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Thread: Lelit Combi - I can't seem to make a decent coffee

  1. #1
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    Lelit Combi - I can't seem to make a decent coffee

    Hi everyone,
    Long time lurker here. I just purchased a Lelit Combi (with the PID) yesterday, but so far I have not been able to make a remotely drinkable coffee.

    I started off with the hopper set at "3" (as per out of the box and instructions), and I hadn't adjusted the dial on the side of the machine. When I turned the pump on, I had to wait quite some time before I got a few miserable little drops. So no joy there. I had tamped as per the instructions I was given instore.

    I have made adjustments to both the hopper and the side and seem to get either coffee running out in streams (though this doesn't happen often!) or a few drips. When I do get enough to drink, there is not much of a crema to speak off and the smell is quite terrible - I have tasted it and it is horrid. The liquid is quite 'watery' and no where near the colour or consistency that the helpful gentleman in the store was getting using the same machine.

    I have gone through nearly 300gms of beans trying to get something drinkable. If I get time, I might be able to call the store I bought it from tomorrow (but most likely won't get the chance until Thursday).

    I doubt that the problem is the machine, I am certain I'm doing something wrong, but I don't know what and I don't know how to fix it.

    I have included a link below to some photos if that helps (sorry, I can't seem to upload photos).

    Any advice would be helpful.

    https://www.dropbox.com/sh/mnrpc0fzlyzl282/AAC_ZwmSbRAY_7LrHelX29Nwa?dl=0


    Cheers

  2. #2
    Senior Member LeroyC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Telemeister View Post
    Hi everyone,
    Long time lurker here. I just purchased a Lelit Combi (with the PID) yesterday, but so far I have not been able to make a remotely drinkable coffee.

    I started off with the hopper set at "3" (as per out of the box and instructions), and I hadn't adjusted the dial on the side of the machine. When I turned the pump on, I had to wait quite some time before I got a few miserable little drops. So no joy there. I had tamped as per the instructions I was given instore.

    I have made adjustments to both the hopper and the side and seem to get either coffee running out in streams (though this doesn't happen often!) or a few drips. When I do get enough to drink, there is not much of a crema to speak off and the smell is quite terrible - I have tasted it and it is horrid. The liquid is quite 'watery' and no where near the colour or consistency that the helpful gentleman in the store was getting using the same machine.

    I have gone through nearly 300gms of beans trying to get something drinkable. If I get time, I might be able to call the store I bought it from tomorrow (but most likely won't get the chance until Thursday).

    I doubt that the problem is the machine, I am certain I'm doing something wrong, but I don't know what and I don't know how to fix it.

    I have included a link below to some photos if that helps (sorry, I can't seem to upload photos).

    Any advice would be helpful.

    https://www.dropbox.com/sh/mnrpc0fzlyzl282/AAC_ZwmSbRAY_7LrHelX29Nwa?dl=0


    Cheers
    Are you using freshly roasted coffee from a local roaster? If you've bought Lavazza or something from the supermarket that'll be the problem.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by LeroyC View Post
    Are you using freshly roasted coffee from a local roaster? If you've bought Lavazza or something from the supermarket that'll be the problem.
    Yes, I've been using freshly roasted.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Barry O'Speedwagon's Avatar
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    The dose looks ok. What happens if you set the grinder on its coarsest setting?

  5. #5
    Senior Member Brewster's Avatar
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    Hi Telemeister, sorry you cant get to enjoy your new machine yet
    If you haven't got this sorted by tomorrow, give the retailer a call. If you purchased from a site sponser or any reputable store, they will certainly want to get you up and running.

    Good luck
    Mal

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brewster View Post
    Hi Telemeister, sorry you cant get to enjoy your new machine yet
    If you haven't got this sorted by tomorrow, give the retailer a call. If you purchased from a site sponser or any reputable store, they will certainly want to get you up and running.

    Good luck
    Mal
    Thanks Mal, Yes, I did purchase from a site sponsor, who were very friendly, so hopefully I get a chance to give them a call tomorrow.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barry O'Speedwagon View Post
    The dose looks ok. What happens if you set the grinder on its coarsest setting?
    Thanks Barry O'Speedwagon (love the handle!),
    Not much difference is made with the coarse setting. The folder has new photos, labeled 1 - 6. The first three are with the hopper set to 7 (coarsest setting) and the next have the same setting on the hopper and the dial on the side has been set to the coarsest side possible.

    https://www.dropbox.com/sh/mnrpc0fzlyzl282/AAC_ZwmSbRAY_7LrHelX29Nwa?dl=0

  8. #8
    Super Moderator Javaphile's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Telemeister View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by LeroyC View Post
    Are you using freshly roasted coffee from a local roaster? If you've bought Lavazza or something from the supermarket that'll be the problem.
    Yes, I've been using freshly roasted.
    No disrespect intended but specifically where did you get the beans, what brand are they, and how do you know they're fresh? Is there a 'Roasted On' date on the bag or just a 'Use By' date? Experience has shown us that when new users are having extraction problems the vast majority of times it's due to old/stale beans. What they consider to be fresh roasted beans are all too frequently anything but, hence the need for specifics on the beans you're using.


    Java "Fresh is not always *fresh!" phile
    Toys! I must have new toys!!!

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Javaphile View Post
    No disrespect intended but specifically where did you get the beans, what brand are they, and how do you know they're fresh? Is there a 'Roasted On' date on the bag or just a 'Use By' date? Experience has shown us that when new users are having extraction problems the vast majority of times it's due to old/stale beans. What they consider to be fresh roasted beans are all too frequently anything but, hence the need for specifics on the beans you're using.


    Java "Fresh is not always *fresh!" phile
    Roasted on 24/2/2017 purchased when I bought the machine from a site sponsor. They are packaged in special bags. Not sure if that is too old, borderline or fine.
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  10. #10
    Super Moderator Javaphile's Avatar
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    Having been roasted over 3 weeks ago the beans are not fresh. They may be drinkable (Based on your pictures and description it doesn't appear they are.) but they are no longer fresh. At best they could be described as aged. In general roasted beans are good for 2-3 weeks after being roasted. Exactly how long beans are good for depends on many variables among them being the varietal, the roast depth, and how they were stored.

    I'm surprised that a site sponsor would sell you beans that were over 3 weeks old. Perhaps an old bag was mistakenly left on the shelf. I would discus the issue with them and get some beans that were roasted with-in a few days of purchase and try again.


    Java "Details matter!" phile
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Javaphile View Post

    I'm surprised that a site sponsor would sell you beans that were over 3 weeks old. Perhaps an old bag was mistakenly left on the shelf. I would discus the issue with them and get some beans that were roasted with-in a few days of purchase and try again.


    Java "Details matter!" phile
    Of the 5 bags I purchased, 2 were roasted on 10/3 and the others were roasted on 24/2 or 27/2. I will ask about this - as you say, probably just mistakenly left on the shelf. Hopefully the problem is just the beans, though would my coffee be as bad as I am getting, even with beans that are 4 weeks old? (The coffee is so beyond undrinkable, its just not funny). The pics of the final result in the link are taken well after 30 seconds.

  12. #12
    Super Moderator Javaphile's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Telemeister View Post
    Hopefully the problem is just the beans, though would my coffee be as bad as I am getting, even with beans that are 4 weeks old?
    In a word, Yes!

    Try the beans that were roasted on 10/3 and see how they go.

    If you haven't already I would suggest you have a look at this thread for an introduction on the storage of roasted beans: Introduction to the storing of roasted beans


    Java "There's no substitute for fresh!" phile
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  13. #13
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    How are you adjusting the grind? The hopper free spins around so the only impact on grind you'll have is twisting the black nob on the side. I suspect you probably knew this already.

    Older beans is something to think about later, but right now, even with older beans you should be able to get a faster and fuller shot, so until you've got gushing shots, it's a red herring. When you do get 'enough' to drink, I reckon it's found a point of weakness through the far too fine puck, and just over-extracted through that channel, so it'll be thin, watery, sour and bitter all at once. No crema, and still no-where near a 50-60ml in 30 seconds.

    It's too hard to tell from the prepared puck photos, but the other photos suggest the grind may be too fine. A soggy puck (retaining water due to higher surface area and increased density) and low extraction output.

    My advice - try running the grinder while moving it coarser (normally only strictly necessary when making it finer) to see if it can move further than it seems to want to go. The smaller mechanisms like these ones can sometimes need it.

    Something that is highly unlikely, but still considering briefly, is how hot the brewing water actually is. If it's not around the 93-96 range (as in, if it's its like at 80 or so instead), it'll have trouble extracting.

  14. #14
    Senior Member readeral's Avatar
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    Also if you're in Sydney, or somewhere as humid as it has been here over the past 24 hours, that could potentially be totally messing with you. I've had trouble dialling in my shots this weekend simply because the humidity meant the shot was more inclined to choke.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Barry O'Speedwagon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Telemeister View Post
    Thanks Barry O'Speedwagon (love the handle!),
    Not much difference is made with the coarse setting. The folder has new photos, labeled 1 - 6. The first three are with the hopper set to 7 (coarsest setting) and the next have the same setting on the hopper and the dial on the side has been set to the coarsest side possible.

    https://www.dropbox.com/sh/mnrpc0fzlyzl282/AAC_ZwmSbRAY_7LrHelX29Nwa?dl=0
    Cheers. As per Redearal's post above.....surely the numbers on the hopper are just there as reference points, and turning the hopper does nothing directly to change the distance between the burrs? Haven't used the machine, but that would seem logical.

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    Quote Originally Posted by readeral View Post
    How are you adjusting the grind? The hopper free spins around so the only impact on grind you'll have is twisting the black nob on the side. I suspect you probably knew this already.
    Yes, thanks, I thought as much and have been adjusting with the dial on the side. Its well past the middle point towards the coarsest setting. When it is like this sometimes the puck is soggy, sometimes it isn't. Either way, I am getting barely any coffee coming out. Haven't measured it, but it would be in the order of <10ml in 30 seconds.

    Quote Originally Posted by readeral View Post
    Older beans is something to think about later, but right now, even with older beans you should be able to get a faster and fuller shot, so until you've got gushing shots, it's a red herring.
    I thought that might be the case. It makes sense that fresh beans will produce a better coffee, I am barely getting anything.


    Quote Originally Posted by readeral View Post
    Something that is highly unlikely, but still considering briefly, is how hot the brewing water actually is. If it's not around the 93-96 range (as in, if it's its like at 80 or so instead), it'll have trouble extracting.
    The water is at 95 degrees.

    I'm thinking that it is probably the grind that is the issue, but changing the dial hasn't seemed to make much of a difference. If it is on coarse or fine, I'm still not getting much from extraction.

  17. #17
    Senior Member readeral's Avatar
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    So can you try activating the grinder while winding it right back?

  18. #18
    Senior Member readeral's Avatar
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    Try this - can you activate the pump for 30s without the portafilter in and tell us how much water comes out of the grouphead? (As in, put a measuring jug or a scale under it)

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    Quote Originally Posted by readeral View Post
    Try this - can you activate the pump for 30s without the portafilter in and tell us how much water comes out of the grouphead? (As in, put a measuring jug or a scale under it)
    Thanks, will measure when I get back home. I have actually done this before (without measuring) and there seems to be plenty of water coming out.

    Will try the grinder and winding it back.....it may be that there is a problem with the grinder

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    Quote Originally Posted by readeral View Post
    Try this - can you activate the pump for 30s without the portafilter in and tell us how much water comes out of the grouphead? (As in, put a measuring jug or a scale under it)
    Hi Readeral,
    I've measured the flow and I've got about 200mls coming out in 30 seconds.

    I gave the store a call and I will probably end up having to take it back

  21. #21
    Senior Member readeral's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Telemeister View Post
    Hi Readeral,
    I've measured the flow and I've got about 200mls coming out in 30 seconds.

    I gave the store a call and I will probably end up having to take it back
    So your flow is fine. All down to the grinder then.

  22. #22
    Senior Member Barry O'Speedwagon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Telemeister View Post
    Hi Readeral,
    I've measured the flow and I've got about 200mls coming out in 30 seconds.

    I gave the store a call and I will probably end up having to take it back
    Have you actually wound the grinder right out to full coarseness? I know you've said that you've gone past half way.

    If you're up for it, wind the grinder out, grind for a few seconds into a cup, and throw the grinds onto a piece of white paper and take a photo of the grinds.

    Of course, if the guys at the retailer said to bring it back.....then bring it back.

  23. #23
    Senior Member readeral's Avatar
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    I've kind of pushed OP on that, but we haven't had confirmation that a coarse grind has resulted... my hunch is it can still go further, but who knows!

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    Quote Originally Posted by readeral View Post
    I've kind of pushed OP on that, but we haven't had confirmation that a coarse grind has resulted... my hunch is it can still go further, but who knows!
    Ok, thanks guys....problems solved....the dial on the right hand side wasn't consistently moving the hopper, which resulted in the grind just being too fine. I gave it a little bit of force (as per instructions from the store) et viola, it is now moving the hopper consistently.

    Yes, the grind was too fine, it is now working well.

    Thanks everyone for the input. Feeling sheepish, but am now having a good cup of coffee.
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  25. #25
    Senior Member readeral's Avatar
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    All is well that ends well. Enjoy your coffee! (FWIW, when I first got my machine I wasted 750g of Campos single origin coffee trying to get it right. Made me pretty sad, but it is what it is!)
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    Only got to read this thread this morning and glad it all worked out. I have had one of these machines now for 8 years, mine is the non PID version, and besides an element change a couple of years ago (I did this myself including a steam valve service), it has been a solid machine with daily use.
    The bean hopper actually lifts off (make sure it is empty first) and then you can put it back with the markings in the right place. Once I had my grind sorted, I put it back so that it was in the middle of the markings. So now I can adjust the grind either way for different beans.
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  27. #27
    Senior Member LeroyC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by readeral View Post
    All is well that ends well. Enjoy your coffee! (FWIW, when I first got my machine I wasted 750g of Campos single origin coffee trying to get it right. Made me pretty sad, but it is what it is!)
    Some would argue drinking it would've been worse. I had a laugh.
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  28. #28
    Senior Member readeral's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LeroyC View Post
    Some would argue drinking it would've been worse. I had a laugh.
    Some are rude :P When they're right by my university it made sense at the time. Now if I want to buy someone else's beans, which is rarely, I'm usually going to Single O.
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  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Telemeister View Post
    Ok, thanks guys....problems solved....the dial on the right hand side wasn't consistently moving the hopper, which resulted in the grind just being too fine. I gave it a little bit of force (as per instructions from the store) et viola, it is now moving the hopper consistently.

    Yes, the grind was too fine, it is now working well.

    Thanks everyone for the input. Feeling sheepish, but am now having a good cup of coffee.
    hey just curious what you meant by "a bit of force" I've had the machine over a month now and started with awesome shots, but recently have had the odd one struggle here and there, I thought my grind might've been the culprit as well.

    ive got the PID version, my shots are extracting at 95

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by LeroyC View Post
    Are you using freshly roasted coffee from a local roaster? If you've bought Lavazza or something from the supermarket that'll be the problem.
    Why is this thrown up every time there is an issue, yes fresh beans will have a better taste but Lavaza and preferably Grinders will produce good crema, dry pucks and an acceptable coffee, well the last one is debatable
    My point being photos like the OP's are not going to be caused by supermarket beans or at least not Lavaza or Grinders (Vittoria is dry crap so not included) from my experience and a cheap way to get the settings close.

    Fire suit on

  31. #31
    Senior Member LeroyC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by geebee666 View Post
    Why is this thrown up every time there is an issue, yes fresh beans will have a better taste but Lavaza and preferably Grinders will produce good crema, dry pucks and an acceptable coffee, well the last one is debatable
    My point being photos like the OP's are not going to be caused by supermarket beans or at least not Lavaza or Grinders (Vittoria is dry crap so not included) from my experience and a cheap way to get the settings close.

    Fire suit on
    Yes of course, good crema and dry pucks are always a guarantee of a good coffee. Everyone has different standards, I fully appreciate that.
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    Quote Originally Posted by LeroyC View Post
    Yes of course, good crema and dry pucks are always a guarantee of a good coffee. Everyone has different standards, I fully appreciate that.
    In reference to the photo's as stated.

  33. #33
    Senior Member LeroyC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by geebee666 View Post
    In reference to the photo's as stated.
    Yes indeed. They really tell a story.
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