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Trying again, help in regard to when to know if too much &dangerous?
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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > Trying again,...  
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Chanty
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Joined: 26 May 2005
Posts: 227
Location: Milwaukee, WI
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic
Grinder: Vario, had an MDF
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Roaster: I buy beans from many...
Posted Sun May 29, 2005, 3:57pm
Subject: Trying again, help in regard to when to know if too much &dangerous?
 

Help, rewriting in hopes of getting a reply from someone out there.  Don't know if I'm being a paranoid basket case.  With my La Pavoni Lusso, semi-automatic, pressurized filter basket, sometimes I will hear a  pop, clunk noise and then the group handle falls on the espresso cups.  This has only happened a few times.  Do you think that could be a sign of too much pressure?  I have this, hopefully false idea, in my head.  That is, that the filter handle coming off could be due to a ton of pressure building up.  I picture, with my active imagination, this handle blowing across the room and lodging in my head.  :)
Do these machines have that much pressure to cause severe bodily harm?  Can they explode? Help.
The machine was not pushing any shots out--some of the water coming out of the steam wand(even though steam knob turned off) I returned the coffee I got at a shop (buy one lb. get 1lb. of something else free).  I couldn't resist...  They told me that they ground it so fine--to a powder basically.  They said they normally grind it that fine for their commercial machine.  Normally, I stick with a few different roasts that I've pretty much conquered my tamping issue, and normally get good shots of espresso.   Thanks for any more help you or anyone else can supply.  Chanty
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Everman
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Everman
Joined: 25 Nov 2004
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Location: Coffee Land
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Valentina Levetta, Elektra...
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Roaster: Hottop
Posted Sun May 29, 2005, 10:58pm
Subject: Re: Trying again, help in regard to when to know if too much &dangerous?
 

I am not familiar with that machine, but it certainly sounds like it was choking on the grounds. I don't see why the whole portafilter would fall out though, is it locked in properly? I would also suggest looking into buying a good grinder for two reasons: 1. The espresso will taste much better from freshly ground beans, and 2. you can play with the grind more.
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aberg
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Joined: 9 Mar 2005
Posts: 27
Location: Boston
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Espresso
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Roaster: SCCO
Posted Mon May 30, 2005, 5:40am
Subject: Re: Trying again, help in regard to when to know if too much &dangerous?
 

The machine will not explode.
If the portafilter falls out, it must not be locked in properly.

-You may have overfilled the basket. Try pulling a hot water shot (ie. no coffee in the basket) to test this.

-The grouphead and/or the ring around it may be clogged. Try cleaning around the grouphead with a rag or toothbrush.

Buying a good grinder is the best solution, of course, but you should be able to get coffee ground correctly for your machine. Have the shop grind a couple onces each at progressively coarser settings and try them all. Don't forget to label them! This should keep you going until you're ready for a good grinder.

In the meantime, it's not ideal, but even a whirly-type grinder will work for a pressurized PF.
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PatrickinKW
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PatrickinKW
Joined: 25 Apr 2005
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Location: Ontario, Canada
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Espresso: Giotto Premium
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Posted Mon May 30, 2005, 9:57am
Subject: Re: Trying again, help in regard to when to know if too much &dangerous?
 

Does the PF handle move closkwise, back to orientation of initiall installation? Or does it just drop straight down?


Based on what you've told us so far, It sounds like the portafilter wasn't locked into the grouphead properly.

When the PF is secured into the GH, the pressure from brewing would increase the coefficient of friction between the PF and GH, much like the way a lock washer works in keeping a nut from backing off.  The only other thing that could "possibly" cause this is if there is some type of lubricant on the gasket, PF, and GH.  Then the additional pressure may "unscrew" it.

Af far as the PF lodging in your head, I wouldn't worry, unless you are shoving your head between the PF and the drip tray.... :)

If this dosen't help, send it in for service.  That way if it does explode and cover you with 3rd degree burns,you can sue the service company. {8-o

Cheers,
P
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davea
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davea
Joined: 18 May 2005
Posts: 708
Location: Ottawa, ON
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Espresso
Grinder: Virtuoso
Drip: Press
Posted Mon May 30, 2005, 2:28pm
Subject: Re: Trying again, help in regard to when to know if too much &dangerous?
 

aberg Said:

If the portafilter falls out, it must not be locked in properly.
-You may have overfilled the basket.

Posted May 30, 2005 link

I would agree, if your pf handle is falling out and your shot is choking it sounds plausible that your basket is overfilled to the point that you cannot lock in the portafilter properly. That is, the grounds may be mashing against the screen. This would prevent you from locking it in all the way and the lack of head room would cause problems with puck's expansion and water permeability.

Different blends will of course behave differently and require different grinds, though a pressurized portafilter will be more accomodating of a coarse grind or underdosing. You've also obviously pulled shots with success before. Regardless, if it feels like the pf locked in and yet still falls out, it really sounds like your basket is overdosed. If you lock in the portafilter, dosed with coffee, and immediately pull it back out again, you should not see a torn surface or a full imprint of the shower screen. You might see a slight impression from the shower screw.

Of course, I've never seen your machine, either. Dosing techniques also vary, but in general you need some space for expansion below the shower head (2mm is often mentioned for regular pfs, the width of a penny placed on top of the coffee puck).

Dave
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