Rancilio grinder does not grind fine enough for espresso
For about 3 years I've been able to grind fine enough for good espresso. All of a sudden, I can't get a fine grind. I've unscrewed the top grinder, cleaned out the machine, rescrewed the top grinder down as tight as possible and the grind is even worse. The two bur grinders don't seem to get close enough to each other to grind fine. The threads are screwing in properly (not cross-threaded). Any ideas?
Re: Rancilio grinder does not grind fine enough for...
After taking the top burr off several times and rescrewing it, I finally was able to exert enough force to get it to turn a couple of extra turns. Evidently there was some oil or coffee gunk (although I could see none) that snagged the bur. Now it appears to work as before.
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Generally, this is not a problem with the machine but with how you're loading the coffee! Sounds typical of one of these problems:-
Not enough coffee in the basket Coffee should be filled and tamped to about 3mm below the rim. Coffee grind not fine enough (too coarse)
Do you grind your own coffee or buy ready-ground? If buying ready-ground, make sure it is for espresso (fine) and not for filter or plunger.
If you have your own grinder, (like the Sunbeam Conical Grinder), then make sure the coffee hopper on top is securely connected to the grinder. I'd been using mine for years on the the finest grind (1) not realising the hopper wan't on right. Only discovered it when I took it apart to clean. Now my grinder is on 9-10 to grind for espresso. Coffee not tampered down hard enough
You do need to provide a reasonable degree of pressure to tamp the coffee down just right. Group head not turned tight enough
Push the group handle as far to the right as it will go, then ease it back just a fraction to have the right pressure.
The Rancilio Rocky coffee grinder is a superb, highly recommended machine, but its doser is pretty useless in the home. First reason: you want to grind coffee instants before you brew or pull your espresso shot; otherwise, the grinds just lose aromatics and flavor. The doser only works for multiple doses, so you're better off just grinding the amount you need each time. If you're buying a Rocky, get the doserless model.
If you have the doser model, like I do, you also find that the vanes which sweep the coffee into your portafilter or cone leave a layer of grounds on the doser floor. If not cleaned out, they turn rancid. There are coffee web sites with fairly complicated instructions on how to modify the vanes to do a clean sweep. Here's the simple way:
Flip up the doser cover, and spin the vanes while pressing your finger lightly on the outer top edge of one vane. The vanes have enough play so the pressure brings one into light contact with the doser floor, sweeping 99% of the grounds into your waiting portafilter.
Adjust the grind of the coffee you are using finer, I don't know what type of grinder you are using but I will assume it is a commercial one. Adjust it about 2 numbers towards fine that will be a good start.
There could be a piece broken around the chute where it comes out of the grinder and enters the grounds chamber. There is a rectangular opening in the plastic that can get broken causing the grounds to enter the machine.
This model grinder won't do espresso. There is a DIY mod available online that involves disassembling the machine, and recalibrating the burrs to produce a finer grind. I did it on mine, it was definitely better, but it's not going to get you to the coveted 30 second pull for your espresso. Search on Starbucks Barista Grinder Mod. It is a great grinder otherwise, very reliable.
Try backwashing the group with purocaff. Are you using coffee ground at the store or do you grind just before use? How fresh is the coffee less than a month or more? If more than a month(whole beans) it is no longer useful. If more than a 3 days(ground), that is stale also. It will be very diffucult to get good espresso from that(not impossible, but difficult).
If using store ground, it cannot be ground older than a week(coffee loses flavor and taste minutes after being ground). Try getting less coffee more often and adjust the grind setting that you use. If you have always used setting 3 on the store grinder try 2.5. If grinding at home adjust the settings on the grinder to a slightly coarser grind and fill the portafilter slightly over the top of the basket, now tamp to the indent(fill line) in the basket. that should be sufficient to pull a great shot.
to get starting point you adjust burrs to touch each other. when they touch each other you have finest grinding, after you hear metal voice you turn back 3 dots and grind only for 1 dose. you check it, if it goes to slow, you go one more back and clean gruinder, THAN you grind 1 dose more. 2 or 3 times and you will get perfect grinding.
because it didn't work a wilde the upper burr holder could be jammed, carefully take id off, clean it good and then put it back until you touch lower burr with the upper.
to get starting point you adjust burrs to touch each other. when they
touch each other you have finest grinding, after you hear metal voice
you turn back 3 dots and grind only for 1 dose. you check it, if it
goes to slow, you go one more back and clean grinder, THAN you grind 1
dose more. 2 or 3 times and you will get perfect grinding.
I had a problem like this with my first proper Gaggia. Cutting a long story short I found that the coffee I was using wasn't ground finely enough. The Illy stuff that comes in cans was ok, but pretty much everything else preground (incuding Lavazza!) was too coarse.
Sidestep the problem by getting yourslef a Rancilio Rocky grinder then you can adjust the grind in TINY increments for your perfect coffee moment...