Perfect Shots


New member
Apr 3, 2007
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I''ve been trying (unsuccessfully) to get that \"puck\" of espresso after the shot has been pulled. Every time I empty my portafilter, it comes out in crumbles. Another co-worker gets solid pucks every time, and swears it''s all in the weight you put on it.
Of course, I can''t put a whole lot of weight on it, and have actually made my back really sore by trying to.

Do you all have any tips or suggestions?
Yeah: don't worry about it. Puck has nothing to do with the quality of the shot. You have a different grind and tamp pressure. Probably larger gind. He has a finer grind and thus the coffee compacts better. Also the leveling of the coffee basket( in the potafilter) can have a dramatic effect on puck or no puck. My advice: is to time your shots, look for wormholes, study your "pulled shots" And become confident in your ability to consistently make/pull the best espresso you can.
I would say you should be trying to emulate your coworker. A puck generally indicated that the shot has been tamped well. A wet, or crumbly offering generally would show a problem with the shot- tempertaure not right, tamping incorrectly. Andrew can probably contribute more on this issue, being a pro barista and all (compared to a roaster like me :) ) but generally downward tamping should be about 13kg. tamping, knocking grinds to middle, retamping, polishing etc. I think general concensus would be that technique, rather than just putting all your power into tamping, is the key. If I am not wrong the US champ baristi Phuong Tran is not a muscle packed 250lb girl! Technique-practice makes perfect


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If your back is sore, then your technique is wrong. You should be able to pack a portafilter with 30 to 40 pound of vertical downward pressure without any problem. If you have crumbling puck, you are probably having channeling issue. You can search online for tamping technique, or have the coffee shop buy an espresso how to CD.