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Date: 19 Sep 2006 00:01:49
From:
Subject: Briel Chamonix problems - diagram, seals?
Hi,
I have a ~5 year old Briel Chamonix. I've been very pleased with it
(together with my hill&valley coffee and dualit grinder).

I'm now experiencing some problems.

Sometimes water will escape around the coffee/basket resulting in only
a few murky drips rather than a proper espresso.

Initially thinking the filter was blocked I removed/cleaned/reinserted
- it rarely makes a difference for more than a shot or two, sometimes
not at all. I've also tried an old filter. It's also not the gring - I
use what I've used for years, and have tried courser anyway.

In fact sometimes even without the coffee the same happens.

I've removed the shower head (hex bolt) and cleaned. If the pump is
activated with no basket/filter connected water comes out fairly
quickly (it doesn't quite "spray" though - most water comes out of the
center. I think it is coming out of the shower holes, just then running
together before dropping down.. s'pose that's ok?)

Basically water is seen seeping not just from between the showerhead
and filter holder (which may be caused by the lower seal being poor),
but to a lesser extent from above this (I can't see where). The pump
itself seems ok.

I can post photos/videos somewhere in the next few days if anyone's
happy to take a look?

This doesn't always happen -- perhaps 30-50% and increasing. So
probably depends on a number of factors, mostly how good the basket
seal with machine is, So I believe that the seals are now going.
Either that or something's cracked. Does anyone have a picture/diagram
of the Briel? Is there another (replaceable seal) above this one?

I see fairfax cookshop have - douche plate (the shower head), group
seal (is this the one next to the basket?),as well as basket/holder...
but nothing to possible explain my minor leak.

Or should I really be giving up and getting a new machine. If so any
recommendations (I know I should read here). At one point I was
thinking of blowing a fortune on a fully automatic, but given the
number of times I see them broken in coffee bar at work I think I may
stick simple, and really want to minimize expense now...!

Many thanks





 
Date: 30 Sep 2006 16:36:45
From:
Subject: Re: Briel problems - seals - yes.

Randy G. wrote:
> Consider how much you have spent buying one machine, stepping up,
> exchanging, etc. Then decide how important coffee is to you. Now put
> a price on it. Also, look at the user reviews at

I went for a Gaggia Baby - nearly new from gaggia UK.

Wow. loads better. Pump far stronger. After an initial bad cup (grind
needed is finer than briel so minor adjustment to grind) the next few
kept coming superbly. great taste & what a fantastically delicious
thick crema (with no special crema device in sight!) courtesy of HV
coffee and my dualit (solis) grinder.

Very happy. Thanks for the advice.

- Nigel.



 
Date: 20 Sep 2006 15:08:59
From:
Subject: Re: Briel problems - seals - yes.
Ok, after some research shortlist looking like
Gaggia Evolution - looks decent, cheapest with brass portafilter. Only
possible disadvantage is that the spouts on the portafilter look
plastic. Ummm. current favourite
Coffee Delux - no plastic on portafilter. looks ok s'pose.
Gaggi Baby - not quite sure on style, but 1st model with 3way valve -
only real benefit is less mess cleaning after a shot!
Gaggia Baby D - nicer styling, semi-auto (which I don't think I care
about!)

So what do you folk think about the plastic spout on the evolution?
case for regret?



  
Date: 20 Sep 2006 20:27:46
From: Randy G.
Subject: Re: Briel problems - seals - yes.
Consider how much you have spent buying one machine, stepping up,
exchanging, etc. Then decide how important coffee is to you. Now put
a price on it. Also, look at the user reviews at
http://www.coffeegeek.com since owners will have posted their opinions
based on actual use.

Remember that the grinder is more important than the machine and can
easily have a greater bearing on how the coffee will taste. A grinder
that is not precise and makes a lot of dust will lead to a beverage
with a more bitterness. One not designed for espresso will not give
the user the wide range of adjustments that one needs for the highest
level of control. After all, the grind is the one variable (for the
most part).

You certainly got your money's worth from the Briel. This next machine
will (or at least, has the potential to) last a lot longer. Get one
that you will be happy with for it will live in your kitchen for some
time to come. The commercial portafilter of my Silvia weighs about
half of what my Krups 863 does (or it seems that way when picking it
up).

As far as the plastic spouts, I don't know, but if that is the case,
tamping on them could possibly lead to a shorter life.


Randy "nearly 6 years and counting " G.
http://www.EspressoMyEspresso.com




nigel.l.jones@gmail.com wrote:
>
>Ok, after some research shortlist looking like
>Gaggia Evolution - looks decent, cheapest with brass portafilter. Only
>possible disadvantage is that the spouts on the portafilter look
>plastic. Ummm. current favourite
>Coffee Delux - no plastic on portafilter. looks ok s'pose.
>Gaggi Baby - not quite sure on style, but 1st model with 3way valve -
>only real benefit is less mess cleaning after a shot!
>Gaggia Baby D - nicer styling, semi-auto (which I don't think I care
>about!)
>
>So what do you folk think about the plastic spout on the evolution?
>case for regret?


 
Date: 19 Sep 2006 21:57:36
From:
Subject: Re: Briel problems - seals - yes.

Randy G. wrote:

> Open the machine and take a look and see if there is evidence of
> internal leakage. The Chamonix is a very basic machine, and one that
> is 5 years old is probably near the end of its life anyway. As I

Understand, although to-date I've been very happy with my results once
I got used to the machine. I've progressively got more fussy/exacting
too!


> ones that are sold in the States. Starting with the "Classic" (I
> think) they have a 3-way valve which releases the brew pressure
> immediately after switching off so there is no coffee sneeze when
> removing the portafilter. Check
> http://www.wholelattelove.com/Gaggia.cfm for the machine line up from
> gaggia for the details.
>

Thanks for the pointer. I expect I'll have to do some more digging here
since the information is somewhat inconsistent between the different
models. A sumy matrix would have been good from gaggia

> Also, a better grinder might be in order as well. After five + years
> of use, a basic home grinder is pretty well worn out. The Dualit is

Thanks for advice, but the grinder is ~1 year old. Before that I had
another 2 electrics (briefly - neither any good) and a zassenhaus.

I switched from the zassenhaus to the Dualit, and went to the Gym
instead ;-)

A colleague got a dualit & it was no good. They exchanged for a
replacement which was fine. I think they're a little variable, but the
one I have now seems to give a good grind, for now at least ..

>
> It's just money- no use leaving it for the kids! ;-)
!



 
Date: 19 Sep 2006 11:52:55
From:
Subject: Re: Briel problems - seals - yes.

daveb wrote:
> wrong! -- it is more than that. rg did not read your post.
>
> the leakage above the brewhead is coming from a boiler seal problem --
> failed or corroded.

Thanks. Wasn't sure if this was a replaceable item or not. May try to
take a look

The Briel does have a boiler warranty but
a) not sure if it's covered
b) It will likely take too long to fix

I'm tempted to go for either
- another Briel - saw the artemis?
- a Gaggia - only problem is there's so many of them.

Is there anything special to look for in Gaggias apart from
looks/unnecessary features - evolution? cubika? baby?


Do they have same size boiler? same type head? just as good temperature
control? same steamer?

Looks like the cubika and gran have aluminium not brass portafilter?
and low power
Wheras the espresso, evolution, baby,classic, carezza are higher
wattage wth brass portafilter

References to solenoid valves - but wouldn't they all have these?

I can't see me buying one, but out of interest are the cheapest
automatics any good? reliable? We're talking 400 UKP+ presumably?



  
Date: 19 Sep 2006 20:45:46
From: Randy G.
Subject: Re: Briel problems - seals - yes.
nigel.l.jones@gmail.com wrote:

>
>daveb wrote:
>> wrong! -- it is more than that. rg did not read your post.
>>
>> the leakage above the brewhead is coming from a boiler seal problem --
>> failed or corroded.
>
>Thanks. Wasn't sure if this was a replaceable item or not. May try to
>take a look
>

Be careful about taking Dave's advice or replying to him. Although he
claims to be a professional he has been wrong on more occasions than I
care to count and he continues to E-Mail me after __MANY__(!!!)
requests by me to stop the harassment.

Open the machine and take a look and see if there is evidence of
internal leakage. The Chamonix is a very basic machine, and one that
is 5 years old is probably near the end of its life anyway. As I
remember, they weren't that great when new... I was one of the
machines I considered when first shopping and later decided that it
was worth the extra $$ to move up. The Gaggias are good machines, and
an excellent value. Most are pretty much the same inside as far as the
ones that are sold in the States. Starting with the "Classic" (I
think) they have a 3-way valve which releases the brew pressure
immediately after switching off so there is no coffee sneeze when
removing the portafilter. Check
http://www.wholelattelove.com/Gaggia.cfm for the machine line up from
gaggia for the details.

Also, a better grinder might be in order as well. After five + years
of use, a basic home grinder is pretty well worn out. The Dualit is
not sold in the States from what I can tell, but one I found on Amazon
UK:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Dualit-75002-Coffee-Grinder/dp/B000094U5T
..looks like a rebadged Solis which are ginally OK for espresso
when new, but after 5 years of regular would be pretty worthless for
that application... IMO. The early ones (in that age range) only had
the upper burr held stable in two places and when worn allow far too
much "wobble" and create more dust than they should.

It's just money- no use leaving it for the kids! ;-)

Cheers, mate!


Randy "swats mosquitos" G.
http://www.EspressoMyEspresso.com




 
Date: 19 Sep 2006 09:07:06
From: daveb
Subject: Re: Briel problems - seals - yes.
wrong! -- it is more than that. rg did not read your post.

the leakage above the brewhead is coming from a boiler seal problem --
failed or corroded.

Dave "actually fixes espresso machines " b

Randy G. wrote:

>
> You need a brewhead gasket- it MIGHT be what they call the "group
> seal."
>
>



 
Date: 19 Sep 2006 09:06:18
From: daveb
Subject: Re: Briel problems - seals - yes.
wrong! -- it is more than that. rg did not read your post.

the leakage above the brewhead is coming from a boiler seal problem --
failed or corroded.



Randy G. wrote:

>
> You need a brewhead gasket- it MIGHT be what they call the "group
> seal."
>
>



 
Date: 19 Sep 2006 08:24:17
From: Randy G.
Subject: Re: Briel Chamonix problems - diagram, seals?
nigel.l.jones@gmail.com wrote:

> I see fairfax cookshop have - douche plate (the shower head), group
>seal (is this the one next to the basket?),as well as basket/holder...
>but nothing to possible explain my minor leak.
>

You need a brewhead gasket- it MIGHT be what they call the "group
seal."

Randy "comments withheld on the Briel" G.
http://www.EspressoMyEspresso.com




 
Date: 19 Sep 2006 05:55:00
From: daveb
Subject: Re: Briel Chamonix problems - diagram, seals?
note really repairable -- economically.

get your self a nice refurb Coffee Gaggia from one of the major web
sellers.

Good -- simple -- reliable.

Dave
Saeco / Gaggia service SE

nigel.l.jones@gmail.com wrote:
> Hi,
> I have a ~5 year old Briel Chamonix. I've been very pleased with it
> (together with my hill&valley coffee and dualit grinder).
>
> I'm now experiencing some problems.
>
> Sometimes water will escape around the coffee/basket resulting in only
> a few murky drips rather than a proper espresso.
>
>