La Pavoni crema problems - Page 5

Postby jwCrema on Sun Feb 17, 2013 7:08 pm

The Pharos has arrived and I'd say that my crema is about the same as the Rancilio. All of the shots I've done with the Pharos have been tasty, just not much crema. I'm using http://www.bluestarcoffeeroasters.com - a small roaster in Twisp WA that won the 2012 CoffeeFest in Seattle. http://www.coffeefest.com/EspressoCompetition.aspx

I go to their shop every time I'm in the neighborhood and they are better than any espresso I've had in Seattle or Portland in the last thirty years. They are far superior to Portland's Stumptown, among others. When the folks in the Blue Star shop pull shots they serve fabulous crema, so my belief is that the issue is me and not the bean.

I'm using the double portafilter basket (51mm), with a 13g dosage. I'm tamping to level, a la the OE slap shot. I've tried experimenting with different Pharos calibrations - from 1/4, 1/2, 3/4 and dosages (10 g, 11g, 13g).

Could you share your Pharos calibration & dosage for your LP PC-16? In the meanwhile I'm going to figure out how to post a video.
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Postby drgary on Sun Feb 17, 2013 9:55 pm

Try dosing 16 - 17 gm and get a proper flow rate. I have no problems getting ample crema with the Pharos and La Pavoni Millennium combination.
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Postby mathof on Mon Feb 18, 2013 6:21 am

jwCrema wrote:The Pharos has arrived and I'd say that my crema is about the same as the Rancilio. All of the shots I've done with the Pharos have been tasty, just not much crema.

....

I'm using the double portafilter basket (51mm), with a 13g dosage. I'm tamping to level, a la the OE slap shot. I've tried experimenting with different Pharos calibrations - from 1/4, 1/2, 3/4 and dosages (10 g, 11g, 13g).

Could you share your Pharos calibration & dosage for your LP PC-16? In the meanwhile I'm going to figure out how to post a video.


I've just made an espresso on my pre-millenium LP Europiccola, and it had lots of crema, rich black flecks, the works - with a well-balanced flavour. The coffee is rested but fresh Londinium Guatamalan Antiqua. The dose 13.3g. (This is in a 49mm stock double basket, probably equivalent to 14g in a 51mm one.) Eight seconds preinfusion, single pull. I don't recall exactly what distance my Pharos is set from O, but it's probably around 5/8 of a revolution. The point is to adjust the grind so that the coffee streams from the 14g puck in such a way that it takes about 15-20 seconds for the pull, and the resistance of the lever is evident but doesn't take all your strength to shift it. In my case the water pressure at the start of the pull was about 0.8 bar and the heat of the bell, measured low just before it flares out, was 82.5C at the start of the pull.
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Postby drgary on Mon Feb 18, 2013 10:35 am

Good points above. I was surprised to find that my Millennium La Pavoni easily takes a higher dose than my pre-Millennium model. Don't be afraid to experiment with updosing from where you are. The dose I was suggesting is from frequent use of the Millennium and Pharos combination. Also, assuming good, fresh coffee most people not getting enough crema with these machines err on the side of grinding too fine.
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Postby jwCrema on Mon Feb 18, 2013 11:47 am

I'm getting there!

I've been scratching my head as how so many folks reported a dosage of 13-14g and now I get it. I have the newer LP and it takes a few more grams.

I went with Gary's higher dosage and my crema easily doubled. But the grind is too tight - I get no drips after any length of pre-infusion, and no sign of the elixar until the lever is almost half way down. I'll clean it out and do the 5/8ths distance.

I was looking at the headspace distance between the lock nuts and grinder and I'm pretty sure one of my fowler dial calipers will measure it. I could certainly get the distance with a feeler gauge I gap spark plugs with.

I'm not the sort of dude to admit this, but I may need a moment alone once this crema thing happens.
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Postby drgary on Mon Feb 18, 2013 11:57 am

jwCrema wrote:I'm not the sort of dude to admit this, but I may need a moment alone once this crema thing happens.


:lol:

I don't think you need to measure so carefully. Just play with it for a few shots and you'll find the coarseness that will work. As far as exact dose goes, that varies with the coffee you're using and the brew ratio (richness of shot) that you want.
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Postby rpavlis on Mon Feb 18, 2013 7:51 pm

The coffee and style of roast matter a lot for crema too. When the beans have been cremated there is not much crema!

Adding Robusta certainly increases crema, usually a lot. My preferred way to use Robusta is to layer it, with 1/3 Robusta on top of 2/3 Arabica.

Robusta is NOT a variety of Arabica, it is a different species of plant, with very different composition. Robusta varies a lot. Too fine or too coarse grind reduces crema.

The coffee must be very freshly roasted too. Usually conditions that lead to good crema lead to good flavour, that is NOT always true!
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Postby jwCrema on Sun Feb 24, 2013 9:19 pm

Solved.

I finally got this dialed in. 16.5g of beans in the the Pharos, and after much wrangling settled on the 1/2 clockwise adjustment (standard per the owners manual). Using the OE Slapshot technique with the dosing funnel; that dosing funnel makes getting the coffee in the portafilter a snap.

A light tamp with an OE 51mm tamper, with a half twist polish. I was told by a sales person my portafilter basket was 49mm, so the tamper was off 2mm. Kind of irritating given the price of the useless 49mm tamper.

I have seen in other posts that the lever pull has little/no resistance until 1/2 way through. That is what I'm experiencing, but the crema rocks, so I don't really care. I'm getting about 1 oz with half of it crema.

I did try some Redline from Metropolis in Chicago and ran back to Espresso Blend from Blue Star in Twisp, WA. I may toss the Redline.
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Postby drgary on Sun Feb 24, 2013 10:59 pm

Glad you're doing better. If the puck is saturated and has expanded you'll get resistance early on. If you haven't done so read Robert Pavlis's thread on Dalton's Law, which is about getting the air pocket out of the group. And why not put the Redline in the freezer and try and dial it in? Part of the fun of all of this is being able to master different coffees. If it's not quite right, what's off? See if you can adjust for that.
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Postby jwCrema on Mon Feb 25, 2013 12:05 am

I was eager to try the Redline. But I found no complexities in the flavor at all. Admittedly I don't have the instrumentation on my LP to know if I'm adhering to the specific instructions they provide. There are certain espressos I've had that have the hint of a dark chocolate. The reviews I've read led me to think this is what they had, but it was a simply too green roast to my taste.

I keep hearing good things about Doma coffee that's just down the road from me and I'm going to focus on them as my next bean instead. PM me your address and I'll send you the unopened bag of Redline - it's the least I can do for all the help/advice.
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