Setting Up MC2 Grinder

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Setting Up MC2 Grinder

Postby jonca » Fri Aug 25, 2006 11:18 pm

I'm struggling to get a good cup of coffee from my Iberital L'Anna 1Gp Hand Fill Auto Coffee Machine, be interested to hear how others get on with Iberital machines.

I purchased Iberital MC2 Grinder with the L'Anna machine in January. I'm still using my 18 mth old Isomac Granmacino Professional Grinder ... but difficult to get consistent grind. In order to get 2oz shot in 25 secs Grinder is set fine with about 50lbs tamp pressure, most of the time the puck is hard and has channels in it ... so not the best cup of espresso!

Had the MC2 Grinder 6 months but can't seem to get fine enough grind ... any advice on set up would be appreciated.
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Postby scottwhite » Fri Aug 25, 2006 11:43 pm

welcome guest, 50lb is a lot of pressure to be putting into your tamp, you may want to back off a bit with that.

I have the same setup using the mc2 I get cracking shots from the lanna every time and it's the best machine I have ever used, very solid and consistent, cakeboy has the same setup with a macap and hits shots are killer, in fact last time I had one of his shots I struggled to see straight for a short while afterwards.

The MC2 goes really well with the lanna, so really we need more info, do you backflush, was your MC2 new? Are your beans straight from the bag or have they been open a while, do you keep them in the fridge? What are you using to tamp to 50lbs? Are you a powerlifter?

Also you say you are using the old Isomac then you mention the MC2, which of these are you reffering to in this instance?
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Postby jonca » Sat Aug 26, 2006 12:25 am

Hi Scott

I'm tamping it as hard as I can cos I usually get better extraction from a coarser grind .. hard tamp slows it down a bit.

I backflush coffee machine with water one day and use pulycaf the next .. it is flushed every day though. MC2 was new. Get my beans fresh roasted in sealed bags, keep in cupboard (not fridge) for up to 6 weeks. Mainly using Indian Monsooned Malabar medium roast beans, not too oily. I'm guessing tamp pressure, its about as hard as I can press with solid steel tamp. If I go one step finer on Isomac grind and back off on tamp pressure I get a soggy puck and worse extraction.

I've been sticking with the Isomac grinder cos the MC2 frustrated me ... on MC2 I seemed to keep turning the setting finer and finer yet little seemed to happen .. assumed it was at end of its travel and wouldn't grind any finer. I have no manual or instructions for the MC2. So, I'm still using Isomac but thinking extraction problems may be down to worn burrs, no idea if its viable to regrind/replace them .. or if thats going to solve things.

See you also have L'anna hand fill and get on well with it. I love my L'anna but have to admit that my old Gaggia Coffee made a better espresso more consistently. L'anna has just been replaced after probs with original machine purchased in Jan06. Burnt out solenoid, water circ probs on HX and boiler, had to modify non return valve ... think the rotary pump failed in the end. Nevertherless supplier was excellent and replaced machine with new one which arrived this week. So I just want to learn how to get a good cappuccino out of it .. or maybe its me and not the grinder!?! HELP PLEASE
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Postby CakeBoy » Sat Aug 26, 2006 1:03 am

Hi Guest :D

Like Scott, I am surprised that you are having problems. I have an MC2 as well as the Macap Scott referred to and both work excellently well with the L'Anna.

The MC2 does require quite a lot of worm knob turning for a little adjustment. If it was a cycle, you might describe it as low geared. My gut feeling is that you are still some way from the correct grind, i.e. too coarse. Where are you based? Maybe a TMC MC2 owner could take a peep for you if one is near. If not, can you post a photo of your grind from both grinders?

What is the reading at the lower and upper range of the boiler cycle on the built in manometer? I wonder if your water is too hot. My machine was better when adjusted. My feeling is that they come out of the factory set at around 1bar which was way too hot on my machine.

Were both L'Anna machines brand new or used?
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Postby Guest » Sat Aug 26, 2006 1:27 am

Hi Cakeboy,

Reassuring to find you like l'anna. I'm worried about crashing the burrs on the MC2 if I keep going, is that possible? Do you have user instructions for MC2? I'm in Lincolnshire if any TMC MC2 or L'Anna experts want to come and show me how to set up properly. I'll try and do photo tomorrow.

Boiler pressure 0.9-1.0 bar and yes I think its too hot. If machine left idle for 30mins I need to flush about 10oz of water through Hx before it stops steaming, otherwise it foams on extraction. I've assumed that I need to learn to 'temperature surf' better ... meanwhile I'm switching off between cups (only used at home for me) and patiently waiting 15mins to warm up each time I want a coffee.

Both L'Anna machines were purchased new direct from distributor. User information is somewhat sparse and I am not an experienced barista.

I use RO/DI water so doubt if scaling was a problem. The RO/DI water is 'pure' and tests 0ppm on TDS meter, I've tried with tap water and there's no noticeable difference in extraction. Would be interested to know best set up for the L'Anna, which parameters have you tweaked?
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Postby scottwhite » Sat Aug 26, 2006 8:50 am

you will have a hard time trying to crash the burrs on the MC2, I think you need to go finer and then stop tamping so hard that would be the next thing to try in my opinion.

Personally I have my lanna on factory settings and I get on fine with it, though you may want to take cakeys advice as his shots are off the hook.

May be an idea to contact your dealer to see where they stand on the warranty if you start to adjust things.

IMO you shouldn't need to temp surf on a machine as good as this.

I also think that switching off between shots and rebooting is not the way to go, as with all machines I have used the shots get better the longer the machine is on.

The Mc2 doesn't come with instructions, I have a picture with arrows and descriptions, but really it is more of a diagram than a manual,basically turn the knob clockwise for finer and anti clockwise for coarser, I go about 12 turns at a time as the tuning is very intricate of course it needs adjusting with different beans.
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Postby CakeBoy » Sat Aug 26, 2006 6:55 pm

Everything Scotty said and I would reiterate that you will struggle to crash the burrs together. If in doubt, switch it off, remove the hopper and dial finer until the burrs touch, then come out again a little and dial in by reversing out to coarser from what will be a "too fine" position.

Scott is having no temperature issues as he said, but if you are having to flush, I would speak with your dealer. You should only need to draw a couple of ounces pre-shot maximum. If you decide to adjust (with the dealer's agreement, I would suggest), I will post a photo showing you what to do. Meanwhile, why don't you join us, you would be most welcome :D

Anyone in/near Lincolnshire able to have a look for our guest?
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Postby Billt » Sat Aug 26, 2006 7:48 pm

I can support Cakeboy & Scott. It took ages to get my MC2 set right, at first I couldn't even tell which way was fine and which was coarse because the gearing is so low. But when you do get it in the right area it gives you very good control for adjusting for different types of beans, aging etc.

You say you are getting channeling, this implies that you may have an uneven distribution of grounds. I started to get this problem recently and solved it by manually smoothing and distributing the grounds before tamping; in particular make sure they are pushed to the edge of the portafilter.

See Home-Barista.com for other distribution techniques, e.g. the Weiss distribution.
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Postby bruceb » Sat Aug 26, 2006 7:56 pm

Hello Guest (It would be nice if you had a name. Why not join us?),
I certainly would agree with Scott. I'm sure the MC2 will grind finer and you will have to tamp much less firmly. Chanelling can come from too firm a tamp.
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I decided I needed a bit of a change so I roasted some Monsooned Malabar. That was a change!
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Channeling

Postby jonca » Mon Aug 28, 2006 7:57 pm

Lost the will to live. No matter what I do on either of my grinders I get a badly channeled puck and hideous shot of espresso ... coarse or fine grind it makes no difference ... reduce amount of coffee and no difference.

Could it be anything to do with using pure water in the machine?

At this point I want to sell my machines and get into tea .. so disappointed!!

John
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Postby bruceb » Mon Aug 28, 2006 8:15 pm

Well tea's nice, but don't give up yet. No, it's not the water, although deionized water may not give coffee the best flavour. I guess there could be something wrong with the machine iteself, but I would look into a couple of other things first.

Monsooned Malabar is a difficult bean as far as I'm concerned. Can you get a freshly roasted, reliable, espresso blend or perhaps a SO Brazil or Columbia to try? A quick glance at your notes above makes me think that the only bean you've tried is the MM. If that's true, get something else and try it. Don't misunderstand, MM is a very interesting coffee, but if you're having problems it's a good idea to try some other coffee, perhaps something very different...an Ethiopian Yirgacheffe would be another good choice in my opinion.

How about it TMCers? Isn't there anyone in or near Lincolnshire that could help out a poor, lost coffeeless soul?

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Re: Channeling

Postby Davec » Mon Aug 28, 2006 8:16 pm

jonca wrote:Lost the will to live. No matter what I do on either of my grinders I get a badly channeled puck and hideous shot of espresso ... coarse or fine grind it makes no difference ... reduce amount of coffee and no difference.

Could it be anything to do with using pure water in the machine?

At this point I want to sell my machines and get into tea .. so disappointed!!

John


Nothing to do with pure water.

It could be your beans it could be the grinde.

Oddly enough the best way to find out might be to buy a "known quslity bean", Sainsburys Lombardy Espresso Blend. Now it's not great of course, but the quality is consistent (and its not high quality). See how it extracts, do you get fractured pucks, correct flow rates etc..If you don't get the same problems (forget the taste for now), might be worth trying another suplier of coffee or a different coffee from the same supplier.

Many of the cheaper grinders are not that good as far as consistency of grind as you go finer, but the MC2 should be OK?
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Postby jonca » Mon Aug 28, 2006 8:36 pm

I've used Monsooned Malabar beans for 3 years now. Produces excellent espresso on Gaggia Coffee machine. My original L'Anna would channel occassionally on MM beans, the replacement L'Anna does it every shot. The L'Anna boiler pressure is the same as the old machine, I'm wondering if the pressure at the group head is higher but have no means of testing/checking.

I have also tried with a decaff bean but get same probs. I will buy some espresso roast beans when i can get to the shops.

The only other thing I've changed is RO/DI water. I have to add a small amount of tap water to the RO otherwise the tank level sensors do not work on the L'Anna ... the RO/DI water has zero disolved solids so will not conduct low voltage electricity for sensors.

Right, I'll put the kettle on then!

John

Thanks again for suggestions ... will try another bean can't pretend to be hopeful of it solving the problem.
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Postby RobC » Mon Aug 28, 2006 8:39 pm

One thing I haven't noticed mentioned above is whether you are using the single spout handle and basket or the double? Many threads on this forum have covered how the single basket, because of it's shape can hinder a good tamp - even if you only want to make one coffee try the double spout handle with a good 14g dose of fine ground coffee (you really do need to crank that MC2 down - it will grind so fine your machine will not brew coffee - ie choke - way before the burrs could ever touch) - whatever the coffee you should get an extraction of 25 seconds per fluid oz - once you have the grind right experiment with different tamping pressure and different coffee blends - single origin espresso can be quite harsh for some peoples taste - try a specific espresso blend - maybe even one other members can suggest?
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Postby phil » Mon Aug 28, 2006 8:43 pm

Which end of Lincolnshire? I'm due to pay my in-laws a visit in Scunthorpe in the next week or three.
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