New tamper, blind basket

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jmcphail
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New tamper, blind basket

Post by jmcphail » Thu Feb 28, 2008 8:11 am

Good morning everybody!

I'm considering adding a couple of new items to my kit, but wanted to get a sanity check from the community.

I'm thinking of getting an actual blind basket to use instead of the backflush disc, my hope is that it will perform slightly better and be more durable. If you use a blind basket for backflushing your LaSpaz, is it a worthy accessory and do you recommend it?

I'm using a stock RB 53mm convex tamper, really like it ( it has a real good feel to it ) but can't help wondering if a tighter fittting tamper would help me achieve more consistency. I've consumed a number of threads here where a few people purchased 53.2, 53.3 or 53.4mm tampers, and it seemed that 53.2 or 53.3mm is the ideal size and 53.4mm is a bit too large? Do I have that right? If you're using a custom-sized tamper, what size is it and do you recommend it?

I appreciate your thoughts, and thank you.

-John

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JohnB
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Post by JohnB » Thu Feb 28, 2008 9:35 am

I have one of the Thor 53.3mm wood tampers & although it is a thing of beauty it does stick in some of the baskets. Also grounds can stick to the bottom making a nice hole in the top of your tamped puck. Chris at CC mentioned that they had trouble with these tight fitting tampers & now only stocks the ones that leave a little space on the side. I plan to remove some material from the Thor to make it more user friendly at some point. Currently I'm using a Bumper 58mm tamper that I bought with my Vetrano & had a friend turn down on his lathe to fit the Vivaldi baskets. I like having a little space on the sides & also prefer the shape of the tamper body on the Bumper.

The rubber disc works fine for me if I use it in the singles basket which sees no use except for backflushes.
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MDL
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Post by MDL » Thu Feb 28, 2008 10:51 am

I have a blind basket that I bought from Espresso Parts that I love. It produces a complete backflush since no water can lead around the rubber disk. I ordered the blind basket and a set of the La Marzoco springs (to make removing the baskets from the Vivaldi portafilters easier) plus a second double spout at the same time.

In terms of tampers I use a 53 mm Espro that I really love. Great feel in my hand, nice to have the consistency of tamp and it also looks nice. The small clearance around the tamper is no issue as long as you recognize it and I certainly don't have trouble with the edge of my pucks being loose or channeling.

Good luck...
Mark

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Post by JohnB » Thu Feb 28, 2008 10:58 am

So the L/M springs have less tension but otherwise fit fine? The one thing I miss about my Vetrano is the Rancilio bottomless p/f as it was very easy to pop the baskets in & out.
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Post by MDL » Thu Feb 28, 2008 12:58 pm

That is correct; although the LM springs are for a 58 mm portafilter they are smaller gauge wire and fit in without any issue. The baskets are held in place adequately but are also easy to remove and replace.

Niko

Post by Niko » Thu Feb 28, 2008 1:44 pm

The Blind basket is the only way I backflush my machines. It literally blasts to the point where I have to stand back...
"fire in the hole!...

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Post by JohnB » Thu Feb 28, 2008 1:57 pm

Niko wrote:The Blind basket is the only way I backflush my machines. It literally blasts to the point where I have to stand back...
"fire in the hole!...
How can the blind basket give more pressure then the rubber disc? If the water doesn't leak by the cleaning effect would be the same.
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Post by JohnB » Thu Feb 28, 2008 1:58 pm

MDL wrote:That is correct; although the LM springs are for a 58 mm portafilter they are smaller gauge wire and fit in without any issue. The baskets are held in place adequately but are also easy to remove and replace.
Where did you find the L/M springs? I didn't see them on the CC site.
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Niko

Post by Niko » Thu Feb 28, 2008 2:04 pm

JohnB wrote:
Niko wrote:The Blind basket is the only way I backflush my machines. It literally blasts to the point where I have to stand back...
"fire in the hole!...
How can the blind basket give more pressure then the rubber disc? If the water doesn't leak by the cleaning effect would be the same.
Easily...the blind basket is deeper (at least the one I use) almost like a triple, the dwell is really long and the water fills it up building up a higher pressure to explode.

The rubber disk always leaks a little (somewhat) and it never really attains pressures of the blind basket - for me at least.

I use the LM springs as well, you can get those at EPNW.

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Post by JohnB » Thu Feb 28, 2008 2:23 pm

What max pressure do you see on the gauge when flushing with your set up? Mine hits a little over 9 max with no leaks.
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Niko

Post by Niko » Thu Feb 28, 2008 2:29 pm

Mine hits 9 bars exactly, I think.
I'll take a look during this evening's backflush session to confirm.

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Post by JohnB » Thu Feb 28, 2008 2:40 pm

Looking at the EPNW site I see springs for every brand but LM. Did you see them on the site or just call. I saw the LS blind basket (disc) which looks to be a standard single basket with no holes. Is it deeper then that or is that what it is?
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Post by MDL » Thu Feb 28, 2008 3:17 pm

The blind basket that I have from Espresso parts looks like a deep double with no holes. The current picture on the site does not look the same as the one that I have. I agree with Niko; the backflush with the blind basket is much stronger than I ever achieved with the rubber disk and you don't have any drips when you work with it.

Here is the link to the page with the portafilter springs:
http://www.espressoparts.com/category/0 ... _assembly/

Good luck...

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Post by jmcphail » Thu Feb 28, 2008 5:29 pm

Great feedback, thanks! I'm convinced about the blind basket, I've been disappointed in the disc to tell you the truth.

I'm just about ready on the tamper, I think a RB flat, 53.2mm will be a good choice. Unless someone changes my mind and says 53.3 is better? I just don't think I'm ready for a wooden tamper yet, tho they are beautiful!

Niko

Post by Niko » Thu Feb 28, 2008 5:44 pm

The wood tampers are very nice, for me they require a slightly different technique and the results are usually just as good - if not better 8)

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Post by JohnB » Thu Feb 28, 2008 6:02 pm

The nicest thing about the Thor Tamper is that you can get a P/F handle that matches it. I'm told that after 7+ weeks mine is finally in transit. I'll email EPNW & if the blind basket is still a double unlike the one shown on his site I'll pick one up along with the springs. Have to think of something else I "need" to make it worth the shipping charges. Does he carry those sweet looking Alessi pitchers??
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Post by jmcphail » Thu Feb 28, 2008 6:16 pm

Ohh, yeah, those are nice! I almost bought one when I was getting set up, but then decided to cheap out.

The springs... I worked mine over with a pair of needle-nose until they were just right, the baskets pop in and pop out with ease.

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Post by chas » Thu Feb 28, 2008 8:21 pm

I tried the cheap route too, but never got the right bend that I was happy with. I love the LM springs. It's amazing that a 58mm PF spring fits, but it does.

The different is that the LM springs are about the gauge of a std paperclip and the LaSpaz springs are the gauge of a large paper clip. It makes a huge difference.

The cost of the springs at EPNW is trivial ($1.95). It's the shipping cost that hurts. Wait until you need to order something from them and then the shipping for the springs is effectively free.

http://www.espressoparts.com/product/F_ ... _L113.html
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Post by jmcphail » Thu Feb 28, 2008 10:02 pm

Great advice everyone, I really appreciate it!

I can't wait to see how the wooden PF handles look!

I've actually been having a fantasy about fabricating replacement panels for my LaSpaz, and replacing the existing red plastic panels with red enameled steel panels. Oooh, shiny! My wife's uncle owns a large shop and does production fab work for the Big 3 automakers, I have a funny feeling he ( or one of his guys ) could do it no problem, but I'm told it would be an imposition to ask... :(

I'm thinking of the LaSpaziale logotype embossed on the sides in the way the La Cimbali is embossed on a Junior...

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Post by JohnB » Thu Feb 28, 2008 10:16 pm

If he does work for the Big 3 he probably has lots of free time right now!! Chris posted on CG that he plans to talk to LS about making up some "special" side covers to offer as an option. No idea what these would look like but they could be interesting. Since Niko never plans to remove his again I guess he wouldn't be interested. :lol:
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Niko

Post by Niko » Thu Feb 28, 2008 10:33 pm

Never!
...I shall never remove those damn panels - and if the need arises, the machine will go up for sale in the Swap Meet section of this site :lol:
The profits will go to another VII with no repairs needed :D

The Alessi's are really nice, can't say enough good things about them. I have 4 that I'll never part with. I value them like the finest iLLy Cups.

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Post by jmcphail » Thu Feb 28, 2008 10:36 pm

It's good news-bad news. His business is actually up, I think he receives a lot of work that used to be done by the companies themselves.

Now that you mention removing the covers again, I'm getting the SHAKES! I think magnetic fasteners or something should be part of the design!
JohnB wrote:If he does work for the Big 3 he probably has lots of free time right now!! Chris posted on CG that he plans to talk to LS about making up some "special" side covers to offer as an option. No idea what these would look like but they could be interesting. Since Niko never plans to remove his again I guess he wouldn't be interested. :lol:

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Post by JohnB » Fri Feb 29, 2008 8:34 am

I've heard so much about installing the side covers I may have to take them off just to see what all the complaining is about. Then again, maybe not.
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Post by chas » Fri Feb 29, 2008 11:49 am

I think you should go for it. Just remember these two things:

1) Real men don't wait until the boiler cools down first
2) They also don't let their nuts drop!

:shock:
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Niko

Post by Niko » Fri Feb 29, 2008 12:11 pm

That's exactly why I HATE installing the side panels!!!!!!!!!!!!
:twisted: :twisted:

....I keep dropping my nuts. :D

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Post by chas » Fri Feb 29, 2008 2:42 pm

For someone like yourself with "sticky fingers" I'm surprised!
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Post by mgwolf » Fri Feb 29, 2008 9:15 pm

Referring back to the middle of this thread - replacing the stock PF springs. I put some La Cimbali springs in there and the PF basket pops in and out quite easily (58 mm springs).

Also, I recently bought an Xpressivo 53 mm Presso Luce tamper which has a nice (light) feel to it, but is fairly sloppy in the Vivaldi baskets, probably 2 mm too loose. I guess I'll look around for a different convex tamper. Michael

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Post by jmcphail » Sat Mar 01, 2008 1:47 am

That is my experience with the stock 53mm Reg Barber. I'm coping with it OK ( NSEW style ) but think I could be more consistent with 53.2mm or 53.3mm.


mgwolf wrote: I recently bought an Xpressivo 53 mm Presso Luce tamper which has a nice (light) feel to it, but is fairly sloppy in the Vivaldi baskets, probably 2 mm too loose.

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Post by chas » Sat Mar 01, 2008 2:08 pm

I have been alternating between a 53.5mm Reg American Curve and a 53mm CoffeeLab tamper. I've recently been in a patch where I've struggled with channeling. Recently I was visiting Randy Glass' espressomyespresso.com site. He had a description of a new tamping style he was using. It is really a variant of the NSEW "Staub" tamp. He applies light (15-20lb) pressure and rotates the tamper around and around, then applies a straight down 40-50lb tamp to finish things off.

This has eliminated channeling for me. However, it requires a little more side clearance, so I have to use the 53mm CoffeeLab tamper.
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Post by jmcphail » Sat Mar 01, 2008 3:27 pm

It requires more clearance because of the tilt of the tamper base as it nutates?

Interesting! I have been doing two styles of tamp - the very careful grooming and then NSEW tamp plus a centered tamp, and the hasty nutate and level with little pressure then press straight down without even really gripping the tamper handle, which takes about 1/5th of the time of my "careful" method and gives almost identical results, sometimes better.

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Post by JohnB » Sat Mar 01, 2008 3:52 pm

chas wrote: It is really a variant of the NSEW "Staub" tamp. He applies light (15-20lb) pressure and rotates the tamper around and around, then applies a straight down 40-50lb tamp to finish things off.

This has eliminated channeling for me. However, it requires a little more side clearance, so I have to use the 53mm CoffeeLab tamper.
With that much pressure do you have to grind coarser to get a normal flow?
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