Earlier this year, I was poking around the shed, looking for a ‘project’ and spied ‘Audrey #3’ or ‘spare Audrey’ or ‘travel Audrey’. While she was in working condition, as a neglected second-hand purchase, she was a bit of an unknown inside, and could probably do with a strip and clean, and a few new seals etc. There was also, as with most Audreys, corrosion of the base and lower body, with peeling paint. I swear that I was just going to clean it up, but then decided to go the whole hog, getting her powder-coated, fitted an Auber PID kit, and some boiler insulation.
After stripping her down to the individual components, I cleaned all the brass and copper parts by boiling them in a citric acid solution, which dissolved the substantial deposits in the boiler and ports. There was also a lot of black gunge in the group head.
Audrey was bead-blasted and powder-coated at a local company in Queanbeyan, who despite agreeing to do her in a bright orange, coated her in a red, as “that was what we had in the gun, and we didn’t have time to cleanup and change the powder today.” So she is now known as ‘Red Audrey’.
I got some 6mm silicone foam sheet, and insulated the boiler, and the top of the group head. I also put some 3mm cork gasket material between the boiler mount and frame, as I couldn’t see the point of bolting an insulated boiler to what is effectively a large aluminium heatsink. While she was in parts, all the seals, tubing, heating element, and the Ulca pump were replaced.
The decision to PIDerise Audrey was a tricky one. For years I’ve been happy with the coffee the Audreys produce, and never understood the need for better temperature control. Then one month I changed from my usual darker roast beans from Alstonville, to a well-regarded, medium roast bean from Fyshwick. I knew it was very nice coffee, because I always have a couple when I’m over that way. But I struggled with these beans - I really had to work hard to get the best out of them, including a coarser grind and surfing the temperature, (something I normally don’t bother with). That convinced me to get a PID.
Anyway, Red Audrey is up and running and producing lovely shots again. She should be good for another twenty years, (or until they make coffee illegal). I’m still playing with the brew temperature setting, and my wife, (who has a better taste buds than me), is providing critical feedback.
PS. I didn't have any Rancilio decals, so used the next best Italian theme ones I had. Bene!