Newbie Introduction to Espresso - Lever Espresso Machines [video]

A haven dedicated to manual espresso machine aficionados.
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HB
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Postby HB » Mar 07, 2015, 4:26 pm

When the first Newbie Introduction to Espresso video began, Phillip had no hands-on experience with espresso equipment. It's been almost two years since we started this series! To wrap up it up, this video introduces him to lever espresso machines, specifically the Elektra Microcasa a Leva.

Dan Kehn

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crazy4espresso

Postby crazy4espresso » Mar 07, 2015, 4:53 pm

Wow, can't believe it's been two years! Will Phillip be borrowing the Microcasa? If so, we all know what type of machine he'll be purchasing in the end. :D
"I would rather suffer with coffee than be senseless." — Napoleon Bonaparte
LMWDP #427

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TomC
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Postby TomC » Mar 07, 2015, 11:16 pm

Great video for anyone interested in getting into levers!

The thermal shock onto the element with cold water can be mitigated and the whole process speed up drastically for refills on these kind of machines by using the last small volume of water in the boiler's thermal energy via the steam wand to quickly heat up a very large metal pitcher of brew water. Down time is cut down drastically. When the steam runs out, you can remove the boiler cap easier and refill with extremely hot water.

mathof

Postby mathof » Mar 09, 2015, 7:29 am

Just a clarification about something which confused me for a while. Your newbie referred to the baskets he filled as "singles", but in fact they are doubles. Here is a single:

http://www.espressocare.com/products/it ... gle-basket

Italian espresso is typically made with 7g of beans for a single, and 14g for a double. I think the confusion comes from the fact that English-speaking countries have taken to using much more coffee to make an espresso and with that has come a change in nomenclature. It's not a problem after you learn to allow for context.

Matt

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HB
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Postby HB » Mar 09, 2015, 8:02 am

If you mean around 7:10-7:44 in the video, Phillip was referring to single dose grinding (i.e., running the grinder until empty), not a single (7g) espresso. As I mentioned in the video, we used a 14.5 gram dose, which obviously would not be possible with a single basket.
Dan Kehn

mathof

Postby mathof » replying to HB » Mar 09, 2015, 8:25 am

My bad. :(

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drgary
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Postby drgary » Mar 09, 2015, 10:18 am

For newbies watching this, once you learn the basic safety tips, it becomes very easy. Here are some thoughts on the techniques shown. As Dan noted, locking in a cool portafilter isn't always a requirement, nor in my experience is cocking the lever before locking in the portafilter. If you add a Teflon gasket between the group and boiler the machine becomes more temperature stable. Heat break gaskets are standard issue these days in Olympia Express Cremina and Ponte Vecchio Export home levers. Also the boiler size in the Microcasa is large compared to most other home levers. I can easily serve espressos and steam milk for four people. Then I let the machine cool while we're eating breakfast or use something like Tom's technique to release pressure and refill. If you're going to use the Fellini technique of multiple pumps for more volume, you can increase the dose of coffee for a higher brew ratio, coarsening the grind to maintain a steady flow rate.
Gary
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What I WOULD do for a good cup of coffee!

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TomC
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Postby TomC » Mar 09, 2015, 1:28 pm

All credit for the lever boiler refilling trick goes to someone else much more clever than I. I just remember reading it here and nearly slapping my forehead in awe about how obvious it should have been.

Beezer

Postby Beezer » Mar 09, 2015, 2:21 pm

Nice video. I had to laugh at Dan's reference to Fellini as [paraphrasing] "some guy in an Italian movie" though.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federico_Fellini

Only one of the most successful and influential directors of all time. :)
Lock and load!

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HB
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Postby HB » Mar 09, 2015, 2:29 pm

Thanks for the reminder! I'm glad I provided some comic relief. The 'Fellini Move' in Pictures shows the Italian guy I was probably thinking of... :lol:

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Dan Kehn