Mini Moka Lever (Mini Gaggia Lever)

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smite
Posts: 244
Joined: Mar 30, 2011, 11:10 pm

Postby smite » May 16, 2017, 4:38 pm

Hi All, I am about to add another machine to my growing list. I found a good deal on a very clean one of these and will be picking it up later today.

Any tips for figuring out which versions have a brass versus an aluminum boiler? It has also has a steam wand so I assume this is one of the newer version branded as a Mini Moka M-400 I think.

I have seen pictures of the feet, group head and screen up close which all look to be in very clean condition.

Anything else I should look out for or plan on doing right away? I was planning on basic power on testing and flushing water etc before a full tear down to clean out the boiler.

I also saw mention of adding in a PID but no details on how. So if folks think it is worth adding one I might try to figure that out.

I found this very helpful thread for basic info and pictures.

Mini Gaggia Lever on the way

Is espressoparts still the best place for parts for these?

Thanks for any suggestions!

aaronmaestri
Posts: 174
Joined: Mar 26, 2007, 5:07 pm

Postby aaronmaestri » May 16, 2017, 10:43 pm

There aren't that many parts to buy, the machine is so simple.
I bought the new piston and group seals from Francesco Ceccarelli and the shower screen from CoffeeParts here in Australia. The shower screen was listed as for a FEAMA Zodiac group.
Good luck with your rebuild and enjoy the coffee.

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smite
Posts: 244
Joined: Mar 30, 2011, 11:10 pm

Postby smite » May 17, 2017, 4:10 pm

aaronmaestri wrote:There aren't that many parts to buy, the machine is so simple.
I bought the new piston and group seals from Francesco Ceccarelli and the shower screen from CoffeeParts here in Australia. The shower screen was listed as for a FEAMA Zodiac group.
Good luck with your rebuild and enjoy the coffee.


Thanks I do and will continue with this machine when I get it home and running.

Any tips for pulls on these in terms of dose etc? I saw mention in some old threads that the double basket can hold 16 grams. Is that consistent with what you experience/prefer? I also saw some comments about this is the go too machine for lighter coffees. I always use my own roasts so can adjust as needed.

I also saw that these machines can suck up coffee into the boiler. I plan on using an Aeropress paper filter which seems to fit perfectly.

This would be my first experience with a gravity fed lever.

smite
Posts: 244
Joined: Mar 30, 2011, 11:10 pm

Postby smite » May 17, 2017, 8:21 pm

So I picked up the machine and it is in really great condition. I won't list the price but will say, that I got a great deal, if this works as well as I think it will.
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The group screen is unfortunately loose and had a slight tan color to it. The boiler, while surprisingly very clean, smelled a bit funky, but after filling it up several times hot water and vinegar and dumping it out repeatedly, it smells much better. The boiler does have a black matte coating on it so I assume that means it is aluminum but I cannot be sure.

As you can see from the pictures it powered up fine. I wanted to make sure it worked before getting too far into pulling it apart.
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Everything about the machine appears as though it has barely been used, it just seems to have sat on a counter for many years and then went away with water in it, into storage. There is a small amount of scale or some other gunk sitting at the bottom of the spring.

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The spring on this lever is really much harder to pull than I expected. Is that normal?

As you can see from the pictures the case is actually in pretty decent condition.

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I tested water flow and steaming and what do you know, it worked!

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It has a three hole tip which seems to move the water slightly so i suspect a 2 hole or single hole might get better performance.

Can someone tell me how to get out the group screen? Do I just pull? It is loose and spinning around. What chemical should i use in this machine to descale? Citric or vinegar?

Thanks

smite
Posts: 244
Joined: Mar 30, 2011, 11:10 pm

Postby smite » May 17, 2017, 8:43 pm


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grog
Posts: 1056
Joined: Mar 09, 2012, 2:45 pm

Postby grog » May 17, 2017, 10:56 pm

There's an entire thread (in Knockbox) where we brag about our incredible scores on equipment, so please do share your purchase price! Looks like it's in very clean condition.
LMWDP #514

smite
Posts: 244
Joined: Mar 30, 2011, 11:10 pm

Postby smite » May 17, 2017, 11:03 pm

Good point I am not sure how I missed that thread.

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aaronmaestri
Posts: 174
Joined: Mar 26, 2007, 5:07 pm

Postby aaronmaestri » May 19, 2017, 1:42 am

Yep this machine sucks coffee into the boiler like no other I have seen. I haven't tried the filter paper trick yet but others seem to have had success doing that. As far as dose goes, I don't really measure my dose, but it takes a similar mount to my other commercial levers.
The shower screen should be just held in place with the crimped claws engaging with the glove machines in the group head. Mine old one was cracked and even after it was replaced with a new one it still spins, but its held in place securely by the claws. I always use citric acid or a commercial descaler in the boiler.
Sounds like you have things well under control though, enjoy the project.

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peacecup
Posts: 3437
Joined: Aug 25, 2005, 1:54 pm

Postby peacecup » May 19, 2017, 1:43 pm

The beauty of the machine is that you can brew at almost exactly boiler temperature because there is essentially no cooling of the brew water before it hits the puck. SO whatever temp you want to brew at can be set by just having a temp probe in the boiler fill hole. For people who want to experiment with different temps and coffees it excels.

I found the MIni more exacting than my smaller-group levers in terms of grind setting, so it takes a little more time to dial in. But when you get it right it makes great shots.
LMWDP #049
Hand-ground, hand-pulled: "hands down.."

smite
Posts: 244
Joined: Mar 30, 2011, 11:10 pm

Postby smite » May 19, 2017, 4:00 pm

Thanks for the replies. Its a nice little machine. In terms of dosing for shots what is a good amount for the double? It came with two baskets one for single and another for double and one portafilter with two spouts on it.