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Thread: Just upgraded - e61 tuning advice

  1. #1
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    Just upgraded - e61 tuning advice

    Thanks to a fellow snob, today I upgraded from a Silvia to a Isomac Mondiale. It's got some age on but seems to be in great nick.

    Once I got it home I set about tuning it in a bit. I currently have a rocky doser grinder. After some test runs I found I had to go a bit finer with my grind to get back to roughly 60ml in 30 seconds (18g double basket). The rocky is now on its finest setting. I'd probably like to go just a bit finer as I think I'm getting more like 65ml even with a very solid tamp. Yes, the grinder needs upgrading.

    Is it normal for an e61 machine to need a finer grind or am I maybe doing something slightly wrong?

    Pretty sure I can already get at least as good a shot out of this machine as I could from the Silvia. Just wondering what I should be aiming for beyond what I'm doing now to improve my shots. I'd say if anything my shot is slightly bitter but was awesome with a little sugar added.

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    Last edited by mentasm; 1 Week Ago at 10:28 PM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member artman's Avatar
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    Congrats, nice upgrade!

    If you are keeping everything else equal (basket, dose, beans) then it sounds like the new one is running a slightly higher brew pressure. What is the gauge showing when you put in a dual wall basket (to mimic a brew) or brewing? Should be around 10 which would be about 9 at the group. if its around there it sounds good. If quite a bit different might be worth tweaking the brew pressure.

    I am not familiar with the rocky but my guess is you have hit a stop if you cant grind fine enough. move (or remove) the stop to go finer, just be mindful not to go too fine as the burrs will start clashing. I am sure if you search you will find other info on the rocky to confirm the above or an alternate solution.

    Cheers

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    Its showing 10 on the gauge. I'm not sure that I'll bother wih the Rocky. Might move it on as a matched pair to the Silvia. Migbht look for a mini mazzer or somethign like that when I can afford one.

    Thanks for the advice.

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    One take that I read somewhere is that a machine with an E61 group has a longer preinfusion. Because of that the coffee particles as they swell from the absorbed water have more time to settle and trap the smallest particles that would otherwise settle in the lower part of the puck, making for a dense layer that restricts the flow of water. Because of this entrapment of fines, you have to grind finer to get the same flow rate of water. Again, I didnít make this up, but it seems consistent with your observation

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    Senior Member artman's Avatar
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    Ah yes fair point re built in pre infusion on the E61 group.

    The Rocky should be able to grind fine enough to choke the machine.

    The mazzer mini would not be a big step up from the Rocky I would have thought? Plenty of choice out there in grinders these days.

    Cheers

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    Used to be able to choke the Silvia with the Rocky. Seems not so much with the Isomac. I have read around a bit and it turns out the upoper burrs on the rocky caN become a little loose and some teflon tape on the threads can help. I think I might pull down and clean the rocky and throw some teflon tape on and see what happens. Probably about time it got a clean anyway, especially if I decide to move it on with the Silvia.

    Good to know that E61 machiens do usually take a finer grind.

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    Senior Member WhatEverBeansNecessary's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mentasm View Post
    Used to be able to choke the Silvia with the Rocky. Seems not so much with the Isomac. I have read around a bit and it turns out the upoper burrs on the rocky caN become a little loose and some teflon tape on the threads can help. I think I might pull down and clean the rocky and throw some teflon tape on and see what happens. Probably about time it got a clean anyway, especially if I decide to move it on with the Silvia.

    Good to know that E61 machiens do usually take a finer grind.
    If you are looking into the Rocky Stepless mod, it's quite easy to do. There are 2 options
    1. Teflon tape and jam something into the button that unlocks the hopper
    2. Teflon tape and some silicon/plastic piping to give the top burr assembly and hopper stability. Also you flip the locking pin, just make sure you keep all the little bits if you want to sell it later.

    Personally the 2nd options looks much better.

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    Senior Member CafeLotta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mentasm View Post
    Pretty sure I can already get at least as good a shot out of this machine as I could from the Silvia. Just wondering what I should be aiming for beyond what I'm doing now to improve my shots. I'd say if anything my shot is slightly bitter but was awesome with a little sugar added.Attachment 18346
    I had similar thoughts about the quality of the shots when upgrading from a Silvia to E61 machine.

    For me, I found that the brew water temperature really influenced the shot once in the ball park with brew pressure, grind setting, dosing and tamping. Going from 94 to 96 deg C on my current bean introduced bitterness. The E61 with a 750ml non-HX boiler has better temp stability than the Silvia but not the same as larger HX boilers.

    What boiler pressure do you see when brewing? On your Mondiale, being a HX machine, brew temperature is controlled via the adjustable Sirai pressuestat which controls boiler pressure/temperature and thereby the brew water temperature inside the heat exchanger. With the size of the boiler on the Mondiale (2.2L) temperature stability shouldn't be an issue, it all depends on what brew temp you're seeing by the current setting of your pressurestat I'd imagine.

    New HX machine - boiler pressure too high?

    https://www.home-barista.com/espress...-101-t368.html
    Last edited by CafeLotta; 1 Week Ago at 12:46 PM.

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    Pressure dial is showing 10 during brew. I have been tending to do a brief cooling flush prior to beginning brew. More like 1 to 2 seconds though.

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    Senior Member CafeLotta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mentasm View Post
    Pressure dial is showing 10 during brew. I have been tending to do a brief cooling flush prior to beginning brew. More like 1 to 2 seconds though.
    Do you have the current dual scale gauge (2 in 1) showing both brew and boiler pressue?

    http://cdn2.bigcommerce.com/server49...0.1280.JPG?c=2

    Maybe try the longer cooling flush to see if you're running too hot although with the size of your boiler this may not work so well unless it's a really long flush!

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    The gauge has two needles. top one seems to sit at about 1.1 bar when idle. The other reads 9 when brewing. Haven't taken much notice of the top needle while brewing as yet.

    Machine is due a service though so I'll make sure the pressure and temperature are checked and set if required. It may just be that my shots are still flowing a little to quickly due to my grind. I'll see if I can sort tat in the mean time. Can't be all bad I guess. My wife messaged me at work this morning saying the coffee I left her was 'really good'
    Dimal likes this.

  12. #12
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    G'day Mentasm...

    After your machine has been sitting idle for a little while (an hour or so), how long a 'Cooling Flush' is needed in order to stop the brew water flashing off to steam? If only a short flush is required, then a minor adjustment of the P/stat may rectify that without unduly effecting the steam volume performance. If you need a much longer Flush, then it would be advisable to make contact with a reputable Espresso Tech. to have a correctly sized 'Gicleur' installed within the Thermosyphon loop.

    All the best,
    Mal.

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    Perhaps experiment with higher dose? I needed to go to 20g with Rocky on Lelit Mara. Like you, I was on finest grind setting for Rocky. Also, definitely clean the Rocky. Lots of gunk in there after only a couple of months and only 2 to 3 shots a day!

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    Have been having a bit of a play around over the last couple days. I've pulled my Rocky down and cleaned it and have now modded it to be stepless which definitely is better.

    I managed to achieve 60ml pours in 25-30 seconds but taste wise was finding the shots were a bit bitter. Tastes fine in a milk based drink, but not overly pleasing in a espresso.

    After reading a bit I have tried backing off the grind a bit and have been playing around with dosing. I'm using a 18g precision basket that I have been using in my silvia for years.

    With the silvia I always used to dose to small mound, collapse, dose to small mound collapse, tap down lightly with finger to fill any gaps then scrape out with extended finger to create a concave surface then tamp, tap, tamp and polish.

    After backing out the grind on the new machine I found that the shots were hitting 60ml at around 20sec with the same dosing method. I also noted that the pressure dial was only showing around 7 bar during the shot pull.

    I have tried modifying my dosing to increase the amount of coffee in the basket. it seems I can get up to around 20g of coffee in the basket, but that would start to cause issues with being able to insert the handle into the group. Occasionally I would not be able to insert at all. While some of these shots showed improvement in flavour, having to pack the basket so close to max capacity doesn't seem good for consistency.

    I'm generally performing a 3-5 second cooling flush before pulling the shots.

    So where to from here? the 60ml in 30 seconds angle isn't giving me the flavour results I want and backing the grind off seems to be resulting in blonding gushers. I'm sure there must be something Im missing as I'm sure the machine is able to produce better results than Miss Silvia

  15. #15
    Senior Member WhatEverBeansNecessary's Avatar
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    Can you get a little finer to more like 30-40g out in 30 sec? 60ml/60g seems like a lot and there is probably a fair amount of blonding at the end?

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    I agree chase around 40g in 35sec with about 8sec pre-infusion (before first blush of liquor appears).
    Note: assuming around an 18g dose.

    I personally don't overdose = insufficient 'head clearance' of the puck.

    By setting the puck up to high to me does nothing positive but grind coffee into the shower screen and heat sink.
    Meaning old, dry, rancid oils spread thru the brew path = more cleaning required.
    And this also only leads to inconsistent results as the puck will fracture as you lock in the handle, or be further compacted as
    the puck is jammed in there.
    I've seen this jamming the puck up there at times as way to covering for poor grind setting, inconsistent bean / roast quality etc.

    To me the 5cent test means you consciously choose to either dose to the maximum (just below the shower screen once locked away) or choose to dose at a lower level ( finer grind to compensate).

    Use this basis to set your dose. Weighing is a good way to establish the 'basic' dose and maintain consistency whilst dialing in.
    From there only change one thing at a time. Let previous shots guide you. Adjust the grind accordingly.
    Record the grind setting, pre-infusion time, yield / total time per shot. Again taste. Let the other data guide your next move.

    These things will then make it easy to self analyse where to take your shot setup from there.
    But overall taste the shot. That is all that matters. The rest is a just a road map.
    You should be finding a sweeter deeper more viscous shot is where this should take you.

    Once you've found your 'recipe' after a few days it will become second nature.

    GL
    EA

  17. #17
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mentasm View Post
    I'm generally performing a 3-5 second cooling flush before pulling the shots.
    That's not too excessive...

    If you were going to drop the machine in to a Tech., it would probably be worthwhile to ask them to 'tune' this out of the machine. Reputable Tech's such as those to be found at our Site Sponsors, would be able to do this for you...
    It could all be incorporated into a general service that includes a "Scace Test".

    Mal.

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    Congrats! I love the design of this machine.

    As implied by some of the postings above you'd be better off weighing your shots instead of measuring their volume. Controlling the brew ratio is helpful for dialling in due to the consistency it brings to the process.

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