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Newish buy

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  • Newish buy

    Haven't been on here in an age, decided after my last machine purchase the best thing to do is not read about what else is out there.

    In the last little while though I got an urge to upgrade my old rig (Expobar office control), the control board hasn't worked on it in a few years (manual pour only) and after its last service, the tech suggested an upgrade would be in order in the nearish future.

    Was browsing trademe and came across a 2nd hand Astoria CK-E.

    Talk about needing to go back to basics, grind and dose is completely different from my old machine, I was pretty adept at getting consistently good shots from the double basket, have only run about 10-15 shots so far, but still a ways off getting it right.

    Read through the brewing tips for E61 above, whilst this isn't an E61, I figure the techniques would apply for all. Not entirely sure Ive got the quantity / dose right yet.

    Has anyone used a machine similar (also known as Wega Lyra? I think)?

    Any tips for getting the most out of a commercial machine (still have tank and vibe pump).

    Not liking the steam tip one little bit, new tip doesn't look too expensive though

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  • #2
    Ive tried the fill, collapse, fill, level and tamp method described in the brewing tips, but I've found this make the portafilter handle difficult to insert, and if I insert it and remove it straight away, the top of the puck is torn apart by the shower screen, I assume this is bad?

    If I fill, level and tamp, insert and remove the portafilter, there is a slight impression in the top but no damage as such, does this sound right?

    I'm struggling so far to get a thick stream of espresso, either overdosed where the puck is damaged or dosed to just touching the screen. The pour is watery with a lot of curling, not dripping warm honey. Using double shot basket.

    Beans are 3-4 days post roast (behmor plus) kept in a sealed jar.
    Grinder is Compak k6, ground before shot.

    Can anyone offer some guidance?


    • #3
      G'day Sen'...

      Your second description sounds good mate; just kissing the shower-screen is close to perfect.
      Sounds like you now have to get your grind size sorted and you should be well on your way...



      • #4
        Yes, to the above. The grind will need adjusting probably in micro steps. Be consistent in the quantity of grinds, as above just 'a peck on the cheek on the screen' or just short but the same every time.


        • #5
          Sounds like you have a good machine there, are you the only operator?
          Our staff room machines really buzz with anyone working either the Bezzera or the Boema, always great coffee flowing here and no one complains.
          Is the Coffee with your newer machine .......great coffee?


          • #6
            Just looking at your K6 to the side there, I'm wondering how much grind retention you are getting, as this could affect all aspects of your coffee making. It could vary the size of dose, leading to inconsistent doses (light touch of shower screen vs heavy contact). The (apparent) accumulated oils in the hopper can affect flavour, similarly with the doser (I had a K6 and would vacuum the doser out before every shot.. took literally 5 seconds). There's also the factor of keeping beans in the large hopper with lots of air (although opinions differ). I've recently changed from a K6 doser large hopper to doserless K3 with small hopper. Just trying to rule out all factors.


            • #7
              Thanks for the replies.

              I'm the only operator, it's a home machine and the Mrs has refused to learn how to make coffee, leaves it to me.

              The coffees have improved in the last 2 weeks, getting a routine with grind and dose. Using a bread knife curved blade down to get dose amount, then tap to settle and then single tamp. Just the grind to get right, hadn't thought about remnants in the doser, thanks for that.

              It's a marathon, not a sprint, enjoying the journey


              • #8
                After months of still trying to get things right, I still wasn't happy -

                Tried checking temperature from the brew head for espresso shots, was getting 50deg in the cup (warmed cup, only using a milk thermometer so not entirely accurate I'm sure), but checked using same conditions on my Expobar machine at work, same temps (does a consistently wrong reading mean anything?). Only thing I noticed was that the filter on my expobar was noticeably bigger than the Astoria (triple vs tradtional double I suspect), so I swapped filter baskets.

                What a difference, thick pour, not watery, red/brown crema vs pale blonde plus much better tasting in the cup. The odd thing though, when using that double basket from the Astoria in the Expobar, I can still get good shots. Is it that the Astoria is less forgiving (Expobar has a psuedo E61 head - from what I have read, they arent an actual E61, just looks like it?) so a higher dose of coffee in the basket makes it easier to disguise mistakes?


                • #9
                  Could it be related to the grinder or grind setting perhaps?
                  Or alternatively, although I suspect less likely, the OPV setpoint?