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About Blaven

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    Brewing Nicely

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  1. Don’t shoot the messenger! https://www.smh.com.au/national/international-scientific-study-says-your-barista-is-making-your-coffee-all-wrong-20200122-p53trn.html
  2. Blaven

    Am I mad

    You won’t regret the Mara. I’m running one now since June and it continues to give pleasure both in the coffee it gives me, and just by looking at it. No great mystique to pulling a shot. Just purge some water from the group head for 12-13 seconds, (time it) then insert portafilter and away you go. Experience will tell you what weight of beans to grind. I like 16g. of Rave Coffee Chatswood blend, ground pretty fine. I don’t bother weighing the liquid, just wait until my notional level in my favourite cup is reached. It’s also nicely built and engineered. Good luck.
  3. I’ve just finished my refurb project, 2003 Europiccola. Succumbed to EBay temptation and probably parted with too much money but ‘no pockets in a shroud’ as they say. Previous owner brought it back from America so had to strip it down and new element 220v. Closer inspection revealed pretty much everything needed replacing so spent as much again for spares. Mine has the knurled plastic/nylon base tightening ring, which came as a bit of a shock as I had only heard of the brass ones. Mercifully the gasket between it and the base was stuck to the base and the ring turned easily finger tight. Alarm bells rang as I realised I would at some point need to retighten on a new gasket (which for the nylon ring is the wider gasket from the 16cup Professional). Thinking cap on and I made a tool for this using the ring as a template. Screws are M5 25mm mounted with spring washers and not fully tightened so that they can be eased into their respective holes in the nylon ring. Square section tubing crappily welded (it was stainless steel I now realise) and a big adjustable spanner to snug it down in the correct orientation. I lubricated the surface of the gasket and the threads of the boiler with liquid PTFE prior to screwing it up. Worked a treat!
  4. Gordon St. Coffee. Glasgow Central. Might change your mind?
  5. Here are some tools I found useful to strip down the La Pavoni boiler. All 16mm nuts. Biting the bullet now on £150 worth of spares for rebuild. With regard to the rotating boiler syndrome, I understand that this comes on after a period of time when the gaskets compress slightly, despite ultimate tightening after assembly? Has anyone used silicone on both surfaces of the upper gasket, directly below the boiler flange? I know it may be difficult for subsequent dismantling, but, say, about 4 little blobs on both sides of the gasket? But I suppose when aligning the boiler in correct relation to the base on tightening, this would be spread into more of a smear. Hmm. maybe not! Anybody used a thin coat CopperEase grease on the threads of the boiler to facilitate tightening, and also on the lower side of the lower gasket where the ring rotates upon?
  6. I’m on a Motorhome forum and have been on some time. General consensus is that Varta and Bosch are excellent. Both made by Johnson Controls. Branded differently they are identical, with Varta being slightly cheaper. Their internal configuration, a grid plate system, is reckoned to be streets ahead of conventional batteries. Yausa also have a very good battery. Exide are nothing special. Trading on a once famous name,-like Lucas But remember, if a battery has been on the shelf for a while it starts to deteriorate. Always buy from a dealer or firm that has a high throughput. Cheaper batteries are not worth having. Ask about the manufacture date. If they can’t tell you, don’t deal with them. You guys ‘darn sarff’ are in a prime position for mail order. Even here in North West Scotland I’ve had batteries delivered, albeit for a premium carriage charge. Finally if any one is trying to squeeze the last drops out of a failing battery esp. in cold weather you will be putting a heavy strain on your alternator charging system which can lead to the alternator packing up. Far better to replace a relatively less expensive battery than a much more expensive alternator.
  7. So the next question is: this model has the plastic knurled ring beneath the base, securing the boiler. Should I reuse this, or get a new brass one eventually when I put my ‘shopping list’ in to Glasgow. It came off remarkably easily, by hand. The gasket between it and the base was a different matter. It was caramelised for want of a better term into a slate-like black compound. I had to take it off piecemeal with one of my dad’s old wood chisels and a plastic mallet. I’m beginning to think I should have bought a new one, but where would be the fun in that? I discovered from a FB forum that an ideal tool for removing the domed nut on the safety valve is a 16mm. spark plug spanner. Or as I used, a multi tool spanner which came with my Stihl brushcutter.
  8. Yeah. I’m not so much worried about the chrome. I’ve taken all the other bits and bobs off without wrecking it. It’s just that copper/ brass are very soft and I am wary of distorting the hole through which the valve enters the body of the boiler. If you imagine the face of the hole, think that one side has been a little depressed. To align everything as it should be, I’d have to consider a little judicious panel beating from the inside. A brass drift would be good, but they’re a helluva price. A hardwood dowel might do it. 16 mm. btw. Awaiting eBay delivery:
  9. Hi, I’ve just acquired an LPav Euro as above from eBay. Year of manufacture 2003 according to label under the base. A bit of a gamble I know, and as usual, it needs some attention. So as I have the time, I’m going to try and do it properly. I need to know if the steam valve should be aligned perfectly horizontally. Mine isn’t and I’m concerned that it may have been dropped. There is no evidence of any damage, and when the wand is attached it is properly aligned north/south. See pics. I am heartened to see another illustration here on coffee forum which seems to be of ma similar orientation to mine. I hope it’s normal. I’m thinking if the tap/valve were horizontal, then the steam wand would poke out at a funny angle. Lots more questions to follow. Appreciate your responses.
  10. Blaven

    La Pavoni parts

    I shall be exchanging a La Pavoni 110V element for a new 240V. element in the new year. I haven’t acquired the machine yet but the previous owner says that the 110V. is working fine ( he uses/used a step down transformer) when he moved back to UK from USA where he bought the machine. I’m assuming I can remove the element without damage and I shall certainly try to do this. I’m expecting the machine shipped on 27th. Dec. so should have it by New Year. Whether or not it’s the configuration you need, I don’t know. It’s off a millennium Europiccolo.
  11. Difficult to find poor coffee in NZ. It’s practically a religion there. In four visits, I’ve only ever had one iffy cup.
  12. I thank you for the advice, and I’m sure you are correct in your praise for these machines, and that they turn out nice coffee,..................but they seem to lack ‘soul’. I’m a dreadful fiddler with machines. The acquisition of a second hand L P seems guaranteed to fill my waking hours stripping it down, rebuilding and pimping it,- at least for a wee while. With the eventual learning curve of getting good espresso. Plus, those bar towels that Mildred so lovingly crafts are very attractive!!
  13. Mercifully I have bought an early Christmas present in the form of a Niche.
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