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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > De longhi ec155...  
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arrrmand
Senior Member


Joined: 16 Mar 2014
Posts: 8
Location: San Francisco
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: DeLonghi EC155
Grinder: Baratza Encore
Posted Sun Mar 16, 2014, 9:40am
Subject: De longhi ec155 questions
 

Hi, I'm very new to the espresso making world, but not new to the coffee world. Little did I realize how many variables need to be perfect to make that perfect cappuccino.

I recently got a De Longhi EC155 and have a bunch of questions that I'll try to consolidate below:

  1. Since it's pressurized, how important is the tamp? I tried the depressuring mod and didn't notice too much of a difference with my espresso shots.

  2. I've had issues with inconsistent grinds since day 1. I recently got a Baratza Encore grinder and am still trying to find the sweet spot for espresso settings (8 is too coarse..brought it down to 6 with slightly better results). Does anyone else have this combo to speak for the best setting?

  3. My milk frothing has been inconsistent at best. How important is using whole milk and what are the best techniques with the wand without any modifications? Lately, I feel my milk has been coming out watery.

  4. When I first got it, the drinks I was making were great! A lot of variables have changed since with the beans, grind, and technique. In general when pulling a shot, I read that 25ish seconds is perfect for 2 oz. For this time and machine, does the espresso come out more drippy than a steady stream? I notice when it drips, I don't get as much crema, but when it flows, I get more crema, but it seems to be coming out too fast.

  5. How often is it necessary to clean and flush the system? Are there any warning signs to lead to this? I've had the machine for 3 months and have made close to about 25 drinks.

I guess this is the tip of the iceberg with all my questions, but any help with any of the above would be greatly appreciated :)
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CoffeeRon
Senior Member
CoffeeRon
Joined: 26 Apr 2009
Posts: 733
Location: Tacoma Wa.
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Wega Lyra, Europiccola(still...
Grinder: Macap M7D, Pharos, Vario W,...
Vac Pot: Sunbeam CoffeeMaster
Drip: Melita BCM-4
Roaster: FR SR500,B-1600, SC/TO
Posted Sun Mar 16, 2014, 10:39am
Subject: Re: De longhi ec155 questions
 

Hi Arrmand,
 With the Baratza Encore you'll probably want to stick to the pressurized basket. It's not really designed to give you the precise grind you need for non-pressurized. No harm in trying though- just letting you know it will be tricky to get right.
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Burner0000
Senior Member


Joined: 28 Jul 2011
Posts: 1,048
Location: Cambridge, Ontario Canada
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Rancilio Silvia, VFA Expres...
Grinder: Macap MX/VFA N1464/Kyocera...
Drip: Manual Drip, French Press
Roaster: Behmor 1600 / Sonofresco
Posted Sun Mar 16, 2014, 12:54pm
Subject: Re: De longhi ec155 questions
 

Yeah I agree with Ron.  You can get fine enough for unpressurized espresso but it requires you to open up the grinder and re calibrate.   I've gotten alright espresso unpressurized around setting 5 with my Silvia.  I suggest getting used to pressurized them maybe think about unpressurizing and re calibrating down the road. For steam the tip on the EC155 is meant basically for cappuccino (big bubbles).  You can get better foamed milk by plugging the 2 holes on top with toothpicks. Again if you feel like getting your hands dirty you can swap out the tip with a La Pavoni single hole tip or the entire wand with an older Silvia V1/2 wand.  

Have a gander at this thread

Here's a video of what the Silvia wand can produce on the EC155.  Not the greatest as some would say but awesome for a plastic $100 machine.

Click

Lastly the cleaning machines like this aren't meant to be descaled like a regular more expensive machine.  A 3 way valve is needed to spit out the back pressure and allow you to drain out the cafiza and gunky old coffee.  To "descale" the EC155 you will have to do a complete tear down to get to the boiler, pop it open and soak the boiler and element in 50/50 vinegar water.  To avoid all that go out and buy a "zero water" jug and just use water from that or soft water if you have it at home.
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TheRealScubaSteve
Senior Member
TheRealScubaSteve
Joined: 22 Feb 2014
Posts: 97
Location: Massachusetts
Expertise: Just starting

Espresso: Delonghi EC155
Grinder: Baratza Encore
Posted Sun Mar 16, 2014, 11:26pm
Subject: Re: De longhi ec155 questions
 

I started with the EC155 and a blade grinder. I upgraded to the Baratza Encore and after re-calibrating right out of the box, noticed a significant boost in shot quality (still not good, though). My next upgrade was upgrading to nicely roasted, fresh beans (yes, I was a Starbucks buyer). The results were even more significant than the Grinder since I was using it pressurized. If you continue to use the pressurized PF basket, I fear you won't be satisfied with the results no matter what you do. Depressurizing this machine with the stock basket helps, but not as much as a new basket will. The rubber gasket not only makes it more messy to clean, but it takes up precious space for coffee grinds in an already limited basket size.

Additionally, there is only a small amount of exposed basket so the entire puck has to drain through the same small hole. I can only assume this leads to over-extraction towards the middle of the puck. I strongly suggest buying the 607706 basket and making the PF bottomless. This will yield the most significant jump in quality for this machine. Not only that, but it is extremely helpful in dialing in grind, tamp, etc., as it allows you to watch color changes and flow rate more closely. The stock PF basket setup can be deceptive because it not only has to push through the puck, but then it has to drain out of the two outlets on the bottom of the PF (which is not flush, so the coffee has to build up slightly before it drains into your cup).


  1. I tried all variants of light to normal tamps and didn't notice much of a difference in a pressurized PF or even a stock de-pressurized setup for that matter. The problem with the EC155 is that the PF basket is way too small, at least for a double shot. If you are not watching colors rather than volume, you will most assuredly pull a shot far too over-extracted. With a stock basket, I'd suggest grinding finer and aiming for a single with the double basket for a truer espresso. Without changing the basket out, you'll never get a more syrupy, rich, and full-bodied shot.

  2. I also have the Encore and use setting 8 for espresso - I did re-calibrate the machine to fine, though. Consistency has been good for me. Any finer and you'll need to use light tamps otherwise it will clog the machine. For reference, I use the machine de-pressurized with a 607706 filter basket.

  3. I use 1% milk and do not get watery milk. It's important to purge the steam wand - the EC155 seems to collect quite a bit of condensation so give it a strong purge for at least 2-3 seconds. The standard wand tip sucks in far too much air and if you are not careful with depth, you'll get a pitcher full of airy milk good for nothing but a cappuccino. Try submerging the tip, cranking the steam, and slowly pulling back until it hisses faintly while skimming the surface. Within about 4 seconds, plunge the steam tip until the milk rests just below the two air outlets on the tip. Since the wand is so short, I found the best spot (on a 12oz pitcher) to make nice swirls to incorporate the foam to be right against the pour spot. Tilt the pitcher slightly to the right or left until you get a swirl. The steam isn't strong enough to effectively swirl the whole pitcher, but it will incorporate enough for pretty good foam by the time the milk comes to temp. Modification of the steam tip is easy with a dremel (just cut out the outer plastic ring which injects all the air into your milk. It makes a big difference in foam quality. If you try this, I wouldn't recommend trying to cut it with a pair of dykes - the plastic is brittle and thick and just snaps in random places.

  4. Don't fret - I had pretty good results at first, then noticed a significant drop in my shots for some time. I too, changed many different variables. The machine does like to drip unless you have it dialed in right. If you run pressurized, you won't be getting real crema ever. De-pressurized you should get some decent crema with fresh beans, but not as much as with a new basket and bottomless PF.

  5. 25 shots isn't enough to worry about de-scaling the machine, but since you use it so infrequently I would change out the water probably weekly. I've had mine a little over three months as well and have not done anything but de-scale it (once). Warning signs for scale buildup would be issues with heat - weak steam and pour taste in the cup.

 
"But it is not a perfect world and none of us are god-shots.  As for me, I am a little over extracted and therefore slightly bitter and my crema is thin..." -Buckley
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arrrmand
Senior Member


Joined: 16 Mar 2014
Posts: 8
Location: San Francisco
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: DeLonghi EC155
Grinder: Baratza Encore
Posted Mon Mar 17, 2014, 5:12pm
Subject: Re: De longhi ec155 questions
 

Thanks all for the great feedback! Good to know there's a strong community here to help :)

What exactly is involved in recalibrating my grinder? I'm a fairly handy guy, so taking things apart and doing simple modifications isn't too bad for me.

ScubaSteve: Awesome, thanks for all the advice. I'm grinding now with my Encore at 4 and I think that's about the right setting...I assume calibrating it and grinding at 8 is sufficient for a non pressurized basket? I made a really really good iced latte yesterday after re-pressurizing it, making the grind finer, and timing the shot.

It looks like everyone is recommending the 607706 basket and making the PF bottomless, so maybe I should do those and then start from there.

I'll also try your suggestions with the milk frothing/steaming. I think that's really where my technique fails.
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arrrmand
Senior Member


Joined: 16 Mar 2014
Posts: 8
Location: San Francisco
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: DeLonghi EC155
Grinder: Baratza Encore
Posted Mon Mar 17, 2014, 6:44pm
Subject: Re: De longhi ec155 questions
 

ok, i may be a bit obsessed now, but after reading the posts, here's where i stand with the results linked here: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/ii4tz5h02djngqh/WYzQsMe1tT

  1. let water heat up..i left it heat for about 15-20 minutes, but the water temp never rose above around 170F

  2. heat up glass by running the water for a little bit

  3. grind beans that are about 2.5 weeks since roasted. settings on baratza encore was at 5

  4. removed pressure plate from PF and filled the basket with about the equivalent of 2 scoops (according to the manual. i don't have a scale at home to be specific)

  5. gave it a solid tamp..personal strength scale was probably 7/10

  6. brewed espresso for 25 seconds. gibraltar glass is 4.5 oz and 25 seconds yielded close to 2 oz (maybe a tiny bit more)

  7. took 12oz frothing pitcher out of fridge, filled it up a little less than halfway with cold 2% milk

  8. plugged up the 2 holes of steamer with toothpicks, purged steam for 2-3 seconds, steamed milk using scubasteve's method until about 145 degreesF

  9. noticed better steaming..i was possibly stopping it too soon, as i noticed the milk consistency a lot better.

  10. transferred espresso to mug, mixed the milk, but noticed it was still more watery than i would like..taste was ok.

can anyone comment on my workflow? :)
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TheRealScubaSteve
Senior Member
TheRealScubaSteve
Joined: 22 Feb 2014
Posts: 97
Location: Massachusetts
Expertise: Just starting

Espresso: Delonghi EC155
Grinder: Baratza Encore
Posted Mon Mar 17, 2014, 8:29pm
Subject: Re: De longhi ec155 questions
 

arrrmand Said:

What exactly is involved in recalibrating my grinder?

Posted March 17, 2014 link

It's very simple. You'll remove the plastic housing, unscrew 1 very small (size 0 or 1 phillips screwdriver if I recall), and reposition the screw into the finer calibration setting. Slide housing back on. Grind to your heart's content. Should not take more than 5 minutes. Here is the video that I used. I think there's instructions on Baratza's site as well.

Here's a picture of my dremel'd steam wand. It's really ugly (and I'm sure there was a better way to do it), but it works much better.

TheRealScubaSteve: Steam Wand.jpg
(Click for larger image)

 
"But it is not a perfect world and none of us are god-shots.  As for me, I am a little over extracted and therefore slightly bitter and my crema is thin..." -Buckley
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TheRealScubaSteve
Senior Member
TheRealScubaSteve
Joined: 22 Feb 2014
Posts: 97
Location: Massachusetts
Expertise: Just starting

Espresso: Delonghi EC155
Grinder: Baratza Encore
Posted Mon Mar 17, 2014, 9:26pm
Subject: Re: De longhi ec155 questions
 

arrrmand Said:

can anyone comment on my workflow? :)

Posted March 17, 2014 link

  1. Sounds good to me. I checked my machine's temp against yours (de-scaled about 8 days ago) and hit 171F max for grouphead and 183F for steam wand.

  2. Beans 2 1/2 weeks out will give you a lot less crema. I used to use them until they were gone (3-4 weeks) but recently tried vacuum sealing/freezing and found this to preserve freshness/flavor of shots. You might try freezing if it is suitable for you.

  3. Try making a single with a full (double) PF basket. My experience was that I was getting over-extracted and bitter shots since the basket holds 10-12g max.

  4. I've never taken a temp on the milk - stopping the steam when the pitcher starts to burn your hand seems to work pretty well for me.

  5. Have you tasted the steamed milk by itself? I wonder if it is the espresso diluting your latte. When I switched to the 607706 basket, the first thing I noticed was that I was getting thick, syrupy espresso rather than runny espresso from the stock basket.

I assume you clean/purge the steam wand after steaming the milk. If not, add that step.

P.S. I never realized until about a month ago that you can run hot water through the steam wand. If you didn't realize this either just turn the steam on while selecting brew and it'll divert the water from the grouphead.

 
"But it is not a perfect world and none of us are god-shots.  As for me, I am a little over extracted and therefore slightly bitter and my crema is thin..." -Buckley
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Burner0000
Senior Member


Joined: 28 Jul 2011
Posts: 1,048
Location: Cambridge, Ontario Canada
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Rancilio Silvia, VFA Expres...
Grinder: Macap MX/VFA N1464/Kyocera...
Drip: Manual Drip, French Press
Roaster: Behmor 1600 / Sonofresco
Posted Tue Mar 18, 2014, 6:03am
Subject: Re: De longhi ec155 questions
 

arrrmand Said:

ok, i may be a bit obsessed now, but after reading the posts, here's where i stand with the results linked here: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/ii4tz5h02djngqh/WYzQsMe1tT

Posted March 17, 2014 link

Yes I highly recommenced getting the basket.  Makes a huge difference.  You will tho have to cut out the bottom of the portafilter in order for it to fit which makes it bottonless.

If you don't already have a tamper I found this one works very well with the EC155
A dremel makes this easy. Once you do it it's totally worth it!  As for the grinder re calibration you need to remove the housing and there's a little screw on the left of the grinder which you will have to re position.  SGC has a good video walk through on it here

Once your sick of the modded steam tip I also highly recommend getting the Silvia V1/2 want and retrofit it into the machine.  The Thread I sent you previously has details about it.  You will need 6 mm hose clamps for it tho.
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TheRealScubaSteve
Senior Member
TheRealScubaSteve
Joined: 22 Feb 2014
Posts: 97
Location: Massachusetts
Expertise: Just starting

Espresso: Delonghi EC155
Grinder: Baratza Encore
Posted Tue Mar 18, 2014, 11:15am
Subject: Re: De longhi ec155 questions
 

Burner0000 Said:

You will tho have to cut out the bottom of the portafilter in order for it to fit which makes it bottomless.

Posted March 18, 2014 link

I forgot to mention that you'll have to grind/cut the female thread underneath the basket too, if you upgrade to the 607706. It won't fit flush otherwise. Well worth the trouble, though.

Burner0000 Said:

This one works very well with the EC155.

Posted March 18, 2014 link

This is the tamper I use - it fits well for the stock basket and even better with the 607706 - virtually no dead space at all.

 
"But it is not a perfect world and none of us are god-shots.  As for me, I am a little over extracted and therefore slightly bitter and my crema is thin..." -Buckley
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