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Depressurizing the Saeco pressurized portafilter

Postby Kurt_H on Fri Nov 12, 2010 1:35 am

I have been lurking in these forums for a few weeks and have finally joined this forum. I have recently bought a Saeco Aroma, refurbished, and a Ascaso i3-mini grinder. I have read many post's on the internet about depressurizing the Saeco PPF, yet nothing was very detailed. So, since I did the depressurizing procedure this afternoon I thought I would post some pictures so others who are wanting to tackle this mod could have some visual help. I figure this is a proper thread to attach it to.

Here we go:
Unscrew the three screws that attach the PF handle to the brew head and you should have the following image after removing the plastic handle.
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Remove the white plastic piece from the metal portion of the brew head. To do this I was not sure how it came off, I just gently pried up with a small flat head screw driver and it easily popped off.

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Then what you have left is the rubber stopper (if you wanna call it that) which the filter hits against. Just push down until it pop's out through the other side as seen in the following shots:

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Walla!!! You have just depressurized your PF, for the most part ;) Still wonder if the hole that is left is still to small and yet allows some pressure to build up. Even so it is better than what it once was.
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And the finished product:

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I had time before work to pull a double shot. I was getting 10 Seconds with the pressurized mech installed the day before. I fine tuned my grind a bit more and packed it in at about 30lbs and was able to pull my first 21 sec shot with nice thick crema, but I still have a lot of fine tuning to do and will post a result later on if my efforts are more successful. It took some time before the espresso came through the brew head, it really made the machine work hard but once it started it was dreamy!! though I think it was either packed to hard or the grind was a bit to fine. EDIT: I forgot to mention that I was using a local roasters beans called "Red Eye Espresso Blend" It was roaster about 1 and a half weeks ago. I might pick up some "City" roast he has this weekend. The roaster label is called Grand Rapids Coffee Roasters http://www.grandrapidscoffee.com/

I am also thinking of locating a rubber O-ring to replace the reddish O-ring that sat on the outside of the existing rubber "stopper" to lift the filter basket up a touch. There is a small groove on the outside diameter of the inner portion of the brew head that looks like a O-ring would fit. So as i was writing this I thought why not see if I can take the reddish O-ring off of the plastic stopper and use that. Sure enough it come off and fit right in the groove like it originally was designed to do.

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Thanks everyone for sharing. I am enjoying learning about the fine craft of espresso.
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Postby peacecup on Fri Nov 12, 2010 9:30 am

I used one of those for a few years, first de-pressurized, then I sprung for a new PF without the pressurized parts.

They are capable of making great espresso really - better than one finds in most cafes.
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Hand-ground, hand-pulled: "hands down.."
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Postby AlexFWD on Tue Jan 18, 2011 10:48 pm

Hi,

Just wondering if you could update us on the long term appreciation of your mod.

I have the La Pavoni Eurobar which is a hyped up version of this machine and am looking to depressurize the PF also but would like more info on what you think of the quality of your shots after the mod.

Also, are you able to put the pressurizing system back in place after you removed it (should the mod not work out for me...)

Thanks for your help!

Alex
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Postby guyd on Sun Aug 14, 2011 11:51 am

I have a Via Venetzia and figured that the portafilter could be disassembled- it takes about two minutes, and the crema was noticeably better on the first shot. If you own a Saeco make this change!!! I use a Baratza burr grinder. Only problem is I am drinking espresso all day!!
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Postby spiffdude on Sun Aug 14, 2011 12:52 pm

thanks for the detailed instructions. Very nice.

It seems to me that the hole you are left with seems big enough to prevent any kind of pressure buildup past the filter. Enjoy
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Postby sugaroast on Sun Sep 25, 2011 10:00 pm

kurt_H: awesome detailed pics! thank you!
im interested in an update on this project

the reason i want to go non pressurized is to get away from the "soup" and get back to the puck
and from what ive read, the flavor improves too

am i on the right track?
anyone?
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Postby erics on Mon Sep 26, 2011 12:27 am

am i on the right track?

No . . . although I do believe opinions will vary :) .

This espresso machine was designed to function well with a wide variety of coffee grinds, including those you might purchase preground, e.g. Illy, LaVazza (sp?) and others.

Should you really desire to experiment, a "standard" portafilter is available from this source: http://www.partsguru.com/SaecoPortafilters.html rather than modify your existing equipment.

Now, take some of this with a "baby grain of salt" - operating this machine with a standard portafilter will typically drive brew pressures into the neighborhood of ~13 bar in order to obtain the output you desire. This high pressure, in and by itself, has been shown to lessen the quality of the product.
Skål,

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Postby dawnpatrol on Thu Oct 06, 2011 10:08 pm

how would you correct the pressure problem? i de-pressureized my Saeco Aroma portafilter. will this mess the machine up?
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Postby XCman on Fri Oct 07, 2011 2:22 am

Now that you've depressurized your portafilter here are a couple other mods you can do to your machine that will help you make the best espresso your machine can. I did them last year and I'm still amazed at the shots I've pulled on my Seaco classico. They're fun and inexpensive to do.Image
Add meat a thermometer for temp information. Beats surfing by time. On my machine temp kept rising 30F after
thermostat turned off. For 15.00 the best mod you can do.Image
The temp prob had to be cut down to get it to fit. Easy to do. Just pull wire out of prob,cut down with saw or dremel tool,put wire back in, seal with heat shrink.Image
My machine only has one thermostat so I used the empty clip to hold the prob in place on top of the boiler.

My next mod was this switch.
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I found that after putting the thermometer on and pulling to a temp that the cooler I went the better the shots tasted. At about 230F thermostat would kick the boiler back on so I put this toggle switch in so I could turn power off to the boiler and still have power to the pump. Best temp for me have been between 223F-217F. Cost about 5.00$ a well worth it mod.
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The Red wire that went to the thermostat I cut and put a connecter on. and ran the circuit thru the switch. I did remove the boiler to make drilling and cleaning up the shaving easier. It took me less then an hour to do.
A people keep saying even with an inexpensive machine you can make better espresso then 90% of the coffee shops. With these mods and a good grinder I think you can do better then 97%.
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Postby dawnpatrol on Fri Oct 07, 2011 10:41 am

Wow! Are you and electrician? I will give it a try this weekend!
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