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  • Question about espresso machine operation

    Hi all.

    Today, 25/05/2019 I purchased the Aldi espresso machine which is selling across their stores.

    I know, I know... look, beggars can't be choosers, right?

    In any case, I have two questions regarding the machine operation. I assume it either has a fault or it's something common across similar machine:
    1. After pulling an espresso shot, water is being poured into the water tray. Is this expected? Since it's clean water I thought initially it's coming from the water tank. But I suspect it's residual water from the pump/pipes.
      It's not a lot of water. It's something about 2 spoons full of water.
    2. I use the double basket with the double spout (not sure if I named it correctly). The cups are not even in liquid. I need to check that the machine is actually aligned with a spirit level, but assuming it is aligned, and I'm pretty sure the tampering is even, what else could cause this?


    Thanks!

  • #2
    I just had a look at the Aldi site and found the machine you're referring to (see attached image).

    1. Yes, its perfectly normal for some (clear) water to go into the drip tray and indicates the machine has a 3 way solenoid valve, which is a good thing. You might want to look into backflushing the machine once a month (google it - will require a blind disk or blind filter and back flushing cleaner).

    2. With a cheaper machine like this one, I suspect there's not much you can do about uneven flow from the double spout (apart from checking machine is level). Looking at the photo, it appears to use the smaller 51mm diameter baskets (not 58mm commercial size) which don't hold a huge amount of coffee (weigh the grinds and if less than 15g...). I'd suggest keeping the use to one coffee per shot unless you like really weak coffee, as you won't get a cafe strength double shot from that machine anyway. I'd keep the double spout on the portafilter as its easier to tamp on the bench.

    Are the filter baskets pressurised or are they standard? You can tell by holding it up to a light and if all the holes show light through from the inside "side" then its standard but if you only see one or a few holes from the outside, then it pressurised. Most likely the latter for that price machine but Aldi sometimes surprises with their gear. The fact the machine (claims to have) a PID is a good sign too.
    Attached Files

    Comment


    • #3
      Hi. Thanks for the detailed reply.

      RE size of filter, since I'm using Brevile smart grinder pro, it comes with two cradles.

      Here's a quote:

      The Breville Smart GrinderPro comes with two grinding cradles for dosing directly into 50-54mm or 58mm commercial espresso filters.

      For the ALDI filter I had to use the larger one so I assume it's the 58mm one.

      When I used the double basket I could fit 18g of coffee with plenty of space to spare. I think it can take few more grams easily, but probably I wouldn't use it for more than 20g Max.

      I will have to check if it's pressurised.
      All I know is when I looked at the bottom (reversed side) of the basket, there was one tiny hole.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Gil80 View Post
        For the ALDI filter I had to use the larger one so I assume it's the 58mm one.

        When I used the double basket I could fit 18g of coffee with plenty of space to spare. I think it can take few more grams easily, but probably I wouldn't use it for more than 20g Max.

        I will have to check if it's pressurised.
        All I know is when I looked at the bottom (reversed side) of the basket, there was one tiny hole.
        One tiny hole means its pressurised - which is easier to start out with but you won't get great espresso from it. If the baskets are 58mm then you can easily buy third party non-pressurised baskets for it - a standard double is fine to start with (~$20). Its more work to get good coffee with non-pressurised baskets as you have to get the grind "just right" but once you've dialled it in, the coffee will be much better. The Breville grinder is quite capable of grinding fine enough for that machine.

        Comment


        • #5
          Looks a lot like a BES840 to me. Hot water outlet is different, no magnetic attaching tamper, perhaps that is enough to be different.

          Comment


          • #6
            OK so measuring the tamper at about 56mm then it means the filter is 58mm.

            The spirit level shows it leans more to the right so I'll have to align that.

            A quikk search in ebay didn't yield 58mm non pressurised double basket.

            Where would you recommend to buy one?

            Comment


            • #7
              Some baskets are slightly conical in shape so don't measure at the bottom - measure the internal diameter at the top, which should be between 58mm and 59mm. If the tamper is nice snug fit, then you could measure that too.

              Commercial link removed as per Site Posting Policy - you might have 57mm baskets by the looks of your photo.

              Take a look at the sponsors section of the forum and find a sponsor local to you and take in your portafilter, so you can test it before buying.
              Last edited by Javaphile; 25 May 2019, 06:02 PM. Reason: Commercial link removed

              Comment


              • #8
                Being that this is a clone of a Breville, there's a fair chance it uses 54mm baskets like their current machines do. I very much doubt they would use 58mm on a small domestic machine like this. You need to measure the internal diameter of the basket for an accurate measurement, not the external base.

                Pressurised baskets jet the coffee every which way from that small hole, it's not uncommon for it to fill the cups to different amounts.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by noidle22 View Post
                  Being that this is a clone of a Breville, there's a fair chance it uses 54mm baskets like their current machines do. I very much doubt they would use 58mm on a small domestic machine like this. You need to measure the internal diameter of the basket for an accurate measurement, not the external base.

                  Pressurised baskets jet the coffee every which way from that small hole, it's not uncommon for it to fill the cups to different amounts.
                  I measured the tamper and also I have to use the 58mm cradle for the Breville grinder to fit the portafilter snugly.

                  I tried the 54mm cradle and it doesn't fit.

                  After aligning the machine, the pour is now even.

                  Still, I will purchase non pressurised basket.

                  Thanks for the comments. I learned something today

                  Now I'm trying to calibrate the shots.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Dialing in the shot - can't seem to make it

                    Hi.

                    So I posted yesterday that I purchased the Aldi Espresso machine (sold on 25/05/2019).

                    It has PID, 58mm basket and pressure gauge among other things.
                    The basket is pressurised. I will buy non-pressurised later this week.


                    I'm trying to achieve this result:

                    What I've done:
                    • Calibrated the 'single shot' button on the machine to produce 60ml of water. I used an empty basket and a digital coffee scale underneath to measure the ml of water.
                    • I assume that 60ml of water will yield 30ml of coffee because the coffee retains about half of the water.
                    • Measured 18.5g of beans and measured 18g grind after the grind


                    The setup:
                    • The grinder, Breville Smart Grinder Pro, is set to 8.
                    • 18g measured ground coffee
                    • Double basket (pressurised, with dual spout attached
                    • Since I currently have pressurised basket, I use light force when tamping the grind making sure there are no air pockets and even surface
                    • Timing - I time from the 1st drip, not when the pump start working. So in reality, I'm looking at getting to about ~25 seconds @ 30ml liquid for double basket @ 18g dose from the 1st drip.


                    The Results:
                    • The expected 30ml is achieved under 20 seconds, suggesting I need a finer grind setting
                    • The pressure gauge is overshooting the desired 'espresso' pressure, suggesting too fine grind / tight tamping, or both
                    • The coffee taste is bitter with sour notes at the end
                    • The crema is actually good


                    So I'm getting contradicting results, or I misinterpret them. After all, I'm a total newbie with espresso machine and I come here to learn

                    I know over the forum it's going to be very difficult to assist, but maybe some pointers from experienced people here might help with dialing it in.

                    If someone is from Sydney and near Gladesville area and you have the time, I'd be happy to host you and get your help.



                    Thank you!
                    Last edited by Gil80; 26 May 2019, 11:36 AM.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      No need to start a new thread. This should be merged with your original post.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Erimus View Post
                        No need to start a new thread. This should be merged with your original post.
                        OK. But they relate to different topics. One is about machine behaviour and this thread is about getting the shot right.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          The pressurised basket is the problem - you effectively can't dial a shot using a pressurised basket, as the grind size effect is effectively swamped by the basket restriction hole.

                          You should calibrate the shot volume by putting a cup on a scale and weighing the coffee out (not water as you indicated). So 30g coffee out will be 30 ml.

                          Are your beans fresh? You must use beans where you KNOW the roast date and it is no more than 2 weeks post roast. If not, then you're wasting your time trying to dial in anything as stale beans not only affect taste but also change the grind size to shot time calculations. Every time you get new beans you need to fine-tune the grind size again, generally.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            As a 'total newbie' to espresso, it sounds like you are off to a good start and have researched well. It will take some practice to get the right dose, distribution and tamp that works for your machine and the beans being used (they are fresh, right?).

                            • It's only day 1. You will need to be patient. It took me a good while to get the hang of dose, distribution, tamp (DDT)
                            • Don't get too absorbed with numbers initially. They help with repeatability of results but you need to establish a benchmark first with your equipment
                            • Grab yourself some relatively cheap. good quality beans and practice, practice, practice (but don't OD on caffeine).
                            • It's best to stick to one bean type initially as that's one less variable to have to deal with.
                            • Try out different grinds and doses
                            • A pressurized basket is designed to improve crema but it may be worth obtaining a non-pressurized one to improve shot quality.
                            • Don't rely on your pressure gauge as an indicator of shot quality.


                            Not sure why you are trying to get 60ml from the single shot button. You have a double shot button for delivering that quantity of water

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              The beans roast date is 21/05/2019.
                              I always try to get the freshest possible.

                              As for the 60ml single shot calibration. I first try to get it by the book as factory settings are 60ml for single shot and 120ml for double.

                              Factory isn't calibrated so I set a baseline to be by the book first just to learn a bit about how the machine behaves. I like learning this way.

                              Does 30g coffee is considered a double shoot?

                              OK so I understand that to really get this going I need non pressurized double basket and experiment. I need some cheap high volume bag of beans for this.

                              Comment

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