How to use cheapo thermocouple? - Page 2

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks.
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HB
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#11: Post by HB »

Sounds like you are progressing very well.
randomperson wrote:If my ears are correct, it looks like a 5 minute idle needs a four ounce (total) flush (flash plus 10 count), vs a 10 minute idle and its 6 oz flush, vs 2oz for an under 3 minute idle time. Are my ears deceiving me or does this sound like it might make some sense?
Your ears are correct. That's the distinction I make between "idle" and "really, really idle". I prefer to give HX espresso machines a wakeup call flush then go about preparing cups, clearing the grinder, etc. By the time I'm ready, it's ready for a second flush and a lot calmer, as you noted. Vibe pump noise isn't an issue for me since I "outboarded" it to the cabinet below. ;-)

Image
You call that a flush? The Elektra A3 is a fire-breathing dragon
Dan Kehn

randomperson

#12: Post by randomperson »

Well I owe all my progress to you, Dan!

Tell me -- that second flush -- technically, is it a warmup flush? Ie, you cool things down with six ounces (flash plus an 8 to 10 count), then do you stuff, then flush 4 oz (total) or so after 5 minutes or so. Is that second flush of four ounces warming things back up to temp or continuing to cool things down after things have warmed up again?

You see I am after complete and total understanding! :D
I love La Valentina!

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HB
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#13: Post by HB »

The answer is always the same: The heat exchanger is cooling down during a flush and the group (grouphead) is warming up. An extra flush-wait-flush-pull more closely simulates a cafe's rhythm.
Dan Kehn

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another_jim
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#14: Post by another_jim »

HB wrote:The answer is always the same: The heat exchanger is cooling down during a flush and the group (grouphead) is warming up.
Eventually the grouphead may cool down too, if the water debit is high.
Jim Schulman

randomperson

#15: Post by randomperson »

Now things are really starting to make sense!

I'm now seeing how you can vary the flush or rebound to change the character of the shot. After my wake up/walk up flush I then built my shot and tried flushing 4 oz. Too sour. Built another shot and flushed just under 3 oz and the result was spectacular! I'm hoping to get to the place where I can figure out what my rhythm is (per Jim's suggestion) and nail with some consistency from shot to shot. Of course this will be complicated when I add steaming into the mix, as I tend to build each drink one at a time. So I'll probably have to increase the shot to shot flush slightly when I do that

That flush wait flush pull thing -- closer to a cafe rhythm as you said -- it's all starting to fall into place.

Whew! I was starting to think it was like one of those horrific subjects in business school -- like accounting or options analysis -- that was just too much to think about! But I see it is a combination of rules of thumb and getting a feel for how it all works. Ideally what I'd like to do is really be able to nail when the flash ends and count from there rather than running by the numbers as I am doing right now. But I feel there is hope!

Oh and the pstat -- normal to sit around the target of .95 but peak at 1 and occasionally (when steaming) drop to around 6 or 7?

Thanks again for all your help guys!
I love La Valentina!

randomperson

#16: Post by randomperson »

Oh one more thing -- is there a pace at which flushing between shots is unnecessary? I'm thinking not, given how quickly the machine recovers I suspect it overshoots rapidly as well.
I love La Valentina!

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HB
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#17: Post by HB »

randomperson wrote:Oh one more thing -- is there a pace at which flushing between shots is unnecessary?
Jim's The $10 Method for Temperature Tuning an HX Machine would help you determine that pace. I'm not fast enough to worry about getting ahead of its recovery, i.e., Bob's simple rules apply.
Dan Kehn

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cannonfodder
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#18: Post by cannonfodder »

It is enjoyable to watch someone progress from the frustrated, 'how do I do this, what did I get myself into' stage to confident and developing. I remember well the day I had that light bulb moment. After reading trying reading questioning reading etc... it just fell together one winter day. That light bulb came on and it all fell together. Now it starts to get fun. Practice a lot, enjoy the journey and ask questions. The combined knowledge on these forums is incredible. It runs the gambit from first time user to world class baristas.

Then when I think I have a solid handle on it and get feeling smart, I read, or re-read one of Jim's data-logging monster threads and realize how much more there is to learn.

To the flushing routine, there are days I wish I had a smaller machine. I resurrected an old Faema two group this winter, big boiler and huge heat exchangers. After an hour and a half heat (yes it takes that long to properly heat) I flush 8oz into my awaiting cup. Then I sweep out the grinder hopper/chute, flush another 4oz, grind, flush another 2oz, level and tamp, flush another 2oz then lock and go. This monster is made for continuous use so more than a few seconds and it needs flushed and my boiler is only at .8 bar. I need to tweak it down to .7-.75. Even at those low pressures, it steams in seconds thanks to that big honking boiler.
Dave Stephens

randomperson

#19: Post by randomperson » replying to cannonfodder »

cannonfodder -- Thank you so much for those kind words!!! I'll admit to a fair amount of embarrassment on my part -- after posting all these basic questions. It has made me feel more than a little foolish. That said, having asked everything under the sun (so far!) I find I am actually getting somewhere!! And I certainly would not have if I hadn't asked.

And yes, the collective wisdom, patience and willingness to help from these forums is simply amazing! I am one of those people who loves learning new things, but usually you have to do that on your own. The fact that there is this fantastic real-time resource, right here, is a wonderful thing!

This espresso business -- truly a magnificent obsession. There is fine machinery involved, and art and science and engineering and more than a little luck too. It is just so much fun! I am loving this pursuit and am enjoying the journey too.

As for flushing -- well, it is a thing, to be sure, especially since I need to use bottled water as no purification system exists (to my knowledge) that can handle sulfurous well water. If I had your machine I'd need to get water delivered by the truckload!

Your machine sounds truly wondrous -- I'm sure you love its capacity and power, even if she is a thirsty devil!

Thanks again for your vote of confidence in my progress!
I love La Valentina!

randomperson

#20: Post by randomperson »

Further progress report:

I am proud to report that my "walk up" shot routine has become brilliantly consistent. 6 oz flush, prepare shot in under 3 minutes, flush two ounces, wait 20 seconds, pull. Result? Sweet espresso, thick crema -- not a trace of bitterness or sourness. And this with Terroir Southern Italian SO Daterra -- not as finicky as their Northern Italian, but not the most forgiving espressos out there!

I am thrilled!

My next task is to see if I can build back to back cappas with the same consistency. I suspect I'll have to add a minute for the steaming -- meaning I'll be ready for my next shot in about 4 - 5 minutes rather than 3. Will the portafilter wiggle and steaming process make the 2 oz rule still relevant? Or will the extra minutes require a longer flush before the pull even though I've drawn off some cleaning water plus steam?

I'll be sorting that out this afternoon -- but all your thoughts are welcome!

This machine makes fantastic espresso -- truly fantastic. And she is a joy to use!

Thank you thank you Dan!
I love La Valentina!