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Thread: Wanted: Tips for EM3500

  1. #1
    Junior Member
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    Wanted: Tips for EM3500

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hi everyone,

    So I bought a almost new EM3500 (yes, I know...thermoblock, but at $10 this has to do for now). I have an EM0480 to go with it.

    I have been grinding at the finest settings, and using an unpressurised ESP4 basket. The results so far have been good. I have been trying different quantities of coffee. I do not have a scale yet (ordered one) so I have been using around 1 Aeropress scope, freshly ground. That works out to a slightly overdosed Brevile ESP4 double basket. I do a heavy tamp (have not really measured yet). The shots have half crema (dark brown, blondes around the 23-25s mark) and the flow is generally good. Most of my inconsistencies come from the hardness of the tamp (so sometimes I overshoot and get a tighter Ristretto-esc shot) Generally the bitterness is not there and I can drink straight. Sometimes it shows up, I am using an Italian roast from a local roaster (it seems this roast is quite forgiving :) ).

    I am wondering if any one has experience with this machine (seems similar to EM3600, EM4800). Specially, with temperature surfing (I have ordered a digital thermometer, but until then I cannot really measure the temp).

    My usual routine is:

    1. Warm up the machine for 5 mins or so (the themoblock generally warms up quite fast)
    2. Run a double shots worth of water through the group with portafilter in it
    3. Grind/tamp
    4. Run a bit of more water through the group
    5. Count to ten
    6. Pull

    Any tips?

    I must say so far I am quite happy with the machine as it produces better espresso than most of the Cafes around :) albeit not matching Single Origin and Mecca who I venture to now and then.

  2. #2
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    Re: Wanted: Tips for EM3500

    I think your routine is pretty good. The only thing I did different on my EM was let it warm up for longer (about 30 minutes). The only problems I had with mine were the group handle coming off under pressure (you really need to hang on to it while you pull your shot!) and getting the grind right. The steps on the 0480 never seems to match what I wanted and I was always on the brink of choking it.

    However, I agree that when you refine your technique, you are getting better coffee than some cafes.

    G.

  3. #3
    Super Moderator scoota_gal's Avatar
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    Re: Wanted: Tips for EM3500

    Hi iam_mimo,

    Welcome to CS!* :)

    Read your post and had flashbacks to when we began our coffee machine journey with an EM series machine. What a journey it has been too. My EM now resides with my MIL but I think she only ever waits for me to come and use it and make her coffee! I certainly could never bag these machines, seeing as they got me started in coffee. Now, I am the proud owner of a 2 group Elektra and a BNZ grinder! In a bizarre twist though, I have plunger coffee at home on the weekends!

    I think that your technique is really good and I can see why youd be pretty happy with the shots you are getting. I dont think that even my own shots from the EM were that good at first. Took a while to get the technique right but once we did, we found it hard to find a cafe that was making it as well as we could!

    Anyway, enjoy the journey and the coffee!

  4. #4
    Junior Member
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    Re: Wanted: Tips for EM3500

    Thanks for the nice comments. Its a tasty journey.

    Any bean or roast profiles that would be good with this machine?

    As for the group handle, I did not heed the warnings and got lazy....I guess I will be holding on to it from now on :).


  5. #5
    Senior Member
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    Re: Wanted: Tips for EM3500

    If you get drinkable coffee out of such a low end machine then you should be pretty happy. Long as you watch the shot, and it is not flowing too slow/fast, you cant go much wrong.

  6. #6
    Senior Member
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    Re: Wanted: Tips for EM3500

    I think the shower screen on these low end models is concave, so they are more forgiving with regards to grind/tamp to some degree, but this would also lower the pressure and change the extraction profile. Making them somewhere between true espresso and a Moka pot (the pressurised filters are probably designed to compensate and add some pressure back).

  7. #7
    Senior Member
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    Re: Wanted: Tips for EM3500

    Never used your machine, but I find mine is on the colder side (usually giving a sour flavour) so lately Ive been steaming the milk first and extracting next. This also leaves the crema a bit "fresher" especially on slow frothers such as the thermoblock machines.

    You can usually hear a thermostat click and sometimes a little overflow of hot water at the top of the heating cycle, so try waiting for this noise instead of "count to ten". A cooling flush usually isnt necessary unless youre getting spurting steam & water for the first second or two.

    Bitterness could be too hot, or inconsistent grinding (from the burrs - not you!). It could be a bit of staleness from left over grinds that youre not clearing, or even "channelling" where the water runs through some weak spot in the puck too fast. A naked portafilter is good for showing this.

    Sounds like youre on the right path though - asking questions is a good way to start! For each coffee that you make, put what you would have paid at a cafe into a jar and pretty soon youll have a headstart on a nice boiler machine ;) Hope this helps!

  8. #8
    Senior Member
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    Re: Wanted: Tips for EM3500

    I would say:

    1) heat up longer, make sure the portafilter is warm
    2) rip any plastic crap out of the portafilter
    3) Updose as much as possible (you can basically fill the filter with tamped coffee and it will still lock in, which requires 3 or 4 dose/tamp/dose/tamp cycles)
    4) If you do milk drinks, turn on the steamer before you go to the fridge. Let it run steam through for about 30 seconds before you start heating the milk, that way the microfoaming process will run much better.



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