I'm a novice considering eBay purchase of a used/clean LP Euro. Drawn to this forum by my curiosity re how useful adding a pressure gauge to imagined LP Euro might be. I noticed a response posted Sept. 12th by veteran member "uyeasound" to the same question and need clarification on a couple of terms used in the post. What is meant in this instance by 'temp surfing'? Also mentioned, 'watching group thermometer'. Does that refer to checking each shot with a hand held thermometer as it's being pulled? Glad to be in a position to draw on experts. Thanks ever so much....... I'll take my responses off the air, Bill
Temp(erature) surfing refers to a way of pulling shots at a more or less consistent brewing temperature with a SBDU machine, and not to hand lever machines like the La Pavoni, even though it also has but one boiler. The water temperature inside the boiler of a (non-PIDed) SBDU can vary by several degrees during its heating cycle. In order to brew your espresso with approximately the same temperature each time, you start extraction at the same time of that cycle.
The difference between the two is that the boiler of a lever machine is on steaming temperature, so surfing is not required.
*** "This drink of the Satan is so delicious that it would be a shame to leave it to the infidels." (Pope Clement VIII on coffee)
The "watch the group thermometer" refers to the practice of putting either strip thermometers on the group or actually mounting a thermometer on the machine/connected to the group. The LP group is about 700g of brass plus the brass piston, the steel piston shaft, and the brass PF. The chamber holds about 30g of water. The temp of the group will define the temp of the shot. While there is little need to "surf" the temp of the boiler (it does need to be managed if you are using a model without a p-stat, you are the p-stat to a large extent), the temp of the group has to be carefully monitored and managed to pull good shots repeatedly. Without a thermometer of some sort on the group your only other option for managing the group temp is to develop a precise routine from the moment you turn on the machine to the time you finish pulling your shots. This routine is the product of massive amounts of trial and error and repetition. There is a good deal to be gained from developing this kind of relationship with your machine, but it is a long road to travel, and one filled with lack luster espresso.
Better educated now, thanks to your kind and knowledgable responses. Wondering at this point, without having had an LP Euro to play with yet, if they tend to make little happy little gurgling sounds or slip out bits of steam when their group temp is right. Perhaps there's a small, simple thermometer out there with a sensor that mates to curved surfaces. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Last resort being Harbor Freight's hand-held infrared digital which reads from a distance. Recent find: Retired my old blade grinder for a little motorized burr grinder found yesterday in a thrift store. For $6.00 I could afford to experiment. Barista / friend offered a sample of her espresso grind this morning for comparison. The new/old little whizzer matched it with plenty of adjustment left in both directions. As mentioned before, both interest in this process and lust for the right LP Euro yet to be found on eBay /craigslist are building, but in the mean time I'll continue trying to improve results from the little Krups I bought 13 yrs. ago. When I read recently that [according to one source] the optimum water temp should be just below boiling at about 198 degrees, I removed its portafilter and held the tip of a candy thermometer in the flow. It climbed to about 150 degrees. Suspending the thermometer in a thin plastic drinking glass while holding it close up under the flow got it to 175 degrees. I'm wondering: (1) If the water temp is too low. (2) If it's worth cracking the machine an looking for something to tweak that would increase the cutout temp. Enjoying this connection.......Bill
The sound from the Europiccola relief valve ranges from a gentle hiss to a loud woosh accompanied by a lot of steam, depending on the vintage of the machine and the condition of both the valve and the heating element. Alas, it is not an endearing little gurgle. There is no indication that the group temp is correct, largely because there is no such think as a "correct" group temp, just the goal of consistently hitting a group temp that you know produces the shot you want. The group temp changes silently as the machine heats, idles, and especially as it is used.
If you are going to buy a used LP, just make sure that you get a peak inside the base. And it's worth an extra $100 to get a properly working one in good condition. Parts are often expensive or unavailable. I lover repairing these, but each worn little bit adds a couple of $ to the parts bill, and any major parts (PF, heating element, base, boiler) are at least $100 a piece to replace. That being said, I have yet to own a fully pump driven machine that cannot be matched in overall satisfaction-in-the-cup by my LPs for a just about any given coffee.
Generous of you, Russel. Thanks for the links. Found the strips you mention. Appreciate and will heed your cautions re used La Pavoni. Thanks for the encouragement as well. Just wish I could tolerate more than one morning-double-shot without compromising sleep. So yummy! B
uyeasound Senior Member Joined: 27 Oct 2011 Posts: 8 Location: Shetland Expertise: I love coffee
Posted Sat Sep 29, 2012, 2:44pm Subject: Re: Temp Surf
By temp surfing i was referring to the method of hitting your target brew temperature by either flushing the group with water from the boiler (to raise the group temp), or waiting thirty seconds (to allow the group to fractionally cool). In this way you can control the group temp, and effect a desired brew temp. Some people use a specific cooling device such as a wet towel or heat-sink to help...
I would definitely recommend a thermometer over a strip, and an infra red thermometer may well not work on a reflective surface such as the group. You could go Rolling Stones, and paint it black.
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