Troubleshooting: no crema after misplacing portafilter?

expresso1948

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Oct 7, 2020
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Hi guys! As some of you know, I'm a beginner on coffee machines, and recently bought a De'Longhi ECP3220 about two weeks ago. Though super-entry level and yes, pretty limited in some ways, I've been quite happy with it so far.

HOWEVER: yesterday I accidentally misplaced the portafilter before brewing my coffee, only noticed that something was wrong when coffee started taking too long to start flowing, finally flowing in a super watery way. Realizing what was going on, I stopped it all, cleaned up and started over.

To my surprise, however, the coffee this time had like almost zero crema.

After that, I tried re-priming the machine just in case, and made two more coffees. Though not as bad, still they had clearly much less crema than expected - including today, when using fresher coffee.

The question is: could I have damaged the machine just by that misplacing? Is that a thing that happens? Or is misplacing something that happens all the time to you with no consequence?

Any help is appreciated by the newbie here :) Thank you!!
 
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expresso1948

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Oct 7, 2020
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What do you mean by misplaced?

How to explain... I fitted it on the machine, maybe a bit distractedly and it seemed properly placed. Looking at it seconds before brewing began, I had the feeling it was a bit crooked, like "bending" more towards one side. And then, everything I described happened and I could confirm that it was indeed crooked.

Somewhat like a lid on a jar that closes it, but in a crooked kind of way, with its screw not properly following the its track on the lid in order to properly close it - but closing it nonetheless. Does that make sense to you?
 
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expresso1948

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Update: after 4-5 days of priming (3 times) and making 2 or 3 cups of coffee a day, today the results seem to be back to normal-ish - not totally convinced, but at this point it might be psychological lol.

Nonetheless, odd that one single misplacement of the portafilter would have such significant impact. Did coffee come inside the machine and clog sth temporarily? I couldn't find anything at all on the Internet that would justify it... Feel free to throw in theories! :)
 

Musicphan

Active member
May 11, 2014
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Kansas City
Hey there...

OK - when you say misplaced it sounds like you may have not had the portafilter tight into the machine. Basically what you are doing is simply tightening up the portafilter against a large washer/gasket inside the group head which is the place you attached the portafilter. The most damage you could really do would be messing up that washer but that's highly unlikely. You will need to keep the washer and screens clean or will you run into issues (build-up). Get yourself some espresso cleaner and an old toothbrush (or buy the brushes made for espresso cleaning). Not that you need to replace the gasket but this gives you good visual example of the gasket: https://youtu.be/A5seezm6D6g

Regarding priming ... I'm not sure what your machine instructs you to do but most you don't need to do anything. Some manufactures suggest you flush the machine - meaning simply running the hot water a bit. That helps stabilize the water to a more consistent temperature. If you are doing to much or too close to pulling shots that may be effecting your extraction. Most likely its just newbie mistakes... you have to practice it a bit... once you get the basics down its easy peasy.

Mike
 

CafeLast

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Nov 25, 2020
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As musicphan said, check the washer and screens. That could really help. Also, go ahead and flush it once.
 
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