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zoglet's Achievements

Tamper Master

Tamper Master (5/8)



  1. Guess I’m gonna need to get some food safe silicone! Thanks to you all for your feedback!
  2. Yes as per original post I both clean and descale regularly but in honesty did not expect to need to disassemble the group head.
  3. I've been using (and loving) my ECM Mechanika V Slim for around three years and although I clean and descale regularly, I have noticed that the brew lever, the one you activate to start the pump, feels less and less smooth, offering more resistance to turning, if you know what I mean. Before it was smooth as silk, now it's not and although not world ending, the resistance feels like enough to be undesirable/unwanted, stress gaskets and the like. A part of me suspects that it is likely limescale deposit but if so, I'm not sure how to resolve as I use good descaler and follow the cleaning process. Rather than second guess, I assume that there will be other E61 owners/engineers who have come across this, know exactly what it is, and how to resolve. Care to enlighten? Thanks in advance.
  4. I would expect that roasting over direct heat in a thin container will likely result in hot spots and beans being roasted unequally, not only per bean, but in that the inside will reach temperature much later than outside, if at all. A large pro spinning roaster will bring beans up to temp far more gradually (helped by the larger quantity of beans) and I suspect will be more heat stable and not be prone to go over temp in the same way as stove heating can. I'm not saying this doesn't work and isn't traditional. I'm just not convinced this method is in any way superior to modern roasting methods. I suspect that modern methods provide more control and consistency, which in turn provides more consistent results, and one of the few things I've learned over the years of failing at making good coffee is that consitency is key. Thanks for the share though!
  5. I absolutely agree (I have a full Wusthof classic knife block and my first serious chef's knife was a Zwilling, which I still have). You should not compromise on quality for price, but this doesn't mean that you cannot get quality at lower prices too. Victorinox is no less reputable or reliable a brand and provide fancier models in the same price range as others. The difference is they also provide excellent knives at significantly lower price points, so if you're not looking to spend hundred of pounds, then I still maintain that you can't go wrong with Victorinox. Anyone who is into fishing, outdoors, or bushcraft knows a ten quid Morakniv companion will outperform knives costing 50 times as much. In fact if you're not bothered about it looking a bit weird in the kitchen, I just changed my mind. Get a Morakniv Companion for a tenner or Companion HD for fifteen. Then you have a crazy sharp, brutally rugged knife that will last you years whlst you decide if you can justify spending more on something fancier XD
  6. I have both Zwilling and Wusthof and although they are great knives, they are expensive and depending on model, have weaknesses. Many of the classic style are not dishwasher-proof and like any knife, they will blunt if not treated correctly. Knives are tools and made for specific or general applications. Japanese knives are fantastic but are generally a shallower grind than traditional european chefs knives and therefore blunt sooner. The Victorinox knives are absolutely fantastic and do what they're designed to do. I have owned swiss army my whole life and now use exclusively victorinox knives for cutlery (I bought their cheap and cheerful classic table knife about ten years ago and never looked back. I absolutely love em and you should get some if you don't have em). They may not look the fanciest, but they are made to be used. For the price of one Wusthof/Zwilling/Sabatier you can buy a couple of Victorinox and a good steel and you won't be afraid to use and abuse them. If you can stretch to it, get a six inch (this is my go to all purpose size), eight inch for the bigger jobs, a two to three inch paring knife (great for close up work), plus a decent steel. Don't skimp on the quality of this item, it's what keeps your knives sharp. My mate has the little victorinox dual sharpener and swears by it. I've seen but not used it. Personally I ike something longer for an easier sweep but if your budget won't stretch to it, start here. FInal thing worth mentioning if you didn't know, a steel keeps a sharp knife sharp, a sharpener resharpens a blunt knife. A critical part of your knife use process is to keep the edge with a steel. A few sweeps before and after will keep your knife in perfect condition. Far better than running it to blunt and then attempting to resharpen.
  7. I'm not sure which of the two you are referring to but to be honest, any DIY shop should have them. Also, an automotive supplier like Halfords etc. Other good places are electrical or electronic suppliers. Used to be Maplin and also RS components. They will defo have them but you may have to buy a few. Postage will likely cost more than the things themselves. A final and possibly easiest option would be to look around in your area for a local small electrical goods repair shop. Anybody fixing TVs, washing machines etc will have buckets of these and probably give you a couple for free or a few pence. Good luck!
  8. Don't underestimate the importance of a quality grinder, and take into account that a 'one for all' grinder is hard to come by. By based on your coffee preference, pour-over or espresso machine. I started with the Eureka mignon and found it to be very good, although tending to clump at the finer settings, requiring a good work through with a whisk. Although you can get some great second hand deals, watch out for someone selling a good grinder with worn out burrs. I would also add that for me, one of the things that is relevant is how much coffee I drink. I used to hoover the stuff down but now I only have a cup, maybe two a day. My ideal grinder would really be one that is best or better suited to single dosing and minimal retention, so that I am always using fresh grinds. If you're drinking through the day, you can get away with a bit of retention. If you are having one or two in the morning and none until tomorrrow, try to find a grinder that has low retention and you can use or pimp to not hold a months worth of beans going stale in the hopper. Anyway key point, don't think of the grinder as an afterthought to your desired coffee machine. Consider your max budget, add a hundred quid (ie the money you later would regret having not spent 😉 ) and then look at what are the best grinder AND machine you can afford at that price. On the back of that, things to consider would be do you see yourself happy with that system for ever or hankering to upgrade. If so, perhaps consider what your upgrade path might be and buy into that. Even with the best systems, you will have noticed from lurking that there are many additional items that are bordeline 'must haves' if you are completely new and are looking for a great start. Scales, Bottomless Portafilter, Good Tamper, Blind basket, Detergent, Descaler. Frothing Jug? Distributor? Pro basket? All of these eat into that budget and not having them will at best compromise your end product. Also, accept that the sky's the limit with this passtime and you will always be compromising. get the best you can afford that fulfils your ambitions and expectations and be happy with the improvement. Maybe you want to be the next world barista champion. Maybe you just want that one nice cup of coffee in the morning. Look at what works best for you and accept that you are buying with that in mind.
  9. Oh and everything Dave just said 🙂 Something else maybe worth noting is that in my experience batteries don't like to be discharged HOT either (ie high current draw directly after a fast charge). They tend to discharge quicker and they tend to lose their efficiency faster. Better to let a battery come down in temp before discharging. Another good reason for trickle charging as this does not result in overheating.
  10. Hi Jim, I'd like to start with a caveat that I am not speaking from direct experience in your business and I may not be fully versed in the subleties between different battery types but I have worked around electrics, automotive, technology and engineering most of my life so I will still chirp in if I may. 1. Increasing amp-hours (ah) has no detrimental effect. It simply defines the 'capacity' of the battery to deliver charge. higher amp-hours means longer running. In my experience going as high as you can afford/make room for is never bad. 2. Although you can use volt drop to get an round-about idea of what's going on with your batteries, the problem you seem to have experienced is that an older 'tired' battery cannot sustain charge for as long. In effect the amp-hour rating drops as the battery reaches end of life, so just measuring voltage may not give you an accurate assessment. Even though some batteries last longer than others, it may not be a bad idea for you to keep a weekly/monthly running total of how many hours the batteries have been used to give you an idea of when they may be approaching end of life, replacing before they become to tired to work to requirements. Perhaps buy a new set of batteries a little before you need to replace and keep them on standby. It used to be a thing in certain auto services to check the state of your battery with a volt-drop test. This usually involved a special meter or hoiking great big metal tongs put across the battery with a given resistance that would 'safely' fast drain the battery and assess how well it was able to hold charge. I always felt somehow this test wasn't good for the battery so I wouldn't recommend doing it weekly but perhaps you can find a friendly garage or test centre that will check your batteries for you every month or couple of months to give you an idea as to when they are beginning to lose their ability to hold charge. 3. Here I'm really not an expert so I will give an opinion based on personal experience and not specific technical knowledge so please do investigate yourself further. I am not aware of any battery that would prefer a fast charge to a trickle charge. Most batteries work (very approximated) through chemical reaction and electrolysis and recharging in effect reverses the effect through charge, returning the materials inside the container to their original pre-discharged state. Fast charge does this more aggresively and usely generates more heat and is less efficient and more strenuous on the battery. The rule of thumb used to be 'a fast charge doesn't hold charge', ie use it when you need it but it isn't the most efficient. A trickle charge is far less aggressive on the battery and tended to result in a better 'refreshed state', which loosely translated to a better recharged battery. My general advice would have been always trickle charge when possible and fast charge only when you must. I would echo some feedback from others here though that it is worth investing in a high quality charger. But again, I am perfectly happy to accept I may not be correct with specific batteries or applications so perhaps best get the advice from the experts. A good place for advice is caravan and mobile home builders. They will have lots of experience regarding rating, selection and usage/charge/drain of leisure batteries. I would also suggest finding the contact details of a reputable, or your preferred, battery manufacturer online, and contacting them directly. This is surprisingly easy and you can usually be transferred to someone in their technical department that can give you very specific and accurate answers. I hope some of this was useful and I again apologise if some of the information may not be spot on for your particular application. Hope there's some food for thought there though.
  11. In which case Tim, it sounds to me that you are purging as much out as you can expect under the circumstances. I would be surprised if the effort of slanting the whole setup would reap equivalent rewards, especially as they were not designed to feed at an angle. Still, I guess you can try if you want before making anything permanent, eh? All the best with whatever route you take.
  12. Hi Tim, I suspect that the tilt has some benefits but just tilting your grinder alone isn’t going to fix much if the grinder design is conducive to retention. i am also not entirely sure about some of these bellows pimps. My understanding is that for many grinders, a considerable factor in maintaining consistent grind size is the weight of beans in the hopper, ensuring a consistent feed through the burrs. If the grinder wasn’t designed around single dosing, switching to bellows may reduce retention but result in less consistent grind, I couldn’t really say for sure though. Consider also that any benefit you get from tilting for output may also be offset from the fact that your mignon was not designed to take in beans at an angle. In other words you ‘may’ cause more problems to grind quality by messing around with the feed consistency to the burrs. I pimped my Ceado e37) with a small dose hopper but focused on maintaining a reasonable weight on the few beans in the tiny hopper to ensure the feed remained consistent with design expectation. After thinking about it a lot I decided it was better to come to terms with the grinders retention. Although the larger e37 models seems to have very little retention, theJ seems to be pretty poor, and i think its more down to the internals than anything I can reasonably effect, and effect consistently, which is after all a key factor. Although it still pains me to do so, I do a two second purge of beans before i grind for my espresso shot. This seems to be simplest and most effective way to deal with the issue. If I make a milk based drink I often don’t bother. By the way, I’m not saying that it isn’t worth doing certain mods to certain bit of kit, but I do think that as there is no single grinder design, especially when it comes to output, there is no single solution. Why not just tilt the device on a few coins or a wedge and see if you see any measured improvements before making anything permanent? I suspect you will have more issues with input than output.
  13. After many weeks of banging my head against this same subject, I have come to accept i have a very low skill level and can consider myself lucky to have got hot milk in the cup without spilling it. I decided that the best route was to create a new barista skill, “latte fart”, and by that definition, I hit the mark pretty much every time.
  14. Definitely no expert but i really like mwjb’s advice. When I started off, and for many years, and because I’m a bit ocd, I tried to chase ticking off all boxes in all the rules and spent a good bit of time getting frustrated. With all the best kit in the world, your taste preference hasn’t even been taken into account. Measurements and tweaks are useful to help you get more consistent and bring you reliably closer to your preference, but in the end it’s all about what you like. Recognise also that just like wine or beer or music, you may simply not like a specific type of coffee and nothing you do dialling in will change that. Best of luck anyway and keep at it. Edit: I should also add that as other have alluded to before, and I’m not dissing the little guy, accept that the Gaggia Classic is not conducive to consistency. I had one myself for twenty years (pimped to hell, now looking to sell) and even with every upgrade under the sun, it was still capable of having ‘difficult mornings’. A couple of years ago, I made a significant upgrade to an ECM Mechanika V Slim and it changed everything. My shot to shot consistency was no longer a consideration. It was no effort to pull a decent shot first time. With all the love i have for my gaggia and all the years of service it gave me, it was never able to do what the ECM does. But then again that’s the difference between an entry level machine and a good mid range one. Anyway the moral of this story is be easy on yourself and don’t be disheartened if you aren’t always on point because although you can absolutely get good results with your classic, it simply wasn’t designed to do what we are perhaps expecting of it and even if it does, I certainly never found it possible (or at least straightforward) to do that shot after shot with reliable consistency. The issue with significantly upgrading one part of your setup (niche zero) is that it might highlight the shortfall elsewhere. The biggest lesson I had from stepping up from Gaggia to ECM was that my grinder was no longer up to snuff. The cycle never ends lol.
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