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Thread: Getting hx in the magic zone

  1. #1
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    Getting hx in the magic zone

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    It wouldn't surprise most to hear that a good hx makes great espresso.

    mine doesn't, or at least not until I've long flushed, and made 3-4 shots after warm up. And then, wow!

    im not sure exactly what's happening, but it obviously has something to do with the temp at the group and wherever else stabilising, and getting in the zone.

    interested in how people manage this.

    i just read a guy on a different site say 'dialling in' a cold machine takes a good few shots before you get that magic 5% extra - which is what I'm chasing when I make that long anticipated Saturday morning espresso shot.

    is patiently pouring 4 shots before I get the one I will savour the only way?

  2. #2
    Senior Member LeroyC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beandrinkin View Post

    is patiently pouring 4 shots before I get the one I will savour the only way?
    No.

    If your process is consistent throughout then it actually sounds like your machine needs the attention of an experienced machine technician, as it may not be set up right. What make and model is it?
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  3. #3
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    Diadema splendor...e61. Not sure if it has a restrictor.

  4. #4
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    G'day mate...

    These are a decent machine and when properly setup (usually by the vendor or the factory) then you should be able to just walk up and pull terrific shots without any preamble. You need to allow at least 30-40 minutes of warm-up time (with the Group Handle in place - Only lightly) before pulling your first shot and thereafter all shots should be excellent; if you do your part and the beans are fresh and of high quality...

    Agree with Leroy too, if you can't just walk up and pull decent shots from the get-go, then it needs to be serviced and setup by a reputable specialist...

    Mal.
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  5. #5
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    Cheers for the info.
    Time for that calibration.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beandrinkin View Post

    is patiently pouring 4 shots before I get the one I will savour the only way?
    Certainly not, once set up correctly every shot (once machine warmed up) should be good.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by K_Bean_Coffee View Post
    +1. It's time for a service. Let us know how you go
    Checking back in on this post: I just had my machine calibrated by Jet Black and I've got to say the result is just superb. First shots after warm up have nailed the body/mouth feel I've craved.

    They do great work up there in Frenchs Forest. Great they did the work in a day too. Given I drove over three hours to get there, I have not left unhappy by any stretch.

    other than inconsistent results when pouring espressos, the main indicator my hx needed a tune up was the readings I got from my group head thermometer. I installed it after I couldn't get any info from the retailer about cooling flushes on the machine (come in a do a barista course I recall was his response). Anyway, the thermometer told me the machine was running hot, and other then when making consecutive shots, was a bit in consistent.

    so, something to consider if you have a hx. Or just give it to a professional ��.

  8. #8
    Senior Member skidquinn's Avatar
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    Some very sound advice I think. Thanks for the update.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beandrinkin View Post
    Checking back in on this post: I just had my machine calibrated by Jet Black and I've got to say the result is just superb. First shots after warm up have nailed the body/mouth feel I've craved.

    They do great work up there in Frenchs Forest. Great they did the work in a day too. Given I drove over three hours to get there, I have not left unhappy by any stretch.

    other than inconsistent results when pouring espressos, the main indicator my hx needed a tune up was the readings I got from my group head thermometer. I installed it after I couldn't get any info from the retailer about cooling flushes on the machine (come in a do a barista course I recall was his response). Anyway, the thermometer told me the machine was running hot, and other then when making consecutive shots, was a bit in consistent.

    so, something to consider if you have a hx. Or just give it to a professional ��.
    thanks for posting the follow up BD and glad we could be of service,

    charlie
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  10. #10
    TC
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    Nice work and sounds like a ripper result Charlie..

    Any older HX machine with a big nasty cooling flush can normally be improved with a little judicious use of a Scace device and some tools and time- so there is no reason to put up with cantankerous behaviour...

    Glad that your machine has progressed to the next level beandrinkin...
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  11. #11
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    Some HX machines do run hot like the M21 La Cimbali. They probably all need some water drawn through them if left for a while.

    If they run hot it shouldn't be an issue though, just run through enough water that the stream out of the portafilter is normal and steady as opposed to being steam driven and therefore too hot.

    The thermal stability of something like the M21 is evidently exceptional so it is a matter of reaching steady state with most HX machines and they should just be able to keep pulling shots fairly fast, provided the boiler is a reasonable size. Pulling 60mls in 25 seconds isn't a lot of water.

    The heat exchangers on HX machines often consist only of a cylinder which sits in the boiler. The most simple ones then have a plastic or copper tube, from memory protruding into the HX a certain distance. By varying the length of this tube you can make it run either hotter or cooler. Normally though the way the manufacturer has done it will be the correct way.

    Edit: Also altering boiler pressure will have direct effect on temperature.
    Last edited by wattgn; 29th September 2016 at 01:03 PM.
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  12. #12
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    Yes and no- and thanks for the HX anatomy wikilesson.

    e-61 HX machines are produced for a number of markets and some run hotter to suit different styles and roasts of coffee in their origin countries. Some importers specify modifications, some don't and where they don't, a little tweaking of the machine allows for the much improved ownership experience of the OP.
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  13. #13
    Senior Member artman's Avatar
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    The cimbali/Faema (non e61 groups) are only adjustable via boiler pressure. There is no thermosyphon action that can be tuned. The water just sits still in the HX tube getting super heated. A flush and then ripper brews pour out. They are designed for cranking out shot after shot.

    That's the beauty of e61, not only the boiler pressure but the thermosyphon can be tuned to optimise the brew temp.

    Cheers
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  14. #14
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    I have read of people with the Faema/La Cimbali, tuning their machines by interposing thermal resistance materials between the boiler/HX and the Group. According to the article I read, reasonable success was achieved...

    Mal.
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  15. #15
    Senior Member artman's Avatar
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    That's quite interesting. I can understand it lowering the temp of the group metal through isolation but the heat exchange tube would still be sitting in the boiler water being over heated. Or am I missing something here?

    Would be great in minimising the need for a cooling flush, its main bug bear.

    Cheers

  16. #16
    Senior Member gonzo89's Avatar
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    I recently snatched up a la cimabili m21 just for fun because it was dirt cheap (and surprisingly, in great condition minus the frame inside). Bit of a muckaround restorstion project for when I'm at my folks place and don't have the r58 by my side.

    I find it very stable after tweaking the pressure. The flush times are consistently predictable. I just give it 2-3 flushes after warmup and it's good to go. It pulls some great shots and the recovery time on back to back shots is a thing of beauty as is mentioned time and time again.

  17. #17
    Senior Member artman's Avatar
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    Agree the shots are awesome. I love the simplicity of the group/collar, built to last.

    Cheers
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  18. #18
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by artman View Post
    That's quite interesting. I can understand it lowering the temp of the group metal through isolation but the heat exchange tube would still be sitting in the boiler water being over heated. Or am I missing something here?
    No mate...

    You're missing nothing.
    A combo used by people who believed the Group was heating the brew water excessively after passing through the HX, after playing around with the water level in the Boiler in order to maximise steam output volume. I've never had a La Cimbali here at home to play with; all this happened many years ago when I used to do most of my reading about coffee using UseGroups...

    Mal.

  19. #19
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    The La Cimbali uses the same seatup as my Bezzera BZ40 which I just sold. It is amazingly simple and it works really well. It is just a conductive bridge from the boiler to the group head. It is even more simple than the E61 and there are fewer parts.

    It is the most simple and elegant solution possible although I still like the E61.

    I like the machine with the fewest parts. My BZ40P is still going after 20 years and may go that long again in it's new home.
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  20. #20
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    It is a fine thing by the way to restore an old machine. They are so well made that once restored they will go for a very long time. The longevity of a machine is largely determined by parts availability. This is why buying well known Italian brands that have been going for years makes sense. If I wanted a new boiler or new anything for a BZ40, it is still available. I imagine the same for many Italian machines.

    It is tempting to always buy new machines but the technology that makes good espresso is as old as the hills. A 30 year old machine could keep up with a brand new one which might be shinier but is not likely to do any better. Each machine just needs a different touch from the operator that is all.
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  21. #21
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wattgn View Post
    My BZ40P is still going after 20 years and may go that long again in it's new home.
    We have an original Bezzera BZ-35/Minibar that is close to 30 y.o., that is also in the same category as your old BZ-40.
    Wonderfully engineered, simple machinery. An original Faema Lever is probably the only way to get something simpler...

    Mal.
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  22. #22
    Senior Member gonzo89's Avatar
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    In the case of my La Cimbali restoration, not much needs to be done other than take care of the rust on the frame and then paint it. I guess it could do with a new steam arm as well since the chrome has come off the tip. All of the parts and the boiler on mine are in great shape. I was quite surprised as I paid less than $200 for it. Very minimal cosmetic damage to the panels as well which was a bonus.
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