Upscale Home Based Lever Machines - Page 4

A haven dedicated to manual espresso machine aficionados.
KanzaKruzer (original poster)
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#31: Post by KanzaKruzer (original poster) »

Why can the Strega and R24 handle light roast better than the 800? I'm a newbie having only experience with Mara X over the past year.
David

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baldheadracing
Team HB

#32: Post by baldheadracing replying to KanzaKruzer »

Because in a classic dipper design with a group heated by the group's mounting to the boiler, the main way for the machine to impact brew parameters is to change the service boiler's pressure and wait maybe 15-30 minutes for the change to permeate the rest of the machine. For example, Scace thermofilter temperature measurements Profitec Pro 800

(Brew parameters can also be changed manually by flushing, retarding the lever, etc., but those changes rely on your skill, not the machine's performance.)
-"Good quality brings happiness as you use it" - Nobuho Miya, Kamasada

KanzaKruzer (original poster)
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#33: Post by KanzaKruzer (original poster) replying to baldheadracing »

That help's explain better. The current Pro 800 has a PID. If I wait 30 or 45 minutes before pulling a shot would both the Strega and 800 provide similar temperature performance?
David

Satchmo780

#34: Post by Satchmo780 »

It's not just the PID, the pro-800 and similar machines has no grouphead temp control. The grouphead acts like a big heatsink to cool the brew water to temp. So getting consistent brew temps is harder than on units that have some control over the grouphead temperature.

For light roasts, temperature is more important than for darker roasts.
LMWDP #737

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baldheadracing
Team HB

#35: Post by baldheadracing »

KanzaKruzer wrote:That help's explain better. The current Pro 800 has a PID. If I wait 30 or 45 minutes before pulling a shot would both the Strega and 800 provide similar temperature performance?
A PID is more-or-less irrelevant on a single boiler dipper machine like a Pro 800. A PID is less expensive and, for the same cost, more reliable than a pressurestat. The only advantage of a PID in a machine like the Pro 800 is that changing settings is easier - however, the effect of changing settings is the same, pressurestat or PID.(A PID does have an insignificant deadband, but that is of little practical value in a copper service boiler the size of the one in a Pro 800.)

As for similar performance, I'm not sure if I understand you. They're very different machines. The groups are different, the springs are different, the boilers are different, the pressures are different, the temperatures are different, the brew water feed mechanisms are very, very, different, the pump usage is different, the pre-infusion mechanism is different, etc. Sure, you can get the same shot out of both machines, but that is on you and your technique, not the machine. Use them in their default configurations/techniques, and you'll get different shots.

I don't know if your research has uncovered this, but just in case, the underlying point is that, with the exception of the LM Leva X and the new Kees Slim Jim Idro, all - ALL - other current factory-made commercial-sized spring lever groups were designed for traditional Italian espresso (just like the E-61). That doesn't mean that they can't handle light roasts, but it does mean that you - not the machine - you - have to tailor the extraction to handle the roast. The Strega and the LR24 - and I presume the ACS - somewhat simplify that tailoring process in comparison to more conventional machines like the Pro 800 (IMO). Even so, when I have a nosebleed-light filter roast, my first choice of lever machine is the Elektra Micro Casa a Leva, which is a machine well-regarded for the clarity of the light roasted espresso that it produces. The (single luongo) espresso that it produces by default will blow away my commercial-group levers - unless I "work" those machines (and I'm lazy these days).

Regardless, have you considered a Robot, or Flair 58, or Espresso Forge? I would strongly recommend getting one of those first and figuring out lever espresso first before investing in a lever machine. You could end up preferring the espresso from your Mara X ... and, as always, spend your money on:
1. Coffee;
2. Grinders (yes, plural) to get the best out of the coffees; and
3. at a distant third, the machine.

Good luck!
-"Good quality brings happiness as you use it" - Nobuho Miya, Kamasada

BKH

#36: Post by BKH »

I have a regular stock Strega tank. While it is not the most tricked-out temp adjustable machine, I appreciate being able to do a flush to greatly adjust temperature.

To my taste a lighter roast coffee can be tasty with no flush or short flush (higher brew temp), while a dark roast or blend with robusta can benefit from a full HX flush like on an e61 where I no longer see sputtering water coming out (lower temp so that the roastiness/burnt is less pronounced). That allows me to single dose very different coffees back to back to enjoy the variety without adjusting any PID or pStats

KanzaKruzer (original poster)
Supporter

#37: Post by KanzaKruzer (original poster) »

baldheadracing wrote:A PID is more-or-less irrelevant on a single boiler dipper machine like a Pro 800. A PID is less expensive and, for the same cost, more reliable than a pressurestat. The only advantage of a PID in a machine like the Pro 800 is that changing settings is easier - however, the effect of changing settings is the same, pressurestat or PID.(A PID does have an insignificant deadband, but that is of little practical value in a copper service boiler the size of the one in a Pro 800.)

As for similar performance, I'm not sure if I understand you. They're very different machines. The groups are different, the springs are different, the boilers are different, the pressures are different, the temperatures are different, the brew water feed mechanisms are very, very, different, the pump usage is different, the pre-infusion mechanism is different, etc. Sure, you can get the same shot out of both machines, but that is on you and your technique, not the machine. Use them in their default configurations/techniques, and you'll get different shots.

I don't know if your research has uncovered this, but just in case, the underlying point is that, with the exception of the LM Leva X and the new Kees Slim Jim Idro, all - ALL - other current factory-made commercial-sized spring lever groups were designed for traditional Italian espresso (just like the E-61). That doesn't mean that they can't handle light roasts, but it does mean that you - not the machine - you - have to tailor the extraction to handle the roast. The Strega and the LR24 - and I presume the ACS - somewhat simplify that tailoring process in comparison to more conventional machines like the Pro 800 (IMO). Even so, when I have a nosebleed-light filter roast, my first choice of lever machine is the Elektra Micro Casa a Leva, which is a machine well-regarded for the clarity of the light roasted espresso that it produces. The (single luongo) espresso that it produces by default will blow away my commercial-group levers - unless I "work" those machines (and I'm lazy these days).

Regardless, have you considered a Robot, or Flair 58, or Espresso Forge? I would strongly recommend getting one of those first and figuring out lever espresso first before investing in a lever machine. You could end up preferring the espresso from your Mara X ... and, as always, spend your money on:
1. Coffee;
2. Grinders (yes, plural) to get the best out of the coffees; and
3. at a distant third, the machine.

Good luck!
I've gone down the rabbit hole! It will take some time to sort out what meets my needs. I first entered the home espresso market with a hand grinder and Flair before the 58 was available. I replaced it with the Mara X and a Compak PKE grinder. I'd like to select a spring lever that pairs well with my PKE. Timeline is probably sometime next year. I'll keep developing a list of desired features as I educate myself on spring levers. Thanks for sharing your insight.

As a side note, these are my current favorite coffee beans.
https://theroasterie.com/products/ethio ... de-organic
https://theroasterie.com/products/blue-tawar-blend
David

User avatar
mrgnomer

#38: Post by mrgnomer »

BKH wrote:I have a regular stock Strega tank. While it is not the most tricked-out temp adjustable machine, I appreciate being able to do a flush to greatly adjust temperature.

To my taste a lighter roast coffee can be tasty with no flush or short flush (higher brew temp), while a dark roast or blend with robusta can benefit from a full HX flush like on an e61 where I no longer see sputtering water coming out (lower temp so that the roastiness/burnt is less pronounced). That allows me to single dose very different coffees back to back to enjoy the variety without adjusting any PID or pStats
I do the same with my stock Strega. Short flush with light roasts and full pump preinfusion and extraction. I believe this provides the hotter temperature, higher pressure and longer extraction time to bring out what light roasts offer.

With classic dark espresso roasts I flush until there's no more sputtering, lock in, wait about 30 seconds, do a no pump preinfusion for about 20 seconds and raise the lever for what is more like classic lever extraction. This I think prevents over extracting the dark roasts with lower temperature, lower pressure and lower extraction volume.

The ability to on the fly adjust extraction parameters is what makes the Strega attractive. It seems like ball park control without any gauges for feed back but the extractions do taste better than what I was getting with a stock e61 HX.
Kirk
LMWDP #116
professionals do it for the pay, amateurs do it for the love

KanzaKruzer (original poster)
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#39: Post by KanzaKruzer (original poster) »

So I am still researching spring lever espresso machines. My first choice ended up being the Bosco, unfortunately the cost to plumb in and add 20 amp service exceeds my budget.

So now I am back considering other options. I had initially excluded the Olympic Cremina SL because it had a 49mm portafilter, but now I am questioning if I can obtain good shots with medium and light roast on the Cremina. The Cremina would allow me to occasionally move the unit which is a big plus. Is the smaller basket size an issue?
David