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Clumping - grinds too fine?


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Yo Baristas! If I'm finding too many clumps in my basket during grinding, does that mean it's too fine?? So far, I'm struggling to get decent espressos from grinding fresh beans... so I'm resorting to using Illy Red espresso straight from the tin - it drips a little quicker and the double shot is extracted within 20s rather than 27s but at least it tastes good and it's consistent. I'm sure tamping too firmly or too softly has a significant effect too.

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If you are getting clumps , then try using a cocktail stick or a paper clip to stir the fresh ground in the porta filter before tamping. This will help. In the end fresh ground coffee will taste bette than pre ground once you fine tune your process

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If you are getting clumps , then try using a cocktail stick or a paper clip to stir the fresh ground in the porta filter before tamping. This will help. In the end fresh ground coffee will taste bette than pre ground once you fine tune your process

 

I understand that the clumps can be fragmented using these methods but my question really refers to whether clumping should occur in the first place and to what degree is acceptable? None of the videos I've watched with uber-expensive grinders seem to produce clumped grounds in the baskets... which makes me question my settings.

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I understand that the clumps can be fragmented using these methods but my question really refers to whether clumping should occur in the first place and to what degree is acceptable? None of the videos I've watched with uber-expensive grinders seem to produce clumped grounds in the baskets... which makes me question my settings.

 

Yep that's what you get with an uber expensive grinder!

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clumping is an odd one... its usually the result of some form of anti static device in the grind path.

 

On the mazzers its a grid that sits on the chute between burrs and funnel, on my Quamar its a flexible metal strip that covers the opening to the chute going into the funnel.

 

On the mazzers the high end grinders don't have this I think, and all those that do, tend to clump to some extent. i think The major still has the grid, but it throws out the grinds so fast, that its a non issue,

 

On my quamar, the strip is easily moved around to test what difference it makes. The answer is quite a bit. With the strip bent a little out of the way, i get absolutely no clumps at all, but quite a lot of static, and more mess as a result. With the strip in place, i get zero static, nice neat pile of coffee and very few clumps at all. It seems a slightly nicer solution to the problem than Mazzers grid.

 

You just need to see what you have in the grind path thats causing clumping. On my old MC2 it was simply caused by the fact the chute before the dosing funnel was flat and had a small lip, so coffee would build up on the ledge and then fall out as a small clump. So clumps don't really mean anything is wrong with your setup, its just that in general finer grinds tend to want to compact together easier, and as such finer grinds are more prone to clumping.

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My Rancilio Rocky is the most aptly named device, it clumps a lot with most beans. But it's makes little difference, they are very lightly held together clumps and i don't think using a cocktail stick or whatever to break them up makes any real difference. I just tamp as normal.

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My Rancilio Rocky is the most aptly named device, it clumps a lot with most beans. But it's makes little difference, they are very lightly held together clumps and i don't think using a cocktail stick or whatever to break them up makes any real difference. I just tamp as normal.

 

I made a couple of shots yesterday, concentrating on tapping the portafilter gently, then levelling off, followed by decent tamping - much more consistent result I must say. I guess the clumping isn't that big a deal but with with a better grinder, the grinds "flow" into the portafilter in a more steady and distributed fashion.

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On a doserless grinder you have to spend a lot of money to get no clumps however the rr55 is about the best I have had at a non silly price, no clumps and centre of the portafilter distribution. The alternative is to get a really nice doser alla the anfim, which is a pleasure to use and produces clump free centre of the portafilter distribution every time.

Edited by coffeechap
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