frankward Senior Member Joined: 9 Feb 2013 Posts: 39 Location: Massachusetts Expertise: I live coffee
Espresso: La Pavoni Professional Gold Grinder: Mazzer Mini Drip: Hario Roaster: Hottop
Posted Thu Nov 28, 2013, 9:23am Subject: Re: Feedback on my technique please
There are so many good suggestions on this thread. I'll suggest a $10 Polder thermometer with a thick rubber band to hold it onto the group head. It doesn't matter how accurate the temperature is as long as it is consistent. You want to know what temp. works best. I like the first shot in the 180 degrees F. The next shot is in the early 190s -- that is often the best. Once the temp nears 200 there is a danger of too much steam resulting in a cough when you release the porta filter.
Another suggestion is to get a bottomless portafilter. The conversion of your existing filter might cost you $20 to 40 bucks. The crotchless basket holder gives you so much information on the status of your puck and pull. I didn't get great espresso from my PPG Millenium until I could see that my puck was channelling and I needed to change my technique to even the pressure with better tamping. Now I can control my pull to maintain a perfect cone of espresso into the cup.
Buckley Senior Member Joined: 25 Jan 2011 Posts: 412 Location: Baltimore, USA Expertise: I love coffee
Espresso: Londinium I, Olympia Maxima,... Grinder: Compak K-10 WBC, Gaggia MDF Drip: Hario V60 Roaster: Nondescript popper
Posted Fri Dec 20, 2013, 5:45am Subject: Re: Feedback on my technique please
Perhaps I can jump onto this thread in the spirit that the OP created instead of starting a whole new thread.
This is the first week with my premillenial Europiccola 8 after learning basic respect for tamping, temperature and freshness from a Mypressi for three years. The shots have quickly become acceptable, but no better than that, for the most part. Specifically, I am having trouble with my pulls.
The basic setup is a stock LP 49mm double basket, stock portafilter, a Compak K-10, quality beans ground by day 17 or frozen and ground by post-thaw day 7. The LP 8 cup has been improved with an added pressure gauge, thankfully.
Being at the beginning of the learning curve – and I can see that there is a lot to learn about the temperature physics of the Europiccola – it requires a balancing act between consistency and making measured and informed changes based upon experience. My typical procedures have been to fill the basket with 11 gm. The grind is both sieved and WDT to try to minimize the occurrence of channeling, since I am infusing blindly. The group and PF are flushed with perhaps ¼ oz to bring them up to temp once the gauge needle rises a bit off of the stop. The basket is locked in and the two-position switched is toggled for the target pressure.
This post is edited to reflect changing experience. A great deal of thanks is due to meastway for his 2011 post on HB. I now can 'see' that the water opening into the group is near the top of the piston excursion and too large a fellini move downward would tend to block this hole and any subsequent upward motion of the lever would suck air up through the puck, messing with it. Having realized this and having abandoned all but the slightest of fellini moves at the very top of the lever travel, I am still seeing a burbling of the infusion stream toward the end of the downward excursion, suggesting to me that there is still considerable air between the puck and the piston. I have not 'coin-measured' the clearance between the puck and the screen, but there is a mess of gorunds on it afterward with 12 gm and just a dusting on the screen (with most residue in the recess around the screen) with 11 gm, so I stay with 11 gm. Total shot volume is 1 3/4 oz when air does not come out at the end and about 1 1/2 oz. with air.
I still wait for the sound/feel of water to finish filling the group before infusing. So where is the air coming from?
rosscova Senior Member Joined: 15 Oct 2013 Posts: 5 Location: Australia Expertise: I love coffee
Espresso: La Pavoni Europiccola... Grinder: Compak K3
Posted Fri Dec 20, 2013, 3:37pm Subject: Re: Feedback on my technique please
First, thank you all very much for a lot of very useful feedback. I've been coming back to this thread to repeatedly read each poster's tips, and am getting happier with my results. I have a proper tamper now, and have also fitted a thermometer to my Pav. Just today I've also added a temp-tag to my milk jug for a little more consistency there as well :)
I've been targeting group temps of around 85ºC before pulling my shots, and this has made a huge difference to the consistency of my shots. I haven't started experimenting with different temperatures, but am interested to see what changes the temperature can bring.
I have also taken on the suggestion of weebit_nutty to froth the milk after pulling the shot, and I think this has made all the difference to the texture as I pour. I've actually started getting some pretty nice art once in a while! Thank you!
@ Buckley, thanks for keeping the thread going :)... The one thing I'd say is that it sounds like you haven't quite gotten the grind right yet. I'm using a Compak K3 grinder, and find that very slight adjustments can make a big difference when pulling the shot. Half a notch too far to either side and I know I've gotten it wrong once I start pulling the lever on the Pav. When you're getting drips out the porta-filter with just the boiler pressure (no pressure on the lever yet) you definitely haven't ground fine enough (assuming you're tamping properly). I aim for drips to come through after a few seconds with just a little pressure, and then to get a good flow (forming droplets around half-way down as it falls into the cup) with fairly strong force on the lever. The kind of force I usually apply is probably just a little stronger than the 30lb recommended tamping pressure.
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