HomeRoast Digest


Topic: What the puck??? (20 msgs / 767 lines)
1) From: Dan Mouer
Mystery. I've owned my espresso maker for many years. I use it fairly 
frequently. However, recently I seem to have lost my touch! My pucks are 
floating in liquid!!
My machine is a caffe traviso by deLonghi--a low-end pump machine. I grind 
with a whirlygig by Krups. Over the past couple of months I've found that, 
after pulling my shot, the coffee continues to drip from the portafilter for 
several minutes. If I don't wait for it to drip, I find a portafilter full 
of liquid and grounds swimming together merrily--not the good-old solid puck 
I'm used to!
I've tried varying my grind from almost Turkish-coffee powder to French 
press coarse, and I get pretty much the same reslts, puck-wise. Any 
thoughts???
Dan M

2) From: Brentley Beerline
how often do you clean the shower screen?
Do you have to descale?
how about cleaning the whole machine?
----- Original Message ----
From: Dan Mouer 
To: homeroast
Sent: Tuesday, May 29, 2007 3:44:58 PM
Subject: +What the puck???
Mystery. I've owned my espresso maker for many years. I use it fairly 
frequently. However, recently I seem to have lost my touch! My pucks are 
floating in liquid!!
My machine is a caffe traviso by deLonghi--a low-end pump machine. I grind 
with a whirlygig by Krups. Over the past couple of months I've found that, 
after pulling my shot, the coffee continues to drip from the portafilter for 
several minutes. If I don't wait for it to drip, I find a portafilter full 
of liquid and grounds swimming together merrily--not the good-old solid puck 
I'm used to!
I've tried varying my grind from almost Turkish-coffee powder to French 
press coarse, and I get pretty much the same reslts, puck-wise. Any 
thoughts???
Dan M

3) From: The Scarlet Wombat
What a pucking mess, Dan.  I'll bet the puck your machine has a 
problem.  If it were a solonoid kind, I would suspect that.  Hope the puck 
you figure it out.
the other Dan

4) From: Ed Needham
The machines without a three way solenoid have a reed valve which lets water 
out under pressure but closes when the pressure subsides.  With a bit of use 
or a speck of grit, the reed valves fail to close completely.  A disassemble 
of the shower screen will likely reveal the valve.  Clean it and all will be 
well again.
You may get some mileage by running a descaler through the machine, but I'm 
not sure what is recommended for your machine.  I'd get the Mr. Coffee brand 
from the local supermarket.  Believe it or not, it works pretty well on 
scale.  Coffee oils need espresso machine cleaner, which is another beast 
altogether.
*********************
Ed Needham®
"to absurdity and beyond!"http://www.homeroaster.com(include [FRIEND] in subject line to get through my SPAM filters)
*********************

5) From: Sandy Andina
--Apple-Mail-35-312110816
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Is it a thermoblock machine? (If it's a DeLonghi, it's either a steam  
toy or a thermoblock). If a steam toy, perhaps the machine just isn't  
generating sufficient and consistent pressure--and if a thermoblock,  
perhaps the same thing.  Either way, first step is a good descaling.   
If a steam toy, it may be beyond that since they generally tend to  
have flimsy aluminum boilers that corrode as easily as they gather  
scale.  If a thermoblock, dissolving the scale in the lines may do  
the trick.  Is it possible to get a good hard tamp in your  
portafilter? Most thermoblocks have those "crema enhancer"  
pressurized portafilters that claim to free you from needing to tamp.  
Could be the crema enhancer (usually a rubber disk that builds air  
pressure) has failed--in which case a good firm tamp might  
compensate.  Finally, you've gotta chuck that whirley, no matter how  
well it may have served you in the past.  The blades can dull or  
warp, causing uneven chopping of the beans (you can't really call it  
"grinding").  Even a fair-to-middling burr grinder like a Bodum  
Antigua or Starbucks Barista will work better.   I don't know if it's  
possible (or advisable) to backflush a thermoblock machine even if  
you could get a blind filter to fit it.
On May 29, 2007, at 6:09 PM, The Scarlet Wombat wrote:
<Snip>
Sandy Andina
www.sandyandina.com
www.myspace.com/sandyandina
--Apple-Mail-35-312110816
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Is it a thermoblock machine? (If =
it's a DeLonghi, it's either a steam toy or a thermoblock). If a steam =
toy, perhaps the machine just isn't generating sufficient and consistent =
pressure--and if a thermoblock, perhaps the same thing.  Either way, =
first step is a good descaling.  If a steam toy, it may be beyond that =
since they generally tend to have flimsy aluminum boilers that corrode =
as easily as they gather scale.  If a thermoblock, dissolving the =
scale in the lines may do the trick.  Is it possible to get a good =
hard tamp in your portafilter? Most thermoblocks have those "crema =
enhancer" pressurized portafilters that claim to free you from needing =
to tamp. Could be the crema enhancer (usually a rubber disk that builds =
air pressure) has failed--in which case a good firm tamp might =
compensate.  Finally, you've gotta chuck that whirley, no matter how =
well it may have served you in the past.  The blades can dull or warp, =
causing uneven chopping of the beans (you can't really call it =
"grinding").  Even a fair-to-middling burr grinder like a Bodum =
Antigua or Starbucks Barista will work better.   I don't know if =
it's possible (or advisable) to backflush a thermoblock machine even if =
you could get a blind filter to fit it.
On May 29, 2007, at =
6:09 PM, The Scarlet Wombat wrote:
What a pucking mess, Dan.  I'll bet the puck your = machine has a problem.  = If it were a solonoid kind, I would suspect that.  Hope the puck you figure it = out. the other Dan homeroast mailing listhttp://li=sts.sweetmarias.com/mailman/listinfo/homeroastTo change your personal list settings (digest = options, vacations, unsvbscribes) go to http://=sweetmarias.com/maillistinfo.html#personalsettings = Sandy = Andinawww.sandyandina.comwww.myspace.com/sandyandina=

= = --Apple-Mail-35-312110816--

6) From: Eddie Dove
Ed, or anyone,
Would the Urnex Cleancaf work on this machine and the coffee oils?
Eddie
-- 
Vita non est vivere sed valere vita est
Roasting Blog and Profiles for the Gene Cafehttp://southcoastcoffeeroaster.blogspot.com/On 5/29/07, Ed Needham  wrote:
<Snip>

7) From: Sandy Andina
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Cleancaf is a good all-purpose (works on drip machines too) cleaner/ 
descaler for machines such as yours that can't be backflushed. BTW,  
how's the gasket around your grouphead (the part of the machine into  
which the portafilter fits and where the water for coffee comes out)?  
Gaskets don't last forever--and an old one can make for a poor seal,  
causing leakage and soupy pucks.  You should see if you can get a  
fresh one, and when you change it also unscrew the grouphead's shower  
screen and give the latter a good soak and scrub with Cleancaf and an  
old toothbrush.
On May 29, 2007, at 7:05 PM, Eddie Dove wrote:
<Snip>
Sandy Andina
www.sandyandina.com
www.myspace.com/sandyandina
--Apple-Mail-36-313159006
Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable
Content-Type: text/html;
	charsetO-8859-1
Cleancaf is a good all-purpose =
(works on drip machines too) cleaner/descaler for machines such as yours =
that can't be backflushed. BTW, how's the gasket around your grouphead =
(the part of the machine into which the portafilter fits and where the =
water for coffee comes out)? Gaskets don't last forever--and an old one =
can make for a poor seal, causing leakage and soupy pucks.  You should =
see if you can get a fresh one, and when you change it also unscrew the =
grouphead's shower screen and give the latter a good soak and scrub with =
Cleancaf and an old toothbrush.
On May 29, 2007, at 7:05 =
PM, Eddie Dove wrote:
Ed, or anyone, Would the Urnex Cleancaf work on = this machine and the coffee oils? Eddie-- Vita non = est vivere sed valere vita estRoasting Blog = and Profiles for the Gene Cafehttp://southcoastcoff=eeroaster.blogspot.com/ On 5/29/07, Ed Needham <ed> = wrote: The machines = without a three way solenoid have a reed valve which lets = waterout under pressure but closes = when the pressure subsides.  = With a bit of useor a speck of = grit, the reed valves fail to close completely.  A disassembleof the shower screen will likely reveal the = valve.  Clean it and all = will bewell again.You may get some mileage by running a descaler = through the machine, but I'mnot sure what = is recommended for your machine.  = I'd get the Mr. Coffee brandfrom the = local supermarket.  = Believe it or not, it works pretty well onscale.  = Coffee oils need espresso machine cleaner, which is another = beastaltogether.*********************Ed = Needham(r)"to absurdity and = beyond!"http://www.homeroaster.com(include[FRIEND] in subject line to get through my = SPAM filters)********************* ----- = Original Message -----From: "Dan Mouer" = <>To: <homeroast= s.com>Sent: Tuesday, May 29, 2007 6:44 = PMSubject: +What the puck??? > Mystery. = I've owned my espresso maker for many years. I use it fairly> frequently. However, recently I seem to have = lost my touch! My pucks are> floating = in liquid!!>> My machine is a caffe traviso by deLonghi--a = low-end pump machine. I grind> with a = whirlygig by Krups. Over the past couple of months I've found = that,> after pulling my shot, the = coffee continues to drip from the portafilter> for several minutes. If I don't wait for it to = drip, I find a portafilter> full of = liquid and grounds swimming together merrily--not the good-old> solid puck I'm used to!>> I've = tried varying my grind from almost Turkish-coffee powder to = French> press coarse, and I get = pretty much the same reslts, puck-wise. Any> = thoughts??? homeroast mailing listhttp://li=sts.sweetmarias.com/mailman/listinfo/homeroastTo change your personal list settings (digest = options, vacations, unsvbscribes) go to http://=sweetmarias.com/maillistinfo.html#personalsettings = Sandy = Andinawww.sandyandina.comwww.myspace.com/sandyandina=

= = --Apple-Mail-36-313159006--

8) From: miKe mcKoffee
Yes, Urnex Cleancaf is designed specifically as a mild detergent mild
descaler combination for through the tank machine cleaning. Be they drip or
espresso or whatever.
Pacific Northwest Gathering Vhttp://home.comcast.net/~mckona/PNWGV.htmKona Konnaisseur miKe mcKoffee
URL to Rosto mods, FrankenFormer, some recipes etc:http://mdmint.home.comcast.net/coffee/Rosto_mod.htmUltimately the quest for Koffee Nirvana is a solitary path. To know I must
first not know. And in knowing know I know not. Each Personal enlightenment
found exploring the many divergent foot steps of Those who have gone before.
Sweet Maria's List - Searchable Archiveshttp://themeyers.org/HomeRoast/
<Snip>

9) From: Brentley Beerline
A backflush on a thermoblock like this (without a 3 way valve) would ensure that you got to upgrade and is not recommended.
I agree with try another grinder as well as doing a really nice descaling and cleaning.  Do you have a local espresso store with a grinder that can grind you something that you bring right home and brew just to see how the flow, pressure etc. is.
regards
Brentley
----- Original Message ----
From: Sandy Andina 
To: homeroast
Sent: Tuesday, May 29, 2007 4:52:53 PM
Subject: Re: +What the puck???
Is it a thermoblock machine? (If it's a DeLonghi, it's either a steam toy or a thermoblock). If a steam toy, perhaps the machine just isn't generating sufficient and consistent pressure--and if a thermoblock, perhaps the same thing.  Either way, first step is a good descaling.  If a steam toy, it may be beyond that since they generally tend to have flimsy aluminum boilers that corrode as easily as they gather scale.  If a thermoblock, dissolving the scale in the lines may do the trick.  Is it possible to get a good hard tamp in your portafilter? Most thermoblocks have those "crema enhancer" pressurized portafilters that claim to free you from needing to tamp. Could be the crema enhancer (usually a rubber disk that builds air pressure) has failed--in which case a good firm tamp might compensate.  Finally, you've gotta chuck that whirley, no matter how well it may have served you in the past.  The blades can dull or warp, causing uneven chopping of the beans (you can't really
 call it "grinding").  Even a fair-to-middling burr grinder like a Bodum Antigua or Starbucks Barista will work better.   I don't know if it's possible (or advisable) to backflush a thermoblock machine even if you could get a blind filter to fit it.
On May 29, 2007, at 6:09 PM, The Scarlet Wombat wrote:
What a pucking mess, Dan.  I'll bet the puck your machine has a problem.  If it were a solonoid kind, I would suspect that.  Hope the puck you figure it out.
the other DanSandy Andina
www.sandyandina.com
www.myspace.com/sandyandina

10) From: miKe mcKoffee
This is a multi-part message in MIME format.
Pre-grinding for espresso doesn't work, period. The required grind will vary
even for the same machine and same grinder and same blend day to day even
during the same day.
 
Pacific Northwest Gathering Vhttp://home.comcast.net/~mckona/PNWGV.htmKona Kurmudgeon miKe mcKoffee
URL to Rosto mods, FrankenFormer, some recipes etc:http://mdmint.home.comcast.net/coffee/Rosto_mod.htmUltimately the quest for Koffee Nirvana is a solitary path. To know I must
first not know. And in knowing know I know not. Each Personal enlightenment
found exploring the many divergent foot steps of Those who have gone before.
Sweet Maria's List - Searchable Archiveshttp://themeyers.org/HomeRoast/ 
From: homeroast-admin
[mailto:homeroast-admin] On Behalf Of Brentley
Beerline
Sent: Tuesday, May 29, 2007 5:30 PM
A backflush on a thermoblock like this (without a 3 way valve) would ensure
that you got to upgrade and is not recommended.
 
I agree with try another grinder as well as doing a really nice descaling
and cleaning.  Do you have a local espresso store with a grinder that can
grind you something that you bring right home and brew just to see how the
flow, pressure etc. is.
 
regards
Brentley

11) From: Brentley Beerline
don't disagree with that. but for troubleshooting to determine if the grinder is bad or if the machine is bad it will at least give him a clue.
Pre grinding espresso is awful for flavor and should not be done.
 
----- Original Message ----
From: miKe mcKoffee 
To: homeroast
Sent: Tuesday, May 29, 2007 5:38:21 PM
Subject: RE: +What the puck???
Pre-grinding for espresso doesn't work, period. The required grind will vary even for the same machine and same grinder and same blend day to day even during the same day.
 
Pacific Northwest Gathering Vhttp://home.comcast.net/~mckona/PNWGV.htmKona Kurmudgeon miKe mcKoffee
URL to Rosto mods, FrankenFormer, some recipes etc:http://mdmint.home.comcast.net/coffee/Rosto_mod.htmUltimately the quest for Koffee Nirvana is a solitary path. To know I must first not know. And in knowing know I know not. Each Personal enlightenment found exploring the many divergent foot steps of Those who have gone before.
Sweet Maria's List - Searchable Archiveshttp://themeyers.org/HomeRoast/From: homeroast-admin [mailto:homeroast-admin] On Behalf Of Brentley Beerline
Sent: Tuesday, May 29, 2007 5:30 PM
A backflush on a thermoblock like this (without a 3 way valve) would ensure that you got to upgrade and is not recommended.
 
I agree with try another grinder as well as doing a really nice descaling and cleaning.  Do you have a local espresso store with a grinder that can grind you something that you bring right home and brew just to see how the flow, pressure etc. is.
 
regards
Brentley

12) From: Ed Needham
Cleancaf is a mild citric acid descaler, which would also dissolve coffee 
oils.  If that doesn't work, go get the Mr. Coffee which dissolves scale 
about 10 times better, but is also quite a bit more harsh.  I soaked a Bunn 
coffee reservoir in  a citric solution and it sort of worked.   I soaked it 
in the Mr. Coffee solution, which is sulfamic acid? and the scale dropped 
off in sheets.
*********************
Ed Needham®
"to absurdity and beyond!"http://www.homeroaster.com(include [FRIEND] in subject line to get through my SPAM filters)
*********************

13) From: miKe mcKoffee
This is a multi-part message in MIME format.
It's not just about being "awful for flavor". In fact my post had nothing to
do with grinds staling. You cannot pre-grind and have any chance of having
the correct grind.
 
Pacific Northwest Gathering Vhttp://home.comcast.net/~mckona/PNWGV.htmKona Kurmudgeon miKe mcKoffee
URL to Rosto mods, FrankenFormer, some recipes etc:http://mdmint.home.comcast.net/coffee/Rosto_mod.htmUltimately the quest for Koffee Nirvana is a solitary path. To know I must
first not know. And in knowing know I know not. Each Personal enlightenment
found exploring the many divergent foot steps of Those who have gone before.
Sweet Maria's List - Searchable Archiveshttp://themeyers.org/HomeRoast/ 
From: homeroast-admin
[mailto:homeroast-admin] On Behalf Of Brentley
Beerline
Sent: Tuesday, May 29, 2007 6:05 PM
don't disagree with that. but for troubleshooting to determine if the
grinder is bad or if the machine is bad it will at least give him a clue.
 
Pre grinding espresso is awful for flavor and should not be done.
----- Original Message ----
From: miKe mcKoffee 
To: homeroast
Pre-grinding for espresso doesn't work, period. The required grind will vary
even for the same machine and same grinder and same blend day to day even
during the same day.
 

14) From: Justin Marquez
Mike - What chemical is in it?
Safe Journeys and Sweet Music
Justin Marquez (CYPRESS, TX)
On 5/29/07, miKe mcKoffee  wrote:
<Snip>

15) From: Mike Koenig
Dan,
That DeLonghi was my first machine...it leaks.  The water is held back
by a little plastic bead on a spring, which opens under pump pressure.
 It wears and it leaks,  mine did the same thing.  You can try
descaling (citric acid works well), which would help if the bead isn't
worn.
My advice:  If the coffee tastes OK, don't worry about the puck, it's
just messier to clean up.
--mike
Mystery. I've owned my espresso maker for many years. I use it fairly
frequently. However, recently I seem to have lost my touch! My pucks are
floating in liquid!!
My machine is a caffe traviso by deLonghi--a low-end pump machine. I grind
with a whirlygig by Krups. Over the past couple of months I've found that,
after pulling my shot, the coffee continues to drip from the portafilter for
several minutes. If I don't wait for it to drip, I find a portafilter full
of liquid and grounds swimming together merrily--not the good-old solid puck
I'm used to!
I've tried varying my grind from almost Turkish-coffee powder to French
press coarse, and I get pretty much the same reslts, puck-wise. Any
thoughts???
Dan M

16) From: miKe mcKoffee
This is a multi-part message in MIME format.
I have no idea the specific chemical composition of Cleancaf, only that IMO
it is a very effective general purpose cleaner and mild descaler for coffee
equipment. You'd need to contact Urnex for more information. As a "descaler"
only there are indeed far better products (like Urnex Dezcal even), but
that's not it's intended use.http://www.urnex.com/cleancaf.htm 
Pacific Northwest Gathering Vhttp://home.comcast.net/~mckona/PNWGV.htmKona Kurmudgeon miKe mcKoffee
URL to Rosto mods, FrankenFormer, some recipes etc:http://mdmint.home.comcast.net/coffee/Rosto_mod.htmUltimately the quest for Koffee Nirvana is a solitary path. To know I must
first not know. And in knowing know I know not. Each Personal enlightenment
found exploring the many divergent foot steps of Those who have gone before.
Sweet Maria's List - Searchable Archiveshttp://themeyers.org/HomeRoast/ 
From: homeroast-admin
[mailto:homeroast-admin] On Behalf Of Justin Marquez
Sent: Tuesday, May 29, 2007 7:04 PM
Mike - What chemical is in it?
 
Safe Journeys and Sweet Music
Justin Marquez (CYPRESS, TX) 
On 5/29/07, miKe mcKoffee  wrote: 
Yes, Urnex Cleancaf is designed specifically as a mild detergent mild
descaler combination for through the tank machine cleaning. Be they drip or 
espresso or whatever.

17) From: Derek Bradford
Isn't Cleancaf just citric acid?  I thought I'd read that somewhere.
I've only used citric acid; never bothered buying Cleancaf.  Anyone
know?
--Derek
On 5/30/07, miKe mcKoffee  wrote:
<Snip>
-- 
Every path but your own is the path of fate.  --Thoreau

18) From: Dan Mouer
Mike,
I think that you nailed it. I'll put some citric through it this morning.
Dan

19) From: Derek Bradford
I'm Derek, not miKe, and I haven't quite nailed it.  Check out the
other thread about cleancaf happening now for updates...
--Derek
On 5/30/07, Dan Mouer  wrote:
<Snip>
-- 
Every path but your own is the path of fate.  --Thoreau

20) From: stereoplegic
my Bar32 had the same thing. i only tried it once, as i've never seen 
pucks that weren't @ least a little soupy from pressurized PFs/baskets. 
after that i simply:
unscrewed the little spout at the bottom of the basket,
pulled the screen and rubber gasket (inside the PF basket, not the group 
gasket) out of the top of the basket,
removed the screen and plastic thingy (w/ screw threads on the bottom,
this is the actual spring-loaded pressurization device) from the gasket,
put the screen/gasket combo back in the gasket w/o the plastic 
pressurization thingy,
voila! non-pressurized. this was a PITA to clean, though. i ended up 
getting a Bodum Granos basket (51mm, a little too tight, would get stuck 
on the grouphead) and cutting off the bottom w/ a dremmel. worked much 
better, much easier to clean. if you PF is the same size mine was (about 
52mm, though espressoparts.com says 51mm), a non-pressurized Solis 
basket may be a good fit (Saeco/*$ was just a little too tight for mine, 
though the *$ PF w/ *$ basket fit fine w/ a little elbow grease-i 
removed the pressurized crap from the *$ PF too).
also, i'll echo the sentiment that the whirlyblade won't cut it (or that 
it will cut, not grind) for espresso.
koenig.mike wrote:
<Snip>


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