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Discussions > Espresso > Lever Espresso > Caravel Help  
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clm
Senior Member


Joined: 12 Mar 2013
Posts: 86
Location: Hawaii
Expertise: Just starting

Espresso: Mypressi
Grinder: OE LIdo
Drip: Hario, Aeropress
Posted Thu Nov 21, 2013, 10:56am
Subject: Caravel Help
 

Thanks in advance to any Caravel users who may be able to offer some additional guidance on using a newly acquired Caravel (gray model).  After considerable expense, trial and error (and help from others already), I'm still having trouble pulling a decent shot.  Here is what I'm doing:
  1. Freshly ordered Red Bird espresso
  2. Bought a scale, measuring 7 grams for a single basket
  3. Bought a plug converter (not transformer) - pouring in boiling water (over 200 degrees) into reservoir, but the temp drops and holds at 190 even after 15 mins or more
  4. OE lido grinder

Results - little to no crema, a shot of only .5 oz, with plenty of water pooling in the basket.  So, I think maybe I'm choking it and adjusted grind to very slightly courser setting (between zero and first nut), but this made the shot pour too fast, less crema than before and still plenty of water in the basket.

I guess I will need to replace the gaskets and start all over again.  I need some advice as to how to replace the bottom gasket that fits between the PF and the frame - it's in there really tight, so I may have to use needle nose pliers and this will likely tear it up.  I have been able to disassemble the piston, so I see where the other gaskets go.  I purchased the unit from Francesco Ceccarilli, and he did provide me with some spare gaskets.  But I'm still concerned about the water temp dropping to 190.  Could others confirm what their water temp in reservoir is?  I hope there's not a problem with this unit's element.
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SimonPatrice
Senior Member


Joined: 8 Mar 2012
Posts: 54
Location: Montréal, Québec
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Caravel
Grinder: Peugeot, Armin Trosser, OE...
Drip: Melitta, press pot, eva...
Posted Thu Nov 21, 2013, 8:33pm
Subject: Re: Caravel Help
 

If you're only using a plug converter (I'm doing the same) pour about 1cm of water in the boiler and turn it on.  During that time, bring some water to a boil.  After 10-15 min.  pour the boiling water inside.  You should be able to get your water around 200F and it will keep getting hotter if you leave it turned on.  I can get my water to a rolling boil if I want to.

Or if you have lots of time on your hands, fill it up, turn it on and wait, and wait, and wait some more.  It will eventually get hot enough but will take a long time.

It could also depend on you thermostat.  It can be adjusted with a little screw inside the body.  It is supposed to turn off the element when the water gets to a certain temperature and turn it back on when it gets below a certain temp.  On mine, it is adjusted so that the element is always on unless I turn the knob to turn it off.  That way, I just get my water to where I want it to be and turn the element off.  If you try to adjust the thermostat you'll have to exepect some trial and error.

Also, are you sure you have the single basket?  Maybe you're underdosing.  Maybe users with the single basket could cue in as to how much coffee they can pack in the basket.  What's the head space like when you're done tamping?

Don't give up!  The Caravel will give you amazing shots once you get used to it.
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clm
Senior Member


Joined: 12 Mar 2013
Posts: 86
Location: Hawaii
Expertise: Just starting

Espresso: Mypressi
Grinder: OE LIdo
Drip: Hario, Aeropress
Posted Fri Nov 22, 2013, 9:18am
Subject: Re: Caravel Help
 

I've tried the boiling water method, but the water temp is 190F even after 20 mins.  I did try adjusting the screw thermostat button on the back of the machine all the way to the "red" setting (far right turn) but it still only stops after 190F.  It does not ever boil, nor does it get hotter.  

I'm concerned that so much water stays in the basket even when I change the grind and choke it (very, very hard pull).  I'm only getting 1/2 oz of coffee, even when I change grind.  The seals looked ok when I took it apart - there was a lot of lubricating grease on the seals.

I asked for a single basket, and it's very small, so I'm pretty sure that's what I got.  7 grams of beans fills the basket before grinding. After tamping I have about 1/4" or less head space.  I'm using an original Caravel spoon to tamp with, so I may be getting some channeling because I can't get it too even around the edges - I try to even it out, but it's not perfect.  If I am getting channeling, it would affect the shots, but it shouldn't be the cause of so much water pooling and 1/2oz shots.

I'm pretty frustrated right now, but I'm not giving up!  Thanks for your help.
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jpthibault
Senior Member


Joined: 5 Feb 2011
Posts: 9
Location: Ottawa
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Caravel, Elektra MCAL
Grinder: Pharos, Peugeot
Drip: Espro press
Posted Fri Nov 22, 2013, 6:48pm
Subject: Re: Caravel Help
 

clm Said:

I'm concerned that so much water stays in the basket even when I change the grind and choke it (very, very hard pull).  I'm only getting 1/2 oz of coffee, even when I change grind.  The seals looked ok when I took it apart - there was a lot of lubricating grease on the seals.

Posted November 22, 2013 link

It's perfectly normal for water to remain on top of the puck! Don't change your seals!
If I were you, I'd get a proper fitting tamper. orphanespresso.com is one place that sells them (about $35 I think).
Then I'd spend a few hours with this thread over on H-B:
Click Here (www.home-barista.com)
It's a massive thread, but it's loaded with very useful info, most of which is in the earlier pages of the thread.

I think you'll find tips on thermostats there too, but I would focus on getting proper flow and extraction before worrying about temperature.
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lifeandpeace
Senior Member
lifeandpeace
Joined: 9 Nov 2007
Posts: 745
Location: PBI

Espresso: Arrarex Caravel
Grinder: BUNN G1, Zassenhaus knee
Vac Pot: Cory / Hario / Silex
Drip: cloth, glass Hario V60;...
Roaster: RK Drum, WBP II
Posted Sat Nov 23, 2013, 9:12am
Subject: Re: Caravel Help
 

190 is too cool. Aim for 200, give or take a couple.

If you do two rounds of boiling water, you should reach 200: put a little water in the kettle. Turn it on. Get enough water boiling on the stove to fill your Caravel kettle 1.5x or twice. Once boiling, dump in half the water and let the heat sink in. Dump it, then add remaining hot water that you've allowed to stay hot. (Or heat in two separate rounds.)

7 grams is probably not enough. I have the "single" basket, and I use between 10 and 11.9. A certain amount of head space isn't particularly critical with the Caravel--but it affects the grind.

The spoon-as-a-tamper probably isn't doing much good: try tamping evenly with your fingers. I have a custom tamper for Caravels.

Have fun. Red Bird can be obscenely good; I've pulled it with my Caravel. Melted, gooey Snickers Bar in my demitasse.

 
www.lampmode.com
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clm
Senior Member


Joined: 12 Mar 2013
Posts: 86
Location: Hawaii
Expertise: Just starting

Espresso: Mypressi
Grinder: OE LIdo
Drip: Hario, Aeropress
Posted Sat Nov 23, 2013, 4:19pm
Subject: Re: Caravel Help
 

I finally had some success! Water temp up to 200 using lots of full on boiling water, and I got my first decent shot.  Then I tried to pull a second one, using same dose/grind and I had almost no pressure on the pull.  So I took it apart again to wipe off some of the lubricating oil that it shipped with.  My thinking is that hot water heats up the chamber, oil warms and the piston slides too freely.  While doing so, I wonder if I screwed up when I first dissembled it - there is a little screen that fell out of the bottom of the chamber (held by a c-clamp).  One side of the screen has tiny holes, the other has larger holes - can anyone tell me which way it fits back in?  Small holes towards the inside or facing outside?
When I pull a shot, sometimes water leaks out the side of the PF.  
I've read the HB thread a few times and keep referring back to it - a ton of great information, but it doesn't really explain why the machine is inconsistent, or why I'm losing pressure when I'm weighing and using the same grind setting.
I emailed OE about a "Richard tamper" someone on HB recommended, but they responded that it wasn't the correct fit - and didn't offer any substitutes that would fit the Caravel.
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sweaner
Senior Member
sweaner
Joined: 16 Nov 2007
Posts: 1,132
Location: Yardley, PA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Vetrano, Arrarex Caravel, La...
Grinder: Mazzer SJ, OE Pharos
Drip: Bunn Trifecta MB
Roaster: Poppery II
Posted Sat Nov 23, 2013, 4:56pm
Subject: Re: Caravel Help
 

This eBay seller can custom make a tamper for your Caravel.

http://stores.ebay.com/Precision-Tamper-Maker

 
-Scott
“Coffee - the favorite drink of the civilized world.”
Thomas Jefferson
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jpthibault
Senior Member


Joined: 5 Feb 2011
Posts: 9
Location: Ottawa
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Caravel, Elektra MCAL
Grinder: Pharos, Peugeot
Drip: Espro press
Posted Sun Nov 24, 2013, 11:19am
Subject: Re: Caravel Help
 

clm Said:

I finally had some success! Water temp up to 200 using lots of full on boiling water, and I got my first decent shot.  Then I tried to pull a second one, using same dose/grind and I had almost no pressure on the pull.  So I took it apart again to wipe off some of the lubricating oil that it shipped with.  My thinking is that hot water heats up the chamber, oil warms and the piston slides too freely.

Posted November 23, 2013 link

The piston is supposed to slide freely. If there's not enough resistance when you're pulling your shot, don't blame the piston: look at your grind and basket prep.

clm Said:

While doing so, I wonder if I screwed up when I first dissembled it - there is a little screen that fell out of the bottom of the chamber (held by a c-clamp).  One side of the screen has tiny holes, the other has larger holes - can anyone tell me which way it fits back in?  Small holes towards the inside or facing outside?

Posted November 23, 2013 link

The side that's flat, where the holes appear smaller, faces inside.

clm Said:

When I pull a shot, sometimes water leaks out the side of the PF.

Posted November 23, 2013 link

You didn't lock your PF tight enough, or your PF gasket needs to be replaced.

clm Said:

I've read the HB thread a few times and keep referring back to it - a ton of great information, but it doesn't really explain why the machine is inconsistent, or why I'm losing pressure when I'm weighing and using the same grind setting.

Posted November 23, 2013 link

Espresso is tricky! I haven't read anything which suggests that the Caravel is to blame. You do have a good grinder, so that's probably not the cause of your inconsistencies. That leaves the coffee (freshness), grind setting, dosing, and basket preparation. Lots of things can go wrong in that list. It does take practice.

clm Said:

I emailed OE about a "Richard tamper" someone on HB recommended, but they responded that it wasn't the correct fit - and didn't offer any substitutes that would fit the Caravel.

Posted November 23, 2013 link

See here. Any of the "OE HLT IIT" can be selected to a 43.5mm size. They're not fancy, but they're very functional, and a perfect fit.
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clm
Senior Member


Joined: 12 Mar 2013
Posts: 86
Location: Hawaii
Expertise: Just starting

Espresso: Mypressi
Grinder: OE LIdo
Drip: Hario, Aeropress
Posted Sun Nov 24, 2013, 8:50pm
Subject: Re: Caravel Help
 

Well, I'm glad to hear that it's nothing wrong with the Caravel, although I did wipe off some of the lube.  I suspect basket prep.  A discussion on HB implied that a hard or soft tamp would not make any difference in the shot, and thus so influenced, have not given this much consideration.  I've tried my best to be consistent as possible, except on the tamp - experimenting with my fingers vs. the spoon.  I am using a tiny whisk to fluff up the grinds in the jar before dosing and I also try hard to brush out any fines from the Lido before grinding.
francesco responded that the larger holes on the screen should be facing inside, so I reversed it  - so far so good.
You are correct, I'm pretty sure I did not lock the PF tight enough, because this didn't seem to be a problem today.
My shots are now resembling espresso, but I am apparently not skilled at all, and they do not offer the deliciousness that others experience with the Caravel.  I upped the dose to 10 grams, shots were too long, on the bitter side, even after I increased the grind setting.  I'll get one of the tampers and keep experimenting.  Even so, I can tell there is something very wonderful about to happen - and I'm drawn to the machine each AM as we try to figure each other out.
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clm
Senior Member


Joined: 12 Mar 2013
Posts: 86
Location: Hawaii
Expertise: Just starting

Espresso: Mypressi
Grinder: OE LIdo
Drip: Hario, Aeropress
Posted Fri Nov 29, 2013, 8:05pm
Subject: Re: Caravel Help
 

I have a custom tamper for Caravels.

Can you tell me where you got your tamper and also what grinder you use?  I'm getting better at this and pulling decent shots now, but it's pretty interesting, because I keep thinking that the next one is going to be even better, or maybe I need to upgrade my grinder.   Then again, maybe I just need to keep tweaking my lido grind & tamp for now while working to improve my own skill & knowledge.

Do you do a pre-infusion?  If yes, can you explain what you do on the Caravel?  I've tried waiting a few seconds after lifting the lever, and before beginning the pull to allow some water to trickle in the PF, but I have not noticed that it improves the shot.  

Freshly roasted beans make all the difference.  I'll be wanting to learn how to roast them next.
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