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I have a Pasquini Livia 90 and a Baratza Vario Ceramic grinder.

I'm finding that the only way to tame my extraction speed is by over dosing the basket. Specifically, by loading the basket so heavily that it pushes up against the shower screen.

If I use a double shot basket, I have to load 21+ grams to get the extraction down to a brew ratio of 2:3. Basically, I have to get it to the point where I'm struggling to insert the portafilter, otherwise the extraction speed is just incredibly fast. At the recommended starting point for the Vario grinder for espresso, (2Q), it takes about 7 seconds for an extraction using 16 grams of coffee in a double basket.

If I stick to the recommended doses, and give the coffee some headroom from the shower screen, I end up having to use the finest possible setting (1A - 1E) on my grinder to 'slow the flow'. This results in extremely overextracted tasting coffee, which makes sense because the grind is like powdered sugar at that point.

What am I missing here?

  • Do you see evidence of donut extraction or channeling? How are you tamping? Are you pre-infusing? Try a "naked" (bottomless) portafilter to see more of the action. This article says that you want the puck to be at the diffusion screen. Here's some thoughts from Home-Barista about dialing in a new machine. Just some brainstorming... – hoc_age Jun 12 '15 at 18:49
  • When you use the fine setting, how long does it take to pull a double shot? – Patrick Sebastien Jun 13 '15 at 15:15
  • @hoc_age - No channeling or donut extraction. Tamp with 30lbs. No pre-infusion - not sure how to achieve this on my machine. I am using bottomless - the flow looks even and color is fine. – pakeha Jun 17 '15 at 5:15
  • @PatrickSebastien If I go completely finest setting, it still depends on the size of the dose. At 18g I can stall the machine with a fine setting. At 16g, it will extract quickly but taste awful. For example tonight, using a reasonable but quite fine setting. At 18 grams, I get a 30ml extraction in 30 seconds. This is about what I want. At 16 grams with the same grind in a double basket (this size dose allows the portafilter to fit into the machine pretty well), I get a 60ml extraction in 10 seconds. It seems like dose is just waaaaayy over-represented in my extraction time. Confusing to me. – pakeha Jun 17 '15 at 5:15
  • I've tried three sizes of basket. Same deal - only way to slow the flow is to totally overpack the basket such that its pushing hard up against the shower screen. – pakeha Jun 17 '15 at 5:18
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I would not exceed 20 grams on a twenty gram basket. Weird things start to happen.

I would make your grind finer - and simply stop your shot quicker. If it tastes overextracted, then stop your shot even quicker the next time. Adjust accordingly until you get the sweetest shot you possibly can.

Your general espresso recipe for a well roasted coffee should be somewhere around:

20 grams of coffee in extracted for 26 seconds A yield of around 30 grams of espresso

I hope this helps and good luck!

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