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Espresso settings getting finer and finer on Niche Zero


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I have had my Niche since January 2019, been maintained regularly and cleaned regularly too.

For the past 6 months every time I introduce a new espresso bean to the grinder I start at setting 10 and work forwards or backwards from there to give me 19g in 34 out in 30-35 seconds, the grinder setting has to come out to 14 and that gives a great espresso, next time I use the grinder, same setting, the espresso comes out at around 22 secs, so have to reduce the grind setting and over the life of a 250g bag can get down to maybe 6 or 7 to get a shot of 19g in 34g out, I aim for that amount with every bean I use, at the moment only use Foundry and Workshop beans and they grind with pretty much the same settings on the Niche, the problem I have outlined happens every time I use either bean, so I contacted Niche about this and James sent this reply, "This can happen over time as finer settings are required. Also with espresso there are many variables that can effect"

Found his comment rather disturbing as that reads to me that the Niche consistency reduces over time. For the first 18 months the grind settings have hovered around the 10 mark, for the past 6 months the above has been happening, have cleaned the grinder regularly and calibrated if needed, so I would like to know if anyone has experienced the same with their Niche Zero, if not then I can only presume that my Niche has developed a problem and before I go back to James about this would appreciate any input from other users.

Edited by mark8805
Missed shot time out.
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How long does 250g of beans last you? The beans change over time and generally require a finer grind as they age. Proper storage can partially mitigate this - how are you storing them?

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PMA all day!

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That reads to me like he was referring to the beans ageing over time and finer settings are required - which is true of any grinder.

 

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GS3 MP, Ceado E92 and E37s, Feldgrind. Niche.

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I am using fresh subscription beans used 7 days after delivery they are stored in air tight coffee tins. Bag of 250g can last just over a week, only 2 shots a day so only grinding twice a day every day.

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@mark8805 It might even be how you are storing them is prematurely ageing them. I have found very fresh beans, can need a finer grind for a few days after opening and then you have to grind coarser....and as they age further the grind needs to be tightened up a little....if 250g is being used over a month, then what you are seeing is normal. If it's happening very fast, then storage conditions may well be an issue....e.g. a large container with lots of headspace.

  • How long does 250g last
  • how are they stored
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Nothing here...

 

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Next time I use the grinder needing to set finer at 2 shots a day sounds more like a prep problem to me. Over 10kg of beans the grinder will need setting finer and finer. Gross effect on taste went in ~1kg for me. Changes so slow after that to much time between them to be sure about taste changes. Topical subject for me at the moment 🤣 if I use a light roast now I have to say the burrs are unimodal. Bitterness is controllable.

Are you using the grinds cup?

Edited by ajohn
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From what you've said there's nothing wrong with the grinder. The comment doesn't mean that the Niche consistency reduces over time...  

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If it's a grinder problem finding that should be pretty easy. First thing is the setting changing while it's grinding. There was a report about that early on and I didn't get stronger springs and have no idea if they achieved anything or if really needed - in that respect anyway.

2nd is there anything left in the grinder that could effect the next 19g dose. They are easy enough to open up, look and then get back to very close to the setting that was being used. Just make sure the carrier ears go back the same way round. I don't think you will see anything that can have a significant effect.

3rd Grinds can collect at the top of the spout. I find they stay there but when removed the "retention" varies more than usual as they build up again. I'd say ~0.2g max reducing over a week. Then often 0.1g or less. The brush that comes with it isn't much good for clearing this. Scaping around with a cocktail stick is much better and then maybe the brush. I get maybe 0.5g out and tend to leave it alone. I mostly use very sticky beans.

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Many thanks for all your inputs, will look at storage., have bought a tin of compressed air to get into crevices when I clean it, will just keep an eye on it.

I do everything the same every time tamping with a Kafatek Levtamp, storage could be the problem, will change and let you know.

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One thing that will cause shot to shot drift after initial tuning is oil in beans but I've only noticed it on rather oily ones. Say grinder is clean, Use oily beans and tune. There will be some drift in output as the grinder gets used to it. Then change to one with little or no oil. Same thing happens as the grinder gets used to this bean, Then go back to the oily one. It will take several shots to settle again. The bean I use most of the time is rather oily. ;) Don't ask me which way things drift as I just correct the setting after each shot. After several corrections aren't needed unless bean age creeps in - usually right at the end of a batch in an airscape.

Edited by ajohn
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@mark8805I've been experiencing similar, although not that extremely as you have. I keep going slightly up or down. I also have a Settle W270i and with the same coffee it sits tight for a couple of days. I store the beans in an airscape. The coffee was always 10 days after roast.

I keep experimenting and blame it on the coffee. However it might be puck prep as well. That said, no issues with the Sette. So far the Niche experience has been mediocre to me. I love the single dosing and limiting of coffee waste. However I find myself too frequently turning the ring. Switching coffees remains not that easy and often requires a shot or 3 to get it perfect

 

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On 05/04/2021 at 12:14, ajohn said:

Next time I use the grinder needing to set finer at 2 shots a day sounds more like a prep problem to me. Over 10kg of beans the grinder will need setting finer and finer. Gross effect on taste went in ~1kg for me. Changes so slow after that to much time between them to be sure about taste changes. Topical subject for me at the moment 🤣 if I use a light roast now I have to say the burrs are unimodal. Bitterness is controllable.

Are you using the grinds cup?

Yes done everything by the book.

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The problem with the cup is that it can mess prep up especially as it produces pretty fluffy grinds. Ideally before tamping the grinds need to be level and evenly compressed as well. If they aren't it interferes with getting and even tamping compression throughout the puck. That needs thinking about when moving straight grinds around.

I don't stir grinds often as I find that with many beans it forms small balls. Doesn't help. Static clumps don't matter.

My way with the cup is shake a bit side to side to get grinds level. Put the portafilter on, hold at 45 degrees angled down and rotate smartly ;) for some reason I find that finishes up with more level grinds more often. Then bit of a shake side to side and front to back and rotation like - don't think this achieves anything really, then 2 firm taps down from ~25 - 30mm onto the tamping mat, cup still on. Slap the top of the cup and remove. If I use a finger to level what is there I do it gently and try not to compress the grinds more than they are, or a knife or what ever.

I have also tried gently moving grinds with a finger and creating a slight concave gently and tamping ever so lightly with my thump all over the puck. It tends to make flow start in the centre of the puck. Get it rights and flow colour across the bottom of the basket is better but not easy to do. It is better than uneven grinds before tamping.

Works for me. At one point I used to tap the cup down due to static causing grinds to stick to the sides of the cup. It doesn't now but the tapping had an interesting effect. It compresses the grinds at the bottom of the cup and when transferred to the portafilter they finish up on top. What doing that and not doing that does is an indication of how fragile grinds are when they are handled.

Edited by ajohn
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15 hours ago, Luca06 said:

@mark8805I've been experiencing similar, although not that extremely as you have. I keep going slightly up or down. I also have a Settle W270i and with the same coffee it sits tight for a couple of days. I store the beans in an airscape. The coffee was always 10 days after roast.

I keep experimenting and blame it on the coffee. However it might be puck prep as well. That said, no issues with the Sette. So far the Niche experience has been mediocre to me. I love the single dosing and limiting of coffee waste. However I find myself too frequently turning the ring. Switching coffees remains not that easy and often requires a shot or 3 to get it perfect

 

I virtually never touch the ring once it's dialled in unless a bag last long enough to require fine adjustment, which it usually doesn't. The exception to this is if I use a coffee within day or two of roasting, the results aren't great and for subsequent days I'm grinding a bit coarser until a week or so when it goes a bit finer and stays there. Typically grind setting will be right first time if not second as I make an adjustment based on what I expect from whatever bean it is origin/roast/variety before the first shot. I have prior experience with a big conical and it took me a while to get used to how much you have to raise/lower the burr when adjusting but it'll come naturally in time, I remember with the Pharos I was making tiny adjustments and big adjustments and struggling to get it right within three or four shots. The need for small adjustments in short time frames after the coffee is rested is probably due to puck prep inconsistency and the burrs breaking in might not help, I found the catch cup was usually the cause of any inconsistency and started dosing direct into the portafilter with a funnel, a quick tap with the palm to level, tap down one to settle and tamp (alternatively flick through with cocktail stick and tap down to settle). The less time spent messing with grinds the better.  

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Variation on the theme: I'm finding I have to set the Niche to the extreme fine end (literally nos 1-3) to get the expected 18in36out in the "correct" timescale.. anything coarser and the coffee gushes. .. I checked the calibration (of the Niche) and it seems OK.. any thoughts?

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16 minutes ago, GrahamSPhillips said:

Variation on the theme: I'm finding I have to set the Niche to the extreme fine end (literally nos 1-3) to get the expected 18in36out in the "correct" timescale.. anything coarser and the coffee gushes. .. I checked the calibration (of the Niche) and it seems OK.. any thoughts?

Ignore the concept of "correct time". Focus on taste vs grind setting, I've had OK shots at 1:2 in a shade over 20s.

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45 minutes ago, GrahamSPhillips said:

Variation on the theme: I'm finding I have to set the Niche to the extreme fine end (literally nos 1-3) to get the expected 18in36out in the "correct" timescale.. anything coarser and the coffee gushes. .. I checked the calibration (of the Niche) and it seems OK.. any thoughts?

Checked calibration after dismantling and cleaning?

1-3 is very fine but could be normal depending on the coffee you're using. I think the lowest I've been is 2 with a medium roast.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 23/03/2021 at 05:18, Andrew from Montreal said:

Indeed. Thanks for letting me know. I was saddened when I realized that not only had I been taken advantage of, but that I wouldn’t be getting a Niche Zero! I ended up finding a legit second-hand Baratza Sette 270 instead... a definite upgrade from my 20-year-old blade grinder. Fortunately PayPal is involved. I should be fine.

Thanks again. Cheers!

Andrew

 

On 05/04/2021 at 22:52, Rob1 said:

Is the taste changing for the worse or something?

Nothing wrong with taste even at 36g out after 60 secs, usually do 19g in, 36g out in 30-35 secs.

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