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Graham J

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About Graham J

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    Brewing Nicely

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  • Location
    Sheffield UK
  • Interests
    Repairing mechanical and electrical and electronic devices, mostly broken by me, Cycling.
  1. I agree, this is not unusual. I don't think Gaggia Classic are any more prone than other machines. It can be accompanied by a slight smell also, in the empty tank, indicating some bacterial or fungal activity. I find a few cleaning uses for Citric Acid crystals (Food Grade) around coffee machines and this is another one. After a few (2-5) tank refills, it works to find a time to leave the tank and pickup pipes in a citric acid solution for an hour or two and then rinse a couple of times with tap water, before refill. This seems to keep things fresh for a week or two, or 2-5 tank refills. If you normally just top up the tank, then its best to schedule a regular tank removal and cleaning session.
  2. I was in Liverpool a few days ago for a long weekend with the family. I followed recommendations on this site and found that Bold Street Coffee was the best of the three venues that I tried for both cortado/espresso and fresh food. I liked it enough to go back twice and drag the rest of the family in for Sunday brunch. Spotless and well maintained LM and Arduino grinders. High barista skills and friendly helpful service. Veggie Buoy or Sausage Buoy well worthwhile!
  3. I've a Kinu M68, bought off their website last August. It's beautifully built and very repeatable, tiny grind adjustments are effective in small changes in the shot length and B.R. After a month of ownership I noticed the internal drive shaft had moved a touch in its driveplate. Not a serious problem but it did cause the zero point to move. When I emailed Kinu to ask about this, Christian at Kinu offered to have the grinder back and renew the shaft assembly. They sent a DPD collection next day and duly replaced and updated my Grinder with a small design change, which hadn't been released at that point. I received my Grinder back after about 10 days and it has been faultless since. I'm personally very happy with their service and support. The factory in Rumania is based around rifle producing machinery and is being currently upgraded with their insurance money, following a partial fire at Christmas. As another engineer will know, the line boring and surface grinding machines used for military rifle production are very suitable for their grinder designs.
  4. Two interesting points there, firstly espresso can take a little longer, (+/- 10 seconds on grind and 20 seconds on p.i. and finish) without me feeling anxious or frustrated. I'm more interested in the outcome. However, it was originally named for a reason..... Secondly, my "other grinder" is a Ceado and there isn't any doubt that Ceado are professional and know about grind distribution; their designs clearly show that. The products are specified and designed around small cafe or large cafe and latterly, home use. If we choose to re-specify a cafe grinder c/w doser for home use (my choice) then we can expect to have to change a few things; but that's hardly Ceado's failing.
  5. here are a couple of wiring diagrams online - on the old Gaggia forum, which is still active and also from retailers inc. Whole Latte Love, who have the original Italian diagrams in their website. support area. The power feed is switched onto the solenoid and routed across the thermostats (not through them). If you are safe working with a multimeter you can check continuity from the coffee switch and also that there is a power feed to the solenoid at this switch action. The solenoid valve has to open to allow water flow from the boiler and into the group head - through the little gicleur (jet) that you cleaned out already. It sounds as though you have a faulty or blocked valve, so be sure to check that the solenoid valve stem is moving freely on its internal spring. Best to test the electrical continuity and power feed before ordering a new solenoid! Try to avoid back -flushing this machine, despite what you may read elsewhere - the logic is that when there is no water flow, due to a closed backlash filter or disc, the solenoid valve is open and water pressure causes turbulent flow of any coffee solids dislodged from the grouped distribution and filter screen, which can end up in some small passageways where they would not normally reach under forward water flow.
  6. Version 2.6.004 seems to be the latest firmware - best to start with this update in place because you can turn mode 6 (auto-tare only) on and off in the settings. To avoid the fast auto-tare when the scale is in auto-start (timer starts with drip) just tap the start button before weighing and let the timer run while you are loading beans/grind etc. While the timer is reading you can ignore it if you are just weighing beans or grind but it won't automatically re-tare for 30 seconds. If you want longer than 30 secs before auto-tare you can switch to another weighing only mode with a couple of 1 second tap and hold on the start button. If you turn auto-tare off(mode 6 on the settings menu) it still works in the drip-auto start menus, but not as a separate option.
  7. I've not brewed drip or pour-over coffee for several years, since acquiring the espresso bug. But prompted by Jim Shulman ("another_Jim on H-B) posting on Clever or drip brews, in the Lelit Bianca thread on H-B, I tried a few drip brews using his recipe for the Bianca and they were really enjoyable when I wanted a longer drink. There are two simple ways to get 1:8 to 1:12 brew ratios and a drink of 140-240 ml in 2-4 minutes. Decent DE1 machines and any other variable pressure espresso machines can also do this trick. I'd find it very useful to read other peoples methodology (and complete recipes) while I reflect on maybe buying a V60 or Clever or similar device. I've investigated the effect on machine pump life and so have others. I can share that if needed.
  8. I've owned an Acai Lunar for about 8 months now and it is an amazingly tough and accurate little device. There are two auto-tare and timer settings, one which has a square symbol on screen and one which has a drip symbol. The first one (square) resets timer and tares automatically (this is for busy cafe-type use) and the second one saves the time from drip start and the tared weight for a longer period on screen. The time period which they operate and display for, before resetting or re-tareing is adjustable in the settings menu with feedback on screen. Its important to have the latest software, which you can download onto your phone via the Acai apps. There are some good improvements including timer setting on the latest software update. The app will recognise your scale via Bluetooth and you can update from this screen. There is also the full user manual on the app, which contains clear guide on how to adjust the auto-tare and timings - that's what I used to delay my "drip symbol" re-set to 90 seconds, because I like to pull some long, filter brew type shots on my espresso machine.
  9. You can't successfully back flush these machines due to their solenoid controlled water valve. Using a blind basket or seal disc in the portafilter and attempting to backlash can result in coffee particles and sediment getting in various places that you don't want it! As well as the sound advice already given, check that the pump is outputting (400-500g/ml of water per minute is ok) by disconnecting the feed pipe to the boiler and routing into a bowl. You can use a small dental brush or soft wire to check the valve block and boiler base block passageways are clear.
  10. https://www.shavers.co.uk/gaggia-996530036551-black-crema-filter-pin.html?gclid=Cj0KCQiA1NbhBRCBARIsAKOTmUvZv8eK7LH2WJlxnyFxJN6laI2UxuCVOCoPfSx6esd5VWAKsyOq8PoaApYCEALw_wcB
  11. Regarding the aluminium boiler controversy, there is no point in denying that excessive aluminium in our diets is damaging to health. However, you are unlikely to have such problem resulting from drinking espresso from an aluminium boilered machine. There are at least two reasons why these aluminium boilers are safe: A typical double will provide you with 40-60ml of water from the boiler. If you drink 6 of these daily, you have a likely maximum of 360ml easily - around a glass of water. This is an exposure level far lower than that given by use of the old-school non-anodised aluminium cookware, which is regularly scraped and abraded and originally raised medical concerns. Secondly, the boiler is naturally anodised. Anodised aluminium does not leach significant amounts of aluminium. Anodisation is a thin layer of Alo2 (aluminium oxide) - this is a thin ceramic layer and using such vessels is very similar in safety to using any other ceramic. This layer forms naturally on the inside of your boiler from exposure to oxygen. Provided you don't physically descale too often, thus removing the Alo2 layer, your boiler will maintain this coating and may also add a thin layer of mineral scale on top! These little Gaggia boilers are produced using pressure die-casting - a process leaving a high surface finish, depending on the quality of the mould tool. The boiler inside is smooth from the mould and is already degreased, cleaned and naturally coated with a layer of Alo2 by the time it reaches the consumer.
  12. The LW plastic version are very usable. I bought ten when they were at 40% on the LW website. This offer occurs from time to time. They have a tiny one way valve in the lids, an O Ring seal and store around 25g max. So an 18g typical dose stores without noticeable drying, because of the tiny top surface area relative to volume stored. I find it easy either to batch grind and weigh out few tubes or just to store the last 50-100g of a batch of beans. I use Airscapes, which work well down to 100g or so, but I find some drying takes place after that, resulting in a fast flowing shot for the last few doses. The LW plastic tubes become economic over a year or two, because of the savings in expensive roasts and automate the early morning zombie workflow.
  13. Graham J

    Lelit Bianca

    It's a timely warning. I've recently posted a similar shot over on the H-B Bianca users thread and it seems that quite a few Bianca users have found this range and are using it regularly. I did mention concern for its effect on pump life. But I'll want to continue using it from time to time. If it is this pump fitted to Bianca: https://www.fluidotech.it/site/assets/files/1302/po-70-400-brass-rotary-vane-pump-datasheet-1.pdf then it is designed for high pressure and low flow. We are using 50-60 seconds to drip and then low flow for 60-90 seconds to complete a 40-80ml shot.
  14. Seems that about four other people since my post have recommended checking and cleaning the three-way valve - so at least you can see its a well-known issue! Don't forget to get a seal kit and also clean the boiler, if you do find partial blockage in the passageways of this little casting. A good diagnostic that I use is to run the machine with this pressure measuring portafilter attached. See photo. It uses 4mm bore tubing and has an adjustable needle valve in he line. This is set to bleed 1ml/second and I run a 30 second shot with it and look for an even brew pressure, without any surges. With this set up you are reading actual brew pressure, not blind basket pressure, so 9bar is a useful set point. You can build this yourself for around £30-£40, from eBay parts and it has ongoing usefulness.
  15. All these responses are guesswork, but here's my guess FWIW. I rebuild and upgrade Gaggia Classics (and a few Baby's) regularly. One of the most common faults on a machine more than a couple of years old is partial blockage of the restrictor jet, which is part of the flow path out of the boiler. The jet nozzle is around 0.8mm diameter and the flow passages around it are all small bore drillings. This jet has a rubber seal sitting on it until the pump has pressurised the boiler. So its a perfect location for limescale to build and get lodged. Small pieces of scale can cause the problem you are describing. You'll need some mechanical skills and method to safely remove the stainless steel outlet casting, it needs really thorough cleaning. If that is the problem, the boiler needs opening also to descale and remove any more loose scale and particles from the brewed passages, that could cause a return of the same problem. There are one or two other defects in the pump and the flow/return loop that can cause these symptoms, but this is a good place to get right, on a well-used machine.
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