cnworld wrote:As others have stated Gabor is a pleasure to do business with. He has always been quick to answer any questions and even checked to be sure I received the kit. I got one of the earlier kits, which I liked, and with the new 2.5mm spacers Gabor recently sent out, I like it even better. I think another side benefit of this kit is that with the spring and side pins I won't ever have to deal with C-clips again to do maintenance on the group!
One thing having the gauge has made me question is the whole idea of reaching 9 bars of pressure to make espresso. As others have stated in this thread, it feels unnatural and seems to require pulling much harder then normal to reach 9 bars. With the Cremina having been around for close to 50 years and having the reputation it does, before this gauge I can't see any Cremina owners regularly reaching 9 bars of pressure to pull a shot. Yet, the Cremina is known for making some of the best espresso. Just interesting to me.
This is my initial impression of Gabor's Cremina piston pressure gauge and bottomless portafilter (in no particular order)
* I agree completely with other's experiences with Gabor. He sends emails at each major step of ordering process. E.g. he sent picture of the addressed mailing envelope and the box contents just prior to packaging (from his end in Hungary). This is a nice personal touch. He even included complimentary sample roast of an Ethiopia Yirghacheffe (by chance Mrs and my favorite light roasted bean).
* I am mechanically challenged and so I needed more "hand-holding" and Gabor sent step by step picture instructions with the solution to my particular problem and was quite patient with said mechanically challenged customer.
* The quality of the pressure piston kit [rod (silver color part) and piston (gold color part)], Lamarzocco gauge (I know he did not make but glad did not pick cheapy built one) and the bottomless portafilter are second to none. The best way I can describe it: they appear factory-made by Olympia Express. Non-Cremina owners may scoff at the price. Certainly, my wife did when she saw the invoice last night while I was struggling to assemble (before Gabor's tech support today). But we've been married for decades so she puts up with my hobbies. Honestly (and no sarcasm meant at all) I think this kit is a bargain considering the engineering, quality and customer service. It, like the Cremina, will be an heirloom (with routine maintenance and replacement of piston seals). I want to see how this Cremina setup compares to Strega and Londinium-R (this hopefully will occur March 18, 2017 at next Chicago/Milwaukee HB meet). "dominico" (TeamHB) states it fares well compared to his Faema President Olympia Cremina piston pressure gauge unboxing
. This was one of the most important factors that lead me to buy this kit. Also Boss will not let me buy a fully restored and rechromed Faema
* Wow, I really did not think I was initially pulling above
9 bars all this time with light roasted beans. I am not a big nor muscular person (typical ectomorphic SE Asian body habitus ). I have a particular technique to prevent Cremina for tipping during my "He-Man" pulls which I thought in past were <=9bars (in short it's "angled leverage"). I did note the lever flexes ~ 5-10 degrees (visual estimate) with such "He-Man" pulls.
Current bean is Ethiopia Sidamo (natural) from burmancoffee.com 10 days post roast (colleague did this and it appears light roast; I do not home roast)--> 16.1 grams (68mm conical burr grinder) & Cremina 170F on group head thermometer at start of 15-second pre-infusion; 22.1 grams liquid with volume 1.5 fl oz.
I did this same parameter just now on the first pull with Gabor's pressure kit attached and same pressure based on muscle memory. Prior to piston gauge, I was aiming for consistent mousetail size flow (mousetail visual estimate 2mm diameter). I liked this flow's taste and balance. Now I see I have been pulling 12-bar initial pressure (then it goes down to 2 bars by end of pull). Putting 1 and 1 together, I think the gauge is correct (e.g. lever flexes 5-10 degrees visual estimate). I have low tolerance for acid and thus gravitated to this pressure profile.Brew pressure and its effects on espresso
Live and learn.
Random thoughts on installation:
* use flat cone wrench (e.g. Park Tools "model SCW-14" (14mm) and ideally two of them --> lot easier than crescent wrench
* circlip were designed by a sadistic engineer ; even with quality snap ring pliers (Channel Lock model 926 with interchangable tips) I lost three
* BEFORE install Gabor's kit, do have on hand extra circlip (snap rings )(I'd suggest four), two new piston rubber gasket (instead of trying to remove from old piston). I also went ahead and replaced shower screen (Richard Penny's) and will keep old one as they are very hard to find.
Maybe this will become like my Espro calibrated tamper and not used anymore . But I doubt as pressure profile affects taste so much more than tamping pressure. I like measurements and can write down pressure profile readings for each of my preferred beans. And obviously I have no clue what 9 bars is