New lever owner (Ponte Vecchio Export) - Page 2

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#11: Post by peacecup »

I think the definition (Illy website?) of a standard doppio is 14g coffee per 2 oz espresso, incl. crema. So a 1 oz, two-pull, 14g PV espresso is a ristretto. May prefer weight instead of volume when discussing these issues, see Andy S, brew ratio posts.

This AM I wanted a little extra in my cappuccino, so I took a third pull on the double basket. The result was surprisingly good, because I've been limiting my straight shots to two pulls. There is no doubt that the character of the espresso is different between each pull, but probably not much different than two or three segments of a pump machine shot. Its easy to use three cups and taste each segment separately.

The PV group and basket design lends itself well to a variety of different shot characters, because with the double basket one can vary the dose between 10-17g, and the number of pulls, to produce a variety of different brew ratios.

Then there is the single basket, which is more (but not too) difficult to master, but very rewarding. But one has to appreciate it in small shot volumes.

SAMA did come first, but I don't know the exact history. They are no longer made, and PV is the manufacturer, with Gensaco rebranding them in the US. PV has a small website, google pontevecchio srl.They do respond to emails as well.

Looking forward to seeing some more PV posts,

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


#12: Post by tjkoko »

Thanks to all who replied to my inquiries. It's certainly reassuring to hear that the SAMA/PVE can pull 1 oz shots as well as 1/2 oz.


#13: Post by Dogshot »

I've had my red Export for just over 1.5 years. I bought it from Gensaco, and it has no branding on the machine at all, so I guess they simply remove any Ponte Vecchio references from the machine.

When I got mine, all my shots were bitter, so I turned down the p-stat, which is a 2 minute procedure. You just lay the (empty) machine on its side, remove the rubber feet/screws, and the p-stat is clearly exposed. It is best to adjust it in 10-minute increments.

I'm sure every machine is different, based on where its p-stat is set, but I find that my best shots occur when there are no restrictions to the flow. I don't preinfuse by holding the lever down until drips appear, I usually pull down and gently release the lever. Then I watch until the stream starts during the first pull, and then re-cock the lever. I try to make it so my shots do not drip or take more than 10-15 seconds per pull.

I find that my best results come from doses that range between 11-14 grams. I am an advocate of gentle tamping, if can even really be called tamping (I do use a tamper to do it).

I have had some great shots from my Export, but I think the machine really shines when it comes to Americanos. One of the 3 best coffees I have ever consumed came as an Americano from my Export, so I encourage you to experiment with them , especially if you are using SO coffees.

I love how easy it is to drain the boiler completely, unscrew the handle, and move the Export. It is great for travel, or if you want to get it out of the way.

I'm not crazy about using the Export for making more than 2 coffees. Occasionally I will have to make 4 or more coffees, and it quickly becomes a messy frustration. However, the machine is so simple, it is easy to clean up, and I anticipate many years of use from it.

A few years ago, a member named Slooowr6 posted his method for lubing the piston, including photos:
How to lube Ponte Vecchio Export piston for smoother movement

I think that Slooowr6 mentioned that he would lower the lever (for fun) when the machine was cold. Peacecup has reported that Joe (from GoodCoffeeCompany) warns against doing that. Perhaps that is why Slooowr6 had to lube his piston after only a few months. I have used my machine quite a bit, but only when hot, and other than placing a drop or two of olive oil on the top of the piston every few months, it has not required any maintenance.

I'm glad I got the red. It still looks great.

LMWDP #106


#14: Post by tjkoko »

Post deleted.

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#15: Post by orphanespresso »

Joe at the Good Coffee Company is indeed the expert in the history of the Sama to PV he explained and I paraphrase here....
The first machines were made by a company named SAMA, both the Export and the Lusso, although the Sama Club was not called anything but model name. Sama went out of business due to a lawsuit and the design was then manufactured by a company called DAMPA, of which he has a Dampa club model on his shelf, and Dampa went out of business due to a lawsuit. A company of investors bought the design and christened it Ponte Vecchio "after the bridge" though that is not the actual name of the company, which escapes me at the moment. And I will not go into his opinion of Gensaco.
Of course we were curious about this lawsuit thing so asked Joe about it and he said simply, matter of factly, "A boiler exploded and killed a lady....youse should be aware of that". I'm not making this up, just relating the conversation.
By the way, having been in the business since 1973 and seen a lot of machines come and go, Joe is of the opinion that the SAMA was the best as far as quality, and DAMPA was good but not as good as the SAMA, and the PV quality, like everything else these days according to him has gone downhill. But then again, at 84 years old the beer was likely colder then as well and the bottles were definitely bigger!
I'm not trying to stir up a hornet's nest here, just relating my little history lesson from Joe at the Good Coffee Company.


#16: Post by hperry »

In terms of history and understanding of this machine I'd take Joe as an authority. He has sold and serviced each iteration of the machine since Sama and earlier. He QCs each of them now before they go out the door - something that was not necessary at an earlier time.

Joe's an individualist with a great love of lever machines and absolute commitment to his customers. Some things, such as the light tamp, relatively recently advocated by some on these boards have been his standard for the 30 years that I've known him.
Hal Perry


#17: Post by tjkoko »

Yesterday I spoke with Joe about getting a double basket for my early SAMA. How do we know that it's an early model? It's because the basket flange is flat as opposed to round. The later models up thru the PVE had their basket flanges redesigned with the round flange for better sealing against the rubber gasket. This modification also prompted redesign of the portafilter to accommodate the basket's design changes since the new basket coupled to the older portafilter won't fit into the grouphead when inserted.

In other words should you desire another double basket for the older SAMA, either find an original one that has a flat flange or get a newer, updated basket with round flange and the portafilter to match. Joe reassured me that the latter combination works in the older SAMA's.

And although Joe didn't mention this fact, the older SAMA's came equipped with, I believe, the CEME pressurestat that may have been later upgraded to some other brand. And replacing the CEME with the larger other brand might require either getting the newer base (for the PVE) than's taller/"thicker" or do some fabricating type of modification to the older base.

So therefore some differences between the older SAMA's and the newer PVE's do exist.

Also I just received the following reply from Orphan Espresso concerning the SAMA double baskets:
We can make the basket by flattening the rim of a curved rim 45mm basket and
trimming the edge a little so it will fit. No problem, No extra charge as
we are set up to do this. If you are interested just purchase the double
basket and give us the special instructions.


#18: Post by tjkoko »

When I first turn on the SAMA in the morning to warm it up, should the portafilter + basket remain inserted into the grouphead or should they be removed?


#19: Post by hperry »

I always leave them inserted in the grouphead. That way everything is up to temperature when you start to brew. I also pre-heat the cup with instant hot water so things don't cool down too fast.
Hal Perry