My husband threw ours away. So I inquired next time I ordered pods, and you can buy one online when you order. Just put it in the comments box on your order form (although it may be better to call and order it, as the first time I tried this they missed it). Anyway. It was like $3.50. Then my husband threw that one away too, so I gave up. ;)
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You need to use the single-serving size one-hole basket, not the double, with the diffuser valve seated beneath the basket. Then the Illy ese pod should be inserted with the decal facing up. Finally, and most importantly, when you lock the filter assembly into the machine, you need to close it firmly. Brown water can mean that the basket assembly is not sealed in tight enough.
"leaks noisily from what appears to be the contact between the grouphead and portafilter"
* Leaks from top of portafilter and group head are caused by poor sealing at head gasket.
* wipe top lip of portafilter before inserting into group.
* check if group is clear of coffee grounds, paper bits, tissue, dry crud. Use a head cleaning brush (tooth brush works) and wipe group clean (do not use screwdriver to scrape!)
* Make sure when inserting portafilter it is seated properly. (check your manual for procedure) Note the position of the portafilter handle if it's in the right position AFTER you tighten it. Is it far to the left? or stuck and barely hangs on to group?
* Barely hanging on to group? Check if pod is too big. Note; you can't double shot or use 2 pods in a single pod basket! Make two separate shots for a double.
* Handle tightens but slips off group or still leaks when pulling shot? Worn out or missing gasket. Gaskets are made of rubber and can crack, drop out, or pit. You will need to have the gasket replaced. Check with vendor or MFR for service/parts.
* Make sure you have the correct portafilter. Many look the same and may even fit but when making fine adjustments or critical shots they don't work right. Check manual or vendor for confirmation.
* Make sure you have the correct basket. The portafilters may have different baskets or cups that can be inserted. Many have special uses that can affect the pull of a shot. Fewer holes causes slower flow and longer brew time. Many holes gives a weaker shot but smoother less bitter taste. There is a blank basket that has no holes which is used for backflushing and cleaning of the group. Check your manual or vendor for which basket you should be using. Odds are that you have a standard basket ment for ground coffee and not pods. (you can remove the coffee from the pod but it will be messy.) Ask for the optional 'POD' basket insert.
* Finally if everything checks out and your still having leaks then your machine needs service as the group head or valve needs replacement. Call your vendor or MFR direct.
Aloha! ukeboy57 (youtube)
P.S. Looking back at my service with pod conversions, I've found that most if not all pro-machines don't really like the pod adapters. Sure it will work but shots are weak and poor. Pods really like a very tight fit with a very small portafilter basket(chamber) I mean like the size of a soup spoon! They like very slow and very hot water pumped with a vibration type pump to extract all the essence from the paper filtered coffee. Illy is an excellent coffee pod with a very rich aroma and good creme. The best for them (pods) are the dedicated pod machines (won't do ground coffee, only pods). If you must use a pro semi-automatic machine then I would suggest adding a port constrictor to the portafilter output. There may be a third party supplier that has a compatible adapter for your brand. I've come across some of these very extreme tools for the elites coffee affectionato. It restricts the flow at the output thus causing the hot water to brew longer and at a higher pressure to force the hot water and steam into each coffee grain. (think pressure cooker) Some of the better ones are adjustable. But note that these will need daily or cleaning after each use as these restrictors have very tiny holes which clog unless flushed after each use. Good luck 9on your pursuit of the perfect cup!)
I'm not sure if your saying it does not brew a cup of coffee at all or it is brewing but only cold water comes out. If it is just sitting there making a whinning noise and not delivering water it may just be dirty. To clean it you need to fill the resivior with a 50% white viniger and 50% water mixture. Run a brew cycle and let it sit for an hour. Then run several cycles through until it is out, refill the resivior with water only, run it completely through and continue with the water only until there is no more viniger smell or tatse. You will need to clean the brewer needle heads as well. Lift the handle to access the coffee pod compartment, remove the pod basket and use a paper clip to clean out the hole in the puncture needle. With the lever still raised, use the paper clip to clean out the three holes in the upper needle head. Replace the pod basket, close the handle and run a couple brew cycles through without a coffee pod.
There are two different handles made for this unit (I own an X1 and have both). Both of these handles have baskets.
First - The pod handle has a basket area that is very shallow, about 1/3 of an inch deep and the basket has very small holes.
Second - The handle for loose grounds came with two baskets, one for a single dose, and one for a double dose. Both removable baskets have the very small holes for the espresso to drip through.
You must have a basket in the handle in order to use the machine. If you try to make espresso without a basket, you'll just make a mess. Besides, the machine will never be able build enough pressure to extract espresso from the grounds.
Search the net (ebay?) for francis francis x1 handle.
Mine is a red O-ring about 2 1/4" diameter, the same as some automotive brake calipers. A well equipped mechanic or parts store like NAPA should have a supply of O-rings with the proper size, best to take your strainer in to test fit.