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Cracked/failed filter basket?
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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > Cracked/failed...  
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Bogiesan
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Joined: 1 Jan 2002
Posts: 43
Location: boise Idaho, usa
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Salvatore Famosa c.2000
Grinder: Rancilio M40
Posted Tue Nov 12, 2013, 6:53am
Subject: Cracked/failed filter basket?
 

Filter baskets is a topic I don't see discussed on espresso forums. They are fundamental to the whole experience. Where do they come from? How are they made? How do they get those little holes in them? I don't know for sure but I can make a few assumptions based on the finished product.

The filter baskets I've seen are probably manufactured something like this: The tiny holes are pierced through a sheet of stainless steel, using any of several processes, and the round blank is then placed in a press above a cylindrical chamber. A mating ram drops and forces the blank into the familiar cup-shaped form. This process puts tremendous stress on the lower edge where the right angle between the bottom and the sides is formed. This seems to be the weakest point in the entire object.

My first 55mm-diameter double basket lasted more than ten years. Then one morning it developed a tiny split along the edge. The failure was not catastrophic but it was spectacular; imagine a jet of espresso grounds and hot water shooting into the demitasse at 9 bars.

The replacement basket has lasted only a year, failing this morning with an audible crack and a spectacular splash of sludge. I will be calling Wendy in a few hours for another replacement basket.

My machine is a pre-E61 vibrating pump unit from Salvatore in Solvang, California. It is about 13 years old and functions superbly. Salvatore does not manufacture his filter baskets, not that I know of, but I'm curious if anyone else has experienced basket failures, maybe with an unexpected increase in frequency.

david bogie, boise ID

 
I play go. I use Macintosh,. Of course I ride a recumbent.
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calblacksmith
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calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,672
Location: Riverside, Ca, U.S.A.
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Espresso: ECM Vene. A1, La Cimbali M32
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Roaster: gave it a try, decided no
Posted Tue Nov 12, 2013, 7:12am
Subject: Re: Cracked/failed filter basket?
 

How they are made, I can't answer that but do a search and you will find quite a few threads on baskets. VST and other makers offer aftermarket baskets made to a high standard. Salvidore is a quality maker, congrats on having one of his nice machines. E61 is only ONE style of many high quality group heads. Some like them and others have different tastes, it has been around since 1961 and was developed by Elektra (name now make sense?) so the choice to use or not use one on your machine was made by the needs and desires of the designer, the E61 was old tech at the time your machine was made. Enjoy!

 
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Wayne P.
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Feed the newbs, starve the trolls and above all enjoy what you drink!
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skydragondave
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Joined: 18 Feb 2013
Posts: 167
Location: Ontario, Canada
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Commercial Only
Grinder: Commercial Only
Roaster: Has Garanti HG5
Posted Tue Nov 12, 2013, 9:20am
Subject: Re: Cracked/failed filter basket?
 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Progressive_stamping

It seems you have a defective basket, your replacement should last longer than that but if in doubt, go with a higher-quality basket. VST baskets are precision-ground on the inside to make the size of the filter holes more uniform for more even extractions. Be aware that filter baskets are an eventual wear item and do need regular replacement, though in a home setting obviously last longer. So they are not manufactured to last forever. Cheers
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Frost
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Frost
Joined: 26 Jul 2007
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Posted Tue Nov 12, 2013, 10:13am
Subject: Re: Cracked/failed filter basket?
 

I was not aware this  is a common failure, at least not in the brief usage you are getting. You can get the standard 58mm baskets anywhere; I would try another source. I have baskets that are over 11 years old of daily use, so at least 3-4K cycles with no signs of fatigue or stress as you described. Eventually maybe, but not anytime soon.
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Bogiesan
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Joined: 1 Jan 2002
Posts: 43
Location: boise Idaho, usa
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Salvatore Famosa c.2000
Grinder: Rancilio M40
Posted Tue Nov 12, 2013, 9:03pm
Subject: Re: Cracked/failed filter basket?
 

calblacksmith Said:

How they are made, I can't answer that but do a search and you will find quite a few threads on baskets. VST and other makers offer aftermarket baskets made to a high standard. Salvidore is a quality maker, congrats on having one of his nice machines. E61 is only ONE style of many high quality group heads. Some like them and others have different tastes, it has been around since 1961 and was developed by Elektra (name now make sense?) so the choice to use or not use one on your machine was made by the needs and desires of the designer, the E61 was old tech at the time your machine was made. Enjoy!

Posted November 12, 2013 link

Yes, a search of the forums for "filter basket" was an exercise in futility: 4300 results. Uselessly overpopulated and there seems to be no way to filter the search results; none that I could find anyway.

The manufacturing of filter baskets needs to be investigated. It must be equally as fascinating as the building of espresso machines and the sweating of copper to brass joints. I'm a professional video producer. Fund the effort and I'll make the documentary on filter baskets!

 
I play go. I use Macintosh,. Of course I ride a recumbent.
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skydragondave
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Joined: 18 Feb 2013
Posts: 167
Location: Ontario, Canada
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Commercial Only
Grinder: Commercial Only
Roaster: Has Garanti HG5
Posted Tue Nov 12, 2013, 9:15pm
Subject: Re: Cracked/failed filter basket?
 

As I pointed out, filter baskets are manufactured using a progressive stamping process. VST follows this up with precision grinding of the inside of the basket over the holes to make their aperture sizes consistent.

This Youtube playlist includes a tour of Bezzera's factory and covers many steps of the manufacturing and quality control process for new espresso machines. Click Here (www.youtube.com)
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z0mbie
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z0mbie
Joined: 26 Sep 2013
Posts: 341
Location: Online
Expertise: I live coffee

Posted Wed Nov 13, 2013, 8:00am
Subject: Re: Cracked/failed filter basket?
 

The grinding is to expose the holes. They are otherwise dimples on the other side from a stamping process.

Filter baskets should never fail under normal use unless there was a flaw in manufacturing.  It's not a wear and tear item like a gasket or motor.
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Markarian
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Markarian
Joined: 27 Jun 2012
Posts: 656
Location: Seattle Area
Expertise: I love coffee

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Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Wed Nov 13, 2013, 11:02am
Subject: Re: Cracked/failed filter basket?
 

I'm armed and dangerous and I'm briefly hijacking this thread.

I keep seeing only 55mm tampers at Cash & Carry and they are nice-looking ones from RW. I couldn't, for the life of me, identify any machine with that size group. So now we have older Salvatore, Olympia, and possibly La San Marco?
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dingdong
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Joined: 25 Jul 2012
Posts: 9
Location: Washington
Expertise: Professional

Posted Wed Nov 13, 2013, 3:26pm
Subject: Re: Cracked/failed filter basket?
 

You are spot on with your estimation on the fabrication of the baskets. That is how they have been manufactured for the last (nearly) century, but things are now changing.

Contrary to what seems like a intuitive presumption, filter baskets are a wear item. The constant pressure of tamping combined with the pressure of the water will stress the metal, especially at the weakest point: the curve at the bottom. Additionally, remember that coffee grounds still pass through the holes, albeit very small particles. These particles of coffee act as an abrasive, and in combination with water the holes will eventually expand. A demonstration of this can be seen by comparing two baskets, one new and one used, from the same manufacture and holding them up to each other in front of a light. The holes on the used basket will be noticeably larger.

However, they should last longer then a year, and either something changed at the manufacture, or in the way you are using them.

One a side note, just as a anecdotal bit if history, the "E" from "E61" stands for eclipse. Faema first introduced the E61 group in 1961 www.faema.com/eng/azienda_storia.asp the same year that a solar eclipse that passed directly over Italy
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dingdong
Senior Member


Joined: 25 Jul 2012
Posts: 9
Location: Washington
Expertise: Professional

Posted Wed Nov 13, 2013, 3:41pm
Subject: Re: Cracked/failed filter basket?
 

Our kind OP has a Salvatore, which utilizes a version of the Faema E61 group, so ideally a 58mm tamper base would be used: scratch Salvatore from the list! Unic is one I'm sure of where a 55mm tamper base is optimal, but IIRC San Marco have baskets that have changed: older versions accepted 54mm and newer 55mm tamper bases. No experience with the Olympia equipment.
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