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Help - Unheard of Problem !!!
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Discussions > Espresso > Lever Espresso > Help - Unheard...  
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Darko13
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Joined: 24 Mar 2014
Posts: 4
Location: Peterborough
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Mon Mar 24, 2014, 1:40pm
Subject: Help - Unheard of Problem !!!
 

I'm by no means an expert but no newcomer either. I graduated to a La Pavoni Professional 5 years ago and love it. But an unusual problem has occurred. When I pull the lever and am making two coffees at once the left coffee is weaker with little or no crema. So I either swap between pulls or have to use the single basket but this isn't convenient in the mornings. This has probably appeared over the last 8 months or so.There are no visible blockages, it's not been that long since a service.
V strange ?

I would also be grateful on advice making a frothier milk froth

Thanks
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IMAWriter
Senior Member
IMAWriter
Joined: 4 Jul 2002
Posts: 5,959
Location: Brentwood, TN
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Bezzera Strega
Grinder: Forte, OE Pharos,...
Vac Pot: Adcraft SS, Yama 8 cup
Drip: Brazen, Kalita, Chemex,...
Roaster: Behmor 1600+, CO/UFO combo
Posted Mon Mar 24, 2014, 2:27pm
Subject: Re: Help - Unheard of Problem !!!
 

Is your machine perfectly level?
Have you removed and soaked clean your group screen in the last month?
Are you distributing there coffee evenly, and lightly tamping LEVEL?

One thing that works is using a lighter tamp, and using your fingers on the piston to gently compress while turning the tamper.

 
Rob J (LMWDP #187)
My Music Production web site:
www.robertjason.com
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DavecUK
Senior Member


Joined: 21 Sep 2005
Posts: 1,466
Location: UK
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Tue Mar 25, 2014, 2:57am
Subject: Re: Help - Unheard of Problem !!!
 

Did it start doing it after the service?
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Darko13
Senior Member


Joined: 24 Mar 2014
Posts: 4
Location: Peterborough
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Tue Mar 25, 2014, 4:23am
Subject: Re: Help - Unheard of Problem !!!
 

Hi,

Nothing has really changed ie : level , tamp etc. I'm not sure when I last soaked my screen but then why always on the left ? Where would I check holes on the piston ?

Actually DavecUk I think you're on to something there could be around that time !
What would cause that then ?
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DanoM
Senior Member


Joined: 20 Mar 2013
Posts: 394
Location: Los Angeles
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Bezzera Strega, '84 La...
Grinder: Compak K10, Kludge grinder,...
Posted Tue Mar 25, 2014, 5:59am
Subject: Re: Help - Unheard of Problem !!!
 

If this happened soon after the servicing of the unit look for Dow 111 or whatever grease you use to be clogging the group dispersion screen.  That's a possibility that has happened to a few people from what I've read.

Best of luck
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SpaceTime
Senior Member


Joined: 9 Dec 2013
Posts: 271
Location: Virgo Cluster
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: 83 & 89 Cremina, 85 Coffex
Grinder: HG One, Pharos, LIDO
Drip: Freiling 33 & 44oz FP,...
Posted Tue Mar 25, 2014, 8:20am
Subject: Re: Help - Unheard of Problem !!!
 

I agree with Dano, start with the dispersion screen and check for even flow.  If you are nervous about taking the screen off - try this - bring it up to temperature, get a vessel to catch the water, then put it under the group head.  SLOWLY raise the lever as to allow water to come out of the group / dispersion screen while inspecting, and make sure the waters beads up evenly and comes out of the dispersion screen in a uniform fashion across the screen.

The key is to raise slowly, however, even quickly you should still see if there is a blockage under the screen.  If you raise it quickly, the water will just flow faster and it might be harder to "read" the result.  This might help.  If you see the water forced out of one side - then Dano is correct, it might be the Dow 111 or maybe some coffee lodged up in there.  

Getting the dispersion screen off without damaging it is tenuous, and I would recommend this only with the group head off.  Some are fairly tight on the group, and some of the recommended ways - like using a paint can opener, etc, can damage / deform the lip around the bottom - CAREFUL!!  It can be done, but care must be taken.  If you decide not to take the group off to remove the dispersion screen, find a way to gently work it off, alternating pressure on each side, knowing that a metal pry tool might be doing some harm.  It is possible, and level of difficulty depends on how well seated your screen is - new ones are VERY tight to the neck, ones that have been off a few times are of course looser.  If you grab the screen, and try to rotate it, you will be able to tell how tight it is.  If you cannot turn it, it is well seated.  If you can turn it, you might have more luck popping it off easier without removing the group.

I just rebuilt my third machine in the last month (all Creminas) and one of them had damage from where the previous owner obviously pryed off the dispersion screen with a metal tool.

EDIT, what Rob recommended is an even better preliminary step - check the machine for level, make sure your tamp is level, etc.  I just think since you have gotten good results prior that this might not be the issue - I get the impression your grind / dose / tamp might be under control, and machine level - but you will have to tell us, I cannot be certain!  I use a "bottomless" portafilter, which allows me to see if there are any tamp issues, etc... so that is a big help in diagnosing problems too.  Have you ever tried bottomless? ;-)
Cheers.
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IMAWriter
Senior Member
IMAWriter
Joined: 4 Jul 2002
Posts: 5,959
Location: Brentwood, TN
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Bezzera Strega
Grinder: Forte, OE Pharos,...
Vac Pot: Adcraft SS, Yama 8 cup
Drip: Brazen, Kalita, Chemex,...
Roaster: Behmor 1600+, CO/UFO combo
Posted Tue Mar 25, 2014, 9:12am
Subject: Re: Help - Unheard of Problem !!!
 

SpaceTime Said:

The key is to raise slowly, however, even quickly you should still see if there is a blockage under the screen.  If you raise it quickly, the water will just flow faster and it might be harder to "read" the result.  This might help.  If you see the water forced out of one side - then Dano is correct, it might be the Dow 111 or maybe some coffee lodged up in there.  

Getting the dispersion screen off without damaging it is tenuous, and I would recommend this only with the group head off.  Some are fairly tight on the group, and some of the recommended ways - like using a paint can opener, etc, can damage / deform the lip around the bottom - CAREFUL!!  It can be done, but care must be taken.  If you decide not to take the group off to remove the dispersion screen, find a way to gently work it off, alternating pressure on each side, knowing that a metal pry tool might be doing some harm.  It is possible, and level of difficulty depends on how well seated your screen is - new ones are VERY tight to the neck, ones that have been off a few times are of course looser.  If you grab the screen, and try to rotate it, you will be able to tell how tight it is.  If you cannot turn it, it is well seated.  If you can turn it, you might have more luck popping it off easier without removing the group.

Posted March 25, 2014 link

+1. Just to tell our OP that, even I, known to be less than stellar mechanically (just ask Doug and Barb..lol) had no problem removing the group of a La Pav...and re-setting it back in. It's just the removal of some cir clips. If you're careful, you can remove them. If you don't have an extra set, I'd order them just in case. t would also give you a chance to check out your piston seals/gaskets, remove any gunk on there, replace with fresh Dow 111, lightly lube the chamber, etc. I just did so with my Strega. Man, the crap the factory put in there smelled like grease from a Fiat! LOL.

 
Rob J (LMWDP #187)
My Music Production web site:
www.robertjason.com
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SpaceTime
Senior Member


Joined: 9 Dec 2013
Posts: 271
Location: Virgo Cluster
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: 83 & 89 Cremina, 85 Coffex
Grinder: HG One, Pharos, LIDO
Drip: Freiling 33 & 44oz FP,...
Posted Tue Mar 25, 2014, 10:19am
Subject: Re: Help - Unheard of Problem !!!
 

IMAWriter Said:

+1. Just to tell our OP that, even I, known to be less than stellar mechanically (just ask Doug and Barb..lol) had no problem removing the group of a La Pav...and re-setting it back in. It's just the removal of some cir clips. If you're careful, you can remove them. If you don't have an extra set, I'd order them just in case. t would also give you a chance to check out your piston seals/gaskets, remove any gunk on there, replace with fresh Dow 111, lightly lube the chamber, etc. I just did so with my Strega. Man, the crap the factory put in there smelled like grease from a Fiat! LOL.

Posted March 25, 2014 link

Rob thanks for clarifying from a pavoni point of view - my experience has been with creminas and I thought they were mounted the same!!  Sounds like it is even easier on the pavs... I learned something new...

Cheers.
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IMAWriter
Senior Member
IMAWriter
Joined: 4 Jul 2002
Posts: 5,959
Location: Brentwood, TN
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Bezzera Strega
Grinder: Forte, OE Pharos,...
Vac Pot: Adcraft SS, Yama 8 cup
Drip: Brazen, Kalita, Chemex,...
Roaster: Behmor 1600+, CO/UFO combo
Posted Tue Mar 25, 2014, 10:23am
Subject: Re: Help - Unheard of Problem !!!
 

SpaceTime Said:

Rob thanks for clarifying from a pavoni point of view - my experience has been with creminas and I thought they were mounted the same!!  Sounds like it is even easier on the pavs... I learned something new...

Cheers.

Posted March 25, 2014 link

Ha, don't thank me for clarifying just yet. LOL
My memory may be a bit cloudy. I just remember it was easy, just a matter of making sure when the piston is replaced, that the little bolts/lever pins that slide through the holes that secure the lever be exactly as it was, so the full throw of the lever is assured. Or something like that.

 
Rob J (LMWDP #187)
My Music Production web site:
www.robertjason.com
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SpaceTime
Senior Member


Joined: 9 Dec 2013
Posts: 271
Location: Virgo Cluster
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: 83 & 89 Cremina, 85 Coffex
Grinder: HG One, Pharos, LIDO
Drip: Freiling 33 & 44oz FP,...
Posted Tue Mar 25, 2014, 10:29am
Subject: Re: Help - Unheard of Problem !!!
 

IMAWriter Said:

Ha, don't thank me for clarifying just yet. LOL
My memory may be a bit cloudy. I just remember it was easy, just a matter of making sure when the piston is replaced, that the little bolts/lever pins that slide through the holes that secure the lever be exactly as it was, so the full throw of the lever is assured. Or something like that.

Posted March 25, 2014 link

Hey, if we both are off base, I am sure someone will jump into supplement... all in the name of trying to get the OP quality help!!
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