Olympia Cremina... with two interchangeable groups?

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#1: Post by pcdawson »

A few threads ago, I relayed a sad and sorry tale in which the hero (yours truly) suffered the loss of an SL group at the hands of a villainous courier company (whose name I won't mention as it is now triggering for me). After "calming down to a murderous rage", I ordered a manual Cremina group with pressure gauge. Low and behold...... the SL group was eventually located and returned to me! I've been using the manual group for the last 3 months and today decided to switch the group back to the SL. What fun !! A totally different yet somehow complimentary experience. I am now trying to decide if I should keep both groups or sell the SL group and stick with the manual.

My question - does it make any sense to hang on to both groups - the idea being to switch them out every once and a while for sh$&!ts and giggles? The wife seems confused by this idea.........


#2: Post by JTom »

By all means, keep them.

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#3: Post by pizzaman383 »

I say keep it. I have both a manual and spring setup for my lever. I switch them up every six months or so and enjoy the difference.
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#4: Post by Boldjava »

The wife seems ...
Always keep your wife and at least one espresso maker. I have had the privilege of sharing life with the same woman for 52 years and as such, I have shared the wonderful cups of cortados from the Cremina with her for 12. She is the biggest fan.
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pcdawson (original poster)
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#5: Post by pcdawson (original poster) »

That's a beautiful sentiment, boldjava. Thanks! I will likely hang on to both. I am in the process of writing up some of my experiences using both groups. The coles notes version so far: the Cremina manual group is well suited to lighter roasts as this group makes it easier to experiment with profiling. The lower pstat setting means that milk steaming is not as good as with the SL with its higher setting. I found the SL to be better suited to medium - dark roasts, and milk- based drinks (again because of the higher pstat setting). Switching out the groups is very easy but something I would likely only do every few months or so. Both manual and SL are equally capable of making exceptional espresso of any roast type. These are just my thoughts on which seems better suited to which.

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#6: Post by beer&mathematics »

Sorry about the troubles, but it seems this story has a happy ending. Keep both! I think this Is the dream for most Cremina fans; well, maybe some :D

I'd caution from changing the groups too often for fear or stripping the threads but once a year sounds fun!
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pcdawson (original poster)
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#7: Post by pcdawson (original poster) »

Good point - in addition, swapping out the groups also requires adjusting the pstat which can shorten its life if done too often.

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#8: Post by Jake_G »

Why must you change the pressurestat setting?
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pcdawson (original poster)
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#9: Post by pcdawson (original poster) »

It has to do with compensating for the greater mass of the SL group over the manual one. In order to compensate and keep warm up times reasonable, Olympia increased the pstat setting. This is mentioned in the Lever Magazine review on the SL (issue 2). Sascha from Olympia Express told me that the settings for the SL are .9 to 1.1 while the manual is .7 to .9.

I will say that the higher pstat setting does make steaming milk a lot nicer. However, it takes about an hour for the SL group to come up to temp.

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#10: Post by drgary »

If you do a heating flush you'll bring it up to temp much faster.

What I WOULD do for a good cup of coffee!