Question about the E61 head and pre-soaking...

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

#1: Post by ZebcoKid »

Hello All,

I have a Rocket Appartamento. I've watched plenty of videos now on the E61, and finding that sweet spot...just beyond the lever's midway point where water will flow, but the pump will not activate, provide a pre-soak to the coffee.

My question is: Why not just adjust the switch that activates the pre-soak/pump, so that it initiates pre-soak at the actual midway point of the lever, rather than just a bit beyond.

It seems that one could go from off to midway point for a pre-soak, then raise the lever all the way to initiate the pump.

Thank you in advance.


Supporter ♡

#2: Post by Nunas »

At the middle position of the lever, all the valves in the group are closed. Therefore, running the pump in the middle position would accomplish nothing. Some manufacturers do, indeed, mount their pump switch so that it comes on just above the middle point. My Magister Stella was like that, until I adjusted it so that the pump goes on just before the top-most position of the lever. Cracking the lever open just above the middle position is intended to be used for plumbed machines. That said, you can presoak with a standard, non-plumbed e61. Just raise the lever for about five seconds, then move it to the middle position for as long as you like.

User avatar
BaristaBoy E61

#3: Post by BaristaBoy E61 »

I tend to think of the 45˚ position as that of a standard transmission's - Neutral.
"You didn't buy an Espresso Machine - You bought a Chemistry Set!"

ZebcoKid (original poster)

#4: Post by ZebcoKid (original poster) »

I think that's a good way to think about it. Thank you.


User avatar
Randy G.

#5: Post by Randy G. »

For more info on how the E-61 works, consult the Vibiemme Domobar Double owners manual, (PDF download) pages 5 through 8. (DISCLAIMER: I created the manual but the download is free, hosted on Stefano's website,
* 21st Anniversary 2000-2021 *

User avatar
Supporter ♡

#6: Post by randyr5 »

The switch really has nothing to do with the pre-soak. It's just a pump on/off switch. It all has to do with the lever. As stated above, the halfway point is the "neutral position", where all valves are closed. I don't know of any way for the pre-soak to happen in this position. It must be lifted slightly above neutral for the soak to begin. Adjusting the switch will only turn the pump on earlier or later in the upward travel of the lever.

I tried doing pre-soak with my reservoir HX machine (Lelit Mara), but found it to be a waste of time, and actually degraded the quality of the shot. What I did do though is install the MaraX OLAB pump in it. The new pump design somehow lengthens the pre-infusion time by a few seconds, and it's quieter. I imagine any machine using a standard ULKA vibe pump could try this, too.


#7: Post by sophiesbar »

With the E61 and the Appartamento, start your shot with the fully up lever stroke. One action. The 'pre-soak' happens during the 6 to 7 seconds before the pump activates. The best thing you can invest in, is the temp gauge for the E61.
Craig LMWDP #127

ZebcoKid (original poster)

#8: Post by ZebcoKid (original poster) »

Hey Sophiesbar,

I purchased a pressure gauge. I had to reduce the pressure to 9 bars. I guess I can recognize the "pre-soak" as you describe when the needle jumps up after the 6-7 seconds.

As far as the temperature goes, the only thing I believe I've seen in terms of control on the appartamento is to bleed off some of the water sitting in the E61 prior to pulling a shot.

Is this how I will get to the right temperature with a gauge? there something I will adjust the pressure?

Thank you.



#9: Post by sophiesbar »

Hi David
I suggest you have a good read here: A guide to managing HX brew temperatures
You will learn all you need to know about brew temp control with the Appartamento.
Craig LMWDP #127

ZebcoKid (original poster)

#10: Post by ZebcoKid (original poster) »

Thank you, Craig.

I'll give it a read.

With gratitude.