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  1. #1
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    Is This Too Much in Portafilter?

    Hi,

    I understand what David Schomer teachers, and that is, water is lazy. A smooth, round, and even tamp is critical.

    I run a 2-Group La Marzocco Linea. Here's a photo of my portafilter after I:


    1. Dispensed and tamped the grounds.
    2. Put the portafiler in the group head.
    3. Removed the portafilter before starting the water.


    So... as you can see, the center of the mesh screen indents my grounds.

    My question is simply this: Is this desirable, acceptable, or completely unwanted?

    It seems to me that it violates the "lazy water" rule. Therefore, I suppose my REAL QUESTION is this: Am I putting too much coffee in the portafilter?

    Thanks!

    Greg
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Is This Too Much in Portafilter?-20150414_100935.jpg  

  2. #2
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    If your coffee is full enough to leave an indent before the water hits it, then it's hitting the shower-screen, and that's a no-no. If it looked like that at the end of the pull, you're OK, but you have to leave room for the puck to swell.

  3. #3
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    Thank you Peter!!!! You verified what I feared was a problem.

    I will immediately reduce the amount I grind into the portafilter. I appreciate you!

    Greg

  4. #4
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    New but related problem

    Quote Originally Posted by peterjschmidt View Post
    If your coffee is full enough to leave an indent before the water hits it, then it's hitting the shower-screen, and that's a no-no. If it looked like that at the end of the pull, you're OK, but you have to leave room for the puck to swell.
    Hello again Peter and all,

    I lowered the level of my portafilter contents and now not getting the pre-infused indention. Thanks so much.

    I do notice now that using my finger to level the grounds before tamping is much more difficult. Again, I bring up Schomer where he shows on his videos that he uses a N-S-E-W compass-like evening of the portafilter grounds to close up any gaps around the sides of the coffee before tamping.

    Now that the coffee level is lower, it is difficult - if not impossible - to do this thoroughly. So my question is, do I still try to N-S-E-W level the grounds manually and if so how? ***It is my suspicion that one does so by PRESSING with the level finger down into the portafilter, almost doing a pre-tamp. But this seems to me to be an extremely inconsistent procedure leaving large possibilities for getting more compressed build-up in some areas of the portafilter and less in others.

    I realize that I might very well be taking all this too far... but at the same time, isn't that the goal we seek? To eek out that elusive extra 1-3% quality that others don't care about?

    Thanks!

    Greg Perry

  5. #5
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    Can't you overfill the basket, screed it off with your finger (or the fleshy heel of you thumb/palm), then tamp?

  6. #6
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    Well, certainly I'm doing that. But to get it against the sides consistently but low enough not to get the indention from the screen's screw means that it's not nearly as level or up-against-the-sides as consistently as when I was filling to the top of the basket.

    I'm not trying to be ultra-picky here, I was just wondering if others find this to be a challenge. Your answer helps me to know that it's a problem but one to overcome.

    Peter, do you push down much while you screed or simply scrape off the excess, moving it out to the sides as you go?

    Thanks!

    G

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by dittos View Post

    Peter, do you push down much while you screed or simply scrape off the excess, moving it out to the sides as you go?

    Thanks!

    G
    I just fill, screed (in 2 or 3 directions, no pushing down), and tamp. I may give it a side to side shake, gently and not rapping it against anything, so as to not create a gap between the puck and the basket walls. Tamping a full/fluffy basket lowers it to the point where it'll swell during extraction, and have a slight indent after the shot is finished.

    I think I'm way past my geeky stage of sweating the minutia. That, and my equipment is very forgiving and gives great results with little effort.

  8. #8
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    Thank you so much! My equipment is a 2-Group La Marzocco Linea. It is fairly forgiving but one could say it's overkill given that my wife and I live 2 miles off paved roads way out in the boonies and between us we make 6 espressos or cappuccinos daily.

    So... one could make the case that our L.M. Linea is slightly overkill...

    But given that I bought it, had it professionally installed in our "coffee room," I want to maximize what I do with the machine.

    I appreciate you!

    G

  9. #9
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    What grinder did you pair the Linea with?

  10. #10
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    A lackluster grinder. THAT is a big problem because we use one of the best coffee beans in the nation (the documentary, The Perfect Cappuccino, shows DoubleShot where we get our beans - it happens to be local to us in Tulsa just a few miles away. Man, we lucked out on that!) and the L.M. is superb.

    We began 15 years ago with a prosumer model at the time that was a Faema single group. It was okay for 12-13 years but it had a single boiler and was simply old technology today. But we also got a Faema burr grinder, large model like the shops in Italy used. Today it lacks because it has a fixed number of settings and the burrs are probably getting shot. It truly is the weakest part of our system.

    The lust of the eyes makes me want one of the new La Marzocco vulcano grinders or something like that, but the money is just not justifyable plus this Faema, being a professional model years ago and used only in our home, is still going strong.

    Seriously though, I do need to upgrade the grinder when we get some spare dough.

    G

 

 
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