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Thread: Chrome flaking on portafilter

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    Chrome flaking on portafilter

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    I bought a Silvia yesterday. Would have bought a grinder too, went with my SO and had persuaded her that we needed both, but then the woman at Mocopan helpfully pointed out that we could buy the coffee ready ground. Thanks >:(

    Anyway, the ready ground coffee she gave me was obviously too coarse as an espresso cup would pass through the filter in about 7 secs, so Ive been overpacking a bit, which sometimes makes it hard to put the portafilter in. This morning I noticed that the chrome has flaked a bit on the nubs of the portafilter, so that I can see the brass underneath. Since this doesnt come into contact with the coffee I dont suppose its a problem, but Id like to know if this is how they all end up after a bit of use or whether I have spoiled my portafilter and whether I need to worry about the rest of the chrome flaking off now that it has started.

    TIA

  2. #2
    Senior Member robusto's Avatar
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    Re: Chrome flaking on portafilter

    Arent shop assistants so helpful, Tintub! But now that your SO has seen the results of that gratuitous help, perhaps she can be persuaded otherwise.

    As for the portafilter flaking....Ive had mine in daily use (at least 3 times daily) since February and not a hint of problems. Take it right back. Brass is a soft metal and will probably quickly infuse with staining coffee oils. Much easier to clean oil off chrome.

    Robusto

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    Re: Chrome flaking on portafilter

    Thanks I will. Seems weird though that it should flake so easily. I wonder if perhaps the problem is with the Silvia rather than the portafilter, maybe the edges are too sharp / badly finished. On the other hand, the portafilter is also flaking on the rim below the filter, which does not come in contact with the Silvia, so I guess its just a bad chroming job. Hope I dont have any trouble taking it back.

    I had a look at the underneath of the Silvia to see if that was damaged at all, but it looks like what the filter locks into is just brass anyway, so no chrome to flake. Thats a bit of a relief :D

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    Re: Chrome flaking on portafilter

    Definitely sounds like a warranty job to me.. Plus when you take the portafiller back you can pick up your grinder ;D. There is more than enough supporting evidence on this site to identify the problem with pre ground coffee and justify a decent grinder. Living on pre ground coffee will only give you part of the CS experience and its no fun. Bit like feeding a Ferrari low grade unleaded.

    Hopefully your SO will understand. Good luck!

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    Re: Chrome flaking on portafilter

    Hey tintub,
    My newish Silvia has the same problem so you might be on to something. It started within a week of purchase but hasnt seemed to get any worse in the past months so Im not too worried. I actually thought that it might have started from an over zealous love tap from my tamper. Anyway, whatever the result, you will surely get lots of gold out of Miss Silvia over the following years (esp. if rocky comes to stay!)
    Cheers,
    Matt

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    Re: Chrome flaking on portafilter

    Perhaps you two are a bit heavy handed? ;D ;D ;D ;D

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    Re: Chrome flaking on portafilter

    I can recall that happening on my silvia too but I didnt regard it as a problem. It is brass underneath so there really isnt a problem.

    My nine year Bezzera though still has all its chrome on the portafilter which may or may not be the original one, but probably is.

    Grant

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    Senior Member fatboy_1999's Avatar
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    Re: Chrome flaking on portafilter

    Hmm. Ive had my Silvia for 14 months and no issue with the chrome coming off. I have hundreds of tiny dents in the side where I smack it with the tamper, but even there the chrome has stayed intact.

    I would take it back and get it swapped (on the spot) for another complete portafilter. If you have a tamper and it is a good fit for your basket, keep the basket and just get the rest replaced.

    The advantage of the 58mm standard size should be that they will have plenty on hand.

    As for the helpful staff. They tried that one with me too. Its a very useful response to tell them you roast your own beans, THATS why I need a grinder!

    They threw in a kilo of their best beans when I bought mine. They didnt hold a candle to anything I had produced. When I got home, we tried one of theirs, tipped it down the sink and went ahead with our own stuff. Far better.

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    Re: Chrome flaking on portafilter

    I guess Ill try and take it back before work tomorrow morning then, they open at 8 so that saves me waiting until Saturday. I can see them trying to tell me that either this is normal and nothing to worry about or that they will blame it on me. On the other hand maybe it will be a very easy swap. Especially if I take the opportunity to buy the Rocky ;) Speaking of which, its funny that they tried to talk you out of the grinder too, shouldnt it be the other way around?

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    Senior Member fatboy_1999's Avatar
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    Re: Chrome flaking on portafilter

    Quote Originally Posted by tintub link=1130803000/0#8 date=1130829917
    I guess Ill try and take it back before work tomorrow morning then, they open at 8 so that saves me waiting until Saturday. *I can see them trying to tell me that either this is normal and nothing to worry about or that they will blame it on me. *On the other hand maybe it will be a very easy swap. *Especially if I take the opportunity to buy the Rocky *;) *Speaking of which, its funny that they tried to talk you out of the grinder too, shouldnt it be the other way around?
    Its under warranty. It should be a no-brainer for them. Mine is 14 months old and not a sign of flaking. I dont see how they could try the Its normal argument. Why bother putting the chrome there in the first place if it is normal for it to come off?
    As for the talking out of the grinder, they are a Rancilio re-seller but they own the Mocopan brand. More profit for them if you keep coming back for their beans (which theyll happily grind incorrectly for you) than selling the ocassional Rocky.

    Gee Im cynical ::)

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    Re: Chrome flaking on portafilter

    I had a laugh thats a very good point about "why put the chrome there if its normal for it to come off". And a very cynical take indeed on why they talk people out of the grinder, but it makes sense :D However, I am quite fond of the coffees from the roaster up the road from where I work (Cafe Max in Burke Road, Camberwell) so I wouldnt be going back to Mocopan for coffee anyway. Plus, what is the point of spending $650 on a coffee machine if you are going to be using coffee that has been ground days ago.

    Looking forward to tomorrow, gonna get the filter replaced, and pretty sure Im going to buy the rocky too, even though it might not be a popular decision in this household. I read somewhere today that its much easier to get forgiveness than it is to get permission :D Ill report back on that. Flowers might be a good idea :D

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    Re: Chrome flaking on portafilter

    Ha... In my case Rocky earned his own forgiveness in the form of perfectly timed espressos gulped down every morning by my wife as she runs out the door (it was part of the purchasing agreement)

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    Re: Chrome flaking on portafilter

    interesting ... one of the first things I did when I got my new machine home was to strip the chrome off the inside of the portafilter. On my old sunbeam it was flaking off, and on other portafilters Id seen, there were various degrees of flaking - so I figured that rather than letting it flake off into my cups and down my throat, Id get it off first.

    I just used a green scourer pad thingy and srubbed away - it was quite easy actually. The brass does go a bit black after a few days, so at the end of every espresso session, I pop out the bakset, and wipe it clean with a cloth. When I soak the pf in backflush detergent, I also give it a little scrub with the scouring pad, till its sparkling again.

    Actually, I remember reading an article by an american CoffeeGeek/pro barista (malachi), saying that he prefers the taste of espresso using broken in portafilters, where hes stripped the chrome off the insides, and pulled a few 100 shots of espresso through them. Kinda like seasoning a wok I guess.

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    Re: Chrome flaking on portafilter

    I cant understand why chrome is used on something that processes a product for consumption. While it may look good, it is prone to flaking away, as it is not really bonded to the item that is "chromed." I remember the dismay that my friends had when they chromed their bicycle frames, only to have it flake off. My frame was stainless steel, cant go wrong.

    Stainless steel is perfect for food production. It doesnt oxidise, and provides a non-porous surface. Not like bacteria will be an issue with coffee, as the temperatures will kill most bacteria anyway. Something about ingesting heavy metals doesnt seem good.

    Why do manufacturers decide to go with a $5 chroming job?

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    Re: Chrome flaking on portafilter

    nunu:

    Have a look at this thread on brass http://www.brass.org/Whychoo/Conduct.htm

    Basically brass is superior in thermal conductivity. The chrome plating when applied properly lasts a long time and also adds surface hardness to what is otherwise a soft material. The chrome also adds sex appeal to your machine. :)

    Grant

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    Re: Chrome flaking on portafilter

    Brass is fine, chrome isnt :P While the chrome may add a bit of surface hardness to a softer metal object, the bonding process is suspect. The chrome plating is quite thin, and very easily damaged.

    Most of us keep the group handles locked in the group head when not pulling shots, the group handle has plenty of time to heat up. Next well see group handles made out of titanium ::)

    I wonder if that wankers copper plating is flaking off yet from his machine.

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    Re: Chrome flaking on portafilter

    Nunu:

    Most of the time it just wears off in certain spots rather than flakes off. Elemental chromium is not a health hazard as it is insoluble. On my Bezzera it is nine years old and no chrome has come off at all, by flaking or wearing so it must be bonded pretty well.

    Grant

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    Re: Chrome flaking on portafilter

    I reckon the issue at hand is more of a batch issue than a general deterioration in quality of the chrome bonding.

    Geez, now Im going and checking out my group handles to see what theyre made of.

    Paranoia!

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    Re: Chrome flaking on portafilter

    The chrome should not be flaking off anything so new;

    On commercial group handles the chrome usually just wears away over time with use, and only on the high wear areas such as around the lugs. *Thats wear, not flake. It is not common for us to see chrome actually flaking except on very old group handles. Perhaps others have different experience, but thats ours.

    Otherwise, lack of use = lack of wear = nice bright chrome still there, particularly around the lugs on group handles.

    Regardz,
    FC.

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    Senior Member robusto's Avatar
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    Re: Chrome flaking on portafilter

    Quite right, Wattgn. * The problem here is not an erroneous concept of applying chrome to brass or any other metal, ferrous or not, but the execution of that process. In this particular case, suspect a faulty batch.

    Chrome DOES bond well, except perhaps on plastic. Witness those 1950s-on chromed bumper bars on millions of cars, and the chromed door handles and the chromed rocker covers and---- ...... The stuff stuck fast for decades. *

    Yet Tintub has owned his chromed portafilter for 2 minutes. *

    As I said, Id rather be wiping coffee from a chrome surface, than the soft brass underneath.

    Robusto



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    Re: Chrome flaking on portafilter

    I phoned them this morning and spoke to Tom, who without hesitation offered to exchange it, and when I pointed out that I thought it was probably a batch issue and that I hoped they wouldnt just get one from another Silvia box, he said he can give me a commercial one if I dont mind. Well of course I dont mind :D

    Go Mocopan!

  22. #22
    Senior Member robusto's Avatar
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    Re: Chrome flaking on portafilter

    Well, ya gotta be happy with that Tintub. No more flaky chrome, and a heavier commercial portafilter to boot. ;)

    Bring on the flake....got 3 months to go afore the warranty expires.

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    Re: Chrome flaking on portafilter

    Yep, took it back this morning, got a heavier commercial one. Only problem I can see with it is that I think possibly the two spouts might be further apart, which could be an issue trying to do coffee into a single cup.

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    Senior Member robusto's Avatar
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    Re: Chrome flaking on portafilter

    Doh!

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    Re: Chrome flaking on portafilter

    If theres enough height above the cup, the streams of coffee will tend to bend inwards. I get both streams into a 68mL shotglass, but that is of course on my machine, not a Silvia.

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    Re: Chrome flaking on portafilter

    TT,

    as you have found, the double outlet on a regular commercial group handle is not designed for brewing into a single espresso cup. With commercial machines you get individual group handles for both singles & doubles with outlets commensurate to the task. The double outlets on those are wider apart and also hang down lower and take up more room........ than outlets designed for use on machines where there is only 1 group handle, and limited space on the drip tray, such as on domestic machines.

    So the commercial double outlet may not be suitable to your situation if you have espresso cups with a small diameter, or where you have have higher or wider than standard cappuccino cups etc.

    Really, it seems like a small thing but may ( subject to the individual opinion) be a source of ongoing frustration if you dont get it attended to. If it were me I would begrudgingly make another trip in and get the proper outlet or complete correct group handle supplied....and I would not take "no" for an answer from them.

    Regardz,
    FC.


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    Re: Chrome flaking on portafilter

    I guess it depends on the spout and the height and your espresso cups but I have a commercial bezzera portafilter with the the double spout and I have no problem with using it on my espresso cups or cappuccino cups.

    Grant

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    Re: Chrome flaking on portafilter

    My two bobs worth.

    The chrome plating on the brass is really just cosmetic, but as wattgn says, it also gives the PF a little extra surface hardness (Since it gets washed, banged and scoured). As was mentioned, the brass isnt actually being exposed to the espresso, so no harm there. Contact betweeen the PF and the Group head, as the manufacturer intended is chrome on brass, but even if the plating comes off, it remains brass on brass, so no harm there.

    To solve the issue of the beak of my PF not screwing up perpendicular, I just hand lapped the the top of the beak and checked where it screwed up to every now and then till it was where I wanted it. Effectively all that happened was the brass plating was removed. As it doesnt come into contact with the coffee, no worries mate! ;)

    Cheers

    Boris

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    Ron
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    Re: Chrome flaking on portafilter

    Hi I m a new poster but have been lurking for some time.

    I too have a recently purchased Silvia with some chrome flaking on the portafilter and the original poster inspired me to take it back to Mocopan today. Unfortunately my experience wasnt as positive.

    There may be a lesson here for those wishing to purcase a Silvia and trying to decide who to buy it from.

    I bought my machine from Mocopan/Coffee Philosophy in the Strand Arcade in Sydney two weeks ago - so thats where I went to see about the portafilter. I explained the situation and even added that I had heard through the net of their Melbourne store recognising the problem and replacing the portafilter. The sales staff at the cafe (who are actually the baristas) werent really interested in any of this and told me I would have to take it up with Mocopan themsleves who are situated at Seven Hills (an outer western Sydney suburb) - I could either ring about my problem or go and see them. When I stated I was reluctant to travel all the way to Seven Hills and anyway they were the retail outlet that sold me the machine and surely they have some responsibility for after sales service - they eventually and reluctantly rang someone at Mocopan on my behalf. They put me on to a technician who basically told me the flaking was normal wear and tear - but he would have a look at it if I took it to Seven Hills (the Strand Arcade people said that the Mocopan people hardly ever come near the CBD). What was not explained to me when I bought the machine was that all repairs would entail taking the machine to Seven Hills - I shouldnt take it back the the Strand Arcade because there was no telling how long it would sit there until someone came to get it!

    The upshot is of course that I will live with the portafilter I have and ponder on how some people actually manage to stay in business.

    Ron


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    Re: Chrome flaking on portafilter

    Hi Ron,

    Sucky service, thats for sure. The good thing with Silvia is that it really is a very simple machine. If anything goes wrong, you could probably just get the parts sent to you and fix it yourself. If not, check the paperwork. If you werent told of the need to haul it to the middle of nowhere when sold, Im sure that theyd have to organise something convenient for you.

    Im with mattyj; scrubbed the chrome out of the inside of my PF ages ago, although the outside seems fine.

    Ive got the commercial rancilio pf and dont have too many difficulties getting everything in one cup. But Ive got LM and Nuova Point cups, which are fairly wide-mouthed. Still, I dont feel that the spouts are unduly wide.

    Ive seen the same spouts that Rancilio uses on a number of other machines, so I guess that they cant be bothered thinking too much about them. Shame; theres a little dimple in the middle that serves no purpose beyond collecting crap. Presumably a leftover from the manufacturing process.

    LM, on the other hand, recently changed to an open and thin double spout, specifically so that people can use the double spout on a single. See http://www.lamarzocco.com/proddocs.html (Technical Bulletin 35)

    Cheers,

    Luca

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    Re: Chrome flaking on portafilter

    Ron,

    You might want to call Mocopan service in Seven Hills again. I got my silvia last weds and by thursday morning the flaking thing started to happen. Having read all that has transpired here I thought "bugger it, Ill call them anyway and see what they say!" Much to my surprise, the chick on the other end checked with her supervisor and the next thing I knew was opening a Toll Courier bag with a new pf!

    I guess the thing I have mixed feelings about is that the pf they replaced my flaking chrome one with is a single spout pf. Perhaps I came out on top?

    I do urge you to give them a call, perhaps now they are more likely to replace the pf?

    Cheers,
    CT.

  32. #32
    Ron
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    Re: Chrome flaking on portafilter

    So...
    I just rang back Mocopan at Seven Hills - spoke to three people - customer service, the service Department and "Murray" the service chief. The general response was that Rancilio says this is not a warranty issue so they refuse to replace PFs with this problem. When asked why I have not received the same courtesy as others who have had their PFs replaced - well its just my bad luck and hell make sure it doesnt happen again (btw I also told him I bought a single spout Rancilio PF soon after I bought my Silvia and have been runnung both over the last two weeks with the one that came with the machine continuing to shed the odd bit of chrome whilst the single remains intact).

    Ron


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    Re: Chrome flaking on portafilter

    It is a minor but annoying problem for some users.

    They wont replace them as it is a general problem with the Rancilio portafilter.

    Typical italians in ten years time it will still have the same problem I bet.

    Grant

  34. #34
    Ron
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    Re: Chrome flaking on portafilter

    Well I wrote a letter to Mocopan complaining about inconsistent after sales service and I recieved a considered reply from Ashley Meddings the National Sales and Marketing Manager - Coffee. Unfortunately there was a misunderstanding, however, and he thought I was complaining about the filter basket not the portafilter. He supplied a replacement double filter basket and some nice additional freebies but I will have to write back and clarify the situation.

    I was impressed with his letter and he indicated he will take quality control issues up with his counterpart from Rancilio - but as Grant has pointed out this will probably have minimal effect. He certainly appeared to be a bit taken aback by the attitude of some of his staff.

    Ron

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    Re: Chrome flaking on portafilter

    Wonderful Ron. Glad that you have semi justice!
    CT.

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    Re: Chrome flaking on portafilter

    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    Ron,

    Good move. Its suprising what will happen when you talk to the organ grinder.. Stick to your guns. The flaking is definitely a fault, its just whether or not you are happy to live with the missing chrome. Its like the old saying - do well by me and Ill tell ten people, screw me around and Ill tell 100!



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