Bezzera Strega - Second Look - Page 24

Behind the scenes of the site's upcoming equipment reviews.
Sakae

#231: Post by Sakae »

Have any of you gentlemen actually considered writing "The Missing Manual" for these machines? To date I have been attempting a contact with Olympia, Compak, Mazzer, and Elektra about the same subject, yet no one bothered to reply. Maybe my enquiry might have sounded naive to them, but considering what I am reading around here (especially from Jim), to get best out of their product, I would not mind to purchase a little Blue Book on "How to Make an Espresso with <name>".
So much knowledge and effort gets wasted, unless captured for posterity. (I was more lucky in Leica photography). Call it an unauthorized biography of Cremina/Strega, you name it... :)

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Peppersass
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#232: Post by Peppersass »

another_jim wrote:My take: I believe in fixed grind settings. If you use a standard grind for drip and French press, why not for espresso? So I use the same range of grind settings on all machines, and vary doses and baskets to get the right flows and volumes in each case.
Range of grind settings? That's not quite the same as a fixed grind setting. Can you be more specific?

mitch236

#233: Post by mitch236 »

Since my visit with Jim I have realized that I only need to vary my grind by 1-2 notches at most. I don't dial in flow by grind settings. I have better results varying the dose. I find changing grind is less precise than dose (maybe because of grounds retention?). Maybe that's what Jim is referring to. Since I changed to flow by dose, I've been much quicker to dial in coffees. I use the grind to balance the profile.

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another_jim
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#234: Post by another_jim »

Peppersass wrote:Range of grind settings? That's not quite the same as a fixed grind setting. Can you be more specific?
Some of my remarks are in the context of the conventional wisdom of espresso enthusiasts. One of these pieces of conventional wisdom was that bad cafes never changed the grind setting, while really superb baristas changed it with every shot. This piece of conventional wisdom had a good side and a bad side ...

The good side was that the flow rate, shot timing and volume of the shots were kept at in the right range. The bad side was that using grind settings to do this is not a good idea. If you want to fully extract 14 to 21 grams of coffee under 8 to 10 bar pressure in 25 to 25 seconds, you need a certain grind setting. If you do not have that grind setting, you will under or over extract. So it makes sense to use dose, not grind, to control the flow of the shot.

If there were one perfect extraction level for all coffees, there wuld be a single grind setting for espresso. However, some blends like a little more extraction, some a little less. Hence a range of grind settings. But once you have decided what extraction level the coffee needs, set the grinder for that extraction, then use dose to get the flow right.

This attention to actual grind settings turned out to be particularly important on the Strega and other Astoria group lever machines. In the early phases of us assessing these machines, the back room chat was that all the shots were milquetoast. It was lucky I had my regular pump machine grind ranges marked on one of my grinders, since it was only then I noticed that when dosing the baskets at normal weights, I as grinding much finer than usual. The high extraction leads to lots of caramel and body, but a masking of the flavors. Hence the milquetoast shots.
Jim Schulman

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Peppersass
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#235: Post by Peppersass »

mitch236 wrote:Since my visit with Jim I have realized that I only need to vary my grind by 1-2 notches at most. I don't dial in flow by grind settings. I have better results varying the dose. I find changing grind is less precise than dose (maybe because of grounds retention?). Maybe that's what Jim is referring to. Since I changed to flow by dose, I've been much quicker to dial in coffees. I use the grind to balance the profile.
I asked because Jim posted elsewhere that his espresso range on his K10 is about five notches. It's about the same for me. But I rarely vary dose to set the flow rate when I'm dialing in. If I'm dosing low, say 14g, I'll generally start around 26-27. If I'm dosing high, say 19g-20g, I'll start around 30-31 (these setting number wil vary from one K10 to another, but the distance between the marks should produce similar results.)

My grinder is very consistent with the relationship between flow rate and grind setting: one mark is about 5 seconds. Usually it doesn't take more than one or two changes of the grind setting to nail the flow rate I'm looking for. I've rarely varied dose to set the flow rate, and now that I use VST baskets for most coffees, it wouldn't work well if the change required more than one gram up or down.

Following Jim's recommendation, if I work out of the same bag of coffee for more than a few days, and the coffee begins to show signs of aging, I usually have to increase the dose to maintain the flow rate.

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Bluecold
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#236: Post by Bluecold »

So does this mean that I ideally need different baskets for my La Peppina, or that the designer of La Peppina foresaw this and made the filter size 45mm to make the puck thicker to be able to use a coarser grind to compensate for the 'punch' of a lever machine? Or is that wishful thinking?
LMWDP #232
"Though I Fly Through the Valley of Death I Shall Fear No Evil For I am at 80,000 Feet and Climbing."

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tekomino

#237: Post by tekomino »

I ain't buying it. I think this is unique situation to Strega due to usage of vibe pump to start the shot which puts you in 11-12 bar position. With plumbed in Strega I bet you do not see 11 bar start of the shot. I had Conti Prestina commercial lever and it used same grind setting, dose and basket for same flow as my GS3 at the time...
Refuse to wing it! http://10000shots.com

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another_jim
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#238: Post by another_jim »

Comparing notes, we found finer grind settings on all the Astoria group levers; but the Strega more so than the others.
Jim Schulman

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erics
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#239: Post by erics »

Sakae wrote:Have any of you gentlemen actually considered writing "The Missing Manual" for these machines?
To some extent, that has been accomplished. For example, Randy Glass has been the primary author on two machine manuals - the Vibiemme Domobar Super Hx and the Vibiemme Domobar DB Version 3 (beta, as yet). Chris' Coffee has written several manuals on their various machine offerings. These examples are available gratis. La Marzocco has written & published several manuals for the GS3, again, available gratis.

The topic of your question should really be a distinct thread.
Skål,

Eric S.
http://users.rcn.com/erics/
E-mail: erics at rcn dot com

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another_jim
Team HB

#240: Post by another_jim »

Sometimes, it's helpful to be an absent minded klutz. I now have enough shots where I forgot to ever lift the lever and left the pump running to get a sense of what happens.

The shots taste relatively underextracted, with the bitters and sours exaggerated and the sweetness missing. That is, if I had tasted them blind, without knowing how they were made, I'd call for a lower dose and finer grind to correct the problem.

This result makes little sense: why would decreasing pressure increase extraction?
Jim Schulman