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viveur

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About viveur

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  1. I'm increasingly convinced I might be the odd one out - lots of people on the Kafatek forums seem to report experiences closer to yours (close to 0 grind setting, very fast shots). Am I lucky? Am I unlucky? Am I just doing something weird? Is everyone else doing something weird. One thing I should've added: my current Wendelboe beans are quite old - 5 weeks from roast (they were forgotten in a postal warehouse for most of that time I suspect, deliveries earlier this year were much faster). That's surprisingly still tasty, but could affect extraction behaviour. I used to be keen on fresher coffees, but recently stum bled across La Cabra's postings on bean freshness - they suggest that 4 weeks is actually good for light roasts - and I guess the same maps to Wendelboe beans.
  2. I will try to test tomorrow, since I've never actually gone below 2. I'm guessing burrs touching = the "chirping" sound (sorry, I've never actually tested before hence my silly questions). (Just to be 100% clear - my Max was preordered - I think - in Feb 2020, assembled and delivered in July 2020 - and it sounds like you might have been the Feb 2020 assembled group?) For more head-scratching, this person on the Kafatek forum is also seeing extremely short shot times even at 0 with light roasts, although they do like the taste: [link requires account/login at the Kafatek forum] https://forums.kafatek.com/t/new-max-seasoning-and-dialling-in/2274/112 Their extraction times might actually be similar to mine though, assuming that their machine has no preinfusion (although I'm not 100% sure how long the preinfusion on my E61 really takes).
  3. Re: portafilter fork waggle: I am indeed able get some waggle too if I actively try to waggle around - but the portafilter does still sit securely while grinding. (I recently readjusted the forks wider to be able to fit a portafilter with a Tidaka funnel on top - the Tidaka funnel doesn't have the inner lip that the Kafatek funnel has, but OTOH it's wider on the outside, which required adjusting the forks to fit. So the forks are now wider than the portafilter would require because of the wider funnel, but the portafilter is still secure if not bulletproof.) Re: Max grind fineness: I have the most recent Max batch, and I haven't ground that much yet (so I imagine things will change over time) - I had no issues getting normal extraction times at around 4 for the Caffe Lusso that came with the grinder, and also Square Mile's Red Brick - now that I'm using some Finca Tamana/Wendelboe beans I had to move down to just over 2. (The Wendelboe light roasts are the real reason I went for this grinder 🙂.) My setup is: E61 (Expobar Leva DB), which has some preinfusion. Now using a VST 18g basket (I did try the EPHQ 14g ridged that came with the Max, but on the Lusso it tasted a bit underextracted compared to the VST, so I switched back to VST since then). Pressure at 8-8.5 bar, first drop appears at around 12s, and I have managed to get 1:2 shots anywhere in the range of 20-40s depending on adjustment - I haven't tried anything slower, those are just the times I hit while dialling in (somewhere around 35s is tastiest for the Finca Tamana, but I'm still experimenting.) HOWEVER I find it quite easy to get channeling with the VST, so sometimes I'll get a shot taking just over 20s, tasting weird, at the same setting that previously gave me a 35s extraction. (Also happened once or twice with the EPHQ, but the VST is trickier.) (Now I'm sorely tempted to get the Levtamp... have I spent too much time in Kafatek land?)
  4. Can't comment on the incisions - one thing that annoys me is that the Cafelat thicker than the original Expobar gasket on my Leva DB (Expobar claims theirs is 8mm, so do Cafelat - haven't bothered to measure either 🙂). And that's a problem because I can't lock the portafilter in as well - not a big problem, but makes it easy to knock it out by accident (I'm going to switch back to the Expobar one for a while to compare).
  5. FWIW I have minimal vertical play with my portafilter (Cafelat E61). I imagine this varies by machine, but hard to fault them for the current size (or else a lot of people wouldn't be able to put the portafilter in the forks). Haven't even tried to use the holes myself in any case.
  6. I've only ever tried the really expensive ones when visiting coffee shops - and I've never really been that impressed. They were certainly good - but I couldn't see what made them better than the already great normally priced beans. (I don't regret paying for them, and by the time you're already paying for cofffe in a shop then the different beans don't add all that much - but I wouldn't bother for home brewing.)
  7. Mildred: I see you have a gold OCD and WDT tool - is that Golden Max perhaps yours too 🙂? https://www.picuki.com/media/2354684689446776636
  8. Slightly late to the game: are you using the official Expobar 3-hole ("Expobar 3 Hole Steam Tip + O'ring - 30370195"), or some other 3 hole? The Expobar ones are rather expensive for some reason, that said all the no-burn compatible tips with small holes seem expensive (plenty of cheaper ones but with bigger holes, which my machine probably can't cope with)?
  9. I've seen a bunch of solutions: - The fully waterproof scale, seems like the Acaia Lunar is the winner here. But they are expensive, and hence if you do break it... expensive to replace. (The "Decent" scale looks like it might be similar, and at least slightly cheaper - but hasn't been release yet.) Hard to make this yourself. - The keep your scale out of harms way by putting it under the drip tray solution: that's what Decent Espresso offer with an adapter combined with the "Skale". Or possibly what DRAXXMENVONE suggests in their post? Depending on what specific machine you use, this could be easy to implement - not viable for my machine unfortunately - The keep your scale out of harms way with some kind of stand between scale and coffee, but bypassing the drip tray - e.g. the ONA "stem". Fundamentally similar concept to the previous item, except that it should work with a wider range of machines? The stem is quite expensive IMHO (it does have to be sturdy though), you could probably DIY something much less elegant for less cost. Personally I've been using a cheap AWS scale for years, and despite being dropped many times and getting wet daily, it hasn't run into issues so far (but I do need to wipe it after every session).
  10. My E61 is the opposite: complete pain to remove the shower screen, I've got some paint can openers to try and lever it off and even then it really doesn't like coming out. Too much lube, or too little lube? Or is is it just my machine that's causing it (Expobar Leva DB) or the gasket (Cafelat silicone gasket)? I haven't quite managed to figure out what everyone else is doing differently...
  11. I did eventually find a post stating that Conical and Flat can popcorn, whereas Max effectively never popcorns. That would explain why the first two have a disc when the Max doesn't (but I guess Denis added the mounting hole to the Max... just in case anyone does hit popcorning and wants to install the disc)? Anyhow, made my first few espressos: I'm using the same beans as I used with my Pharos (Square Mile: Red Brick), same dosage, but switching from VST 18g to the EPHQ 14g ridged (since that's the basket that came with the Max), all on an E61. Initially I aimed for the same shot time and weight as with the Pharos, but the shots were somewhat weak, and slightly sour. Definitely underextracted. I then started moving to finer grinds and longer extractions, and I'm starting to get the where I'm expecting - I'm still trying to figure out the logic: the Max should have a more uniform grind, less fines, so longer shots are possible without bitterness coming into play - but should I need a longer shot to get the fruitiness? Or maybe the basket is the key. ? Certainly a promising (and of course the Max is much easier to use than a Pharos), I will need to keep experimenting 🙂.
  12. Thanks for the reassurance! Max is here, but it's too late in the day for Espresso now so I'll have to wait until tomorrow* ðŸĪŠ One more question: I'm trying to understand the "safety cap". The top part of the Max inlet (funnel?) is removable (is this the safety cap?). On the bottom there is a small threaded screw hole with nothing attached. Should something be attached there, because I've seen photos of the inlet/funnel with a dangly bit, which I'm guessing could be attached to that hole - but I don't have that dangly bit - but also this photo looks like it could be the Flat not the Max: ( https://www.picuki.com/media/1957776207957565816 ) Also, this thing is HUGE. I somehow imagined the grinder to be smaller. Not a complaint, just an observation. Also amazingly built. (I've never seen people mention the Max being huge, but I've seen people complain about the EG-1 being huge, so I can't imagine how big the EG-1 really is.) * I was sorely tempted to break my no coffee in the afternoon rule for once...
  13. I have some questions about the water tank and catering kits 🙂 (disclaimer: I've recently spent far too much on a grinder, so it'll take a few years before I've saved up enough for the DE - but I know I want one ASAP - but I'm also interested in waiting for the faster steaming models seeing as I live in 230V land)! - Is there some way of monitoring the water tank level, without pulling it out - e.g. will the tablet tell me that I need to refill BEFORE I run out of water mid-shot? - How necessary is the catering kit if you decide to run with a "tank" that is on the same level as your machine? I ask because with my current machine (and E61 DB, with vibe pump), I'm able to use an external "tank" (just a tall glass jar) without any extra pumps - the only change needed was some extra tubing to the pump and from the pressure valve. I imagine the Decent could cope with something similar, assuming the tank is on the same level as the machine (but I can also see how the pump is necessary if you have a tank on a lower level)? Finally: thanks for deciding on a ceramic tank! I've had horrible experiences with the plastic tank in my current machine, which is one of the reasons why I use the external glass jar tank (the other reasons being: less heating of the tank, and that it's much easier to remember to refill the tank when it's visible).
  14. My Max is on its way... and I'm trying to figure out how to use it correctly. I've seen lots of talk on the Kafatek forums, but without a clear conclusion: are people on here overdosing their baskets, or using them as specced? Currently I'm mostly using an 18g VST dosed at 18g (I also have a 15 g VST, but rarely use it), however the Max apparently comes with a 14g EPHQ basket, which people are dosing at 18-20g. Using the EPHQ basket overdosed (at e.g. 18g) seems like a good start, but what are people on here doing? (Coffees used are: mainly from Tim Wendelboe, i.e. light roasts, with a few others such as Square Mile and Coffee Collective if I'm feeling adventurous.) And then there's talk about needing flow control - am I likely to run into significant problems with my E61? (I do want to upgrade to a Decent Espresso at some point but I've spent enough on espresso equipment this year.) I didn't really understand why flow control would be more relevant for the Max, although apparently the biggest issue are machines with no preinfusion ðŸĪ”. These are all things I can test for myself of course 🙂- just curious what others have experienced.
  15. I have a Vario - but I don't have a Niche Zero, so I can only give you one side of the story. For Espresso, I can't recommend the Vario - at least if you want to use light roasts. Out of the box, I could not go fine enough for Espresso (to repeat: I'm using light roasts, mainly from Tim Wendelboe) - although I was able to fix that by twiddling the calibration screw - which requires removing a "warranty void if removed" sticker (I believe the Baratza version doesn't have this sticker, but the Mahlkoenig version does). Next problem: the grind gets successively coarser when doing back to back shots, so if I'm doing 3 shots in a row (e.g guest visiting), I have to go one notch finer for every shot - wait an hour, and I need to move back to the original setting. That's OK if you know you have to do it, but not that fun to figure out - perhaps upgrading to the metal burr carrier will help, I have a theory that the burr carrier is expanding due to heat/friction. Taste is reasonable, but my OE Pharos is much better and more consistent for espresso. [I might be considered OTT when it comes to espresso though, since I'm upgrading to a Monolith Max soon...] For Filter it's a great grinder, and I can't really complain. I can easily move back and forward from FP to Filter settings, the tastes are good, I'm happy. I'm getting tastes just as good as the better coffee shops, so it's certainly a strong grinder (but it will certainly be possible to improve on that - I just don't care enough about filter yet). And I suspect there's room for improvement with the burr carrier and alignment modifications (which I'm planning to do once my Monolith arrives - which is admittedly pointless since the Monolith will always beat the Vario, but I'd prefer to keep the Monolith dedicated to Espresso and Vario for filter). As I said, I do have a Pharos, and I suspect it's comparable to the Niche Zero (similar burrs and all that), but I've never actually tried the Pharos for filter, so I can't really compare those two either. For Espresso I'd take the Pharos (or Niche) over the Vario any day, but I have no idea how they compare for filter.
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