How to avoid wet pucks with spring lever? - Page 2

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Paul_Pratt

#11: Post by Paul_Pratt »

I've been using a San Marco the past few weeks and installed a brand new San Marco lever group whilst the original is being restored. Should be the same group as the QM Achille. I agree the puck at the end is much wetter than a 58mm group and I put that down to the very deep baskets they use. The headspace between puck and screen is huge. It does not bother me as I seldom do back to back shots, but I wonder if more shallow baskets would perform better.

The coffee it produces is great.

jwCrema
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#12: Post by jwCrema »

Paul, I think you're right about the deep basket being a factor. I had to take the Club off the counter for the time being or I'd measure the headspace difference between my two machines.

The grind is still significantly on the fine side of the Major's center point, and I'm not getting any eruptions now. Tastes great too.

def
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#13: Post by def »

Paul_Pratt wrote:I've been using a San Marco the past few weeks and installed a brand new San Marco lever group whilst the original is being restored. Should be the same group as the QM Achille. I agree the puck at the end is much wetter than a 58mm group and I put that down to the very deep baskets they use. The headspace between puck and screen is huge. It does not bother me as I seldom do back to back shots, but I wonder if more shallow baskets would perform better.

The coffee it produces is great.
Paul, I wholeheartedly agree that the coffee from LSM is great, however I respectfully disagree that the headspace between puck and screen is huge on the LSM group. I dose all the way up to the retainer clip which means that the coffee bed touches the cylinder sleeve and retainer clip, but not the shower screen. That gives me about one to two millimeters of head space, which is ideal for evenly extracted shots with great body. I tried dosing such that nothing touches the coffee bed, but I got side channeling on every shot despite very even tamping. The obvious problem when dosing this high is that the group needs to be cleaned between shots because coffee remains on the shower screen. Also, flushing alone only cleans the coffee from the screen but not the sleeve and retainer, so I have a brush or cloth handy. A short flush will not raise the group head temperature significantly because the water near the group is not super heated.

BTW, I do realize that one of the benefits of a lever machine is no mess on the shower screen and no flushing required. This bugs me, but I have learned to live with it because my machine is very thermally stable and otherwise the perfect spring lever. A long topic on LSM baskets along with a lot of detail on dosing is here.

The LSM group seems to be known for dark roasts, but I use it regularly for light roasts now. This means using the small double basket so that I can grind very fine and I dose up to the retainer. For example, this week I am pulling Sey Coffee Mas Morenos with 15g dose in a 14g LSM basket made by LF. If I used the triple basket that came with my machine, I would have to grind coarser and dose at 27g, and then I would conclude that the LSM is not appropriate for light roasts. However with the 14g double basket, I get exceptionally even extractions with difficult light roasts, and the result is superb.

Below is a photo of a puck from Sey Mas Morenos. Notice the perimeter of the puck has the indentation and outline from the sleeve and retainer. Perhaps some won't want to dose like this, but I got this from @espressotime and @TomC who have many years of experience on this machine. Also notice that my puck is not very thick. Many LSM owners think and have said that the LSM baskets are deep, but there are other choices of baskets available besides the triple. The difference between the Condor group and LSM is 3mm diameter which in my experience is a negligible difference and does not imply that LSM must use a deep basket.

I do not have a problem with wet pucks on my LSM. Try dosing up to the retainer clip.

Image

mgwolf

#14: Post by mgwolf »

When I was using a Londinium, I noticed that some pucks were very soupy and others were fairly dry. The difference was the type of coffee I was using. Some always gave soupy pucks (eg Vivace Vita) while others gave dry pucks. All of them tasted good. Recently I saw a few pulls on a Londinium LR and all the pucks were bone dry.

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Paul_Pratt

#15: Post by Paul_Pratt »

def wrote:Paul, I wholeheartedly agree that the coffee from LSM is great, however I respectfully disagree that the headspace between puck and screen is huge on the LSM group. I dose all the way up to the retainer clip which means that the coffee bed touches the cylinder sleeve and retainer clip, but not the shower screen. That gives me about one to two millimeters of head space, which is ideal for evenly extracted shots with great body. I tried dosing such that nothing touches the coffee bed, but I got side channeling on every shot despite very even tamping. The obvious problem when dosing this high is that the group needs to be cleaned between shots because coffee remains on the shower screen. Also, flushing alone only cleans the coffee from the screen but not the sleeve and retainer, so I have a brush or cloth handy. A short flush will not raise the group head temperature significantly because the water near the group is not super heated.

I do not have a problem with wet pucks on my LSM. Try dosing up to the retainer clip.
Yes I agree with what you have written but that is what I wrote as well - reduce the headspace. Unless I have been sold the wrong double baskets, with a 16g dose (my standard) I am getting around 10-12mm of headspace between the top of the rim and the top of the coffee. I have larger baskets but never use those. I can measure again the end of next week.

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TheMadTamper

#16: Post by TheMadTamper »

Using the "pull 30 degrees and wait a few seconds" trick does seem to be working fairly (note, fairly) well now that I'm getting used to holding it there for a few seconds, and not just pull-unlock in almost one step the way Dan did in his Pro 800 Cars & Coffee video. Not perfect, but better. At least, for unlocking and not having standing water on the puck. The coffee bed itself is still a bit extra damp, and thus leaves a bit of a mess in the basket I'm still trying to figure out a good, clean-ish way to flush between shots. I was doing a group flush to rinse the PF like I did on the HX Cimbali, but the flush seems to take too long, too much water, and more importantly raises the group temp too much as as result to reliably clean out basket gunk. I might resort to just using the water wand. Or maybe just remove the basket and dunk it in a water bath next to the machine between shots?
Paul_Pratt wrote:I've been using a San Marco the past few weeks and installed a brand new San Marco lever group whilst the original is being restored. Should be the same group as the QM Achille. I agree the puck at the end is much wetter than a 58mm group and I put that down to the very deep baskets they use. The headspace between puck and screen is huge. It does not bother me as I seldom do back to back shots, but I wonder if more shallow baskets would perform better.

The coffee it produces is great.
The Achille actually is a 58mm "Bosco/Idro/Londinium" type group. The PF barely visible in my avatar thumbnail may almost be slightly recognizable to you... :wink: (Aside, my only worry is the stainless-on-brass interaction wearing the group when it "breaks in", - that and the "messy puck flush routine" has a habit of keeping some water in the seam of the bottom gasket that wants to splash out on my tamping mat when I do the "tapping method." )
def wrote:Paul, I wholeheartedly agree that the coffee from LSM is great, however I respectfully disagree that the headspace between puck and screen is huge on the LSM group. I dose all the way up to the retainer clip which means that the coffee bed touches the cylinder sleeve and retainer clip, but not the shower screen. That gives me about one to two millimeters of head space, which is ideal for evenly extracted shots with great body. I tried dosing such that nothing touches the coffee bed, but I got side channeling on every shot despite very even tamping. The obvious problem when dosing this high is that the group needs to be cleaned between shots because coffee remains on the shower screen. Also, flushing alone only cleans the coffee from the screen but not the sleeve and retainer, so I have a brush or cloth handy. A short flush will not raise the group head temperature significantly because the water near the group is not super heated.

BTW, I do realize that one of the benefits of a lever machine is no mess on the shower screen and no flushing required. This bugs me, but I have learned to live with it because my machine is very thermally stable and otherwise the perfect spring lever. A long topic on LSM baskets along with a lot of detail on dosing is here.

The LSM group seems to be known for dark roasts, but I use it regularly for light roasts now. This means using the small double basket so that I can grind very fine and I dose up to the retainer. For example, this week I am pulling Sey Coffee Mas Morenos with 15g dose in a 14g LSM basket made by LF. If I used the triple basket that came with my machine, I would have to grind coarser and dose at 27g, and then I would conclude that the LSM is not appropriate for light roasts. However with the 14g double basket, I get exceptionally even extractions with difficult light roasts, and the result is superb.

Below is a photo of a puck from Sey Mas Morenos. Notice the perimeter of the puck has the indentation and outline from the sleeve and retainer. Perhaps some won't want to dose like this, but I got this from @espressotime and @TomC who have many years of experience on this machine. Also notice that my puck is not very thick. Many LSM owners think and have said that the LSM baskets are deep, but there are other choices of baskets available besides the triple. The difference between the Condor group and LSM is 3mm diameter which in my experience is a negligible difference and does not imply that LSM must use a deep basket.

I do not have a problem with wet pucks on my LSM. Try dosing up to the retainer clip.

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I second that. I've heard much of the "no cleanup necessary on levers" discussion, but even with this 58mm group, with my dosing, I find that, too low, and the puck is too wet, and while "side channeling" may not be the right description, extraction does start from the edges first. Though I'm still using the stock screen with the E61 type center. But generally I do find, at "normal" doses, some grinds build up not so much on the screen but around it, and if I do the "pull 30 degrees and hold to unlock" method for back to back shots, What comes out when relaxing the lever is coffee water, obviously from behind the screen - so I don't see how flushes aren't essential anyway, at a minimum. (Though this being a thermosyphon or "TS dipper" as we coined in another thread a few months ago), most seem to feel a flush is required to keep the TS loop flowing anyway.

So far I've been flushing (albeit overflushing to also clean my basket) between shots and doing a brushing/Espazzola run after the session. I don't feel I have a really ideal routine yet, but I'm trying to adapt to it. My single shot routine is definitely more reliable than my back to back routine for now.
LMWDP #642

def
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#17: Post by def »

TheMadTamper wrote:The Achille actually is a 58mm "Bosco/Idro/Londinium" type group.
I just skimmed the entire thread but please pardon me if I have missed something already suggested.

This group is super clean and I have never had a problem with wet pucks with this group, even if there is a little residual pressure on the coffee bed. I use Cafelat IMS shower screen and the silicon seals. The IMS screen gives some extra head space over the stock screen, and the silicon seals are very effective. If your machine does not have a very tight seal, then I believe pressure on the puck could escape the cylinder which could cause wet pucks every time.

In addition to the Cafelat modern lever group kit, I recommend Espressoparts HQ basket with or without ridge. It is listed as a 14g basket, but with the IMS screen, 18g medium roast is no problem.

On my pro 800, as soon as the lever is all the way up after extraction, and pf is no longer dripping, I will get a light puff of air when releasing the pf. If you don't get a little pressure release, I would speculate that the seals are the source of your problem. If you do get some pressure, check the dose by using the nickel test.

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TheMadTamper

#18: Post by TheMadTamper » replying to def »

Hmm, for me, if there is any residual pressure, the puck is guaranteed to be wet. I don't get "sneezes" specifically, but if I do let it finish dripping out the puck is wonderfully dry, though it could still be tied to me using a finder grind (&medium to dark roasts.) This is true if there's not even enough pressure to hear any release when unlocking the PF, but enough to still be dripping.

I do have an IMS screen and silicone group gasket standing by - but I'm using stock screen and gasket until the first removal cleaning at which time I'll swap the IMS & silicone in. Still the stock rubber piston seals. I probably won't be changing them for a year or so, but I do have the Cafelat silicone on hand for whenever the need to replace arises. I suppose you could be right about the seals though....that's an interesting theory!

I'm using the same (ridgeless) EP HQ 14g baskets as well.

In my case, if I unlock after the lever is up but the PF is still dripping I *do* get a little puff of pressure release (and a wet puck). If I wait a while for the PF to stop dripping, there's no pressure release, and a dry puck. I may just be jumping the gun when going at speed. Otherwise, maybe it's the seals...
LMWDP #642

belegnole

#19: Post by belegnole »

And what happens if you don't preinfuse? I'm just guessing, but I think it may be a combination of factors including grind, water volume and the pressure in the column.

For the fun of it you could grind much coarser and see what happens. Then you could grind as normal but with basically no preinfusion. That's what I would do at this point.
LMWDP #641

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TheMadTamper

#20: Post by TheMadTamper » replying to belegnole »

Good question. The majority of what I've been doing has been with at least some preinfusion. I'll have to give it a try without again. So far my memory is inconsistent since I've been doing a mix of stuff. I.E. If I'm doing capps, the puck is always dry since I'm doing milk prep and such while it drips out and dries. Same for doing shots, since I usually drink/serve the shots before getting back to empty the PF. I notice it most if I'm doing Americanos, Long Blacks, and the big morning to-go lattes because I'm doing back-to-back-to-back shots (the latter of which I've done only once so far - sticking with the pump for that until I get into a lever routine.) Though I can't say for sure that I've not had water on the puck, ever, with even waiting with shots, probably if the grind was fine enough.

I'll give it a try - normal (fine) grind, no preinfusion. Off the top of my head, from my experiments going coarser (and by experiments, I mean "dialing in badly" ;) ) , the puck is definitely more likely to be drier, faster, when coarse.
LMWDP #642