I've been using a bottomless portafilter in my cafe for about a year now. There is one thing I can't seem to figure out. The stream of the coffee more often than not is tilted to one side of the portafilter. It tends to lean towards the back. We've checked the machine and it's level, we've been very careful about our tamp being level for uniformity of extraction, and still haven't been able to figure it out. It tastes great, so I've haven't been too worried, but still think it's a little odd. Any suggestions?

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I didn't mean that Jason. If there is some issue with your screen it will affect the water flow. It's a pretty easy and inexpensive experiment. For all I know the 3º may be the issue.

Jason Haeger said:
I would really doubt that something removable from the head would affect the angle of the head, which is off by 3*, as stated.

Has the machine been touched by any technicians?
Yea, my guy is a La Marzocco rep, and has worked on machines for over 25 years. I think it's part of the design, which seems a little strange. The screens are fine. Well, my shots taste great and that's all the matters, but up I just wondered if anyone noticed this on their La Marzocco's. Thanks for all the advice!


Jason Haeger said:
I would really doubt that something removable from the head would affect the angle of the head, which is off by 3*, as stated.

Has the machine been touched by any technicians?
This is what I love about using bottomless portafilter baskets, all of the room it opens for dissection of shot quality. Now all of a sudden it's not enough for the shots to taste great but they all must extract perfectly and twist just so, oh and the tiger striping must have that perfect color and sheen to it.

We just switched to Synesso baskets and most of my baristas are having an easier time with them than the no name ones we were using.
i've never noticed a real difference. but nonetheless,i love our synesso so so much.

Jason Shipley said:
This is what I love about using bottomless portafilter baskets, all of the room it opens for dissection of shot quality. Now all of a sudden it's not enough for the shots to taste great but they all must extract perfectly and twist just so, oh and the tiger striping must have that perfect color and sheen to it.

We just switched to Synesso baskets and most of my baristas are having an easier time with them than the no name ones we were using.
That's a good idea....didn't even think about that.

Brian Davey said:
Try this....pull the spring out of the basket so you can go through your procedure as usual. Then prior to putting the PF into the machine rotate the basket 180 degrees. If it is the machine then nothing will change. If it is something you are doing during dosing, tamping, etc then the stream will be exactly opposite as you are used to. I say pull the spring as it will be easier to rotate. Just be careful if you polish as you may spin the whole basket. Put a light finger on it and that should fix it. Give that a shot and at least you will have some idea of where to start. In the end the taste is what matters so it is good to hear you are not too worried about it.
M said:
i've never noticed a real difference. but nonetheless,i love our synesso so so much.

Jason Shipley said:
This is what I love about using bottomless portafilter baskets, all of the room it opens for dissection of shot quality. Now all of a sudden it's not enough for the shots to taste great but they all must extract perfectly and twist just so, oh and the tiger striping must have that perfect color and sheen to it.

We just switched to Synesso baskets and most of my baristas are having an easier time with them than the no name ones we were using.

I think there is a difference, the Synesso's are much higher quality, if you look at the hole pattern in the bottom of the basket on the Synesso every hole is exactly the same, just think of the variance in flow rate that can make vs a basket the was made in just a regular machine press.
As I was reading the various posts I began to wonder if this might not be a dosing/distribution issue rather/in addition to a tamping/machine issue.

This, I am sure is not news to anyone, but I have found that the distribution/dosing methods in various barista's routines can result in various levels of compaction in the basket. For instance, sweeping the coffee from back to front any number of times, if not done carefully can result in mild packing, which can result in differing density in the basket after evenly distributed pressure from the tamp comes down on top of the whole lot of coffee, which can result in mild channeling where the water works its way through one side of the basket faster due to less resistance from the side which is less densely compacted. This mild channeling only becomes noticeable in a naked pf as the coffee falls on one side before the other due to the water working through one side of the basket faster than another side.

I began to think a lot about this issue after my friend began saying he felt like coffee ground with his Anfim was coming off under-extracted. On the naked pf the coffee would drop around the perimeter of the basket well before it dropped in the middle. I felt my friend made a good point when he said that he thought the reason was that the Anfim dropped the coffee into a perfect cone in the basket. When the barista comes straight down on this elevated coffee cone with the tamp this creates a higher concentration of density in the middle of the basket resulting in the water working its way around the outside of the inner density and not fully extracting the coffee.

Just something I have been thinking about....
Rachel- From the first blind filter cut at La Marzocco, they are funny. If you still haven't solved this mystery, I'd call my font of La Marzocco knowledge...John Blackwell. He's a good guy and for 20 years my 'go-to' solution guy for La Marzocco (I owned the La Marzocco sales/service company for Oregon). You can call him at Franke Coffee Systems in Seattle at 206-784-9563 x19 I think everyone here has good sequential steps, but it sounds like you've run thru them.

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