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Elektra MCAL newbie with questions
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Discussions > Espresso > Lever Espresso > Elektra MCAL...  
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nile13
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Joined: 29 Jan 2013
Posts: 61
Location: Boston
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Tue Jan 29, 2013, 11:19am
Subject: Elektra MCAL newbie with questions
 

I am looking for some help identifying this machine and getting some rebuilding supplies for it. I'm picking this one up today unless people tell me I'm nuts. A little background - I'm using Rancilio Sylvia with Rocky grinder at home, thinking of this machine mostly for cubano coffee and some espresso for a second home. I'm mostly happy with Sylvia for teh past 2-3 years but as all of us the upgraditis vulgaris is hard to avoid. Is this machine ood idea or not?

The pics are below and any and all help will be appreciated. It sure looks like Elektra but says "Italia" on the front label and there are no other labels. Thanks in advance!

http://www.mikest.com/espr1.jpg
http://www.mikest.com/espr2.jpg
http://www.mikest.com/espr3.jpg
http://www.mikest.com/espr4.jpg
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EricBNC
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EricBNC
Joined: 22 Jun 2010
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Location: North Carolina
Expertise: Just starting

Espresso: QM Silvano, LP Stradivarius,...
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Posted Tue Jan 29, 2013, 1:28pm
Subject: Re: Help identifuying this machine
 

It looks like it is the Elektra microcasa a leva still available new from 1st Line. It was re-badged Italia by Faema. Here is a thread about this machine on Home Barista.

 
I chew coffee beans with my teeth while gargling with 195 F water to enjoy coffee. What is this "coffee brewing" device you speak of?
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johnboddie
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Joined: 28 Nov 2008
Posts: 213
Location: Virginia
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: MCAL, Brasilia Mini Classic,...
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Drip: Cuisinart (non-grinding)
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Tue Jan 29, 2013, 2:12pm
Subject: Re: Help identifuying this machine
 

Yes, it's an Elektra MCAL. You'll find this machine very easy to work on yourself, and you're going to love the results.
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nile13
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Joined: 29 Jan 2013
Posts: 61
Location: Boston
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Tue Jan 29, 2013, 3:57pm
Subject: Re: Help identifuying this machine
 

Thank you, gentlemen!

I thought it looks awfully similar to Elektra, good to confirm that it is. Strange that the eagle's wings are up on Elektra and down on Faema. Since I'm coming from Silvia, are my shots going to be fairly comparable? I saw the topic about Silvia to lever machine switch here and the OP decided against it. I don;t mind the learning curve as long as results are good. I'm also a bit concern about the "sneeze" that is mentioned in that thread quite a few times.

Finally, what do you think a fair price for a used Elektra/Italia would be?
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johnboddie
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Joined: 28 Nov 2008
Posts: 213
Location: Virginia
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: MCAL, Brasilia Mini Classic,...
Grinder: Rossi RR45a,Rocky,...
Drip: Cuisinart (non-grinding)
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Wed Jan 30, 2013, 8:29am
Subject: Re: Help identifuying this machine
 

You should expect the results to be better than the Silvia once you get used to the MCAL.

"Portafilter sneeze" refers the the fact that manual machines lack a three-way solenoid to relieve pressure at the end of the pull. The residual pressure in the grouphead will expel coffee grounds if the portafilter is released immediately after the pull completes. Generally, the pressure will dissipate within twenty seconds.
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nile13
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Joined: 29 Jan 2013
Posts: 61
Location: Boston
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Wed Jan 30, 2013, 11:03am
Subject: Re: Help identifuying this machine
 

johnboddie Said:

You should expect the results to be better than the Silvia once you get used to the MCAL.

"Portafilter sneeze" refers the the fact that manual machines lack a three-way solenoid to relieve pressure at the end of the pull. The residual pressure in the grouphead will expel coffee grounds if the portafilter is released immediately after the pull completes. Generally, the pressure will dissipate within twenty seconds.

Posted January 30, 2013 link

Thanks!

So, since I'll be pulling one shot at a time I can just leave portafilter attached while I drink my shot and not worry about the sneeze?

One more thing left to determine - what could this thing be worth? $400-500 range?
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johnboddie
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Joined: 28 Nov 2008
Posts: 213
Location: Virginia
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: MCAL, Brasilia Mini Classic,...
Grinder: Rossi RR45a,Rocky,...
Drip: Cuisinart (non-grinding)
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Wed Jan 30, 2013, 7:42pm
Subject: Re: Help identifuying this machine
 

Your machine looks almost identical to mine. The brass looks to be in good condition.

I found mine for about $500 and I'm still convinced it was one of the best bargains I've ever come across.

JB
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nile13
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Joined: 29 Jan 2013
Posts: 61
Location: Boston
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Wed Jan 30, 2013, 9:46pm
Subject: Re: Help identifuying this machine
 

Thanks again, JB!

I made a deal and should be picking it up shortly, probably tomorrow or Sunday. Will need to get a good tamper (49mm or 49.5mm?). The learning curve begins. I'm sure I'll have questions :)
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johnboddie
Senior Member


Joined: 28 Nov 2008
Posts: 213
Location: Virginia
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: MCAL, Brasilia Mini Classic,...
Grinder: Rossi RR45a,Rocky,...
Drip: Cuisinart (non-grinding)
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Thu Jan 31, 2013, 7:24am
Subject: Re: Help identifuying this machine
 

Get the 49.5 and a dosing funnel from Orphan Espresso. These are the only "must have" accessories you need for the MCAL, I'm assuming that you'll get a suitable grinder in the near future. Your Rocky is really marginal.

Best of luck,

JB
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nile13
Senior Member


Joined: 29 Jan 2013
Posts: 61
Location: Boston
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Thu Jan 31, 2013, 9:16pm
Subject: Re: Help identifuying this machine
 

OK, picked up the machine this morning. It is beautiful, that's for sure. The label says Faema Sales, made in 1983. Some patina on brass, some scratches on copper. What should I use to clean it up on the outside that would be safe for brass and copper? Will Bartender's Best Friend powder work? Is copper coated with something? The wood handles could use some refinishing, but no big deal.

A couple things I was surprised by. One is that the machine doesn't have a bottom. I know that an optional wooden base was available. But this machine has completely open bottom. If you turn it over you see wiring from the On/Off switch, etc. Shouldn't there be some sort of a cover? It also slides quite easily on the counter. It almost appears that something needs to be holding it in place. The other odd thing is that filter is not held in portafilter with any sort of a spring. Should it be loose? That is od, it just falls out if flipped over.

Grinder might be an issue. Back in Boston we have about 16" cabinet height over the counter so any decent grinder wouldn't fit. Rocky was bought in part based on that. I have to look and see if I can chop a tall hopper on some more serious grinder like Mazzer or MD-40/50?

I hear about funnel but have no clue. Is there a good guide on how to use and learn this Elektra?
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