How to stop espresso channeling?
To avoid espresso channeling, make sure your portafilter baskets are dry, avoid tapping the naked portafilter with water, and don’t use too much pressure when you press the shot.
If you have a good technique, it should be easy for you to control the amount of water in the coffee.
Use the distribution tool for this purpose.
You can also try using a different type of filter (such as a french press) or brew more shots at once.
What is espresso channeling?
Espresso channeling is an espresso-making process, in which the pressure of the water comes out from the hot portafilter and flows into the coffee grounds.
It’s an extraction process to have a perfect shot and bold flavors of a fresh coffee.
The problem occurs when the high pressure of the water flows through the portafilter and the low resistance of the paper filters.
It causes the water to flow directly into the coffee without passing through the coffee bed.
So, if you want to have a successful espresso coffee extraction, you need to prevent the water from flowing into the coffee.
To ensure the use of the right amount of coffee.
Ensuring the right amount of coffee can help you stop espresso channeling. You will get a weak shot when you put too little coffee in the portafilter basket.
On the other hand, putting too much coffee in the portafilter basket will result in a bitter coffee.
The best way to ensure the correct amount of coffee is to measure it before brewing.
Measure the weight of the coffee beans and add the appropriate quantity of water. Don’t forget to leave some space between the coffee and the top of the portafilter.
Avoid tapping on the sides of the portafilter.
Most baristas use a nutating technique to distribute the coffee evenly.
But, this movement can cause the water to go through the coffee instead of staying inside.
Make sure not to tap the portafilter while it’s still wet. If you do so, you’ll end up with a wavy line on the surface of the coffee.
It means that the water has gone through the coffee.
Using the right amount of water
When making espresso, you need to consider how much water to use.
There are two ways to determine the correct amount of water:
1. The first method is based on the strength of the coffee.
2. The second method is based on the density of the coffee.
When you want to have clarity of flavor, you should use less water.
However, if you want a strong coffee, you should use more water.
In general, we recommend using one tablespoon of water per cup of ground coffee.
Using enough and even pressure during tamping
The pressure conducted by the espresso machine can affect the quality of the coffee.
For example, if you apply too much pressure, you may have a crema that looks like foam.
And if you apply too little pressure, you may end with a thin layer of coffee.
Always check the brew pressure gauge and temperature to produce a good brew ratio.
Avoiding knock the filter holder to avoid fracturing the puck
If you don’t pay attention to these things, you might break your pucks or the filter holder.
To avoid this, make sure that you don’t touch the bottom part of the portafilters when you remove the filter.
It must be a perfectly level position.
Also, try not to move the portafilter quickly. It could damage the puck.
Always clean the portafilter after each use.
Cleaning the portafilter is essential for maintaining its performance.
Coffee performance and dose levels
The level of consistency depends on the type of grinder you’re using. If you’re using a burr grinder, make sure to grind your coffee beans finely.
Otherwise, if you’re using a blade grinder, make sure you don’t over grind them.
We recommend grinding your coffee beans just before preparing an espresso. You can also use a mill grinder to design your coffee.
Another thing to remember is that you shouldn’t use preground coffee.
Preground coffee contains oils that will prevent the extraction process from properly.
It would help if you always ground your coffee beans yourself. It’s easier than you think!
Don’t forget to keep your coffee beans stored in airtight containers.
How do you distribute coffee evenly?
- First, do the ground coffee distribution.
- Then, fill the portafilter with hot water.
- Now, pour the water into the portafilter slowly.
- After pouring the water, wait until the water reaches the top of the portafilter.
- At this point, you should see the water level rise.
- Once you know the water level has risen, start pressing down the lever.
- As soon as you press the lever, let go of the lever immediately.
- Do this until the water level increases to the top of the portafilter.
This step ensures that the coffee grounds get distributed evenly throughout the portafilter chamber.
Signs of coffee channeling
The common signs of coffee channeling are:
- A dark ring around the rim of the portafilter
- A thickened layer of coffee at the center of the portafilter
- An unevenly colored coffee
These signs indicate that there has been some pesky issue with the brewing process.
In most cases, it’s by improper maintenance of the equipment.
However, sometimes it happens because of user error.
What is pre-infusion espresso?
Pre-infusion is an espresso already brewed before being infused with coffee beans. It allows for better extraction of flavor into the coffee.
The extraction time is shorter, which means less caffeine.
But, the downside is that it takes longer to prepare.
Why does my espresso taste bitter?
There are many reasons why your espresso tastes bitter.
One of the leading causes is the presence of bad coffee.
- Bad coffee can cause bitterness due to oxidation.
If you want to know how to fix this problem, read our article about fixing bitter-tasting espresso.
- Another reason is the presence of too much milk.
Milk makes espresso taste sweet. But when you add too much milk, the sweetness masks the bitterness.
To avoid this, we suggest adding only half or one-third of the amount of milk recommended by the manufacturer.
It’s best to measure the milk first so you don’t have extra milk leftovers.
Other factors that may contribute to bitterness include:
- Too little water
- Overheating the machine
- Using cold water instead of room temperature water
- Not cleaning the filter basket after each use
Difference between bitterness
It is a massive difference between bitter and non-bitter coffees. Bitter coffee has a very sharp taste.
On the other hand, non-bitter coffee tastes sweet. When you drink bitter coffee, it gives you a feeling of satisfaction.
Non-bitter coffee is more suitable for drinking during the day.
How hard should you tamp espresso?
Just give the right amount of pressure.
Tamping is compressing coffee grounds into the filter basket of an espresso machine.
The amount of pressure applied during tamping determines how much water passes through the coffee grounds, which affects the flavor of the shot.
Too little pressure results in weak shots, while too much pressure may cause the coffee grounds to clog the portafilter.
You can use a convex tamper or fitting tamper for tamping.
Avoiding espresso channeling will help you make delicious espresso every single time. We hope these tips helped you learn how to prevent espresso channeling.