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At last, Chester finally has a 3rd wave coffee shop. Situated in Lower Bridge St, Obscure has been open since November 2018 - don't know how I missed it during recent visits. Run by Nick who previously worked in a number of Edinburgh's finest including Brew Lab. Nick uses Climpson's beans run through an LM two group paired with a K30. For brew, Nick has a tasty EKS. Ordered a flat white and V60 - both bang on the money.
As some of you may have seen I picked up an as-new condition white EK43s from [mention=3221]gman147[/mention] in late May. I managed to resist for approximately 3 hours before getting in the car and taking my little-one on a roadtrip to Cheltenham to pick her up. As ever, it was great to meet a fellow forum member in person and have the usual hectic and excitable coffee chat about everything from machines, to grinders, to the recent forum upgrade! After about an hour chatting, we headed back to Bristol late afternoon, ready for some far-too-late-in-the-day espresso shots to run her in. I didn’t want to note down my comments until I had time to reflect on this acquisition, which has been my end-game grinder for a few years now. Noise I don’t see this as a problem. She certainly has pervasive back hum when idling. Adding the beans gives the familiar noise level that you get in every third wave coffee shop these days, but my wife hasn’t complained. Weight and size It is beyond heavy. It looks hefty, but this is nothing compared to the reality. Made sure you have a strong set of kitchen cupboards! In “short”, size really isn’t too bad. It’s bigger than my Ceado, but is relatively attractive in white and has wife approval. I quite like it, but then I have been in love with the EK since first understanding what they do, so this is possible clouding my judgement! Cable length Really long to give flexibility of placement, but I recently realised you can feed excess cable back into the base to avoid a coiling snake across the worktop. Weigh-in-weigh-out I have to admit a lot of head scratching for the first few days – this thing is supposed to be almost zero retention, yet I seem to be losing 0.5-1g on every dose?! I was using RDT with a spoon, really thwacking the thwacker (as it were), yet every time grounds out =/= beans in. Then one morning I realised the anomaly: I have one metal cup to feed beans in, and a separate one to catch the grounds out. It transpires that the grounds-out cup weighs 0.9g less than the beans-in cup – there we go – problem solved! Thereafter a slight change in workflow to ensure I now weigh-in beans using the grounds-out cup, before transferring to the beans-in cup before RDT etc. Retention is now predictably low. Invariably +/- 0.2g. I am really enjoying the weigh-in-weigh-out process, allowing for tiny grind tweaks between shots. My wife knows the dial in at “8-9” on the scale for the Sowden and is (begrudgingly) getting the hang of weighing in. Fluffiness of grounds I formerly dosed 15.5g to 15.8g into my 15g VST using my Ceado e37s, I can only fit 14g into the 15g VST using the EK. This is with the same beans, from the same batch, and I have rechecked this. Before every tamp, I give a couple of vertical settling taps then use my homemade patent-pending scraping tool, so I know that the basket is filled to the same level with each grinder. More than c. 14g dosed in the VST from the EK leads to overfilling. This is evidenced by shower screen indentations on the used puck, so I can’t ignore the facts. I am putting this down to the various particle size analyses on the EK indicating it produces a higher proportion of larger particles, so less settling and compacting. Welcome thoughts on this point though, and whether anyone else has noticed the same? Tamping The big surprise is that my Torr Goldfinger Trap Convex no longer works. I am getting huge problems with side-channelling in the basket. As you can see from the above photos, this is a problem and, frankly, is a bit demoralising when you see channelling start halfway through a shot. I have moved to using a lower PI pressure of 1.25 bar, which has helped, but not solved the problem. There are two problems to overcome: in some cases you can see where the puck pulls away from the basket, in others you can see a “halo” forming around the edge, presumably where the grounds have been tamped less (the tamper base rim has a radius, and I am now seeing that this should be a sharp-edge) and this has allowed them to expand further. In some cases there is evidence of contact with the shower screen, so this may also cause the channeling. I need to get my head around this issue and am currently investigating tamper options. Again, I would be interested to hear if others found this same issue when moving to the EK?
Nothing I can add really to what you've probably already read/heard about the EK43S so I'll not ramble on. It's had a mere 6kg of coffee through it. The SSP Silver Knight burrs are amazing and offer more range in the espresso zone than the originals without losing the signature profile of the EK (as best as my basic pallet can taste). 6 Months old and had 6kg through it. Any inspection welcome. Supplied with all the original packaging. £1850 No offers thanks (collection from Sheffield). Images added shortly, but it can be viewed on eBay, where it's also listed, if you want to see them before I get chance.
I am feeling a bit uneasy about how loud the start up of the EK43S is. It sounds as if there's quite a bit of torque kicking in initially. I greased the shear plate, but no luck! It does run smoothly otherwise. Apologies for a vertical video... Here's the link: