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Date: 11 Nov 2006 13:46:14
From:
Subject: time for a new espresso machine?
My old one is a Starbucks brand "Barista". It's going on 5 yrs old.
For the life of me I can't figure out why the tast of my espresso has
just dropped off the scale. I clean it etc, but what are the symptoms
of an aging machine? I replaced my roaster with a Gene, my grinder is
a new Mazzer. But the taste just isn't there. Always roast my own
Maui, from the same source/plantation. So is it time for a Silvia?





 
Date: 11 Nov 2006 17:31:27
From: Flasherly
Subject: Re: time for a new espresso machine?
LF wrote:

> 1. The pressurized portafilter is difficult to clean (think: it's
> full of rancid coffee residue), and creates numerous problems. Remove
> all of the creama enhansing features or buy a non-pressurized pf. Let
> the looks of the crema guide you to a good shot.

Mine's a slipring rubber gasket that wraps two pieces together, an
upper steel strainer filter and the crema device beneath - crema's
plastic with basically a pressure sensitive plunger inside a male
screwfitting for holding together the contraption with a female plug at
the farend (openwalled to let the coffee flow through). I've read
mixed reviews about tossing supplied parts for a bare PF. Also tried
both ways, opened the bottom plunger for no added resistance, but find
the crema device also plays a convenient role in infusing grinds for
less channeling on less than perfect doseages. Wouldn't think much of
a permanently sealed crema unit or something too difficult to clean. I
break the bottom female plug screwthreads a tad loose under a stream of
water, and shake the unit a few times vigorously. Cleans up nicely
enough.



 
Date: 11 Nov 2006 16:43:52
From: LF
Subject: Re: time for a new espresso machine?

Dr. Buckwheat (anon.) wrote:
> My old one is a Starbucks brand "Barista". It's going on 5 yrs old.
> For the life of me I can't figure out why the tast of my espresso has
> just dropped off the scale. I clean it etc, but what are the symptoms
> of an aging machine? I replaced my roaster with a Gene, my grinder is
> a new Mazzer. But the taste just isn't there. Always roast my own
> Maui, from the same source/plantation. So is it time for a Silvia?

I use a *$ Barista and a Rancilio Nancy (same internals as a Silvia).
The Rancilio is a better machine in many ways; the Barista
,nonetheless, turns out reliably good espresso. If you've got upgrade
fever, go for it -- spring for the Silvia. If you want to get your
Barista to pull good shots, that's possible too.
Without knowing more, two possible culprits for your current poor
espresso are: 1) the crema enhansing features of a pressurized
portafilter, 2) the wrong water temp.
Maybe you've got these possibilities covered. If not:
1. The pressurized portafilter is difficult to clean (think: it's
full of rancid coffee residue), and creates numerous problems. Remove
all of the creama enhansing features or buy a non-pressurized pf. Let
the looks of the crema guide you to a good shot.
2. Temperature surf. It helps to have the steam switch on when you
pull a shot. The cold water enters the small boiler right next to
where the hot water leaves, so the water temp drops rapidly when you
pull a shot in the Barista.
3. I know you clean the Barista. Does that include descaling?

All the best,
Larry



 
Date: 11 Nov 2006 16:43:49
From: LF
Subject: Re: time for a new espresso machine?

Dr. Buckwheat (anon.) wrote:
> My old one is a Starbucks brand "Barista". It's going on 5 yrs old.
> For the life of me I can't figure out why the tast of my espresso has
> just dropped off the scale. I clean it etc, but what are the symptoms
> of an aging machine? I replaced my roaster with a Gene, my grinder is
> a new Mazzer. But the taste just isn't there. Always roast my own
> Maui, from the same source/plantation. So is it time for a Silvia?

I use a *$ Barista and a Rancilio Nancy (same internals as a Silvia).
The Rancilio is a better machine in many ways; the Barista
,nonetheless, turns out reliably good espresso. If you've got upgrade
fever, go for it -- spring for the Silvia. If you want to get your
Barista to pull good shots, that's possible too.
Without knowing more, two possible culprits for your current poor
espresso are: 1) the crema enhansing features of a pressurized
portafilter, 2) the wrong water temp.
Maybe you've got these possibilities covered. If not:
1. The pressurized portafilter is difficult to clean (think: it's
full of rancid coffee residue), and creates numerous problems. Remove
all of the creama enhansing features or buy a non-pressurized pf. Let
the looks of the crema guide you to a good shot.
2. Temperature surf. It helps to have the steam switch on when you
pull a shot. The cold water enters the small boiler right next to
where the hot water leaves, so the water temp drops rapidly when you
pull a shot in the Barista.
3. I know you clean the Barista. Does that include descaling?

All the best,
Larry