Technical FAQs

  • If you're using a SB machine, check that you're not trying to brew with the steam setting on. 
  • If using a HX machine, purge some water to pull new water into the HX tube.
  • If using a Lever machine, group purging may be required.
  • If using a DB machine, check that the brew temperature setting on the PID is set between 93 and 95 degrees.
  • Check that beans are fresh.
  • The grind may be too coarse. Turn your grinder collar anti-clockwise (to a small number) to decrease the grind size.
  • Check your distribution of the grounds in the basket. Fill the basket as evenly as you can.
  • Make sure your tamp is firm and even and only tamp once as over-tamping can break the puck and cause channelling.
  • Start by finding your coffee grinder's zero point.  The zero point is where the top and bottom burrs touch and lock together. Some people expect the zero on the collar to align with the zero point but this isn't usually the case. 
  • To find your grinder's zero point you need to start with an empty and clean grinder. Rotate the collar until the top and bottom burrs touch. This is your grinder's zero point.
  • After finding the zero point, back off by rotating the collar 1/8 of a turn. Try a grind at this setting, then tune in the grinder in. For a guide to tuning in a grinder see the 10 Step Espresso Workflow on my Training Page.
  • I see this regularly and here's the reason. If you move the grinder from coarse back to fine without pulsing at intervals you will get large bean fragments caught between the burrs. 
  • If this happens, back off to coarse, then pulse the grinder, at small (1cm) intervals, as you work your way back to fine.   
  • If you still can’t produce a fine grind and cannot turn the collar any further first check for restrictors in the adjustment collar and remove them. If the problem is still there you need to clean out the grinder. 
  • To clean out the grinder you need to unplug the grinder, remove the hopper, unscrew the collar, tip the grinder to empty out the beans, then reassemble. 
  • For a fool proof method from here follow the "How do I set up my grinder for the first time?" procedure above.
  • Check that the water tank hasn't run dry as all of my coffee machines automatically turn off when water runs low.
  • If water is in the tank, turn the machine off, pull the tank out and put it back in to re-rest the internal low water switch, then turn the machine on again. If it doesn't work the first time, try again. Sometimes the water tank will need a little jiggle. 
  • You may have too much coffee in your PF so check that the dose is correct - I recommend 21g for a 20g precision basket.
  • The grind may be too fine. Turn your grinder collar clockwise (to a bigger number)  to increase the grind size.
  • All steam arms will have some condensed water.  before steaming, purge the steam wand for 2-3 seconds until you see dry steam, or the steam arm stops spluttering.
  • If you are using a single boiler, check that you have switched from brew mode to steam mode, and have waited for the boiler to reach steaming pressure. 

Pump pressure settings for home machines range from 9-12 bar. There's no right or wrong, just adjust your grind to get the best results for your machine.

  • The short answer is "how long is a piece of string?" This is because water quality varies all over the country.
  • If you have good quality tap water you can use it and just descale your machine annually. This is what I do in Melbourne.
  • If you have poor quality tap water you will need a water filter to keep your machine healthy. I recommend the Brita C150 Purity.
  • It's important to note that machine warranties do not cover damage caused by scale.