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Thread: ECM Synchronika

  1. #1
    Senior Member Magic_Matt's Avatar
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    Talking ECM Synchronika

    So, I figured now it has an official name this machine deserves its own thread... especially since there's now one on my bench thanks to Paul/K-Bean...


    (click for full size)

    Today is day 2, so obviously too early to put together a thorough review, but my thoughts so far... I'll update after I've had a bit more time to play (have only just finished dialling in the grinder so far).

    My previous home setup was a Sunbeam 6910/450 combo, though I've had access to Makin HX/Compak K3 and GS3/Mazzer Luigi setups at various workplaces... to say the difference between the thermoblock machine and toy grinder and this setup is night and day would be an understatement!

    Even this early, my best shots so far have been every bit as good as any of the 50 or so shots I pulled on the La Marzocco GS/3. The Fiorenzo F71k pairs nicely, and was dialled in within about five or so shots. The couple since have been lightyears better than anything I ever made with the Sunbeam combo, which is I suppose as you'd expect.

    Academically speaking, the Synchronika is probably only a rational upgrade over the H/X Techni if you're planning on drinking lots of black coffee and like to tinker with brew temps; that's not really me at present but I figure it's better to spend extra now rather than upgrade again in two years. I suppose theoretically it should deal better with big runs of milk-based drinks too, but that won't often be a major concern for me. The biggest factor tipping me toward a DB over HX was consistent and controllable brew temp.

    Very glad I went the ECM route as every detail is beautifully designed, engineered and constructed. Probably the only slight letdown is the toggle levers look and feel the tiniest bit cheap compared to the stainless PF and brew lever - but I'll be replacing those anyway

    In summary - early days, no regrets, looking forward to the exponential expansion of my coffee universe.

    --Matt
    Last edited by Javaphile; 16th April 2016 at 12:06 PM. Reason: dit title at OP's request
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    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Looks beaut Matt...

    Lots of very happy coffee time ahead of you now mate...

    Mal.
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  3. #3
    kbc
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    Great choice Matt - to state the obvious from me. Congrats and enjoy
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    kbc
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    Great thread to share all things ECM. Let's make it an ECM thread.

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    kbc
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    Brew lever fitted to the steam toggle on my ECM Controvento. I think it looks pretty good.

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    kbc
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    See my pics and video link on here to find out more about ECM Machines - https://sites.google.com/site/thekbe...resso-machines

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    Senior Member readeral's Avatar
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    So I asked ECM on their Facebook page whether the steam/water valves for the Synchronika could be put onto a Technika (apparently they're "improved movement due to a 70 degree angle) and they told me to contact my local retailer (which is JetBlack), but I haven't bothered yet. Thoughts on the valves Matt & Paul?

  8. #8
    kbc
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    For the valve change question I suggest talking to a tech. If you were in VIC I would recommend Rick (from The Coffee Machinist). Who do you have in NSW?

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    Senior Member Magic_Matt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by readeral View Post
    So I asked ECM on their Facebook page whether the steam/water valves for the Synchronika could be put onto a Technika (apparently they're "improved movement due to a 70 degree angle) and they told me to contact my local retailer (which is JetBlack), but I haven't bothered yet. Thoughts on the valves Matt & Paul?
    So far... I quite like them

    Noting that I haven't used boiler machines extensively (probably ~100 shots in total), they have the pros and cons over rotary knobs you'd expect - simpler and faster to turn on/off at the expense of fine control. They do have a bit of a metal-on-metal feeling, but that may reduce over time... the plastic levers I'm not a fan of aesthetically as I've mentioned

    I haven't used the ECM very much yet as I was away over the weekend, so taking that into consideration - so far I haven't found the lack of modulation a problem at all. Steam power isn't excessive and steaming a small (100ml) pitcher is quite easy. I found the GS3 at a former workplace much more challenging, even with the rotary knob control.

    That said - I might tweak the boiler temp up or swap the steam tip to improve performance in future, at which point I might find it harder to texture small amounts of milk - but typically I'll only be steaming enough milk for one to two 6oz white coffees, which it currently does with ease.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Magic_Matt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by K_Bean_Coffee View Post
    Brew lever fitted to the steam toggle on my ECM Controvento. I think it looks pretty good.
    I think that's a big improvement!

    Ideally I'd make a couple of changes - drill out the plastic and tap a thread further into the lever so there's less exposed steel from the valve control, and either put the plastic part onto a lathe to taper it as it approaches the valve, or even better add a tapered steel 'cap' to finish it more in keeping with the PF handles (the same cap could be added to the brew lever). Even chromed plastic would be an improvement I'd say...

    Ideally, a slightly smaller version of the brew lever would be better than just re-purposing it IMO - aesthetically at least. But in principle, it looks awesome!
    Last edited by Magic_Matt; 18th April 2016 at 10:50 AM.
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  11. #11
    kbc
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    Great points Matt.
    They key is to get the PF handle, brew lever and toggles to all match up.
    I'll send this thread link to ECM.

  12. #12
    Senior Member readeral's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by K_Bean_Coffee View Post
    For the valve change question I suggest talking to a tech. If you were in VIC I would recommend Rick (from The Coffee Machinist). Who do you have in NSW?
    JetBlack would do it for me. They put in my thermosyphon restrictor, and said they'd be happy to change my mater pressurestat to a sirai if and when it carks it down the track.


    Quote Originally Posted by Magic_Matt View Post
    So far... I quite like them

    Noting that I haven't used boiler machines extensively (probably ~100 shots in total), they have the pros and cons over rotary knobs you'd expect - simpler and faster to turn on/off at the expense of fine control. They do have a bit of a metal-on-metal feeling, but that may reduce over time... the plastic levers I'm not a fan of aesthetically as I've mentioned
    Yeah ok, I wondered if the improvement was reduced metal on metal feel - but probably not. I've had that with my Technika, but it has reduced as you suspect yours will. I really wonder what they think the improvement is in? Responsiveness maybe - I dunno. I might have to make a trip to see one. Not sure if anyone has any up here yet.

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    I just bought the ex-demo ECM Controvento from K Bean Coffee. It should get to me early next week. I'll post pics then. Great stuff!! ....and awesome price. Thanks K Bean
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    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    A piece of functional art you've got there mate...

    Have fun...

    Mal.
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    Thanks Mal. I cannot wait!!☕️☕️☕️☕️
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    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Nice cups Paul, Reminiscent of my ACF cappuccino cups/bowls, cups are under rated, heavy, well fired cups are a delight to use.
    Last edited by Yelta; 26th April 2016 at 07:24 PM.

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    Senior Member Magic_Matt's Avatar
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    I have taken great pleasure in dusting off my ACF cups - the very last set of cobalt (actually more a mid blue) 6oz tulips to leave the factory - after the company had gone into receivership - kindly tracked down by Richard from Silipo Coffee

  18. #18
    Member Aido's Avatar
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    Does the PID display have a shot clock like the Profitec 700?

    Matt you'll have to post a YouTube link pulling shots, can't find any videos on this badboy anywhere.


    cheers,

    Aidan

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    Junior Member v1nh's Avatar
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    Been really having a hard time deciding if I should go for this one or the Pro 700!

    My Breville DB bit the dust.

    I believe there are only minor differences between the 2 and both cost roughly the same price.

    Di Bartoli has a sale on the Pro 700 too!

    Any advice for a "noob"?

  20. #20
    Senior Member Magic_Matt's Avatar
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    @Aido yep - same PID, for which ECM holds the patent I believe. Video might follow, once I get my hands on a naked pf perhaps...

    @v1nh my understanding is they are largely the same internally, with minor differences like gauge placement, toggles for steam/hot water, no-burn wands and those protafilter/brew lever handles.

    I'm not sure whether the Profitek has a couple of bells and whistles like steam boiler switchoff and dual PID... I much prefer the design of the ECM, which was enough to swing it for me.
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    Quote Originally Posted by K_Bean_Coffee View Post
    I believe only the ECM Synchronika has latent pre-infusion. You pull the lever up approx 3/4 to get continuous "trickling" water. Makes a nice wet puck surface before the big pressure comes on. This happens when running off the reservoir (ie, doesn't need to be plumbed in).
    The Pro 700 pre-infusion works the same as the Synchronika,

    charlie
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  22. #22
    Junior Member v1nh's Avatar
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    Hi K Bean, when is the next ETA on the next batch of machines?

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    Junior Member v1nh's Avatar
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    Wow..must be some demand for these units!

  24. #24
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by K_Bean_Coffee View Post
    Here's a video showing the passive pre-infusion on my ECM Controvento. The ECM Synchronika has the same function.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EpxQ...ature=youtu.be
    As a matter of interest Paul, "passive pre-infusion" is not unique to the ECM, my 7yo Bezzera is set up to do the same, I believe all E61 machines can be set up this way, its to do with how far the switch pin extends through the facia of the machine.
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  25. #25
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by K_Bean_Coffee View Post
    Hi Yelta,
    I'm not sure why the Rocket machines don't have it. Any ideas on that?
    Thanks
    As I said in my previous post, I believe they can be easily modified, its the way the switch is set up.

    The E61 group head has built in pre-infusion.

    Here's an interesting read on the subject.

    E61 Pre-Infusion
    » Coffeetime Contents Page » Equipment » E61 group » E61 Pre-Infusion
    E61 Preinfusion confusion

    Find and bookmark our home page at Home - Coffeetime UK
    Also see:

    izzo-vivi-pump-switch

    I see a lot of discussion on forums about pre-infusion on the E61 and the E61 middle position. This tends to come up on a regular basis and usually receives conflicting and confusing responses. I think it's time to examine this area a little and try to clear up some of the confusion.
    Firstly, the E61 has built in pre-infusion, in the lower chamber of the group there is a preinfusion chamber and while this fills the pressure to the coffee puck is lower measured with a pressure measuring portafilter. This chamber is sealed with a weak spring seal that lets by at around 4 bar. The chamber fills very quickly a matter of a few seconds for a rotary and a little longer for a vibration pump. The idea of this is to prevent the shock of 9 bar water hitting the coffee puck in the portafilter and allow a more gradual ramp up of pressure. this is by design, this is correct and it works well.
    The "Middle Position" preinfusion is really opening the top brew valve before the pump runs and wetting the puck.

    • line pressure water in the case of a plumbed in machine (should be 2 bar if you have regulated pressure correctly)
    • * or passive flow from the hot water expanding out of the HX unit in a non plumbed machine (hot dribble). I personally don't believe either is correct because of the way that these machines function.

    Then there is the passive dribble from the twin boilers brew boiler (not the same problem as in the first 2 scenarios, but still not correct). This puck wetting has advocates, I am not one of them and have not tasted any significant shot difference after setting up various machines to do this "puck wetting".
    The middle position on an E61 will only let line pressure water through when the top brew valve is open and the pump is not engaged….this is purely a function of how far the micro-switch that turns on the pump protrudes through the front fascia, as this directly impacts how soon the lever cam is able to actuate it during movement of the lever. If the micro-switch pokes out a long way, then the pump will engage slightly before the top brew valve opens, hence . Or the reverse with the switch set too far in and the group opens before the pump engages, then it's possible to carefully raise the lever to a specific point where line pressure water flows through the group but the pump does not run. A typical brew switch is shown below, both the front and the back (inside the case), adjustment is via the two nuts either side of the front fascia panel.


    In the Goldilocks scenario…."it's just right" when the pump runs almost exactly as the group opens. This is how most manufacturers set it up and by design they are not expecting anyone to do any passive "puck wetting", which is why it's never covered in the instructions.
    The E61 that may be the exception to the rule with respect of built in pre-infusion are some automatic solenoid operated E61's which sacrifice the preinfusion chamber for the electrically operated group exhaust solenoid and it's often a reason why some of the semi automatic machines might be best avoided. Some other non E61 machines simulate the E61 preinfusion using a separate expansion chamber in the brew circuit e.g. La Spaziale Vivaldi S1 and Mini Vivaldi (not sure if it's standard now or available as an add on)
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    Senior Member Magic_Matt's Avatar
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    Very interesting reading - thanks for posting Yelta!

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    TC
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yelta View Post
    As a matter of interest Paul, "passive pre-infusion" is not unique to the ECM, my 7yo Bezzera is set up to do the same, I believe all E61 machines can be set up this way, its to do with how far the switch pin extends through the facia of the machine.
    Agreed Yelta,

    Whist it's not required due to the inbuilt preinfusion native to the e-61 group, it can be provided with a simple pump microswitch adjustment.

    Another example of manufacturing companies inventing marketing terms so as to appear to be at an advantage over competitor companies...

    We're now fitting all of our machines with once of these to ensure that they are waaaaay better than the competition...
    polariser.jpg
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  28. #28
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Talk_Coffee View Post
    Agreed Yelta,



    We're now fitting all of our machines with once of these to ensure that they are waaaaay better than the competition...
    polariser.jpg
    I'm very interested in one of these Chris, which energy does it polarize, the power going in or the pressure coming out?

    Do you supply them as an after market bolt on and can it be installed by the average home user, I'm not an electrician, however I can activate a domestic illumination device without any difficulty.
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  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yelta View Post
    I'm very interested in one of these Chris, which energy does it polarize, the power going in or the pressure coming out?

    Do you supply them as an after market bolt on and can it be installed by the average home user, I'm not an electrician, however I can activate a domestic illumination device without any difficulty.
    We guarantee it will keep all of your extraction electrons (we call them ducks) aligned Yelta. They attach with the inbuilt magnet and are a bargain at $999.99!

    But wait! There's more. We supply them with 6 steak knives for free!
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  30. #30
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by K_Bean_Coffee View Post
    This part is interesting.... I thought the passive pre-infusion on the ECM and Profitec was a BIG plus. Maybe not... Interesting thread
    I really think its one of those self fulfilling desires Paul, if you expect and want it to be an improvement it most certainly will.

    I've experimented with "passive" pre-infusion and found it not worth messing with, the inbuilt pre-infusion of the E61 seems to do its intended job admirably.

    Reckon these statements spoke volumes.....

    This puck wetting has advocates, I am not one of them and have not tasted any significant shot difference after setting up various machines to do this "puck wetting".
    and....
    In the Goldilocks scenario…."it's just right" when the pump runs almost exactly as the group opens. This is how most manufacturers set it up and by design they are not expecting anyone to do any passive "puck wetting", which is why it's never covered in the instructions.
    Last edited by Yelta; 28th April 2016 at 04:36 PM.
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  31. #31
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by K_Bean_Coffee View Post
    Thanks Yelta. I'll do some experimenting myself with a blind PF to see if there's any noticeable effect on the extraction.
    Be interested in your extraction results with a blind PF I'd be inclined to try a nekid.
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    It arrived yesterday. I was choosing between the Controvento and the GS3 for a while then the K bean ex demo came up so I couldn't say no. Huge machine but still looks great in the kitchen.
    Build quality is amazing. Pump is quiet. Steam pressure isn't as high as my last machine (commercial 2 group with 11L boiler) but it's good enough to steam continuously and to make really great microfoam.
    Very happy with this machine.
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    It arrived yesterday. I was choosing between the Controvento and the GS3 for a while then the K bean ex demo came up so I couldn't say no. Huge machine but still looks great in the kitchen.
    Build quality is amazing. Pump is quiet. Steam pressure isn't as high as my last machine (commercial 2 group with 11L boiler) but it's good enough to steam continuously and to make really great microfoam.
    Very happy with this machine.
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  34. #34
    Senior Member Gavisconi007's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by K_Bean_Coffee View Post
    .........I have egg on my face

    I was going to say K_Bean....you better order a few spare pumps to replace the ones you'll be blowing up during your extraction experiment.........but I didn't........I kept quiet......
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  35. #35
    TC
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    Quote Originally Posted by K_Bean_Coffee View Post
    Wholesale price please Chris???
    $9.99 Paul
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    Senior Member sprezzatura's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Talk_Coffee View Post
    $9.99 Paul
    Two easy payments! (... and one really, really hard one.)

  37. #37
    Junior Member Mania's Avatar
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    Very interested in this Synchronika this is the first forum I have seen any actual user pics

    Looking forward to hearing how you get on with it & how it performs.

    PS: that Controvento is also quite striking

  38. #38
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    You're getting there mate...

    Mal.
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    Quote Originally Posted by K_Bean_Coffee View Post
    The Synchronika and Controvento are twins. Specs are the same. Internal components are the same. The price isn't the same.
    Ditto the Profitec Pro 700!
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    Yes of course they're not the same - (different steam/water valves, body, chassis, gauges, group head mushroom - off the top of my head). Just very close ... No feathers ruffled here Paul!

    charlie
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    Haha yeah and it's the differences that mean that we now have to have dozens of machines on our demo bench when 7 years ago there were only a handful that mattered!!.

    But I know the key difference that would sway me one way rather than the other at the moment ... the Pro 700 is in stock!!

    charlie
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  42. #42
    Junior Member Mania's Avatar
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    Been about a month now How are you liking this Synchronika Matt?

    Any in the cup reports for this Synchronika or anyone else also buy this machine yet?
    Reports are pretty much zip in US as it has not been released here yet
    but ECM did say mid May though so hopefully will see more

    Thanks
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    R58 and Controvento are both E61s. E61 groupheads are designed to provide fixed passive pre-infusion so I wouldn't have thought that the improvement in extractions was due to the change in machine. Did you change grinder at the same time?
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    Spurting from the basket is a matter of grind / dose and maximum pressure applied by the pump. Preinfusion or pressure ramp-up have zilch to do with it from my perspective. Anyone trying to diagnose spurts from a bottomless PF, suggest first making sure the dose is appropriate to the basket (not too low) and then back off the pump pressure half a bar.
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  45. #45
    TC
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    Agreed. Technique, technique and then add some technique!

    The passive preinfusion stuff is all marketing bs (with respect). We can provide it on any e-61 lever machine as a service item.
    Last edited by TC; 18th May 2016 at 10:10 AM.
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  46. #46
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by K_Bean_Coffee View Post
    Also, steam pressure is UP because of the bigger steam boiler
    I'm keen to hear thoughts from others.
    Cheers, Paul

    I suspect steam "pressure" is pretty much the same as on other high end home machines, because of the "bigger steam boiler" perhaps there is a greater volume of steam available.

  47. #47
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Talk_Coffee View Post
    Agreed. Technique, technique and then add some technique!

    The passive preinfusion stuff is all marketing bs (with respect). We can provide it on any e-61 lever machine as a service item.
    Yep, we've discussed this very subject ad nauseam, in the not so distant past, thought we had established that "passive preinfusion" was a given for E61 group heads and certainly not an exclusive to ECM machines.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yelta View Post
    Yep, we've discussed this very subject ad nauseam, in the not so distant past, thought we had established that "passive preinfusion" was a given for E61 group heads and certainly not an exclusive to ECM machines.
    Yes we have, as have we discussed and diagnosed 'spurting'. Just in case anyone missed it - technique. And just in case you are still confused try grind, dose, distribution, tamp.

    I have an ECM Technika with an E61 grouphead, I can passively pre infuse too if I could be bothered. Early on, before I had nailed my technique, I was getting the spurts from the naked - with or without passive pre infusion.

  49. #49
    Junior Member Mania's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by K_Bean_Coffee View Post
    I'll chime in here. I upgraded from the R58 to the ECM Controvento (same insides as the Synchronika) and improved (spurt free) bottomless PF extractions were obvious. I'm guessing this is due to the passive pre-infusion on the contro and synch (although benefits of this pre-infusion are debatable). Also, steam pressure is UP because of the bigger steam boiler
    I'm keen to hear thoughts from others.
    Cheers, Paul
    Thanks for your thoughts Paul

    What you said about steam & larger boiler is the main
    attraction in the Linea Mini for me. Having 3.5L on a home machine
    may even be overkill but reading what folks have reported about it does make it sound nice

    This Synchronika though at 2L boiler does also get good steam reviews ( by way of the Contro & Pro700 which I believe are all similar inside)
    Plus of course price on the ECM is a K30 less than the Linea too

    Thanks & looking forward to more reports on this machine as more folks get their hands on one

  50. #50
    Senior Member Magic_Matt's Avatar
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    I have a longer post on the way, but briefly just on pre-infusion... tl;dr - not sure I'm really qualified to comment! My 6910 had active (pulsing vibe pump) pre-infusion and I used it with a naked pf. Got spurting reasonably often; tried a wide range of techniques to avoid it but I think the biggest improvement was on following Chris's advice to ditch my fidly distribution ritual (wdt, nutating tamp etc) and get back to basics of a simple, repeatable process.

    I've played with 5-10 seconds pre-infusion on the ECM, but without a naked pf it's hard to judge the effects - some shots blonde a bit early but I haven't noted a strong correlation with pre-infusion. Results in the cup I'm happy with or without.

    I might try a more scientific approach, use the timer on my scales to time pre-infusion etc... though it's a touch difficult to know when pre-infusion has kicked in as the "gap" between the solenoid-open position and pump-on position is quite narrow, and the nature of the cams and switches means there's pressure on the lever to slip back into the former.
    Aido and Mania like this.

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