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Brasilia Mini Lady and its insides
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damit
Senior Member


Joined: 25 Jan 2010
Posts: 8
Location: Washington D.C
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Sun Mar 21, 2010, 7:57pm
Subject: Brasilia Mini Lady and its insides
 

Hi all so I received my Mini Lady in the mail 80 bucks off ebay. I ended up opening it today to see if it was a thermoblock or a boiler. I went to starbucks and bought espresso beans and had them grind it and it seems to have produced good espresso. (I am currently looking for a grinder, my budget is 300). I think it has a brass boiler, (I dont know where the internal thermometer settings are, if some one can point that out much appreciated). I also see that it has no 3 way solenoid valve. In my previous post regarding this machine i mentioned that someone compared it to the Lelit pl041. Anyway I want to know if this looks like a brass boiler and also if it would be worth it for me to get a rocky for this machine. I also would like to find a naked portafilter and perhaps figure out the size of the current one. Any suggestions on how I should go about this?

http://imagebin.org/89862

http://imagebin.org/89864

damit: brasiliamini1.jpg
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mini
Senior Member


Joined: 15 Mar 2009
Posts: 98
Location: Atlanta, GA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Le'Lit PL041
Grinder: Mazzer Super Jolly
Drip: (Aerobie Aeropress)
Posted Sun Mar 21, 2010, 9:23pm
Subject: Re: Brasilia Mini Lady and its insides
 

First things, first: any grinder, and almost any bean, is going to be better than pre-ground Starbucks.  The key to tasty espresso at home is freshness - freshly ground and freshly roasted.  By home enthusiast standards, the coffee you had them grind was completely stale before you even returned home.  You need (requirement!) to get some kind of grinder to grind your beans right before you pull a shot - we are talking a minute is too long.  I would also recommend that you buy beans from a store that has a written roast date.  Beans hit their peak a few days after roasting, and have lost many of their distinctive characteristics after 3 weeks.  Starbucks beans were roasted at an unknown time, but the "best taste by (a year from now)" doesn't inspire confidence.

I apologize for the lecture, I'm just trying to save you from the general CoffeeGeek wolfpack response to the terms "preground" and "Starbucks."  I pulled some punches;  they might not.  ;)

As to the general question about the Rocky grinder: "Yes, it's a very fine grinder, and I'm sure it would give you good results."  I have read recently that there are some better competitors for the price of a new Rocky, though.  You should search for some past threads about the matter.  If you really want to save some money, you can also look into hand grinders.

But 80 bucks for your espresso machine?  Wow, that makes me jealous.  It looks really nice!

I've been poking around inside my Le'lit a fair amount recently and it does look pretty similar.  The Ulka EX5 pump is slightly better than my machine's EP5 in that it has more brass components.  Yes, your boiler is made out of brass.  You can just tell by the color - a lot of the other components are brass too.  You are right, it does not have a 3-way solenoid.  Your OPV is non-adjustable as well, but that's ok.  Your machine, like many, has 3 mechanical thermometers inside - one for brewing, one for steaming, and one as a safety backup.  They are the 3 larger black cylinders (with 2 wires each) one top of the boiler.  Unfortunately these do not have adjustable settings, and probably vary slightly from machine to machine.  You can measure the external temperature of your boiler using a good thermometer to determine some thermal properties if you want.  The other two smaller parts are the hook-up for the heating element.

I believe that the internal diameter of the basket is what is commonly referred to as "portafilter size."  You could probably measure this with calipers, or very carefully with a ruler for an estimate.  I'm betting it's a 51mm.  A lot of people just drill out the bottom of their portafilters with a hole saw to make them naked.  espressoparts.com will also alter portafilters and make them look really nice for not too expensive.

Welcome to the world (the obsession?) of espresso,
Matt

 
Matt
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damit
Senior Member


Joined: 25 Jan 2010
Posts: 8
Location: Washington D.C
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Sun Mar 21, 2010, 9:53pm
Subject: Re: Brasilia Mini Lady and its insides
 

Thanks for the response. I measured the portafilter basket and its about 2.30 or about 2 and 2.5/8 of an inch which when converted to about MM = 58. . This is the lower estimate, the larger estimate would be between 2.4-2.5 inches measuring the entire filter from edge to edge. So i think that might be 61 mm. Thanks for the help mini.

I guess now i am just going to have to decide if I should order the rocky brand new or on ebay. From what i gathered on this forum is that the grinder is way more important then the machine so I decided to save more for the grinder. I can spend up to 400 if needed but I would rather spend less. What other alternatives to the rocky are you talking about? I am looking for a doserless grinder as it will fit my needs perfectly.

Thanks again.
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mini
Senior Member


Joined: 15 Mar 2009
Posts: 98
Location: Atlanta, GA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Le'Lit PL041
Grinder: Mazzer Super Jolly
Drip: (Aerobie Aeropress)
Posted Sun Mar 21, 2010, 10:54pm
Subject: Re: Brasilia Mini Lady and its insides
 

damit Said:

Thanks for the response. I measured the portafilter basket and its about 2.30 or about 2 and 2.5/8 of an inch which when converted to about MM = 58.

Posted March 21, 2010 link

Hm... well bad estimating on my part.  Hah.  I bet it's a 58mm then.  I have never heard of anything bigger than that - 58 is the industry standard pretty much.  My Le'lit has a 57mm portafilter.  My 57mm tamper just fits into the basket, so it doesn't matter how big the rest of the portafilter is.

The Rocky, Le'lit PL53, Ascaso I-1/I-Mini, Cunil Tranquilo, and Gaggia MDF are the classic competitors that are in your price range new.  The general consensus seems to be that the Gaggia just isn't very good for it's price.  Beyond that, spend some time researching into the pros and cons of each.  I have zero experience with any of them.  There is certainly nothing wrong with buying a used grinder either.  The Buy, Sell, Trade Forum here on CoffeeGeek is the most reliable place to buy espresso gear, but ebay and craigslist work too.

The absolute best grinder that you could get for your money would be a used Mazzer Super Jolly.  They are beastly large, heavy, amazingly reliable, and great performers.  Look only to the Titan Grinder Project (page 2) for confirmation.  However these run for an average of $350 used, you would most likely need to buy a pair of new burrs for $40, and they are not doserless.

I own a Super Jolly and I love it, but they are not for everyone.  Simply offering my slanted opinion.

Matt

 
Matt
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SwingT
Senior Member


Joined: 28 Jul 2009
Posts: 153
Location: GSP
Expertise: I like coffee
Posted Mon Mar 22, 2010, 8:04am
Subject: Re: Brasilia Mini Lady and its insides
 

mini Said:

mazzer Super Jolly...  However these run for an average of $350 used, you would most likely need to buy a pair of new burrs for $40, and they are not doserless.

I own a Super Jolly and I love it, but they are not for everyone.  Simply offering my slanted opinion.

Posted March 21, 2010 link

Go used super jolly.

Count on it needing used burrs, but maybe not. Mine didn't.

If you are not used to a doser, they seem a lot worse than they are.

Actually, when I bought my major I could have gone doserless ( not electronic) at the same price.

Pay attention, count one thousand one, one thousand two and so on - you can get the timing awfully close to where you have little waste.
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damit
Senior Member


Joined: 25 Jan 2010
Posts: 8
Location: Washington D.C
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Mon Mar 22, 2010, 1:23pm
Subject: Re: Brasilia Mini Lady and its insides
 

Hi guys thanks for the help. I just bought a bartaza vario from chris coffee. I kinda feel silly that I spent 400+ on a grinder and only 80 bucks on the machine but I figured with this grinder even if i never fall in love with making espresso (already in love with consuming it) at least I can use it to make good drip coffee. I initially bought the brasilia by just googleing the name and seeing that the company had good reviews so I hope the machine turns out to be good.

I have one more question, I feel like I should clean the machine, I have been running hot water through the machine and steam wand and there has barely been any debris from the steam wand but their has been some from the place where the portafilter goes. I want to know what can I use to clean this machine?
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damit
Senior Member


Joined: 25 Jan 2010
Posts: 8
Location: Washington D.C
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Thu Mar 25, 2010, 6:49pm
Subject: Re: Brasilia Mini Lady and its insides
 

Okay so i got the vario and fresh roasted espresso beans from swings in washington dc. Now im curious on how to tell if its a good shot coming out. Right now i have the vario set on the highest espresso grind and 3/4th way up on the other side. I see the crema and an average shot takes about 20 seconds fill's about 1 and 3/4th of a double shot glass (im a college student). I didnt like the taste that much it was not sweet as i would like it, then i lowered the grind settings on the left and it got thicker and sweeter.   Does the grind effect the taste? Here is a pic of one cup i made, Tell me what you guys think.

damit: pic1.jpg
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mini
Senior Member


Joined: 15 Mar 2009
Posts: 98
Location: Atlanta, GA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Le'Lit PL041
Grinder: Mazzer Super Jolly
Drip: (Aerobie Aeropress)
Posted Sun Mar 28, 2010, 7:43pm
Subject: Re: Brasilia Mini Lady and its insides
 

The Vario is a great grinder.  Espresso is addicting, and everyone inevitable upgrades, so at least your grinder will work well for any machine you might want.

Unfortunately, there is not much that can be learned by the appearance of the shot.  Major flaws maybe, but not taste characteristics.  There's not much flecking, so you might want to try a higher dose, but it's pretty hard to tell like I said.

The grind affects the taste a lot.  A finer grind will slow the flow of water through the coffee, which changes how various compounds are extracted.  I would recommend that your shots take more like 25-30 seconds, but taste is very personal.  Different people vary extraction time or espresso volume to brew shots that they enjoy.  I've heard of some people who like 1 oz shots that take 50-60 seconds, while others love lungo ("long") shots that are 2.5oz in 30 seconds.

The new trend seems to focus on double ristretto ("restricted") shots.  These are usually shorter (1 to 1.25 oz) than normal shots and run about 28 seconds.  Generically speaking these will be sweeter, like you experienced.  But bitter flavors are not necessarily bad in balance with others.  Slightly longer shots might capture the full spectrum of the blend better, or show through milk more in a latte.  Just experiment a bit.  Take some notes on dose, extraction time, shot volume, and taste maybe.  Then narrow in on your favorite style.

Matt

 
Matt
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ryguy
Senior Member


Joined: 2 Aug 2009
Posts: 288
Location: Indiana
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Bezzera BZ02S
Grinder: Pharos, B. Vario
Posted Sun Mar 28, 2010, 10:22pm
Subject: Re: Brasilia Mini Lady and its insides
 

First of all, you got an excellent grinder! This will affect the quality of your espresso more than anything else (well, except user error. Fortunately that's always cheap to fix!).


There are a lot of variables that go into getting a good (double) shot. Don't try to fiddle with them all at once - you will drive yourself mad. Keep everything the same and adjust one at a time.

For instance, you may want to keep your dose at 15 grams (if you don't have a scale, just try to be consistent; Vario's timer will help here), extract 2 ounces (4 tbsp or 1/4 cup. Again consistency is more important than exactly 2 oz), and then vary the grind to change the extraction time. See what you like best. The "golden rule" is 20-30 seconds, but I just had a blend that tasted best at about 32 seconds for 2 oz, so don't be afraid to go outside the guidelines if it suites your preferences. When you find a time you like (based on taste), stick with it. Eventually, you'll be able to tell how a shot is progressing based more on how it looks than simply the amount of time.

Then when you feel like playing with more variables, start using a little more coffee - maybe a gram or two. Dial your grinder in to the same extraction time that you liked before and compare (you will have to grind a little coarser since there's more coffee). A higher dose may taste better with a longer extraction. Who knows...if you don't like the taste, go back to using less!

Then you can try pulling a ristretto, which is a finer grind to get ~1 oz in ~25 seconds. So you're changing 2 variables - grind/shot time and volume. It's a different flavor profile, and a lot of folks here love 'em. A lungo is the opposite - coarser grind to get more volume in about the same amount of time.

The idea is to follow your taste. But do it systematically!

What sort of coffee did you buy? Was it a blend of different types of coffee beans?


Oh and a couple notes...if you leave your grinder alone, your extraction time will probably change as the beans age. You'll learn how to adjust for that as you spend more time with the particular coffee blend. Also, if you're using greater amounts of coffee, make sure it's not hitting the top of the dispersion screen in your machine. After tamping your portafilter, you can put a nickel on top of the coffee bed, lock it in, and take it out. If the nickel was pressed into the coffee at all, there's not enough space. Either tamp a little harder or use less coffee.

 
Ryan D
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yorel1
Senior Member


Joined: 13 Feb 2012
Posts: 25
Location: Wellington NZ
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Brasilia Cappucino Del 1,...
Grinder: La Pavoni Jolly
Roaster: Going to try popcorn maker...
Posted Tue Jan 7, 2014, 1:43pm
Subject: Re: Brasilia Mini Lady and its insides
 

Hi Damit,

I have a Brasilia Mini lady and I suspect the heating element has blown. Did you manage to find manuals/parts diagrams for it? If so I would love a copy.

Regards
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