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tkam
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OK, starting to dial in the Flair 58 and running into two learning curve issues.

First, when pulling shots it is taking way too long 1.3 minutes and way too much force 10psi, to pull a full shot. I think I need to work on the grind setting, perhaps the setting is dialed in too fine. I am trying to figure out the settings as I move the Niche back and forth between pour over and espresso.

Second, once I have finished the shot, I still have a puddle of water on the top of the 54mm portafilter's screen. Oddly enough the puck seems to be relatively solid so it must mean I am getting most of the water through the grounds.  

Any suggestions? 

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11 minutes ago, Augsburger said:

OK, starting to dial in the Flair 58 and running into two learning curve issues.

First, when pulling shots it is taking way too long 1.3 minutes and way too much force 10psi, to pull a full shot. I think I need to work on the grind setting, perhaps the setting is dialed in too fine. I am trying to figure out the settings as I move the Niche back and forth between pour over and espresso.

Second, once I have finished the shot, I still have a puddle of water on the top of the 54mm portafilter's screen. Oddly enough the puck seems to be relatively solid so it must mean I am getting most of the water through the grounds.  

Any suggestions? 

I've definitely heard from people who know more about espresso than me not to worry about the spent puck.

It does however seem like you're going too fine -- I forget whether the Flair 58 has a bottomless portafilter stock but even if it comes with a spout, you can still tell that there's major channeling if the flow stops and starts. Ultimately when there's channeling it manifests as bitterness in the finished shot. Assuming good distribution, most of the time your espresso tastes too bitter, it's due to grinding too finely.

Now, it sounds like the grind is too fine regardless of distribution but I would recommend looking into that a bit. A common "go-to" response would be WDT (Weiss Distribution Technique) plus an appropriately sized funnel -- I have the Levercraft WDT tool and that works like a charm. I do think that if you can get a Weber Blind Shaker (works with the 58mm baskets), that will be quicker than a WDT, which can be a bit inconvenient for morning espresso.

I'm sure Jacob has some insights regarding the particulars of a Niche -> Flair 58 setup. Good luck!

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^^^ this as well. This family of shots can reduce bitterness; I'd say the Slayer recipe tends to require finer grinds but definitely decide on the recipe before dialing in the grind setting:

Blooming espresso: preinfuse to 4 bars then stop; wait for 30 seconds; slowly ramp up to brewing pressure of 7-9 bars

Slayer machine-type preinfusion: 15s of 2.5-4 bar, then ramp up to brewing pressure

Londinium: fast preinfusion (I'd imagine you'd be pushing notably faster in this case on the Flair 58) to 3 bars, hold at 3 for 10s, then ramp up to brewing pressure (in this case, 8 bars); allow the brewing pressure to fall at about 1 bar/10s. Not sure how feasible this is on a springless manual.

 

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Sounds to me like the grind is a bit too fine on the Niche.  I'm bouncing between a Chemex/pour over where I take it past the 50 setting to the edge of the hinge on the plastic lid.  

For espresso I'm anywhere between 14 and 12.  

It requires a reasonable amount of grip and a bit of force to go down from pour over to espresso up to a point and then it becomes easier for some reason.  Very little effort to go the opposite direction from espresso to pour over.  

The bouncing back and forth was giving me a bit of grief by I've got it down pretty well now.  Dialing in a fresh set of espresso beans...well that takes a bit of doing for me.

HS

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@Grawk, HemiSam, Covered_Ears, thanks guys. Yes, problem was I changed too many variables at once. Grind was set waaay too fine, overcompensated when changing from pour over to espresso.  Did the pre infusion but did not give enough time.

Changes will be implemented after my upcoming wine break.

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My Memli order showed up just in time for the weekend.  Sipping a Columbian El Vergel Lagoon Java pour over.  There's a lot going on with this cup...very sweet and fruity.  

He also kindly roasted a Kenyan Kiunyu Washed for espresso that made a nice cup yesterday.  I have to see the East African coffees are the sweet spot for me.  I was a bit sloppy with the grind as I accidentally read a white wax mark I've made to ensure things stay in sink on the Niche vs the small chrome nipple.  It'll be better this afternoon but it was still delicious despite my rushing.

Love me a weekend...

HS

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Just saw this, Greg; your grind is definitely too fine, as everybody else said. My basic recipe is a 1:2.5 at 4-6 bar in about 35-40 seconds, not including pre infusion. My recipe varies, but I almost always pull the lever gently, with no pressure indicated, until I see the first signs of coffee in my shot mirror (pre infusion), and then I pull with pressure. I’m somewhere around a 15 on the Niche (mine is calibrated just a smidge past the calibration marking).

I’ve done the “too many variables at once” plenty. It’s easy to do. If you find that you are getting sour shots with the coarser grind I would updose a little. I try to not make tamp pressure part of the dial in (It’s why I switched to a calibrated tamper), but if it’s sour at the new grind setting you could try tamping just a little harder. 

Edited by EdipisReks1
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Getting better by the day. Niche grind setting dialed in at least for the Marmot beans and the pull protocol is getting refined and better by the day. If nothing else the pucks are coming out picture perfect so there's that.  Between the guidance from this thread and Hoffman the Flair learning curve has been quite steep.  The only drawback is that I get so excited with my progress that I keep making new cups of espresso back to back and get such a caffeine buzz I would swear someone spiked my morning oat milk with amphetamines. Another drawback is that my 250 Mbps fiber optic speeds are too slow and I am now searching for a provider who can provide Teraflop downloads. I can now attest that I am three times more productive than I was before my Flair 58 purchase.

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The Flair 58 is *brutally* honest. I can’t imagine a more transparent espresso device, except for my Pro2* :) I mean, it is “what you put in is what you get out” at every single stage. Of course that is a double-edged sword; when it comes together, though, it’s magic.

I really love mine, and I’m glad you are getting it dialed in!

*The Pro2 not having a heating element and all. Actually the standard brewheads are even more brutal than that because they don’t have the same thermal mass as the Pro2 brewhead. But you get out what you put in: no more, no less. 

Edited by EdipisReks1
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That's awesome, Augsburger.  

I also found the learning curve on espresso to be a bit steeper than I expected and despite all the video watching and reading I did, it still amazes me how much changes over time (i.e. w/o changing beans) and from coffee to coffee.  Very dynamic and alive if you will.  Cool when it is not torturing you...and very nifty when you really nail a pour.

Happy caffeinating...

HS

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