Olympia Cremina 2002: The evolution of design - Page 2

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srobinson (original poster)
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#11: Post by srobinson (original poster) »

I want to thank everyone for the comments and interest in the reviews. Let's clean up the questions and we'll get onto another post on the machine.

Rod, thanks for the comments. I think a few of the features of the machine are just not obvious unless you have pulled a lot of shots on other makes. I'll try to keep pointing these out as I go, but if you have any specific questions..such as "Does it do this?", then i will gladly run a test.

Teme, to get to your questions:

1) Lock-in. This was a concern to me with I first started using the Olympias. Have spend nearly a decade on the Pavoni, I thought I was going to have to learn either to pull left-handed or learn a new technique. Another great feature of this machines is that you don't need that second hand on the portafilter handle...it does not slide and with the new feet on the 2002, does not even budge. Just place your left hand on the counter top and you are good. These simply do not dance.

2) Additional weight. Basically the whole machine is built like a tank. I own a Pavoni and I would say the metal on the Olympia is anywhere from 2x-3x thicker. It reminds me of the old hand-made Mercedes, where everything was a little thicker, higher quality and meant to last a long time. I'll show some internal pictures this week and you will really understand.

3) Piston design. I have not popped the head off yet, but I will give you some first hand looks at the design and do some compares.

4) No slop in the lever...there is some slight sideways movement in my old one, but not on this new one. They have added allen bolts that screw into the yoke and have spacers added so everything is done to high tolerances. They have moved away from the free floating handle pins like you see on other machines and older versions. Here is a detail for you:

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5) I have not measured yet, but the pull seem very close in volume to other levers.

Chuck, here is a picture of the spouts with an Illy cup. You will be fine.

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Since I am always moving machines around, I never seem to have the right parts together when some of the comparison questions come up. I think you will do fine with your Elektra baskets. I think I tried this on my older machine and they were fine. I have never run into the retooling issue that some of the guys on the forum seem to have run into. My test were always with the stock Elektra baskets that came with Dan's machine. I have ordered extra baskets from the Olympia factory and they are identical to the ones that came with the new machine.
Steve Robinson

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srobinson (original poster)
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#12: Post by srobinson (original poster) »

In this post I wanted to finish talking about some of the external features of the machine before we started making coffee and began discussing the internals. There are quite a few neat features that I wanted to point out that may be of interest.

As I stated in some of the other posts, Olympia has added a few very nice little features that can only be appreciated if you have dealt with the designs of other machines. Some are very subtle, such as the way they put a vertical cut on the neck threads:

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This is one of those features that you never appreciate until you are half awake, have forgotten to fill the boiler and in your noncaffeinated state make the stupid mistake of unscrewing the cap under pressure. This little channel will give you enough warning to bring you back to your senses before you really do yourself some damage.

As we focus on the cap, you also see the new pressure relief valve that they added to the machines in the late 80s moving the safety valve from inside the machine to the cap.

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On this machine the gauge will run up to 1.1 bar, then you will hear this valve kick in and bring the pressure down to .8.

Moving to the front of the machine you will notice a slight change in the water level tube. Max level has been silk screened on the front panel instead of a second indicator mark as on the older machine.

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I did run a quick test with water level at the top of the max mark and you will get a significant amount of water coming out of your steam valve when you first run it, so my suggestion is to fill up to right below the word.

Moving down to the base of the machine, you will see that a lighted power switch has been added and moved from the front panel to the bottom frame.

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The only comment about this placement is that you really need to make sure you turn the machine off, since there will be no visual indication on the front panel that it is still on if at pressure. Secondly this locates the switch under the drip tray. While well sealed, I would ensure that you do a proper cleanup with each use to keep corrosion from beginning. You don't want this area to look like my old machine before I started restoration.

You still have a safety reset switch on the bottom plate...well marked on the new machine:

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And finally you get another great feature of easy access to the bottom of the boiler.

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If you want to see the real benefit of this design, head over to the lever forum and see some of the challenges the guys are having with their Pavonis as they try and remove the boiler from the base. The approach on the Olympias allow you to replace the boiler gasket and the heating element without having to completely remove the boiler from the frame. You will have to trust me that this is a great time-saver, and hopefully will ensure that proper maintenance is done on the machine since this is so well thought out.

Well that cover' most of the external features of the machine. Now let's make some coffee and look at the guts of it.
Steve Robinson

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#13: Post by srobinson (original poster) »

Well enough details on the exterior, let's take a break and make some coffee. It is always an interesting period dialing in a new machine and getting used to its nuances. Since the 2002 Cremina was so similar to the Cremina 67, I thought that this would be a snap and in no time I would be pulling impressive shots. While I feel that I am still in learning mode on the rebuilt machine, it is having some great results.

I am using this shot as my reference point for the Cremina 2002. I was fortunate to have Tony from Caffe Fresca send me some of his Ambrosia Espresso Blend right after Thanksgiving and I got to take some glamour shots right at its peak. Believe it or not, this is a single pull on a double basket.

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Now unfortunately the Ambrosia barely made it past turkey day, so I started the tests with some really fresh Black Cat from Intelligentsia. The first thing that I noticed between the two machines is that I could go with a much tighter grind on the 67. I was having to dial back 3-4 notches on the new machine to get good flow. An early shot:

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I then threw in some week-old Kid O Organic from Intelligentsia and saw the groove coming back:

This is the first pull starting from a cold machine.

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Second pull after settling during the same session.

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While I'll discuss tasting notes in the future, I was very impressed with a several characteristics of all the shots. First, following the basic directions that came with the machine will give you very good results. Secondly I am very impressed with the consistency of the shots. Good clear flavors on all the shots and outside of one SO coffee that Tony is in the midst of dialing in, I have had no shots that started sour or finished with a bite. Dan was humming with Kid O over the weekend and I commented to him that the crema from the Vetrano had quite a few small bubbles in it which he attributed to the coffee. Yet on the Olympia, the crema is extremely smooth, and I did not see this even using the same coffee.

I also found out that pulling a shot on a lever machine and taking artistic pictures is not my forte...so please bear with me. I think in a few more days I'll have the final adjustments made and I will walk you through the full process.

So with these shots to show that the end results are with the machine, let's look under the covers to see how she works.
Steve Robinson

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HB
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#14: Post by HB »

srobinson wrote:Dan was humming with Kid O over the weekend and I commented to him that the crema from the Vetrano had quite a few small bubbles in it which he attributed to the coffee. Yet on the Olympia, the crema is extremely smooth, and I did not see this even using the same coffee.
That blend was degassing (three days post-roast) and I used a bottomless portafilter, which accounts for the bubbles you noticed. Usually I "tap tap" the demitasse and swirl to settle them before serving to smooth out the surface, sorry. It's a minor difference, but I prefer the smoother texture (a spouted portafilter will accomplish the same end. I've also noted that "bubbly" crema tastes sharper; maybe it's an effect of the gasses releasing or my over-caffeinated imagination, I'm not certain.
Dan Kehn

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#15: Post by srobinson (original poster) »

So as I mentioned in the last post, it's time to pop the top and take a look under the cover of this machine. One of the things that I really respect about the design of this machine is that it is designed to be disassembled. This may sound like a minor point, but in this day an age when you see designs that are optimized for assembly, it takes significant additional work to ensure that it can come apart easily and be maintained.

To remove the case, one simply removes the boiler cap, removes the single nut on the neck and then the top tray and water overflow tray simply lift off. This is the view after this step:

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The case will then lift off and you can see all of the internals. While the parts look familiar to my old Cremina 67, you can see that they have evolved quite a bit with the design changes:

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The first thing you notice is the size of the tank...it has gone on steroids. The capacity now is up to 1.8L of which 1.1L are for effective use. You will also note that it is now fully stainless steel, compared to the brass boiler on the 67 and has some of the best welds that I have seen. Now to do a quick walk-around:

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From the rear on the right side you will find the connection to the steam arm and the pressurestat. The pressure stat looks like it is carved from brass billet, it is so heavy. Also you will note that all connections and fitting are stainless as well. The pressure stat will be set from the factory to operate at .7-.8 bar, but it is adjustable with a screw on top.

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On the left side you will see the connection to the pressure gauge, connections to the water level gauge as well as the safety valve moved directly off the boiler instead of on top of the site glass. For a couple quick compares, there are those same two views on the 20 year old machine:

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You also realize that the boiler has probably reached maximum capacity since it has some custom machining to ensure that the case will fit.

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Notice how it is notched around the frame to allow the case to go on. One last item on the case, while I had mentioned that it was grey, the color is officially Metallic Smoke Black. It is also interesting to note that the the manual states that other colors may be requested and are subject to availability. So there is hope yet to get on in lime green to match that Peppina that we had on the board.

Some final facts on the footprint of the machine, is that it measures at: 7.87x10.62x12.99 inches or 20x27x33cm... and it weighs in at a whopping 10.8Kg or 23.80 lbs.

Next post, I'll pull the grouphead so that we can see that design as well.
Steve Robinson

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texican

#16: Post by texican »

srobinson wrote:On the left side you will see the connection to the pressure gauge, connections to the water level gauge as well as the safety valve moved directly off the boiler instead of on top of the site glass. For a couple quick compares, there are those same two views on the 20 year old machine:

Steve, do you think it would be possible to retrofit the Cremina 67 with the pressure gauge that the Cremina 2002 uses?

Steve, in Ft. Worth.

RCMann

#17: Post by RCMann »

There's no room inside the 67 to tuck the gauge in as it is on the 2002, but I mounted a gauge on my 67 by drilling/tapping the brass bar between the tank and the pressure relief valve.

I used a back mount Ashcroft gauge, and screwed it right in (I used 1/8" NPT fittings). It works great, and although it sticks out, does not interfere with anything.

The key is to get a decent gauge that looks good, as you'll be seeing the whole thing.

The Ashcroft is 0-30 psi, has a SS body, glass face, and is liquid filled. Even sticking out, it (IMHO) really complements the look of the machine. It's expensive (~$100 shipped) but worth it. You'd probably pay more than that for the gauge on the 2002, which from the peek I could see in Steve's photo, is not a SS gauge and I'd guess is not the same quality as the Ashcroft, which is designed for pretty harsh conditions and simply looks great.

I've been using my machine with all the bodywork off (including the front cover) until I have time to do a complete gasket replacement (New Year's weekend!) and once Les gets me the woodwork, and I'll post some pics.

Rod
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#18: Post by srobinson (original poster) »

Steve, when I did my restoration, I thought long and hard on it and came to the decision that it would take quite a bit of fab work to make it work. The 67 has a taller water tube and the placement of the pressure valve would mean that I would have to figure out where to move it. As RCMann's solution shows ....you have to do some drilling.

What I decided is that I really did not need a full time gauge. These machines are very stable and I just wanted the capability to check the pressure as I did my maintenance with a temp location. On the 2002 with the gauge, it is fun to watch when it warms up, but it really just tells the same old story every day and shows you where you have it dialed in. As such I decided simply to come up with a way to test. As I showed in another post, I simply came off the back of the boiler:

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There are other places you can attach...steam arm, boiler cap.

But for boiler pressure only, I don't need it every day...now if I could get a brew pressure gauge.....Hey Lino!!!
Steve Robinson

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lino

#19: Post by lino »

Heh,

I can say that the best thing I did for LaPeppina (aside from not getting a green one :wink: ) was putting on the brew pressure gauge.

I always look at it. And I am amazed how sensitive the brew pressure is, and how hard it is to train my arm to be repetitive. But then again, I think alot of that is just me... :?


Hey Steve, can you still buy piston shafts and pistons for your machine? Are they expensive? I have an idea...


ciao

lino

texican

#20: Post by texican »

srobinson wrote:There are other places you can attach...steam arm, boiler cap.
Thanks, Steve R. By the way, I'm really enjoying the review of the Cremina 2002. Since you brought up the :wink: steam arm, have you thought of replacing the steam tip with something other than an Olympia tip (unless Olympia offers optional tips... hmmm.) Just a thought as I ramble on in a stream of consciousness.

Steve in Ft. Worth.