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Elektra MCAL newbie with questions
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Discussions > Espresso > Lever Espresso > Elektra MCAL...  
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johnboddie
Senior Member


Joined: 28 Nov 2008
Posts: 205
Location: Virginia
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: MCAL, Brasilia Mini Classic,...
Grinder: Rossi RR45a,Rocky,...
Drip: Cuisinart (non-grinding)
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Fri Feb 1, 2013, 8:38am
Subject: Re: Help identifuying this machine
 

I use Bar Tenders Friend myself. It works well.

You can get the rubber base for $24.95, and you should do so if you don't want to scratch your counters. Parts for the MCAL are available through Click Here (www.espressocare.com) and other vendors.

The loose filter can be held in place with your thumb as you knock the puck out.

I think there are a number of videos on making espresso with a lever machine posted on Home Barista. com.

The basics are as follows:

  1. When you fill the machine, keep the water level below the top of the sight tube.
  2. Let the machine warm up for twenty minutes - at the ten-minute point the gauge will show that you are at operating pressure. This is a false indication. Turn the steam valve to relieve the pressure and let the machine continue heating.
  3. Fill the portafilter basket loosely to the top. I usually run a pull through the empty portafilter before I do my first espresso pull, but it's not required.
  4. Tamp to the point where the top of the grounds is about 3/16ths below the top (the OE tampers will help you on this).
  5. Lock the portafilter in place.
  6. pull the handle down and hold it until you see the first drops in the cup (should be in the six to ten seconds range).
  7. Let go of the handle. Once you have your grind correct, the handle should be all the way up in about 25 to 30 seconds.

With regard to Grinders, I got a used commercial grinder and have it set up so there are no cabinets above it. If you can't do this, you might consider a Mazzer Mini. Read the consumer reviews here at Coffee Geek to get a feel for what would work for you.

Good luck,

JB
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nile13
Senior Member


Joined: 29 Jan 2013
Posts: 60
Location: Boston
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Fri Feb 1, 2013, 9:17pm
Subject: Re: Help identifuying this machine
 

Thanks a bunch again!

A friend of mine who is a complete coffee geek is using Mazzer Mini. I'm considering it but space is an issue.

So far reading your description and seeing other things I don't see a huge difference between using my Silvia and this hand lever machine. One thing is that portafilter is filled a little higher. Do I really need a funnel for this? Or is funnel needed only so the grinds don't spill? Also, my machine seems to have come with a single filter basket - it's stepped and not very deep. Everyone seems to say that a double basket is needed. Based on amount of coffee I put in a 58mm Silvia portafilter for a 2 Oz shot it looks like a larger filter will be needed for Elektra. If so, should I pull the lever once? I've heard people talking about a second pull about 2/3rd of a way up.

BTW, why do people use a temperature strip? Wouldn't MCAL stay at a fairly constant temperature once heated up? Or does it have to be temperature surfed like my Silvia?
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johnboddie
Senior Member


Joined: 28 Nov 2008
Posts: 205
Location: Virginia
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: MCAL, Brasilia Mini Classic,...
Grinder: Rossi RR45a,Rocky,...
Drip: Cuisinart (non-grinding)
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Sat Feb 2, 2013, 4:17pm
Subject: Re: Help identifuying this machine
 

The funnel prevents the ground coffee from making as much of a mess as it might.

I use the double basket. I tried a single basket and found that the flavor is more intense when the double is used. I only pull singles, but the double pull you mention will work if you want to increase the volume of coffee produced.
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nile13
Senior Member


Joined: 29 Jan 2013
Posts: 60
Location: Boston
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Sun Feb 3, 2013, 12:47pm
Subject: Re: Help identifuying this machine
 

Since I don't have a grinder here in Miami (Rocky is at home in Boston), I'm slowly looking over and trying to understand the MCAL.

It appears that several parts are missing from it and will need to be ordered. A plastic drip tray is the most obvious one. A double filter basket and rubber mat under the base. I have also seen something called Thermal Insulator - a black ring that seats between the boiler and the base. I've seen some MCALs with and some without this insulator. Is it something used on newer machines and it is something I really need? Will probably order a new group head gasket from Stefano just to have it. Is there anything else I should need parts-wise? Some sort of grease to lube the piston?

I'm also trying to understand if copper parts of this machine are covered by some type of clear coat. In other words, what should I clean it with to avoid disasters?
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johnboddie
Senior Member


Joined: 28 Nov 2008
Posts: 205
Location: Virginia
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: MCAL, Brasilia Mini Classic,...
Grinder: Rossi RR45a,Rocky,...
Drip: Cuisinart (non-grinding)
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Sun Feb 3, 2013, 3:04pm
Subject: Re: Help identifuying this machine
 

Probably the best thing to do is call Stephano's and talk to them about specific parts you might need.

If you have the serial number from the machine, they should be able to give you specific advice.
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jroach
Senior Member


Joined: 6 Jul 2011
Posts: 19
Location: Chesterfield, VA
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Elektra Micro Casa,...
Grinder: La Cimbali 6S, Baratza...
Drip: EVA Solo, Moka, Press Pot,...
Posted Sun Feb 3, 2013, 3:42pm
Subject: Re: Help identifuying this machine
 

Congrat on the MCal.  

I remember reading that there is some coating on the machine.  I don't remember the source but they had several recommendations for cleaners and what to avoid (might have been HB).

There should be a bottom cover for the machine.  It tucks up in the bottom and is secured by 3 (sheet metal) screws.  The screws get covered by the rubber base.

I think the Eagle design is dependent on the year not the make.  I've got an early 90's vintage Electra badged machine and it has the same eagle as yours.

The learning curve for me was a pain.  Very grind picky if you will.  I had to upgrade my grinder and had a whole lot of sink shots, but when you hit it, oh you hit it....

For the lube, Stefano sell as NSF approved silicon grease for lubing.  You might also want to consider replacing the seals in the Piston, especially if it's been a long time since it was used.  When I received mine were so dry they broke/cracked when I was trying replace them.

Good Luck and enjoy.

Jim
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nile13
Senior Member


Joined: 29 Jan 2013
Posts: 60
Location: Boston
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Sun Feb 3, 2013, 4:32pm
Subject: Re: Help identifuying this machine
 

i also thought that there should be a bottom cover on the machine. But looking at things... there are no place for the three screws that you've mentioned and that I've seen on the MCAL bottom plate on Stefano's site. So I think I'll just put a rubber base cover on and be done with it.
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nile13
Senior Member


Joined: 29 Jan 2013
Posts: 60
Location: Boston
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Mon Feb 4, 2013, 4:37pm
Subject: Re: Help identifuying this machine
 

And the message on Stefano's machine says they are not answering their phones till February 14th. That's not great.

Do any of you guys with older Elektras know if plastic drip tray is/was part of that machine? Or is brass grate designed to rest right on the copper base?

PS. Sorry for all the questions. Your help is really appreciated. It took some hand-holding from more experienced coffee people to help me learn Silvia - I'm hoping that hard core MCAL community is as great with their advise and help. So far so good on that front :)
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jroach
Senior Member


Joined: 6 Jul 2011
Posts: 19
Location: Chesterfield, VA
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Elektra Micro Casa,...
Grinder: La Cimbali 6S, Baratza...
Drip: EVA Solo, Moka, Press Pot,...
Posted Mon Feb 4, 2013, 8:36pm
Subject: Re: Help identifuying this machine
 

To the best of my knowledge, yes it should have a drip tray.  

The drip tray has a lip that sits above the base that will hold the grate.  

As for Stefano, you might want to try e-mail.  

Good luck
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frankward
Senior Member
frankward
Joined: 9 Feb 2013
Posts: 39
Location: Massachusetts
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: La Pavoni Professional Gold,...
Grinder: Mazzer Mini, OE Pharos
Drip: Hario, Chemex
Roaster: Hottop
Posted Sun Feb 10, 2013, 4:33pm
Subject: Re: Help identifuying this machine
 

Just a tip about grinders. My Mazzer Mini didn't fit under my kitchen counter. I simply took the hopper off and replaced it with my old Gaggia tamper (I think it is 58mm). No need for a hopper if you are grinding one shot at a time. The tamper holds the beans in. I think I first saw it done on a youtube video.
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