A friend and I have been going through my Astoria 2 group lever machine for a while now, and I've finally got it home. It now has new inner & outer piston gaskets, new group gaskets, new screens, 110V, and a fully functional propane option. I'm going to have to tell my girlfriend that I need my commercial grinder back. I'm using the Hario manual grinder to the left of the machine, and it gives a great grind, but damn...
I've got it plugged into 110V for now, but when I get a propane canister it's all FIRE!!!
So right! Since this is a coffee related site, consider my Fixxy in parentheses:
I started calling my lever machine "Louis" in an effort to humanize "him" to two former roommates, and this has stayed his name. I've put a lot of work, and a fair amount of cash into Louis, and the result is less than 2 ounces of liquid in a demitasse. Anticlimactic? Maybe for some, but the anticipation of releasing the lever was intense. I've reclaimed many other commercial machines, but Louis is becoming my favorite. I'll post some shots of his propane action when I get him a tank, and I look forward to some Youtube vidoes of Louis in action.
Shot for you! I made a Naked PF from a beat up La Marzocco PF. Brass is a weird metal; no sparks when you grind it! The PF keys up well, but it does so by holding the PF handle straight out toward you, then to the right, rather than the normal key up from the left, then twisting to the right. Works! I still need to get another commercial tamper, I've been using my 48mm tamper from my La Pavoni Europiccola. It does ok, but it requires some fussing.
Next up for Louis is is a Flo-Jet system for him. That will allow me to use filtered/better quality water. THe current set-up uses water lines that aren't food grade. There's no detectable taste from what's currently in place, but it's a little ghetto. I found a commercial water cooler next to a dumpster that works fine, and they have an integrated Flo-Jet style system in them that will wire up directly to the autofill solenoid coil. That way the Flo-Jet will come on at the same time that the auto fill system initiates, and it'll stop when the autofill stops. Makes sense to me, but I've blown shit up before... Free Flo-Jet; 'swhati'msayin...
Thanks for letting me show off an insanity that few understand.
I am in equipment heaven! I now have the propane system dialed in nicely at exactly 1 BAR on the gauge. It's exciting to me that on propane, it keeps its temp exactly. Electrical pressurestats cycle between an average of 2 tenths on the gauge, which translates to about five to 8 degrees in water temp. The gauge does not move a bit when it's burning propane, and the series of shots are very consistent.
I've used propane lever machines before at vending events, but at such times I hever had the time to stop and watch the gauge, only pour lots of nice shots as quickly as I could to satisfy a line of music festival hippies.
Out on the back porch with a cigar in hand there's time to notice and appreciate such things. I really want to Scace this thing to see just how temperature stable it is. The "seat of your pants" observations in the cup & on the machine are surprising and encouraging to me. On propane this machine heats up from an outside air/water temperature of about 75 to ready to go at 1 BAR in 16 minutes!
The size of the flame size responds instantly to my opening the steam valve. The flames shoot up from a pilot light size to replace the steam that is coming out of the wand. The electrical pressurestat waits until 2 tenths of pressure has escaped beforeit gives electricity to the boiler. That can take 10 seconds with a boiler of this size.
It's pretty tame for something that is fuel powered. It's less scary than my barbecue, and I haven't even come close to any kind of unfortunate event. It's battery powered electric flame ignition device is pretty nifty.
I'm currently bringing a friend's vintage Cimbali 2 group lever back to life, and I know that as soon as I have him over for coffee, he's gonna have to have the propane option on his machine. I'm already envisioning a very temperature stable propane powered 2 group Linea. We HAVE the technology...
Thanks! My interest in lever machines is eclipsing my interest in Italian cars, which is hard to do. I'm well into my friend's 2 group lever machine, and I'm wrestling with the idea of buying it back from him...
I've got it descaled (mostly), and I should have it back up & running in a couple of weeks. I wanna propane power it SO bad!