Ristretto in a hand levered machine? - Page 2

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another_jim
Team HB

#11: Post by another_jim »

On the crema:

The pulling shot itself is fine; but seeing nothing but crema during the shot is quite normal. In the cup, the surface is showing strong reflections off the liquid underneath, which shows that the crema is very thin and in the process of rapidly dissolving. The black circle at the edge is normal for levers, showing too high a temperature early in the shot.

In Barista competition, this shot would get about 1.5 to 2 out of 6 (poor to mediocre) for crema.

There's lots of pictures of crema from pump machines. The one I took for my article:

http://home-barista.com/espresso-guide.html -- first picture on the page:

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was simply pulled and photographed. No do-overs, no gyrations, or anything else. This is a picture of a perfectly average shot from a good quality pump machine when using fresh coffee, a good grinder, and having the basic skills. It would rate around 3.5 to 4 out of 6 in barista competition. In order to be considered a top shot puller, you need to score 4.5 to 5, and the pictured shot doesn't quite make that grade, since there's a few light patches, and no tiger stripes.

Again, I repeat: good crema from lever machines is almost impossible; and I'm in no way knocking the illustrated shot, which is better than my average lever production. The compensation for the lesser crema is far more clarity in the taste.
Jim Schulman

Espresso Vision: the perfect cup of coffee starts with understanding your roast
Sponsored by Espresso Vision
bobby yarrow

#12: Post by bobby yarrow »

Jim -- Thank you for that explanation. The link is a really good read too, and I've read a lot of comparably situated stuff that wasn't near as useful.

I like your observation that lever's are a trade-off between crema and 'clarity.' Again, I've only been using my europiccola for a month, and it's my first lever machine. I have wondered, tho, why I keep using it, with perfectly good pump machines under my roof. Apart from its aesthetic virtues -- it's look on the counter, and the intimacy of working it -- it does seem to bring something else to the shot. The shots are just different from what I've gotten from a pump. Not to say there's no pump that could do it, just my experience. And, less than enviable crema (durability, color, forget striping) has also been part of my experience.
Man you ought to hear her with the siren on . . .

Hogfire

#13: Post by Hogfire »

Gaggia Girl,

Congratulations on your purchase! I've got the same machine, and I must say it's a right corker, works a treat, and makes me happy every day. I'm not one who enjoys accurately measuring everything. Takes the passion and joy out of cooking. I've practised pulling shots while changing many variables, and finally hit upon combinations that please my taste buds, which is the most important judge of all. Because taste is so subjective, I just recommend heaps of practise, changing only one variable at a time, and eventually you'll find a pattern that YOU like the best. Does your Factory have a pressure gauge above the water level sight glass? If so, I found that adjusting the pressure down to fluctuate between .5 and .7 bar to yield the best results for the beans I like. Removing the double spout also helps, as it can be difficult to clean and the left over residue can affect the taste of each shot.

I've got no idea if this would qualify as a ristretto or not, but this series of photos shows what I typically pull from my Factory. It is a single pull into an inappropriate sized cup (4.5 oz), and after 1 minute the crema settled to about half way up to the drink level. All that aside, this shows what is possible with your machine, and the taste was superb, enjoy!

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End of single pull
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Also, search these forums for "Weiss distribution" and "The Fellini Pull" topics. Both of these techniques improved my shot pulling.

Hogfire
LMWDP #023

GaggiaGirl (original poster)

#14: Post by GaggiaGirl (original poster) »

I was thinking of getting rid of the double spout portafilter (if for no other reason, so that I can pour my one drink into one cup!). What portafilter are you using in the pictures? Everyone on these forums is so knowledgeable!! It's overwhelming, but VERY helpful! How do I adjust my pressure (it does have the gauge and typically reads about 1.4-1.5).

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HB
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#15: Post by HB »

another_jim wrote:It would rate around 3.5 to 4 out of 6 in barista competition... there's a few light patches, and no tiger stripes.
One of the reasons I volunteer to judge at barista competitions is the opportunity to participate in the calibration exercises. The USBC's were especially good with stations dedicated to 0-2 shots (unacceptable/average), 4-5 shots (very good/excellent), and signature drinks, the latter two manned by former barista champs. On my particular tour, the 4's were elusive and 5's were nowhere to be found, demonstrating that consistently performing at that level is no easy feat, even for proven professionals.

I don't want to get into a shouting match; but it's important to be accurate in these posts. ;-) I agree with your first visual assessment (1.5-2.0), but think you may have been a little generous with the second (3.5-4.0). The coloring is hazelnut, but there's little evidence of dark brown, reddish reflections and only light flecking. Somewhere in the 2.5-3.0 range seems more accurate to me. On the other hand, it's maddeningly difficult to photograph crema, so both assessments could be off by as much as a point.
Dan Kehn

Hogfire

#16: Post by Hogfire »

I'm using the portafilter that came with the Factory. The double spout piece is removable, however brute force is needed (it won't just twist off with finger pressure). I covered the spouts with a cloth and clamped them into a locking table vise. Then, grabbing the portafilter handle as close to the portafilter body as possible (the threaded metal connector only extends about one inch into the handle; grabbing the handle at the wrong end could cause it to snap or crack, being all plastic) I pulled anti-clockwise with all my might. Once you break the initial seal, it twists off pretty easily. A lot of effort, but well worth it. If you don't have access to such tools, I'd recommend popping into a small, friendly hardware shop (the ACE hardware down the road for example: they always go out of their way to help me, and never charge for services like this) and ask if they can do it.

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Hmm, I'm still just an amateur at this, but I'd say your boiler pressure is too high (higher pressure = higher water temp.), although at 1.4-1.5 you must be steaming milk in about 15 seconds if you're using the 3- holed tip! Here's what my gauge reads when I pull a shot:
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Adjusting the pressure stat in the base of your Factory can be a tricky and dangerous procedure, causing painful burns if you're not careful. I'd wait to do this until you are more comfortable with handling the machine, and have a clear understanding of all it's quirks. I'm not trying to be condescending or patronising, I just want to make sure you are careful and don't get injured. One of the great benefits of a forum such as this is that is that new users can avoid the mistakes made by other members. For now, switch off the machine and release steam through the wand to bring the pressure down to different levels and see if that makes any difference in your shots. I honestly don't know if this has the same effect on water temp as having the pressure stat prevent water reaching such high temps in the first place, but it's a safe way to experiment.

If you're keen on having a look at things, you'll need an uncommon tool to get started. The plastic base is attached by only one screw underneath the drip tray. To remove it, you'll need a Security Torx 15 (1/4 ") screwdriver or bit (less than $2.00 at ACE!).

http://www.wihatools.com/701serie.htm

In this photo, I removed the heating element from the boiler, but you can sorta spot the pressurestat in the top left area, connected to the copper tube. On the pressurestat, there is a notched, plastic ring glued into place with a white blob. Turning the ring adjusts the pressure, but it can easily be broken if you don't remove the adhesive first with a needle or something like that. I adjusted the pressure with the machine on, and that's where it can get tricky, as there are many super hot surfaces inside the base as well as outside.
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Feeling bombarded with confusing info about your new machine yet? Just take your time, keep practising, and eventually you'll find a system that works well for you. Definitely, there are heaps of tips and useful info not covered in the crap instructions included with your machine, but there are plenty of members on this forum and elsewhere ready to try and answer your questions. Luck to ya!

Hogfire
LMWDP #023

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another_jim
Team HB

#17: Post by another_jim »

HB wrote:I don't want to get into a shouting match; but it's important to be accurate in these posts. ;-) I agree with your first visual assessment (1.5-2.0), but think you may have been a little generous with the second (3.5-4.0). The coloring is hazelnut, but there's little evidence of dark brown, reddish reflections and only light flecking. Somewhere in the 2.5-3.0 range seems more accurate to me. On the other hand, it's maddeningly difficult to photograph crema, so both assessments could be off by as much as a point.
My turn to eat humblepie ... Maybe I should practice some more and submit a prettier shot.
Jim Schulman

Espresso Forge: brew truly incredible espresso at home
Sponsored by Espresso Forge
GaggiaGirl (original poster)

#18: Post by GaggiaGirl (original poster) »

I will have to try removing the spouts...perhaps a trip to the hardware store. I was wrong...my gauge only reads slightly higher than yours, about halfway between the two ends of the green zone. I am learning so much about my machine and technique on these forums!

On another note... I just poured a double using Lavazza brand and I had to pour it out. It was horrible. I know I need to be buying better, fresher coffee and grind it myself with a good burr grinder, etc., etc., but I'm a poor barely-out-of-college student and I have to use up all the stuff I stocked up on first. I suppose nobody here would have an opinion on the likes of Illy or Lavazza preground grinds...?

bobcraige

#19: Post by bobcraige »

Gaggia Girl

There is no problem pouring a single drink into a single cup with the spout attached. It is done all the time, simply center the cup under the two spouts. While you may decide later you really want to remove the double spout, I would strongly suggest leaving the machine alone while you get acclimated to it. Way before you start making changes to the machine, you need to get a proper grinder, fresh coffee, a proper fitting tamper if you don't have one, and a handle on your technique. There is always a risk of breaking things, and asking a hardware store to do it is dangerous at best. When the portafilter breaks, the same store that agreed to do it for free is unlikely to want buy you a new one. Working the counter in a hardware store does not qualify one as a technician. I am quite sure the engineers who built the machine put considerable effort into optimizing it and I would not second guess them at this early point in your learning curve.
Bob Craige

LMWDP #7

GaggiaGirl (original poster)

#20: Post by GaggiaGirl (original poster) »

Portafilter modifications may be a step too far at this point, but it is impossible to get both spouts to go into the same little "shot" glasses I bought to pull into, which is somewhat annoying. I do center any larger receptacles I use under the two spouts. In any case, it looks like a grinder will have to be my next purchase. I was thinking of buying a Zassenhaus (hand grind to go with hand pull). Will this produce a good grind for my machine? If not, can anyone recommend a relatively low cost quality grinder?