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About Foz

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    Brewing Nicely

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  1. Try any of the coffee compass dark roasts, the descriptions are pretty good.
  2. When first switched on my Appartamento cycles very quickly just as you describe, however as the machine warms up the rate of heat loss decreases, stability is much better after an hour or more (my machine does not enter sleep mode). Remember the boiler is not insulated and the whole machine has to heat up. I have never found that this influences coffee taste after the group head is hot (about 20 minutes). I would suggest that you look to other areas with regards to extraction variability (tamping or grind). As for steaming I have no trouble steaming 300ml and the pressure does not fall below 0
  3. I have found a 50/50 mix of Rave Swiss water decaf and espresso blends make an excellent chocolate / caramel coffee, good as espresso or with milk. I just mix 100g and 100g together in a bowl and stir. Seems pretty consistent so must mix OK.
  4. If it takes a standard group head gasket you might try a slightly smaller one, from memory rocket fit 8.25mm gaskets, a Cafelat silicone 8mm E61might fit perfectly!
  5. I used the Fracino filters to reduce the hardness of my water, however salts do build up in the steam boiler and a change of water / descale is needed eventually. I descaled after 2-3 years. It is possible to empty the steam boiler but you do need to remove the cover and disconnect tubing at the base of the boiler. I bought some replacement tubing from Fracino and used this to empty the boiler, tipping the machine slightly to get as much of the descaling solution out as possible. Took a few rinses to get rid of the bits and citric taste from the rinses, again emptying using the same method. A
  6. Fracino advise sending back to base - expensive!
  7. How do you descale a Piccino? Is there a guide anywhere? It is difficult as there is no easy way to empty the steam boiler.
  8. Thanks, I did try find this info from the net before posting but could not find definitive specification, I therefore went with second hand info from a previous poster. Probably depends on the beans and grind and so should be treated as a guide.
  9. Hi Bruce I purchased my 17g Marzocco Strada basket from Coffee Hit, it is ridged, fits great and works with 16 to 18g without any problems. The VST 18g baskets are the same size but they quote the maximum capacity, these also fit but are more expensive and ridgless (easier to take out to weigh coffee directly into the basket but fall out when knocking out the puck). I do remember comments about not being able to fit the bigger (20g+ baskets).
  10. Hi urpert, 18g is fine in the VST basket but you do need to step back on the grind, adjust the the grind so that you get 34g in 25 to 30 seconds and see if this tastes better to you. The temperature stat on the Piccino brew boiler in 90 degrees+/- 2 degrees C, temperature surfing may make a difference. Having said that I have not been able to make the slightest bit of difference with my machine, perhaps I am not fussy enough. I do make sure that I pre-warm my cup with boiling water (or steam) as I also find the coffee a bit cooler than I would like.
  11. I remember reading somewhere that the Fracino basket is rated at 14g, so 16g is probably at the upper limit. I use a 17g La Marzocco basket and prefer this to the Fracino.
  12. The steam pressure should be about 1.0 bar. If the machine is new it will be under warranty, I would suggest contacting your supplier or Fracino. The low steam pressure will result in extended milk frothing times, it may make it more difficult to texture milk correctly (micro-bubbles). If you do not make milk drinks it will not matter, i.e. it will not alter the brew boiler temperature.
  13. No particular advice required other than to repeat don't expect immediate success (but great if it comes). If you do run into any problems or need specific guidance just ask.
  14. It is possible Fracino have set the brew temperature too low for the design but after a bit of trial and error excellent results can be obtained on a consistent basis, at least when compared to my Gaggia. I must admit that I wonder what a more expensive machine might produce but cannot justify the cost of a worthwhile upgrade. My flat whites are also at drinking temperature, hot but no waiting required.
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