your technique.  

If you do want to stay with triples, I'll suggest looking for ~2 ounces in 25 to 35 seconds

 
Jon Rosenthal
Houston, TX
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scanfield
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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, 6:40pm
Subject: Re: Need help with naked portafilter spraying everywhere
 

Getting so much great advice here.

I emailed 1st-Line to get the instructions for turning the pstat down a bit. This is something I've been wanting to try for a while now but probably isn't related to my sprite issue.

JonR10 Said:

Well I love my bottomless, so I'd like to give the positive argument for it.  
Besides being *much* cleaner, it also gives direct visual feedback on every shot that just isn't available any other way.  

Posted May 24, 2012 link

Ever since I saw the video of Kyle Glanville showing Mark Frauenfelder (of BoingBoing) how to use his Silvia, I've been more conscious of cleanliness. He really stresses preparation and it makes sense to me.

JonR10 Said:

Whatever one sees looking at a spent and knocked-out puck is generally not evidence of the shot dynamic.  The 3-way valve "whoosh" at the end of the shot upsets the puck and knocking the puck out damages the edge character (edge-to-basket seal).  

Posted May 24, 2012 link

Now I don't feel so bad. Sometimes it seems like looking for puck flaws is about the same as fortune telling by trying to read tea leaves.

JonR10 Said:

It's possible to identify "channeling" by early blonding and underextracted/sour-ish taste (and watery texture) without a bottomless, but it's more difficult to identify the source of the issue with a spouted PF

Posted May 24, 2012 link

Unfortunately, my palate isn't there yet. I was just thinking that I should purposely make a shot as sour as possible just to learn the flavor. Usually, all I'm tasting is degrees of bitterness.

JonR10 Said:

What seems to matter most for my consistency is to weigh the dose.  This is one of the major factors affecting flow that people often ignore.  For example, if the shot flows too fast at 18g for a given coffee and grind setting then try 19g instead to slow it down.  

Posted May 24, 2012 link

I've been weighing the beans (I only put enough beans in the hopper for my current drink). I think I've been consistent, but I've always adjusted only the grind to correct flow problems. It never occurred to me to alter the amount of coffee. I'm confident that my coffee is good. The last three purchases were from Cuvee (current), Klatch, and Redbird and all arrived in the mail three days after the roast date.

This advice has been great. I'm going to work on this with a double shot basket, vary my dose, use WDT, and perhaps buy a better tamper. Now I wish there was a good decaf choice because I'd love to try some of this out right now!
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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 Fri May 25, 2012, 3:16am
Subject: Re: Need help with naked portafilter spraying everywhere
 

scanfield Said:

Now I wish there was a good decaf choice because I'd love to try some of this out right now!

Posted May 24, 2012 link

Have you tried this?
http://cuveecoffee.com/shop/decaf-spicewood-71/
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calblacksmith
Moderator
calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 8,031
Location: Riverside, Ca, U.S.A.
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: ECM Vene. A1, La Cimbali M32
Grinder: Azkoyen Capriccio, Major
Vac Pot: 40s era Silex
Drip: Msl. Com. brewers
Roaster: gave it a try, decided no
Posted Fri May 25, 2012, 5:17am
Subject: Re: Need help with naked portafilter spraying everywhere
 

calblacksmith Said:

Just to recap the high lights, the most common reason for sprites are old coffee, bad distrobution, edge channeling due to poor fitting tamper.

I personally do have a triple basket but I never use it, I prefer the shots from a double. YMMV!

Posted May 24, 2012 link

I forgot to say, I use my bottomless to the exclusion of all of my other Pfs. It is cleaner, easier to keep flat for tamping and in addition to being able to see the quality of the pull, it gives me more room under the PF. YMMV!

 
In real life, my name is
Wayne P.
Anything I post is personal opinion and is only worth as much as anyone else's personal opinion. YMMV!

Feed the newbs, starve the trolls and above all enjoy what you drink!
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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 Fri May 25, 2012, 6:20am
Subject: Re: Need help with naked portafilter spraying everywhere
 

This morning I pulled a shot doing everything the same as always just so I could see where the sprites were. As multiple people suspected, they were coming from the outer edges of the basket. Looking at the puck after, I could see some small (like 0.5mm) holes that may be related.

Thanks for all the great advice. I have hope that I'm going to be able to conquer this problem.
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slybarman
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slybarman
Joined: 3 Nov 2011
Posts: 366
Location: usa
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: La Nuova Era Cuadra
Grinder: Baratza Vario
Posted Fri May 25, 2012, 11:45am
Subject: Re: Need help with naked portafilter spraying everywhere
 

JonR10 Said:

I don't understand.  When using a bottomless PF, the "bottom" is a flat basket, so it sets flatter than almost anything else you can use.  Just set the PF at the edge of your table prep board with the handle part extended off the table.  

If one uses the table edge then the bottomless PF sets very flat, and theres no problem rapping it to settle.  
And if one uses the basket alone, it is as flat as can be, and also easy to tap to settle grinds.  

Posted May 24, 2012 link

My point wasn't that it isn't do-able with the bottomless. It certainly is as you describe, my point was that it is sufficiently different from the use/feel of the regular porta, that I don't feel the result I get with the bottomless is necessarily reflective of the technique/result with the regular PF. If you prepare your baskets outside the PF, you obviously won't notice any difference from one to the other.
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calblacksmith
Moderator
calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 8,031
Location: Riverside, Ca, U.S.A.
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: ECM Vene. A1, La Cimbali M32
Grinder: Azkoyen Capriccio, Major
Vac Pot: 40s era Silex
Drip: Msl. Com. brewers
Roaster: gave it a try, decided no
Posted Fri May 25, 2012, 1:28pm
Subject: Re: Need help with naked portafilter spraying everywhere
 

Like Jon, I find it easier to tamp with a naked VS a spouted PF. I tamp in the PF and with spouts, it is more difficult to keep things perfectly square. The naked PF solves this as it sits square on the tamping mat/counter.
It is really a personal preference type of thing, neither is right or wrong or better than the other, it is a way you like to work.

 
In real life, my name is
Wayne P.
Anything I post is personal opinion and is only worth as much as anyone else's personal opinion. YMMV!

Feed the newbs, starve the trolls and above all enjoy what you drink!
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