The Elektra Micro Casa a Leva home espresso blog

The Elektra Micro Casa a leva is a beautiful home espresso machine. But is it capable of making great coffee? Follow my pursuit of ultimate espresso coffee as I learn to use this exciting machine.

Location: Trondheim, Norway

Monday, August 29

Proposing a standard brewing procedure

Originally uploaded by audunso.

Many cups have been emptied since the Elektra Micro Casa a Leva came to my house five months ago. Some shots have been suberb, most shots have been OK, and some shots have been bad. I have made lots of observations, but as you sure know: There are many factors to control when brewing espresso. Anyway, I´m about to become pretty confident about how to make a decent double ristretto (ca 30 ml= 2 x 15 ml). These are my "conclusions" up to this point (including lots of basic barista stuff):

Water: Fill fresh water in the tank. Let there be approximately 3 cm to the top of the sight window (and never let there be less than a couple of centimeters of water left in the sight window).

Warm-up: Insert the bayonet (use only the double filter). Let the machine finish its warm-up procedure. The lamp goes out after 10-11 minutes. Lower the lever and run through some water (4-5 seconds) to heat up the group and the empty filter. Take out the bayonet, and dry the filter with a cloth or some paper.

Dose: Turn on the grinder, and fill the filter with enough coffee to get a perfectly even distribution when the coffee is leveled out with a finger. Let the coffee be level with the filter rim (this is too much for some coffees that a harder to compress (see ”dose check” below). If that´s the case, dose less coffee using the finger to take off more coffee). Use the finger in different directions to ensure that there are no gaps along the edges of the filter.

(dose check (not to be done every time!): after dosing and tamping, insert the filter into the group and take it out again. The coffee surface should remain undisturbed. Otherwise, there is too much coffee in the filter. There should be some room below the shower screen to allow for swelling of the coffee)

Tamp: There are different tamping techniques. Mine is to first do a light tamp, focusing on getting the surface horisontal. Raise the filter and give it one or two light knocks with the handle of the tamper, to get rid of coffe clinging to the edge of the filter. Then I do a 15-20 kg tamp, and before releasing the tamper, I twist it around with some pressure applied, to give the surface a polish.

Preheated cup: The cup should be preheated with hot water.

Preinfusion: Lower the lever carefully to the point where you hear water rushing. Now, press down firmly. I have found this to be a good midpoint between being too quick (risking to spray tiny holes in the coffee surface, which would give water channeling), and being too slow (letting in more water on one side of the coffee puck).

Finishing the shot: Wait until espresso comes dripping (or if not, 9-10 seconds). Now, carefully, let the lever go. When a new coffee is introduced it may take a few shots to get he grinder adjusted. First, I aim for a 22 second shot (counting from when the lever is released). This usually gives acceptable shots. Then I do small adjustments with the grinder, and after some shots the grind will be close to optimal.

The machine is capable of making two shots with acceptable water temperature, and maybe a third shot if you´re careful not to let the machine sit too long.

Between shots: Let out the pressure either by waiting a minute or more, or by opening up the portafilter slowly. Clean the shower screen by running water for 1-2 seconds.


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Anonymous Audun said...

I´m not interested in either steroids, diet pills or loans!!!! I´ll stick to my espresso!

11:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

what's up with all the ads for comments. That's lame blogging. Thanks for the insight offered on your lever machine. We recently purchased a commercial Victoria Arduino spring piston machine. A day into operation and we are still scratching our heads on "pulling the perfect shot." It should be a fun journey. I'll raise the first "perfect shot" to the name of audun.

7:54 PM  
Anonymous Claude Funston said...

Is it possible to change the temerature or pressure in the main chamber? My machine heats up until the needle is at the top of the first colored band. Is this correct?

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1:24 PM  

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