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Timing the cooling flush on E61 machines?
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CouleurCafe
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Joined: 3 Jan 2005
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Location: SF, CA
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Posted Sat May 7, 2005, 10:00am
Subject: Re: Timing the cooling flush on E61 machines?
 

Teme Said:

Thanks for the input Curtis and Mike.
Even though the amounts to be flushed shown on the chart that Curtis kindly posted seem excessive as Mike pointed out, it seems clear that my flushes have been way too short. I timed a 6 oz flush on my Andreja today. It took 24 sec. This is almost twice as long as the flushes I have been pulling previously when the machine has been idle (and almost twice the volume). The 2 oz after the hissing and sputtering stops translated to 8 sec instead of the 2 sec or so I have been doing thus far. I now also get the point of flushing into a separate container instead of into the drip tray - perhaps I could use the flush to pre-heat the cups...

Posted May 6, 2005 link

That's intertesting,

Initially, I was measuring time and volume of cooling flush, tamping out with the basket out of the PF and the results were so-so. My Andreja was set at 1.1max and I was doing 24s flush, 20s recovery.

For the past month, I decided to start going by feel and simply listening to the hissing. I now flush with the PF on for about 12-14s so that is quite close to your numbers. The machine is now set at 1.2bar max.
As for the coffee, it is now consitently great.

I also feel that in 6 months, I will look back at my current skills and wonder how I could ever be so ignorant!

Max
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scrutinizer
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Joined: 16 Feb 2005
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Posted Mon May 9, 2005, 5:19pm
Subject: Re: Timing the cooling flush on E61 machines?
 

Teme,

I too have the Andreja and have been tinkering with the flush routine for a few months now.  It is set up for 9.5 brew pressure, 1.1 bar min boiler.  

First I followed the very useful instructions in Dan's article and then started reading all the technical posts and began getting paranoid and over analyzing everything.  Now, although not completely done tweeking, I have "learned to relax" and almost gone completely back to a more of a "seat of the pants" approach similar to Dan's original instructions... but perhaps just a bit more obsessive ;).  Lately this approach has produced fairly consistent shots and thoughts of installing a thermocouple are beginning to fade as I am realizing less practical need for such details.

When the machine has been sitting for a while, I start with the obligatory 6oz flush into the cup to heat it up.  Given the technical info posted by others showing stabilization of temps after multiple shots (makes sense), and info suggesting the E61 was designed to pull a shot every minute or so, I do all subsequent flushes at approximately 1.5 minute intervals and each one is approximately the size of ....a shot! (2oz).   During each subsequent flush, i watch the water coming out and generally confirm that it matches what Dan was saying in the first place (it starts out sputtering and then calms down and you flush about an equal amt after the transition point).  The number of subsequent flushes is determined by how slow I am w/ the grinding, tamping etc.  BTW, it was a good suggestion (I think it was Dan's) to do away with the spring in the portafilter and tamp directly in the filter basket leaving the filter handle in the machine until needed (kind of hard tamping directly into the single spout handle).

Thus, generally after the initial 6 oz flush, subsequent flushes of 1.5 to 2 oz every 1.5 to 2.5 minutes seem to keep the machine in a reasonable temperature range.  Since I'm slow, I might actually flush 2 times after the 6oz flush while I'm grinding/tamping.  After the final flush I wait 35 to 40 seconds for the pull.  Generally, I'm doing 1.5 ounce shots with "just before oil" (or "just after oil") moderate full city to vienna roasts.  I've found the 40 second wait is good for cappas (a bit bolder) and maybe 30 to 35 is good for shots.

This routine is somewhat annoying in the number of flushes required (and it does put more wear and tear on the machine) but i do like the idea of stabilizing the temp of the group w/ more shots than just 1.  However, it might be unnecessary so long as the combination of machine settings (e.g., boiler temp) and the flush routine are calibrated so you can hit the right temp during the pull.  There are obviously many ways to flush, but this is what works for me, so far.  In the near future, I'll probably go back to "single flush" routine and see if there is a noticeable difference (reconizing that it might not be possible to consider "flush routine" in isolation from the machine settings since both might need to be optimized to get the best results).  

Pat
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singforsupper
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singforsupper
Joined: 22 Feb 2005
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Posted Mon May 9, 2005, 7:26pm
Subject: Re: Timing the cooling flush on E61 machines?
 

I flush my E61 much less precicely than all of this.  Am I missing something here?

I flush all of the steam out of the line plus an extra 2 seconds (approx... I don't time it with a stopwatch)

Then I draw the shot right away so as to not let any more steam build up in the HX line.

Also, since I have a plumbed in machine and a plumbed drain line, I don't worry about water volume at all.  I don't flush into a glass, i flush into the drip tray and it goes away.  Am I missing something?

 
Coffee, I must have coffee,
And if anyone wants to give me a treat,
Ah!, just give me some coffee!

~J. S. Bach Coffee Cantata, BWV 211~
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scrutinizer
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Posted Tue May 10, 2005, 9:32am
Subject: Re: Timing the cooling flush on E61 machines?
 

singforsupper Said:

I flush my E61 much less precicely than all of this.  Am I missing something here?

I flush all of the steam out of the line plus an extra 2 seconds (approx... I don't time it with a stopwatch)

Then I draw the shot right away so as to not let any more steam build up in the HX line.

Also, since I have a plumbed in machine and a plumbed drain line, I don't worry about water volume at all.  I don't flush into a glass, i flush into the drip tray and it goes away.  Am I missing something?

Posted May 9, 2005 link

Sing,

I'm not clear on the specifics of your machine but if its an E61 w/ an HX and single boiler then as it sits idle the temp of the group continues to rise above the desired level (since the dual function boiler is set to feed the HX loop and provide steam it is hotter than you would want for just shots).  The water flush (pulling a blank so to speak) is needed to cool it down prior to pulling a shot.  Search the archives on E61 HX flush and you will find more than you want to know about this topic.

Pat
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singforsupper
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singforsupper
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Posted Tue May 10, 2005, 9:45am
Subject: Re: Timing the cooling flush on E61 machines?
 

You're missing my point.  I have a Bricoletta.  So, yes, I have the machine you describe.  I have read these charts and find them stifling.   I understand what a cooling flush is and why we do it.  I don't need that info.  

I just don't time my cooling flushes, nor do I concern myself with the amount of water in the flush since I have a plumbed drain and a plumbed water line.  I simply flush to get the steam out of the HX line and then I flush for a few more seconds after that to continue to cool the group.  If the machine is idle for some time it takes longer.  If it's been 2 minutes since the last shot it doesn't take very long.  if it's been less than a minute since the last shot there's not much need.

My point is that I don't time it or measure it.  I go by simply using my eyes and ears getting the steam out of the line plus about 2 seconds.  

Therefore my question is....   IS THERE SOMETHING I'M NOT ACHIEVING?   I meausure the Brew temp in the PF occasionally and it is right around 200 F.  

I don't think you need a chart if you look and listen for steam and flush a couple more seconds after the steam is gone from the line.

 
Coffee, I must have coffee,
And if anyone wants to give me a treat,
Ah!, just give me some coffee!

~J. S. Bach Coffee Cantata, BWV 211~
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mikep
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Posted Tue May 10, 2005, 10:13am
Subject: Re: Timing the cooling flush on E61 machines?
 

singforsupper Said:

<snip> I have read these charts and find them stifling.   <snip>
Therefore my question is....   IS THERE SOMETHING I'M NOT ACHIEVING?   I meausure the Brew temp in the PF occasionally and it is right around 200 F.  
<snip>

Posted May 10, 2005 link

If "right around 200F" is close enough for you (it definitely is for me!), then don't concern yourself with being more 'pecise' with the flushing. For myself, I don't fret it much, since I am still at such a beginner level that I know there are many other variables I don't have the skill to keep consistant.

 
http://www.smallcoffee.blogspot.com
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Exnyerinmontreal
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Posted Tue May 10, 2005, 10:14am
Subject: Re: Timing the cooling flush on E61 machines?
 

Having read both the intensely technical approach to this as well as having tried the a more laid back approach, as you've described, I don't think there's anything wrong with what you're doing or that you're missing anything. The one thing I will say, is that 2 seconds after the steam is bled off seems a bit short, according to the conventional wisdom of what I've read.

Bottom line, as I've read here many times, is your taste buds. If you like the way your shots are coming out, then you're not missing anything. If you want to experiment, run the colling flush a few seconds longer and see if there's a noticeabl;e difference in the results, for better or worse.

Mike
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singforsupper
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singforsupper
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Posted Tue May 10, 2005, 3:48pm
Subject: Re: Timing the cooling flush on E61 machines?
 

Good idea.   I appreciate it.

 
Coffee, I must have coffee,
And if anyone wants to give me a treat,
Ah!, just give me some coffee!

~J. S. Bach Coffee Cantata, BWV 211~
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JonR10
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Posted Tue May 10, 2005, 5:50pm
Subject: Re: Timing the cooling flush on E61 machines?
 

singforsupper Said:

Good idea.   I appreciate it.

Posted May 10, 2005 link

Here's another way: Use your EARS.  I do not measure volume nor do I count time.  I run the flush until the SOUND changes and becomes "smooth".  Then I lock the PF and draw my shot.  

Gerald - just for an experiment try this once:  Dose into your portafilter and tamp like you always do.  Set the portafilter aside and then draw your flush.  BUT this time draw the flush for 20-30 seconds (way past when the flow becomes smooth and steady).  

Then immediately lock your PF into the group and draw the shot.  What's that taste like?

This will effectively be running at the lowest possible steady-state water temp.  The design of the E61 is to run cool water through a very hot brew path so that it is "heated on the fly" to your brewing temp.  Water that sets in the brwe path for more than ~30 seconds will start to overheat. The length of the brew path varies (so I don't know how the volume on your machine).

With this design there is very little chance of running a shot that's too cool.  
If it is (too cool after the superlong flush) then your shot will be kinda sour.

Anyway - maybe give it a shot and let us know if it made a difference in the espresso.  :-))

Oh yes, for information and background check this out: HERE is the Water Dance video from the discussion:  "Re: How to Minimize Sour Taste at Beginning of the Pull?"



EDIT - Just to be clear - my point is really to listen for the change in flow and to taste the difference in a lower starting temperature for your draw.

 
Jon Rosenthal
Houston, TX
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beta14ok
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beta14ok
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Posted Tue May 10, 2005, 7:08pm
Subject: Re: Timing the cooling flush on E61 machines?
 

singforsupper Said:

IS THERE SOMETHING I'M NOT ACHIEVING?   I meausure the Brew temp in the PF occasionally and it is right around 200 F.

Posted May 10, 2005 link

Maybe yes.....maybe no. It may depend on the blend...and perhaps the roast level of the beans in the blend. I typically run a moderately dark roasted blend, so a cooler temp pull was just fine and I was perhaps not missing much. The shots were beautiful and tasted great to me.

well...enter a lighter roasted blend that tasted down-right-yucky. What I needed to do was raise the temperature to around 203-204 degrees to get the flavors to blossom forth.

read-it-here

My routine has changed as a result of this exercise.
1) cool the head - start the timer
2) after the water-dance has stopped - note the time (usually ~10 sec if Mondiale has been idle)
3) let it run for an additional time equal to the time for the water-dance to stop (usually ~ 20 sec elapsed)
4) shut-off the pump wait 15 seconds then lock-n-load the portafilter
5) pull the shot (usually ~ 40 sec elapsed)

If I want to run hotter, I extend step 4 to ~ 20-25 sec. ocasionally 30 sec if the shots are still too tart.

For the lighter roasted blends we have been messin' with , the changes in taste as a function of brew temp have not been subtle. Sure it's possible to "dial-in" for a particular blend, but those timings are not gonna give you the perfect shot with every blend. I should also note that the Mondiale is not to much different from the Bricoletta...being fully plumbed, relatively large boiler, HX, rotary pump.
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