Londinium 1 extraction issues

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LObin

Postby LObin » Dec 03, 2018, 10:21 pm

Hello HBers,

I'm looking for tips from L1 owners as I've had mine (2013) for not even a week yet. Here's the issue:
I seem to be getting very consistent results: poorly extracted, tasteless, bodyless, pale crema, espresso shots. Pucks are always disrupted. Lever grab is always quite high (occasionally lower but then I get a tasteless 1:1 ristretto). Poor is inconsistent (almost as if the pressure kept oscillating during poor).

What I tried:
Dosing anywhere from 12g to 16g.
Tried stock double basket and EPHQ14.
Tried adjusting grind.
Tamped hard.
Tamped light.
Cleaned and lubed (Dow 111) the seals (they're still soft)
Cleaned the shower screen (dispersion is good).
Tried new CMA piston seals (skipped a bit).
Tried pop-on CMA shower screen (was a bit better but the fit was not perfect so the water would come of the sides of the shower screen a bit...)
5 sec PI. (No drips. Ever.)
Longer PI. (If drips, then extraction is too fast)
Bought new beans (same roast)
Bled the air off the TS.

No matter what I do, the results are consistently bad. And surprisingly very similar.

I did contact Reiss and he thinks my group is running cold. My vacuum relief valve was sticking a bit so I cleaned it (even though it was pretty clean) and it's working on and off so I will replace it later this week. I do relieve the false pressure though and leave the machine on for pretty much the whole day. Group is pretty hot. TS doesn't seem to be stalling (sometimes hear a funny noise that goes away with a short flush)

Now.
All this would be very easy to explain if I was a lever newbie. But I'm not.
I spent the last year with a 79 Olympia club (which I fully restored) as my daily driver. I pulled great shots with ease.
I just got a Bezzera B3000al with an Astoria CMA group (that my wife won't tolerate on the kitchen counter) that has been pulling AMAZING SHOTS, on after another. My 3rd shot ever with the Bezzera was my best shot ever pulled.
Grinder is a Fiorenzato F64e.
I dose, distribute and tamp properly.
I even have a little distribution tool to break the clumps!
I'm working on the same SO medium roast Kenyan bourbon.
Pstat is set to cycle between 1 and 1.2 bar

What gives???

I did order cafelat modern lever silicone group and PG seals. It also comes with an IMS 200 shower screen. I'm hoping that's the answer to my sudden lost of skills...

Suggestions?
Ideas?
Jokes?

My L1 came with a double spout PF so I can't see everything that is going on in there. Luckily for my kitchen counters and cabinets...

This is the last shot and puck of today's failure:
Image
Image

User avatar
grog

Postby grog » Dec 03, 2018, 11:03 pm

Have you had success with this coffee on the 79 Oly Club? Sometimes I get an SO that I just can't dial in for espresso. I wonder if trying a more forgiving coffee would help in dialing in a new-to-you machine?
LMWDP #514

User avatar
another_jim
Team HB

Postby another_jim » Dec 03, 2018, 11:39 pm

Flushing just beefore the shot will fix a cold group (not a permanent fix, but a good way to check). If this makes the shot decent, that locates the problem

This machine should be very much like the Bezzera, since the Bosco group is the same as the Astoria except for the concealed bearings, and it's also basically a sipper like the Bezzera (just with with a gimmicky faux-HX sipper tube). If it's not the temperature, it's going to be a head scratcher. The suggestion of using a coffee that you know well is also a good idea.
Jim Schulman

LObin

Postby LObin » Dec 04, 2018, 12:00 am

I pulled this coffee with the Oly club and it was often on the thinner side vs other blends I use but very layered and often very good.

On the Bezzera it was spectacular, most of the time. More body (obviously), revealed different and unexpected notes, beautiful crema with speckled tones. I could often updose and get a solid 2-2.5oz without any signs of blonding. Consistently.

I read Paul Pratt's thread on his thoughts on the modern lever groups and I figured new and better seals and more head space could be the difference between the londinium group and the old CMA on my Bezzera.
But I'm not convinced these changes alone will get me back to the same consistency I previously had. After all, lots of people seem to be pulling wonderful shots with their L1's, in it's original setup...

Jim, I should have mentionned I also tried short (ok) and longer flushes (way too hot!) and have left the machine on for the last 48hrs. I find this group, like most lever groups, also tends to overheat, at least with all the external variables from my environment. I have brewed at least 3 espressos that were burnt in the last 24hrs. All of those had the same characteristics as described in my 1st post...

Reiss also suggested that there could be some scale build up in the TS but I didn't have to touch it to know it was not the case here. The vacuum relief valve was spotless and so was the inside of back of the group, underneath that nut to bleed air out of the TS.

For the purpose of it, same coffee with the Bezzera...
Image

HoldTheOnions

Postby HoldTheOnions » Dec 04, 2018, 12:10 am

If you aren't sure about dose/grind, I would recommend dosing 15.5g and using only the stock basket (for now), preinfuse for the same time, and adjust the grind until flow averages around 1g a second (after it starts coming out). Work out from there. Read that from another L1 owner as good general starting point, sorry forget who, but got me on the right track when I was starting with it.

walt_in_hawaii

Postby walt_in_hawaii » Dec 04, 2018, 12:23 am

Stay at 16g. Your puck has an odd appearance, but it depends on when you pull it. But the lack of dark richness in your crema sort of says you may have some channeling. I pull the handle down slightly less than halfway, THEN while holding it steady, with my other hand insert the PF and twist/lock as I pull the handle down all the way. I found that if I don't do this, about half the time the puck gets sucked back enough to fracture it and I get a weak extraction. You didn't mention if you are on the tank or plumbed in so no idea what your PI pressures are.
You WILL need a bottomless PF to see what's happening with your puck. I found the puck fracturing/channeling issues only after I was able to track the cracks while under extraction.... by noting the lighter colored, faster dripping spots under the PF and then when dropping the PF down, confirmed the cracks in the puck where I saw the water bleeding out underneath.

LObin

Postby LObin » Dec 04, 2018, 12:23 am

HoldTheOnions wrote:If you aren't sure about dose/grind, I would recommend dosing 15.5g and using only the stock basket (for now), preinfuse for the same time, and adjust the grind until flow averages around 1g a second (after it starts coming out). Work out from there. Read that from another L1 owner as good general starting point, sorry forget who, but got me on the right track when I was starting with it.


Sadly, an espresso scale with integrated timer is on Santa's wishlist... I won't be able to get that precise for the next 22 days!

I also read that (I believe it was from one of Reiss's post in L1 user experience thread) and I'm sure it's a solid starting point BUT can it alone justify that much difference in results compared to the CMA group on my Bezzera???

I mean... look at the difference on the pictures. Knowing how similar the old CMA and the L1 groups are, there has to be another reason that explains the poor extractions, no?

I did play with all the variable with very little results...
:?:

LObin

Postby LObin » Dec 04, 2018, 12:26 am

walt_in_hawaii wrote:Stay at 16g. Your puck has an odd appearance, but it depends on when you pull it. But the lack of dark richness in your crema sort of says you may have some channeling. I pull the handle down slightly less than halfway, THEN while holding it steady, with my other hand insert the PF and twist/lock as I pull the handle down all the way. I found that if I don't do this, about half the time the puck gets sucked back enough to fracture it and I get a weak extraction. You didn't mention if you are on the tank or plumbed in so no idea what your PI pressures are.


I do this as well.
I'm on the tank vs plumbed in on my Bezzera. But the L1 being a closed loop thermosyphon, I wouldn't get different PI pressure if I was to plumb it in.

LObin

Postby LObin » Dec 04, 2018, 12:33 am

I hope I don't come out too harsh as I'm really grateful to all of you for trying to help me solve this. The L1 is obviously an exceptional machine and I'm sure I will be able to get the best out of it soon. I'm just letting you guys know what I've tried so far and what the results have been.
It's only been 5 days, which is not much I know, but my previous experiences and my quick and consitent success with the CMA group leads me to believe that it might not only be the archer's fault, for once ;)

walt_in_hawaii

Postby walt_in_hawaii » Dec 04, 2018, 1:40 am

Nah, I'm sure you'll solve it given enough time... you sound like you know what you're doing, which helps immensely.
I am using the same machine, and same basket (HQ14), although most times I'm using the LM basket nowdays and pulling 8g singles with my L1. I find the doubles will make the L1 struggle a bit as its right at the limit of how much water it can push through a puck.... but of course an 8g single is easy for it with only ~15g of liquid needed. So for doubles I normally use the Strega; singles are tastier with the L1.