Espresso Exraction Problem


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Mar 30, 2006
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Hello, I'm new to espresso making. I currently own a cheapy Hamilton Beach 40729 and I'm having problems with the espresso extracting too quickly.
I've tried many Starbucks ESE pods as well as a lot of pre-ground Lazvazza espresso, but it only takes 18 seconds or under to extract 1.5oz of espresso. I use an aluminum tamper and I also make sure the pod is centered in the portafilter.
I've also filled a cup with 2-3oz of just water (I ran 1oz of water to warm it up beforehand) running through the machine and it was 160deg. Is this temperature normal or should it be hotter?
The consistency of the espresso is more like normal coffee and not like the syrup of been told it should look like.
Does anyone have any ideas? Is there a way for a technically inclined person to adjust the temperature in one of these? Is the pump (15Bar claimed) too powerful?

I'm not looking for the "Perfect" shot since the machine probably won't do it, but I would like at least a mediocre shot.

Thanks for your time,



Jan 22, 2006
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Hi tonocus,

I don't know much about the Hamilton Beach machine. There could be several factors affecting the espresso.

What comes to mind is probably the coffee. Fresh beans evenly ground for espresso would give the best results. Without evenly ground fresh beans it's going to be difficult to get a good shot. Fresh would be beans used within 10 days of being roasted. A good grind would be an uniformly even fineness that allows for full extraction when properly dosed and tamped.

Other factors affecting the shot would be water temp and pressure. Too high or too low of either would produce bitter or sour shots respectively. 160F is well below a good target temp of between 195F-201F for a good shot. Still, the water will be hotter under pressure so measuring the temp as it pours out of the machine won't necessarily reflect the shot temp.

If you're getting thin, quick pulls it's probably a combination of the machine, quality of the coffee/grind and packing of the portafilter. My experience comes from using a home roasted beans, a very good grinder and a good espresso machine. Getting key variables into an ideal range like the bean/blend, roast freshness, grind, dose, distribution, tamp, pump pressure and water temp produces good shots.