Improvements and modifications

Getting the best from your gear

While most domestic and commercial espresso equipment on the market is capable of achieving excellent results, there are occasions where better performance can be gained from making a few simple internal modifications. Through monitoring how the machine is behaving, we’d be able to assess what, if anything, could be gained in terms of temperature stability at the group or other usability improvements eg. better steam pressure, quicker recovery time etc. If you’ve got something in mind, I can tell you whether it’s going to A. give you the result you want, and B. remain safe and cost effective.

Thermosyphon Restrictors

In most cases, excessive group temperatures in traditional heat-exchanger machines can be controlled through the addition of a thermosyphon restrictor (a small disc with a precisely sized opening, placed into the heat exchanger) that is tuned to the particular temperature that you want to achieve. This allows you to lower the temperature at the group without losing steam pressure, and negating the need for a cooling flush. It’s a very simple but significant upgrade for most domestic E61-group machines that run hot – associated with burnt or bitter flavours in espresso and steam/spluttering from the group when the pump is activated.

Temperature studies, PID control and boiler upgrades

For the ultimate temperature control, some machines may benefit from replacing stock thermostats or pressurestats with modern PID hardware. This often has a dual benefit in terms of easy temperature adjustability, and long term reliability as digital controllers and associated devices have no moving parts.

Usability improvements

The list of possibilities are almost endless. If you’d like to improve your existing machine rather than upgrading, give me a call and we’ll see what can be done. Some suggestions to get you thinking:

  • Swapping steam and hot water wand locations
  • Upgrade to lever-activated steam valve or cool-touch wands
  • Custom steam tips for more usable steaming
  • Two-stage pre-infusion switch for semi-automatic solenoid groups
  • Upgraded heating element control system incorporating solid state relays for greater reliability
  • Adding auto-fill controllers to older manual fill machines
  • Plumb-in conversions for tank machines