ECM Synchronika Basic Flow Profiling

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks for making espresso.
marugenji
Posts: 9
Joined: 7 months ago

#1: Post by marugenji »

Hi all,

I recently ordered an ecm synchronika with flow control (from WLL). This is going to be my first time with flow control and I was thinking that just to get to know the machine I would start by using it without flow control and just have the valve open to match the flow of the non-flow-control version. However, it doesn't seem like the machine will behave the same even if I do this since apparently a spring is also changed in the flow control version that affects preinfusion time.

So I was wondering what you all would recommend for the most basic flow profile to use while I get to know the machine. Maybe something with just a little preinfusion and then up to stock flow?

Any help would be appreciated. I am new to flow control and learning about it has been a bit daunting (although exciting too :-) ).

Thanks!

LittleCoffee
Posts: 227
Joined: 2 years ago

#2: Post by LittleCoffee »

Hi,
18 months Izzo duetto user here who started as complete beginner.

I cant answer your question directly but I can tell you that I'm still not getting to use the flow control I bought because I'm getting to grips with everything else - maybe I'm a very slow learner :D

I would however strongly urge you to keep the original pre infusion spring rather than the one that shuts it off. As a beginner you are making things unhelpfully complicated if you shut the pre infusion chamber off. My flow control kit didn't even come with a stiffer spring and I didn't realise at the time how much of a blessing that was.

PIXIllate
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#3: Post by PIXIllate »

I would recommend using the original e61 spring. Make sure it is included with the machine. It's very easy to swap it back in. As far as starting out, if you're new to espresso or a machine of this calibre I would definitely just set the flow control to a 7-8ml/sec position and use it like that for a few months until you get a handle on the MANY other variables involved with making repeatable espresso.

I've done a lot of experimenting and trial and error with the e61 flow profiling capabilities and this is what I do. I use it 100% of the time.

An Even MORE Considered Approach to E61 Flow Control (now with video)

Znekcihc
Posts: 49
Joined: 6 years ago

#4: Post by Znekcihc »

What machine are you coming from? Im assuming this is a massive upgrade for you? I have a similar machine. Ive been using daily for 5 years. There are so many other variables to play around with that Flow control is the last thing I would mess with. Learn your grinder/bean/machine in and out before adding in the flow control variable.

romlee
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#5: Post by romlee »

I can personally recommend the approach Chris (PIXIllate) has developed. I purchased a Puristika (from WLL) with flow control (please use or install the original spring, not the replacement spring) April of 2022. I had not a clue as to how to use the FCD, Chris' approach with video and text cues was very helpful to me. It was best for me to learn the work flow first, then gain an understanding what was going on inside the filter basket and puck rather than the other way around.

Whether or not you stick with Chris' approach, starting with it is a great way to build a foundation to learn more about making espresso. After a year of near constant use of his approach, I'm a lot further along than I would have had I not.
“Be curious, not judgemental.” T. Lasso

Nunas
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#6: Post by Nunas »

As with the other commenters so far, I also went back to the original spring. If you don't have it (or even if you do), try this. Close the valve and lift the lever. Crack open the valve and watch the manometer. Try to modulate the valve to keep the pressure at about 2 bar. When you see some drips of coffee come out, open the valve until the pressure reaches 9 bar (or until it maxes out if you have a coarse grind). About midway through the pull (when you see the shot just starting to blond), gradually close the valve. Drop the lever when you have your desired shot weight. This mimics the action of a spring lever machine. Once you know where the max pressure is on your valve, another approach is to set it there and leave it. Open the lever and watch the manometer. When it gets to about 3 bar, close the lever to the mid-point (not all the way down). Wait for coffee to emerge and raise the valve back up. Drop it when you have your desired weight of coffee. You can also close the valve gradually for the last part of the shot, as above. If the valve is open wide (say one full turn or more), you'll notice that the manometer rises rapidly and stays there. If you can find the point for your grind where the valve is just open enough to get to the max pressure, you'll see the manometer drop on its own as the pull progresses. This is due to the coffee oils and solids leaching out and the resistance of the puck dropping commensurately. Enjoy experimenting!

marugenji (original poster)
Posts: 9
Joined: 7 months ago

#7: Post by marugenji (original poster) »

Hi all,

I ordered it from whole latte love with the flow control already installed. Not sure if it will come with the other spring or not (it is supposed to get here monday).

I am coming from using nothing but a drip machine although one of my friends has helped me learn some of the ropes on his espresso machine (I am not sure exactly what model but he has done all sorts of modifications to it). I still don't feel I know exactly what I am doing yet though.

A nice espresso machine is something my wife and I always wanted and this year we were forced to sell our farm (expenses have outpaced profit for years and now this is the third year in a row we actually lost money on some of our crops so we finally just called it quits). We decided to take some of the money from selling farm equipment to get ourselves something nice as a consolation lol. I also ordered a Eureka Oro Mignon single dose grinder and some of the other stuff I thought might help (TWW packets, WDT tool, bottomless portafilter, vst precision basket, acaia lunar scale, etc.)

Thanks for the help so far, I will look at the link pixillate posted. Thanks also nunas for the pointers!

Pressino
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#8: Post by Pressino »

marugenji wrote:Hi all,
I ordered it from whole latte love with the flow control already installed. Not sure if it will come with the other spring or not (it is supposed to get here monday).
I got my Pro700 w/ FCD from WLL a couple of years ago. It came with the stiffer spring installed in the e61's "pre-infusion" chamber. As has been said, the purpose of that stiffer spring is to bypass the standard e61 spring's slow pressure ramp up that consitiutes traditional e61 preinfusion, essentially forcing you (or allowing you..depending on your point of view) to use the FCD's valve to perform a "customizable" pre-infusion profile.

I wanted the option of using both the traditional "automatic" spring controlled pre-infusion as well as customizable FCD controlled (pre- as well as post-) infusion, so I asked WLL to send me the original (less stiff) spring. They promptly (and free of cost) sent me the machine's original mushroom (with the solid nut), mushroom spring (which is shorter than the pre-infusion spring), and another infusion chamber spring...which unfortunately was the same stffness as the spring I wanted to replace so I just got a spring from an old e61 machine I had and popped it into the Pro700...where it worked exactly as I wanted.

WLL customer service has always been superb. In this case it was probably my fault for not being clear about what I wanted...which was just the old-style weaker e61 spring. Just make sure you explain that you want the older less stiff pre-infusion spring. It might be that they are now getting the machines from ECM/Profitec with the FCDs already installed, rather than having to replace the standard mushroom and preinfusion spring with the FCD mushroom and stiffer spring...in which case they won't have the old parts to send you. If that's the case, you can just purchase the old style e61 springs on-line. They don't cost much.

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Paris92
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#9: Post by Paris92 »

I purchased my Sync with FC from WLL one year ago this month. At that time WLL installed the FC at their facility here in the US before shipping it to me. They also sent the original spring and top nut. My FC had an issue I discovered during the initial set up and they sent a replacement FC that I had to swap and install myself.

From what I was told at the time, the FC can be set in a certain position to create the same conditions as if there is no FCD installed. I have had my FC set that way for a year. I think it is something like one and a quarter turns up from fully closed (can't recall exactly but it is mentioned in videos...) These posts are the first time I recall hearing about reuse of the original spring with the FC. I don't think I did that. But I do still have that spring.

As others have mentioned, the other variables in making espresso on a higher end prosumer machine like this will keep you busy for some time; before even considering using the FC. We also dove into the deep end because we always thought about getting a really nice espresso machine someday, and our capsule appliance crapped out during the pandemic. Decided to skip an entry level unit and went right for the Sync.

It becomes a challenging but fun and rewarding daily hobby to own one of these. Lots to learn, tools to buy, beans to grind, shots to dial in, ongoing preventative maintenance to perform... and making espresso that is on par with, and often can be better, or on occasion much better, than your local cafe produces.