Use & Care

Making Espresso

The subject of how to make espresso is vast. That said, you’ll have to do your own research and experimentation to determine your goals. On this page we’ll mainly talk about the mechanical aspects of using the machine.

When not preheating (usually for darker roasts):

  • Lift the lever all the way up until it snaps in place.
  • Use the hole in the base to secure your basket and portafilter while you level and tamp the coffee.
  • Add the shower screen on top of the puck.
  • Secure the portafilter in place.
    • With the handle all the way to the left, slide the basket up over lower seal. This may require two hands; one in the front, and one in the back.
    • Rotate the handle all the way to the right.
  • Using a gooseneck kettle, add boiling water to the brewing tube until it is almost full.
  • Pull the handle down so that the plunger starts to push the water down. Go gently at first for a pre-infusion, then ramp up pressure to the desired amount.
  • When done extracting (whether based on time, volume or weight), pull the lever up to cut off the flow, and allow the magnets to hold it up.
  • Remove your shot of espresso.
  • Place a catch cup under the basket, and use the lever to purge any excess water from the tube and discard.
  • Remove the basket by moving the handle all the way back to the left and gently pulling down.
  • Remove the shower screen and knock the puck into a trash can or knock box.
  • Rinse and dry the basket before your next shot.

When preheating (usually for lighter roasts):

Place a catch cup under the main tube (without the portafilter in place), and pour boiling water through it. The water should touch the wall of the tube. The longer you pour, the hotter the tube will become. It will usually achieve its highest temp in about 5 seconds (depending on ambient temperature). The rest of the process is the same as above.

Pulling a shot + Cleanup [Video below]

Capacity and Yields

This will vary based on the density of the beans you’re using and the fineness of grind, but you can generally expect to be able to use up to a maximum of about 22 grams of beans, and yield up to about 45 grams (~45ml) of beverage.

The machine utilizes a valve in the piston, so if you’re looking for larger shots, you can pre-infuse, then add more water. In that case, you might be able to yield as much as 60 grams (~60ml) of beverage.

Fixing a Clogged Basket (resulting from grinding too fine):

With the lever in the up position and the magnets engaged, carry the machine over to a sink. With one hand on the lever, and another on the base, turn the machine sideways and dump the water. Then remove the portafilter and try again with a coarser grind.

Force Required

It depends on where you hold the lever. The closer to the end you hold it, the less force you’ll need. For example, if you shoot with just the tips of your fingers on the tip of the lever, it may require only about 20 lbs for a 9 bar shot. Holding by only the tips of your fingers isn’t very comfortable though.

So, assuming your hand is near the end, but your entire palm is still engaged, this is about how much force will be required at different pressures:

  • 6 bar ~20 lbs
  • 7 bar ~23 lbs
  • 8 bar ~27 lbs
  • 9 bar ~30 lbs
  • 10 bar ~34 lbs
  • 11 bar ~38 lbs
  • 12+ bar …really? It’s probably gonna taste bad!

Safety

Heat

Never remove the portafilter when there is hot water (or any water) in the tube. Either press your shot, or discard the water using the method described above under “Fixing a Clogged Basket”. Since there is a handle on the portafilter, it probably won’t burn you, but it will at least create a mess.

Most parts of the machine will be cool to the touch, and remain cool through the entire process, however the brewing tube will be very hot. Do not touch the brewing tube when it is hot.

The body may start to get warm after several shots (the aluminum absorbs heat from the steam), but it should never get so hot as to be uncomfortable.

Pulling the Lever

The machine is small and light, and the lever is big and powerful, this can cause the machine to tip forward. The direction of force you apply on the lever will play a big part in the machine’s stability. Apply force slightly towards the machine. It is recommended that you practice carefully a few times at lower pressures until you get the hang of it. After some experience, it should become second nature.

Non-slip Feet

The feet and the surface they rest on should be clean and dry so that the machine is stable when pulling shots. Be sure to check the surface for grinds or other debris that would reduce the non-slip effect.

Portafilter

Make sure the portafilter is securely locked in position, with the handle as far as it will go to the right. Failing to do so could result in the portafilter breaking or coming loose.

Pinch Points

There are a few pinch points on the machine:

  • Right where the plunger enters the tube.
  • Underneath the wooden block that slides up and down the main column tubes.
  • Where the lever connects to the piston.

By nature of the way the machine is used, your hands and fingers shouldn’t be near those areas, but be mindful of them anyway.

Cleaning

Body

The body will get dirty over time from small espresso splatters and sputters. Simply wipe any affected areas with a damp cloth.

Basket

Rinse the basket after use.

Seals

The machine is designed with a valve that reduces the chances of it pulling coffee grinds into the brew tube or onto the seals. Most of the time, you won’t need to clean the seals at all.

If you do get grinds in the tube, just pour a little water through it into a catch cup, and/or wipe it with a paper towel from underneath while the lever is in the up position.

If you get grinds on the bottom seal, it can be wiped in place or removed by gently pulling down on the back right corner, and inserting a toothpick or skewer in the slot provided and then pulling down.

If you get grinds on the upper seal (the piston plunger), it is recommended that you wipe it in place and do not remove it. It is easier to wipe from underneath with the lever in the down position. If you must remove the seal, gently rotate it while gently pulling down. This could take a minute or so, but take your time. Otherwise you could tear the seal.

Maintenance

The machine is almost maintenance free. It will come pre-greased with Dow 111 Food Grade silicone grease from the factory. If you notice the basket starting to become difficult to slide over the seal, apply a very thin layer of silicone grease to the lip of the seal. Likewise, if you notice friction on the upper seal when moving the lever up or down (when the machine is dry), apply a very thin layer to the lip of that seal.

Eventually, all seals fail, but they should last for a very long time. You will know if your seals are starting to fail because you’ll see water starting to leak around the edges.

If you’re installing a new lower seal, apply a small amount of Dow 111 to the entire seal, and gently slide it in place. If you’re installing a new upper seal, apply a small amount of Dow 111 to the entire seal, and gently rotate while pushing the seal into place. The upper seal will probably not insert fully until you pull your first shot. The force of the shot will finish seating the upper seal.