I know that sometimes when the puck is sloppy its cos ive got too fine a grind. Maybe try and coursen it up a notch and try again.
I recently bought a Unico Splendor at Cosmorex in Canberra. They are always very helpful and Im really excited with the new purchase. I am new to machines with the E61 and the Splendor specifically. I have a question concerning making an espresso.
Basically, Im concerned that the resulting puck is a bit wet and sloppy. The extraction time in total to get about 30mls is between 30-40 seconds, so a bit on the slow side. Im fairly confident I have the grind setting correct, Im just wondering whether Im underdosing or overdosing and/or tamping incorrectly. Any pointers on this would be fantastic, alternatively any specific tips for this machine (idiosyncrasies) would be highly welcome too.
For what its worth, Im using Cosmorex Blue blend which Im grinding on my Rocky Rancilio (doserless) on setting 9.
I know that sometimes when the puck is sloppy its cos ive got too fine a grind. Maybe try and coursen it up a notch and try again.
Congrats on the new machine & wishing you many happy years of great coffee
As a starting point grind your beans to a consistency similar to salt and adjust from there
Standard dose single is 7 grams and double is 14 grams by weight
Tamp pressure should be 15 to 20 kg (a set of bathroom scales will help with this)
What tamper are you using?
Cosmorex threw in their brand one. Its a lightweight alloy with a convex base , Im guessing 57mm or 58mm.Originally Posted by Koffee Kosmo link=1227826268/0#2 date=1227826824
Just checking that it was not the plastic one Luci
Another tip and you will need to experiment with this
When you tamp you will need to find the correct depth of the puck in the basket, matched to your machine so it does not touch the screen when you tighten the PF to the group head
This will prevent damage to the puck
Im using cosmorexs blue blend (yum!) in my splendor, but my grinder is a Macap M4.
Im sure Ill get howled down by some people here, but the only way Ive been able to get consistent pours is to weigh the beans prior to grinding. *Ive tried dosing by ground volume but the results have been wildly inconsistent. *Weighing the beans is the only way I can achieve some semblence of conistency with my set-up.
For the Splendors single portafilter I use 12 grams - that gives me approx. 30 mls in 30-40 seconds (including pre-infusion). * 13 grams will result in a either fractured puck and gushing pour, or a choked pour. *Less than 12 can be a bit weak in taste for my palette.
For the double portafilter I weigh 18-19 grams grams and get a similar pour, both volume and timewise, for 2 cups. *
At these volumes my pucks are dry, not sloppy.
Ive found my Splendor to be very fussy on grind - small adjustments (ie. 1/4 of a turn of the Macaps micro-adjustment) can have large effect on the pour. *1 full turn can be the difference between a 10-second gusher or a complete choke! *I dont know if other HX machines are similarly fussy, but it can be a challenge if you just want a coffee first thing in the morning and dont have time to throw out 3 shots before rushing off to work. *;)
I suggest you start with a dose of 12 or 18 grams (depending on which portafilter youre using) and fiddle with your grind till you get a 30-40 second pour. *Ive found the 40-second pours are not detrimental to the taste, as long as the coffee flows, not drips. *If it drips, throw it out and start again, because it will taste burnt as hell.
Hope this helps. *All the best with your new set-up.
Oh, and kudos to Attilio, who has been very approachable, helpful and not at all stand-off-ish, despite my continual dumb questions *;D
That should help a lot, thanks very much.
I notice my model is tweaked to sit on about 1.2bar. I thought I read somewhere that purging some hot water such that the pressure is reduces closer to 0.9 to 1.0 bar is preferable so it doesnt burn the coffee. Does this ring true, or is it normal just to attach the portafiller to group head and start on the peak of 1.2 bar?
Originally Posted by splashalot link=1227826268/0#5 date=1227829659
splashalot - 12 gms for a single made HUGE headway, i just tested. It actually worked fairly well for both settings 9 and 10 on the Rocky. I think at this point its just a question of preference in the shot. Thanks heaps.
Im actually wondering now if my tamper is wrong sized!? It leaves a 1mm or 2mm gap allowing coffee grinds to be smeared on the surface of the upper portafiller chamber when I tamp downwards. Should a correct fitting tamp not allow this? maybe its a 57mm and i need a 58mm.
Youre welcome - good to know youre making headway :)
My tamper also is too small - I have a 58mm, but it is too small by .5mm in the single basket and 1mm. in the double basket. My next purchase will be a tamper fitted to my baskets, as soon as I can bring myself to part with them for a week or so ;).
From memory my Splendor cycles between .9 and 1.1bar - Ill check tonight when I get home. I try to start the shot at the top of the cycle, as I read the lower the temperature the more sour the shot. I cant say it makes any difference, though, as during the pour the machine will cycle up and down between .9 and 1.1bar.
That shouldnt make any difference to the shot temp. The boiler may cycle between .9 and 1.1 bar but I think you will find the grouphead will be at a fairly constant temp. If you want to alter the brew temp, change the size of your cooling flush instead.Originally Posted by splashalot link=1227826268/0#8 date=1227846184
OK, espresso aside, I now want to ask about frothing milk with this machine.
1. With the steam wand trying to milk Im caught between two extremes. On one hand, if the steam wand is say partially open allowing a slower rate of steam, it screams very loudly whether just under the milk level or lower down; it just doesnt sound right. However, with the wand open effectively on full, the frothing process occurs way too fast and I end up with simply hot milk, no microfoam.
2. A more general question; how do you initiate milk to swirl ? I cant seem to hold the jug at correct position/angle and also in conjunction with steam wand?
Youll never get the valve partially open to the same point every time.
Variables are to be avoided.
Always open the valve fully and learn to steam your milk like that.
Practise with water.
Youll be able to see some of whats happening below the surface.
Excellent idea, I will try.
Originally Posted by Thundergod link=1227826268/0#11 date=1227857543
1. I find it easiest if the jug is ~half full with milk. *I also find it quite tricky to get microfoam with a small quantity of milk. *If youre making only 1 cap at a time, perhaps you will need a smaller jug?Originally Posted by lucifuge link=1227826268/0#10 date=1227856865
2. Insert tip of steam wand just below the surface (kind of half-in, half-out). *In this position the milk will make a "tearing paper" sound. * If the tip is too far out of the milk you will get big sudsy bubbles. *Too far in the milk and the jug will scream and you wont get foam at all - its a very fine line. *I find I get the best swirl if the tip of the wand is angled (~25 degrees) where it enters the milk, rather than straight down. *I also insert the wand quite close to the edge of the jug, which seems to help establish a swirl. *There are probably a number of ways to achieve microfoam, but this is what works for me - after lots of trial and error. * :)
Got to this CS link and see this method on post # 1OK, espresso aside, I now want to ask about frothing milk with this machine.
Just going back to your question about the P/Stat setting....
I wouldnt go fooling around with that at all mate as Im certain that Attilio bench tests every machine before despatch, to make certain that everything performs as its designed to do. Talk to Attilio before changing any of the hardware setup as its possible that you may void your warranty if some kind of mishap occurs.... :-?
Thanks to all for their kind comments, they are very much appreciated.
Lucifuge, feel free to come in when you have some spare time and I will be happy to answer your questions time permitting...........if I am not around one of my people will help you.
Splashalot.....there is no such thing as a dumb question.......how else are you going to find out what you need to know......I too ask "dumb questions".......and they are absolutely paramount to me being able to make the right decisions at the right times.....
If you wanna know stuff about our imports please ask away at any time and I do prefer talking to people face to face and over a cup of coffee. We like to build goodwill with clients in the local area who make the effort to visit us.
I have had several Splendors at home as my own private espresso machines (I turn my private use machines over reasonably quickly and take all the models home not just the splendor.) over a period of years and of course am very familiar with them. I honestly dont find them to be fussy at all & my espresso making technique is pretty much consistent and has been worked out by me over a period of years to get the best possible brew for myself and my good wife (& guests) to enjoy.
We also use one of the splendors stable mates at work as our office coffee machine (which all the staff use for their own coffee) and I use the same technique on that one and it is a Diadema Junior (same machine as Splendor internally, externally a different model).
So if I can help I would be glad to but as stated above I prefer face to face, its easier to talk and demonstrate to local people than it is to spend a month of sundays trying to explain something with a keyboard and where no one can see what you are trying to explain.
So.....local people...dont be shy......let us spend some time with you.
Attilio, first / original CS site sponsor.
Ahh yes PS...........
It dawns on me that the level of "fussiness" you speak of is most probably due to the use of these extremely accurate micrometrically adjustable grinders. But this would occur with ANY espresso machine being used with that type of grinder not just the Splendor. *These things kind of make the barista try to rely on infinite scales of adjustment to achieve a particular result, instead of their own understanding of the "black art" of espresso brewing.
I personally like to use ***stepped**** semi commercial and commercial grinders because they are certainly less fussy to get adjusted to where you want them to be. Once you have arrived at the grind adjustment of your choice, you then "adjust" your technique to suit. This IS the "black art" of espresso making.
This flies in the face of all the internet based misinformation that tells everyone that reads all these forums, that stepped adjustment *****generally and without regard for all the different types of grinder in the market*****is "bad" and that stepless is ***good***..... when really the difference between a great grinder and a not so good grinder has to do with the total package not just the type of method employed to derive "adjustment" of the grind.
.....but of course what would I know hehehe....Im only a professional coffee merchant and espresso equipment importer and have Ive only been doing this all my life.......! I guess what Im saying, is I spend all my life trying to simplify stuff while others are trying to make it more complicated........why?
Those sorts of vast generalizations do not help describe this situation. if anything, I would state quite the opposite. In the shops in my area, all the commercial espresso grinders are stepless. The vast majority of the shops around here use Mazzers. If it werent for the fact that you present yourself as a professional here, I would interpret the above as a troll post.Originally Posted by Fresh_Coffee link=1227826268/0#17 date=1227920444
A grinder like the Rancilio Rocky has steps quite a bit too coarse, and that sort of thing forces the barista to go through all sorts of convolutions to get a reasonable pull. One click on the Rocky is about three to four seconds of extraction time, all other things being equal.
If it works for you "personally that is fine, but the one variable should be the grind. There should be no need to adjust technique. general advice all over the internet is to keep all things as constant as possible and adjust the grind to get the proper extraction. This is even more true for beginners or for those starting out with a new machine. The very minor adjustments to technique (mostly dose) comes at the end, after the grind that creates the best extraction (as in "taste of the espresso") is found.I personally like to use ***stepped**** semi commercial and commercial grinders because they are certainly less fussy to get adjusted to where you want them to be. Once you have arrived at the grind adjustment of your choice, you then "adjust" your technique to suit. This IS the "black art" of espresso making.
And as far as fussiness, my Mazzer is far less fussy and more consistent than my Rocky ever was. The Mazzers upper burr mounting, adjustment stability, and adjustment is so far superior to the Rocky that it is hardly worth discussing.
And that tells you nothing?This flies in the face of all the internet based misinformation...
But telling a home barista to adjust their technique is complicating the process, quite the opposite result, no? Telling them that a stepless grinder simplifies the process makes more sense. Is it not easier to tell them that when they can get the same extraction and same taste with a stepless grinder to do everything the same all the time and just make a small change in the grind to change the taste?I guess what Im saying, is I spend all my life trying to simplify stuff while others are trying to make it more complicated........why?
Just because something works for a professional does not mean that a home barista can put it to use. How can you expect a home barista who makes fewer drinks in a month than a professional makes in a day to make the "black art" adjustments to their technique you prefer? And what would that be? a 0.1 gram change in the dose? A .1kg difference in tamping force? That is easier and simplier than moving a lever or turning a knob on a grinder?
To dismiss the one variable that is most important and to create a whole new set of mysterious variables is complicating the process, not simplifying the process.
Yeah I did digress didnt I ;)
Interesting interpretation of my posts Randy. Its ok to disagree but be careful not too read too far "into" any of my posts as they are usually to be read at straight face value. *
As already stated lucifuge and splashalot, please feel free to come and see me and I will be only too pleased to help. The same goes for anyone who reads this list and would like to spend a little time "at my place......".
Please do announce yourselves as being members of this list as it does generally get you some benefits......I *always try and make time for CS people even where there may be some other very important deadline happening.
If you two want to organise yourselves together I will be happy to run a "miniature" equipment use / come / espresso class with you at a time that is convenmient for us all. Anyone else on this list who wants to come along can do so, well do a private CS thing in our training room. But please dont leave it up to me to organise...get yourselves together as a CS group, involve me at the end in working out a mutually good time, and lets do it. Someone please bring the liqueur muscat!
Keeping the black art alive....
first */ original CS site sponsor.
Many thanks for your posting and advice Attilio. Agreed; it would be better for me to come in and pick your brain in situ.
Quick question in the meantime; I was given a "Cosmorex" alloy tamper to suit the machine. I notice it is not flush around the inner perimeter of the pf when I tamp. Do you know if this tamper would be 58mm? is it possible it could be 57mm? (I have tried measuring it but its not very scientific; too approximate).Im just trying to understand why the fit isnt as flush as I would expect it would need to be.
Originally Posted by Fresh_Coffee link=1227826268/0#16 date=1227919499
The manufacturer sells them as a 58 mm tamper, nominally it is a 58 mm tamper.
If you measure it accurately you will probably find it is around 57.5.
If you measure a 57mm (nominal) tamper you will I think find it is smaller than 57.
This all varies according to the origin of any particular tamper.
We keep Greg Pullmans excellent tampers in stock and they are a tighter fit, if you want to upgrade.
Notwithstanding whether your tamper may be 57.5 or an actual 58 or whatever, we need to help build your total level of understanding of the process and all will improve markedly including with use of your current tamper.
Perfecting the main variables, and familiarity with the machine is key, and experience is the teacher. Of course I dont want to be reinforcing bad habits either so expect a visit in short term *:). *Once more familiar (and successful), I may or may not fine tune with a better fitting tamper.
Again, thanks for your help on this.
Originally Posted by Fresh_Coffee link=1227826268/20#21 date=1227991277
!! STOP PRESS !!
In trying to understand this Unico Splendor coffee machine with the primary aim of producing a decent espresso I must say Ive taken on so much advice that its been overwhelming. *:o The collective information has revealed subtle changes here, subtle changes there and throughout it all is a fair bit of complexity. After all, its just coffee, there has to be a simpler, more pragmatic approach. Yes, I had marginal successes with recommended approaches *and while the weighing coffee approach did work not too badly, I really cringe at having to so each time. The science of these methods is outweighing the art, and for me, it was causing frustration and killing the fun.
I went back to first principles and decided to take advantage of the brains behind the local seller of the machine. After all, he makes sure *every machine receives his personal tweaking for optimal performance before released to the public. *Surely he would have an answer or two! *>:(
So on my way home, I stopped off at Cosmorex to pick up some coffee and hopefully a few hints. *Attilio was busy, but made time for me. He basically said clear your mind of what your recently taken in and let me show you a simple and repeatable way. Well, that was music to my ears for a start. *:D He initially confirmed one issue I was having; the single pf. That, it is a lot harder to produce a shot with that compared to the double pf. So he basically made a start with the double pf, filled it up so there was a marginal peak above the pf, tamped with approx 15kgs of pressure and the resulting level was effectively on the appropriate ridge. Whacked it in and the resulting coffee was terrific. It looked good, flowed well and time of pour was good. It was fast, simple and most of all it worked. There was no fuss to the minor grinds that climbed the pf walls, no wastage of coffee, no double tapping etc.
So I raced home to test this heretically simple approach! *First try, I knew I had the amount of coffee basically right and the tamp to my surprise was also good. Whacked it on and damn! *poured too fast, 30mls in 17secs. Ok, fair enough, i did have the grind setting on the higher side having dabbled the day before. I lowered it two notches and repeated. SUCCESS!!! *By far the best shot Ive made yet, I was so happy. For good measure, (and to blow my head off goodnproper), I tried again. SAME! * Repeatable, simple and then the unthinkable occurred!!!...
...... I ran out of coffee *:P
Im about to try a new blend tomorrow, but I know that since the level and tamp are down-pat, its only a question of the grind setting for different coffees.
So thanks a zillion Attilio for enlightening me. From here on in I can fine tune as i go, but at least now Im able to produce some quality shots.
Glad to hear it "lucifuge".... :)
You know what they say about a picture being better than thousand words; well, a demonstration by someone who knows what theyre doing is worth at least a hundred pictures. Onward and upward now.... 8-)
reviving an old thread with a quick question:
What size naked portafilter do I need for the Unico Splendor? Anyone sell them in Canberra??
Well, this is sure an oldie but goodie...
Any standard E-61 Naked Group Handle will fit and in Canberra, it'd be hard to go past Cosmorex Coffee I reckon...
Attilio was most likely the original importer too
My trusty Unico Splendor has developed a strange issue: After pouring a shot, when I push the group head lever to the off position it doesn't stay in that position - after a few seconds it gradually raises itself into the on position and starts pouring through the head again! I'm beginning to wonder if my machine is haunted. Any ideas?
How old is the machine mate and when was it last given a thorough service?
Machine is ~2006-ish. It's the one with the ball-jointed steam wand.
Apart from back flushing and group head seals the machine has only had a couple of parts replaced since new - a new water pump and a seal somewhere in the internals (water was dripping constantly from the overflow tap at the back of the drip tray). But no "servicing", per se.
Thanks for any advice you can provide.
Edit: Just got an email from Cosmorex's service dept - suggesting it may be a loose screw at the base of the lever where it attaches to the group head.