Much of the Dalla Corte Mina’s most interesting capabilities are controlled through its app. If you've already seen the overview video on the Mina, you're ready for the app video below. Charles will walk you through the most important functions, favorite flow profiles, and teaching you how to create your own.
With the Mina turned on, ensure your phone’s Bluetooth is on and launch the app. Select your Mina from the list and you’ll be prompted to press the dial on the right to pair. Now we’re on the app’s home screen. From here you can see current boiler temperatures as well as an automatic shot timer. This screen is simply a display, and it’s fairly handy when you’re pulling shots.
Let’s open the menu on the left side and head to the most interesting tab: flow profiles. This is where all the fun happens. The two graphs in these tabs represent the flow profiles loaded on the machine. You can also see the programmed volume associated with this profile down here [points]. As mentioned in our setup video, you can edit the volume by pressing and holding the right knob until the selector light blinks, and then pulling a shot on either the one or two cup profile. The volume of the shot you pull will be saved to the respective profile. From then on, that profile will automatically stop when it reaches that volume.
Editing profile, sending to machine
Now let’s edit this flow profile to create our own. If you’re interested in the Mina, this is what you’re here to see. To edit a profile you simply touch one of these points, which opens a little window that allows you to edit two things: the diameter of the flow controlling aperture and the duration of that setting. By repeating this with each point on the graph you can entirely customize your own unique flow profile. Once you’ve got everything how you want it, press the send button in the upper right corner to send the new profile to your Mina. Now you can turn the selector knob to the corresponding icon on the Mina and use your automated profile!
If you’re a big fan of the profile you can save it. This sends it to the My Profiles tab so that you can restore it at any time. This feature is particularly useful if you’re the type of person who plans to create iteration after iteration in your journey to find the perfect profile for a specific coffee. Remember, if you send a saved profile to the machine it will overwrite whatever profile was there before, so if you want to hold onto it make sure you save beforehand, as you can save as many profiles as you’d like.
Purpose and use of flow profiling
Flow profiling is still a relatively new technology in the world of espresso. There’s a cultural knowledge in the coffee industry as to what kind of recipes you use and how you alter them for different coffees. That cultural knowledge doesn’t really exist when it comes to flow profiling, making this partially uncharted territory. If that sounds exciting, you’re in the right place.
In some ways, you can think about flow profiling like a more complex form of pre-infusion. With pre-infusion you start with reduced water pressure to gently saturate the puck, making for more consistent results. With flow profiling, you’re altering the water’s flow rate over the course of the entire shot, not just at the beginning. One of the most common ways that flow profiling is used is to create a kind of staircase. A tiered pre-infusion that slowly ramps up the flow over time to gently saturate the puck of grounds. Many profiles also feature a ramp down at the end. This, in some way, mimics the bell-curve like pressure profile of a lever machine. While these are the most prevalent methods, we certainly encourage experimentation. The Mina gives you the power to easily test anything you want, so push the envelope.
Our favorite profile
This is the profile we’ve become most fond of here. Feel free to pause here to copy it!
The idea here is that the flow starts high to quickly fill the air-gap between the puck and the shower screen. Then the flow rate is lowered. This gently and evenly pushes water into the puck, slowly ramping up to a normal flow rate which persists for the majority of the extraction. In blind taste tests here at Clive people seemed to prefer this profile to a standard ramp profile.