Posted Fri Jan 6, 2012, 12:37pm Subject: Briel Lido
I have an old Briel Lido and even though I also own some higher end machines, I find that I really like the Briel for how small it is and how quickly it heats up. I can pull a great shot from the Briel with only a few minutes of warmup since there is no metal near the boiler to pull the heat away from it.
In fact, I have digital thermometer on the boiler of both my Briel and my Gaggia Classic. I can warm the classic up for an hour and warm the Briel up for 5 minutes and then turn the power off on both of them. The Classic starts cooling right away and the Briel boiler stays hot for a long time. After 5-10 minutes of cool down the Briel will still be reading 180F or so while the Gaggia will have cooled down to 120F. I believe this is because the Gaggia boiler is mounted to the Stainless Steel cabinet which acts like a heat sink to conduct the heat away from the boiler - while the Briel has a small, plastic cabinet which doesn't radiate the heat away from the boiler.
The Briel boiler is small and the temp plunges quickly when pulling a shot - and the temp swing is very wide when letting the thermostats turn the boiler on and off. Because the heat doesn't drop very quickly when the Briel is just sitting (as described above) the heater doesn't cycle back on very often - and when it does it shoots the heat way too high and then a long wait for it to cool back to proper brew temps. But with the digital Thermometer mounted, I can simply press the steam switch for a few seconds then release and wait for the temp to swing up a few degrees. Using this method I can keep the temp right at the optimum brew temp and hold it there pretty easily. And during the pull I cycle the heat on for two seconds and off for two seconds all through the pull - with a little practice I can hold the temp steady all during the shot.
I also removed the crema device from the portafilter and cut down the spout so there is more room for cups under the spout (it is very little clearance) - and I use a non-pressurized basket with straight walls. The shots from this machine are very good.
Posted Fri Jan 6, 2012, 12:48pm Subject: Re: Briel Lido
Shot Begins - RedBird Espresso frozen 3 months ago at 4 days post roast. 16 grams - using Mazzer Major grinder. (hehe ... huge grinder paired with this tiny espresso machine) There is no crema enhancer nor pressurized basket.
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