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Isomac Venus - big beginner troubles solved but still some questions
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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > Isomac Venus -...  
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Pusiaque
Senior Member


Joined: 3 Dec 2012
Posts: 4
Location: Poland
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Isomac Venus
Grinder: Isomac Granmacinino
Posted Mon Dec 3, 2012, 2:04pm
Subject: Isomac Venus - big beginner troubles solved but still some questions
 

Hi,

After all recent vacations spent in Italy, after lots of perfect espresso had there, and awful espresso in Poland, I decided to buy Isomac Venus + Granmacinino grinder at so as to start the adventure with coffee as I drink 4-6 a day.
The set came quickly and astonished me with its design. Beautiful. The pictures do not reflect the real view.

I started to use it, but after ca. 10 attempts I got nothing. No coffee or just few drops of it.
I set the grinder to the most coarsely level – still nothing went. I changed the coffee to a very fresh one, I did not tamper it, I used less quantities. No effect.
After 4 days of fighting and reading lots of forums, I found the solution – the grinder had bad factory settings (too fine). I have noticed a hint – the “locking-purpose” small screw on the grinder “neck” was scraping the casing of the grinder while changing the grinding level.
I unscrewed this very small hexagonal screw in one of the holes in the “neck” of the grinder and I turned counter-clockwisely the “neck” of the grinder by one turn and... I started to get anything from the Venus.
May be not a perfect or even expected espresso but anything, and I see even small crema on the surface :) I hope, right now I can start to work on the grinding/quantity/tamping configuration to get a least a good espresso!

ANYWAY, MY QUESTIONS ARE TO YOU, if you are so kind:

  1. THE  MOST IMPORTANT QUESTION  - what I see, even if the coffee goes out after aforementioned fighting :), to avoid leaking above the portafilter I have to tighten the portafilter very strong - keeping in one hand the Venus and turning the portafilter to ca. 5:30 – 5 o’clock. Otherwise, even at a very coarse setting (10 seconds for a 25ml), I see water dropping above. - is it normal??? The filter gasket, its seal and portafilter I clean before all attempts, so there is no coffee causing the leak.

  2. After so many "blind" extractions with coffee I made before solving the grinder problem, should I use the blind filter to clean the group out of the coffee that could enter the group with some many "coffee blind" attempts? Does somebody know where to buy a blind filter that would fit the Venus portafilter in Poland. I would not like to pay many euros for the shipping while the blind filter costs a few euros.

Thank you for the answers in advance,
WP
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dyqik
Senior Member


Joined: 7 Oct 2011
Posts: 383
Location: Cambridge, MA
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Bezzera BZ07 PM
Grinder: Baratza Virtuoso Preciso...
Vac Pot: Cona D
Drip: Bona-Vita, CCD, Aeropress.
Roaster: Gene Cafe, Modded Poppers
Posted Mon Dec 3, 2012, 2:40pm
Subject: Re: Isomac Venus - big beginner troubles solved but still some questions
 

To answer the second question first, it can't hurt to do some blind flushes to clean out the group.  You can do this by cutting a piece of rubber or plastic (old but clean mouse mat backing is OK, other options are available) to fit in the standard portafilter basket if you don't have a blind basket to hand - the pressure will hold it mostly in place and prevent too much leakage.  Shipping a blindbasket within Europe shouldn't be expensive - it'll fit in a simple envelope, and I think the machine takes a standard 58mm filter basket, so you don't necessarily need an Isomac specific one.  You should also use a small stiff brush to clean the group gasket where the portafilter should seal to the group - this can easily get coffee on it preventing a proper seal.

For the first question - how are you measuring the amount of coffee you are putting in the filter basket?  Too much coffee will stop the portafilter from fitting properly.  If you fill the basket and tamp as you would do normally (a light tamp - about 5kg force - at least is necessary to prepare the coffee for consistent extraction, and it's easier to be consistent with a heavier tamp), try fitting the portafilter and removing it again - if you see an impression of the screen on the top of the coffee, then you've overfilled the basket.  If it's clear, you should then try putting a small coin on top of the coffee puck (something like a 10 Euro cent coin should be about right) and then try the portafilter again - this should just cause a small impression in the coffee.  Long term, a lot of people here either use a weight based dosing grinder or a small scale with 0.1g resolution to get consistent amounts of coffee each time, although with a bit of practice you can learn to estimate the amount by eye.
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Frost
Senior Member
Frost
Joined: 26 Jul 2007
Posts: 2,095
Location: Sierra
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Isomac Venus
Grinder: Lelit PL53
Roaster: Poppery I w/variac, MET, BT
Posted Mon Dec 3, 2012, 5:07pm
Subject: Re: Isomac Venus - big beginner troubles solved but still some questions
 

The Venus does take a standard 58mm basket, so any 58mm blind basket should fit.

On the group gasket leaking; you may have worked a mess of coffee grind up in there in your attempts to get a flow. If you remove the screw holding the shower head in, the showerhead, dispersion plate, and gasket will pop right off. Do a good job cleaning up the gasket and groove that it fits into the group. If your gasket is orange, take good care of it, it will last a long time; it's silicone. (mine is over 5 years old of daily use and still fine. ) I have not ever had any leakage problems, I do keep it clean. It is a soft rubber, so tightening to 5-5:30 position is normal (but not usually needed for a good seal). I suspect maybe it's related to your trouble dialing in the grind.  Good luck in your espresso adventures.
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Pusiaque
Senior Member


Joined: 3 Dec 2012
Posts: 4
Location: Poland
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Isomac Venus
Grinder: Isomac Granmacinino
Posted Tue Dec 4, 2012, 4:50am
Subject: Re: Isomac Venus - big beginner troubles solved but still some questions
 

Thanks a lot
WP
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Pusiaque
Senior Member


Joined: 3 Dec 2012
Posts: 4
Location: Poland
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Isomac Venus
Grinder: Isomac Granmacinino
Posted Sat Dec 8, 2012, 4:46am
Subject: Re: Isomac Venus - big beginner troubles solved but still some questions
 

Guys,
All say it is easy to froth the milk with the Venus but I have troubles :).
I fill the boiler (release water by the wand while the water switch is on), turn on the foam switch, wait ca. 40-50sec as the coffee light goes off and the pressure reaches 12-13atm.
I release some water from the steam wand (2sec.) until I get steam (as recommended on forums).
I place the wand in the cold milk (in the middle of the milk). I see something like a whirlpool but the milk does not become foamy (just a little foam on the surface but generally the whole milk is liquid. I even get the milk boiled waiting too long for the foam! I use 2% fat milk.
What can be wrong? Can you help me?
Regards,
WP
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skispresso
Senior Member


Joined: 11 Nov 2007
Posts: 26
Location: Colorado
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: isomac venus
Grinder: macap m4 doserless
Posted Sat Dec 8, 2012, 4:25pm
Subject: Re: Isomac Venus - big beginner troubles solved but still some questions
 

hi,

frothing milk takes a lot of practice and patience, that said here are a couple of tips:

  1. check out this page here: "The Milk Frothing Guide"
    some good photos.  

  2. There are also some vids out there showing baristas training with a drop of dish soap and water (to save you some milk)

  3. it sounds like you are pretty close with temp/pressure/ and timing, you could try starting just before the light goes out, that will keep the machine thinking that it needs to keep that thermostat active.

  4. to get the foam, after you get the whirlpool going you sort of have to "surf" the surface you bring the tip to above the very top for a second and hear a "chhh! chhh!" that is introducing air into the milk and it will expand your milk volume getting you foam.  This is the hard part, too much of this and you will have crazy bubbles everwhere.  Too little and you end up with more like what you have, hot milk, no foam. Best of luck and congrats on the Venus, great machine imho :)
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Pusiaque
Senior Member


Joined: 3 Dec 2012
Posts: 4
Location: Poland
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Isomac Venus
Grinder: Isomac Granmacinino
Posted Sun Dec 9, 2012, 5:22am
Subject: Re: Isomac Venus - big beginner troubles solved but still some questions
 

Frost Said:

The Venus does take a standard 58mm basket, so any 58mm blind basket should fit.

On the group gasket leaking; you may have worked a mess of coffee grind up in there in your attempts to get a flow. If you remove the screw holding the shower head in, the showerhead, dispersion plate, and gasket will pop right off. Do a good job cleaning up the gasket and groove that it fits into the group. If your gasket is orange, take good care of it, it will last a long time; it's silicone. (mine is over 5 years old of daily use and still fine. ) I have not ever had any leakage problems, I do keep it clean. It is a soft rubber, so tightening to 5-5:30 position is normal (but not usually needed for a good seal). I suspect maybe it's related to your trouble dialing in the grind.  Good luck in your espresso adventures.

Posted December 3, 2012 link

Hello Frost,

Referring to your cleaning hints, I have a questions about the gaskets. There are two:
- smaller and thinner (orange colour) - inner one,
- black and large - outer one.
The first inner one I have taken out and cleaned but the large one, that seals the filterholder when placing in, I can not take out - I did it delicately.
So the question is whether it is generally impossible to take out the large outer gasket or I have to pull it more strongly?
I understand that if I see water leaks above the filterholder, it leaks between the filter and the big black outer gasket, or I am wrong and the leaks may come from the inner orange gasket.

Thanks for the answer in advance.
WP
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