www.olympia-express.ch: espresso, the chemistry of love

New to the darkside

Postby Benedikt42 on Tue Dec 25, 2012 9:12 pm

Hello Hello!

For some time now my neighbor has been roasting and giving us some awesome coffee (he is a coffee fanatic, and I'm pretty certain hes on this forum a lot since I was forwarded a link this site). It has come to the point where I cant have coffee from anywhere else except what he has been giving me. Every time he gives us a new bag of coffee, he hands me a couple pages of info all about it.

I have jokingly said a few times that hes turning me into a coffee fanatic, but honestly, this is a cult I am willing to join.

Yesterday he gave me an espresso machine, which from what I gather is either a C85 or C84. It's missing a side panel, a portafilter, and have been told it leaks from somewhere.

Today being Christmas, I couldn't find a single hardware store that was open, so I came back home a little bummed out that I couldn't play with it. After staring at it for some time, I figured I could macgyver some hoses and fittings together to run off from the garage sink to the espresso machine till tomorrow or the day after when i can connect it correctly.

I turned it on and the pump started running. After some time it shut off (assuming it filled up); some time after that it made a clicking noise and the red light turned on.
It gives hot water and blows out steam. im pretty much assuming it works the way it should; I have yet to find it's leak, since i cant even tell it has one.

And before you tell me, yes I know; I need a good coffee grinder. There was some emphasis on this when I was handed the espresso machine. The search began yesterday.

Attached are some photos as it sits now. I cant wait to get into this project (lifestyle)!

Ill be digging through this forum and some other websites, but any pointers or advice given would be much appreciated!

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Postby bmb on Wed Dec 26, 2012 4:53 pm

For the missing side, a nice idea with Perspex, wood would also look very good.

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Postby SpromoSapiens on Wed Dec 26, 2012 11:03 pm

I'd hang on to this friend of yours. He's a keeper.
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Postby yakster on Sun Dec 30, 2012 8:29 pm

Welcome to the darkside, Ben, I think you'll like it here.
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Postby Maxwell Mooney on Sun Dec 30, 2012 9:14 pm

Yeah, I need a friend like that... very few people just get handed an espresso machine. Granted... my Pavoni was free too so I can't complain too loudly.

Home espresso is better when done with friends. I just got a friend set up and it's been a lot of fun. Hope to see you on the boards!
"Coffee is evidence of Divine Grace, flavored coffee evidence of the Fall" -Kevin Hall

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Postby Benedikt42 on Sun Dec 30, 2012 9:44 pm

Thank you Thank you!

This website has been a great help, still getting caught up on the lingo, but I'm sure only time will fix that.

This is as it sits right now:

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I picked up a brand new used grinder yesterday and was toying with that. I down it down pretty well considering; but there is a long way to go. Ive been loaned the thermometer to get the temp down and set one of the buttons to it; and a scale so we can limit as many variables as possible as to why the espresso tastes like crap. My neighbor even gave me some cups! Ive had my first 'drinkable' espresso last night, around 10pm.. after 5 hours of being tinkered with. As result, I was up till 3:30am.

All ive been doing today was grinding beans, weighing, tampering and timing. I guessed to what I did wrong (why it took so long to pour the shot, or why too fast). Adjusted the grind, or the tamper weight, rinse repeat... Once I get that down even more (who knows when that will happen), I'll go to using the good beans and going from there.

Went to starbucks today when I was running an errand and I couldnt believe how I disliked their espresso so much, comparing it to where I am now... So no more starbucks for me; I can't tell if this is a good, or bad thing.

The realization I came up with is that this isn't a hobby, it's a lifestyle.

I am forcing myself to stop playing with it by 7 tonight and resume tomorrow morning, otherwise there will be a repeat of last nights sleepless night.
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Postby Maxwell Mooney on Sun Dec 30, 2012 10:25 pm

The realization I came up with is that this isn't a hobby, it's a lifestyle.


You have indeed joined the darkside. And by darkside we mean the syrupy, delicious, espresso side. Welcome. We have the jitters.
"Coffee is evidence of Divine Grace, flavored coffee evidence of the Fall" -Kevin Hall

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Postby yakster on Mon Dec 31, 2012 1:28 am

There's nothing wrong with pulling shots of good decaf espresso after 7:00 PM. Sometimes that's the wises choice, especially when you have a new machine to play with.
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Postby MerleApAmber on Tue Jan 01, 2013 2:24 am

My preciouses, it whispers to me. ...all through the night it whispers to me. Mine. Mine! My preciouses...
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Postby allon on Tue Jan 01, 2013 3:45 pm

I have a C85 (the semi-auto version) - the Faema C85/C84 won't win any beauty contests on the counter but they really have it where it counts - in the cup.

You might see about borrowing or bodging up a portafilter pressure gauge so you can verify or set the brew pressure.

It's a great machine and full manuals are available. The plastic panels are hard to find, but the plumbing bits and seals can all be ordered or fabricated easily enough.

Good luck, and welcome to the dark side ;-)
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