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How to Steam and Brew with the Quick Mill Alexia

How to Steam and Brew with the Quick Mill Alexia
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Synopsis: The Quick Mill Alexia is a single boiler semi automatic espresso machine featuring the E61 group head. Switching between brewing espresso and steaming milk requires the knowledge of temperature surfing.

 

The Quick Mill Alexia is a single boiler semi automatic espresso machine featuring the E61 group head. Switching between brewing espresso and steaming milk requires the knowledge of temperature surfing.

The ideal water temperature for brewing espresso is between 195F to 205F.
The water temperature when water turns into steam is over 212F on sea level. Most espresso machine boilers will heat up to approximately 285F in order to produce enough steam to froth milk.

So, since the Alexia has only 1 boiler, the machine needs to be switched between steam mode and brew mode in order to brew and steam at the correct temperatures.

A look at the Alexia operator panel:

Description:

  • GREEN light is on when the Power switch is turned to the right and the machine is on.
  • FILL / OFF / ON toggle switch
    Position I left = FILL (used to fill the boiler with cold fresh water. If the pump is not starting, the boiler is full)
    Position 0 centre = OFF
    Position II right = ON (turns the machine on and activates the boiler heaters)
  • RED Temperature Heating Light  (this light will kick on to indicate that the boiler is heating. If it's off, it means your machine is at temperature for either steaming or brewing, depending on which mode it is in).
  • Pump switch is for the water pump.
    Left = Pump OFF
    Right = Pump ON (You would turn this ON to pull hot water, instead of steam,  through the steam/water wand)
  • Steam switch
    Left = OFF
    Right  = ON (turn this on to get your boiler up to steam temp. If this is on, steam will come out of the steam/water wand)
  • RED Steam on/ready light - this light will be on to indicate that the machine is in steam mode, but the heating light is what will indicate when it's reached steam temperature, so this light will always stay on until you want to leave the steam mode.

In order to pull consistent espresso shots, the Alexia should be ON for at least 30 minutes for all the parts to heat up and provide a stable extraction temperature.

In order to steam froth milk, turn the Steam switch to on and wait for the Temperature light to turn off. At this point the boiler has reached steaming temperature of around 285F.

When you're finished frothing, it's time to cool down the boiler. This is the process referred to as 'temperature surfing'.
The boiler is too hot to brew espresso. The espresso would turn out bitter and burnt.

  • Turn off the steam switch.
  • Turn on the pump.
  • Put a pitcher/cup, etc., underneath the steam/water wand and turn it on (turn knob).
  • Drain about 10 oz. of water through the steam/water wand to bring it down to temperature. Wait for the Temperature light to turn ON, then shut off the steam/water wand and turn off the pump.
  • This is indicating that cool water has brought the boiler temp down below ideal brewing temperature and it is now heating up. If you don't see this light go on, follow the above steps again and pull a bit more water through the steam/water wand.
    Note: The heating temperature light will not come on while the pump is in operation, so you'll need to shut it down to see if enough cool water has been pulled into the boiler to require it to heat up again.
  • Wait for the heating Temperature light  to shut off again.
  • Once the Temperature light is off, you are up to brew temperature, so pull your shot.

Updated: 08/10/2013 - RP

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