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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > La Marzocco...  
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TheGreatKrok
Senior Member


Joined: 6 Jun 2013
Posts: 9
Location: Vancouver
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Thu Jun 6, 2013, 4:52pm
Subject: La Marzocco machine help
 

Hi there, I'm a entry level "Barista" at a waves coffee house. I put Barista in quotes because I've not received any formal training nor really any help. My manager, while largely customer orientated is not always helpful and sometimes hard to understand. But this isn't about my working conditions. We have a La Marzocco grinder and espresso machine that are side by side. I'm not sure if it's the grinder or the machine, but I can never get the same length shot, even side by side. I'm thinking it's the machine. I'll give a few examples:

Just today, I packed two filters and fired them side by side. While one fired for about 10 seconds (normal for us, I know, poor length) the other went till about 16/17. I didn't change anything other them they were in different spots on the machine.

This has happened a few times, about 20 or so shots after I fiddle with the slow/fast on the grinder, the espresso machine chokes up and the water can't get through the puck. Then I have to crank the grinder way down to fast.
In the same vain, even though I crank the nob on the grinder way to the slow side, it still only gives me 10-12 second pulls. I'm really at a loss to why this happens.

Any advice?

Side note: I mention my manager, because she is unhelpful when it comes to how anything works. She doesn't really try and help us understand how the machines work.
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Freddo58
Senior Member


Joined: 16 May 2013
Posts: 36
Location: New Zealand
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Thu Jun 6, 2013, 5:28pm
Subject: Re: La Marzocco machine help
 

TheGreatKrok Said:

Any advice?

Posted June 6, 2013 link

So many variables come in to play. possible operator error, to machine daily/weekly maintenance and service.
Probably not what you want to hear, but if your manager doesn't sort this out, then you're 100% wrong that your manager is "largely customer orientated".
"10 seconds (normal for us, I know, poor length)" is a pretty good indicator that you'll be serving consistently bad espresso.
I'm sure the head office / franchiser or owner of the franchise would have an opinion on this.
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Coffeenoobie
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Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 3,036
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Thu Jun 6, 2013, 6:05pm
Subject: Re: La Marzocco machine help
 

Remember on most commercial grinders it takes a while for the old grinds to clear out and for you to see new grinds get in the basket.   I would suggest weighing but you probably don't have time. But maybe when it is slow you can weigh some grinds so you can eyeball how many grams you have per pull and make them more consistent.

Watch videos to learn more.

http://www.metropoliscoffee.com/university/training/

 
Coffeenoobie

Buying advice: GRINDER GRINDER GRINDER. Don't cheap out on the grinder.

My coffee treasure map...
Click Here (maps.google.com)

Oscar trick out: http://s156.photobucket.com/user/GandBteam/story/14231
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Flori
Senior Member


Joined: 18 Apr 2013
Posts: 114
Location: USA
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Thu Jun 6, 2013, 7:12pm
Subject: Re: La Marzocco machine help
 

i am just a coffee noob just like you so my comment would be for the manager. much better to talk to a person higher than her because your service may be affected in the long run. goodluck :).

flori
blogger, coffeeloversofworld.com
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TheGreatKrok
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Joined: 6 Jun 2013
Posts: 9
Location: Vancouver
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Thu Jun 6, 2013, 7:55pm
Subject: Re: La Marzocco machine help
 

Thanks for the comments. I've only been here a month, so I've been hesitant to speak up about problems that may be uncommon. But now I see that I need to start bitching and moaning about this stuff.

I know this isn't the place, and I will check the other forums, bit do you have any training courses or links for Vancouver Canada Batista help?
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Freddo58
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Joined: 16 May 2013
Posts: 36
Location: New Zealand
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Thu Jun 6, 2013, 8:46pm
Subject: Re: La Marzocco machine help
 

Don't start bitching and moaning yet...  Well not unless you don't need or value your job.
The way to approach is is to have some solutions to present to your boss - not just moaning about problems - even if by the sound of it may not be your fault at all.
(It isn't your fault even if you are making some mistakes - if that's because of lack of training).
Taking 20 shots to settle in after adjusting grind doesn't sound like operator error to me.  Nor - if you're packing two filters at the same time side by side, and you're confident that you're dosing the same amount and tamping with about the same pressure, but getting wild fluctuation in extraction time.  Perhaps the group heads haven't been cleaned for a long time - and the most used one is clogged up more.  Does anybody clean the machine (ie not just polish the outside)?
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TheGreatKrok
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Joined: 6 Jun 2013
Posts: 9
Location: Vancouver
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Thu Jun 6, 2013, 8:51pm
Subject: Re: La Marzocco machine help
 

We don't pack by hand (I wish we did, that would mean I might be at error), it's a machine.

Even after 20 shots, the machine never really settles, I get a 2- shot every once and a while but never consistent. This persists after cleaning the heads.

Side question, as I'm at work while posting this. If water is coming out of the edge of the head (when clearing it for the next shot) does that indicate a broken seal?
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Freddo58
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Joined: 16 May 2013
Posts: 36
Location: New Zealand
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Thu Jun 6, 2013, 9:07pm
Subject: Re: La Marzocco machine help
 

TheGreatKrok Said:

Side question, as I'm at work while posting this. If water is coming out of the edge of the head (when clearing it for the next shot) does that indicate a broken seal?

Posted June 6, 2013 link

Probably - or gunked up with grinds.  Oops - what do you mean by "clearing it"?
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TheGreatKrok
Senior Member


Joined: 6 Jun 2013
Posts: 9
Location: Vancouver
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Thu Jun 6, 2013, 9:15pm
Subject: Re: La Marzocco machine help
 

Purging? Before you pull the shot, you push the button and let clear water flow out. Is that clear ? I feel that isn't clear lol.
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Freddo58
Senior Member


Joined: 16 May 2013
Posts: 36
Location: New Zealand
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Thu Jun 6, 2013, 9:23pm
Subject: Re: La Marzocco machine help
 

OK, that makes sense.  I'd expect the flow to run down and drip from more-or less the middle of the shower screen.  So what's it like up under there?  Is the machine regularly back-flushed, the screen scrubbed, and back-flushed using detergent (probably daily)?
I guess that if the screen is so clogged that water tracks to escape around the group gasket, then it's restricting flow, or flow isn't even across the screen which would lead to channeling through the puck and poor extraction.
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