The Battleship Cunill C-T1 has docked.. ;))
- From: "Bill (Adopt)" <adopt@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Thu, 16 Feb 2006 11:08:48 +0000 (GMT)
OK! It's finally here.. it's enormous.. and it works..!
The more competent grinder I've been threatening to get for
a while now arrived a few hours ago, less than 24 hours after
ordering, carefully packed by Mark (of verdecoffee.com),
complete with an unexpected kilogram gift of their most
popular coffee and sealed everywhere with tape proudly
proclaiming, "Gaggia Espana"..!
To be precise I understand it's a Cunill C-T1 although
there's no immediate model marking to say exactly what it is.
It's a clean, casing unmarked and new(ish) looking bit
re-furbished commercial grinder that I'm assured has only
had a light use over the last few months - now being
returned by it's previous carer as super-numerary to their
requirement. That's as a maybe - I've no reason to doubt
it - so what are the all important first impressions?
...well ..um ..wow!
It's big.. almost huge.. much larger than I'd somehow imagined
it would be. Powerfully sqat, it dwarfs my little Hitachi burr
grinder, in fact it seems, overall, larger than a Gaggia Classic
or Miss Silvia's sleek lines. The motor casing alone appears to
be hiding a motor assembly powerful enough to drive a washing
From the enclosed 'Manual del usario', a nicely printed 24 pagebooklet, informatively punctuated with many photographs and
bullet points illustrating every section, but uncompromisingly
written wholly in Spanish - it seems that the drive speed is
a low 1300rpm (at the European standard of 230vac/50hz).
I gather this is a speed that's a compromise between bean
grinding and the tainting heat generation of a high-speed
whizzy thing. Well - whatever ..it's certainly a large,
if not too noisy, a beast!
Topping this motor and mounted on the same robust and heavy
die-cast metal chassis within which nestle the all important
grinding 'blades', is a large knurled 'wheel' for adjusting
The 'plates' nestling in the centre of this asssembly seem
shiny and sharp - around 60mm (63mm? - I'll strip and measure
whilst cleaning). With neither obvious nicks, dents picked up
from the shrapnell of shell or hand grenade nor the impress of
Frankenstein neck bolts of a lightening-flashed, cloud topping
Observatory's private plantation, they seem capable of continuing
for some while in the heavy duty arena, let alone in a domestic
Topping this is a tall, (1 kilo holding), bean hopper - in a
purposeful plastic collar with, (a la Mazzer?), shutter
closure allowing bean ingress to the 'plates' to be shut off
(when cleaning etc?). In use, this shutter does seem to retain
a small number of beans, about the size of a child's fistful,
that could stale before the next grind. Apparently missing
here, according to the photographs, is the cone-shaped bean
shelter and stray finger-guard of a pc regulated world ..will
have to ask about this...
Although the hopper is tall and designed for a busy cafe,
it still manages to (just) fit under the cupboards over the
counter-top. However, for those who find this limitation
a difficulty, the flatter - and much shorter - bean hopper
of the Cunill Tranquillo is an exact replacement fit ..and
almost immediately available as a cheap spare part.
The knurled wheel, turned clockwise for a finer grind and
the opposite way for a coarser grind after pushing down on
a retaining spring stop, seems solid and precise - there's
no 'play' to be felt in the movement and certainly not in
one of it's many fine adjustment unmarked and faintly felt
and heard positive 'click stops'.
(Unmarked by the factory that is - but singly marked,
apparently by the re-furbishing engineer, who'd helpfully
tippexed an approximate espresso grind mark, having zeroed-in
the grinding plates. (He has reported that it will grind
to a very fine Turkish powder)..
All I can say is that, in the initial test, it worked!
Using less than fresh beans saved for the purpose of play,
the marked espresso grind was a little fast at shorter than
18 seconds for the shot - a movement finer and the shot landed
slap bang in the centre of the 18sec to 24sec shot timing as
as advised - and looked for - by Gaggia's Master Barista,
Barista Trainer (and latest UK Barista Championship judge),
(I wonder if the difference between this 18/24 sec maximum
window of the Gaggia ideal shot and Seattle's 25/27 second
shot is the difference between a European sized shot cf a
USA sized shot - or the diff between a higher amp'd 110vac
and the lesser ampered but higher voltage 220vac of a Euro
...and what is a shot? a euro 7gm/1oz(ish) - or a supersize
transatlantic consumer 14g/2.5oz? ...or have I missed something.. ;))
Anyway ..as said, the notch finer and the time was right in
the middle of the window - but another notch tighter and ..oh
boy! My cheapy little 'Elevation' coffee machine completely
seized ..it vibe'd to a halt, completely silent and finally
stumped as what to do!
OK ..the engineer more or less had it helpfully correct.
Although there are many gradations finer (and coarser)
that this setting, it doesn't seem to need much in the way
of adjustment for my cheapy small machine. Perhaps this
is as it should be with any machine - just very fine tweaks
in the course of day - as temp and humidity fluctuates?
What else? The chute exiting the grinding plates is
part of the die-cast chassis - it seems to remain fully
clogged with an enormous amount of fresh grind - perhaps
more than 3gr - which, if left, could be a real bit of a
stale waste in the minimal daily use that I will normally
make of this grinder.
(Advised consumption by my Cardiac Care Team is a maximum
of nor more than around two shots daily - no, not to do with
excess caffeine - but the cardio-complicating effects of
hormonal changes engendered by the mix of some of coffee's
732+ chemical constituents, the human body and the many,
hopefully life prolonging medications).
(Some things, trust me, you really don't want to know about)!
The 'dosification' (!) chamber, divided into eight
segments, is part covered with a small internal lid
that can be raised on a spring cushion with it's central
screw-wheeled rod adjustment. This scrapes the ground
coffee into a measured individual mound of coffee,
clearly marked and adjustable in 0.5g(?) steps between
5 gramme and 12 gramme per shot, directly ejected by
the left hand (also availabe as right hand) lever into
a portafilter. It works! ..and without mess or
overspill. In fact there's not much dust anyway -
although the excess of grounds hanging around is, as
I guess with all grinders, a bit disconcerting at first..
So.. first impressions! A whacking great, battleship-
grey, die-cast beast of a machine doing it's best to
model one of those enigmatic protuberances of HMS Belfast,
or the USS Missouri; solid and capable of turning out an
already noticeably sweet-tasting crema'd unctious mouthful
- even with older, probably partly stale drier beans,
saved for this first disposable playtime...
Lot's of grounds stuck in a chute which will need to be
brushed out and into the dosification chamber every time
- or else there's gonna be one enormous waste!
Perhaps needing some flexible wipers al la Randy G on
the bottom of the octopus doser dividers - better to
pick up the residue remaining on the floor, although
the floor seems mostly clean itself - perhaps a little
grind sticking the edge of the circular container walls?
Will have to get used to the frigate sized doser ..although
it may come into it's own in festive times of the year with
extra client numbers wanting their caffeine - or if occasionally
coarsegrinding a larger amount for caffetiere coffee.
Other than that - it works, coffee already tastes much
nicer and I'm glad that I was able to have picked up the
all important advice about pivotal place of the grinder.
So ..apart from thanks to you all for the continuing advice
and support available, with thanks to Verde and Cunill
- and most recently to David Ross for his comment about
the effectiveness of suitable ex-commercial machines in
a domestic environment...
....I perhaps should continue in this Oscar Season with
thanks to my forbears, managers, staff, handlers, groupies
and the dismal ranks of the unchosen - plus, of course, Uncle
Tom Cobley and all - with suitable tears of utterly 'surprised'
joy streaming down my tremulous jowls..
...but, as it is, I'm now off to breakfast on some fresh
beans, perhaps with a Euro 'pur beurre chocolat au pain'
- or two! I'm sure you will all understand...
Adoption InterLink UK with -=- http://www.billsimpson.com/
Domain Host Orpheus Internet -=- http://www.orpheusinternet.co.uk/
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