Dialing in your espresso grinder isn't always easy. We discuss the steps to fine-tune your burr grinder for the best possible extraction.
Join Charles as he demonstrates how to set up and dial-in the Compak E5 Espresso Grinder. Please note that Clive Coffee also offers a grinder dial-in service if you prefer to have someone else do the hard work for you!
Step one: Out of the box and onto the counter
- Remove the grinder from its box and place it on a solid level surface.
- Inspect the grinder for any damage. If you notice any, contact us immediately.
- Insert the hopper and tighten this hopper fastening knob to hold it in place.
- Plug the grinder in and turn it on.
Step two: Feeling the coffee
- If you received our exclusive grinder dial-in service, you can skip this step.
- Put some beans in the hopper and grind them into your hand.
- Feel the grounds. For espresso, they should feel similar to table salt. Not as fine as powdered sugar, and not as coarse as sand.
- The numbers on the collar indicate relative adjustments, with higher numbers signifying coarser settings, and lower numbers signifying finer ones. This means you rotate the collar counter clockwise to adjust finer and clockwise to adjust coarser, which is different from most grinders.
Step three: Dialing the dose
- Once the grind is in the ballpark, it’s time to start pulling shots.
- First, grab a scale and tare the weight of the portafilter.
- If you plan to use timed dosing, now would be the time to fill your hopper. With the portafilter in the portafilter holder, simply touch and hold the “grind” button on the face of the grinder. When your basket looks about full, release the button.
- Now weigh the portafilter. Add or remove grounds as necessary to get to 20g if you’re using a triple basket, or 18g if you’re using a double.
Step four: Adjustments - shot time
- Grip the tamper handle as though you were grasping a doorknob. Tamp straight down and simply lean your weight into it comfortably. The amount of pressure is not nearly as important as your consistency and ability to keep the tamp perfectly level so water doesn’t find weak spots.
- Insert your portafilter and start the shot.
- We’re going to be watching for the time of the first drops of espresso to fall between 6 and 10 seconds.
- As the shot progresses, we’ll observe the total shot time: Our target output is 1.5oz (or 30g) liquid espresso in 25 - 30 seconds.
- If it falls under 25 seconds, adjust your grind finer. If it falls over 30 seconds, adjust coarser.
- Make small adjustments of just a few notches at a time. This will be easier than making big changes and over correcting. My shot was a bit [fast/slow]...
Step five: Timed Dosing
- Now that we have our grind dialed, we can set up the grind timer for consistent and repeatable dosing.
- With the hopper filled, press the dose button you’d like to edit, followed in quick succession by the “menu” button.
- Now, we can press the plus and minus buttons to change the grind time for that dose. Let’s change it to 4 seconds.
- Tare the portafilter, grind, and weigh the portafilter again. If the dose is too small, increase the timed setting by a few tenths of a second. If it is too much, decrease it.
Once you've dialed in your grind, it's time to start pulling shots! Check out our Espresso 101 section to learn about steaming milk, latte art, our suggested starter espresso recipe and much more!