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ssauer2004
Senior Member


Joined: 3 Feb 2007
Posts: 15
Location: R.I
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Thu Oct 7, 2010, 6:34pm
Subject: Re: Dialing in a Lelit PL041
 

acasabia Said:

I sometimes get those holes too, but using my recently acquired bottomless I can safely say it is not a channeling issue. What may be the cause of bitterness is too hard of a tamp, or maybe too fine a grind. Whats the timing on your shots? Another thing I like to do is:
Run the group.
Grind, dose, tamp.
Place PF in group.
Open steam valve and let the excess heating pressure relive itself, then close the valve.
Pull the shot.

Doing this, I have reduced the frequency and depth of those holes, as well as improved the consistency of my shots. I dont know if you have ever just run the group immediately after the light turns off, but there is a lot of steam and high pressure water that will cause bitter shots.

Best of luck :D

Posted October 7, 2010 link


My shots are 25 to 26 sec.  I think the grind is correct due to the timing, but I could be wrong I guess.
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acasabia
Senior Member
acasabia
Joined: 17 Oct 2008
Posts: 612
Location: Westchester, NY
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Expobar Brewtus iv-p,...
Grinder: Quamar M80e, Hario slim
Vac Pot: Yama Vacpot, Aeropress,
Drip: french press
Roaster: hot-air popper.
Posted Thu Oct 7, 2010, 7:05pm
Subject: Re: Dialing in a Lelit PL041
 

ssauer2004 Said:

My shots are 25 to 26 sec.  I think the grind is correct due to the timing, but I could be wrong I guess.

Posted October 7, 2010 link

well timing is effected mostly grind, tamp, and pressure (which is effected by temp)
so...
The common mantra is grind a little finer, tamp a little lighter, but bitter is usually associated with the coffee extracting for too long (i.e. too fine a grind, hard a tamp) you may be grinding too fine, and may need to grind a bit coarser, tamp a bit harder. Then again, some coffees reach peak flavor at a 20 second pull rather than a 25.
For my set up, and with the depth of roast I typically use, i normally have my grinder set so that its just coarse enough not to chirp when the burrs are spinning. I tamp to about 25lbs/in^2 my pulls are 24seconds and sweet.

But really, it all comes down to your set up, your coffee, and your temp.


ssauer2004 Said:

are you guys waiting for the "
ready light" to illuminate before pulling the shot?

Posted October 7, 2010 link

I pull water through the group before I grind and tamp, during the time Im grinding/ tamping the light may come on, but when I pull the shot, its after I let the steam/pressure out of the wand. Pulling the shot as the boiler light comes on will yield a higher temperature/sour shot with my machine. Maybe its different for you. I've been playing with the timings for months and find my current method to be the most consistent way to get clean, sweet pulls every time.

 
Anthony C

Currently pulling:
Dallis Bro's (NYC): New York Espresso

http://coffeeandneuroscience.wordpress.com/
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jedvz
Senior Member


Joined: 16 Jan 2010
Posts: 18
Location: Bloomington IN
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Expobar Office Lever Plus
Grinder: LeLit
Roaster: behmor 1600
Posted Sat Nov 13, 2010, 7:58am
Subject: Re: Dialing in a Lelit PL041
 

I have had my lelit PL041 for several months (the slightly upgraded model). It's been great (virtually no complaints), but this week I've been in a rut. I can usually get some pretty nice foam and don't waste too many shots, but this week I've had really thin milk and uneven espresso extraction. I travel all the time and maybe I'm just rusty. Reading this post on dialing in the LeLit is making my head spin.

Here's what I'd really love to see: someone who's been using the LeLit to post a full video, from turning the machine on to turning off (maybe editing out the warmup). Also, there has been a lot of mentions of the "ready" light that have confused me. Is this a ready light or a boiler light?

With my little rut, I've started to doubt my technique, so any step by step would be helpful. In particular, I'm interested in knowing how you prepare to steam the milk and how you move from steaming milk to extracting espresso.

As a way of comparison, here's what I've been doing: (by the way, the manual sucks)

*Turn on machine
*turn on hot water button
*Run a few ounces out of the steam wand to get fresh water
*turn off hot water button
*turn on steam button
*wait for the light to come on
*when the light comes on I blow a little water out of the wand
*froth milk till about 100 degrees, then steam to about 155-160
*clean wand with rag and blow out any milk
*turn off steam button
*turn on hot water button
*run hot water through the wand until the light goes off
*wait until light comes back on
*pull espresso

Thanks for the feedback!

Jed
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h3yn0w
Senior Member
h3yn0w
Joined: 28 Oct 2010
Posts: 158
Location: Canada

Posted Sat Nov 13, 2010, 9:13am
Subject: Re: Dialing in a Lelit PL041
 

jedvz Said:

I have had my lelit PL041 for several months (the slightly upgraded model). It's been great (virtually no complaints), but this week I've been in a rut. I can usually get some pretty nice foam and don't waste too many shots, but this week I've had really thin milk and uneven espresso extraction. I travel all the time and maybe I'm just rusty. Reading this post on dialing in the LeLit is making my head spin.
Here's what I'd really love to see: someone who's been using the LeLit to post a full video, from turning the machine on to turning off (maybe editing out the warmup). Also, there has been a lot of mentions of the "ready" light that have confused me. Is this a ready light or a boiler light?

With my little rut, I've started to doubt my technique, so any step by step would be helpful. In particular, I'm interested in knowing how you prepare to steam the milk and how you move from steaming milk to extracting espresso.

As a way of comparison, here's what I've been doing: (by the way, the manual sucks)

*Turn on machine
*turn on hot water button
*Run a few ounces out of the steam wand to get fresh water
*turn off hot water button
*turn on steam button
*wait for the light to come on
*when the light comes on I blow a little water out of the wand
*froth milk till about 100 degrees, then steam to about 155-160
*clean wand with rag and blow out any milk
*turn off steam button
*turn on hot water button
*run hot water through the wand until the light goes off
*wait until light comes back on
*pull espresso

Thanks for the feedback!

Jed

Posted November 13, 2010 link

Need more detail on what exactly is wrong with your espresso extractions to properly help you with that part. Could be old beans? Also, I've found that pulling a shot right after the heater turns off (ready light comes on in your case) gives water that is above boiling and too hot. A very quick cooling flush of 1 or 2 seconds (or via opening steam wand) helps.

Personally, on a single boiler machine like this I prefer to pull the shot before steaming the milk. But that is debatable.

About the ready light vs boiler light, it depends which version/model you have. Some have a boiler light that turns on when the heater is activated, others have a ready light that turns on after the heater turns off. It should be obvious which one you have.
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jedvz
Senior Member


Joined: 16 Jan 2010
Posts: 18
Location: Bloomington IN
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Expobar Office Lever Plus
Grinder: LeLit
Roaster: behmor 1600
Posted Sat Nov 13, 2010, 10:02am
Subject: Re: Dialing in a Lelit PL041
 

Thanks for the feedback. The espresso extraction just seems to be inconsistent, really fast or really slow, but that could be caused by using different beans than I'm used to. I'm using the last 10 oz of the Liquid Amber (Sweet Maria) instead of the Monkey Blend (I much prefer the Monkey Blend). I also made the grind finer and am tamping less, so it's just a matter of getting all these variables under control. They are fresh roasted (2 days ago, by me).

The steaming is causing me the most grief...it might be the milk. I normally go for the store brand organic 2%, but bought Horizon Organic.

Between steaming and pulling the first shot, I am letting about 3 oz of water out of the wand, until the ready light goes off. Then I wait until it comes back on before extracting the espresso.
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jedvz
Senior Member


Joined: 16 Jan 2010
Posts: 18
Location: Bloomington IN
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Expobar Office Lever Plus
Grinder: LeLit
Roaster: behmor 1600
Posted Sun Nov 14, 2010, 11:47am
Subject: Re: Dialing in a Lelit PL041
 

Weird, but true...

I started wondering if the milk was causing the steaming troubles (horizon organic 2%), so this morning after my morning coffee (very thin milk again) I went and bought the store brand organic 2% and tried again. Wonderful result...back to normal.

Has anyone else experienced this? I am dumbfounded, but relieved!
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h3yn0w
Senior Member
h3yn0w
Joined: 28 Oct 2010
Posts: 158
Location: Canada

Posted Sun Nov 14, 2010, 1:36pm
Subject: Re: Dialing in a Lelit PL041
 

Haven't experienced that but glad to hear you've got it sorted out.

A suggestion I was going to make was to de-calcify your machine. Apparently mineral deposits can mess with your steaming ability.
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coffeechatter
Senior Member


Joined: 2 Dec 2010
Posts: 2
Location: Shrewsbury, NJ
Expertise: Just starting

Espresso: Le'Lit PL041QE
Grinder: Le'Lit PL53
Posted Wed Dec 8, 2010, 12:59pm
Subject: Re: Dialing in a Lelit PL041
 

LeíLit PL041QE espresso machine and PL53 Grinder

After purchasing the above machines in August 2010 from 1st-Line equipment, I experienced many of the difficulties that have been discussed in various forums.  These are my first brewing and grinding machines and my only experience was an afternoon course that I took two years ago at Kitten Coffee in Brooklyn.

Despite the often quoted guidelines for adjusting coarseness of grind, quantity of dose, distribution within the basket, technique and force of tamp along with all the variables of pulling the shot, my drinks were highly inconsistent in quality with a disappointingly high percentage of shots that were undrinkable.

Problems included what appeared to be early blonding (although it was really a lightening of color and not true blonding which includes a thinning of the liquidís density), frequent and considerable channeling, bitterness from too hot an extraction temperature, and a great deal of difficulty controlling extraction volumes.

After a lot of reading (Iím very impressed by the generosity of time that many have put into their informative posts) and much experimentation, I seem to have hit upon a protocol that has resulted in truly delicious espresso with highly reproducible outcomes.

I turn on the espresso machine and allow it to warm up for a minimum of 15 minutes.  After starting the machine I run a few ounces of water through the steam wand and then the grouphead to eliminate some of the standing water from the previous dayís use.

I warm the portafilter with its basket in the grouphead while the machine warms up.  When all is ready I weigh out 14 grams of beans on a small digital scale  (15 grams could not fit in the double basket) and grind them into a cup.  This recent change of weighing the coffee and grinding into a cup rather than directly into the portafilter has resulted in dramatic improvement.  I had earlier tried to eyeball the dose, and tried many techniques of distribution including shaking the basket, tapping it on hard surfaces, stirring the grinds vigorously in all sorts of patterns (WDM), followed by a variety of tamping methods, but none could consistently prevent dramatic channeling as viewed from my bottomless portafilter.  

Now, I spoon the grinds into the basket with a small spoon and distribute carefully pushing a bit with the back of the spoon toward the edges, leaving a very slight indentation in the center.

I place the tamper on the grinds and gently press the base with fingers on the tamper base at N/S then E/W.  I then tamp straight down with 10lb of force.  A polishing twirl is done to finish.

With the machine warmed up and the ready light on, I run water into the espresso cup until the boiler light turns off indicating that the boiler water has cooled and the boiler has turned on (it sounds like some earlier units have lights that do the opposite).  I pour the water out of the espresso cup once it has warmed.  When the ready light turns back on I run water for 3 seconds to cool the water a bit and then attach the portafilter and turn the water flow back on.  With my current grind setting the flow is beautiful with more gradual lightening of the pour, a well formed cone and little to no channeling.  I generally run the shot for 25-30 seconds and generate 1.5 to 2 oz of coffee.  The end of the shot shows shrinking of the cone and slower, wobblier flow through the filter but this doesnít seem to harm the quality in any way.  

Because the grinder is stepless I canít describe the fineness that Iíve hit upon, but my impression is that it is being ground to a very fine powder (as posted comments by Jim @ 1st-line had recommended).  I use Bali beans from Rook Coffee Roasters in Oakhurst , NJ (www.rookcoffeeroasters.com) and the results are great.

I hope this helps some similarly inexperienced owners of these machines to make great espresso a lot faster then I learned to.
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chigdon
Senior Member


Joined: 28 Dec 2010
Posts: 2
Location: Atlanta
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Le'lit PL041
Grinder: Baratza Vario
Posted Fri Dec 31, 2010, 6:46am
Subject: Re: Dialing in a Lelit PL041
 

shawndo Said:

my bottomless PF has always been pretty squirty.  The espresso is coming out great, it's just squirty for the first couple seconds.  I cut up my original PF, so now I have to buy a normal one.  Seems easier to find the bottomless one on 1st-line than the normal one now!

Posted October 5, 2010 link

I am hoping to know from Shawndo (or anyone else with same grinder/machine combo) what settings you have settled on for your Vario.  If you have posted it and I somehow missed it then I apologize.
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shawndo
Senior Member
shawndo
Joined: 5 Jan 2010
Posts: 106
Location: NYC
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: LM Shot Brewer
Grinder: VL M3/Compak K10 Pro
Posted Fri Dec 31, 2010, 6:57am
Subject: Re: Dialing in a Lelit PL041
 

chigdon Said:

I am hoping to know from Shawndo (or anyone else with same grinder/machine combo) what settings you have settled on for your Vario.  If you have posted it and I somehow missed it then I apologize.

Posted December 31, 2010 link

This is really something you have to figure out on your own.  When I take out the burrs in the Vario for cleaning, it seems the settings need to change to get it right again.  

That said, you can start at second mark down on the right and about 3/4 of the way down on the left.  I've been at that setting for a while now.
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