Out of nowhere, shots pull way too fast...

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks for making espresso.
ZebcoKid

#1: Post by ZebcoKid »

Hello,

I'm a 3 espresso per day person.

For an entire week, all pull perfectly well. Then, what feels like out of nowhere, my shots pull super fast (20 seconds).

I'm not really sure what happens to cause this. I'll end up dumping 3 pulls, and finally give into whatever comes on the fourth.

Any thoughts?

Thank you.

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Jeff
Team HB

#2: Post by Jeff »

Some context would be helpful.

What beans, how old?

Which grinder?

What is your normal dose, ratio, and time?

How accurately do you weigh what comes out of your grinder, if at all?

What do you do for prep?

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cafeIKE
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#3: Post by cafeIKE »

Also time of day, weather and coffee storage. Coffee is both light and oxygen sensitive.

Line voltage used to vary quite a bit in the summer in CA and if it changes a lot, that could be the proverbial last straw.

ZebcoKid (original poster)

#4: Post by ZebcoKid (original poster) »

Hello.

Sorry about the delay. I was waiting for some email notification...but I think I'm not registered that way.

So to provide context:

The beans I use are a medium dark roast.
They are either within one or two weeks of roasting.
I am working with a Rocket Appartamento.
I'm using a bottomless portafilter with a 18g VST filter.
I use a Baratza Encore grinder. (I know...I need to upgrade :-(
My dose is always 1:2. For regular it is 17g/34g. For decaf it is 18g/36g
When I hit my mark, I'm right at 30 seconds +/- 5 seconds.
All of my beans and grind are weighed with an Acaia Lunar Scale. Pretty darn accurate!
For prep: I keep my beans in a cupboard in the bag purchased from the roaster. I weight the beans. Grind them at about 9.5,10,10.5 which gives me the optimal 30 second pull (when things are going right...which is usual). I empty the ground coffee into a dosing cup where I stir with a homemade distribution tool to break up any clumps. I place the coffee into the warm portafilter. I then apply a distributor. And finally I tamp it by feel (not too little, not too much).

I pull...and almost always enjoy...with the exception of the pulls that go way too fast, as described in my original post.

Thank you for your thoughts.

kris772
Supporter ♡

#5: Post by kris772 »

I am guessing grinder prob - maybe needs quick rice-ing and then re-calibrating with a few runs with a few test shots, expecting the setting to be different. (aka stuck bean piece on burr)(just a relative newbie's 5 cents.)
Life is too short for bad espresso!

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cafeIKE
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#6: Post by cafeIKE »

N E V E R grind anything but coffee.

If a grinder needs cleaning, disassemble.

VST basket may not be optimum for your roast and machine. What happens with the stock basket?

Dose or grind varies over the life of the coffee. Since the grinder is not capable of micro adjustment, try adding 0.1g every couple of days. Grinder steps on the Encore are way too large for espresso. Pick a setting and adjust dose. There is no magic about even 17g. I recently upped my scale to 0.01g resolution. Consistency improved. [Old scale is 0.1g resolution which is ±0.2g] Sad, but I can now adjust the dose by the size of the last couple of beans I drop in. Of course, this does not remove 'odd bean' vagaries - as in quaker, clinker, cinder, etc.

There is no sense in putting the coffee in a dosing cup to WDT. Do it in the basket. Bodge up a funnel from a yoghurt container to ease getting the grind into the PF.

ZebcoKid (original poster)

#7: Post by ZebcoKid (original poster) »

Thank you, all. Back to work!

I'll deploy your suggestions from cleaning to adjusting dose, while leaving grind stable. I'll also dispense with WDT in dosing cup, and deploy in the basket.

I'm not sure about the comparison between stock basket and VST. I purchased the VST after reading reviews that it made all the difference in the world. Ironically, here I am :-(

Thank you, again. I really appreciate the opinions, thoughts, and your experience.

Kindly,

David

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cafeIKE
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#8: Post by cafeIKE »

ZebcoKid wrote:I purchased the VST after reading reviews that it made all the difference in the world.
Sadly, Confirmation Bias is all too prevalent by the unqualified to judge.

martinlhoff

#9: Post by martinlhoff »

ZebcoKid wrote:Hello,

For an entire week, all pull perfectly well. Then, what feels like out of nowhere, my shots pull super fast (20 seconds).
I am relatively new to making my own espresso and had a similar adventure about 2 months ago. Turns out, I had been enjoying my coffee beans at the peak of freshness, and that peak passed. It was my first time experiencing this - I wasn't changing anything! Why was the coffee so suddenly so much worse?

Here's my thread - I like a specific coffee and buying a large bag is a good deal, so I ended up with a strategy of freezing about 2/3 of the 5lbs bag at the 2-weeks-from-roasted point. From goldilocks to the desert - why?

kris772
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#10: Post by kris772 » replying to martinlhoff »

Many thanks for this, but wondering why you wait until the 2 week point to freeze them - I used to do it at the 7 day point. Just wondering! Always learning!

EDIT I think you may have missunderstood - don't wait until 2 weeks to freeze. Or am I wrong here?
Life is too short for bad espresso!