A Lesson from Christopher Cara in Using a La Pavoni Home Lever Espresso Machine - Page 4

A haven dedicated to manual espresso machine aficionados.
hperry

#31: Post by hperry »

Go to RoastE so you can get free shipping and order a pound each of Ecco Espresso and Ecco dark espresso. Order on Friday night for shipping the next week so they don't take too long to get to you. I think either blend would give you what you are looking for.
Hal Perry

User avatar
RayJohns

#32: Post by RayJohns »

Go to RoastE so you can get free shipping and order a pound each of Ecco Espresso and Ecco dark espresso. Order on Friday night for shipping the next week so they don't take too long to get to you. I think either blend would give you what you are looking for.
Thanks very much Hal. I checked out the site; it looks good. As soon as I upgrade my equipment a bit, I'm going to see about ordering some of those coffees you recommended.

Thanks again.

Ray

BPlus: turning your coffee spirit
Sponsored by BPlus
User avatar
Heckie

#33: Post by Heckie »

Just to chime in here... I know lighter>> "city roasts" have become more popular over the years, especially amongst the third wave, or whatever, movement. So as not to digress, I'll refrain from further comments about that... you're welcome :D I think the style of roasting so light is an overreaction to the Starbucks & Peets culture that had dominated the public's attention for the better part of 3 decades. I just find the sourness and bright acidity commonly found in coffees pulled at the end of the 1st crack (and in many cases before) to be too much in an espresso or in drip coffee for that matter. I recently had some coffee labeled as an espresso blend (don't want to name it) by a roaster, who gets a lot of buzz in the biz. After taking my first sip I felt the puckering effect of sucking on a lemon and the predominant characteristic was the brightness all the way through to the finish. From looking at the beans in the hopper I'd say it was city roast maybe a tad lighter BUT....My point? I just don't like these light city roasts. The argument I keep hearing from baristas who are using those roasts is: "Full City is burning the coffee and we want to preserve the integrity of the cup!" To which I guess I'd say (put aside the fact that a full city pulled at the onset of the second crack isn't burning the bean) if a full city roast is over roasting the coffee then a light city roast is under roasting it. They are just opposite extremes that's all. I honestly don't think that "light roast only" rhetoric is any less or more misleading and inflammatory than the misconception that a coffee has to be roasted to an Italian-French Roast to make espresso. So the Full City roasts continue to please my palate again and again; And get all the fun of being made into my D.O.C every day.

User avatar
RayJohns

#34: Post by RayJohns »

hperry wrote:Go to RoastE so you can get free shipping and order a pound each of Ecco Espresso and Ecco dark espresso. Order on Friday night for shipping the next week so they don't take too long to get to you. I think either blend would give you what you are looking for.
Picked up some dark ecco tonight, along with two other beans. Looking forward to trying them out.

Ray

User avatar
RayJohns

#35: Post by RayJohns »

Just wanted to follow up a bit on this thread...

I have since gone back to using slightly shorter extraction times. The super long extraction times (at lower temp) did product some nice espresso, but something about it was just off a bit. I think it maybe extracted too much from the coffee. It was almost like the method extracted too much and the flavors were too bold.

I think part of it was also that some beans seemed to grind down and have more of a tendency to choke out the extraction than others. To combat this, I made the grind a little less fine and did not tamp as much. This allowed the water to go through the coffee a bit more readily. The extractions are still a little longer than the 25 second range, but the flow is better and I think there is also less likelihood of channeling. I would say the pressure on the lever is also about half as much.

Another thing I discovered is that a lot of the problem I was having was from having too much steam in the water that was reaching the group head. It seems the best espressos result from extractions where the water in the boiler has cooled down to where there is almost no pressure (sometimes, in fact, there is so little that I have to flip the machine on to the "II" settings for a few seconds in order to generate enough pressure to push the water up into the group head). In this cases, the flow is very thick and less foamy (less steaming hot water in the group head is the reason I think). This seems to produce the best espresso for most of the beans I'm using.

Along these same lines, I've been giving some though to installing a PID on the boiler. This would allow me to control the temp in the boiler using the PID, instead of heating the machine up, then turning it off and hoping I pull the shot at the right moment. However, in reading over all the "La Pavoni / PID" threads, it seems that the main issue is this: at the ideal brewing temp, there is not enough steam pressure in the boiler (to force the water up into the group head). This is similar to the issue I run into now actually. If I heat the machine up, then turn it off, then in some cases it cools down to where there is no longer enough pressure in the boiler.

My proposed solution to this is to attach a gauge to the machine, along with a small hand pump. My thinking is that the PID would control the boiler temp; when I'm ready to pull a shot, a few pumps from the hand pump would put enough pressure into the boiler and be enough to push the water up into the group head.

Anyway, the main point here was that going back to shorter extraction times does seem to work slightly better. The super long extraction times were interesting, but the flavor was almost too much. Also, when the water was too hot, it allowed too much contract time between the water and the coffee. If the water was lower temp, then it wasn't too big of an issue. Still, however, shorter extraction times seem to produce very nice crema and a more smooth / balanced flavor. A lot has to do with the beans also. It seems some beans just lend themselves to less clogging of the basket with finer grinds.

Ray

User avatar
drgary (original poster)
Team HB

#36: Post by drgary (original poster) »

Reading Ray's and other posts, I wonder if my Millennium EP is more temperature tuned and stable than the pre-M's. I've got a thermocouple on the way and will see if I can get some measures in the group after initial warm-up, after pulling consecutive shots, and also after leaving it on for an hour.
Gary
LMWDP#308

What I WOULD do for a good cup of coffee!