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Thread: Slayer Vs Synesso

  1. #1
    Member Tony_Barista's Avatar
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    Slayer Vs Synesso

    Cafelat Coffee Tamper and Accessories
    I had the opportunity to pull some shots on a Slayer a few weeks back, has anyone had the chance to use or currently use a Slayer. Has anyone pulled shots on a Synesso Hydra? The Slayer is an amazing espresso machine but would like to know about the Synesso Hydra. I am tossing up between the two for my new shop

  2. #2
    Senior Member Bosco_Lever's Avatar
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    Re: Slayer Vs Synesso

    Admittedly, they do look good, but why is it an amazing espresso machine?

    And why the Slayer vs Synesso scenario?

  3. #3
    Member Tony_Barista's Avatar
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    Re: Slayer Vs Synesso

    They both look great, I like them both.Pressure profiling is what i am after with these machines.


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    Re: Slayer Vs Synesso

    I havnt used one but Im pretty sure the Hydra is programable and therefore will do repeatable pressure profiling during busy periods. You cant do that with a slayer.

    On a Slayer the paddle controls a valve giving you live control over the pressure at any time during the shot.

    Hydra - Needs programing cannot "ride" the shot

    Slayer - Live control during shots, repeatability is more difficult.

    Strada EP can brew with live pressure profiling, has easy to read shot timers, and temperature information on the front of the machine, can also be programed to repeat the same pressure profile for every shot.

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    Re: Slayer Vs Synesso

    I have used a second generation Hydra in a commercial setting. If I recall correctly, the pump essentially has three stages, which you set the pressures of manually and then you can program. The first stage being main pressure, the second stage being whatever you set with the mechanical adjuster on the pump and the third being full pump pressure. So you could program is to run 4 seconds at 3bar (line pressure) 4 seconds at 6bar (if this is what you set the pump at) and then the remainder of the shot at 9bar until you turn the paddle (switch off). You can however drop the pressure back down to I think the second stage (in this case the 6bar) if you choose to do it manually by moving the paddle back to the half way point.

    The settings and timing are just an example. You still have control when you cut the shot off completely.

    It is up you as what you see worth buying for your shop. And ultimately what it going to suit your coffee.

    If you particularly want a "name brand" machine then as well as the LM you do have the Spirit as a dual boiler saturated grouphead option as well.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Bosco_Lever's Avatar
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    Re: Slayer Vs Synesso

    Quote Originally Posted by 4C777661475A796A716B6C79180 link=1341307886/2#2 date=1341312787
    They both look great, I like them both.Pressure profiling is what i am after with these machines.
    Lots of machines look great, but looks do not make amazing espresso.
    What do you hope to achieve from pressure profiling?

    Quote Originally Posted by 756D68687D6C477579762E2F180 link=1341307886/3#3 date=1341314889
    I havnt used one but Im pretty sure the Hydra is programable and therefore will do repeatable pressure profiling during busy periods. You cant do that with a slayer.

    On a Slayer the paddle controls a valve giving you live control over the pressure at any time during the shot.

    Hydra - Needs programing cannot "ride" the shot

    Slayer - Live control during shots, repeatability is more difficult.

    Strada EP can brew with live pressure profiling, has easy to read shot timers, and temperature information on the front of the machine, can also be programed to repeat the same pressure profile for every shot.
    So, essentially you wish to adjust the pressure during a shot. What will this achieve? How will it improve the taste of the shot?

    I still do not see how this makes either machine amazing, as essentially they are emulating the basic functions of a simple lever machine. How does pressure profiling result in amazing espresso? What aspect of the process turns ordinary espresso into something amazing?

    If their only claim to fame is pressure profiling during a shot, then they are basically over priced toys. Any decent commercial lever machine can do the same thing.

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    Re: Slayer Vs Synesso

    Yes, thats right, changing the pressure during a shot is a "Thing"

    What will it achieve? Well it will allow the rate of extraction to vary as the shot progresses, the slow ramp up allows for a finer grind.

    As you pointed out, full wetting of the grinds at line pressure before moving to 8-10 bar extraction pressure, previously could only be done on lever machines, wegas, astorias, boemas, ecms, and exobars dont do this.

    Not everyone who wants pressure profiling wants a lever machine.

    Will it improve the taste?
    Its control of another extraction parameter, combined with a superior kind of pre-infusion. So in well trained hands and tongues* it should allow you to get better shots out of a broader range of coffee types, roast depths and resting periods.

    Some people in the coffee industry are serious nerds about it, they like discovering new things in coffee, so yea, for those people these machines are like toys that can help relieve them of paying some tax.

    I dont really get the negative attitude. Did a Slayer cut you off in traffic?

  8. #8
    Senior Member Bosco_Lever's Avatar
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    Re: Slayer Vs Synesso

    Quote Originally Posted by 263E3B3B2E3F14262A257D7C4B0 link=1341307886/6#6 date=1341322424
    Yes, thats right, changing the pressure during a shot is a "Thing"

    What will it achieve? Well it will allow the rate of extraction to vary as the shot progresses, the slow ramp up allows for a finer grind.
    So how does this translate into a better espresso?

    Quote Originally Posted by 263E3B3B2E3F14262A257D7C4B0 link=1341307886/6#6 date=1341322424
    Not everyone who wants pressure profiling wants a lever machine.
    True. But both achieve the same result, so why is one treated with god like status amongst "some people in the coffee industry"?

    Quote Originally Posted by 263E3B3B2E3F14262A257D7C4B0 link=1341307886/6#6 date=1341322424
    Will it improve the taste?
    Its control of another extraction parameter, combined with a superior kind of pre-infusion.
    I do not understand this superior kind of pre-infusion. Can you please elaborate.

    Quote Originally Posted by 263E3B3B2E3F14262A257D7C4B0 link=1341307886/6#6 date=1341322424
    So in well trained hands and tongues* it should allow you to get better shots out of a broader range of coffee types, roast depths and resting periods.
    In theory. In practice it boils down to baristas claiming all sorts of notes from poorly roasted coffee. Yes the machines give some cafes status, and attract a particular type of clientele who claim to have a palate for coffee.
    I have had many espressos made on a slayer and* a synesso. They have varied in quality, but ultimately depended upon the skill of the roaster.

    Quote Originally Posted by 263E3B3B2E3F14262A257D7C4B0 link=1341307886/6#6 date=1341322424
    I dont really get the negative attitude. Did a Slayer cut you off in traffic?
    No negative attitude. Simply (in a direct manner) asking for facts and not urban legend. My prose may come across as negative, but that is how I write.

    I have been served good espresso made on a Synesso (by someone who knows a thing or two, but is humble about it), but when it came to amazing espresso, the same person served me one from a lever machine. The espresso on the lever had more body, mouth feel and depth of flavour. It also was thick and viscous. No citrus notes, just an expertly roasted espresso blend that tasted divine.

    There is so much hype surrounding Synesso and Slayer machines by "experts", that I would like to read some pertinent facts as to why they should have this status. I do have a palate, can distinguish fine wine, fine food, and know what constitutes a good espresso.
    Nine times out of ten, whenever I order an espresso from a venue with one of these machines, it fails to deliver the goods. According to hype, the barista has this amazing toy that is capable of tweaking* the coffee in so many ways to produce an astonishing drink. But it does not happen.

    I think some reverence should be given to the humble lever, and a skilled roaster. This combination can also produce amazing espresso, even though it may not have any street "cred".
    Wynton87 likes this.

  9. #9
    Roz
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    Re: Slayer Vs Synesso

    I guess it comes down to personal taste on pressure profiling, personally I have had some amazing shots from some great coffees off both a hydra and slayer but my personal preference is always given to lever shots, the viscosity, mouth feel and richness that they give outweigh more citrus and fruit notes for the compromise.

    Repeatability would be easier to achieve on a hydra which may be important in the long run?

  10. #10
    CoffeeSnobs Owner Andy's Avatar
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    Re: Slayer Vs Synesso

    Quote Originally Posted by 454A4D504C47220 link=1341307886/8#8 date=1341329363
    Repeatability would be easier to achieve on a hydra which may be important in the long run?
    ..and...

    Quote Originally Posted by 435B5E5E4B5A71434F4018192E0 link=1341307886/3#3 date=1341314889
    Hydra is programable and therefore will do repeatable pressure profiling during busy periods. You cant do that with a slayer.
    ...was true once, not now.
    You can get a Slayer option that you can preset with a profile now.* I spoke with the factory about it when I was there a couple of months ago.

    Quote Originally Posted by 7A414057716C4F5C475D5A4F2E0 link=1341307886/0#0 date=1341307886
    I am tossing up between the two for my new shop
    My answer to that question...
    I would take a current model Slayer over a Synesso any day of the week!

    8-)
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  11. #11
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    Re: Slayer Vs Synesso

    I didnt know that Andy. Programing on the Slayer does seem to make the choice clearer.

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    Re: Slayer Vs Synesso

    What about a LM Strada?
    Fits in here too

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    Re: Slayer Vs Synesso

    Quote Originally Posted by 765A595C5B6A62350 link=1341307886/11#11 date=1341384026
    What about a LM Strada?
    Fits in here too
    Maybe he doesnt like the insane positioning of the steam lever/wand :P

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    Re: Slayer Vs Synesso

    Quote Originally Posted by 41595C5C495873414D421A1B2C0 link=1341307886/6#6 date=1341322424
    As you pointed out, full wetting of the grinds at line pressure before moving to 8-10 bar extraction pressure, previously could only be done on lever machines, wegas, astorias, boemas, ecms, and exobars dont do this.
    Theres no reason any of those brands you mention couldnt be easily modded to wet the grinds at line pressure - all you would need for a manually controlled option is a 240V rated switch to cut the power to the pump until the puck is wet.

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    Personally I'm a huge fan of the Slayer, the pressure profiling gives you incredible control over the extraction. I've found that this machine works best with single origin, consistantly draws thick shots with amazing depths of flavour. You can adjust the initial pressure using a small knob at the back of the machine. However i've never used a Synesso so I can't really compare.

  16. #16
    tek
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    Quote Originally Posted by MorganGT View Post
    Theres no reason any of those brands you mention couldnt be easily modded to wet the grinds at line pressure - all you would need for a manually controlled option is a 240V rated switch to cut the power to the pump until the puck is wet.

    Or use the preinfusion program thats already in the software of most of the above listed machines.

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    I work on a slayer and it is an amazing machine to work on.

    Not to mention it does bring an added drawcard. Purists might hate on me for saying this, but having expensive flashy machines brings in business, it does make a difference.

    As to between the two. Don't expect you will pull shots better on one than the other. They are both incredible machines and the only limit is barista skill, but i don't believe anyone who says X machine is better than Y machine because of some minute scientific differences, at the top end they are all pretty much identical.

    Get whichever you would prefer to work on.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Autti View Post
    ..... drawcard.....having expensive flashy machines brings in business, it does make a difference...Get whichever you would prefer to work on.
    Finally, someone with a real world answer. Its all about perceived image, marketing and business and therefore attracting the clients in the door to spend money, and not about minute differences (that you could get) in black coffee when a machine is used by someone that is truly in the know, rather than any of the run of the mill equipment operators plying their trade in regular cafes pumping out milks (which is where most coffee sales are).......

    Please, no more BS about unrealistic non real world "laboratory" differences in any of these machines that most real world operators will not and probably never get into in their businesses (cafes / eateries with a coffee machine).
    Last edited by Fresh_Coffee; 25th July 2012 at 09:35 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fresh_Coffee View Post
    Its all about perceived image, marketing and business and therefore attracting the clients in the door to spend money.
    Bad thing?
    I think not. Anything to help get the customers in is a great thing for business.
    Perceived value (not actual value) drives everything.

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    Strictly I guess Off Topic but anyways:

    I agree with you, and the post was not intended to sound otherwise. It is the real thing, and the academic bollocks that surrounds all these discussions is the bad thing. So what if a machine is said to be able to deliver various technical advantages over others. Many of the people that specify this type of equipment after reading about it in places like this, expect it to be the answer to all their concerns about being successful in their business, just by specifying it....(the old "if you build it they will come"). And so you get places with this equipment that make run of the mill coffee same as many others using HX machines that cost much less, and you get other places with HX machines that make really good coffee regardless. Where is all the techo mumbo jumbo then?

    The constant harping on this type of equipment in these forums goes something like this:

    Client reads about all this stuff these machines are supposed to do for you.

    Client puts the hard word on their supplier to supply one of these, instead of other perfectly good brand / model / technology equipment that costs way less.

    Supplier sources said equipment or risk the very real possibility of losing the client, and pays the ransom.

    Extra cost of said equipment is either built into the price of the coffee over a period, or passed on in toto to the client.

    Either way, the client pays more.

    Does the client make coffee any better?

    In most cases no OR if they do, once it is drowned in milk as per most wet coffee sales, no one can tell the difference.

    Who wins?

    The importer of said equipment and the manufacturer, who are building market share for their equipment on the back of free publicity courtesy of non industry web based discussion.

    I ask again, who wins?

    Not the cafe who pays more for the privelege of using said equipment and who in many cases cant use it to best effect anyway, so could have been using any good name HX at a far lesser cost, and not the coffee drinking public many of whom cant cup the difference and are drinking overlarge sized milk coffees anyway.

    The only hope cafes with this equipment have, is to be able to recover their investment in this significantly more expensive equipment, in spades, by playing on the perceived image value of having specified to use this type of equipment in their cafe, as noted in the preceding couple of posts.

    A recipe for success and an excellent marketing model, but dont confuse it with having anything to do with commercial coffee quality in the cup as generally seems to be the case in these forums.

    If real commercial quality is better in any cafes using these types of equipment, in many cases it will be due to secondary reasons such as that the establishment has a proper working ethic and really does care about the products it makes and sells to its clients. This is directly attributable to the ownership and management of the cafe. And to specifiy such equipment could be said to be an act of announcing to their clients, that the cafe cares. Fine, but that is a separate issue to the black and white of whether the technical attributes of the equipment actually do anything for you or not "per se" or whether its all just smoke and mirrors in a busy working cafe situation.


    All of this is nothing more than the commercial reality that coffee industry sees every day.


    The answer to the original question then, from my own purely commercial perspective is:

    Forget all the techo mumbo jumbo, get off the keyboard and go and visit the importers / distributors / agents of the two machines in question, demo them, ask plenty of questions, ask about their service and backup and reliability, and buy the one you like best.

    Good luck.


    And that's probably enough from me.
    tek and BangalowBarista like this.

  21. #21
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    Andy, can you elaborate please? I'm opening a cafe in the San Francisco area and have narrowed it down to Slayer or Synesso. If both have pressure profiling capability, and are programmable, then what's the difference? Is it the needle valve of the Slayer vs the gicleur of the Synesso? Needle valves and gicleurs control flow rate (which will affect pressure for a short period of time, while the pressure on both sides of the valve or gicleur equalize).

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