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Shots pulling incredibly fast, am at a loss
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Discussions > Espresso > Q and A > Shots pulling...  
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KoentJ
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Joined: 14 Jun 2014
Posts: 4
Location: Netherlands
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Sat Jun 14, 2014, 3:55am
Subject: Shots pulling incredibly fast, am at a loss
 

Hello everyone,

I have recently started my journey into making my own espresso, and even though I have gone through many sources of information, I'm not doing too well at it.

I am currently using a Rancilio Rocky and a Gaggia Classic. The Gaggia was first delivered with a pressurized basket, which I used for the first couple of days before my non-pressurized basket was delivered. Pulling shots went good with the pressurized basket (timing and color were decent), although taste was lackluster.

With the non-pressurized basket, the issue is that my shots start pulling way earlier than the recommended mark of about 8 seconds: they start at 4. The shot is done in volume and color at about 10 seconds, after which color goes from a decent brown to white.

All the sources of information I've found tend to advice using a finer grind and working on tamping pressure. I've practiced tamping quite a tad and while it isn't perfect, I tend to consistently be around 30 lbs. On the grind front, I've pushed my Rocky up from +8 (recommended starting setting I found) up unto +16 without a difference (except for a loss in taste).

I am at a complete loss at what the next step for improvement is. Does anybody have any suggestions?
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Skylar
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Joined: 15 Apr 2004
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Location: New Jersey
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Espresso: lelit espresso
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Posted Sat Jun 14, 2014, 6:48am
Subject: Re: Shots pulling incredibly fast, am at a loss
 

Generally the first question that will be asked is what beans are you grinding. They should be fresh , defined as at least having been roasted within the prior two weeks. Really they would be on the cusp of being stale at two weeks. If you are purchasing whole beans which are packaged, look for beans which have a "roasted on" date. If they have a "use by" date they are old. Old beans are to be rejected. I would suggest finding a local roaster and if one is not near your locale find a reputable online roaster who ships beans promptly after beans are roasted. If with fresh beans you are still having fast shots we can discuss other problems you might be having.


Sky
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KoentJ
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Joined: 14 Jun 2014
Posts: 4
Location: Netherlands
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Sat Jun 14, 2014, 7:05am
Subject: Re: Shots pulling incredibly fast, am at a loss
 

Skylar Said:

Generally the first question that will be asked is what beans are you grinding. They should be fresh , defined as at least having been roasted within the prior two weeks. Really they would be on the cusp of being stale at two weeks. If you are purchasing whole beans which are packaged, look for beans which have a "roasted on" date. If they have a "use by" date they are old. Old beans are to be rejected. I would suggest finding a local roaster and if one is not near your locale find a reputable online roaster who ships beans promptly after beans are roasted. If with fresh beans you are still having fast shots we can discuss other problems you might be having.


Sky

Posted June 14, 2014 link

The beans I am using should be 15 days after roasting as of today. I have been using them for approximately 10 days now trying to figure things out, so they should've been fresh when I was experimenting.
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CMIN
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Espresso: Crossland CC1
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Posted Sat Jun 14, 2014, 8:19am
Subject: Re: Shots pulling incredibly fast, am at a loss
 

Why did you by a rocky? It's an out of date grinder and not good for espresso b/c of the wide steps. More than likely your problem right there. I even used a modded one to be step-less and still didn't like it. Are you temp surfing your machine as well? How long are you warming it up for? If you don't have a digital scale weighing to. 1g get one that way you'll be sure what your dose is.

Were these beans from a local roaster?
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boar_d_laze
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Joined: 21 Nov 2006
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Espresso: La Cimbali M21 DT/1 Junior...
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Posted Sat Jun 14, 2014, 8:25am
Subject: Re: Shots pulling incredibly fast, am at a loss
 

15 days isn't too old, although it's getting close.  The "window" for espresso is a little different from brew -- about 5 - 20 days.  Some people are very rigid about something called "Babbie's Rule of Fifteens," but -- as I said -- espresso doesn't fit the same mold as other brewing methods. (Another way the Rule of Fifteens differs with espresso is that ground espresso stales much quicker than coarser grinds -- 3 minutes post grind, instead of 15.)

The Rocky is not a good grinder.  It's difficult to adjust in adequately fine gradations, and it's inconsistent from day to day.  I know it's not nice to have someone rag on your equipment, but you should start making plans to replace it ASAP.  

Tamp pressure isn't terribly important.  It will have an effect on how long it takes for the flow to start, but after the flow gets going -- it's nothing in comparison to the water pressure itself.  The most important aspect of tamping technique is a level top. That said, tamping with consistent 30lb pressure is in no way a bad thing.  

That leaves dose and grind.    

There's an approximately "right" dose for every basket.  I don't know whether you're using a single or double basket; and offhand, I don't know what the right dose is for a stock Gaggia -- either single or double.  Gaggia's pretty old school, so I'm guessing 7g and 14g respectively.  

If you don't have a scale accurate to 0.1g, buy one.  Get one with enough capacity to weigh and tare your portafliter with the basket in it.  They cost around $20.  I recommend this one.  Scale recommendations tend to come in deluges, as everyone trots out their own favorite.  So I also recommend you not get distracted by the various choices but simply choose.  It's not that important.

But this is:
Grind an appropriate dose fine enough to completely choke the flow; then gradually grind coarser until you can pull a shot about twice the weight (notice I haven't mentioned volume) of the dose in approx 25sec.  

It bears repeating that I'm not sure about the right dose for the Gaggia basket, but someone who knows Gaggias will undoubtedly come along and clear that up for you.  We Americans tend to overdose (18g doubles) relative to the traditional Italian dosing, but you've got to work with the basket.  

Hope this helps,
Rich
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KoentJ
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Joined: 14 Jun 2014
Posts: 4
Location: Netherlands
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Sat Jun 14, 2014, 8:37am
Subject: Re: Shots pulling incredibly fast, am at a loss
 

boar_d_laze Said:

15 days isn't too old, although it's getting close.  The "window" for espresso is a little different from brew -- about 5 - 20 days.  Some people are very rigid about something called "Babbie's Rule of Fifteens," but -- as I said -- espresso doesn't fit the same mold as other brewing methods. (Another way the Rule of Fifteens differs with espresso is that ground espresso stales much quicker than coarser grinds -- 3 minutes post grind, instead of 15.)

The Rocky is not a good grinder.  It's difficult to adjust in adequately fine gradations, and it's inconsistent from day to day.  I know it's not nice to have someone rag on your equipment, but you should start making plans to replace it ASAP.  

That leaves dose and grind.    

There's an approximately "right" dose for every basket.  I don't know whether you're using a single or double basket; and offhand, I don't know what the right dose is for a stock Gaggia -- either single or double.  Gaggia's pretty old school, so I'm guessing 7g and 14g respectively.  

If you don't have a scale accurate to 0.1g, buy one.  Get one with enough capacity to weigh and tare your portafliter with the basket in it.  They cost around $20.  I recommend this one.  Scale recommendations tend to come in deluges, as everyone trots out their own favorite.  So I also recommend you not get distracted by the various choices but simply choose.  It's not that important.

But this is:
Grind an appropriate dose fine enough to completely choke the flow; then gradually grind coarser until you can pull a shot about twice the weight (notice I haven't mentioned volume) of the dose in approx 25sec.  

It bears repeating that I'm not sure about the right dose for the Gaggia basket, but someone who knows Gaggias will undoubtedly come along and clear that up for you.  We Americans tend to overdose (18g doubles) relative to the traditional Italian dosing, but you've got to work with the basket.  

Hope this helps,
Rich

Posted June 14, 2014 link

Very comprehensive reply, thank you. Dose might actually be a factor I hadn't considered yet. I do believe the Gaggia takes 7 and 14g and I've not been weighing it out very accurately (been using an analog scale that I had lying around). The method of gradually grinding coarses to pull a shot twice the weight is something I will definitely try out. Thanks!

CMIN Said:

Why did you by a rocky? It's an out of date grinder and not good for espresso b/c of the wide steps. More than likely your problem right there. I even used a modded one to be step-less and still didn't like it. Are you temp surfing your machine as well? How long are you warming it up for? If you don't have a digital scale weighing to. 1g get one that way you'll be sure what your dose is.

Were these beans from a local roaster?

Posted June 14, 2014 link

Beans are from a national roaster (I have not yet been able to find a local one) that is reviewed very well, from whom I ordered online. I have been temp surfing, although I'm not sure how well I am at that yet. I am letting the machine warm up for approximately 10 minutes before I start surfing. And I will definitely get a more accurate scale. Thanks!
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frcn
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frcn
Joined: 23 Dec 2001
Posts: 3,427
Location: Northern California
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Vibiemme Domobar Double
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Posted Sat Jun 14, 2014, 9:57am
Subject: Re: Shots pulling incredibly fast, am at a loss
 

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

 
Visit My Website
www.EspressoMyEspresso.com
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emradguy
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emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 3,157
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Duetto II; Twist v2
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Drip: Espro presses; Aeropress
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Posted Sat Jun 14, 2014, 11:17am
Subject: Re: Shots pulling incredibly fast, am at a loss
 

frcn Said:

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

Posted June 14, 2014 link

Do this ^ ...even if you get it all figured out before you get a chance to. There's nothing like being thorough, and this guide will definitely help you!

Also, consider you may have channeling issues, so the above article will help you determine that...and to eliminate them.  However, I suspect you have yet to find the proper dose and grind for your setup.

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


Joined: 14 Jun 2014
Posts: 4
Location: Netherlands
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Sun Jun 15, 2014, 2:11am
Subject: Re: Shots pulling incredibly fast, am at a loss
 

frcn Said:

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

Posted June 14, 2014 link

I will definitily look and go through it, looks very thorough!

On a different note, to everyone: Would stale beans really make such a difference in pull time? I figured it would decrease from 20-25 seconds to 15-20 seconds. Just out of curiosity.
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emradguy
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emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 3,157
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Duetto II; Twist v2
Grinder: M Major, Macap M4, Pharos,...
Drip: Espro presses; Aeropress
Roaster: H-B "List of Favorites"
Posted Sun Jun 15, 2014, 6:32am
Subject: Re: Shots pulling incredibly fast, am at a loss
 

KoentJ Said:

On a different note, to everyone: Would stale beans really make such a difference in pull time?

Posted June 15, 2014 link

YES!

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