Water on Puck

For generic information on making espresso alt.coffee, coffee geek, Sweet Maria's web site and many others excel at this tutorial level of information. However, if you've been there and done that but have specific questions and concerns about getting the best espresso on the S1/VII/Mini-VII/Dream/Dream T, post those topics here.
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ddunn

Water on Puck

Post by ddunn » Tue Jul 27, 2004 7:30 am

After pulling a shot I end up with water standing on top of the puck. Any ideas why? The shots are good as far as body, creama, etc., and when knocked out the puck comes out in one piece.

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Re: Water on Puck

Post by chas » Tue Jul 27, 2004 11:36 pm

ddunn wrote:After pulling a shot I end up with water standing on top of the puck. Any ideas why? The shots are good as far as body, creama, etc., and when knocked out the puck comes out in one piece.
1) Add a little more coffee so there's no room for water on top of the puck.
2) So long as the coffee tastes fine, don't worry about it.
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Re: Water on Puck

Post by wgaggl » Wed Sep 01, 2004 12:31 pm

ddunn wrote:After pulling a shot I end up with water standing on top of the puck. Any ideas why? The shots are good as far as body, creama, etc., and when knocked out the puck comes out in one piece.
I, also, end up with always having water on the puck after the shot. I am pretty satisfied with the quality of the espresso, but I am really wondring about that water, because everywhere I read the puck should be dry.

Overfilling the portafilter doesn't seem to be a good solution, since the coffee needs to have room to expand (David Schomer also writes about that). So there should be about 3mm from top of the dry puck to shower head to allow coffee for expansion during brewing.

This water issue leaves me wondring, especially since you have to be careful not to make a mess on the countertop when dumping the wet puck.

Let's start a poll about how many people have water on the puck with the S1. :)

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Post by BobG » Thu Sep 02, 2004 1:45 am

I generally get no water on the puck when using fresh Vivace Vita or his Decaf blend.

I have gotten water on the puck with blends that I tried but hadn't used multiple times and/or where I suspect the coffee was old (as in once or twice I purchased coffee from the supermarket).

If you are using the factory config. of the screens, then make sure that your tamped coffee is slightly above the line on the basket. I always weigh my beans, so once you find the right amount for that specific blend then you should be set (probably from 17.5 to 20 grams). I generally tamp around 30 lbs.

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Water on the puck

Post by wgaggl » Thu Sep 02, 2004 9:58 am

Thanks for the hint with the blends. I'll watch that for different blends.

I also noticed that I have less water if using a coarser grind (of course on the downside then the dispencing process speeds up to).

W.

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Post by chas » Fri Sep 03, 2004 7:55 am

Yes, it does seem to vary a lot by brand, blend, roast, and age. Even with the coffee tamped to the same spot on the side of the PF basket every time, I am amazed at the range of particle sizes that still result in a 25 sec pour with the same tamp pressure. One would think that larger particle sizes would always have a quicker pour. While usually true, not always.

Normally it does seem like the small particle size blends are normally the ones to exhibit soupy pucks. Yet most of these types are my favorites. These type of coffees are also most compressible which may explain why the soupy pucks. The water fills the space between the surface of the coffee and the dispersion screen. If there is space there and the grind is fine it sits there and does not run through. Due to the double shower screens that LaSpaz uses I think only the water above the screens gets sucked back through the 3-way. If there is water between the top of the coffee and the dispersion screen and the coffee is too fine for it to run through, it will just sit there.

On the up side, I have never noticed this to correlate to anything bad with the resulting shot. My conclusion:

1) Add a little more coffee so long as you can get the PF locked without getting resisitance frm the coffee hitting the shower screen.

OR

2) Coffee tastes good, fuggedaboutit.
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Re: Water on Puck

Post by Mizspresso » Mon Sep 15, 2008 2:11 am

I read this thread early on when I first bought the V2. I almost always end up with water on the puck, but didn't worry about it. I just enjoyed the good coffee. Still, I do wonder.

I just made an Americano for a friend and pulled the shot into a shot glass instead of directly into the cup as I usually do. The shot only delivered a little over an ounce even though I was pulling a double. Curious, I locked the empty portafilter into place and pulled a double. Right on 2 oz exactly.

So, I was wondering, should I adjust the measure on the machine and set it to run closer to 3 ounces of water through to make up for the amount left behind?

I admit, I haven't tried this experiment with other coffees; just wondering if anyone has thoughts.

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Re: Water on Puck

Post by chas » Mon Sep 15, 2008 7:34 am

Yes
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Re: Water on Puck

Post by michael » Mon Sep 15, 2008 10:13 am

i always thought that when i have the soupy - wet - puck its because i have ground a bit too fine, but often the soupy finish gives me a great shot at 25 to 30 seconds. i dont think it matters 8)

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Re: Water on Puck

Post by JohnB » Mon Sep 15, 2008 10:05 pm

I see soupy pucks much more often with the pre infusion. Previously it would only happen once in a while but with the p/i turned on it is a regular occurrence.
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Re: Water on Puck

Post by PBL » Fri Oct 03, 2008 10:07 pm

Yeh, also get water on the puck. And as Chas has suggested I don't worry about the water on the puck. As for the mess my sink is inches away and I use the garberator as my knock out block. Therefore no mess.

Now back to the discussion. The facts appear to be:
The amount of water on the puck is not consistent.
There does not appear to be any patterns related to coffee, grind (except for a coarse grind which seems to let it drip quicker), tamper pressure, etc.
The water is pressure fed by the pump.

The logical answer is that it is an excess of water issue, i.e. there is more water in the area behind the grinds than has been pumped through. Likely cause is the pump cycling off as the the pre measured water shot is pumped into the system. I would speculate that at the end of the pump cycle, some water (can be almost none to lets say about 0.25 ounces that is fed onto the top of the puck by gravity alone. This would reresent what was in the cycle that had not been pumped through after the cycle shuts down.
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Re: Water on Puck

Post by Weska » Sun Oct 12, 2008 4:23 pm

The only generalization that seems to hold is that many of us end up with wet pucks after the shot.

In my case, it's glistening with dampness to outright soupy. Knocking the puck out can be a bit sloppy, especially in the latter case. As is usual, my pre-infusion experience runs counter to JohnB's: since pre-infusion I tend to get only the glistening variety, and spent pucks are holding together better when I knock them out.

Since I like the coffee, I don't consider the wet pucks an indicator of a problem or a correlate of taste, good or bad.
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Re: Water on Puck

Post by JohnB » Mon Oct 20, 2008 9:20 pm

I've been watching for the wet pucks since posting in this thread. Haven't been using the p/i lately & haven't seen many wet pucks. Maybe one out of 6-8 pucks will be wet.
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Re: Water on Puck

Post by charlesaf3 » Tue Mar 10, 2009 8:10 pm

I consistently get wetter pucks on the Vivaldi - I'd guess due to the 53mm, tall basket
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Re: Water on Puck

Post by JohnB » Tue Mar 10, 2009 8:25 pm

charlesaf3 wrote:I consistently get wetter pucks on the Vivaldi - I'd guess due to the 53mm, tall basket
If it was just the basket I'd see them all the time also. Do you have the progressive or programmable pre infusion?
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Re: Water on Puck

Post by Endo » Tue Mar 10, 2009 9:29 pm

I find this depends a lot on bean type and freshness.

But I suspect (like you) the tall puck tends to magnify these effects on the Vivaldi.
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Re: Water on Puck

Post by JohnB » Tue Mar 10, 2009 9:59 pm

My wettest pucks have been singles w/8g doses. Not a particularly tall puck.
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Re: Water on Puck

Post by Endo » Tue Mar 10, 2009 10:11 pm

JohnB wrote:My wettest pucks have been singles w/8g doses. Not a particularly tall puck.
Finer grind I suspect? That will likely keep more water on the surface too.
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Re: Water on Puck

Post by charlesaf3 » Tue Mar 10, 2009 10:13 pm

pucks have become wetter since the infuser - noticeably - but the La Spaz has always been much wetter than my livia (easiest point of comparison)
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Re: Water on Puck

Post by Endo » Tue Mar 10, 2009 11:08 pm

charlesaf3 wrote:pucks have become wetter since the infuser - noticeably - but the La Spaz has always been much wetter than my livia (easiest point of comparison)
That's possible. Perhaps the 3-way valve closes back up before the progressive pre-infusion has completely emptied. So a little p/i water is left on top of the puck at the end? Just a theory.

If it's only an after-effect, I wouldn't worry about it since it won't affect taste.
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Re: Water on Puck

Post by charlesaf3 » Tue Mar 10, 2009 11:55 pm

yeah, doesn't bother me, just something I've noted. I like your theory - makes sense that the end of that spring can't push through the 3 way or some such.
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