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Issue with the 49mm Penney bottomless filter for the Cremina
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Discussions > Espresso > Lever Espresso > Issue with the...  
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SpaceTime
Senior Member


Joined: 9 Dec 2013
Posts: 271
Location: Virgo Cluster
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: 83 & 89 Cremina, 85 Coffex
Grinder: HG One, Pharos, LIDO
Drip: Freiling 33 & 44oz FP,...
Posted Sat Feb 8, 2014, 8:32am
Subject: Re: Issue with the 49mm Penney bottomless filter for the Cremina
 

z0mbie Said:

I'd like to respond to this as well...

I think the Electra baskets are perfectly usable in their original shape when the user inserts and removes the PF into the group head at an angle.  I believe Doug (of OE) had mentioned this in a post somewhere.

I have made plenty of espresso without any real issue.  But the Electra baskets are definitely wider than the stock basket and well bind in the group if you try to install the pf into the group straight up.

Here's a video I shot demonstrating this...

Posted February 8, 2014 link

Scott, yes I saw videos, heard methods to make it work - but for me, it was not as seamless, and filing was the only remedy to make it work smoothly.  As you put it in another post - MAJOR finagling - and the portafilter would get stuck... it was a hassle.  Only thing that made it work well was filing.
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z0mbie
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z0mbie
Joined: 26 Sep 2013
Posts: 382
Location: Online
Expertise: I live coffee

Posted Sat Feb 8, 2014, 9:20am
Subject: Re: Issue with the 49mm Penney bottomless filter for the Cremina
 

SpaceTime Said:

Scott, yes I saw videos, heard methods to make it work - but for me, it was not as seamless, and filing was the only remedy to make it work smoothly.  As you put it in another post - MAJOR finagling - and the portafilter would get stuck... it was a hassle.  Only thing that made it work well was filing.

Posted February 8, 2014 link


One other data point.. Both of my Elektra baskets were purchased from Stefano's website.

I stopped using them because of two reasons.. First, I had mistakenly believed larger baskets would increase my shot volume. But it doesn't. It just accommodates more coffee. The Olympia double basket accommodates as much as 17 grams of coffee without touching the dispersion screen but I have pulled "full" (1.5oz) shots  on the Cremina with 18g doses without a problem too. I occasionally dose up when called for such as when I make lattes..  But the majority of the time I dose 16g and pull double ristretto shots.   Anyway I digress.  

The second reason, relevant to our discussion, was in regard to fitment. While I said I could use the baskets perfectly fine the way they are, the increased contact with the group has me thinking about the long term effect of the sharp edge of the Elektra basket constantly rubbing against the chrome finish. So to save from wear on the chrome finish I will have to find some time to file down the perimeter and polish it smooth like the stock basket.
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z0mbie
Senior Member
z0mbie
Joined: 26 Sep 2013
Posts: 382
Location: Online
Expertise: I live coffee

Posted Sat Feb 8, 2014, 9:22am
Subject: Re: Issue with the 49mm Penney bottomless filter for the Cremina
 

One other data point.. Both of my Elektra baskets were purchased from Stefano's website.

I stopped using them because of two reasons.. First, I had mistakenly believed larger baskets would increase my shot volume. But it doesn't. It just accommodates more coffee. The Olympia double basket accommodates as much as 17 grams of coffee without touching the dispersion screen but I have pulled "full" (1.5oz) shots  on the Cremina with 18g doses without a problem too. I occasionally dose up when called for such as when I make lattes..  But the majority of the time I dose 16g and pull double ristretto shots.   Anyway I digress.  

The second reason, relevant to our discussion, was in regard to fitment. While I said I could use the baskets perfectly fine the way they are, the increased contact with the group has me thinking about the long term effect of the sharp edge of the Elektra basket constantly rubbing against the chrome finish. So to save from wear on the chrome finish I will have to find some time to file down the perimeter and polish it smooth like the stock basket.

I wonder if Ron's Elektra basket was previously modified.
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SpaceTime
Senior Member


Joined: 9 Dec 2013
Posts: 271
Location: Virgo Cluster
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: 83 & 89 Cremina, 85 Coffex
Grinder: HG One, Pharos, LIDO
Drip: Freiling 33 & 44oz FP,...
Posted Sat Feb 8, 2014, 9:30am
Subject: Re: Issue with the 49mm Penney bottomless filter for the Cremina
 

z0mbie Said:

One other data point.. Both of my Elektra baskets were purchased from Stefano's website.

I stopped using them because of two reasons.. First, I had mistakenly believed larger baskets would increase my shot volume. But it doesn't. It just accommodates more coffee. The Olympia double basket accommodates as much as 17 grams of coffee without touching the dispersion screen but I have pulled "full" (1.5oz) shots  on the Cremina with 18g doses without a problem too. I occasionally dose up when called for such as when I make lattes..  But the majority of the time I dose 16g and pull double ristretto shots.   Anyway I digress.  

The second reason, relevant to our discussion, was in regard to fitment. While I said I could use the baskets perfectly fine the way they are, the increased contact with the group has me thinking about the long term effect of the sharp edge of the Elektra basket constantly rubbing against the chrome finish. So to save from wear on the chrome finish I will have to find some time to file down the perimeter and polish it smooth like the stock basket.

Posted February 8, 2014 link

I purchased mine from Stefano's also.  

Good point about the volume - what it really does is put more air space between the top of the coffee and the group... but overall I am not sure if this is beneficial.  It DOES mean less cleaning of the group.

I bought the Elektra baskets as a result of being sold from all the posts in the archives (like here on the Lever board) that hyped them... but in the end, I am luke warm on the purchase, and could have lived without them.

Bottom line for others considering the Elektra baskets - you now have a couple of data points from users that had fitment issues - if you don't mind doctoring them for a better fit - go for it, but like anything, it is not a perfect "drop in" out of the chute.  And like anything, for some reason, others are not having the same issues... that happens too.  We live in an imperfect world.

The Penney Portafilter on the other hand - I like it - though I wish it were sent with a wire / clip that was not ruining my expensive equipment after three days LOL.
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SpaceTime
Senior Member


Joined: 9 Dec 2013
Posts: 271
Location: Virgo Cluster
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: 83 & 89 Cremina, 85 Coffex
Grinder: HG One, Pharos, LIDO
Drip: Freiling 33 & 44oz FP,...
Posted Sat Feb 22, 2014, 5:47pm
Subject: Re: Issue with the 49mm Penney bottomless filter for the Cremina
 

To assure this one goes into the archives with the outcome stated - this one turned out to be a no-brainer.  

I scratched my head for a couple of days trying to figure out why the retaining clip (which is merely a piece of wire) I was sent with my $150 Penney was fouling / rusting my basket and portafilter. I originally thought that my 660 TDS water I wash up with (I live in the Phx area) was the main and only cause - but that turned out NOT to be the case.  Note that the water I make coffee with is a mix of three different types of water (Arrowhead, MPP, RO) and has a TDS of 170, but the water I clean up with and wash out the basket after ejecting the puck(s) is the tap water at 660 TDS.

Turns out the water had nothing to do with it.  I purchased a few different types of wire on Amazon and at the local craft store to do some analysis, and found out that the problem I was having had EVERYTHING to do with the wire / retaining clip I was sent with the portafilter as the root cause of the problem, and nothing to do with the water hardness if the correct wire is used.  

**Note the retaining clip shipped with your Penney portafilter is an after markets wire added by the reseller (in this case Orphan Espresso) - cut, bent and fashioned to fit the groove.  They do NOT come from Penney, they are added by Orphan Espresso as an adder to help hold your selected basket in the portafilter.  Otherwise, without it, most baskets would just fall out of the Penney when turned upside down.  The added wire is a convenience / luxury to assure you don't have your basket clanging around on your tile floor every few days**.

**Also note - those that are not having any corrosion, fouling issues with their wires, read on.  It is either due to the fact you had a more corrosion resistant wire shipped with yours, or the fact your water hardness is very low, and would not present a problem with the lower grade wire I was sent with mine... again, read on.

To start with what WORKED - I purchased the following 316L stainless wire from Amazon, which has been in my portafilter for 7 days now with absolutely NO signs of fouling:  

316L Stainless Wire - 22 gauge - Beadalon  

Note this is a NON-magnetic, non corrosive wire made for applications like this, and might be what many of you who formally purchased the Penney had installed. (for those who stated they did not experience any fouling / rusting issues).

The wire that was included with my portafilter was very similar in appearance, behavior, flexibility, benadability, corrosion resistance and tensile strength to these:

Beadalon Memory wire - non stainless

-OR- this one:

Beadalong Memory wire 22 gauge

Both of the wires above fouled in a few days, and had tensile, flexibility and appearance to the one I was sent with my Penney Portafilter.  Bottom line is that the wire I was shipped with my Penney was NOT a wire that was very corrosion resistant, and explains why it fouled so easily.  Note that the second one included says it is "stainless" but note it does not denote what grade of stainless - such as 316L or 304, etc.  Thus, this could be purchased by someone thinking they are getting a high grade stainless - but they are NOT - this wire is low grade, corrosive and does not specify what grade of stainless.  There are no real standards to label something "stainless" and you are better served buying a stainless steel product when you know the grade - like 316L or 304 or 18/10, etc.

SO, if you order a Penney portafilter, I would potentially plan on spending a little more in addition to the $150 if you want a non-corrosive wire.  (unless the reseller has since fixed the issue). In that case, I would recommend either 316L or alternatively 304 stainless wire like this:

304 Stainless wire

Note I did not test the 304 stainless wire, and the 316L is the better bet by specification, and more corrosion resistant than the 304 stainless as a rule.  Overall, having to do this much work to get my $150 portafilter functioning properly was not expected, to say the least.  But I liked the fact that the wire kept my basket from just free-falling out of the portafilter when turned upside down, so I had to do something to get this luxury - leaving the wire I was sent in there that fouled the basket in a couple of days was just not acceptable.

Bottom line - Orphan Espresso decided to save $1.50 on a $150 portafilter by trying out a cheaper version of the wire / retaining clip, and it ended up fouling and rusting my portafilter basket.  It is clear that they sold the portafilter with the higher quality stainless wire in the past, as verified by other users.  Just be aware of the difference if you buy one -perhaps try and verify in advance that you are getting the higher quality stainless wire instead of a wire that fail and rust your equipment.
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