uscfroadie Senior Member Joined: 2 Aug 2008 Posts: 447 Location: San Antonio Expertise: I live coffee
Espresso: GS/3 Strada MP; owned BDB,... Grinder: K30 Vario, Zass and PeDe... Vac Pot: Nope Drip: Nope Roaster: owned Behmor
Posted Sun Jan 5, 2014, 11:25am Subject: Re: Videos of the Cremina in action.
Most people come to the lever world from the button world. The relationship to the machine is quite different. You hit a button and the pump comes on or off. You now have a machine with a variable pump and you are now the pump. Pretty much everything else temp. related is considered/understood the same as most machines. Coffee/grind/dose knowledge is universal too. The renewed interest in the cremina had much to do with extraction concepts/innovations of profiling in high end commercial machines. For both traditional espresso as well as interests in light roast and SO. The way for the amateur/home geek community to play with these new concepts on a cheap budget was to revive old levers.
I say this only to convey that the most important way to consider a new cremina is as merely a new tool. And the great thing is it's rather simple to figure out just takes practice to then use effectively. You can take it all apart to get into the mindset and learn simply how the water travels as you(now pump) do your thing. What is happening as you bring the lever up and when the set pressured water starts to flow in, when you hold it at the top, and for how much time, when you give it a couple short pressure building pumps, varying the amount of air to water ratio,when you pull with various strength profiles. These just give different forms of pre-infusion and pressure profiling.
Well-said. I bought my first lever back in 2007 to learn more about the process. My PID'd Alexia at the time made great shots quite easily but was boring to use in comparison. A lever has the capability of showing you more about the process than nearly all pump machines. If you can pull great shots on it, you'll be more educated on what tweaks need to be made to pull great shots on other machines - grind, dose, distribution, tamp, temp, pre-infusion, ramping up of pressure, when to peak, when to trail, when to stop the shot, etc....
While I go through many machines (and grinders), I've owned my Cremina for 5 years now and am not getting rid of it anytime soon, if ever.
Posted Mon Feb 3, 2014, 7:05pm Subject: Re: Videos of the Cremina in action.
I read that the Elektra basket doesn't actually fit (unless you finagle it in). So you'll have to file off about 1mm around the outer lip. I kind of like things to just work, so I opted against it. But who knows I might pick one up later.
As always, you were dead on. I purchased the Elektra double basket, and with the stock Cremina portafilter, it took a little filing around the edge as initially it required a fair bit of "finagling", as you put it, to get it in when it was new. However, I did get it to work smoothly after some delicate filing of the basket around the edge.
Then, today my Penney bottomless came in, and it was even harder to get the Elektra double basket to work with my Cremina. More filing, tinkering, now I seem to have it where it goes in with out any "finagling". Good thing I have a woodshop and plenty of tools to doctor things... :-) If you are expecting the Elektra to work out of the box with the stock Cremina portafilter, and especially the Penney, you might be surprised because MINE took a little filing / doctoring. YMMV.
PS - really enjoying the Cremina. Problem is now I am drinking way too much coffee LOL
PS2 - nice review on the Forte, you really hit the mark for me since I am looking at both the Forte and HG One these days - my Pharos needs a companion. I really appreciate your candidness in the reviews, not everyone is so upfront on the pro / con.... cheers.
Posted Thu Feb 6, 2014, 12:59pm Subject: Re: Videos of the Cremina in action.
Why thanks Ed ;-)...
...as far as "finally" getting it into action - the first day I got it I was setting the Pstat in the afternoon and pulled my first shot in the *ahem* evening... needless to say that was a restless night after going to bed. Just cuz it took two weeks to get it, and a couple more to mention I used it, don't think I have been idle :-) - it has been seeing four to six doubles a day on average since I got it, spread between Americanos, straight shots and a few caps. I really enjoy using it, and I am enjoying my foray into levers immensely.
I have been pulling a few local roast single origins through it - Sumatran Peaberry, Mokamba, some Brazilian and even tried a Yirg and a Chinese "Organic" one roaster had. The most consistent, repeatable and satisfactory results have come from the Sumatran, with the Mokamba suprising a couple of times with some fruitiness showing through, but not consistently. It seems the stars need to align for that.... the Brazilian shows promise, though I always seem to be a notch off on the grind, and then don't spend the time dialing it in cuz I did not have a lot of it.
The Sumatran was the most solid / consistent so far...
My rebuild gaskets / kit came in a couple of days ago, so the machine may go down for a few days - I may just rebuild the group to start as the cap gasket and steam ones still have some life in them... the group needs a little TLC and lubing, so I may do a complete rebuild while I am in there. Why not. Need to go up to Harbor Freight though - my snap ring pliers are in disrepair, and need a cheapy new set... besides, the ones Doug used / sold were Harbor Freight specials...
Also been using the Penney bottomless / Elektra combo the last few days... all it is telling me is my technique is fairly solid - it has been helping me verify temps though as it is an instant read with color, striping, etc... that has helped a lot. As far as other factors, I am getting even dispersion, an nice mouse tail, good flow rate (not too tight, not too loose)., etc. I do like the aspect of controlling the pressure...
Anyway, cheers, thanks for the vote of confidence.
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