Deep Cleaning / Refurb of My Riviera Eagle.

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Nic_Likes_Chickens

#1: Post by Nic_Likes_Chickens »

Hey all,

I use a Riviera Eagle every morning that I got handed down from my folks, who bought it new in SF in 1982 for a cool $400. It's still going strong!



I am probably going to get a more modern machine for a bit more pressure and consistency, which I'm looking at the Rocket Appartamento Nera with a bottomless portafilter.

I'm never going to get rid of the Eagle, because it's a bit of a family heirloom for me and it's just too cool. I'd like to get it cleaned up nicely and maybe put a heavier spring inside to get a bit more pressure.

Any recommendations for that?

Also, what's the best vinegar mix for descaling it? I see one of 1:3 vinegar to water.

Thanks!

XS750AU
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#2: Post by XS750AU »

Nic_Likes_Chickens wrote:
I'm never going to get rid of the Eagle, because it's a bit of a family heirloom for me and it's just too cool. I'd like to get it cleaned up nicely and maybe put a heavier spring inside to get a bit more pressure.

Any recommendations for that?
I would not upgrade the spring. If it has fatigued over time then replace it, but increasing the spring rate does not mean better coffee in the cup. By increasing the spring rate you also increase the forces on pins, boiler and base. Over time those increased forces could cause those items to bend and / or crack. So is it really worth it.
I had grand ideas when I got my CE14 and Microcimbali, but after getting my process under control I am extremely happy with the standard configuration of both machines.
So enjoy it as it is, and then it will last alot longer and you may be able to hand it down to the next generation.

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Nic_Likes_Chickens (original poster)

#3: Post by Nic_Likes_Chickens (original poster) » replying to XS750AU »

Ahh! That's a very good point I hadn't considered.

I make great coffee in it already, but would like a newer E61 group for a bit more evenness.

Nunas
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#4: Post by Nunas »

A common "upgrade" is to put in a Ponte Vecchio spring. It's essentially the same group. Nothing has bent or degraded on mine since I upgraded. The only thing is, you have to make a jig to get it in. The PV is notorious for the spring flying out when attempting to do it without making up a basic screw jack.

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nirdvorai
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#5: Post by nirdvorai »

I would be very cautious when descaling the Riviera boiler. The brass boiler is very sensitive to strong acids or prolong descaling times, which can lead to all nasty stuff coming off it. I'm not chemically expert, and I suggest reading posts on this matter by the late Dr. Pavils.

I would take a look inside the boiler and if it's not heavy scale, I would use distilled water with potassium bicarbonate - again I follow Dr. Pavils advice. I mix about 0.38g of potassium bicarbonate inside 5 gallon distilled water bottle. Over the time this can also help with removing scale.

IMHO - the Riviera Eagle is the most beautiful machine in my collection.

By the way- it's hard to tell, but it looks like your pressure gauge is or in very very high pressure point or out of use. I would check that first.

Nic_Likes_Chickens (original poster)

#6: Post by Nic_Likes_Chickens (original poster) » replying to nirdvorai »

Ahh, that's a very good point about descaling I hadn't considered... I'm installed an RO filter in my kitchen since water here isn't great and just rush it through.

As for the pressure, it doesn't go high. I burp it down to green before I pull shots though.