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Rob1

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  1. Try the one mrboots linked too from China it looks the same as the one I have which doesn't appears very close to the BT wedge in terms of how pronounced the wedge shape is. The one I have from Scarlet Espresso cleans the sides of the basket quite well despite only measuring 58mm probably because it can easily move around and catch the sides as it spins.
  2. It might not be available to purchase but is simple to make. With the type of distributor I have both the bottom and top pieces are threaded, by removing the top piece you can just screw the distributor part down into the coffee until it gets to its deepest point, re-attach the top part to lock it and spin as normal, I found doing this produced perfect (looking) shots. Now to modify the top part of the distributor with some thread locker...or I could just pack the inside of the top part with something to restrict it from screwing down....a spring maybe... EDIT: I stuffed it with bits of cardboard. Works fine. Washers will be a good long term solution allowing a set depth. EDIT 2: Or the rich man's solution (6 pennies).
  3. Just think about it. Are their baristas properly trained and allowed to alter the grinder setting to dial in shots? Do they aim for consistent input or do they just use a doser grinder and get it in the right ball park? Do they tamp properly or just slap it against the tamper attached to the grinder? I like to think the coffee machines are cleaned at the end of the day but what about the grinder, and if not daily how often is it cleaned? Then you've got the quality of the beans they use, which you'd hope is commodity grade in the case of Starbucks given how they roast it (not sure about the others) as well as freshness.
  4. So I just ordered so of the Brazil Ipanema Premier Cru and the discount code wasn't accepted with the message that it wasn't valid for the items in the cart BUT I checked it against other coffees and the Mystery 10 and it was accepted so now I can use it for the mystery guilt free in the future.
  5. Tried twice to get the 58.5 version but both times ended up receiving the three pointed version which I already own and wanted to compare them side by side. Disappointing might try your link to see if I'm more successful. Thanks Got mine from Scarlet Espresso from amazon. There are pictures floating around somewhere where it shows mine has a more pronounced slope compared to a Chinese one from ebay but the one pictured by Mrboots looks the same as mine and is about £10 cheaper. I've found if you remove the little rubber gasket you can just catch the threads and set it so deep it fully compresses the grinds of a light/medium roast (18g in 18g vst). A thing I've noticed is you put it in and spin it around a lot you end up with a wedge shaped puck but then if you remove it, place it back at a different position and give it a few spins you'll level it out. This doesn't happen when the tool is adjusted to sit a little shallower so it seems the 'distributor' is actually compressing the grinds with a horizontal force that sweeps around the basket and by removing it and changing position you push the coffee into the gap created by the wedge shape of the distributor itself. This would explain why after relatively small downward pressure with the distributor the puck cannot be compressed anymore with a proper tamp...it's mainly the spinning action that compresses the puck. I know wholelattelove sell one that they demonstrably tamp with and even pull decent looking shots with pucks that have visible indentations from the 'fins' of the distributor.
  6. I notice no significant change in time when tamping lightly Vs a hard tamp so long as the light tamp is adequate. Socratic did a little study on the effect of tamping pressure and came to the conclusion there's no real difference in shot times or EY....though in the conclusion they state they can't assess "characteristics of specific compound extraction such as lipids". https://socraticcoffee.com/2015/07/the-impact-of-tamping-pressure-on-espresso-extraction/ It' s possible you were tamping with less than 5kg before? Also measuring tamp pressure isn't necessary as you can very easily repeat it. I trained myself very quickly using luggage scales to pull down from a certain height with 15kg a force when using the La Pavoni and found I could repeat it withing 100g or so months later. I suppose if you're doing weight lifting you might need to recalibrate yourself...
  7. I don't see the logic in the thought really. Regardless of your budget you don't want your money to go down the tubes. You can set yourself a small budget of £250, buy a new MC2 and toy espresso machine that breaks in two years (value reduces to zero) and, assuming you upgrade, you sell the MC2 for £60-90 (total loss £160-190) and then invest in better equipment. If you invest in the better equipment right away you'll avoid the initial loss and enjoy better coffee from it, of course you might have to save more to do it but you'll be financially better off for it assuming you don't overpay for second hand items.
  8. I'd skip the MC2 and bodum. A super jolly or similar would be my recommendation for an electric starter grinder (second hand of course) or an OE Pharos (can be found used for less than £200). If you want new or space is a premium I'd say go for a Lido E or equivalent hand grinder. For your price point and there's no real alternative to the used gaggia. After the DeLonghi I had a La Pavoni and really enjoyed it so can recommend that route but there's a lot to learn and you need to use the same routine every time (e.g. fill machine to a certain point, turn on for a certain time and pull the shot).
  9. Hang in there. You've checked ebay? https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Gaggia-Classic-espresso-machine-older-model-with-OPV-and-solenoid-valve/202689321434?hash=item2f313999da:g:ZZQAAOSwMnZcqfDB DeLonghi are popular because of marketing and ignorance. A DeLonghi ICO something or other was the first machine I owned and I was frustrated with it constantly even with pre-ground coffee. You might like espresso and lattes and cappuccinos but you probably won't like them from a DeLonghi, at least not for very long. Even if Starbucks is your gold standard you'll find what you produce doesn't come close, though you might improve it with unpressurised baskets and a good grinder, you probably still won't get good coffee regularly if at all. The machines you're looking at are a false economy; they'll provide sub standard espresso until they break in two years. If you spend wisely in the second hand market you can get much better equipment that you can sell on in two years for little or no loss.
  10. With an 18g dose it works out at about 60p per cup if that helps.
  11. I think tamping with it just lets it effect more of the puck. Without pressure you're flattening the top layer, with pressure you moving around the lower layers, logically. I think all makers of these distribution tools recommend setting it to 1-2mm above where your tamp would end up but I can't see why you couldn't just fully compress the bed with it as you'd be gradually compressing and moving the grinds to achieve a flat bed which should prevent an uneven density.
  12. It could easily have disconnected in transit. Though they haven't been adjusting the expansion valves down to 9 bar (at least in some cases) as you'd expect them to if they were bench testing really.
  13. If you underdose to stop channelling you'll find times to achieve the same target yield ratio are much the same with a shot that doesn't channel with a lower dose compared one that does channel with a higher dose. i.e: 18g in 18g VST: Multiple streams, dead spots, spritzing. Rapidly increasing flow rate. 36g in 30ish seconds. 15g in 18g VST: One stream, no/massively reduced dead spots, no spritzing. Steadily and slowly increasing flow rate. 30g in 30ish seconds. If you get the same yield a few seconds quicker without channelling it's a step forward (assuming it tastes better). You shouldn't have to adjust the grind too much to hit the same time if you have to change it at all assuming you drop the dose to solve a huge channelling problem....but why would you even be aiming for a time when the previous shots have been bad? You just dial in when you find the dose that fits in the basket without pressing into the shower screen. Turns out the OP's problem was caused by not stirring in the cup and/or not distributing properly in the portafilter anyway.
  14. They do, not that it makes a difference what they recommend since they don't know what coffee you're putting in and how much it's expanding when the water hits it. The idea being to stop the puck expanding into the shower screen and being disturbed as it rises up around it letting water around the sides (at least that's what seemed to be happening to me). You won't need to grind significantly finer if you do at all since channelling will make the shot run faster. @Edlockwood - yes stirring prior to putting in the portafilter is recommended. The WDT (stirring in the portafilter) should help get a good extraction too as others above have recommended you do. You could also be doing other things to disturb the puck like bashing the portafilter into the group or on the counter after tamping so a video of your prep might be helpful.
  15. Have you tried without the distribution tool? Is your tamper a snug fit for the basket? I use a 58.55mm in a VST. I can struggle with light roasts and blends having only just started trying them. I've found they expand a lot more than darker roasts and I'm currently dosing 19g into a 22g VST. There are dead spots but it's coming through much more evenly and in a single central stream and a steady flow rate compared to the previous attempts with 17g and 18g in an 18g VST which at their worst would come through in multiple streams and rapidly increase in flow rate. Taste has much improved along with body and mouth feel. So I'd tell you to underdose by 2-3g, and if you aren't using a tamper that's a snug fit for the basket then get one that is. You are stirring the grinds in the catch cup before transferring to the PF aren't you? You could be tamping too hard/multiple times? Difficult to say since I don't know how hard you're tamping...push down until you go over 5kg on a set of scales and aim to repeat it, if unsure then go a little harder but you shouldn't be straining and consistency isn't really important so long as it's over 5kg.
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