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I've been using a Fracino Piccino and a Macap M5D for a few months, with varying success.

 

The grinder has 58mm flat burrs and the burrs appear to be in good condition. The machine was purchased new and has been cleaned regularly.

 

My shots vary from amazing to awful, some beans I can't dial in, some are easy, but the one recurring factor is an unpleasant sour note.

 

I use either a 15g basket with 16g in, 32 out, or a 21g basket with 21-22g in for 42ish out, more or less always around 30 seconds

 

I (think I) tamp consistently, and de clump the grind (the one thing that irks me about the grinder is the clumping) so prep and distribution seems consistent.

 

But some shots still just don't work, and are sour, and thin tasting.

 

I do get better results with my Feld2, no clumps, more expression in the cup, something approaching the tasting notes. Which has got me thinking it may be the grinder.

 

So, thoughts, the machine should be capable, the grinder isn't the best, but should be capable, I think I more or less know what I'm doing. Where is the weak link?

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Hard to say what exactly is the weak part, though I'd expect you should be able to get decent shots with them.

 

You don't have to stick to a 2:1 - if it's sour you could try pulling it a little longer it might get you more balance, though likely not help with the thin tasting part - depending on what you mean.

Have you checked if the machine is level?


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Yeah, the machine is level, I think by thin tasting I mean a lack of the mouthfeel I look for in a shot. I forgot to mention, I use a bottomless PF holder, and often get a lot of spritzing, even with what seems like a good tamp, and a well prepped grind. Obviously, the more sprizting, the more sour notes

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Plus elusive mouthfeel can be a function of varietal and roast


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Light roast coffee by any chance? Single dosing the grinder?

 

I'd say your ratio is the weak link unless your water is stunningly low in bicarbonates/carbonates.


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Plus elusive mouthfeel can be a function of varietal and roast

 

Yeah, I’m realising that, but this has happened across lots of different beans.

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Light roast coffee by any chance? Single dosing the grinder?

 

I'd say your ratio is the weak link unless your water is stunningly low in bicarbonates/carbonates.

 

Yes, usually fairly light roasts, not single dosing no.

 

when you say ratio do you mean grams in to grams out?

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Yes, usually fairly light roasts, not single dosing no.

 

when you say ratio do you mean grams in to grams out?

 

Yes. 1:2. Try 1:3. You might also try increasing the dose by an extra gram and coarsening the grind (if you can fit it in the basket properly), but you'll still want to be increasing yield while doing this.


Expobar DB Office Leva IV, La Pavoni Professional -- FOR SALE: MBK HEFT, Torr Goldfinger Titan Convex & 58.55 Flat -- Ceado E8, Lido E, Pharos VDD -- 2 and 5 cup Syphons; Vintage Nicro Metal Filter -- Gene Cafe CBR101 with Dimmer Mod and Bean Mass Probe

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Tbh it sounds like youre getting channelling.

 

Look at your puck prep first (too hard a tamp, higher chance of channels). Then check to see if you have enough headspace between coffee and showerscreen (I dose 22g in a 25g vst basket btw). Then check you're not CLUNKing the pf into the group (even the smallest clunk can cause cracks which then cause channels. Rule of thumb: if you can hear any contact after tamping, you're damaging your puck). Then check your pressure isn't too high (higher pressure, higher chance of unexplained channels)

 

You've a good enough grinder and a good enough machine to get amazing shots. Just make sure that you're not introducing unevenness to the process.


'it's all about the microbubbubbles'

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I did try a longer shot today, with not much success.

 

I think my tamping is ok, I’ve gone through too soft to too hard and now I’m in the Middle, but I might be a clunker, that’s certainly something to look at in the morning. I need to check how to change the pressure on the Piccino, that’s been on my mind today.

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Yeah definitely try lower pressure. It'll help no matter what. Get to around 6-7 bar and you'll instantly notice better shots


'it's all about the microbubbubbles'

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First shot today, no clunk going into the machine, more attention to tamping, slightly longer shot..... Huge improvement. Thanks everyone.

 

Ill make a couple more, then work out how to get the top off the machine and lower the pressure for tomorrow.

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I'm getting somewhere.....

 

I pulled some water through an empty double shot basket, the one I normally use, and there was spritz'z and spraying coming off at all angle, so I thought what chance do I have when there's coffee in it. So, I used my 21g basket, which seems to be the best quality I have, 20g, prepped carefully, no clunks going into the group, 50g out, a good drink, in all ways, best I've pulled for some time, thanks everyone.

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I don't have a pressure gauge yet, but I opened the machine up, and loosened the wotsit a nadgers (sorry for the technical jargon) and then pulled a shot like never before, so I think I'm on my way to getting the best from the machine. A pressure gauge will be here by the weekend, so I can be a bit more accurate. Thanks again.

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Temperate could be your enemy here

 

My bet is it's a little too low

 

Where are you based?


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Temperate could be your enemy here

 

My bet is it's a little too low

 

Where are you based?

 

Im in South Yorkshire. Temperature does seem variable, but either just right or too hot usually.

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Yeah definitely try lower pressure. It'll help no matter what. Get to around 6-7 bar and you'll instantly notice better shots

 

Sorry to hijack the thread slightly but can you provide more detail on what a lower pressure is going to do, I've a new machine, just set to 9barg, so interested in understanding what impact pressure has (yet anorher variable to throw into espresso)

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Lower pressure = more gentle extraction. There were some studies done pulling multiple shots and multiple pressures and a higher and more consistent extraction yield was recorded at 7 and 8 bar vs 9 and 6 bar using a mythos grinder, with an EK43 the best shots were pulled at 6 bar.


Expobar DB Office Leva IV, La Pavoni Professional -- FOR SALE: MBK HEFT, Torr Goldfinger Titan Convex & 58.55 Flat -- Ceado E8, Lido E, Pharos VDD -- 2 and 5 cup Syphons; Vintage Nicro Metal Filter -- Gene Cafe CBR101 with Dimmer Mod and Bean Mass Probe

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I’ve made massive steps in the last couple of days, the main changes being:

 

No clunking

Longer shots

Pressure reduced to 6 bar

VST basket

 

My shots now have a much more defined, balanced taste, pull smoothly and lack the sour edge that seemed to dominate.

 

16g in, 45g out of VBKaffes Sigri was a big hit this morning, I’m off to make another now.

 

thanks again for the advice everyone.

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Just to add to what has already been said...

 

Talk us through your workflow, it sounds to me that your prep work could be inconsistent.

 

For example my work flow is as follows:

 

1. Start machine cooling flush

 

2. Weigh 15g coffee

 

3. Stop machine and RDT (spray beans with mist of water to prevent static when grinding).

 

4. Grind into a small Tupperware box, put lid on and shake.

 

5. Decant from box into Lynn Weber tumbler. Dry pf with kitchen roll and empty coffee into tumbler.

 

6. Tamp and gently insert pf into group.

 

7. Extract to whatever weight.

 

8. Enjoy


Ve ve suvivius.... /E37s/ Eazytamp / tupperware pot / completely healthy relationship with coffee (and bank manager).

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Step 4 is interesting, I grind into a cup and swizzle a chop stick in it to declump

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Step 4 is interesting, I grind into a cup and swizzle a chop stick in it to declump
Works well for me,

 

Got the idea from a review of the londinium distribution tool.

 

Someone said that shaking a pot distributes just as well. Turns out it does.

 

I'll try and find the original post for you...


Ve ve suvivius.... /E37s/ Eazytamp / tupperware pot / completely healthy relationship with coffee (and bank manager).

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