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Topic: Attention: Cremina zealots, (16 msgs / 625 lines)
1) From: Roger Lebow
You'll probably get plenty of responses on this, but don't forget the Lever Forum on Home-Barista.com--they're lousy with Cremina zealots over there. (My lever machine is an Elektra, so I'm no use at all.)
Roger in Sierra Madre

2) From: Nick Malnati
For all those Cremina gadget kings out there I'm looking for some
advice.  I have a Cremina Olympia paired with a Mazzer and a custom
brass naked portafilter.  Beans are freshly roasted and have an HB
tamper.  Sweet setup and yet my shots are very inconsistent.  That
leaves ME as the culprit for bad espresso.
I've been lately doing a double basket with whatever the Mazzer
throws. Sometimes I updose for a ristretto, sometimes not. Always
fresh grinds.  My tamping shows about 32lb on the bathroom scale.
My doubles yield 50ml.  The naked portafilter shows usually one band
of golden nectar.  I usually never see blonding on doubles and never
on the ristretto.
I've tried two lever techniques but never had a real Italian show me
how to do it.  Lately I start off half way and slowly let water fill
the PF.  I might stop and go back down to half way, pumping 3-4 times,
each slowly charging the PF.  I'll then sit at the top until I reach
8-10 seconds and start extracting.  Extraction is fairly thin with
this method. Leaking occurs after 4-5 seconds sometimes, probably
because puck isn't getting a good seal?
My other technique is when I start in the middle and bring the handle
straight up in 2-3 seconds, then back down to the half way, then up
again.  I always feel like I'm not charging up the puck as much this
method.  Shots are fairly strong with this method.
In both methods I shoot for ~24 seconds total time from when I start
pumping to the end of the shot pull.
Hockey puck always is moist, not terribly firm but enough to bang out.
 I can get 3 doubles before the machine is too hot.
Any comments? Suggestions?
-- 
-=Nick Malnati
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PHONE 413.281.0037
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3) From: MichaelB
Hello Nick,
Lack of consistency? Where to look? How about here...
<Snip>
"Whatever" and "Sometimes" will not get you consistent shots. I strongly
recommend you weigh your doses till you find the ideal amount for each bean.
I use 15 grams for monkey blend, 17 grams for donkey blend. Stockfleths move
to level the grinds. Then a very light tamp. Sounds like you have Richard
Penney's portafilter; you may want to try his tamper made for Cremina.
Designed to push the surface of the puck down slightly below the rim to just
clear the dispersion screen.
I raise the lever up full for 3 secs, then down part way and up
immediately for another 3 secs. That clears out some air and loads enough
water for one good pull instead of two. Then light lever pressure down until
the first drops appear (pre-infusion, about 5 secs), then full pressure
(another 20 secs or so) till you get your 1.5-2 oz or until the stream
starts to turn blond.
With practice it is possible to pull shots to match or even beat the taste
of any electric pump machine. And consistent too, if you get serious about
your technique..
On Wed, Feb 25, 2009 at 3:43 PM, Nick Malnati  wrote:
<Snip>
--
MichaelB
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4) From: Tom Ulmer
Michael's dosing and tamping techniques are a bit different than mine but
then I don't use the same grinder. I only use the double basket, dose for
the same basket level at the same tamp pressure at the same grind for all
shots. My thoughts about grinding and the lever pressure are not
conventional as I believe that if you're attempting to mimic an electric
pump then you should, well, use an electric pump. I am simply looking for a
good syrupy pull and really very little crema as this is what I enjoy.
My pull technique is very similar to Michael's except I may pump an
additional 1-2 times on the pre-infusion. I prefer to pre-infuse with as
little pressure as possible as I find this helps to minimize channeling.
Cheers to finding your sweet spot.

5) From: Nick Malnati
Hi MichaelB & Tom:
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an.
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ove
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Yes, Richard Penney's portafilter is what I've been using.
Interesting, I did not know he had a tamper.  Regarding dosage, I have
used my Salter scale when I switch to a new batch of beans.  I don't
measure every basket, no.  But I do use as a rule of thumb to gauge if
I'm getting close.  I haven't heard of Stockfleths technique until
today and will try.
Dosage is important, but I believe proper tamping is even more
important.  Pressure doesn't seem so important as evenness of the
hockey puck.
<Snip>
til
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I find that the preinfusion is the most important part.  I've heard
5-8 seconds is preferred for gauging when those first drops should
appear, as it indicates you did your preinfusion correctly.  My early
pulls would have a lot of air in the chamber and that's why all my
shots were coming up short in volume (and grossly overextracted).
One thing I would add is that I have been advised by EdB. (farmroast)
to lift my handle up 1/2 way before inserting the PF. Not doing this
sucks in air from the bottom of the PF and disrupts the puck before
any water hits. Following this advice has helped a lot.
This morning I measured shots ranging from 14-16g of a custom blend.
I lightly and evenly tamped, pulled handle 1/2 way up then locked in
Portafilter.  I slowly let water soak the bed and then pulled the
handle all the way up (maybe over 2-4 sec) and let it sit at the top
for a few seconds.  I then came back down to about half way, just
enough to see a drop of espresso and went back up to the top for
another 5 seconds or so.  Extraction was about 26 seconds and was very
rich, syrupy and full of microcrema.  I consistently did this for 3
doubles.
Now that I have the body I'm looking for it is time to see how to
consistently do this.  And hopefully my extraction will help with
getting a good shot.  The first was OK, the second was a bit
overextracted and the third was surprisingly sweet.  I'm wondering if
this is more the infusion or extraction to blame.  I heard about the
rule of thirds with shot pulls but I pretty much provide even,
consistent pressure until the shot finishes.
Tom, thanks for the advice on the soft pull.  I believe this is what
I'm doing to start out with.  And Michael, thanks for your advice.
Best Regards,
Nick
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-- =
-=Nick Malnati
==========================
==========
PHONE 413.281.0037
==========================
==========
REGISTERED LINUX USER #356296
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6) From: Les
Being a Cremina nut, I must comment.  First I think you are moving
your lever too much.  I slowly lift the lever to the top and then firm
up the water column and pre-infuse by pumping 3 or 4 times, but only
an inch or two.  There is a by-pass valve at the top, so you don't
have to move that much.  You don't need to slam the pressure to the
puck either.  a nice steady ramp of pressure will give you a good
elixir.  I won't comment on the tamper!  However you must have a level
tamp!  Most important.  Much more important than pounds of pressure.
Interesting, I can get 6 doubles out of my Cremina before
over-heating.  My personal preference is to do true doubles as well.
I pull two singles (single baskets) to make a nice 2 - 2.5 ounce
double.  By the way, it doesn't take an Italian to give you help on a
Swiss machine!
Les
On Wed, Feb 25, 2009 at 12:43 PM, Nick Malnati  wrote:
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7) From: Les
Great response.  Since Richard's tamper has been promoted,  "Richard
Penney's portafilter; you may want to try his tamper made for Cremina.
 Designed to push the surface of the puck down slightly below the rim
to just  clear the dispersion screen."  I would like to inform you
that the Thor Ridgeline (pat. pending)  assures that your tamp will be
perfectly level.  I also use one of Richards fine bottomless PFs.
However to get a perfectly level puck, it is done easily with a
Ridgeline.
Les
P.S.  The Ridgeline is also custom fit for the Cremina.  I should know
I make them!
On Thu, Feb 26, 2009 at 9:07 AM, Nick Malnati  wrote:
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ean.
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move
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just
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8) From: MichaelB
Les,
Since I already have a Cremina fully decked out with Thor handles,
Thor knobs, and a "regular" Thor tamper, I am pleased to hear you have a
tamper designed for light tamps in a Cremina basket. I will be contacting
you offline to see if you have any of the New Guinea striped ebony wood left
to make me a Ridgeline tamper to match my existing wood gear.
On Fri, Feb 27, 2009 at 12:56 PM, Les  wrote:
<Snip>
--
MichaelB
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9) From: MichaelB
Nick,
Distribution of grinds in the basket is probably even more important than
the tamping. One way to get excellent distribution is by using a honking big
commercial grinder that disperses the grinds evenly and clump-free into the
basket. Then a careful tamp preserves the distribution to give you a
smooth channel-free and squirt-free shot. Another way to help with
distribution is to use the Weiss Distribution Technique (WDT) to break up
the clumps often produced by lesser grinders. One "mistake" made by folks
using the WDT is to stir the grinds with a thick stirrer rather than the
recommended dissecting needle (I use a sewing needle, thread end stuck into
a cork). The thick stirrer messes up the grinds and can leave uneven spots
that will make channeling more likely. The thin stirrer leaves the grinds in
place and just breaks up the clumps. Then the tamp to preserve the even
distribution and pull the shot.
As you can read from the varied responses here (and even more on the home
barista site), there are many different ways to prepare and pull your shots
and still get wonderful output. IMO the most important reason for
consistency is to be able to repeat your successes once you find a method
that works for you.
On Thu, Feb 26, 2009 at 12:07 PM, Nick Malnati  wrote:
<Snip>
--
MichaelB
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10) From: Edward Bourgeois
Nick has a big honking Major.
On Fri, Feb 27, 2009 at 8:50 PM, MichaelB  wrote:
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-- =
Ed Bourgeois aka farmroast
Amherst MA.http://www.aginclassroom.org/Homeroast mailing list">http://coffee-roasting.blogspot.com/ Co-President- Ma. Agriculture in the Classroomhttp://www.aginclassroom.org/Homeroast mailing list
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11) From: Phil Palmintere
Re: WDT & dissecting needle,
What about just a common toothpick?

12) From: Ira
At 07:18 AM 2/28/2009, you wrote:
<Snip>
A toothpick might be to thick. In my experience, the thinner the better.
Ira
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13) From: Allon Stern
On Mar 2, 2009, at 1:57 PM, Ira wrote:
<Snip>
If you're a guitarist, I'd think the excess trimmed from a new string  
(stainless or nickel) would probably work well.
Sandy?
Dissecting needles are too specialized an item to be readily  
available (I'm sure they can be ordered, but not likely to be on hand)
-
allon
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14) From:
I use a shishkabob wood skewer. They are similar to super long toothpicks, and come in a bundle. I use it to break up clumps, but also to stir the vac pot and french press. I like em.
Dean De Crisce
Sent from a Treo phone

15) From: Edward Bourgeois
I strip back a twist tie
On Mon, Mar 2, 2009 at 4:42 PM,   wrote:
<Snip>
, and come in a bundle. I use it to break up clumps, but also to stir the v=
ac pot and french press. I like em.
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ireside discussion
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elB
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big
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ee.com
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ee.com/gallery/main.php?g2_itemId=7820
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-- =
Ed Bourgeois aka farmroast
Amherst MA.http://www.aginclassroom.org/Homeroast mailing list">http://coffee-roasting.blogspot.com/ Co-President- Ma. Agriculture in the Classroomhttp://www.aginclassroom.org/Homeroast mailing list
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16) From:
hey that is a great idea
Dean De Crisce
Sent from a Treo phone


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