So seeing that info on the moka pots leads me to believe if the chamber capacity is about 6.5 ounces for the 3 tasse unit, actual output is 6.5 ounce minus what is left in the bottom chamber, and minus what is soaked and left in the grind....my guess is actual output would probably be 4.5 - 5 ounces. I will try to remember to make a measurement of my final output tomorrow when I brew with my 3-tasse moka pot so I can use it as a tasse reference for the bellman.
I made another 3 tasse in the Elebak the other day...I measured and got about 3.5 ounces of nice heavy almost espresso-like brew directly into a cup...after that it started to thin out as I released the next portion in another cup....I saw another moka website that lists all their moka pots as producing 1.5 ounces per tasse:
So since the Bellman is similar in principle, It makes sense to get maybe 1 to 1.5 ounces per tasse. The main difference between the Bellman types and traditional moka pots is that the Bellman can build pressure, but not near that of a true espresso machine.
I don't know if you are very handy with modifying things, but on my Bellman I added an o-ring over the shaft of the basket tube so that the reducer could sit on top of it and seal a little better there...this would help prevent a stream of water rising without going through the grounds, and may be the reason you get the watered down brew...and that is why I suggest trying without a reducer because then no tunnel exists for water to stream through.....and it is one of the small differences between the Elebak and the Bellman...the Elebak has an unremoveable reducer that fits pretty snug to the tubular shaft and it slides up or down to three different levels for the 3, 6 and 9 tasse settings.
One other thing I do, and not sure if it is making a much difference or not, but I fill the machine to the 9-tasse level with water even when I make 3 or 6 tasse....it doesn't seem to matter since I am controlling the volume with the valve anyway. The only difference I can see is that you would want to deplete the extra water if you plan on using the steaming valve because I believe it steams better without spurting water once the level gets below the spout intake for the steamer.
If you have success with your grinder and coffee when you use a regular moka pot, then the problem lies somewhere in the seals or the reducer of your bellman...I know you don't want to waste coffee making a large portion but I can tell you when I would make 9-tasse, it would be so good I would refrigerate any extra and heat and drink it later or the next day and it would still be better than many coffees you get at average restaurants. So if you don't want to try making the 9-tasse, then maybe try an o-ring or some other way of sealing the space between the reducer tube ad the basket tube to eliminate that path of water.
One other point, I use either 100% decaffe or a 50/50 mix and the taste still runs circles around everything except true non-decaffe espresso. I get whole bean Espresso roast decaffe from a place called ChocoBean in Mission Viejo, CA where they roast themselves....and I get French Roast regular whole bean coffee from Green Earth Coffee in Foothill Ranch, CA where they also roast themselves..and I have the maestro burr grinder here at home....
good luck...i wish you a great cup... and let me know how it goes!
I am enjoying a nice cup from my Bellman this fine morning. I filled to the 6-cup setting and lightly tamped my coffee with a spoon into the basket. I ran it with all the valves closed until I could get a good sputter from the steaming wand when I opened it. After that, I let it sit for about a minute.
In the interests of answering your questions and my curiosity, I ran coffee into a measuring cup. I was able to run 6 ounces before I saw it looking thin. That's roughly in line with your estimates, wouldn't you say? Maybe a bit lower. The coffee is good and quite drinkable, if not knocking me out of my socks...but maybe I'm just spoiled!
After I finished making breakfast and steamed a bit of milk, I ran more coffee just for the fun of it. It filled another 6 ounces with a dark liquid. In the name of good science, I tried a bit with some cream and sugar. It's very bitter, thin, burnt-tasting stuff. Don't try that at home!
I found as I made coffee, I had to slightly open and close the valve as I went along to keep a good flow. Next, I'll have to try either the 9-cup or the added O-ring that you suggest.
I recently bought a lightly used CXE25 for $30 on craigslist. I wasn't expecting to get true espresso (you need 9 bar for that) but was hoping for better coffee than my single cup Bialetti (about .5 bar). I still have some experimenting to do, but so far the Bialetti wins. I think the reason is that the Bellman is just too big to make a single shot (2 oz). It's too difficult to get the right water/grounds ratio for smaller quantities of coffee. I've tried all sorts of different methods and the coffee almost always comes out too thin (and there's too much of it). I like trabuco dom's (I didn't think anyone actually lived in trabuco canyon!) idea of sealing off the space between the reducer and the shaft. I'll have to give that a try. For now. I'm using the 6 cup reducer and filling water to the 3 cup level, and if I manipulate the coffee valve exactly right I can get some good coffee. Not espresso, but close. But it's a lot of work, I don't get consistent results and I'm using twice as much grounds, so it's not an efficient way to brew.
Overall I'm not really disappointed because I wasn't expecting too much and I didn't pay a lot of money for it. It looks great on the kitchen counter with the black base and shiny chrome. And when I occasionally have to make coffee for guests (and don't want to do true espresso), it's faster than the smaller Bialetti. And the steam wand beats the snot out of a lot of wands on actual espresso machines. I just wish it could pivot away from the body of the machine. It's a little close and manipulating the pitcher can be difficult.
PS Mine doesn't have a pressure gauge either (that's the CXE-25P) , but I'm really curious as to what kind of pressure these things produce.
AC, as you are noticing, the Bellman is quite finicky so it seems that every step must be right to get a nice strong brew for a small shot.
I gave up trying to get small portions from the bellman style pots. For everyday use I have been using the Bialetti brikka (pressurized moka pot) for about a year now. It is very consistent and very strong. I have the 4 tasse pot (they have a 2 tasse also), but I use 1/2 cup water in the chamber (which is a little less than specified) and then add 1/4 cup hot water to the brew afterwards for a strong americano. So I would recommend checking out the brikka if you want something stronger than your traditional moka pot.
I rarely use the bellman/elebak now unless I am needing steam or a large amount of strong brew.
(yep, a few of us live here in trabuco, but we are just a stones throw from the densities of OC)
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