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Thread: Izzo Alex Leva

  1. #101
    Senior Member javabeen's Avatar
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    Hi amellor

    Can't say my water looks like that. I'm not plumbed in though, I'm using the flojet pump fed from filtered water. How long has it been like that, is it just since being plumbed in? Maybe just flush a heap of water through the group and hot water tap, like a few litres? Keep us posted on how you go.

  2. #102
    Senior Member javabeen's Avatar
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    I've been meaning to give an update on how everything is going with Alex Leva but I haven't really had a chance. I've been playing around and having some remarkable coffee so far, I haven't had a bad shot yet.

    The pours are amazing, moosey and smooth. The planets lined up for me this afternoon and I had my first god shots from Izzo Alex using Talk Coffees shed shandy. It was repeated with another shot shortly after, so there's some great temp stability there. I'm impressed that every time I step up to the machine to make an espresso, I pull on the lever to do a flush and I don't get spluttering water, just a nice rain shower from the group of hot water.

    I also posted in the cup tasting thread about shots from some of my home roasted Costa Rica coffee. Again beautiful, balanced syrupy pours, easily reproduced.

    I'm impressed with the difference and improvement this machine has made to my espresso. I've got about 1.2kg of home roasted coffee resting and I can't wait to get try it out as it comes of age. Oh and some PNG Wahgi from Talk Coffee. One very happy camper!

    Stay tuned
    Javabeen.
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  3. #103
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    Yes definitely have a flush. Might be something from the filter?

    350kPa PLV is the flow. I have occasionally seen an alarm on 1st fill, but not thereafter- assuming your filter is not restricting flow too much.

    Cheers

    Chris

  4. #104
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    I've flushed the machine with 5-10L of water, It is much clearer now, still a tiny about of sediment, but almost gone.

    the water fill issue is still there, not much problem when there is under 1 bar but always fails to fill when the boiler is at 1.2 bar or higher.
    when I open the filter dispenser tap to get a pressure drop in the line, water flows into the boiler.

    now to pull my first shots

  5. #105
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    I cleaned the area to take a photo over the weekend,
    guess I should share it here

    love the machine, so much easier to use than the silvia, so quiet and mains connection is a blessing.
    I just want to keep it clean and polished.

    No longer having my issue with the water pressure, and i've only choked it once (who ordered that 90 second ristretto)
    Attached Images Attached Images

  6. #106
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    Goodness, the HG one looks tiny next to it!

  7. #107
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    haha yeah.

  8. #108
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    Looks fabulous, where did you get those great cups ??

  9. #109
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pdockley View Post
    Looks fabulous, where did you get those great cups ??
    They are Terra Keramic. There is a thread or two on here about them, I got those from USA, there is an Australian non sponsor seller but they are out of stock.

    I'm looking to get a couple more to complete my set

  10. #110
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    Is there anyway to adjust the shot volume on these machines or is it one size fits all?

    Thanks

  11. #111
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    Welcome veebee,

    With a lever machine, you pull the lever and the chamber in the group fills. The release empties it. You can do a partial pull, but there may be pressure implications as well depending on spring configuration. The total volume of a double with the Alex Leva (San Marco group) is circa 50 ml.

    I adjust shot volume by rejecting whatever I don't require.

  12. #112
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    Thanks Chris,
    That's what I thought.
    Any other tips or tricks that you or anyone else may have in getting the best out of these?
    I currently leave the lever in the down position for pre-infusion for 10 seconds before lifting it back up. Getting great coffee at the moment but always looking to improve.

    Tim

  13. #113
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    I'm doing the same re pre-infusion. 10 secs, drops of coffee coming out the spouts.
    I get about 2x 20ml including the crema, I reject the rest. I spent the first few days attempting to get a bigger shot, but I'm happy with the taste.
    I still have a ways to go though. I am producing shots tasting below the good coffee houses, but much better than the average 'drinkable' coffee shops.

    I've heard from orphan espresso, you can adjust the pre-infusion on the sm leva, but haven't had that desire yet.

  14. #114
    Senior Member javabeen's Avatar
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    Picked up this beauty Bogav tamper today from Talk Coffee. Had it fitted to the basket of my Leva, fits beautifully and cleans the sides of the basket perfectly. The finish is sensational.

    The fit in my hand is nice and makes for a beautiful level tamp.

    1403267417682.jpg
    1403267442230.jpg
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  15. #115
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    Hi Veebee,
    I am running approx. 10 sec pre-infusion, however this depends on my speed to get the milk out of the fridge! And I also just remove the cup to cut the shot, the rest goes into the drip tray
    Still love the lever
    Cheers
    Dr Dave

  16. #116
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    Quote Originally Posted by javabeen View Post
    Picked up this beauty Bogav tamper today from Talk Coffee. Had it fitted to the basket of my Leva, fits beautifully and cleans the sides of the basket perfectly. The finish is sensational.

    The fit in my hand is nice and makes for a beautiful level tamp.
    Nice, I'm looking forward to me second Pullman showing up Monday (I hope)

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr_Dave View Post
    Hi Veebee,
    I am running approx. 10 sec pre-infusion, however this depends on my speed to get the milk out of the fridge! And I also just remove the cup to cut the shot, the rest goes into the drip tray
    Still love the lever
    Cheers
    Dr Dave
    I hear ya dr Dave.
    Compared to the silvia being in front of the leva feels like being the pit crew at Bathurst.
    I find myself going through a checklist to make sure everything is ready before I grind, because once I start there is no 'dead' time waiting

  17. #117
    Senior Member javabeen's Avatar
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    Just took the shower screen off, looked pretty ugly dirty. You can see it soaking in some cleaner as we speak.
    1403402890669.jpg

    Word of warning if you're thinking of taking the c clip out. It's under a lot of tension. I bought a set of expensive c clip pliers from the hardware store and they didn't grip the clip well so it went flying across the room when I lowered it from the group. The pins on the pliers are shaped like a v so the clip slipped out if that makes sense.

    Got these cheaper pliers ($8) and they work much better. More strength and they hold the clip well as the pins are like little pillers.
    1403403202194.jpg
    1403403326194.jpg
    Last edited by javabeen; 22nd June 2014 at 11:44 AM.

  18. #118
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    Hi Java,
    It must be telepathy as I had EXACTLY the same experience TODAY! I decided to soak the screen, the clip flew off with expensive
    circlip pliers, so I bought a pair for $7.80 at Bunnings - they work much better than my expensive ones
    How funny
    Cheers
    Dr Dave
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  19. #119
    Senior Member javabeen's Avatar
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    Hi Dr Dave

    That brought a smile to my face, what are the odds of this? Might be a sign, I'll buy a lottery ticket this week hehe.

    At least we both survived without injury!

    How did you go getting the c clip back in?

    Now, I've been brewing some Peru that I lightly roasted in the Behmor 2 weeks ago and it shines with the Leva. The pour is entire crema, no liquid. It settles to 70% liquid after 30 seconds. I bumped the temp to 124 to take the edge off the acidity, and dropped the dose. The result is a very moussey, nutty shot with nicely balanced acidity and sweetness.

    I swap bean varieties a lot, literally after every bag, so I get to play with temp and other variables, you? Have you been playing with the temp?

    Javabeen.

  20. #120
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    Hi Java,
    No problem getting the circlip in with the new $7.80 pliers...
    Like you I will buy a lotto ticket in the $28M lottery on Saturday. I love the people who say "it wouldn't change my life at all if I won" - well it would change mine!
    I am using Genovese beans from MLB which I find great and really consistent and temp sits at 123C
    I haven't taken the plunge to home roast yet as I just don't have the time at this point, however in the future home roasting is definitely my next step
    Cheers
    Dave

  21. #121
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    So dumb question, but do the big holes of the shower screen go up or down in the group. I didn't pay much attention before I pulled it out.

  22. #122
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    They face up

  23. #123
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    Izzo Alex Leva

    Quote Originally Posted by amellor View Post
    I'm doing the same re pre-infusion. 10 secs, drops of coffee coming out the spouts.

    I've heard from orphan espresso, you can adjust the pre-infusion on the sm leva, but haven't had that desire yet.
    I adjusted the preinfusion down in the cellar. With 4bar for the whole house I had ~6sec until the first drops. Now with 3bar I have ~8-10sec. That`s what I wanted.

  24. #124
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    Izzo Alex Leva

    I cleaned the shower screen oft my Alex `Eva one week ago. It took me about five loops.

    But first: For the plier a version with the tips bent 90 degree fits better. Nothing will jump due to the constant 90 angle.
    Anyway I will buy a one size bigger plier than the most usual one, to have the pins of 2.3mm, as the holes are 2.5. This should be easier for precise handling.

    Story itself:
    After three attempts I was happy that the clip was back in position. But then I made a flush without PF and many of the jets were all crosswise. I know it was perfect parallel before!

    I installed the clip and screen five times with micro-positioning until parallel flow.
    - But now I am perfect happy again with my Alex `Eva-

    Has anybody had the same problem, or not looked at the "flow"?
    Last edited by Peter42; 6th July 2014 at 06:27 AM. Reason: submitted by mistake

  25. #125
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter42 View Post
    I adjusted the preinfusion down in the cellar. With 4bar for the whole house I had ~6sec until the first drops. Now with 3bar I have ~8-10sec. That`s what I wanted.
    I have an Alex Leva, and I don't think the line pressure influences the preinfusion time. When the machine draws from the line (i.e., fills the boiler), it sounds like a switch opens a valve, which then shuts when the boiler is full. The pressure of the water at the group head is indicated by the gauge on the machine - the boiler pressure, which I run at 1-1.2 bar depending on the beans. The group head does not see the line pressure. Or am I missing something?

  26. #126
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    Hi itjaw -That is my understanding also. Pre infusion is dictated by the time the lever is down
    Maybe ask an expert like Chris at Talk Coffee
    Cheers

  27. #127
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    So I ordered mine yesterday - hopefully be here on Tuesday! I have an HG - 1 as well - hopefully a match made in coffee heaven

  28. #128
    Senior Member javabeen's Avatar
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    Hope you get some sleep over the next couple of days in anticipation of your Leva. Boy am I excited for you. You are in for some truly mesmerising coffee experiences.
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  29. #129
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    Izzo Alex Leva

    So where do you Alex Leva users prefer to set your PIDs? I noticed I can set mine to a much wider range than what's listed in the user manual - i.e., I can go much lower. Currently I have mine at 250F, which gives me a boiler pressure of 1.1 bar. I wonder why the "green zone" on the boiler pressure gauge is 1.5-2.0 bar? It seems my brew temp would be too hot if I dialed the machine into this range.

  30. #130
    Senior Member javabeen's Avatar
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    The range I have used so far is 120c to 124c. I find lower temps in the range 120c to 122c work better for darker roasts for my palate, while the higher temps in the range 123c to 124c work better for the lighter roasts.

    What has been your experience?

  31. #131
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    What boiler pressure do your temps translate into, since we're talking Celsius and Fahrenheit?

    My experience regarding lighter vs darker roasts has been the opposite: my palate prefers a lower temp for lighter roasts.

  32. #132
    Senior Member javabeen's Avatar
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    I don't pay much attention to the pressure gauge, but it ranges from just over 1 bar to 1.3bar from memory. This morning temp is 122c and pressure is a little over 1.1bar.

    And with regard to brew temps, it just goes to show how important it is to experiment and find what works for your palate with coffee. I find lower dose, higher temp brings more complexity to the cup while taming the acidity of lighter roasts and brings out more sweetness.
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    Last edited by javabeen; 15th July 2014 at 08:22 AM. Reason: added image

  33. #133
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr_Dave View Post
    Hi itjaw -That is my understanding also. Pre infusion is dictated by the time the lever is down
    Maybe ask an expert like Chris at Talk Coffee
    Cheers
    @Itjaw and @Dr_Dave.
    You are both right. That what I wrote was wrong and it seems additional unclear:
    The pre-infusion time itself is clearly determined by the lever down.

    I meant the time until the first drops fall below, because normally I like to have this at the end of preinfusion.
    The line-pressure acts during pre-infusion and should influence the time until the first drops appear (as the density of the grounds as well).
    Therefore the line-pressure should have an influence on the relation between "making the grounds wet" and shot time, as the pressure acting from the spring is fix.

    I hope you can agree on this.
    Peter

  34. #134
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    So I've finally got mine and set it up! What a gorgeous machine, and thanks to much to Chris from Talkcoffee - really excellent service and advice
    I am the habit of weighing my shots and have tried a range of 14 to 18 gm so far. I've had a few bitter shots, even adjusting the boiler up and down, and even though the pour looks amazing. What sort of weights are you others doing?
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  35. #135
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stickleback View Post
    So I've finally got mine and set it up! What a gorgeous machine, and thanks to much to Chris from Talkcoffee - really excellent service and advice
    I am the habit of weighing my shots and have tried a range of 14 to 18 gm so far. I've had a few bitter shots, even adjusting the boiler up and down, and even though the pour looks amazing. What sort of weights are you others doing?
    Congrats Stickleback. Now we need pix or it didn't happen

    Dosing- try just grinding 'til the double is full and level and then a brush off. No need to collapse. I suspect you may find that it's more like 20(ish) grams- but I'm not sure as I never weigh.

    Temp? Try 120 deg as a start point. I find it works well with our coffee.

    Enjoy the new kit and thanks for choosing us.

    Chris
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  36. #136
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stickleback View Post
    So I've finally got mine and set it up! What a gorgeous machine, and thanks to much to Chris from Talkcoffee - really excellent service and advice
    I am the habit of weighing my shots and have tried a range of 14 to 18 gm so far. I've had a few bitter shots, even adjusting the boiler up and down, and even though the pour looks amazing. What sort of weights are you others doing?
    As Chris says, Must see pics

    I've been running @121C but have just today jumped to 122. tastes good.

    When I first got mine I tried the same as I used in my silvia, 18g, I found the taste too strong and reduced it to 15-16g for the leva.

    I'm using the HG-One and distribute the grinds before they go into the PF basket, this probably explains why my grinds nowhere near fill the basket.

    I also got a Pullman made up to fit, and it fits so perfectly I have to be careful removing it from the basket after, without getting a suction effect.

    hmm, must be time for another coffee

  37. #137
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    Thanks Guys.

    I've got an HG-one as well and find the same thing - the grinds don't fill up the basket after redistribution, hence the need to weigh.
    I'm not getting a lot of change in the taste, regardless of what I do at the moment, even when the pour looks perfect. I'm using my own beans (only 2 weeks old) and some of Talk coffee's blend as well. I'd think it was my water, but I just changed the filters and it tastes good out of the tap!

    *sighs*

  38. #138
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stickleback View Post
    I'm not getting a lot of change in the taste, regardless of what I do at the moment, even when the pour looks perfect. I'm using my own beans (only 2 weeks old) and some of Talk coffee's blend as well.
    odd you are not getting any change in taste, I (literally) just made a shot for the missus and me, upped the dose to 17g and made the grind a smidge coarser. Definite stronger/more intense coffee, less caramel flavor. this is with a SO roasted by chris. mrs has it as a latte so she did not notice as much.

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    Righto - 18gm, 123 deg, perfect!
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  40. #140
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    Just goes to show you have to experiment to find what works with your setup and if you home roast experimenting is even more important.

    I decided to weigh my dose for the home roasted Colombian Volcan Galeras Supremo I'm currently enjoying: the sweet spot is 18g, 122c.
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  41. #141
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    I have a question for you Alex Leva users: when you pull a shot, how long do you leave the handle down? Or, what is your "lever handling" routine?

    Before my first use, I thought the routine was to pull the handle all the way down and wait until the first drops of coffee formed on the filter basket (I use a bottomless PF). But after waiting what seemed to be too long a time, I started doing this:

    Load PF. Pull handle all the way down. Wait 5-10 seconds. Start raising the handle very slowly, maintaining resistance on it until some drops start to form on the basket. Hold the handle there for a few seconds until the drops coalesce, then gently release the handle, letting the full pressure hit the puck.

    I suppose what I'm looking for is a proper preinfusion of the puck.

    How do you pull on the Alex Leva?

  42. #142
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    I generally just count to about 10. I've tried a little less and a little longer, but not really noticed any difference in the cup. I saw a video with one of the family that builds them, that said 6 to 8 seconds.

  43. #143
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    Although I've got an LI (and HG-One) the lever principles will be the same; I thought I'd offer this up regarding pre-infusion: The length of time for your pre-infusion will effect the temperature of the brew water. So this is one more variable in your tool box! Longer pre-infusion time will generally result in hotter shot water temp and visa-versa. Generally, but now always, I am pre-infusing 3-5 seconds. And your grind and bean weight/volume is related to your PI time.

  44. #144
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    Izzo Alex Leva

    Very helpful discussion. Thanks! I like to make sure the entire puck is saturated before I release the full pressure of the spring on it. When timing the preinfusion, do you start from the moment the handle is fully down and count to when you let go of it on its way up? I seem to spend a few extra 5 seconds or so slowly raising the handle until I see coffee emerge from the portafilter before letting it go. So, 5-10 seconds with the handle fully down. 5-10 seconds slowly raising it to fully saturate the puck. My results have been good (actually, great), but it sounds like I should speed things up a bit?

  45. #145
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    You could speed things up and see if you like the results in the cup, and then compare it to what you currently do and pick the one you like the taste of. But personally there is no need to speed it up for the sake of speeding it up, it's got to give better results.

    I'm going to try your slow release lever approach, sounds good. Always up for trying something different.

    Interesting discussion.

    Javabeen.

  46. #146
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    I can report that speeding things up has resulted in an improvement for me and a surprising change. What I am doing differently: I bring the lever down to the "locked down" position and wait 5 seconds. I then raise the lever until I feel enough resistance to upward movement and let go. So, shorter amount of time with the lever "locked down" and shorter amount of time before flow of coffee from the portafilter. My previous technique of slowly raising the lever to see coffee start to form on the PF and holding it there for a few seconds to infuse the puck was adding a lot of time to the process and now seems quite unnecessary, if not detrimental. The surprising (for me) change with this faster pull is that it requires a coarser grind. I have also found that I don't need to be as obsessive about distribution and tamp.

    Right now I'm trying to wrap my head around dstr8's comment about pre-infusion affecting brew temp, which makes perfect sense. It seems to me the length of time I lock that handle down and preinfuse has a greater effect on the shot than the PID setting.
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  47. #147
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    Levers are no fun when you have a fractured collar bone and a couple fractured ribs. Thank goodness the Malawi Mzuzu Union AA I roasted last Wednesday is tasting like gold. 2 doubles please barista!
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  48. #148
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    Quote Originally Posted by javabeen View Post
    Levers are no fun when you have a fractured collar bone and a couple fractured ribs. Thank goodness the Malawi Mzuzu Union AA I roasted last Wednesday is tasting like gold. 2 doubles please barista!
    Gawd javabeen- you've been in the wars this year

    Wishing you a speedy recovery.

    Chris
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  49. #149
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    Many thanks Chris, it certainly has been a bumpy year. Thank goodness for great coffee and lovely coffee gear to brew on, sure does help me pull through things.

    I still can't get over how wonderful Alex Leva is, the Malawi was a tad bitter so I dropped the temp a couple degrees and that tamed the bitterness and made the choc really pop. From the Talk Coffee website I notice your roasting the Brasil tomorrow...yummo. That's delicious brewed on Alex Leva.
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  50. #150
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    Hi Javabean,
    Sorry to hear of your misfortune. You will find your ribs take 4 - 6 weeks for the pain to completely settle down. A Long time because they are always moving and cannot be immobilised
    I wish you a speedy recovery
    Cheers
    Dr Dave
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