I have searched for this but can't find an answer as of yet. I am trying my very first shots today but having some difficulty. In every video about making espresso, they fill the basket over the top and brush off the excess leaving it flat and level with the top before tamping. I am using a single shot basket and trying this method but there ends up being too much coffee in it every time. The portafilter won't fit in the group because the coffee hits the shower screen.

I am putting what I think to probably be way to much pressure when tamping but it just won't go down far enough to fit easily. I am sure it is probably something very simple to trained baristas, but I am certainly not one hehe.

Any help would be much appreciated!

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What type of single basket are you using?  I know there are a couple types out there, and I've had experience (and a great deal of success) with the "cone-shaped" single basket.  I did not have to fill the single basket to the brim to get the proper amount of coffee as you might see with a standard double basket.  Ideally you should weigh the amount of coffee you are using, and filling to the brim is only volumetric (although it can be consistent if practiced) and does not help you trouble shoot when needed.

Try to weigh the amount of coffee used, and shoot for between 7-9 grams, and adjust your grind accordingly.  Leveling off can be tricky without having the basket filled, so often I'll tap it with my hand a couple times to settle and distribute, or even bend my finger back a bit and shove it down there just to distribute the grounds to the edges.

As far as the tamping, you shouldn't have to tamp harder to get the puck to not scrape along the screen.  If you have the proper amount of coffee you should just be able to tamp anywhere up to the traditional 30lbs of pressure and be fine.  Keep experimenting!

I do have the cone shaped single basket, just overfilling I guess. I now have a scale on order so I will be able to tell how much I need. I may play with a double shot a few times until then, just hate wasting more coffee if I don't have to hehe.

Thanks a bunch!

Hi Neal.

I like Daniel's advice. Sorry to say, not a whole lot of feedback on using the single basket. I've maybe pulled 3-4 shots on one, tops. Most cafe's never use them, and most of those that do don't use them properly.

Work the double and develop your technique there, then revisit the single.

single shot portafilters are definitely more challenging than a double, and takes a different, gentler technique than dosing a double

 

singles taste great too.

don't ditch your single pf, learn to conquer it and you will have a skill that a lot of other Baristas dont have.

 

just sayin.

 

 

having said that......if you're just learning bar, conquer the double first....then move on to the more challenging single shot basket/pf

Thanks for the advice all,

This morning I had a little time so I played with some double shots. After trying a couple of times with the grind too course, I got close. Just before I had to head to work I got a shot of 2 oz that was around 32 second, it actually looked half way like it should so I am happy hehe. Given another chance I think I could have come close to a drinkable shot. That 32 second one was very bitter as well, wonder if I didn't flush enough before it?

On a brighter note, some of the courser ground that I had done, I used for my drip coffee this morning. Wow what a difference to have fresh ground coffee! It took all the bitter taste out of it and even seems to have a tad bit of a chocolaty flavor just as described. Now if I can just get my espresso that good.

Now that the weekend has come I should have more time to play with it and get better, I hope.

Thanks again!

Hey Neal,

I just wanted to add something to this topic. Sometimes looks can be deceiving when it comes to dosing/tamping. I see a lot of new baristas putting far too much coffee and then using a courser grind to compensate. Try filling the porta filter so that the mound comes out over the lip but not so much that the entire basket is full with a mound on top. Your goal should be to have no excess coffee after you've smoothed over the mound and filled in any cracks.

Ryan

Depends on what flavors you want to get out of your espresso. I typically overpack/underpull my espresso when pulling a double to bring out some of the sweeter flavors. It can be much more difficult with the single, as the method is different as others have said you can't jam pack a single basket and pull just about anything out of it! 

 

I would try to pull your shots somewhere around 25 seconds. I'm using simonelli aurelia and i've had best luck at that time with a double at about 17 grams.

And for the single, Don't knock it down, just scrape it off and see how that works.

Neal said:

Thanks for the advice all,

This morning I had a little time so I played with some double shots. After trying a couple of times with the grind too course, I got close. Just before I had to head to work I got a shot of 2 oz that was around 32 second, it actually looked half way like it should so I am happy hehe. Given another chance I think I could have come close to a drinkable shot. That 32 second one was very bitter as well, wonder if I didn't flush enough before it?

On a brighter note, some of the courser ground that I had done, I used for my drip coffee this morning. Wow what a difference to have fresh ground coffee! It took all the bitter taste out of it and even seems to have a tad bit of a chocolaty flavor just as described. Now if I can just get my espresso that good.

Now that the weekend has come I should have more time to play with it and get better, I hope.

Thanks again!

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