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Everything posted by HVL87

  1. I don’t think they are irrelevant and are fine as a starting point - I wouldn’t think too much about the ramp up. You can use a 1:2 ratio in 30s as a starting point and adjust grind, ratio or temp to fine tune if you want. It also depends on roast level - I find medium/dark roasts are fine in the high 20’s (time) and shorter ratios so you don’t extract too much bitterness/roasty flavours. Light roasts can benefit from longer ratios and maybe higher temps.
  2. HVL87


    😂 After recently cleaning my Niche I ground some light roasted SO Kenyan beans for a number of shots. I used a recently purchased puffer/breast pump/bellows to check retention afterwards - 0.2g. I switched to some medium/dark beans, 6 weeks old stored in an airscape. Heating was on and humidity low. Plenty of static in the cup. After a number of shots I repeated my basic retention check: So darker roasts seem to retain more grounds in the chamber and especially the chute. Humidity will play a role along with static. Even 0.8g may not be significant if it is all exchanged. If you are cupping, switching brew methods or changing from dark to light beans, maybe the bellows can be useful? Maybe not. One issue with using it is that it takes time for dosing consistency to return to +- 0.2g afterwards as the nooks and crannies fill up again, especially with a darker roast. A 0.5g difference between dose in and dose out does seem strange however. Usually it settles to 0.2g or less.
  3. That’s normal and from my experience depends on the beans, how fine you’re grinding and puck degradation/viscosity. Maybe a video showing a drop in steam pressure might help? Regarding shot times I see variances as well (Minima and Niche) but not typically with back to back shots, although it can happen. It might be worth investing in a WDT tool with a maximum of 0.4mm needles and a dosing ring. That should help with distribution consistency.
  4. Interesting comparison by an Astrophysicist between an EG-1 with SSP ultra-low-fines burrs and the Niche. https://coffeeadastra.com/2021/05/10/a-comparison-between-standard-and-low-fines-espresso-shots/
  5. You can take a trip to Bella Barista: https://www.bellabarista.co.uk
  6. I think the Bianca is a great choice as you also get a quiet rotary pump. As @Cuprajake mentioned, heat up time is not too bad. The reason why I decided against a Sage DB is parts are not readily available and build quality not on par with “prosumer” machines. In the £1100-£1300 range you have the ACS Minima (which I own) or Lelit Elizabeth. I upgraded from a Sage Barista Pro. For back to back milk drinks I would opt for the Minima but the pump is noisy. For no compromises the Bianca is great. As has been said already, experience using the machines is valuable in making a decision. Saying that, an E61 DB is a relatively safe choice, especially one with a rotary pump if you want a quiet machine!
  7. @ZwiGGydo you like to idea of owning a spring lever machine or is your priority a machine which gets you the best result in a small package with fast heat up time? If you believe you will stick to medium/dark roasts, don’t want to/have time to analyse your shots, and prefer milk based espresso drinks 90% of the time I think most of these machines are overkill, unless you just like the idea of owning one.
  8. Also are you using the single or dual wall basket (not sure if the bambino play is coming with both at the moment)? If it is a true espresso grind this may choke the dual wall basket.
  9. You have excellent taste 😄
  10. I agree that whilst these machines are very different and it may be strange to some that you would consider them all, it certainly helps to discuss them in one place and get as much information as possible so you can figure out what will work best for you. I would do the same. You mention that you like the small size of the decent but as per the above picture a lever machine is definitely more of a statement! I have also read the same posts on the HB forum about steam from the decent in fact introducing a fair amount of water into milk. I think they were trying to improve this with higher temps - not sure how current models perform. I have an ACS Minima and the steam is very dry. I can’t speak for the Lelit Bianca, maybe @Cuprajake or @DavecUK can share having used both. If you are no longer keen to analyse your shots and experiment with different variables then I don’t see the point in buying a decent. If you wanted to and enjoy lighter roasts then it would be a more compelling choice and I could understand the appeal. As you currently own a Barista Express I think the Lelit Bianca will be an excellent upgrade - it also includes flow control should you become more interested in lighter roasts. As @Cuprajake mentioned you can but it from Bella Barista and you’re covered by a 2 year warranty.
  11. I haven’t used a Silvia Pro but it’s meant to be very temperature stable and steam power should be good. Paired with a Niche you can’t go too far wrong.
  12. I didn’t even realise and read that as introduce. What does that say about me? 🤔
  13. 1. @dfk41 ACS Vesuvius Evo Leva 2. @spasypaddy Lelit Bianca 3 @DavecUK Lelit Bianca Prototype 4. @Rob666 Rocket Giotto Evoluzione 5. @P1FanaticRocket Appartamento Serie Nera 6. @Chriss29 Sage Dual Boiler 7. @lake_m La Marzocco GS3 MP 8. @El carajillo Quick Mill Verona. Gaggia Classic 9. @prezes Lelit MaraX 10. @General-S-1 Sage Barista express 11. @ronan08 Breville Dual Boiler BES900 12. @Ando Lelit Elizabeth 13. @HVL87 ACS Minima
  14. Not sure you can go by rpm with the Specialita at 1350rpm being significantly quieter than the Niche and the tone is not annoying at all, you barely even notice it. I agree the Niche is not a bother and the tone is pleasant. Personally I’m not considering the Mignon Oro/SD as the Niche workflow is great and I like to switch between espresso and filter. At £495 it is well priced so it will be interesting to hear feedback from early adopters.
  15. If it’s anything like the Mignon Specialita it will be very quiet. Although I didn’t have them side by side the Specialita is a fair bit quieter than the Niche. I don’t believe the Crono has the same sound dampening or “silent technology” as the Specialita, SD or XL.
  16. Stick to 18g and adjust the upper burr as has been suggested. Sage will advise you to do the same thing and it will allow you to grind finer. Not sure why anyone would suggest not to. It’s unfortunate you have to make such changes to be honest as they should come properly calibrated from factory.
  17. Seems like you have done your research/reading which is a good starting point! Are you weighing and timing your shots? A good way to determine grind size is aiming for a 2:1 ratio of espresso weight to starting dose i.e. 18g ground coffee in, 36g espresso out in 30 seconds. Then you can adjust grind size and ratio to suit your preference. On the Barista Express you can manually pull shots if that helps. Personally I wouldn’t recommend using a cocktail stick to stir grinds - it can actually make channeling worse. You can make your own WDT (weiss distribution technique) tool with a cork and some 0.4mm acupuncture or printer nozzle cleaning needles. There are threads on this forum which you can research for more info. I don’t believe you can tamp too much as such. Just try to make sure you tamp is level and consistent. I had a Barista Express and Barista Pro for a little while but I never used a bottomless portafilter with them. You may be fighting an uphill battle as I believe the Barista Express runs at higher pressures which means channeling may be inevitable.
  18. As mentioned earlier in the thread I experience the same issue as @tj893 with light/medium roasts and possibly medium/dark roasts which are not fresh. As an example, yesterday I opened a medium/light Ethiopian natural roasted on 23rd Aug. It went into an airscape and I decided to make espresso today. For reference I’m using an ACS Minima paired with a Niche grinder which has had around 2.5-3kg through it. I WDT with a 3D printed tool with 0.4mm needles, use a leveller to create flat tamping surface and tamp with a standard 58.4mm motta tamper. Dose is 17g in an 18g VST basket. I also tried 18g at a slightly coarser setting - same result. I’m quite particular about puck prep so I don’t believe that’s an issue 🤔 Here is a video of the shot. Similar pattern from the bottomless with what looks like a change in flow due to puck degradation in the last 1/3rd of the shot. @Rob1 what you mentioned about your shots after cleaning the Niche is interesting. I’m due to clean mine soon but haven’t done so yet - maybe I’ll see the opposite result after cleaning, although I can’t imagine why. Do you still see a similar flow to the above with your shots/certain beans? The group pressure gauge reaches just above 9 bar after the initial ramp up and slowly reduces below 9 bar by the end of the shot. As I don’t have a flow control kit yet I’m tempted to adjust brew pressure to around 8 bar at the group against a blind basket to see if this helps.
  19. I deliberated over the same dual boiler machines you mentioned (Pro 300, Elizabeth and Minima) and settled on the Minima in black paired with a Niche. It has a solenoid E61 which means maintenance is significantly easier than a more typical lever E61. In black it’s very easy to keep clean. I would rule out set up 2 as you entertain friends on the weekend and a dual boiler workflow will be much simpler for back to back drinks. I thought the Minima was best out of the dual boilers listed for entertaining - it’s a workhorse with big boilers and very powerful steam, albeit with a noisy pump. With regards to water a worktop RO system would be ideal. Although it’s not the most environmentally friendly solution, suitable bottled water can also work well if you don’t want the initial outlay for RO.
  20. If you don’t want a “serious hobby type machine” and you only drink flat whites I think you have the best machine already. That or a sage bambino plus. In a sense “proper” single boiler machines in the equivalent price range are in some ways a downgrade from a usability perspective. What you do get instead is longevity and repairability.
  21. 10 bar at the pump will be 9 bar at the group which is the typical set up. Even though darker roasts have less density the puck integrity is surprisingly better than lighter roasts. @tj893 Whilst I don’t have control of preinfusion at the moment on my ACS Minima (until I get flow control), the 6-8s ramp up seems to do the trick aiming for a total 27-30s shot with medium/dark roasts. If you replicate the no PI shot it should hopefully look and taste the same. It seems like you’re on top of distribution with the WDT tool you linked and method.
  22. If you want a quick response give Bella Barista a call. Keep in my they don’t stock ACS machines anymore although do have some parts. I would probably wait for ACS/Elcor to get back to you. I spoke with them directly and they were very helpful.
  23. I would have to agree, if you only drink black coffee an espresso machine machine is probably not worth the outlay if you will neither drink espresso or milk based drinks. In fact filter coffee is often better than an Americano from an espresso machine. An espresso machine can also be a lot more faff! It may be worth buying an aeropress and better grinder. An aeropress may not have the same clarity as a porouver but it can have a more rounded texture/mouthfeel as you initially immerse the coffee in water. Also very easy to clean! It also depends on what roast level you go for? Maybe look at a grinder such as the wilfa uniform?
  24. Definitely not “tinny” and looks great in black. It doesn’t have the finish of more expensive dual boiler machines but nothing which really takes away from the experience - it’s solid where it counts. Great machine...only downside is a noisy pump. Although the Barista Express isn’t quiet either.
  25. You earlier stated that the OP should “find a workflow that works for you and don't necessarily follow the example of others that might have different taste and requirements” yet you are explaining why a hopper fed grinder works for you and not the OP? The reason a single dose grinder was recommended is because the OP does switch between brew methods. There is nothing wrong with a hopper fed grinder - we were only making suggestions based on the OPs frustrations and use of the grinder. You also mentioned there is no need to buy an “expensive” single dose grinder without, I assume, knowledge of the current grinder the OP is using - a Mahlkonig x54 (£570). A Niche single dose grinder is £500 (+ £10 delivery of course 😄) To be honest many DB users don’t steam and brew at the same time - of course you have the option to. I do for back to back drinks and it does speed up the workflow. Also many tend to use a kettle instead of the hot water dispenser as it doesn’t always taste the best 😄 A significant benefit of a dual boiler is temperature stability. A separate brew and steam boiler controlled by PIDs. No temp surfing required. Glad to hear you’re getting better results with proper distribution.
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