User Experience with the Strietman CT2 - Page 10

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#91: Post by pGolay »

pGolay wrote:
Update: OK, I made a slightly more systematic test for time and temp:
Starting from cool room temp of 64 F:
A bit late in the day, but since I have the info available, I thought it might be of interest to Strietmanistas - I got downright scientific this time and plotted the temperature from room temp to stable for my CT2 over ~32 minutes:

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#92: Post by djcuvcuv » replying to pGolay »

wow this is amazing! scientific indeed! can i bug you to provide a bit of context around the plot?
- how much water roughly is in the reservoir?
- did you keep the portafilter attached during heat-up?
- what are the low and high temps in that stable band?
- did you keep the lid on or off?
- where is your temperature dial set to?

thanks a lot!
Best wishes,

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#93: Post by pGolay »

Hi Chris -

- The stable band is just about 5 degrees C, ~9 F (96.2/205.16 >> 91.14/196.055)
- The reservoir was full, the lid on.
- Portafilter and a basket in place
- The dial is 'most of the way right' - I'll add a picture later.

So, interesting... I never even looked at the dial markings - I just move it a little if it seems too hot or cool and carry on -

It looks like the measured temperatures are on the high side compared to the dial markings. I'll continue to not look at those...


#94: Post by renatoa »

Can you fill with pre-boiled water from a kettle, instead waiting for 12 minutes ?


#95: Post by Laddu »


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#96: Post by truemagellen »

renatoa wrote:Can you fill with pre-boiled water from a kettle, instead waiting for 12 minutes ?
Also if you are somewhere without power u can fill with gas or fire boiled water to top of brass cylinder then drain then fill again and pull a shot.

I use a silicone lid I made for my ES3 and it heats up in 7 or 8 minutes.

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#97: Post by SLC »

For about 6 weeks I have been an owner of a CT2. Wouter has been amazing to work with. He shows no signs of being annoyed by us amateurs. It is a work of art to look at and to use. The quality of craftmanship with the CT2 is astounding.

How did I get here? I got into the coffee thing mid 2000s after being in Spain on vacation and actually enjoying a coffee in afternoon instead of a beer while on vacation. I knew I needed to replicate that since coffee I can drink any time of the day without obvious drawbacks of having a beer anytime of the day 

I worked my way up with numerous grinders and machines and settled with the QM Vetrano HX in about 2007. I still use that machine and I salivate over other machines but cannot get the strength to give up the Vetrano. I know the machine very well and enjoy it very much. Very hands on machine and easy to fix and replace things. My guess is that at some point I will replace it with a Slayer. For grinders I settled on Cimbali Junior for a while and then Mazzer SJ and SJE and Mahlgut MG1. Last year I got back into reading about machines and came across the Kafatek Flat. I had one of those until I ordered a Max. The Max just came in two weeks ago.

I have always been reading about lever machines. There are times that I pull a lot of shots for others, so I still wanted a pump espresso machine on the counter. My Vetrano is always on so I did not want a lever machine that could also steam milk. A manual lever machine was more appealing to me for some reason and more importantly it needs to fit under my countertop without the lever needing to be up in standby. I also like manual things. I have only owned manual cars and that is not easy to do here in the States. I also like to write with Fountain Pens. You see the pattern.

With the above pre-requisites I still kept coming back to the Cremina. I read about it and looked at pictures of it but I could never pull the trigger. I did not want to have two machines that steam milk on my limited countertop space and I wanted temp control at my fingertips. So, I just kept looking at the Cremina. I then stumbled upon the Strietman website after some references to it on HB. Well, that is what I was looking for. A beautiful, well crafted, simple, temp controlled manual lever espresso machine: I immediately ordered it and waited a few weeks for it to be built.

Now 6 weeks later with my impressions. First off let me state again that it is so beautiful. Next is ease of use. Turn it on and in about 8 minutes while I set things up etc. it is ready to go. I do have a thermometer I currently put in the boiler as I get closer to being ready to pull the shot. I am beginning to know the machine so well; I could tell you the water temp just based on the feel of when the last heat cycle started and how long the machine has been on. With Veterano the same is also true. I used Eric's thermometer at first with it. Then for about 10 years I did not use it since I knew the temp from feel, look, and general flow time after the flush. I recently went back to using the Thermometer just to confirm all is good with temp.

I have the CT2 set at 93C. That usually has it surfing from 195 to 204 degrees Celsius for the first 15 minutes of being on. The cycles are quicker at first due to losing temp quicker at first. After a while the cycles between heating are longer as it stabilizes. The light goes off at 194 and goes back on at exactly 200 (pretty much exactly at the 93 degrees Celsius it is set at). The machine stays at that 200 degrees for about a minute or so since the machine is well stabilized. The temp surfing does not bother me at all. A PID would solve that. I do not know if a PID set up is possible for Wouter to use? With the use of the thermometer the lid is a tiny bit ajar. Also does not bother me but a tiny opening on the front a little bit off center left or right for insertion of a temp probe would be nice to have. But with all of that then the machine would get too modern looking maybe.

How are my shots? I am trying to keep all variables the same with how and what I drink from my HX and CT2. I build a drink that has 2 oz of espresso, a tiny bit of sugar, and 2 oz of frothed milk. That way I can tell the difference of what each machine is producing based on a drink I am super familiar with. When I get more time, I will compare straight shots. For now though that is the drink I enjoy and know best. I have also been using the same beans at the moment. The Liquid Amber beans from Sweet Marias. That has been my preferred green beans over the years. I usually order 20 lbs of Liquid Amber and then 20 of something else and then go back to Liquid Amber since I usually miss having it. I will be branching out to different specialty roasts throughout the country. One step at a time though.

With the CT2 there is a difference in taste. I am not an expert at all but there is a difference. It is smoother tasting. There is more flavor. More individual flavors whether it be the caramel, chocolate or almond taste that comes out. I am still in the new toy phase so true taste impressions will be better over time once my infatuation wears off.

The portafilter and tamper the CT2 comes with are of excellent quality. The wood will match the wood on your machine. Looks excellent! The lever is angled down right before the handle which is perfect ergonomics for use and puts the lever even more out of the way in standby.

I am finding that with a 15g basket 14 grams of grounds fits well in the basket. Anything over that does not leave any breathing room in the basket. I also think the Max creates grinds that are rather fluffy so that affects how much fits in the basket before I use a distributor and then tamp. I am still playing around with head space though. 18g baskets were not available at the time I purchased it. Wouter has the 18g baskets available now and is sending me two of them this week.

When I am ready to pull the shot, I slowly lift up the lever. Takes about 6-7 seconds to slowly get to the top. Once at the top I let go of the lever or push down a tiny bit on the lever to close the piston. According to Wouter closing the piston is important. I then let it rest for about 10 seconds before I start pushing down. I did that at first when I got the machine. Now my preferred way is to slowly push down for about 10 seconds and then push the normal amount to pull the shot. I am pushing hard but not hard enough to put strain on the machine. I am currently not interested in a gauge because I would not want to push harder than I already am. If I get into lighter roasts I would probably go longer with the pre infusion and in turn tighten up my grind more.

Would I recommend this machine? Yes, definitely. It is for the crazy person that wants something that looks great, is simple, and wants something that will last an extremely long time with just basic maintenance. It does what it is supposed to do. It pulls an excellent manual espresso shot. It leaves a lot of room for playing around with variables to fine tune based on preference and beans etc. It is for someone that pulls straight shots or for someone like me that still enjoys a dollop of frothed milk and already has an espresso machine on all the time.

Is it overkill? Once you go past a Rancilio Silvia machine with a Rocky grinder type set up it can all be called overkill. This is a hobby and a very pleasurable one at that. It is even more than a hobby. It is a passion. With the CT2 it is very easy to tell Wouter is passionate about what he creates.


#98: Post by dave_in_gva »

Hi seriously considering a lever machine as a second machine to go alongside my Vesuvius.

Have been focusing on the Cremina but this has caught my eye, as has the Londinium Vectis.

Can any of the CT2 owners here measure the height with the lever at the top of it's travel? My only location is under some counters where I have just a hair over 46.5 cm of space available to me.

Many thanks....beautiful looking machine.

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#99: Post by SLC »

See below the CT2 measurements. It does not give the measurement with lever up. My under cupboard space is the same as yours. I have to move the machine forward about 5 inches when I start a session. That allows me to bring up the lever without hitting the bottom of the cupboard. It does go up higher than the space you have under the cupboard. This machine is light and easy to move back and forth on the counter. Very easy.

It is not like a heavy espresso machine which is a pain to move forward or back if the water tank needs filling. That is the reason I went plumbed in for my espresso machine.


#100: Post by mikel »

On mine, 26 inches when lifted all the way up.