It's been slightly more than 7 months since I've been using my PID Quick mill Alexia.
Upgrading from a Breville cafe roma, I have to say that I was amazed by the improvement in my shot.
The 47 pounds Quick mill deliver great look and great performance in the same package.
After some time, I've noticed few tweak could be done to fully exploit the potential of the Alexia.
Having a PID, the temperature is extremely accurate but the display show boiler temperature instead of the group head...
I realized that I needed to find out the group temp and I've added a electronic thermometer in my e61 group.
The website here show about what I've done...
Click Here (coffeetime.wikidot.com)
For the record, my setting is 99.2degrees at the boiler witch yield 92.3degrees at the group head.
Then, I realized that when I do a shot, the PID start to pulse with an increasing duty-cycle.
This is normal but the on/off switching of the powerful element vary the voltage at the pump creating a non constant brew pressure.
According to the gauge, the pump pressure move from 9 to 9.5bar depending if the element is on or off.
(OK, I'm living in a apartment and the power outlet I have can be weak causing much of the problem)
Since I can't have a dedicated breaker to my Alexia, I had to fix that pressure variation.
My solution cost me little less than $10 and required me about 45min of work.
I have inserted a diode in serial with the element. That cut half the voltage to the element reducing it's power value by half.
Now, My element deliver about 700watts. The current draw from the power outlet is cut in half too reducing the voltage fluctuation to be insignificant.
Yes, the warm up time is longer by few minutes but when I brew a shot, my pressure gauge doesn't move at all even if the element switch on/off.
This really increased the quality of the shot.
If like me, you want to add a diode, use an "International Rectifier 40hf100" or similar (it's a bit oversize but I wanted to be safe).
Click Here (parts.digikey.ca)
Of course, the steaming mode isn't affected by the modification so I still have 1400Watts for steam mode.
Then, with the brew pressure being constant, I tried few brew pressure to find the optimum.
This is highly personal but I'm using 8.5bar.
Lastly, to be sure every shot is perfect, a bottomless PF is the only way to go.
Even with good timing extraction, once I've switched to a naked PF, I've realized that I had channeling very often.
It's easy to correct your tamping problem when you see the mistake you do.
With a BL PF, your shot will get better and you won't have the rookie "hit and miss"
The taste of the bottomless pf don't change much but the crema level is greater and the mouth feel is somewhat better.
Last thing, to improve the consistency even more, I've find that the Espro tamper are the way to go.
Precisely calibrated to 30 pounds, these device remove the guesstimate pressure variation yielding a even better espresso.
That about it. Now My Alexia now deliver great shot time after time.
Steaming is good and the stock 2 holes tips does the job to create a good microfoam.
As with any other single boiler machine, the cool down from steam to espresso mode is long (add to this that my boiler is insulated to prevent heat to destroy the PID controller) and if steaming is required, it's a must to pour the espresso shot before going in steam mode.