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Breville Dose Control Pro - fast shots / channeling - advice please!

jimmybee

New member
Feb 2, 2022
1
0
Glasgow, United Kingdom
Hi everyone - wondering if anyone can help with my struggles with a new Breville (=Sage) Dose Control Pro (DCP) grinder for pulling espresso shots?

Every shot I pull using grounds from the DCP extracts super quickly, tastes thin and bitter, and is lacking crema, regardless of grind size. I have tried matching the grind size from the DCP to the grounds I produce with my hand grinder (which does a great job - 14g in, 30g out in 25 seconds, for a tasty shot with normal crema). I am keeping everything else constant -- espresso machine, dose/recipe, puck preparation, beans, brew temp etc.. The shots from the DCP grounds come through at about 2-3 times the speed of the shots using grounds from the hand grinder (so the shots from 14g of DCP grounds yield 30g out in ~10 seconds), and end watery. I have tried a whole range of grind settings with the DCP, but the resulting shots are always fast and increasingly watery towards the end. Below is a video of a typical shot with grounds from the DCP (
).

So it seems I am getting serious channeling during the shots using grounds from the DCP. However, it is different to channeling I have experienced previously - the high flow rate occurs right from the start of the shot, regardless of grind size, and happens consistently every time I pull a shot using grounds from the DCP, even if I pay a lot of attention to puck preparation (I use a WDT needle tool to de-clump and distribute before tamping). And I don't have the same problem with the grounds from my hand grinder. So I am really confused.

The standard advice for fixing fast shots is to grind finer, but this has not helped. I have tried grinding as fine as the DCP will go (going to the finest setting on the main adjuster, and the finest setting on the manual adjustment you can make to the upper burr). The resulting grounds are like powder - much finer than the espresso grounds from my hand grinder. The super-fine grounds from the DCP do not slow the shot at all -- I can only guess that I am getting channeling from the very start of the shot, even with careful puck preparation. But when I grind coarser with the DCP, and do my best to prepare the puck perfectly, I still get the same fast shots (I think still caused by channeling). Very frustrating. And confusing -- I cannot figure out how to stop this channeling.

My Dose Control Pro is brand new and so has nice new sharp burr set, and has the new metal impeller which has not seen any wear (I am aware of the issues with wear of the old plastic impellers on earlier models), so in theory it should be working perfectly. However, there do seem to be a couple of quality issues with the ground coffee from the DCP:-

1. My DCP does seem to spit out quite uneven grounds when grinding at the upper end of its range for pour-over/ french press (lots of boulders and fines - image here https://photos.app.goo.gl/Sj9FLdF8cx2NCrLX8). I am not sure whether this is normal for this machine? This variability in the size of the grounds at the coarser end of the spectrum is disappointing, and certainly not what I expected. With a naked eye I can't tell if this variability in the size of the grounds is replicated at the finer espresso grind size (as far as I can see/feel, the fine espresso grounds the machine produces appear quite uniform to me, but it's hard to tell). Could grind size variability be causing channeling?

IMG_6446.jpeg

2. The grounds coming out of my DCP are pretty clumpy at the espresso size range (image here https://photos.app.goo.gl/TcysTf3ZmQTQFDPD9). I am not sure if this is normal? I am using a needle tool to break up the clumps, but perhaps not doing a sufficiently good job of this? Could clumping be causing the channeling?

IMG_6447.jpeg

Thanks in advance for any help -- I feel like I'm going crazy. I have never had this kind of issue with my hand grinder, or my previous electric burr grinder.
 

surfhombre

New member
Jun 3, 2022
1
0
China
Hi everyone - wondering if anyone can help with my struggles with a new Breville (=Sage) Dose Control Pro (DCP) grinder for pulling espresso shots?

Every shot I pull using grounds from the DCP extracts super quickly, tastes thin and bitter, and is lacking crema, regardless of grind size. I have tried matching the grind size from the DCP to the grounds I produce with my hand grinder (which does a great job - 14g in, 30g out in 25 seconds, for a tasty shot with normal crema). I am keeping everything else constant -- espresso machine, dose/recipe, puck preparation, beans, brew temp etc.. The shots from the DCP grounds come through at about 2-3 times the speed of the shots using grounds from the hand grinder (so the shots from 14g of DCP grounds yield 30g out in ~10 seconds), and end watery. I have tried a whole range of grind settings with the DCP, but the resulting shots are always fast and increasingly watery towards the end. Below is a video of a typical shot with grounds from the DCP (
).

So it seems I am getting serious channeling during the shots using grounds from the DCP. However, it is different to channeling I have experienced previously - the high flow rate occurs right from the start of the shot, regardless of grind size, and happens consistently every time I pull a shot using grounds from the DCP, even if I pay a lot of attention to puck preparation (I use a WDT needle tool to de-clump and distribute before tamping). And I don't have the same problem with the grounds from my hand grinder. So I am really confused.

The standard advice for fixing fast shots is to grind finer, but this has not helped. I have tried grinding as fine as the DCP will go (going to the finest setting on the main adjuster, and the finest setting on the manual adjustment you can make to the upper burr). The resulting grounds are like powder - much finer than the espresso grounds from my hand grinder. The super-fine grounds from the DCP do not slow the shot at all -- I can only guess that I am getting channeling from the very start of the shot, even with careful puck preparation. But when I grind coarser with the DCP, and do my best to prepare the puck perfectly, I still get the same fast shots (I think still caused by channeling). Very frustrating. And confusing -- I cannot figure out how to stop this channeling.

My Dose Control Pro is brand new and so has nice new sharp burr set, and has the new metal impeller which has not seen any wear (I am aware of the issues with wear of the old plastic impellers on earlier models), so in theory it should be working perfectly. However, there do seem to be a couple of quality issues with the ground coffee from the DCP:-

1. My DCP does seem to spit out quite uneven grounds when grinding at the upper end of its range for pour-over/ french press (lots of boulders and fines - image here https://photos.app.goo.gl/Sj9FLdF8cx2NCrLX8). I am not sure whether this is normal for this machine? This variability in the size of the grounds at the coarser end of the spectrum is disappointing, and certainly not what I expected. With a naked eye I can't tell if this variability in the size of the grounds is replicated at the finer espresso grind size (as far as I can see/feel, the fine espresso grounds the machine produces appear quite uniform to me, but it's hard to tell). Could grind size variability be causing channeling?

View attachment 11298

2. The grounds coming out of my DCP are pretty clumpy at the espresso size range (image here https://photos.app.goo.gl/TcysTf3ZmQTQFDPD9). I am not sure if this is normal? I am using a needle tool to break up the clumps, but perhaps not doing a sufficiently good job of this? Could clumping be causing the channeling?

View attachment 11299

Thanks in advance for any help -- I feel like I'm going crazy. I have never had this kind of issue with my hand grinder, or my previous electric burr grinder.
Hi everyone - wondering if anyone can help with my struggles with a new Breville (=Sage) Dose Control Pro (DCP) grinder for pulling espresso shots?

Every shot I pull using grounds from the DCP extracts super quickly, tastes thin and bitter, and is lacking crema, regardless of grind size. I have tried matching the grind size from the DCP to the grounds I produce with my hand grinder (which does a great job - 14g in, 30g out in 25 seconds, for a tasty shot with normal crema). I am keeping everything else constant -- espresso machine, dose/recipe, puck preparation, beans, brew temp etc.. The shots from the DCP grounds come through at about 2-3 times the speed of the shots using grounds from the hand grinder (so the shots from 14g of DCP grounds yield 30g out in ~10 seconds), and end watery. I have tried a whole range of grind settings with the DCP, but the resulting shots are always fast and increasingly watery towards the end. Below is a video of a typical shot with grounds from the DCP (
).

So it seems I am getting serious channeling during the shots using grounds from the DCP. However, it is different to channeling I have experienced previously - the high flow rate occurs right from the start of the shot, regardless of grind size, and happens consistently every time I pull a shot using grounds from the DCP, even if I pay a lot of attention to puck preparation (I use a WDT needle tool to de-clump and distribute before tamping). And I don't have the same problem with the grounds from my hand grinder. So I am really confused.

The standard advice for fixing fast shots is to grind finer, but this has not helped. I have tried grinding as fine as the DCP will go (going to the finest setting on the main adjuster, and the finest setting on the manual adjustment you can make to the upper burr). The resulting grounds are like powder - much finer than the espresso grounds from my hand grinder. The super-fine grounds from the DCP do not slow the shot at all -- I can only guess that I am getting channeling from the very start of the shot, even with careful puck preparation. But when I grind coarser with the DCP, and do my best to prepare the puck perfectly, I still get the same fast shots (I think still caused by channeling). Very frustrating. And confusing -- I cannot figure out how to stop this channeling.

My Dose Control Pro is brand new and so has nice new sharp burr set, and has the new metal impeller which has not seen any wear (I am aware of the issues with wear of the old plastic impellers on earlier models), so in theory it should be working perfectly. However, there do seem to be a couple of quality issues with the ground coffee from the DCP:-

1. My DCP does seem to spit out quite uneven grounds when grinding at the upper end of its range for pour-over/ french press (lots of boulders and fines - image here https://photos.app.goo.gl/Sj9FLdF8cx2NCrLX8). I am not sure whether this is normal for this machine? This variability in the size of the grounds at the coarser end of the spectrum is disappointing, and certainly not what I expected. With a naked eye I can't tell if this variability in the size of the grounds is replicated at the finer espresso grind size (as far as I can see/feel, the fine espresso grounds the machine produces appear quite uniform to me, but it's hard to tell). Could grind size variability be causing channeling?

View attachment 11298

2. The grounds coming out of my DCP are pretty clumpy at the espresso size range (image here https://photos.app.goo.gl/TcysTf3ZmQTQFDPD9). I am not sure if this is normal? I am using a needle tool to break up the clumps, but perhaps not doing a sufficiently good job of this? Could clumping be causing the channeling?

View attachment 11299

Thanks in advance for any help -- I feel like I'm going crazy. I have never had this kind of issue with my hand grinder, or my previous electric burr grinder.
Hey James - curious if you solved your channeling problem yet? I've got a Smart Grinder Pro (SGP), and love it....and the DCP honestly doesn't appear too terribly different than the SGP from a grinding operations-perspective. Sure, timing and cup settings and grind size setting processes are different, but the burr & grinding mechanisms don't appear to be different enough to be the issue. Curious what espresso machine you're using? That could be the culprit. Some other thoughts:
- age &/or roast of your coffee? if very old, stale and dried out it could be the issue.
- have you tried a darker roasted bean (higher oil content = more hydrophobic properties which you would notice a VERY big difference on a finer grind size....i.e. water would have a hard time flowing quickly on a fine grind dark oily roasted bean and would, therefore, flow quite slow. Not ideal, but again, by process of elimination you could identify the bean freshness and roast levels as contributing factors to your fast flow and channeling.

Not the solution, of course....just some thoughts. Good luck.
 

Benwandert

New member
May 25, 2022
4
0
United States
Hi there,

I have no experience with this grinder, but I will tell you what has happened to me. I was trying to pull longer, lower pressure shots for a while and was grinding very, very fine. I could not figure out why my shots seemed to channel horribly no matter what I did. My end conclusion has been to return to a more standard grind size, because I believe the fine espresso made it nearly impossible for water to pass through without it bursting a channel for easy passage. Try to grind perhaps a little coarser than you are comfortable with, and inch your way finer, rather than adjusting finer and finer in attempt to increase your shot time. Next, check if your pressure is good. If you are hitting 10-11+ bars, you might be forcing channels to appear.

Hope this helps.
 
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