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Thread: Via Venzia and non-pressurised portafilters

  1. #1
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    Via Venzia and non-pressurised portafilters

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hi guys,
    Firstly, Ive gotta say this is a really great forum, Im glad I found it. I was wondering if you guys could help me out on something though.

    I recently just became the owner of my first espresso machine, a Saeco Via Venzia and am interested in its potential to make good shots with an un-pressurised portafilter. An old coffee mechanic I know strongly advised against this in favour of using the pressurised portafilter, but Ive read a bit on the topic with people suggesting the opposite.

    So, I was wondering, can anybody here vouch for the Via Venzias ability at making a decent, smooth shot with decent crema with a non-pressurised portafilter?

    Thanks in advance,
    Andy

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    Re: Via Venzia and non-pressurised portafilters

    Gday Andy,

    Welcome to CS! *The saeco VV is a good little machine to start on. *Many of us own them, though I for one am hoping to upgrade in the near future. *

    The VV has limitations but it is reliable and has stainless steel components (including the boiler) which is a definite plus in a "low end" machine.

    To get good results from this machine you will need 1) fresh beans, 2) a good quality grinder and 3) a depressurised portafilter. *

    The grinder is a key factor and many will recommend spending more on a grinder before you upgrade the machine. *You will not get very good results without freshly ground beans.

    Definitely depressurise the portafilter. *If you do a search of this section of the forum you will find a number of threads with good info. *You do not need to purchase a new one. *To modify the one you have just unscrew the bottom, remove the plastic mechanism, poke the plastic false floor and o-ring out of the bottom of the metal half the filter and screw the bottom back on. *Itll take you a few minutes. Once this is done, however, you will need to invest in a tamper in order to create the right pressure that the mechanism was (poorly) imitating.

    With fresh beans, my mazzer mini grinder, and a good dose and tamp I get fairly good results...thick crema and good flavour profiles.

    Hope that helps. *Feel free to ask any clarifying questions.

    Have fun,

    sd

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    Re: Via Venzia and non-pressurised portafilters

    Thanks for the reply sd.

    I bought a grinder with the machine. Its a Krups GVX2, which im led to believe is one of the lower end grinders, but it seems to produce a fairly consistent grind. Ive also got a tamper and fresh(-ish) beans (ill have to work on that), so now ive just got to work up the courage to hack apart my portafilter!

    Thanks for letting me know im not as crazy as the mechanic suggested for wanting to depressurise though!

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    Re: Via Venzia and non-pressurised portafilters

    The mod is completely reversible if youre careful and pay attention. But the difference in quality is huge and you will not be tempted to go back. hack on.

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    Re: Via Venzia and non-pressurised portafilters

    Thanks, well, youve talked me into it!
    Ill let you know how it goes, when it goes.
    Cheers,
    Andy

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    Re: Via Venzia and non-pressurised portafilters

    Totally agree with SD! It will make a big difference in conjunction with the grinder. Also will mean that a tamper comes into play as well.

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    Re: Via Venzia and non-pressurised portafilters

    I de-pressurised my parents VV portafilter last weekend. They were very dubious (but used to me tinkering with things...) but happy when I told them that it wouldnt change the way they needed to make coffee (except maybe tamp harder). My Dad said his usual shot length is a whopping 6 seconds, so even if his shots still gush, theyll at least taste a bit better. Now I need to get them a grinder and wean them off the Lavazza pre-ground!!

    Quick question: whats the boiler size on the VV?

    Cheers
    Stuart.

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    Senior Member GregJW's Avatar
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    Re: Via Venzia and non-pressurised portafilters

    Quote Originally Posted by stuartgrant link=1219147481/0#6 date=1219202637

    Quick question: whats the boiler size on the VV?

    Cheers
    Stuart.
    180mm stainless steel, I believe, Stuart.

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    Re: Via Venzia and non-pressurised portafilters

    Cheers Greg... altho I assume you meant 180mL, not mm?

    Having used a Silvia (300mL boiler), the smaller size of the boiler would explain the VV steam phenomenon where (after bleeding the water in the pipes) the steam pressure is good for about 20 seconds, then becomes really weak for about 20 seconds (presumably when the boiler needs a refill), before becoming nice and strong (and dry!) after that. Ive taken to bleeding steam until the weak phase has finished (as indicated by the heating light flicking on (I think... it might be off).

    Cheers
    Stuart.

  10. #10
    Senior Member GregJW's Avatar
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    Re: Via Venzia and non-pressurised portafilters

    Quote Originally Posted by stuartgrant link=1219147481/0#8 date=1219211335
    Cheers Greg... altho I assume you meant 180mL, not mm?

    Cheers
    Stuart.
    Good assumption, Stuart. :P

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    Re: Via Venzia and non-pressurised portafilters

    Hi andysz,

    If you de-pressurise the supplied portafilter, or purchase a non-pressurised portafilter, the result will be similar. The results taste-wise can be far better than when using a pressurised p/f.

    However, a word of caution may be appropriate.

    Because of the limited pressure through the group, you may find at the start that the shots may be inconsistent for a while; one shot may gush and the next may almost gag the machine, but do not be discouraged. It will force you to standardise your method of filling the basket, levelling and tamping. All good training. The effort will be worthwhile!

    Good luck

    Trevorbeans

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    Re: Via Venzia and non-pressurised portafilters

    So I depressurised today, and after some serious tamping practise, im happy to say the im glad I did. Shots are now (usually) running at about 20-22 seconds each, which is far better than the 10 seconds they were running on the pressuried portafilter. And more importantly, the quality of the espresso has improved quite significantly, and im getting a much fuller tasting shot.

    Thanks for your help everyone!

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    Re: Via Venzia and non-pressurised portafilters

    Glad its working out...itll only get better too. :)



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