Getting Lazy

Equipment, technique, or just drinking the stuff

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Getting Lazy

Postby simonp » Tue Feb 05, 2013 12:31 am

Hello, once again a long time since I've been round here! Perhaps that explains a recent realisation:

A collegue of mine has always struggled to pull decent shots depite having a reasonably good grinder and machine (Iberital MC2) & PIDed rancilio Silvia).
He recently went for an hour or so's tuition with Maxwell Colonna Dahswood (UK Barista Champion in case anyone didn't know) as his coffee shop is only half an hour from his home. He came back with lots of info and he said his shots have improved immensley, mainly due to accurate weighing and consistency.
This got me thinking that after nearly 8 of this espresso lark my shots weren't thrilling me like they used to.
Anyway his findings made me think I had gotten lazy and prompted me to get some 0.01g scales and properly measure dose (rather than just overfilling the basket etc) and actually weigh my shots. What I discovered was my dosing and shot volumes were all over the place! I was also prompted to buy one of the VST baskets, though in the meantime I found a triple basket lying around which I had never used, but looked much more like tghe VST ones than the old LM style ridgless basket I had been using far ages
What a difference, long, dark, sweet shots with consistency and not the sourness which had crept in to my shots. I'm not yet sure how much to attribute to the basket and how much to accurate dosing, but it will be interesting to see what happens when the VST basket arrives

I guess this all goes to show if you get lazy/compacent quality suffers.

Hello to anyone who still remembers me :D
Apologies for any bad typing or smelling pistakes, I'm recovering from carpal tunnel surgery which is also making shot pulling interesting :roll:

Simon
Profitec 700 dual boiler
Isomac Rituale
Mazzer Mini
Mahlkonig Vario
Chemex
Aeropress
2 Bodum press pots
Hottop updated to a B with Compuetr control
Imex roaster, dimmer mod on heater (under spare bed)
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RE: Getting Lazy

Postby bruceb » Tue Feb 05, 2013 11:05 am

Hello Simon. Great to see you back here! Welcome to the "Carpal Tunnel Gang." Image

Yes, complacency really does lead to contempt. I posted a mea culpa recently after determining that not regularly cleaning the machine also results in a something less than a clean cup. It's a good idea stand back and observe oneself and see the irregularities and sloppiness that can creep into one's routines. Since we post here and have spent a good bit on coffee kit we are obviously interested in drinking better-than-average coffee. It's easy to forget that and get lazy about it. Thanks for sharing this observation.
What beans are you using these days? Image
Three Francesconi (CMA) espresso machines - Rossi, San Marco, LaCimbali, Faema and 2 Mazzer Major grinders- CoffeeTech Maggionlino, Hottop, Alpenröst and HW Precision roasters.
I decided I needed a bit of a change so I roasted some Monsooned Malabar. That was a change!
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Postby simonp » Tue Feb 05, 2013 12:03 pm

Hi Bruce.

Carpal tunnel fun eh? had the left one done last year, and thought it'd be ages before needing the right one, but that plan didn't work!

I'm still sourcing most of my beans from "you know who" (for those of you long enough on TMC to remember :wink:)
Mostly single origin though more through laziness of roasting than being a purist :roll:

I've just got some nice Brazilian and Bolivians, so going to be sweet and chocolatey for a bit.

Regarding the laziness, I think it comes from a lack of reference as away from home it is so hard to get a remotely decent shot and it is easy to slowly lose qaulity at home and not notice.
My suspicions were raised when I went to teh UKBC's place - Colonna and Smalls in Bath - and realised my shots were a long way below what I got there.
Profitec 700 dual boiler
Isomac Rituale
Mazzer Mini
Mahlkonig Vario
Chemex
Aeropress
2 Bodum press pots
Hottop updated to a B with Compuetr control
Imex roaster, dimmer mod on heater (under spare bed)
Rival popper, with split motor and dimmer mod on heater (retired)
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Postby qwerty69 » Tue Feb 05, 2013 12:43 pm

Agree wholeheartedly.

Personally when I got a VST I also thought that helped me with the quality of shot I was pulling.

I find the VST (mine is an 18g) difficult to use unless I slow down and concentrate on my technique. For me when I use the VST I measure 17g and then make sure to properly level and tamp; i need to get it perfectly flat otherwise if I put more pressure on one side I know I've messed up.

Get it right and the results can be fantastic but get it wrong... well lets just say there are more forgiving baskets.

Let us know how you get on with it.
Izzo Vivi : Mazzer Super Jolly (cleaned with Puly Grind) : Aeropress : Francis Francis X5 (going back in to storage) : Iberital MC2 (broken)
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Re: Getting Lazy

Postby quink » Tue Feb 05, 2013 8:58 pm

simonp wrote:Hello to anyone who still remembers me :D


Hello from another of the old guard who delurked recently as well.
Modified Rancilio Silvia, Gaggia 2600 grinder, La Pavoni Pub 1EV
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RE: Re: Getting Lazy

Postby simonp » Fri Feb 08, 2013 12:44 am

Well, got the bits I needed to get the Rituale working properly again. Another new pressurestat (2nd on inside a year!) and a new air bleed valve as the old one would not open or stick open giving all sorts of brew pressure (or total lack of) problems and often pump hot water back into the main tank.

Stable temperature and pressure has brought again more consistency.

Unfortunaltely my 20g VST basket has still not arrived so I don't know if it is lost somewhere between Hasbean and my house or what :roll: In teh meantime I decided to get the recommended 58.35mm bas for my tamper from Coffeehit and somehow an 18g VST basket fell into my shopping cart :oops: Saves we wondering about if I should have gone for 18g or 20g anyway!

That all arrived today so I gave that a whirl. First shot was a little fast (not too bad for undialled in though) 18.5g dose giving 33g shot in 26 seconds. 3/4 of a notch finer on the Mazzer and the 2nd shot was better at 30g in 29 seconds. Very smooth and sweet though lacking a little liveliness I would expect from El Bosque, so need to play with the dose.
The VST baskets do look nice, and the tamper is an excellent fit. I did have to grind a little finer than the LM triple basket I was using, so I expect the 20g one to need quite a bit finer than the LM one. I was certianly seeing good long pulls from that dose with good colour and balanced flavour. A good start.

One thing I am getting still with the VST (as with the LM triple) is that (watching the pour under the naked PF) I get nothing from out of the centre of the basket so I usually get several streams coming down. I notice that when I flush the group the water does similar coming out of the showerscreen. There is a balnk bit in the centre of the showerscreen, but the water used to pool over that and come down in one stream but not any more. It should all be clear as I cleaned well when I changed the gasket a couple of months back.
Profitec 700 dual boiler
Isomac Rituale
Mazzer Mini
Mahlkonig Vario
Chemex
Aeropress
2 Bodum press pots
Hottop updated to a B with Compuetr control
Imex roaster, dimmer mod on heater (under spare bed)
Rival popper, with split motor and dimmer mod on heater (retired)
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RE: Re: Getting Lazy

Postby CakeBoy » Sat Feb 09, 2013 12:17 pm

Great to see you Simon :) Sorry to hear about the carpal tunnel and hope things improve soon. Right enough about becoming complacent. We had similar recently with the slow death of Anna's pump and what is now clear to us was similarly declining coffee standards. I think it is always good news to calibrate with others and learn from the best. This is an interesting thread :)
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Postby simonp » Sat Feb 09, 2013 4:08 pm

So it goes on. After pulling a few good shots things started to get poor again, quite sour. So I dug out my thermocouple and measured the water temperature on top of the coffee puck. 88C, too cold and with a boiler pressure of 1.4 at the top of the cycle something wasn't right. This sort of made sense as the group hasn't felt that hot for a while, and I don't really get much in the way of flashing when I flush before a shot. I did check my thermocouple in boiling water just to check it and the meter were reading correctly.

After some investigation, mostly on Homebarista, it seemed that others with similar issues had found that the thermosyphon effect in the E61 group could be hindered by scale in part of the group called the "mushroom". So, after a trip into town to try and find 36mm spannerto remove the top of the group, I managed to get mine out to have a look. Oh, my! What a mess... very heavy, thick scale build-up (will post a picture later). That is now sat in some citric acid now to clean up and hopefully that will explain my problem.

I guess this goes to show that laziness has also lead me to neglect TCL of my machine too.It is 8-9 years old, so not surprising that it needs a bit of maintenance really.
I guess a full group strip and rebuild is due very soon, better order some more bits!
Profitec 700 dual boiler
Isomac Rituale
Mazzer Mini
Mahlkonig Vario
Chemex
Aeropress
2 Bodum press pots
Hottop updated to a B with Compuetr control
Imex roaster, dimmer mod on heater (under spare bed)
Rival popper, with split motor and dimmer mod on heater (retired)
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Postby simonp » Sat Feb 09, 2013 5:36 pm

Oh dear!
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Profitec 700 dual boiler
Isomac Rituale
Mazzer Mini
Mahlkonig Vario
Chemex
Aeropress
2 Bodum press pots
Hottop updated to a B with Compuetr control
Imex roaster, dimmer mod on heater (under spare bed)
Rival popper, with split motor and dimmer mod on heater (retired)
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simonp
 
Posts: 1910
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Postby quink » Sat Feb 09, 2013 8:15 pm

Holy crap! May be worth a full strip own to make sure the rest of the machines not I the same condition.
Modified Rancilio Silvia, Gaggia 2600 grinder, La Pavoni Pub 1EV
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Postby bronc » Sat Feb 09, 2013 9:25 pm

Oh, my. This looks like a stalagmite/stalactite. :o
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Postby simonp » Sun Feb 10, 2013 1:41 am

quink wrote:Holy crap! May be worth a full strip own to make sure the rest of the machines not I the same condition.


Indeed! It turns out the cahmber inside the group was also full or large and small bits of scale which are not easy to remove and so it is hard for the O-ring to seal. The O-ring and the seal on the bottom of the plunger are also shot, so need to get new ones. I think the HX pipes will need a good de-scale but I think the rest of the machine is OK, having stripped most of the water valves etc recently.

I put the group back together to find it running MUCH hotter :D But, the seal on the plunger was leaking so the chamber in the group would empty through the exhaust :cry: Another strip down ensuded and more bits of scale removed, group put back togther again... The seal is pretty much holding (a few derips) but the group is running coole :roll: though not as cool as before. At least I do have to do a flush now to stop the water boiling coming out of teh showerscreen.

I'm a little concerned as to whether I can get the inside of the group clear of scale as it is not easy to soak it. I'm hoping not to have to consider a new group as I suspect that wouel cost as much as the machine!
I will do a de-scale of just the heaet exchanger and group tomorrow and see what happens. I suspect there are bits stuck round behind the showerscreen and the dispersion disc thingy as the water comes out in odd patterns.

So, a word of warning to those who are bad with their maintenance and slso to those who I've read (not here) saying you should't de-scale these machines as it can cause problems!
Profitec 700 dual boiler
Isomac Rituale
Mazzer Mini
Mahlkonig Vario
Chemex
Aeropress
2 Bodum press pots
Hottop updated to a B with Compuetr control
Imex roaster, dimmer mod on heater (under spare bed)
Rival popper, with split motor and dimmer mod on heater (retired)
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Postby GreenBean » Sun Feb 10, 2013 10:36 am

Good luck with the descale. Don't forget to check the gicleur/jet/flow restrictor and it's associated filter screen after the descale to ensure they are not clogged. For information on this see the Overhauling the E61 Group section of Randy's (frcn) site section 16. and 17.
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Postby simonp » Sun Feb 10, 2013 12:38 pm

GreenBean wrote:Good luck with the descale. Don't forget to check the gicleur/jet/flow restrictor and it's associated filter screen after the descale to ensure they are not clogged. For information on this see the Overhauling the E61 Group section of Randy's (frcn) site section 16. and 17.


Yes I will be taking all that apart again, and then again to fit new seals when I can get some. Let's hope the descale does the trick as I don't fancy trying to get the HX pipes out to disk them.
Profitec 700 dual boiler
Isomac Rituale
Mazzer Mini
Mahlkonig Vario
Chemex
Aeropress
2 Bodum press pots
Hottop updated to a B with Compuetr control
Imex roaster, dimmer mod on heater (under spare bed)
Rival popper, with split motor and dimmer mod on heater (retired)
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simonp
 
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Postby simonp » Sun Feb 10, 2013 9:06 pm

OK, now I'm very confused... whilst I was running the descaling solution through in several lots and 10 minute soaks I was getting flash billing out of the group as I ran each lot through. Now it is flushed and back running as normal it is back to coming out cooler with no flashing. The outside of the group only measures just above 70C. Not sure where to go with this now...
Profitec 700 dual boiler
Isomac Rituale
Mazzer Mini
Mahlkonig Vario
Chemex
Aeropress
2 Bodum press pots
Hottop updated to a B with Compuetr control
Imex roaster, dimmer mod on heater (under spare bed)
Rival popper, with split motor and dimmer mod on heater (retired)
User avatar
simonp
 
Posts: 1910
Joined: Thu Apr 08, 2004 9:14 am
Location: Wiltshire, UK

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