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I've been having issues with my espresso pouring too fast, and I think I'm getting channels (uneven pour, sometimes one side gets blonde then watery pretty quickly). I'm paying a lot of attention to the tamping process, so I'm not sure if this is the problem. That's what I do:

  • make sure the grounds are distributed evenly
  • tamp evenly to maximum density

I read somewhere that the portafilter should be dry. However, I heat my portafilter in the grouphead, so when I take it out to prepare the coffee there's some condensation in the portafilter so it's not completely dry - any experience with this?

Thanks in advance!

  • are you sure the water coming down from the shower head is even? – SaggingRufus Apr 23 at 13:06
  • Yes pretty sure! – Lisa Apr 27 at 18:40
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If the espresso is pouring too fast it most likely means you need to grind finer, not tamp harder.

To avoid channels you first need to make sure your machine's pressure is not too high. 9 bars is the usual pressure, but there is evidence that 7 bars will reduce channeling. Many consumer machines come with 12-15 bars of pressure which is simply too high.

Then you need a proper grinder that will have a consistent grind and not produce clumps, otherwise your cake density will not be even.

Your distribution and tamping must be even. Tamping too hard is not necessary. Some people have good results only using a distributor/leveler and not tamping. Make sure your tamper/leveler matches your basket size exactly. Sometimes you need a +0.5mm or +0.3mm over the written size to actually match your basket.

Finally, make sure your shower and basket do not have obstructed holes. You should use Cafiza regularly to clean your group head, portafilter, etc.

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