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Atomic users - dribbly jug?!

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  • Atomic users - dribbly jug?!

    I just picked up a used La Sorrentina atomic, and fired it up for the first time.

    It seems very nicely made, and I was really happy with my first homemade 'capuccino'. Everything worked exactly as per the instructions - EXCEPT THE JUG DRIBBLES EVERYWHERE!

    The instructions say to use the jug for filling the machine (and boast about how well the jug's spout fits the filler), but I couldn't do it without spilling water everywhere. As I understand it the jug is pretty much just a copy of the original design, but the tiny pourer 'spout' just won't form a proper stream of liquid. Pouring water into the machine and pouring coffee into the cup were both very messy.

    Is this normal? Common to the LS machine? Has my jug somehow become disfunctional?!

  • #2
    I still use my La Sorrentina Atomic and can make wonderful coffee from it.

    I hold the Atomic by the neck (between the brew head and fill-hole) and tilt it forward so the fill hole is at about a 45 degree angle. Then fit the spout of the jug inside the hole and pour slowly. Do this over the sink of course but I rarely spill any water now.

    Some other tips for using the Atomic:

    - Fill the jug to the rivet (that holds the handle on). This provides enough water and steam for two cups of coffee.

    - Use almost boiled water to fill. This will stop the brewhead from overheating and making your coffee sour. This also means you will need to use a cloth to hold your Atomic while filling.

    - Don't tamp. Fill the filter basket with coffee loosely to the top and then tap the handle to settle.

    - Remove the jug when you start to see the coffee bubbling from the group head and put something else underneath to catch the dregs. Even before if you can as the coffee dregs will be sour.

    - I have more success steaming two small 300 ml jugs rather than one 600ml jug of milk. The steam always runs out before I can steam a 600ml jug.

    - When you have finished making coffee and removed the Atomic from the heat, leave for a couple of minutes then use a teatowel to slowly and carefully loosen the fill hole cap. This will then take the pressure off and you can remove the handle from the Atomic sooner.

    - go the Sorrentina website and order a stainless steel filter basket. It costs about $18 +postage. It might be worth emailing Jack Sorrentina first; he might even give you one for free.
    Last edited by flynnaus; 14 May 2014, 08:27 AM.


    • #3
      Thanks Flynnaus. I'm pretty sure I already have the stainless filter basket - obviously I don't have anything to compare it to, but it looks an awful lot like the one on their website.

      I've also never used an original Atomic jug, but this one strikes me as a clear example of form over function. It's pretty, but it's almost useless for pouring! I'll keep trying, but I suspect I'll have to get a plastic jug and work out the proper levels to use.

      Thanks for the other tips too, I'm looking forward to using this little baby regularly. I'm actually a bit surprised my first results were so good!


      • #4
        The stainless steel filter basket is shiny (like in the pic). The stock standard baskets are not.

        I really don't have a problem with the jug. Try it as the way I described and you shouldn't have much trouble. Your call though.

        The biggest problem I have is getting well textured milk without lots of bubbles but I'm getting better.


        • #5
          No, I have to say this jug is utterly unusable for pouring - it just dribbles straight down the outside of the jug. Doesn't matter what the target is, or whether I start fast or slow, it's just a bad spout that won't form a proper stream of liquid if it's any more than about half full. Not so much a problem for pouring the coffee, as the jug is at a steeper angle when I do that, but it is utterly incapable of being used as a water measure for starting up the machine. I get more water running off the bottom of the jug into the sink than I do being directed by the spout.

          I'd be interested to hear whether other LS owners have the same problem, or if I've just got a dud.


          • #6
            Hey flynnaus, what tips can you share about milk frothing? The very first time I used the machine I got beautiful textured milk and made a perfect capuccino, I thought "wow this is easy" but I can't repeat it! I thought maybe it was because I was experimenting with using less coffee, but I just tried again with a full tamped basket and no good.

            The only thing I can think is that it's the same bottle of milk (now 3 days old) and maybe the heat was slightly different (I'm using an alcohol stove so it may not be entirely consistent).

            I can't think of anything else I'm doing differently, and surely the initial quantity of water is irrelevant once you've expressed it all.

            (As for the jug, all the ones I've seen in pics and on youtube seem to have a much more pronounced spout, mine only makes a token effort at a slight lip. They must have changed them at some point).


            • #7
              No, welcome to the club. Sometimes I can produce lovely textured milk and I think I'd finally nailed it. Then the next attempt turns out thick and bubbly.

              The answer lies in practice, practice practice. I don't use my Atomic often enough to keep up practice.

              I'd be interested in hearing the views of other but here's my technique. I use my gas cooktop. It's important to get enough heat to produce good steam pressure.

              As I mentioned in my first post, I use a 300mL jug. Half fill it with milk,just below the spout. Before starting, purge the steam wand by briefly opening the steam valve. The rest is similar to standard milk texturing technique but I can't get a good whirlpool motion like I can on my Giotto:
              Have a check of this YT vid. It shows the whole process using a La Sorrentina, including filling. Although my method is different (and I only use freshly ground coffee), the milk produced is very good.
              There were various Atomic jugs made. My jug is the same as the one shown in the video.
     As the video has a link to a non-sponsor commercial site, I won't embed it.


              • #8
                Thanks mate, I'll keep at it. I've resisted the temptation to go for an espresso machine, so it's currently my chosen method (upgrade from moka pot) so I plan to notch up some flying hours on the thing.