Posted Fri Feb 1, 2013, 2:30am Subject: Need help with a cheap machine :(
I bought myself a cheap espresso machine from Lidl for Xmas (Silvercrest Espresso Machine, see here) and have been messing around with it since. I can get a nice latte out of it, but I want to venture into the realms of espresso. I have tried some of them that have come out of my machine, and it's vile - bitter and makes your face screw up. I have recently modified one of the baskets to remove any pressurisation (can post pictures if anyone else wants to do it) and so am now relying on tamp & grind etc. I understand that aspect. However I also tried weighing my grinds, rather than just filling the basket up like I normally do (oops) and the basket is filled by 12g of beans. I've read for a double this should be 18g? Is this a huge problem? Do I need to source out a 3rd party basket that will fit in my portafilter?
Markarian Senior Member Joined: 27 Jun 2012 Posts: 645 Location: Seattle Area Expertise: I love coffee
Espresso: ECM Technika IV Profi WT-WC Grinder: Baratza Forte AP, Mazzer SJ Vac Pot: Bunn Trifecta MB Drip: Moka, Aeropress, Melitta 102 Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Fri Feb 1, 2013, 3:53am Subject: Re: Need help with a cheap machine :(
Getting these entry level home machines to work with real espresso can be a challenge. The first thing I'd ask you is which grinder are you using? If you bought a new grinder, and it cost less than 200 quid, it's probably not suitable for espresso unless it's a hand grinder. As for dosage, would a bigger basket fit in the PF?
Posted Fri Feb 1, 2013, 4:20am Subject: Re: Need help with a cheap machine :(
Yeah I've got a Hario mini mill, which I believe is enough? Seems to be able to go pretty damn fine.
I have just looked into how much I can get into the basket - 12g :( So I've been doing some searching, and I've figured out the tamper size is ~50mm, so I've ordered a spare (unpressurised) basket at 51mm that should hopefully fit, and take the full 18g
CMIN Senior Member Joined: 14 Jun 2012 Posts: 917 Location: South FL Expertise: I like coffee
Espresso: Crossland CC1 Grinder: Baratza Preciso
Posted Fri Feb 1, 2013, 4:47am Subject: Re: Need help with a cheap machine :(
Looks like it's a rebadged Delonhi EC152, problem with these machines is their "starter" machines, they have no temp stability, very small boilers that cool fast as they pull in water dropping temps as water hits the puck, and they don't even get to the right espresso temps. I have a Delonghi bar 32 I started with. Was better then Starbucks lol, just no comparison to my setup now. You can mod the baskets like you already did. Leave the machine on longer to warm up, don't go by the lights (if it has any, the Bar32 would light up in like 5 minutes saying it's ready but that's not true). Could try little tricks like turning to steam and just before steam is ready, switch to pull a shot so the water is hotter and try that.
I have the Mini Mill around too, how are your shots coming out as far as time? Usually the Mini will be between gushing and choking and then you have to adjust the dose to compensate, but these baskets are smaller then normal as well. Have you tried 14g and so you may have a mound but level/tamp that in?
Posted Fri Feb 1, 2013, 6:50am Subject: Re: Need help with a cheap machine :(
Surely if I bring it up to steaming temperature, then brew, it'll burn the coffee like no-ones business? What sort of temperature should it be out of the group head - i think i'll try and take a measure of it to see just how far off it is.
Others have said its a rebadged EC152 as well, however looking at them both, there are definitely differences: the steaming wand is a different style, and the pressurisation system was definitely different to that of the EC155 pictures I've seen. To depressurise, it was just a case of removing a few screws on the basket, rather than the portafilter itself (handy!) just a shame it doesn't hold 18g :(
As for the time of shots, I have only tried one 'true' unpressurised shot so far, and that lasted under 10 seconds really, but I hadn't changed the grind size to how I was using it before, so that is something I definitely need to fix as well. Needs to be much finer.
JasonBrandtLewis Senior Member Joined: 9 Dec 2005 Posts: 6,200 Location: Berkeley, CA Expertise: I live coffee
Espresso: Elektra T1 - La Valentina -... Grinder: Mahlkönig K30 Vario -... Vac Pot: Yama 5-cup Drip: CCD, Chemex Roaster: No, no, not another...
Posted Fri Feb 1, 2013, 7:18am Subject: Re: Need help with a cheap machine :(
Did you also write this:
My partner and I testing out our Silvercrest Espresso Machine (rebranded DeLonghi, similar to the EC152). We bought the Silvercrest from Lidl for £39.99 and it’s AWESOME! The machine comes supplied with 2 pressurised portafilters (a single and a double) allowing you to use pre-ground coffee off-the-shelf. We used LaVazza Qualità Rossa coffee for this video and the pressurised double portafilter. We bastardised one of the portafilters so there’s no longer any pressurisation, therefore relying solely on the coffee tamp and grounds to produce the perfect pull. But unfortunately off-the-shelf, pre-ground coffee pulls in about 10 seconds. Our local Italian restaurant was kind enough to give us some of their own ground coffee to sample. By chance it was almost perfectly dialed for our machine, producing a 24 second pull. Beautiful! This proves that the machine is capable. However, we now know we need a grinder to get the best out of the machine. By the way, throw the supplied pannarello attachment away – it serves no useful purpose, unless what it produces is your idea of cappuccino foam Video Rating: 5 / 5
As Markarian said,
Getting these entry level home machines to work with real espresso can be a challenge.
If you are serious about making great espresso, ditch both of the pressurized portafilters (PPF).
Get a grinder. There is no way to produce high quality espresso from pre-ground coffee. Period.
Babbie's Rule* of Fifteens: -- Green (unroasted) coffee beans should be roasted within 15 months of harvest, or they go stale. -- Roasted coffee beans should be ground within 15 days, or they go stale. -- Ground coffee should be used within 15 minutes, or it goes stale.
The problem with SBDU machines is that you have to wait. Wait for the machine to rise in temperature from brew to steam before steaming the milk; wait for the machine to cool down from steam temp to brew, before you pull a shot.
Overall, you seem to be headed down the right track. Patience, and practice.
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