top of page

What You Need to Know About the Espresso Channel

If you have trouble shooting espresso, the most common cause of most problems is “espresso channeling”.

With a little practice and changing a few of your brewing parameters, you can get all these problems out of your head.

Want to shoot the best espresso you can? Keep reading and make sure you don't make any of these mistakes.

#Channel Creation in Espresso – What is it?

So what is a channel?

Simply put, when taking a shot of espresso, channeling is when water finds the path of least resistance and does not flow evenly through the entire coffee bed.

During the brewing cycle one channel in the coffee will have a faster flow rate than the rest of the disc.

This indicates that the coffee grounds in these channels will be extracted more than the rest of the disc, resulting in uneven flavors in your final shot.

Why Is Sewer Bad?

We're sure you already understand why the espresso channel is bad. It spoils the flavor and clarity of your espresso.

Ideally, the entire coffee package will have the same amount of water throughout the entire brewing cycle.

This means that each coffee particle has the same amount of extraction.

However, because espresso channeling causes some areas of the coffee disc to flow more and others less, it will impair your extraction by over- and under-drawing different areas of the disc.

The resulting espresso shot will have muddy, ambiguous flavors.

Signs of the Coffee Channel

The signs of an espresso duct can be difficult to detect.

After all, your portafilter is locked in your machine's group header, so it's impossible to see what's going on during extraction.

If you think you might be having problems with your coffee ducts, the best thing to invest in is a bottomless portafilter.

The standard portafilter that comes with your espresso machine probably has a closed bottom, one of the two spouts.

But with a bottomless portafilter you get a flat bottom with lots of holes.

The added benefit of this is that you can see exactly how your espresso is filtering through the coffee disc. And you can quickly see potential issues as they happen.

If you're having channel issues, you'll be able to easily see when and how with a bottomless #portafilter.

If you do not have such a portafilter, you will need to do a research by examining the disc after removing the portafilter from the machine.

Still, this isn't as accurate as watching the #espresso extraction up close in real time.

As soon as the brew cycle stops, many changes occur in the machine, which can change the appearance of the disc before you have a chance to examine it. Still, you can use the expired coffee disc as a guideline to try to pinpoint problems.


bottom of page