Originally Posted by gdc_2008
Sounds like a grinder issue. What grinder are you using? Also, how are you tamping? It took some experimenting to get the grind right, like any machine...plus it'll take 1 or 2 shots each new batch of beans to dial in the grind (unless I'm using the same ones).
For pre-ground, the closest I've gotten was with Illy, but it still pulled a crap shot. Have you tried using the single basket and the ESE Illy pods? I bought some when my grinder went down, then realized I didn't have a single basket
I had the beans ground to the finest setting at my coffee shop and they still weren't fine enough. I tried tamping hard, I tried tamping lightly, I tried filling up the basket all the way, I tried everything I could think of and the espresso still brewed through ultraquick and was underextracted. I ended up pulling out my blade grinder and regrinding the ground beans down to very, very fine. I can then tamp down hard and get a good shot.
I know that Nespresso is pretty much a guaranteed decent shot every time, but I like being able to play with my machine, to experiment with different beans and coffee roasters, to have that interaction. It is sort of like the difference between liking a quartz watch which keeps better time and liking a mechanical watch despite the fragility and the outmoded technology...
I've used the Illy pods, they are OK.