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Jumbo Ratty

Choking. What to do when choking occurs

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So, Ive managed to choke my Gaggia Classic.

It was either the grind was too fine, the tamp was too hard or a combination of the two. Please advise if there is another reason for this as those are the only variables I can come up with. This is by no means a frequent occurrence, but it has happened a few times as I get used to grind / tamping

 

What I want to know is whether it can cause harm to the machine. If so, what harm will it do? I presume the pump may suffer ?

 

Should you continue letting the machine chug away for the next 20 seconds with nothing coming out in the hope it pulls through ? Sometimes it does finally produce a shot with it dripping out over the next 75 seconds or so after the initial 20 seconds of nothing.

 

Or should you abort the shot as soon as you realise it's choked ?

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It's caused when your grind is too fine usually, but it can also be overtamping.

 

There's no problem with it in terms of damaging the machine, because the OPV will just vent off the water anyway back into the reservoir. That said, there's not much point in watching a choking machine choke for a long time. Generally if it's not even started dripping by 12-15 seconds, it's probably not going to be a good shot and you could mission abort.

 

You can normally tell within the first few seconds of the tone of the pump whether the machine is/will be choked or not because you can sort of hear it passing through the puck (or not if it's choked).


Quickmill Andreja Premium---Eric's E61 Thermometer---Eureka Mignon---MBK 58.35mm---Grindenstein

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It cannot do the pump much good straining to push water through a choked shot, it's not going to add to it's life cycle and I would surmise that it will actually shorten it's life.

Just stop the shot, keep the tamp constant and vary the grind accordingly.

 

It's important just to alter one of the variables at a time but the tamp is the one thing that can remain constant, the grind and the dose make a massive difference.

 

Ian


Minima ma ma ma Eureka Zenith

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I had this happen when I went too fine / tamped too hard. But when I realised it wasn't a goer I aborted. I don't thing the espresso it makes would be very tasty if it takes 60 seconds to get a shot. This way you know there is no damage to the machine, just a handful of beans wasted...


WATER : BEANS : STUFF

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When the coffee puck offers too much resistance, all the flow goes through the OPV and protects the machine from damage, however I don't think you want to run the machine "choked" for too long or too often.

 

I found my classic a bit prone to choking when I was trying to get to a 1:2 brew ratio in 25-30s. As I ground finer to slow the shot down, it would suddenly choke. There seemed to be a step change in the OPV behaviour.

 

I have had no problems since reducing the OPV setting to 10 bar. The machine will happily go below 1:2 if required and it seems much more responsive to changes grind. I am sure my OPV was sticking and the adjustment has freed it up.


ECM Technika IV Profi (WT-WC), ECM S-Automatik 64, Aeropress, Aergrind

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Tamping too hard won't make too much difference to it choking or not.

 

The biggest factors are:

 

1. Grind - too fine and it'll choke, so loosen the grind a little

2. Quantity of ground coffee - too much and it'll choke, so reduce the amount of coffee in the basket.

 

Obviously if you're aiming to extract a reasonable amount and you're at the bottom end of what your double basket is designed for then you only have grind to play with. If you're pushing 19g into a double basket, then you could EITHER reduce the amount (down to 18g for example) OR loosen the grind a little. Not usually a good idea to do both at the same time!

 

Tamp will have SOME effect, but as long as you have a compressed puck and smooth/polished top to it, not much.


Lots of everything: machines, grinders, roaster, beans, tampers, baskets, blah, blah

However - Too much is never enough!

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If it has only happened a couple times then I would agree with MrShades above that you may have put too much coffee in, this in my experience has been the most obvious, so long as you are keeping the grind the same. Tamp pressure is a possibility but less likely as there seems to be a bit of a tamping limit unless you are particularly strong.

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Choking will produce the same effect as backflushing yes? Classics can be backflushed so can't see the harm as long as it's aborted when you realise nothing is coming out?


Input: 'Terranovered’ Versalab M3 + Mahlkonig EK43 Turkish burrs + Niche

Output: KVdW Speedster + V60 + AeroPress + Syphon + Bialetti Induction Moka Pot + Bialetti Mucka Express + jar of instant for visitors..

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Choking = too fine a grind ( and too inconsistent ) or too much coffee or both - are you weighing your dose or using scoops btw..

How much coffee was in the portafilter...


I write a blog, it's nothing to do with coffee ...

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Choking = too fine a grind

 

no boots choking is what you do in the latte art comps


AKA Toffee chips

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no boots choking is what you do in the latte art comps

 

And so it begins


I write a blog, it's nothing to do with coffee ...

https://rjwinc.wordpress.com

Instagram - rjw_inc

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Using scoops. I have weighed my scoops previously over a trail period and they where quite consistently the same weight withing reason, no more than + or - 1 gram over 32 grams.

 

I havent choked my machine using pre ground coffee even if I tamped as hard as I dared. So I imagine its too fine a grind, or inconsistent grind particle size due to my inferior grinder. But I thought that was the case.

 

My main concern is \ was that I could potentially damage the pump or some other internal part if I didn't abort the choked shot.

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Do how much are you dosing into the PF ? I'm confused is it 16 g or 32 g ?

Up to you , my advise is to ditch the scoop , it's a inconsistent way to dose coffee , if you are happy with what you are making then stick to your preferred method ...

You won't choke a machine with pre ground , it's stale and not to a correct grind for your dose and machine and not it s creating the pressure in the pf , unless you massively over doing it

When you change coffee and or grind tscoop will have a different weigh of coffee In it. There is a reason you a trial blazing by using a scoop , coz on the whole it's not a great way to effectively control dose

Edited by Mrboots2u

I write a blog, it's nothing to do with coffee ...

https://rjwinc.wordpress.com

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16 grams per PF, I always make coffee for two people, hence the 32 grams stated which is 4 scoops.

 

Are you grinding 32 g in one go , or 16 make coffee then another 16 and make coffee . Again grinding 32 g and splitting isn't going to help you achieve a consist consistent mix of particle sizes ...


I write a blog, it's nothing to do with coffee ...

https://rjwinc.wordpress.com

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Scales, scales, scales, scales.....

 

Weigh, weigh, weigh, weigh.....

 

 

Catch my drift?


Twitter @Froggystyle

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16 grams per PF, I always make coffee for two people, hence the 32 grams stated which is 4 scoops.

 

If you have scales to weigh the scoops why not just weigh the doses?

 

+/-1g per 32g may/may not mean 0.5g per 16g. E.g. if your scales are 1g resolution you might find they are actually +/-2 or 3g accuracy.

 

It would be best to weigh each dose & shot on at least 0.1g resolution scales.


“Coffee evokes the most insane reactions in people”, Rene Redzepi.

 

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32 grams of whole beans in one go in my Krups 75 in 20 seconds, upped from 17.5 seconds as grind not fine enough I thought. Yes I appreciate its a contender for the worlds worst grinder but it's something I have had for a while that was given to me as a gift and is what I have to work with :)

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It's probably is your grind and grinder but adjusting the grind and having a variable dose of coffee being used isn't helping ( via scoop amount then unknown amount in the PF , what's being retained in the grinder Are you actually splitting it equally ...)

I get you want no faff and excellent coffee but I would suggest some consistency in your approach to help ...

You will get a version of the same advise of a few people, on here , primarily because they have found it to help in the long run....

Altho not the only way to make a drink , it does allow a common language to help make adjustments and give advise .

It is entirely up to you if you want to try it though

Edited by Mrboots2u

I write a blog, it's nothing to do with coffee ...

https://rjwinc.wordpress.com

Instagram - rjw_inc

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32 grams of whole beans in one go in my Krups 75 in 20 seconds, upped from 17.5 seconds as grind not fine enough I thought. Yes I appreciate its a contender for the worlds worst grinder but it's something I have had for a while that was given to me as a gift and is what I have to work with :)

 

Well the grinder you have is the grinder you have, whether using that or if upgrading in the future, it's still best to weigh what goes in the PF rather than what goes in the grinder, some grinds will be trapped in the grinder and the water & pump won't take that retention into consideration.


“Coffee evokes the most insane reactions in people”, Rene Redzepi.

 

https://markwjburness.wordpress.com/

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The best thing you can do is spend a fiver and get some scales.


1995 'Coffee Gaggia' with full Gaggia Classic conversion, DIY PID Controller, OPV set to 9bar, Silvia steam wand, Botomless PF, VST 15g Basket, Motta 58mm Tamper and Ascaso I-Mini grinder

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What I want to know is whether it can cause harm to the machine. If so, what harm will it do? I presume the pump may suffer ?

 

Should you continue letting the machine chug away for the next 20 seconds with nothing coming out in the hope it pulls through ? Sometimes it does finally produce a shot with it dripping out over the next 75 seconds or so after the initial 20 seconds of nothing.

 

Or should you abort the shot as soon as you realise it's choked ?

 

I have scales, Im just not that anal as to want to use my scales everytime I make coffee.

My question is what harm will choking do to the choked machine and should the choked shot be aborted.

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how old is the gaggia


AKA Toffee chips

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