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New Salvatore E61 (2014-01-17)
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Bogiesan
Senior Member


Joined: 1 Jan 2002
Posts: 43
Location: boise Idaho, usa
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Salvatore Famosa c.2000
Grinder: Rancilio M40
Posted Sat Jan 18, 2014, 5:45am
Subject: New Salvatore E61 (2014-01-17)
 

(cross-posted at home-barista for what I think are good reasons)
Briefly (much more to come later):
The box arrived unannounced. Salvatore was to give me a UPS tracking number but did not. My dear wife just happened to be home, otherwise I'd have had to wait till next Tuesday.
Unboxing was fun. Damn thing is heavy. Two sturdy filter holders with the ubiquitous double and nearly useless single baskets. The baskets and filter handles are not marked with a mfr brand but they are all finished beautifully.  (I had requested a bottomless filter holder but the request was never acknowledged and it was not in the box. Major bummer for me; I really wanted that thing. But now I get to shop for my first third party accessory!)
Took the side panels off. Looks like an exceptional build: heavy powder-coated frame, beautiful welds, lots of shiny brass bits, elegant bends in the copper, neat routing job on all wires and tubes, huge boiler (I'll check on the capacity later).
Can't get to the pressure stat to make adjustments or to see the brand names on the components without removing the top and back panels and that looks complicated.
The machine is a lovely and conventionally simple E61 design: heavy, no frills, lots of chrome, group head, two tubes, two valves, a switch. There is a large capacity, heavy stainless drip tray with neatly welded seams.
Pour-over design with an over-pressure tube that returns to the top of the 64 oz. tank. (Old machine did not have the OP.)
Plugged her in and she came up to operating pressure in about 15 minutes. Waited another 10 minutes and then started playing around. Steam wand is an insulated tube. I was not expecting that, it's a nice touch but maybe it's standard equipment on the current E61 machines from every mfr. The tip has two holes. Single pressure gauge for the boiler. It's got a nice large dial. There are no other indicators. Brew temp, after clearing the spitting water from the heat exchanger, is a consistent 195F. There is a hot water dispensing wand, a feature I have not had before, and I enjoyed pulling extremely hot water, letting it sit for a few minutes, and dropping in a fancy expanding artsy ball of tea. This machine is going to make great hot chocolate and, of course, if I knew someone who drank them, Americanos.

Reservations and some negative points: The steam wand has a weirdly limited range of movement making it impossible to get it perfectly vertical. The pump vibrates the frame hard enough to make cups and shot glasses walk away from the spouts. Impossible to see how much water is in the tank. A slot cut in the side panel that covers the reservoir is a simple solution and I'll probably do that. There are two power indicator lamps that do the same thing. One should be hooked to the boiler heater and I'll probably do that. There is Salvatore's elegant S logo pierced into the top panel but, if you're not VERY careful when filling the reservoir, water will drip into the machine and there are probably serious electrical connections under the S.

Performance was fun and, compared to my 13 year-old Salvatore, spectacular. Much more steaming power. Not quite as loud. Narrower band of down time on the pressure stat (although that could be an indication of wear and tear on the older unit). Steam valve instead of a steam switch. Totally different taste and mouthfeel compared to  what I was drinking from the older machine just this morning.

Tomorrow I shall acquire two pounds of fresh espresso from Boise's Flying M and two gallons of milk from Costco, maybe a new thermopen (if I can find one in Boise).

I'm shooting lots of video and should have something ready to view in a month or two. Meantime, if you have suggestions for experiments or questions you'd like me to attempt to answer, please email (preferred)(bogiesan_at_icloud-dot-com), send a private message or post them here. There's only so much I can do with simple consumer grade tools but I will try to satisfy your inquiries or follow your advice.

photo caption (if it uploads): MINE!

 
I play go. I use Macintosh,. Of course I ride a recumbent.
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Bogiesan
Senior Member


Joined: 1 Jan 2002
Posts: 43
Location: boise Idaho, usa
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Salvatore Famosa c.2000
Grinder: Rancilio M40
Posted Sat Jan 18, 2014, 5:10pm
Subject: Salvatore E61 lever: Fail Safe! (2014-01-18)
 

home-barista doesn't tolerate cross-posting, my mistake, and they probably have way too many E61 reviews anyway, so my serial will unfold here, exclusive to CG.

I acquired 2 pounds of fresh beans and two gallons of milk and dove in for a long day of experimenting, tasting, time tracking, precision measurements and video documentation. Just after foaming up some milk samples and rinsing the pitcher with super hot water from the super convenient hot water wand, the pump switched on to refill the boiler. And it just kept running. That usually means trouble with a pour-over. While concentrating on processes I ignored important details and let the reservoir run dry. Just as I was getting ready to power down, a little red lamp next to the (redundant) green power-on indicator started to blink and the pump shut off all by itself. Fail safe!

How cool is that? I knew the protection diagnostic circuit was built into the machine but I figured I was too smart to ever need it. (Note to self: Investigate sight tubes or other ultra-simple (not an iPhone app) water tank capacity monitoring systems.)

IMPORTANT NOTE (all caps): Salvatore's manual points out in BOLD LETTERS this is not a warning system that you need to add water to the reservoir. It is an indication something, could be anything, is seriously wrong with the system. I don't know what kind of logic is programmed into the controller box but it works! I also do not know if other popular E61 systems have similar features.

I refilled the reservoir tank but the pump would not draw water. I now had the E61 equivalent of a vapor lock, a big air bubble in the line, that was not going to move until all that metal cooled off and pressure gradients shifted. Twenty minutes later the machine was cool, the pump quickly drew down the tank and the fill sensor shut it off.

Do not ignore the basics like wiping out the portafilter basket between shots, wiping off the steam wand after each milk run, purging the wand and keeping an eye on water in the tank.

BTW: The reservoir is 64 ounces. A shot consumes roughly seven ounces (two for the shot, more or less, and four or five for the thermal flush). If you pull seven to ten ristretto and doppio, sinking a few, and steam two or three batches of milk, you will drain the tank. I know, I've done it.

But I've had enough excitement for one day.

More later.

David Bogie, Boise ID

 
I play go. I use Macintosh,. Of course I ride a recumbent.
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dana_leighton
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dana_leighton
Joined: 11 Jan 2002
Posts: 2,037
Location: Fayetteville, AR
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Isomac Relax; Caferina...
Grinder: Macap MXK; Baratza Vario-W;...
Vac Pot: Yama 5-cup
Drip: Technivorm; CCD; Melitta
Roaster: Poppery I w/PID controller
Posted Sun Jan 19, 2014, 7:35am
Subject: Re: Salvatore E61 lever: Fail Safe! (2014-01-18)
 

Bogiesan Said:

While concentrating on processes I ignored important details and let the reservoir run dry. Just as I was getting ready to power down, a little red lamp next to the (redundant) green power-on indicator started to blink and the pump shut off all by itself. Fail safe!
...
Salvatore's manual points out in BOLD LETTERS this is not a warning system that you need to add water to the reservoir. It is an indication something, could be anything, is seriously wrong with the system. I don't know what kind of logic is programmed into the controller box but it works! I also do not know if other popular E61 systems have similar features.

Posted January 18, 2014 link

Well, I don't know about a global "something is seriously wrong" indicator, but in terms of low water, it is more common for the machines to have some sensor that detects low water before the reservoir runs dry. My Isomac, for example, has a spring-loaded microswitch that trips when the weight of water in the tank gets close to empty. I am actually surprised that Salvatore's machines don't have this.

 
Dana Leighton - Espresso hack and CoffeeGeek moderator
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boar_d_laze
Senior Member


Joined: 21 Nov 2006
Posts: 1,480
Location: Monrovia, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: La Cimbali M21 DT/1 Junior...
Grinder: Ceado E92; "Bunnzilla"
Vac Pot: Royal Coffee Maker
Drip: Chemex + Kone; Espro Press
Roaster: USRC Sample Roaster
Posted Sun Jan 19, 2014, 9:12am
Subject: Re: Salvatore E61 lever: Fail Safe! (2014-01-18)
 

New equipment teething pains are, no doubt about it, unpleasant.  It's dialing-in suckitude, squared.  If it's any comfort to you, you're not the first person to venture into that particular circle of hell nor are you alone.  

One thing though, your water-dance-temp routine shouldn't require nearly as much water as you're currently using between shots drawn in succession.  Try flushing just until flash boiling ends, and trust the E-61 group to do some stabilization for you.

If you need a long flush to get through the flash-boiling stage in a succession, the water in the HX is heating too fast and you may need to reduce boiler pressure/temp at the p-stat.  I don't know what the ideal boiler pressure range is for your machine, you may want to call Salvatore tomorrow and ask.    

BDL
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Bogiesan
Senior Member


Joined: 1 Jan 2002
Posts: 43
Location: boise Idaho, usa
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Salvatore Famosa c.2000
Grinder: Rancilio M40
Posted Sun Jan 19, 2014, 5:12pm
Subject: Re: Salvatore E61 lever: Fail Safe! (2014-01-18)
 

boar_d_laze Said:

New equipment teething pains are, no doubt about it, unpleasant.  It's dialing-in suckitude, squared.  If it's any comfort to you, you're not the first person to venture into that particular circle of hell nor are you alone.  
One thing though, your water-dance-temp routine shouldn't require nearly as much water as you're currently using between shots drawn in succession.  Try flushing just until flash boiling ends, and trust the E-61 group to do some stabilization for you.
If you need a long flush to get through the flash-boiling stage in a succession, the water in the HX is heating too fast and you may need to reduce boiler pressure/temp at the p-stat.  I don't know what the ideal boiler pressure range is for your machine, you may want to call Salvatore tomorrow and ask.    
BDL

Posted January 19, 2014 link

Yeah, I started to notice I didn't need to use so much water to flush the flash.
Experimenting with the new machine is a pleasure, really. Figuring it all out. Trying to forget the muscle memory of 13 years of the previous machine. I keep reaching for switches that aren't there.

Right now I'm trying to figure out why the little Ulka is shaking the case hard enough to make the demitasse dance.

 
I play go. I use Macintosh,. Of course I ride a recumbent.
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Bogiesan
Senior Member


Joined: 1 Jan 2002
Posts: 43
Location: boise Idaho, usa
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Salvatore Famosa c.2000
Grinder: Rancilio M40
Posted Sun Jan 19, 2014, 7:01pm
Subject: Re: Salvatore E61 lever: Fail Safe! (2014-01-18)
 

dana_leighton Said:

Well, I don't know about a global "something is seriously wrong" indicator, but in terms of low water, it is more common for the machines to have some sensor that detects low water before the reservoir runs dry. My Isomac, for example, has a spring-loaded microswitch that trips when the weight of water in the tank gets close to empty. I am actually surprised that Salvatore's machines don't have this.

Posted January 19, 2014 link

Agreed. I wish there was a safeguard on the reservoir.
I'm not an apologist for the company, I just like them and I like this new unit. Realistically, I think there's only so much Salvatore can put into his machines and still keep the price within reach. There is the fact that a relatively inexpensive safety device might prevent a catastrophic pump or boiler failure. A replacement pump is about $50 and a boiler element is less than $100. I guess that's the range: can a reservoir sensor and alarm or power cutoff be installed for $35-70?

I think I can modify the unit in any of several different ways, including a spring or lever under the Nalgene bottle. I just need to think it through. Needs to be ultra simple. I really want to do a sight glass but that would have to come through the back panel.

Ideas?

 
I play go. I use Macintosh,. Of course I ride a recumbent.
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hankua
Senior Member
hankua
Joined: 29 Aug 2009
Posts: 294
Location: Jacksonville, Florida
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Salvatore One Black
Grinder: Major, Rossi, Tanzenia,...
Drip: Behmor Brazen, CCD
Roaster: Feima 800n, Huky, Sirocco
Posted Mon Jan 20, 2014, 6:10am
Subject: Re: New Salvatore E61 (2014-01-17)
 

I've got right angle lab spouts you can hook on a bottle that won't overfill; been using them with my one black for years. When the water level reaches the spout, flow stops. Or you can use an external plastic bottle and re-route the infeed tube. My fill bottles can sit on top of the machine un-attended with the spout open if necessary.
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Bogiesan
Senior Member


Joined: 1 Jan 2002
Posts: 43
Location: boise Idaho, usa
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Salvatore Famosa c.2000
Grinder: Rancilio M40
Posted Mon Jan 20, 2014, 6:26am
Subject: Re: New Salvatore E61 (2014-01-17)
 

hankua Said:

I've got right angle lab spouts you can hook on a bottle that won't overfill; been using them with my one black for years. When the water level reaches the spout, flow stops. Or you can use an external plastic bottle and re-route the infeed tube. My fill bottles can sit on top of the machine un-attended with the spout open if necessary.

Posted January 20, 2014 link

Sorry, can't quite envision your setup.

I ran a gallon Brita unit on the old Salvatore by hooking into the plumb-in line that was already on the machine's piping. However the E61's tank has an over-pressure return tube which I think complicates rigging an external tank.

 
I play go. I use Macintosh,. Of course I ride a recumbent.
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Bogiesan
Senior Member


Joined: 1 Jan 2002
Posts: 43
Location: boise Idaho, usa
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Salvatore Famosa c.2000
Grinder: Rancilio M40
Posted Fri Jan 24, 2014, 8:08pm
Subject: Re: New Salvatore E61 (2014-01-17)
 

What's the custom around here for continuing narratives? Do I simply add to this thread or start new topics?

I continue to learn how to live with the new machine. I'm having a total blast.
My old Salvatore had a separate switch for everything: steam, coffee, power. This one has knobs, valves and a few peculiarities. Here's my startup procedure:
  1. The cat wakes me up at 0400 because she wants out and I'm her staff so she wakes me up to operate the door for her.
  2. I put on my slippers (it's January in Boise ID nd the house is chilly at 0400). I stumble to the kitchen and open the Salvatore's steam valve. Then I engage the power switch.
  3. I sigh heavily and with supreme dramatic exaggeration open the kitchen door and let the darn cat out.
  4. Oblutions.
  5. Trying not to resent the whole cat-wants-out thing, I grope my way back to the kitchen and confirm the steam wand is bubbling or spitting. I close the steam valve.
  6. Back to bed.
  7. Alarm at 0540.
  8. The machine is hot all over, through and through, and the boiler is at pressure. Time to make coffee!

Except for the parts involving the cat, this is Salvatore's recommended startup procedure, as explained in the manual and in a video clip accessible from their site.

 
I play go. I use Macintosh,. Of course I ride a recumbent.
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