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Double pull on MCAL invariably destroys the puck.
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Discussions > Espresso > Lever Espresso > Double pull on...  
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Pendel
Senior Member
Pendel
Joined: 16 Dec 2013
Posts: 41
Location: Maine
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: MCAL & Cremina
Grinder: Macap M4
Posted Thu Feb 13, 2014, 6:00am
Subject: Double pull on MCAL invariably destroys the puck.
 

I am an eager lever machine newbie with a new to me 2010 Electra MCAL and Macap M4 grinder.
I have been using 13-16 gm (digital scale measured) of coffee in a double MCAL basket with a bottomless Penney portafilter.
I have tried several coffee varieties, including Bali (blue moon) and Espresso Blend (dark and oily, so only tried a couple of shots) from Fair Mountain; Espresso Classico, Espresso Nuevo and Mexico Santa Teresa Espresso SO from Paradise; all tamped from very light to 30 lbs with a US curve 49.4 mm tamper.
Tried various grind fineness as well.
No matter what I do, the second pull of the lever destroys the puck and gushes/spews coffee, often in all kinds of directions out of the (bottom) of the portafilter.
I tried the second full pull, half pull, even a third-of-a-pull, starting at various stages of the first pull release.
Can't seem to get this second pull technique to work.
Would those of you who have mastered a double on MCAL please, please, please enlighten me on how to "pull this off" properly?

Cheers and thanks!

:-)
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DanoM
Senior Member


Joined: 20 Mar 2013
Posts: 372
Location: Los Angeles
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Bezzera Strega, '84 La...
Grinder: Compak K10, Kludge grinder,...
Posted Thu Feb 13, 2014, 7:44am
Subject: Re: Double pull on MCAL invariably destroys the puck.
 

I don't have an MCAL, but on my manual La Pavoni I find it better to do a straight pull without double or half pulls.  I start off with some mini pumps until the lever is firm - no air vapor at the top of the piston, then just pull.  Sometimes I give a partial manual infusion until the first drips and then up with the lever to refill, but truth be told the straight pull is better in my opinion.

It's not always about volume, especially with these smaller lever baskets.  Some people still like the double pulls and there's nothing wrong with that either if you can get it to work.
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z0mbie
Senior Member
z0mbie
Joined: 26 Sep 2013
Posts: 354
Location: Online
Expertise: I live coffee

Posted Sat Feb 15, 2014, 1:53am
Subject: Re: Double pull on MCAL invariably destroys the puck.
 

I never understood how this works.. Maybe someone could explain to me how it *doesn't* destroy the puck?

Logic dictates that if you push up on the lever after a significant volume of water in the group has been displaced by the piston, you will generate negative pressure in the chamber, sucking espresso (and air) back up through the puck.. Wouldn't this invariably unseat it and/or cause it to deform in the process?  I imagine the seal of puck is also degraded, allowing water to channel through on the second pull.

I have done a bit of this when I apply pressure during preinfusion.. But it is only to speed up saturation and not much water is actually displaced so the piston doesn't actually lower much further in its previous resting pressure, so lifting it up doesn't produce much negative pressure before the fill hole is uncovered and more water enters the group chamber.
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Pendel
Senior Member
Pendel
Joined: 16 Dec 2013
Posts: 41
Location: Maine
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: MCAL & Cremina
Grinder: Macap M4
Posted Sat Feb 15, 2014, 4:34pm
Subject: Re: Double pull on MCAL invariably destroys the puck.
 

z0mbie Said:

I never understood how this works.. Maybe someone could explain to me how it *doesn't* destroy the puck?

Logic dictates that if you push up on the lever after a significant volume of water in the group has been displaced by the piston, you will generate negative pressure in the chamber, sucking espresso (and air) back up through the puck.. Wouldn't this invariably unseat it and/or cause it to deform in the process?  I imagine the seal of puck is also degraded, allowing water to channel through on the second pull.

I have done a bit of this when I apply pressure during preinfusion.. But it is only to speed up saturation and not much water is actually displaced so the piston doesn't actually lower much further in its previous resting pressure, so lifting it up doesn't produce much negative pressure before the fill hole is uncovered and more water enters the group chamber.

Posted February 15, 2014 link

See, that makes sense to me too, even though the manual for MCAL does talk about double pulls. I did learn to make little pre-infusion pumps, and these seem to help, but I do want a larger volume for my doubles.
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z0mbie
Senior Member
z0mbie
Joined: 26 Sep 2013
Posts: 354
Location: Online
Expertise: I live coffee

Posted Sat Feb 15, 2014, 11:46pm
Subject: Re: Double pull on MCAL invariably destroys the puck.
 

How many fluid oz can your MCAL produce in a single pre-infusion+pull?
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