tompoland Sure, ask away, any time!
The middle section should be screwed pretty tightly onto the base. This photo shows how tight the middle and bottom pieces are when my 9Barista is assembled. I use the relative position of the middle part’s handle and the safety valve on the bottom as way to see if I’ve tightened the two pieces enough. Over time, the middle handle has traveled a little more in the clockwise direction when it’s fully tightened.
As for unscrewing the two pieces, the pieces are machined to pretty tight tolerances, and there’s an O-ring in there. I’ve used my 9Barista every day for a year now, and it still feels like it takes a little effort to unscrew them. Having said that…
This is how you lift the safety valve to release the vacuum that forms after the espresso is made, the internal pressure is released, and the 9Barista cools down. It takes some effort to lift the valve. Remember, this valve is designed to pop if the heated water isn’t getting through the espresso, such as if the espresso is ground fine enough to choke the 9Barista. This means that the safety valve won’t pop unless the inside pressure is higher than 9 atmospheres of pressure, as the top valve releases at that pressure.
Try lifting the safety valve while looking inside the bottom piece when the 9Barista is disassembled, and you’ll see the spring compress. That way, you’ll get a good sense of how much effort it will take to release the valve.
You’ll want to release the safety valve after making espresso to make taking apart the middle and bottom parts easier. I’ve made espresso with my 9Barista, and gotten lazy and didn’t clean it out until hours later, long after it had cooled to room temperature. At that point, I can still hear the hiss of air as I release the safety valve. I think that’s a testament to how well the 9Barista is made.
I hope you like using your 9Barista. Please feel free to reach out with any more questions, and I’d love to hear your take on it.