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My Take On Cremina - From Start To...

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  • #61
    How is the pour?
    I've never bothered doing a Fellini as I use two baskets to pour two shots rather than trying to pour a double from one.
    Worthwhile investing in as naked portafilters (if you'd prefer not to chop off the bottom of your current one.

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    • #62
      Originally posted by flynnaus View Post
      How is the pour?
      I've never bothered doing a Fellini as I use two baskets to pour two shots rather than trying to pour a double from one.
      Worthwhile investing in as naked portafilters (if you'd prefer not to chop off the bottom of your current one.


      I don't have two 49mm baskets (well, I do have a single.......).

      I have a naked portafilter on the way.

      Since I've sorted out the rest of my routine the 'Fellini' thing seems to work well for my current purposes (i.e. forming the base of a flat white) and bean. The pour looks pretty good to me, it was a bit irregular at first but I think my distribution was not spot on. Have worked on that the pour is very even and viscous. Looking forward to getting back to using the naked though, and that might tell me a little more. All tasting good, which is the main thing.
      Last edited by Barry O'Speedwagon; 4 March 2020, 05:54 PM.

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      • #63
        Cremina's first chemical descale was at 6 months - from new. In the 12 months since then, she has accumulated about 50% of the crud that she did in the prior 6 months. I can only speculate that the manufacturing process left a residue of some sort.
        Over the last 12 months Cremina's efficiency has imperceptibly deteriorated. When the penny finally dropped, the reduction in steam pressure and loss of coffee clarity could no longer be ignored.
        Thankfully this has all been put right with her second descale - as per posts #24 & #25.
        Conclusion: 12 months between descales is way too long.

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        • #64
          Originally posted by OCD View Post
          Conclusion: 12 months between descales is way too long.
          I disagree. It's waaay too brief. Suggest you examine the water quality issues which are leading to this. I'd think that good cafes in Ballarat are on remineralised RO. If I was in your 'hood and had a cremina, I'd be on bottled I'd think.

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          • #65
            I am only posting OCD as a way to cause you to reevaluate, and for the luv of good coffee....yours for you!
            Now I only have your posts and Caffienators post above, and my continued exposure to many sites with water issues.
            I also question in some cases whether 'coffee std' water filtration at 15microns is really now good enough*.

            Referring to your post #25 OCD, and the need to descale again at the 12months timeline should instigate how is the scale arriving in my boiler!....thoughts.

            * my current knowledge base , where I am very open to further education from the collective here and elsewhere.
            Also depending on the quality of water in obv!

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            • #66
              Wow, I've only descaled my Cremina once in 6 years and that was when I purchased it and did a full bare metal restore.

              The first signs of build-up is normally the sight glass - either visible 'crud' or being obstructed.

              The water/steam path to the steam wand isn't that restricted to become obstructed easily.

              I inspect mine every six months to check for build-up.

              I'd be very concerned at the speed of this build-up.

              I strongly agree with Barry - you need to fix your water.

              Cheers

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              • #67
                I use a 1 micron nominal* under sink water filter for Cremina. This same filter has reduced visible lime scale in my kettle to near zero.
                So why the buildup of crud (I say crud because I'm not sure it is lime scale) in Cremina? Maybe my technique needs to be reassessed - especially my flushing regime which could be allowing coffee back into the boiler. Come to think of it, the crud looks more like coffee (brownish) than lime scale (whitish).

                *50% to 98.6% efficiency as opposed to absolute at 98.7% plus efficiency.

                Ps thanks for the feedback.

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                • #68
                  Originally posted by OCD View Post
                  I use a 1 micron nominal* under sink water filter for Cremina. This same filter has reduced visible lime scale in my kettle to near zero.
                  So why the buildup of crud (I say crud because I'm not sure it is lime scale) in Cremina? Maybe my technique needs to be reassessed - especially my flushing regime which could be allowing coffee back into the boiler. Come to think of it, the crud looks more like coffee (brownish) than lime scale (whitish).

                  *50% to 98.6% efficiency as opposed to absolute at 98.7% plus efficiency.

                  Ps thanks for the feedback.
                  What is it exactly about your flushing routine that you reckon might be allowing coffee of some form back into the boiler? Genuinely interested, in case I'm doing it too.

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                  • #69
                    Limescale can be brown

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                    • #70
                      Originally posted by flynnaus View Post
                      Limescale can be brown
                      Sounds like a good name for a novel or poem.

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                      • #71
                        Originally posted by Barry O'Speedwagon View Post
                        What is it exactly about your flushing routine that you reckon might be allowing coffee of some form back into the boiler? Genuinely interested, in case I'm doing it too.
                        After I've finished pulling my shots I:
                        * block the portafilter off with a rubber disk.
                        * lock the blocked portafilter into the group head.
                        * back it off a few degrees.
                        * lift the lever forcing the 1 BAR boiler water through the gap between the blocked portafilter and the group head.
                        This flushing technique has kept my group head clean - up until now.
                        I was under the impression that, although this technique opens up a direct path between the boiler and the brewing chamber, the pressure difference would prevent cross contamination. Maybe it doesn't.

                        Ps best laid plans of mice and men...

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                        • #72
                          Originally posted by Barry O'Speedwagon View Post
                          Sounds like a good name for a novel or poem.
                          "Fifty Shades of Lime Scale".

                          Comment


                          • #73
                            Originally posted by OCD View Post
                            After I've finished pulling my shots I:
                            * block the portafilter off with a rubber disk.
                            * lock the blocked portafilter into the group head.
                            * back it off a few degrees.
                            * lift the lever forcing the 1 BAR boiler water through the gap between the blocked portafilter and the group head.
                            This flushing technique has kept my group head clean - up until now.
                            I was under the impression that, although this technique opens up a direct path between the boiler and the brewing chamber, the pressure difference would prevent cross contamination. Maybe it doesn't.

                            Ps best laid plans of mice and men...
                            Ahh I see. I've used a blind filter on the Achille but never with the portafilter actually locked into the group.

                            I'd have thought that the group shouldn't get that dirty in a Cremina (relative to an E61). I certainly know from when I've pulled the group apart on the Achille that there is bugger all coffee above the shower screen.....but I guess I'll find out when I eventually pull the Cremina apart.

                            Ps probably in the Grapes of Wrath territory now.

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                            • #74
                              Find the orphan espresso YouTube on cleaning the Cremina, do what Doug does and all will be well.

                              P. S. Pretty sure it doesn't include a blind filter because the Cremina doesn't have a OPV.

                              Cheers

                              Comment


                              • #75
                                Originally posted by Barry O'Speedwagon View Post
                                ...I'd have thought that the group shouldn't get that dirty in a Cremina (relative to an E61). I certainly know from when I've pulled the group apart on the Achille that there is bugger all coffee above the shower screen.....but I guess I'll find out when I eventually pull the Cremina apart...
                                "If it ain't broke don't muck with it" or so I thought. After two trouble free years the piston seals on Cremina started to leak - most noticeable when warming up. When I pulled the piston out, the first thing I noticed was that I should've done it a lot sooner (yuk! see pic). The second thing I noticed, after a good clean, was that there was no snap ring holding the 4 holed washer and piston rod seal in place. Did Olympia leave it out deliberately? 3:35 into Orphan Espresso's YouTube video (https://youtu.be/2RHbsX75Zso) would suggest they did. After tracking down and fitting a snap ring (too tight for my comfort) I left it out. Probably could have left the 4 holed washer out as well. In any event, Cremina is back together again and working as well as ever - sans the snap ring.

                                Ps the piston rod seal itself needs to be squished into a hole half its diameter so it's not in any danger of just falling out.

                                Ps2 the flat side of the seal goes up. The flat side of the 4 holed washer goes down.
                                Click image for larger version

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                                • OCD
                                  OCD commented
                                  Editing a comment
                                  Hi Barry,
                                  Mine: for sure. The one that Barb and Doug are working on: seems like it. The rest: who knows?
                                  If Olympia did it deliberately, why did they leave the washer in there? The only purpose for the washer, that I can see, is to protect the seal from the snap ring.
                                  Did just fine without the snap ring for two years. Doing just fine now. I'm guessing it will do just fine without the washer too.
                                  There doesn't seem to be enough room for a seal, a washer and a snap ring in what is a relatively shallow hole, even though it was obviously designed for a snap ring - the machined groove is there. Perhaps the dimensions of the seal have changed from what was originally intended. The current seal is soft and pliable - not at all like the neoprene seals that the Cremina was, most likely, designed for way back in 1967.

                                • snowytec
                                  snowytec commented
                                  Editing a comment
                                  Hi OCD,
                                  When I originally got my "New Model" Cremina and stripped it down to incorporate Gabor Laczco's pressure profiling mod I also found that cir-clip was not in place in it's indent and the washer was loose on the spindle.

                                  Contacted Gabor about this and he contacted Christian Sagehorn at Olympia- Express, (both great and helpful guys who are genuinely passionate about coffee).

                                  They sold me a new cir-clip and I put it and the washer in place, (the cir-clip did click in).

                                  But I didn't notice any difference in operation.

                                  After a couple of years trouble free operation I recently noticed that the lever is definitely stiffer, (during warming flushes) this winter, when the head is still relatively cold but the machine has reached full pressure - so mine may also be due for a service (which I know we both do ourselves).

                                  I'll let you know if the clip is still in place after two + years when I finally take it apart.

                                  The coffee extractions are still unbelievable - (these things really are superior musical instruments worth learning).
                                  I'm now playing with different length and partial pressure puck pre soaks, (just by muscle memory on the lever and the second hand on a wall clock).
                                  I achieve useful pressure profiles this way just by feel and taste alone.
                                  The temperature of the head also effects the initial lever pressure on the puck by different amounts due to coffee variety and also coffee age, (their will be a correlation between this and adapting suitable profiles).

                                  Journey continues.

                                  Cheers,

                                  Snowytec.

                                • OCD
                                  OCD commented
                                  Editing a comment
                                  Circlips aka snap rings, retaining rings and (irreverently) as Jesus clips. I always prefered magic clips - they had a propensity for dissappearing as if by magic which, it has to be said, was better than copping one in the eye.
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