Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 50 of 78
Like Tree55Likes

Thread: Extreme Coffee Machines worth the price?

  1. #1
    Member
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Melbourne
    Posts
    54

    Extreme Coffee Machines worth the price?

    I entered the foray into high end coffee when my son graduated as a barista with Veneziano in Melbourne several years ago.

    All of a sudden my venerable Rancilio Silvia was was below par and had to go.
    The Rocky Grinder also landed on the chopping block as well and around $3.5K later I upgraded to a Vibiemme Super Domobar and a Mazzer Jolly courtesy of Talk Coffee.

    It's fair to say the Domobar/Mazzer combination has poured some memorable brews when fed with the best beans and both have been incredibly reliable and stable.
    Predictably my son always pulled a better brew than I could having developed a "sixth sense when calibrating the grind and weighing to within 2 microns of perfection!
    Of course by the time the grind was optimised the 250gm of high end coffee beans for the week was 90% gone.
    But we always really enjoyed the last pour!

    The rig has served me well up until recently when I decided time it was time for an upgrade.

    I always had a nagging feeling that a conical grinder would raise the bar having enjoyed many great Latte's at Brother Budan in Melbourne.
    Budan has always impress me with the incredibly smooth yet complex flavours that few cafe's can match.
    Of course the 30 grand Syneso machine, Robur conical Grinders, selected home roasted coffee and dedicated hard working Barista's helps!

    Meanwhile the Vibiemme has been given a new lease of life by upgrading to a Mazzer Kony while I pursue machine upgrade options.
    So its 2018 and all of a sudden Extreme Coffee Machines are now 8-10 grand and serious money.
    But do you really need to spend this amount?

    I have learned that financially well heeled people in the know just buy a La Marzocco GS3 MP. My son supports this view arguing build quality, control, reliability and brew performance is top notch.
    It seems dual Boiler/PID control on cheaper machines has now been surpassed and variable pressure/pre infusion is required to raise the brew bar to a new level.

    But hold on, even the highly respected La Marzocco GS3 MP has now been trumped with a new Lever version....... according to a recent post on this web site.
    It sure does look superb and no doubt delivers a great brew but I am asking how far did the coffee taste score really move between the much loved GS3 and Lever version?
    Surely it would have been incremental?

    My current thinking is that the following considerations influence the final brew - all of equal importance.

    1. Quality of Beans 25%
    2. Barista Skills 25%
    3. Grinder 25%
    4. Coffee Machine/Water Supply/Milk 25%

    The list highlights that making an exceptional brew requires a number of factors to be simultaneously satisfied (!)

    If the above is correct there is a limit to how much improvement even an extreme coffee machine will make to the final brew quality and there is a point of diminishing returns.
    Of course there are other considerations that influence the coffee machine purchase decision ncluding aesthetics, ease of use, consistency and pride of ownership - all valid.

    Taking the above into account, I currently have the ECM Syncronica shortlisted for my upgrade as I believe this represents the "sweet spot" in terms of value for money @ $4.2K and a worthwhile upgrade.
    Dual boiler PID control will provide both control and stability - it also provides a pre-infusion function but somewhat limited compared to the GS3.

    Constructive comments welcome on the above perspective and proposed upgrade.
    flynnaus likes this.

  2. #2
    338
    338 is offline
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Sydney
    Posts
    348
    Warmtone, not yet a proven product like you are considering, also a more digital experience, but it may be worth throwing the Decent Espresso into the mix? Seems to offer many of the extras like variable pressure, pre infusion, etc. You don't seem to be in a rush so could see how these pan out.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Posts
    388
    Yes the law of diminishing returns applies, but for many of us this is a fantastic hobby, so there's so much more to it than an espresso shot. I'm sure a lot of us here have a "goal" machine that they would love to have sitting on their bench, such as a Speedster or something. No it won't make coffee 3x as well as a Synchronika, but it's a wonderful and practical fulfilment of a hobby, and it won't kill you like a motorbike

    You're right though about the Synchronika (I have the Profitec equivalent) and it is pretty much the sweet spot in terms of capability v cost.
    flynnaus likes this.

  4. #4
    Senior Member flynnaus's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Sydney
    Posts
    3,821
    My current thinking is that the following considerations influence the final brew - all of equal importance.

    1. Quality of Beans 25%
    2. Barista Skills 25%
    3. Grinder 25%
    4. Coffee Machine/Water Supply/Milk 25%
    I'm not experienced enough in a variety of equipment to authoritatively dispute your numbers. I think I would apply more weighting to bean quality and grinder. Applying a % is purely arbitrary. From my own experience, the most significant advances in my coffee making have been from upgrading to a conical grinder and honing my roasting style to produce better coffee. Of course, the coffee making experience gathered along the way has helped.

    I upgraded from a VBM Piccolo single boiler to a Giotto Premium Plus 9 years ago which was a definite improvement as the Giotto was more forgiving but there is no doubt that the VBM could produce first rate shots. There was that element of 'wastage' where by the time you have it all dialed in properly, you have almost reached the end of the bag whereas now I can more often then not produce a good shot from a new bag of beans without having to adjust the grind.

    My next planned 'upgrade' would be to a double boiler such as the ECM Synchronika or Profitec Pro 700 to allow temperature profiling. However, I had Jetblack service my Giotto a couple of weeks ago and the coffee I am now getting from it has never been better.

    Looks? Well VBM have always been a bit 'boxy' for my tastes and prefer the lines of the Synchronika. But I prefer the look of the Linea Mini to the GS3.

    You haven't considered a lever machine such as the Bezzera Strega, Profitec Pro 800 or Izzo Alex Leva. Not interested? I scored an '89 Olympia Cremina earlier this year and it makes superb coffee - really superb!

  5. #5
    Member
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Melbourne
    Posts
    54
    Pleased the ECM path is sound. I am sure I would also be very happy with a GS3 but I struggle to justify the cost.
    The lever machines are also interesting and I will explore further....... !

  6. #6
    Member
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Melbourne
    Posts
    54
    Quote Originally Posted by 338 View Post
    Warmtone, not yet a proven product like you are considering, also a more digital experience, but it may be worth throwing the Decent Espresso into the mix? Seems to offer many of the extras like variable pressure, pre infusion, etc. You don't seem to be in a rush so could see how these pan out.
    To be honest I hadnít heard of this machine until you pointed it out. I had a quick look at the thread and there is no doubt the machine offers a truly digital experience! As an IT professional with a background in electronic engineering the thought of owning one makes me cringe.

    For me too there is far too much complexity, too many things to fail (electro/mechanical interfaces).
    This machine is basically a computer that has been programmed to make coffee! No doubt when all the sensors and control systems are working correctly it will provide new levels of control and brew predictability with selectable temperature/pressure profiles.

    Of course the above also means a new world of configuration management, error codes and firmware updates (!)
    Taken to the limit you could probably control everything via an iPad and obtain daily reports on 99 brewing parameters with profile graphs!

    I will watch the development of this machine with interest as I do appreciate the design & profound effort in bringing the product to market. But I think the use of electronics has probably gone too far. It couldnít be further from the world of a La Marzocco GS 3 Lever!

    I guess at heart Iím an old fashioned analogue guy who appreciates products that provide appealing aesthetics, rewarding user involvement, industrial build quality, ease of service and longevity.
    Yelta likes this.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Moonta SA.
    Posts
    5,857
    Quote Originally Posted by warmtone View Post
    To be honest I hadn’t heard of this machine until you pointed it out. I had a quick look at the thread and there is no doubt the machine offers a truly digital experience! As an IT professional with a background in electronic engineering the thought of owning one makes me cringe.

    For me too there is far too much complexity, too many things to fail (electro/mechanical interfaces).
    This machine is basically a computer that has been programmed to make coffee! No doubt when all the sensors and control systems are working correctly it will provide new levels of control and brew predictability with selectable temperature/pressure profiles.

    Of course the above also means a new world of configuration management, error codes and firmware updates (!)
    Taken to the limit you could probably control everything via an iPad and obtain daily reports on 99 brewing parameters with profile graphs!

    I will watch the development of this machine with interest as I do appreciate the design & profound effort in bringing the product to market. But I think the use of electronics has probably gone too far. It couldn’t be further from the world of a La Marzocco GS 3 Lever!

    I guess at heart I’m an old fashioned analogue guy who appreciates products that provide appealing aesthetics, rewarding user involvement, industrial build quality, ease of service and longevity.
    Your comments re electronics is like a breath of fresh air Warmtone.

    Seems to me there is a push among some to make the simplest of tasks as complex as possible.

    Like you I've been watching the Decent Espresso thread with fascination along with a good dose of incredulity, and wondering, why?

    "I guess at heart I’m an old fashioned analogue guy who appreciates products that provide appealing aesthetics, rewarding user involvement, industrial build quality, ease of service and longevity."
    Very succinctly put, certainly reflects my feelings.
    Last edited by Yelta; 3 Weeks Ago at 01:51 PM.
    flynnaus, gmeddy and chokkidog like this.

  8. #8
    Member
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Abbotsbury
    Posts
    82
    If looks and simplicity are high on the agenda then I can highly recommend a lever machine.

    I have an Izzo and whilst I have very little to compare to (first machine I have ever owned) I can safely say that I have fallen in love with the looks, total lack of any noise and the pure simplicity of pulling a lever to extract a delicious cup of coffee.

    It is also a real conversation piece and I enjoy explaining the process to all who come over.

    Enjoy.

    Alastair
    Brewster, chokkidog and JMcCee like this.

  9. #9
    338
    338 is offline
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Sydney
    Posts
    348
    Quote Originally Posted by warmtone View Post
    I guess at heart I’m an old fashioned analogue guy who appreciates products that provide appealing aesthetics, rewarding user involvement, industrial build quality, ease of service and longevity.
    I know exactly what you mean. I drive a manual and heel toe, while I appreciate a dual clutch gearbox is faster, more efficient I still like being part of the process. Rode a Ducati for the same reason, could enjoy being part of a mechanical process at legal speeds, rather than only at interesting speeds.

    I think the Decent unit could be the cheapest way to experience pressure profiling, etc and the capabilities of the exotica, equally I think it is priced about right for what it is - you could live with yourself if it just couldn't be repaired, where you would feel very uncomfortable if you couldn't repair a GS3. I still don't know what to make of the Decent, user reviews are in short supply and concentrate on what great service John gives. I could see people buying one because it pressure profiles, etc, etc and don't want to spend GS3, Synesso, Slayer money - less likely that the Decent is an object of desire in its own right. I wonder if my palette is sophisticated enough to pick the differences of how a coffee is made, would love to taste test a few different machines at the same time.

    The Profitec Pro 800 lever sounds like it would satisfy some of your needs.

  10. #10
    Member
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Melbourne
    Posts
    54
    Quote Originally Posted by 338 View Post
    I know exactly what you mean. I drive a manual and heel toe, while I appreciate a dual clutch gearbox is faster, more efficient I still like being part of the process. Rode a Ducati for the same reason, could enjoy being part of a mechanical process at legal speeds, rather than only at interesting speeds.

    I think the Decent unit could be the cheapest way to experience pressure profiling, etc and the capabilities of the exotica, equally I think it is priced about right for what it is - you could live with yourself if it just couldn't be repaired, where you would feel very uncomfortable if you couldn't repair a GS3. I still don't know what to make of the Decent, user reviews are in short supply and concentrate on what great service John gives. I could see people buying one because it pressure profiles, etc, etc and don't want to spend GS3, Synesso, Slayer money - less likely that the Decent is an object of desire in its own right. I wonder if my palette is sophisticated enough to pick the differences of how a coffee is made, would love to taste test a few different machines at the same time.

    The Profitec Pro 800 lever sounds like it would satisfy some of your needs.
    Sounds like we share an appreciation of well engineered products. I rode various motorcycles for 30 years and did all my own maintenance. I hung up the hat while I was still ahead at 48.

    When it was time to replace our 25 year old car and potentially buy a new one I decided I would take a different route and purchased a pristine used BMW 540. Easily the best car I have owned and a joy to drive and easy to maintain as it is so well engineered. It was built in 1999 and still drives like new. A great example of German design and build quality. They donít cut corners - there is a National pride in producing high quality products.

    This commitment to quality is evident in the ECM line which I believe competes with more expensive products including the La Marzocco GS3 MP. I looked at the GS3 yesterday and while not immediately visually impressive seem to project a laid back highly functional under stated elegance. Under the covers it is very well engineered with top quality components. But at nine grand (the price is going up) it seems to me a bit over priced and hard to justify for one or two coffees a day. But a GS3 MP could be a good buy used at the right price.

    The ECM 800 was not on my list as I thought the Lever system was more about 1960ís retro looks.
    I now understand this design means serious business and provides total control of brew pressure. Perhaps the ultimate in tactile involvement? It couldnít be further in concept from the Decent Expresso!

    The ECM 800 is definitely an interesting option that I will pursue further - this model may even equal GS3MP performance.

  11. #11
    338
    338 is offline
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Sydney
    Posts
    348
    The 540 is one of those unknown gems, great performance from a relatively unknown item. I actually looked for one a few years back. They genuinely don't make cars like that anymore, many things are better now, especially handling but when you start to fix something you see that the aim today for manufacturers is to cut costs.

    I know what you mean about hanging your hat up, nice to still have all the bits. I also don't know if Ihave the balls or reactions I once did.

    Good luck on your quest for the right machine. I would also keep an eye while researching on the for sale section, the coffee equivalent of your 540 might turn up, maybe even an M5
    warmtone likes this.

  12. #12
    Senior Member SniffCoffee's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Canberra
    Posts
    692
    Quote Originally Posted by Hoggers View Post
    If looks and simplicity are high on the agenda then I can highly recommend a lever machine.

    I have an Izzo and whilst I have very little to compare to (first machine I have ever owned) I can safely say that I have fallen in love with the looks, total lack of any noise and the pure simplicity of pulling a lever to extract a delicious cup of coffee.

    It is also a real conversation piece and I enjoy explaining the process to all who come over.

    Enjoy.

    Alastair
    + 1 for a spring lever with a PID

    Sniff
    chokkidog, warmtone and Hoggers like this.

  13. #13
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Location
    Sydney
    Posts
    19
    Warmtone, I would like to offer an alternative view simply for the sake of extending the conversation. I own a Profitec 700 (ECM Synchronika’s stablemate) which I adore. I am devoted to high quality engineering and have owned a series of delightful BMWs over the years culminating in an M5. It is 10 years old but is the very last of the normally aspirated engines [a 5 litre V10] before everything went turbo. Superb.

    I am not sure if my BMW/Profitec ownership qualifies me to comment but it seems relevant given the input of others in this thread. However I had twenty years in the computer industry so have some practical and extended appreciation of the strengths (and weaknesses) of that technology. To this day I delight in high-tech.

    The Decent machine to my mind represents the future of coffee making technology. It is not old-school engineering. There is no highly polished, glossy chrome. It’s fairly light and small. Filled with modern technology and driven by a tablet (albeit Android rather than an iPad)

    Is it perfect? Probably not. But for a v1.0 it seems to me to offer a huge amount. The Decent company and various reviews claim it can mimic a GS/3 or a Synesso or a Slayer or a Kees van de Westen or any other machine. All for less than the price of my Profitec 700. Pretty impressive.

    So what about all those sensors and stuff in the Decent machine that others have mentioned as being a bit of a worry? I am unconcerned. Every top-end espresso machine available seems to have at least one PID along with other electronic goodies. They work. They are reliable. So Decent has gone further and taken advantage of that type of technology and extended it.

    If we go back to cars as an analogy I suspect we would all admit that modern cars with engine management systems (and that’s virtually every one for the past 10-20 years) are hugely more reliable than the old-school engines we once knew. There will be exceptions of course, and I’ve owned one or two, but I think the generalisation holds. Millions of drivers trust their vehicle’s computer-based engine management system to tune things hundreds of times per second working with numerous sensors and other technological goodies. An internal combustion engine spinning at thousands of revs/minute is a much bigger engineering challenge than an espresso machine.

    So I say let’s embrace and support what Decent are doing and move with confidence into the 21st Century. I expect most of the existing espresso manufacturers will follow Decent’s lead whether we like it or not.

    Apologies if my thinking does not align with others.

    For your consideration.
    TampIt likes this.

  14. #14
    Senior Member JMcCee's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Posts
    160
    My everyday machine is now a 60yo Lambro and an excellent car analogy is I drive a 35yo non-turbo Mercedes diesel with 700k and love every minute. I also fire up a 50yo two group Gaggia every now and then but .. That would be a Kenworth analogy :-p

    I am also eagerly awaiting delivery of our Decent because atm I can only imagine owning a 21st Century machine the size of a shoebox that will emulate everything from a Pavoni Europiccola to a 30k Synesso. Of course the thing has electronics.

    I don't have a car analogy for the Decent but my wifes car is a Mercedes Kompressor, which doesnt really emulate anything, except a Mercedes Kompressor .

    The Lambro sitting next to the DE1+ on the bench will be nicely appropriate.
    warmtone likes this.

  15. #15
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Rockingham W.A.
    Posts
    1,058
    G'day Warmtome.

    I fully agree with the last two posts (and not even the rapacious lawyers behind ex-wife 2 could separate me from my 1979 Mercedes 450SEL with self leveling suspension... to be fair, she picked up the other 4 newer ones from my company and didn't even try to get it).

    If you want today's best coffee and reliability - get an Olympia Cremina manual lever. Pre messy divorce I had a Silvia (later replaced by a 220V GS3 in the US) and a manual lever Electra - just like the one on Andy's (CS Maestro) avatar. The Electra was so much better in the cup compared to the Silvia it was a joke.

    Just like the Silvia, even after a year the GS3 was mainly used to froth milk and only did a shot if I was too tired to drive the Electra. The Electra still walloped the GS3 by a pretty wide margin. The Cremina makes slightly better coffee than the Electra and is well within your budget.

    If you want to try to equal a manual lever - get the Decent. None of the top end machines I know can do that, and the Decent could probably even be driven when sleep deprived and / or hungover - unlike any manual lever I know of...

    You posted "My current thinking is that the following considerations influence the final brew - all of equal importance.

    1. Quality of Beans 25%
    2. Barista Skills 25%
    3. Grinder 25%
    4. Coffee Machine/Water Supply/Milk 25%"

    My importance rating is much higher for the beans and grinder and way lower for the machine. Why - if the beans are nuked by the first two stages I doubt anything can save the cuppa.

    Just my 2 cents worth.


    TampIt
    warmtone likes this.

  16. #16
    338
    338 is offline
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Sydney
    Posts
    348
    Quote Originally Posted by TampIt View Post
    If you want to try to equal a manual lever - get the Decent. None of the top end machines I know can do that, and the Decent could probably even be driven when sleep deprived and / or hungover - unlike any manual lever I know of...
    TampIt
    Tampit, thanks for being one of the few people who have tried the Decent to be brave enough to put a rating on it (though to be fair, most probably don't due to it being a work in progress). Just to get your take clarified, when you say 'try to equal a lever' do you mean the Decent tasted as good as a lever or do you mean the lever as still someway better?




    Plane24 - that is one mighty motor. A mate had one and absolutely moved with revs on board. Even in it's day there was nothing like it, we definitely won't see the likes of that motor again. Quite a contrast from what people would have expected from an executive express

  17. #17
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Rockingham W.A.
    Posts
    1,058
    Quote Originally Posted by 338 View Post
    Tampit, thanks for being one of the few people who have tried the Decent to be brave enough to put a rating on it (though to be fair, most probably don't due to it being a work in progress). Just to get your take clarified, when you say 'try to equal a lever' do you mean the Decent tasted as good as a lever or do you mean the lever as still someway better?

    Plane24 - that is one mighty motor. A mate had one and absolutely moved with revs on board. Even in it's day there was nothing like it, we definitely won't see the likes of that motor again. Quite a contrast from what people would have expected from an executive express
    Hey Warmtone

    I haven't tried the Decent personally, although two of my coffee fanatic fiends in the US have them and are raving about the quality in the cup. They both have manual levers and both (independently - they do not know each other) reckon they are getting better shots out of the Decent compared to their Creminas. Even ignoring the "better" feedback by putting it down to "new toy syndrome" I expect the Decent will work well / probably better than any other mains powered espresso machine and hopefully will at least equal a manual lever.

    Ignoring temperature as any good machine should be stable enough (minor assumption that the Decent has stable temperature, although even that may be altered on the fly) my reasoning is pretty basic:-

    1) when using a manual lever you start by providing the "correct" amount of preinfusion by feel. Depending upon the roast that can take anytime from 2 up to 40 seconds. The only mains machine out there that can get within a bull's roar of that even in theory is the Decent with its sensor array. Tinkering with the preinfusion on a Decent should be able to give the same result as my Electra (with its specially weakened spring to enhance the feel and my control).
    2) When you pull the shot on a manual lever, you control the pour by feel. I suspect that is largely balancing the flow and letting the pressure vary to match the desired flow as the puck compresses (i.e. "resistance up") and then starts to dissolve (i.e. "resistance down"). Only the mains powered Decent is capable of going by flow, pressure, temperature or some arcane mixture of all three.

    I cannot remember the last time I did not set any auto machine up for a longer shot and cut it manually when it blonds, so if the Decent "shot cutoff" is problematic that is not an issue for me. Of course, if the cutoff also works that would be a minor bonus.

    I have a micro kitchen here, or else I would have already bought one (no hope in hell of adding another machine in the coffee area here, and frothing milk / pulling shot have to be simultaneous in my world). As soon as the Decent is capable of "shot and froth" at once, I will order mine.

    TampIt
    A thought about reliability - I expect a few Decent teething problems, however John should cover that properly. Anyway, worst case after a while if it fails you can always buy another one or repair it using spare parts. Good coffee now vs being risk averse about potential problems is a no brainer in my world.

    PS My Merc went from the Oz compliance 120Kw to the German sports engine with solid lifters and 260Kw. Another "exec express" which startles people. Gotta love good engineering.
    warmtone likes this.

  18. #18
    338
    338 is offline
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Sydney
    Posts
    348
    If that was directed at me thanks for the response. The Decent seems to tick all the boxes even if the heart looks elsewhere, have glanced before for s/h Cremina and looked at the Profitec 800.


    The 450SEL would really notice the difference. A friend had the 6.9 version with some extra work, very swift but unfortunately the gearbox was a unique item to the 6.9 and his last repair was $15k. Yours would be a much more reliable proposition.

  19. #19
    jmc
    jmc is offline
    Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    North Melbourne
    Posts
    44
    If you want a very good, rare and extremely long lasting machine which makes really, really good coffee buy JMcCeeīs Electra A3 on the for sale column.
    I have had many coffees from this machine and know itīs background from new. Parts are still readily available.
    IMHO for $2500 you will not find a better machine.
    John
    Last edited by jmc; 3 Weeks Ago at 09:59 AM.

  20. #20
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Rockingham W.A.
    Posts
    1,058
    Quote Originally Posted by 338 View Post
    If that was directed at me thanks for the response. The Decent seems to tick all the boxes even if the heart looks elsewhere, have glanced before for s/h Cremina and looked at the Profitec 800.


    The 450SEL would really notice the difference. A friend had the 6.9 version with some extra work, very swift but unfortunately the gearbox was a unique item to the 6.9 and his last repair was $15k. Yours would be a much more reliable proposition.
    G'day 338


    Yep - it should have been directed to you (not aimed). It was late and I "warmtoned" by mistake.

    I only mentioned my Merc toy because true "exec expresses" are pretty rare. There are plenty of faster cars than mine out there, probably including yours. Still a lot of fun.

    BTW - rebuilt (and strengthened - to sports engine standard) the gearbox for $2,700 - bit of a difference in cost. Also, how the hell did they detune it from the 180Kw standard Euro version to 120Kw for Oz and expect it to sell? Strange.

    Back to coffee - rumour has it this is about high end machines.

    TampIt

  21. #21
    Senior Member Arcade's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Posts
    140
    This year I purchased a Profitec Pro 800 lever machine and Mazzer ZM grinder and have finally stopped my upgrade-itch. The Profitec seems far less sensitive to bean fluctuations than any of my other machines have, or perhaps it's the consistency of the ZM which is grinding so much better (than my Vario) that you get away with more. Regardless, I can't imagine being able to improve much on this and pricing for the combo was under $7.5k.

    Before this however, my coffee was hit and miss a little. Now, once I get the grind right for the bean I'm using at the time, my worst and best coffees would be within a % point of each other.

  22. #22
    Member
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Melbourne
    Posts
    54
    Quote Originally Posted by Arcade View Post
    This year I purchased a Profitec Pro 800 lever machine and Mazzer ZM grinder and have finally stopped my upgrade-itch. The Profitec seems far less sensitive to bean fluctuations than any of my other machines have, or perhaps it's the consistency of the ZM which is grinding so much better (than my Vario) that you get away with more. Regardless, I can't imagine being able to improve much on this and pricing for the combo was under $7.5k.

    Before this however, my coffee was hit and miss a little. Now, once I get the grind right for the bean I'm using at the time, my worst and best coffees would be within a % point of each other.
    Pleased to hear the Profitec is delivering a fine brew!
    It seems to provide a great balance between old world manual involvement and the right amount of technology.
    My only criticism is the use of a vibration pump - at this price point a rotary would be better.

  23. #23
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Posts
    388
    Plumb it and you donít use the pump at all!
    saroadie likes this.

  24. #24
    Senior Member Arcade's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Posts
    140
    Yep no pump if you plumb it, but also if you don't, it's not like a regular machine where the pump is activated with the group head. If you're pulling one full lever (double shot) of espresso, you won't get any pump action. It will only start after your next shot, or during steaming. It's only there to refill the boiler, not push water into the head if that makes sense. Ie actual pump noise time is less than half what you would usually endure.

  25. #25
    Senior Member Arcade's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Posts
    140
    Actually scratch that, just made a latte now and no pump noise for the shot or the steam. Only when I go to flush the group head does it fill, and the duration is 4 seconds. Sorry for the dud phone quality but here you go (mine isn't plumbed in):

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jgEExHs2jB4

  26. #26
    Member
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Melbourne
    Posts
    54
    Arcade Point taken!
    Love the goopy pour that levers provide!
    Arcade likes this.

  27. #27
    Senior Member WhatEverBeansNecessary's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Adelaide
    Posts
    417
    Quote Originally Posted by Arcade View Post
    Actually scratch that, just made a latte now and no pump noise for the shot or the steam. Only when I go to flush the group head does it fill, and the duration is 4 seconds. Sorry for the dud phone quality but here you go (mine isn't plumbed in):

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jgEExHs2jB4
    Thats a quick pour Arcade! What is your weight in and volume out?

  28. #28
    Senior Member Arcade's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Posts
    140
    Thanks! I'm at 16.5g in, 30g out. It pours 33g out but I pull it short. Not sure the volume (using scales for the output).

    Edit: Do you think it's too fast? What are you yielding?
    Last edited by Arcade; 2 Weeks Ago at 05:47 PM.

  29. #29
    338
    338 is offline
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Sydney
    Posts
    348
    Nice Tag Monaco Arcade - plus the machine in the background gives a clue where your nickname comes from! You must live in a huge mancave

  30. #30
    Senior Member Arcade's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Posts
    140
    Heh - it's a weakness of mine
    338 likes this.

  31. #31
    Senior Member WhatEverBeansNecessary's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Adelaide
    Posts
    417
    https://youtu.be/k-7gyjHjzhM

    Apologies for the terrible camera skills.

    But I am normally 16g in and 30g out. This one was about 28. A little too short but not by much.

  32. #32
    Senior Member Arcade's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Posts
    140
    Thanks for taking the time for the video. Interesting how slowly yours starts up but then gets good pace after about 10 seconds. I might try a finer grind setting and see how my flavour goes. I'll report back!
    Last edited by Arcade; 2 Weeks Ago at 10:13 PM.

  33. #33
    Senior Member Gavisconi007's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Posts
    513
    That slow start up is exactly the sweet spot to look for Arcade. My Pompei pours at about the same rate as in Whatever’s video.

  34. #34
    Senior Member WhatEverBeansNecessary's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Adelaide
    Posts
    417
    From other videos I have seen the really slow pour in the first 10-20 secs is generally what you want - but even after a year with the machine I am still learning every shot!
    warmtone likes this.

  35. #35
    Member
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Melbourne
    Posts
    54
    Quote Originally Posted by Gavisconi007 View Post
    That slow start up is exactly the sweet spot to look for Arcade. My Pompei pours at about the same rate as in Whatever’s video.
    Is the Pompei similar to the Alex Leva?

  36. #36
    Senior Member Gavisconi007's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Posts
    513
    Quote Originally Posted by warmtone View Post
    Is the Pompei similar to the Alex Leva?
    I think the Pompei is an Alex Leva on steroids. Iím not sure of the subtle differences however. Hopefully someone who has compared both can tell us......Chris......are you out there?

  37. #37
    Member
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Melbourne
    Posts
    54
    Quote Originally Posted by Gavisconi007 View Post
    I think the Pompei is an Alex Leva on steroids. I’m not sure of the subtle differences however. Hopefully someone who has compared both can tell us......Chris......are you out there?
    If you are referring to Chris at Talk Coffee he seems to have departed which is a great pity
    Chris has always provided me with no bs professional advice and service and his presence is missed.

  38. #38
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Moonta SA.
    Posts
    5,857
    Quote Originally Posted by warmtone View Post
    Chris has always provided me with no bs professional advice and service and his presence is missed.
    It certainly is, along with a number of other very knowledgeable people who are no longer posting
    Last edited by Yelta; 1 Week Ago at 12:18 AM.
    Casa Espresso likes this.

  39. #39
    Member hunty's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Posts
    49
    The question I have, is it really about the coffee being better the more high end your machine is, or is it more about having a really really nice machine with lots of functions/good looks/reliability etc. How much better can the coffee be on a really high end machine all other factors being equal? And is it a little objective based on how much you love your machine? Maybe a lever machine could be an exception to the rule because of the variable in pressure control???but even then, if a lever machine was so much more epic in terms of coffee quality wouldn't lever machines just be the standard?

  40. #40
    Member
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Abbotsbury
    Posts
    82
    I guess to a large extent it is a 'perception' thing with more expensive of anything always deemed as being better, nicer, faster etc.

    Does my lever machine make better coffee than any other machine ? I don't know but to me it makes delicious coffee and I enjoy every pour with it

  41. #41
    Senior Member WhatEverBeansNecessary's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Adelaide
    Posts
    417
    I think the other thing about levers being the standard or not is that they are a bit more finicky than a pump driven and slower for use in a cafe (even a multi group). They also have some draw backs like the group head temp and overheating particularly for smaller machines like a la pavoni and olympia cremina.

  42. #42
    Member
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Melbourne
    Posts
    54
    Quote Originally Posted by WhatEverBeansNecessary View Post
    From other videos I have seen the really slow pour in the first 10-20 secs is generally what you want - but even after a year with the machine I am still learning every shot!
    I think we are all still learning with every shot!

    A significant improvement for me has been to invest in an accurate scale to get a consistent amount of coffee in the group.
    I have discovered the VBM gives its best at around 18gms but with a finer grind.
    For several years I was using about 22gms!

  43. #43
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
    Location
    Sunshine Coast QLD
    Posts
    13
    Quote Originally Posted by WhatEverBeansNecessary View Post
    I think the other thing about levers being the standard or not is that they are a bit more finicky than a pump driven and slower for use in a cafe (even a multi group). They also have some draw backs like the group head temp and overheating particularly for smaller machines like a la pavoni and olympia cremina.
    Have you seen this guy pull the levers to turn out 10 coffees in 4:30

    https://youtu.be/GRTebBz7450

    P

  44. #44
    Senior Member WhatEverBeansNecessary's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Adelaide
    Posts
    417
    Impressive movements! But still, he is using a 4 group machine and obviously is highly skilled in this machine. 30 second coffees wouldn't be too much of a stretch for a 2 group pump driven from a regular busy cafe - at least for a short period of time like this.
    SanderP likes this.

  45. #45
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    215
    [QUOTE]It's fair to say the Domobar/Mazzer combination has poured some memorable brews when fed with the best beans and both have been incredibly reliable and stable.
    Predictably my son always pulled a better brew than I could having developed a "sixth sense when calibrating the grind and weighing to within 2 microns of perfection!
    Of course by the time the grind was optimised the 250gm of high end coffee beans for the week was 90% gone.
    But we always really enjoyed the last pour!
    The rig has served me well up until recently when I decided time it was time for an upgrade.
    I always had a nagging feeling that a conical grinder would raise the bar having enjoyed many great Latte's at Brother Budan in Melbourne.[QUOTE]

    A/ If the premise of your original Question is - by investing in a higher level machine / grinder combo ....will my coffee go to
    their level (using their beans) ?
    My experience is it may. With your VBM DS / SJ combo and equivalent quality beans you can (should be able to) pull flavoursome shots so close to the Cafe site you reference to. Barista inputs at this level are far more important.
    Consistent quality in delivers quality out.

    [QUOTE]A significant improvement for me has been to invest in an accurate scale to get a consistent amount of coffee in the group.
    I have discovered the VBM gives its best at around 18gms but with a finer grind.
    For several years I was using about 22gms![QUOTE]


    A/ Have you gone further by measuring / timing you shots out. Tasting. Trialing, Trying different Dose Levels / yields / shot timings?
    i.e. at 18g dosed at typical great shot id be seeking is 8-10sec preinfusion, drippy gloopy start till 15-16sec mark, then pouring consistently till the shot pulled at 27g in around 28-30sec total.
    If your a black drinker - this shot is dropped onto 110g hot water at 80degrees.
    If a white drinker blend with anything from around 160g to 210g of microfoam. depending on your taste.
    Whilst I've never been to Brother Budan (assuming it is doing Australian speciality coffee).... I'll just about put my left t......e on it that they don't dose at 18g.
    The vast majority of cafes doing ASC are dosing 22g or more yielding at 1:1.4 onwards ( and up to 1:2+) and running shots times from 28sec up to 45sec.
    And they continually work on their 'recipe' to get the best from the chosen bean / roast / blend.
    And these sites aren't working exclusively with the highest end super trick machines.
    But they all are working with a quality roaster!
    warmtone likes this.

  46. #46
    Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Posts
    32
    Quote Originally Posted by warmtone View Post
    My current thinking is that the following considerations influence the final brew - all of equal importance.

    1. Quality of Beans 25%
    2. Barista Skills 25%
    3. Grinder 25%
    4. Coffee Machine/Water Supply/Milk 25%
    I like this. Could almost be a thread on its own. Failure in any of those categories could easily stuff up the brew. I am thinking the easiest to overcome is point 4 if you get it right i with 1-3. Ironically the machine is where the most money is invested.
    warmtone likes this.

  47. #47
    Member
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Melbourne
    Posts
    54
    Quote Originally Posted by arcachon View Post
    I like this. Could almost be a thread on its own. Failure in any of those categories could easily stuff up the brew. I am thinking the easiest to overcome is point 4 if you get it right i with 1-3. Ironically the machine is where the most money is invested.
    Arcachon I stated the above to generate debate and I suppose to highlight that a great machine alone doesn’t guarantee bliss in the cup.

    After a few weeks of mulling over things, I think Barista skills and knowledge probably count much more than 25%.
    These are the skills that make sure the other categories are addressed and each step of the coffee making process optimised.
    Last edited by warmtone; 1 Week Ago at 04:47 PM.

  48. #48
    Member
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Melbourne
    Posts
    54
    Hi ExpressoAdventurer thanks for some great advice and encouragement!

    To answer your many valid points I am scrutinising everything - and starting with a complete machine clean/re-calibrate. This has included intensive backflush and de-scale and lots of clean water (filtered).

    The VBM was set too high in pressure and this has been adjusted down to about 9.5bar from about 11 bar. The pressurestat has also been tweaked to provide brew temp around 92degrees C from down from a previous 94 degrees C.

    The scales I mentioned are made by AÁai mine is the Lunar that can accurately measure both dose, pour time and also yield in the cup. It also supports an iPad App to document the entire brew process(!)

    Pre infusion now lasts about 6 - 8 seconds (previously 2-3 seconds ) and the pour is now thicker due to reduced pressure and I believe a better grind from the Kony.

    I am using fresh single origin Guatemalan beans from the Beanery in Melbourne - I have sampled coffees from their excellent Rocket HX PID which I have used as a ref point using the same beans. Their coffee is still better - more complex flavours coming through (latte).

    There is no doubt the brew quality has improved significantly but I believe there is still room for further experimentation as you suggest.

    All good fun!
    Last edited by warmtone; 1 Week Ago at 06:47 PM.

  49. #49
    Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Posts
    88
    Quote Originally Posted by warmtone View Post
    If you are referring to Chris at Talk Coffee he seems to have departed which is a great pity
    Chris has always provided me with no bs professional advice and service and his presence is missed.
    What happened to Chris?

  50. #50
    Senior Member Barry O'Speedwagon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    PRL
    Posts
    2,372
    Quote Originally Posted by Faatshank View Post
    What happened to Chris?
    As far I could tell , he lost patience with a particular (former) poster who jumped onto almost every thread in search of a way of plugging his business, whether relevant or not.
    Yelta likes this.

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •