Preinfusion on the E61 - revisited

Need help with equipment usage or want to share your latest discovery?
User avatar
bigdog002

#1: Post by bigdog002 »

I read all I could on preinfusion, the concensus seemed to be that a non-plumbed machine can't do it properly. Those with an Anita or AP seemed to dismiss the amount of water released when the lever is in mid-position as negligable amounts of condensation.

I decided to measure the amount of water released on my Anita when the lever is moved to mid-position. Here are the results....

After machine was idle for several hours -- 1.75 ounces in 10 seconds -- flow stopped. I pulled a double and tested again ... 1.75 ounces in 10 seconds. I immediately turned on the pump until water flowed from the grouphead, shut off pump and moved to mid-position --- 1.75 ounces in 10 seconds. I tested several more times throughout the day, each with the same result .. 1.75 ounces in 10 seconds.

1.75 ounces seems like plenty of water for an effective pre-infusion to me ... ? ... It can't be all condensation because the same amount of water is delivered immediately after pulling a shot and/or after running water through the grouphead.

Again I ask, why is this feature not used and dismissed on these Quick Mill machines? It seems to me it is part of the design. I pulled my first double this morning with a 6 second pre-infusion (approx 1oz) ... the shot was the best I had ever pulled, no squirters at all. I'm going to continue to use MANUAL pre-infusion with my Anita and see if the results are consistent.

Is the preinfusion water correcting distribution problems by saturating?

I'll post more as I experiment.


Chris

EDIT - I'm leary of the theory that the vibe pump slow ramp up is 'the' preinfusion on the E61. That may very well be a characteristic of the vibe pump, but I do not believe it is the designed preinfusion on the E61. I contend that those with a full E61 are not getting the preinfusion promised automatically ... that it might be designed as a manual operation with the lever. Again, just my thoughts, prove me wrong if you wish, I'm just trying to fully understand and get the most out of my (lovely) Anita.

User avatar
jesawdy

#2: Post by jesawdy »

bigdog002 wrote:I read all I could on preinfusion, the concensus seemed to be that a non-plumbed machine can't do it properly. Those with an Anita or AP seemed to dismiss the amount of water released when the lever is in mid-position as negligable amounts of condensation.
I'm short on time to give a full response, but I think you may be confused on how the preinfusion on a machine like the Anita works. Some might argue that preinfusion (as it was intended by the E61 patent) only works on Levetta (brew lever-equipped) machines, like you have with the Anita. Have you read and understood the E61 patent info in E61 Group Espresso Machine: Is its reputation justified??
Jeff Sawdy

User avatar
cafeIKE

#3: Post by cafeIKE »

Perhaps the topic should be Preinfusion on the Anita?

The Quickmill group design differs from that of the Vibiemme where the middle position releases no water. FWIW, Vibiemme traces its ancestry directly to Faema, the original manufacturer of the e61.

What happens if you run enough water through the group to drop the temperature well below boiling? Do you still get 1.75oz in 10 seconds? If not, then the 1.75oz may represent the water in the thermosyphon expellable by the super heated water. Once 1.75oz is released, is just a small amount of steam released?

User avatar
bigdog002

#4: Post by bigdog002 » replying to cafeIKE »


I repeated this cycle 4 times -- 8 oz flush, mid-lever. All 4 gave the same amount of water. When the flow stops the brew pressure is dead 0 and I detect no steam (doesn't mean there is none, not great eyes here). There was a difference in how the water flowed. The cooler water flowed out in well defined streams, compared to a more spread, single drop pattern with hot.

I do agree that it is likely some form of 'trapped' water, as the amount is consistent. See my response below for more ...

User avatar
bigdog002

#5: Post by bigdog002 »

jesawdy wrote:I'm short on time to give a full response, but I think you may be confused on how the preinfusion on a machine like the Anita works. Some might argue that preinfusion (as it was intended by the E61 patent) only works on Levetta (brew lever-equipped) machines, like you have with the Anita. Have you read and understood the E61 patent info in E61 Group Espresso Machine: Is its reputation justified??
I read it and tried to weed out the preinfusion info. The claim of any meaningfull preinfusion designed into the E61 seems dubious to me, more of a marketing gimic.

It seems I am addressing a bonus feature of Quick Mill machines, rather than an E61 design feature. This is actually quite exciting for Quick Mill owners ... If a Quick Mill owner has the option to saturate the puck with up to 1.5 ounces of non-pressurized water before pulling a shot, this adds a REAL preinfusion that was previously only available on a lever machine ... am I correct in that thought?

What other HX machines are able to deliver water in mid-position?


EDIT: Just pulled my 2nd double with a 6 second mid-lever puck soak ... 17g of Black Cat, WDT'd ... shot pulled in 20 seconds (26 seconds with preinfusion time), when it started to barber-pole I cut it off. 1.5 ounces, crema to the 2oz mark, and the most beautiful crema I have ever produced.


EDIT2: pulled my 3rd double. I updosed to 18g, 6 sec soak, 24 sec pull and it was a thing of beauty. My inexperienced eye could detect no fault in this one. I stopped the pull only because my timer went off. Wish I had a video camera.

I drink cappas, I can detect bitter/sour in a second .. the last two cappas were the best I have ever tasted, and certainly the best I have ever made myself.

Maybe concentrating on this 'soak' time has taken my mind off of the dose/tamp routine so I'm more relaxed and doing those things properly ... or maybe soaking really makes a difference.

I'd certainly like to hear from some other QM owners.

User avatar
jesawdy

#6: Post by jesawdy »

Not to take away from your experimenting (which I think is interesting), here's the bit on preinfusion that I wonder if you are not grasping:

From the patent (linked from here)
Image

In practice, during some moments, there is no pressure. Then, the pressure begins to be formed. When the pressure in the chamber 14 reaches (in the case in question) 1.5 atmospheres, this pressure overcomes the power of spring 8 and the sealing device 7 becomes detached from the seat. But in the supposition in question, the sealing device 10 remains in the off position. As the hot water still arrives in 14, this water, little by little, fills the cavity 9. After this filling, the pressure in 14 and above the coffee powder contain in the filter, rapidly increases under the action of the pressure in 3, and then the infusion is distributed. After this distribution, by operating the handle 14 in the opposite manner, the starting conditions are reestablished.

It is evident that, by regulating the opening 2, the spring 8, and the volume of chamber 9, it is possible to obtain the desired period of the phase of infusion with the desired pressure of infusion.
So chamber 9 and spring 8 are the really important bits (and only on a levetta machine). Brew water fills chamber 14 and travels up 4 and starts wetting the coffee in the portafilter. Sufficient pressure builds to overcome spring 8 (patent claim of 1.5 bars, this could be varied with different springs) and now the preinfusion chamber 9 starts to fill. Once 9 is full, the pressure builds to brew pressure and the espresso is extracted.
Jeff Sawdy

User avatar
bigdog002

#7: Post by bigdog002 »

jesawdy wrote:Not to take away from your experimenting (which I think is interesting), here's the bit on preinfusion that I wonder if you are not grasping:

*snip*

Brew water fills chamber 14 and travels up 4 and starts wetting the coffee in the portafilter. Sufficient pressure builds to overcome spring 8 (patent claim of 1.5 bars, this could be varied with different springs) and now the preinfusion chamber 9 starts to fill. Once 9 is full, the pressure builds to brew pressure and the espresso is extracted.

The E61 preinfusion described above happens when the lever is moved from bottom to top, correct?

If yes, does the amount of preinfused water have time to actually affect the puck? It seems to me the time it takes the pressure to build to overcome spring 8 wouldn't be very long. If this is indeed the way E61 preinfusion is designed it seems too little and too short of time to have any actual effect on the puck. Am I underestimating the amount of water and time allowed built in to the E61?

Or are you saying that the water held in the cavity (9) is the water that is being released when the lever is mid-position and the user IS supposed to manually control the time of preinfusion?

After realizing that mid-lever soak is NOT actually part of the E61 design, I am now focusing on the water released when the levetta is mid-position .. plenty to fully saturate a puck and give it time to actually be absorbed before pressure is applied. This seems to be a characteristic, not a feature, of some E61 designs.

If I am understanding the built in E61 preinfusion process, and it happens when the lever is moved from bottom to top ... thats about 1 second of preinfusion ... ? .... depending upon the amount of water I guess it could help a bit. The mid-lever time controlled preinfusion I've discovered on my Anita seems unintentional, but it seems to give the user very good control over a lever-machine type of preinfusion, which seems to be very effective from what I've read.

If I am making no sense keep trying to get through to me, I will eventually see the light ... I'm just new at all of this 8)

User avatar
jesawdy

#8: Post by jesawdy »

bigdog002 wrote:The E61 preinfusion described above happens when the lever is moved from bottom to top, correct?

Yes.
If yes, does the amount of preinfused water have time to actually affect the puck? It seems to me the time it takes the pressure to build to overcome spring 8 wouldn't be very long. If this is indeed the way E61 preinfusion is designed it seems too little and too short of time to have any actual effect on the puck. Am I underestimating the amount of water and time allowed built in to the E61?
I suspect it is not too very long at all as well. I don't directly know if it is sufficient time to fully wet the whole puck as I've personally never played with it. Surely it is bit different than it is with a lever machine (as you mentioned) where you can preinfuse as long as you wish. The patent acknowledges this about lever machines.
Or are you saying that the water held in the cavity (9) is the water that is being released when the lever is mid-position and the user IS supposed to manually control the time of preinfusion?
No. Before pulling a shot, chamber 9 is emptied to the drip tray. No you are not supposed to control preinfusion as it is designed. You could with a plumbed machine and mains pressure and use the mid position. On the QuickMill variants at least. Or play as you are. Or install some sort of delay timer.
After realizing that mid-lever soak is NOT actually part of the E61 design, I am now focusing on the water released when the levetta is mid-position .. plenty to fully saturate a puck and give it time to actually be absorbed before pressure is applied. This seems to be a characteristic, not a feature, of some E61 designs.

If I am understanding the built in E61 preinfusion process, and it does happen when the lever is moved from bottom to top ... come on, thats about 1 second of preinfusion ... ? ....
This isn't much different than what Gicar controllers that support electronic preinfusion do. On so equipped La Marzocco and other machines, electronic preinfusion pulses the pump on/off very quickly, pauses a short period of time and then the pump is back on to pull the shot (not sure on the exact timing of this pause, 2 seconds maybe? Not adjustable as far as I know).
Jeff Sawdy

User avatar
bigdog002

#9: Post by bigdog002 »

Thanks Jeff. Interesting stuff.

I'm very excited to discover I can control preinfusion time on my Anita in a way that is similar to the control of a lever machine. So far my results when using a mid-lever soak have been great.

I'm anxious to see the results of others who have not tried this technique before (and from those that have). It probably benefits newbies like myself more than experienced users, maybe it will help people with my experience level to get better and more repeatable results.

User avatar
HB
Admin

#10: Post by HB »

bigdog002 wrote:I'm anxious to see the results of others who have not tried this technique before (and from those that have). It probably benefits newbies like myself more than experienced users, maybe it will help people with my experience level to get better and more repeatable results.
I call what you describe "prewetting the coffee" since there's no pressure involved and agree that it can boost the margin of error. My brief informal tests with it awhile back suggested that it improved the likelihood of an even extraction, but also "muddied" the flavors. For some coffees it was no big deal (e.g., monotonic comfort blends dominated by chocolates), others with lots of light fruity notes suffered greatly.

As a point of reference, you may be interested in the thread Pressure profiles, preinfusion and the forgiveness factor. It was my first "ah ha!" experience with an espresso machine that was both devoid of preinfusion and yet delightfully forgiving of minor errors in barista technique:

Image
Which brew pressure profile is more barista friendly?

PS: For keeping my own terminology straight, I refer to vibe pump machines with gicleurs as having progressive preinfusion, i.e., a slow pressure rise with no mechanism to produce a distinct brew pressure "hump". I refer to the E61s with expansion chamber and levers simply as having preinfusion because their brew profile is clearly separated into phases. Not sure if these terms jive with the various patent disclosures, but they've worked for me.
Dan Kehn