Crazy, yep the first sentence will show just how crazy and foolish


New member
Sep 23, 2022
Northwest Indiana
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For 7 years I am still unable to make anything near a consistent - close your eyes, relish the smooth burst of flavor moment, and want to drink shot after shot all day long. In addition, I have no idea which shot is sour and which is bitter. I'm not finely tuned that way. :rolleyes: But 99% of the time, for 7 years pulling shots, I'm forever wondering if I'll ever have to really call 911. Yes, it's just that bad.

So, here's the run down.

1.) I'm not a professional; I just want a good hazelnut latte consistently everyday​
2.) But the following has not helped for 7 years​
3.) Baby Gaggia Espresso Machine about 7 years old​
4.) Baratza Sette 30 with a sette 270 grind adjuster​
5.) IMS 55 mm Precision Group Head Screen - GA 200 IM​
6.) Cafelat Silicone Group Gasket - blue color​
7.) VST Portafilter basket​
7.) I grind either 16 ounces or 17 ounces of fresh beans at a time​
8.) After grinding I use the WDT (Weiss Distribution Technique)​
9.) Then one firm tamp with a very minor twist as I lift the tamper up​
10) Now the part you'll all probably laugh at: Decaf WHOLE Beans
11.) I have tried: Coffee Bean Direct CO2 Decaf Espresso Coffee, Dark Roast;​
Kicking Horse Coffee, Decaf, Swiss Water Process, Dark Roast, Whole Bean; Verena Street​
2 Pound Whole Bean, Swiss Water Process Decaf Beans, Sunday Drive Decaffeinated, Medium Roast;​
SF Bay Coffee DECAF Espresso Whole Bean 2LB (32 Ounce) Dark Roast Natural Water Processed;​
DECAF Hurricane Espresso Whole Bean Coffee 2LB (32 Ounce) Medium Dark Roast Natural Water Processed Decaffeinated USDA Organic; and MAYORGA COFFEE SWISS WATER DECAFFEINATED CAFÉ CUBANO ROAST, 2lb Bag, the World's Smoothest Organic Coffee, Specialty-Grade, Non-GMO, Kosher, Direct Trade, 100% Whole Arabica Beans;​
12.) Now for the CRAZY ignorant part for a person that is very tuned into detail in life​
13.) For 7 years I've been lucky enough to have maybe 10 knock down drag out wonderful pulls​
14) I used every grind setting with the exception of drawing the shots over the whole beans themselves​
15.) Slow draws, fast draws; 7 seconds to 35 seconds to choking the machine;​
16.) Good pucks most of the time but sometimes standing water in the basket. a great puck is the last​
thing I try to make perfect but most all the time I don't do too bad.​
17.) Here's another dandy crazy: whenever I do strike it rich with a good smooth dark pull - I turn off​
the machine without writing down what I did - but come back the next day draw a shot with yesterday's settings and thank​
goodness I still remember the 911 numbers - pure sour, bitter, burnt crap.​
18.) The machine and all the parts mentioned above and grinder are thoroughly cleaned once a week​
19.) One final point forgotten to mention - Fresh filtered water straight from an osmosis system​
20) As far as I know the Baby Gaggia is not capable of back flushing; I just read that somewhere in the last two months.​
So, to cap this off - without any of you being by my side - WHAT THE HECK AM I DOING WRONG?????? I'd like to step up just a hair and try the Breville Barista Express Espresso Machine but cannot even afford it at $1100.00 a month coming in. Tough problem all this but there has to be a solution somewhere.

Ahead of time,
Thanks to the forum for trying to help, or even thinking about, trying to me solve this craziness.




Well-known member
May 11, 2014
Kansas City
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A big part of your challenge is the decaf.... I'm not a hater... but to decaffeinate the beans they have to rehydrate the beans in solvent and/or water and then re-dry. It simply changes the cellular structure and I find decaf's hard to dial in with espresso. I would certainly start by finding a local roaster and try that first. Look for something that started as a high-grown bean (1500 MASL or higher). Some of your equipment is on the low end but certainly nothing wrong with anything. It sounds like you have the process down so I wouldn't overthink that as well. And lastly, espresso is a bit of a picky bitch... it changes with temp/humidity / etc so nothing is set, and forget with espresso.