The Arrarex Caravel - Page 2

A haven dedicated to manual espresso machine aficionados.
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peacecup

#11: Post by peacecup »

Towards the end of last week the shots I was pulling on the Caravel seemed to be varying considerably in quality, something I haven't experienced in a long time. I was experimenting with different doses, grinds, tamps, and beans, and some shots veered dangerously close to sink shots. I think the ability of the Ponte Vecchio to handle anything I throw at it terms of grind/dose/tamp had made me a bit complacent, and I'd forgotten the Golden Rule of varying one parameter at a time. Over a three-day weekend away from the Caravel my mind kept coming back to the last few shots I'd pulled - they were thin and watery. I'd loosened up the grind and increased the dose - the flow rate seemed good, but the shots were poor, blond, thin crema.

Today I settled on a consistent dose, stuck with one blend, and adjusted the grind until I got really dialed in. I was rewarded is some great 7-8g ristrettos. I plan to keep things very consistent for the next couple of days now, to work on getting this type of shot further dialed in before switching to other beans or increasing the dose.

I'm also sticking with one temperature for now, which is a gently rolling boil in the kettle, then switching off just before brewing.

PC
LMWDP #049
Hand-ground, hand-pulled: "hands down.."

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peacecup

#12: Post by peacecup »

Oh Henry, BTW, the in the photo of your Caravel from the youtube video the lever appears to be installed upside down (the "elbow" pointing up). I installed mine in this direction when I first got it, as in the photo at the start of the thread. I've since switched it, which allows me to engage/remove the PF with the lever in the full down position and the piston closed.

All this reminds me to mention that the two-armed lever with the horizontal, rotating handle on the Caravel is really a far superior design to the one-armed bandit common to most levers. With a spring lever this hardly matters, but with a manual lever it makes allows a far smoother, more consistent pull. Just another kudos to the Caravel designers...

PC
LMWDP #049
Hand-ground, hand-pulled: "hands down.."

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hbuchtel

#13: Post by hbuchtel »

peacecup wrote:Oh Henry, BTW, the in the photo of your Caravel from the youtube video the lever appears to be installed upside down
Heh heh :) yep! Dunno why I thought it should be facing down. Using it the other way, it is obvious that it should be facing up!

I have to re-train my muscle memory, however, as I no longer know when to expect the normal build up and let down of pressure...

Say, have you tried an americano? It is really easy with the Caravel- just make sure you have plenty of water in the kettle and fill up the cup before pulling a shot (I'm using a small cappuccino cup). I've never really been into americanos (americani?) before, it is really interesting how the flavor of a straight espresso is all there, but different... much less intense, more diffused... (which makes sense :roll: ). I'm excited to try some lighter roasts as americanos as I've found them too objectionable as straight espresso.

Henry
LMWDP #53

missionhb

#14: Post by missionhb »

Hi All,

Just a personal note on the Arrarex VAM/Caravel. I noticed that the early models - those with a side Sphinx and VAM tag and no "Caravel" front sticker - have a few distinctive features:

- the lever is more bent/curved and less tubular in section (the shape of the section is changing gradually)
- the heating element is 600 W
- the upper back knob releases the water tank
- the lower back knob regulates the thermostat
- there's no on/off switch
- the lid of the watertank is released an "pops up" by operating a tiny lever
- the water tank presents two series of holes towards the compression chamber for water entry/air escape
- the piston assembly is released by unscrewing the upper locker that operates subtle retractile threads
- the central lever fittings are carved into two inox hemispheres
- there are no O-rings in the chamber or on the piston
- the piston is plain inox with two V seals mounted in opposite direction (like pavoni's)

With this early machine, if you take care getting rid of any residual air in the compression chamber by two or three slow and gentle halfway preinfusion strokes (until the lever is stiff), you can litterally "lie on the lever" and extract amazing ristrettos & espressos from 8-10g finely ground and strongly tamped pucks, without any hydraulic back-leaks.

The result is amazing.

Cheers
LMWDP CLXXIV

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hbuchtel

#15: Post by hbuchtel »

Hello missionhb (?), thanks for joining us!

From your description, I think you have the same generation of machine that Walter does (see photos here). Mine (and Timo's) seem to be the newest generation, while PC's is somewhere in the middle. As far as I can tell, the changes from generation to generation were made to save money rather then improve on the original design!

I've tried doing a pre-infusion pull like you mentioned, but never got very good results... but with your endorsement I ought to try it again. About how long does the pull take for you and what is the weight of the drink that it makes?
Regards,

Henry
LMWDP #53

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mogogear

#16: Post by mogogear »

Jack-

O-rings and Dow 111 in the mail yesterday!
greg moore

Leverwright
LMWDP #067

missionhb

#17: Post by missionhb »

Hi Henry,

In the conditions I described earlier: (i) all the air is purged from the compression column i.e., cylinder PLUS free space in the PF between the puck and the dispersion screen, and (ii) heavily tamped 7-10g puck, the pull takes 25-30 seconds and yields an unbelievable 13-18g ristretto/espresso.

Best,
François
LMWDP CLXXIV

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peacecup

#18: Post by peacecup »

mogo wrote:
O-rings and Dow 111 in the mail yesterday!
Greg, many thanks, they arrived today, fit perfectly, and I'm currently awaiting the machine to come up to temp for the first try.

I'm getting the Caravel dialed in, and am really loving the shots, not to mention the beauty of the machine.

PC
LMWDP #049
Hand-ground, hand-pulled: "hands down.."

ntwkgestapo

#19: Post by ntwkgestapo »

Peacup, don't know how easy it'd be up there in Juneau, but. the absolute BEST place I've ever found for round seals (i.e. o-rings and variants) is your local boat engine repair shop. Unbelievable selection of o-rings, flared seals, etc. in just about ANY size (from itsy-bitsy [don't you love the technical stuff! :D] to 6-8 inches in diameter). You'd be surprised just how many different seals go into outboard motors, jet drives, etc and OFTEN they can be found in food safe form....
Steve C.
I'm having an out of coffee experience!
LMWDP # 164

alex f

#20: Post by alex f »

Hello fellow Caravel owners.

I have been using one of the older models for a few weeks and have a question about one of the parts I seem to be missing. It's the steel sleeve that encases the lever mechanism inside the piston chamber. Does it strenghten the unit ? Does it simply prevent water from leaking out of the chamber when the kettle is too full ?

Alex