This may be a novice thing to ask, but you never learn if you don't ask!

I had a macchiato the other day at a new coffee shop I was trying. The taste was really quite bitter, but what struck me oddly was how thick the shot was. VERY dark, but VERY thick, almost like cream. Any ideas on what would cause something like this? The shot was quite dark coming out, definitely not golden but otherwise looked right on...timing and everything. Thoughts?

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You got me. Never heard anything like that. Maybe too much crema would change the consistency of the shot as a whole?
Maybe the coffee is bad... Bad coffee still has oil/crema when pulled correctly. If it is a bad blend or bad/low quality beans its not going to taste good.

Also if the water is not filtered correctly that will certainly affect the quality.

Maybe the pressure is too high... pulling too much out of the coffee.

The world may never know.
No crema in the shots....just black sludge. I know it's a long shot that anyone has come across this before, and since it's not me pulling the shots I can only theorize. No way to measure or test...just made me wonder, and thought with all the coffee geniuses on here they might be able to say, "Oh yeah, it's a problem with the thrombinator!"
Could have been the canuter valve. Those do go bad from time to time..... ;-)
I'm not sure, but I know that when I was under-extract a shot, that was up-dosing and using a blend that had a lot of pulp-natural coffees it would look like mud and the taste would make your toes curl.

The up-dosing would cause the puck to under-extract if you were to follow the timing rules. I think on the braking down of the extraction, that certain characteristics of the pulp-natural coffees and the lack of certain flavors being developing because of the under-extraction caused the flavor issue.

but that's what I've experienced...
just another thought, really old coffee needs to be ground extra fine as opposed to fresh beans, as there is not static or co2 left in the bean, the structure is completely oxidized, this leaves less resistance for the water because the grounds will not expand as usual during the initial extraction, I imagine this leads to an automatic overdose when trying to grind for proper flow... which may contribute to incredibly "flat" , crema-less and bitter shots.

was the PF locked and loaded when you got there? the coffee coulda been burnt from the groupa?
Corey, I agree the espresso would have been flat, but the thickness is the interesting thing. What changes the density of the shot?
maybe the machine has never been backwashed, or it is super scaled up.... either way, I wouldn't be drinking from that machine any more ! :)

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