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Thread: Cafelat Robot espresso machine

  1. #1
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    Cafelat Robot espresso machine

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    The posting of my Flair for sale, after receiving the long awaited Robot, has created interest amongst a number of CS members seeking my thoughts (via PM) on the Robot vs Flair.

    I've only had the Robot a day so can't offer much insight at the moment. However, our very own samuellaw178 has done a comprehensive review on the Home Barista forum. Search for:
    Cafelat Robot Review - Reviews
    https://www.home-barista.com/reviews...ew-t54483.html

    Sam's review follows on from initial impressions posted by drgary. Go to post #5 for the start of Sam's review.

    Also, there have been a number of initial impressions posted on the thread:
    Cafelat Robot User Experience
    https://www.home-barista.com/.../caf...ce-t54550.html

    As to my own thoughts on the Flair vs Robot, I would happily keep either. The Flair gives you added portability for travel or camping, but the Robot isn't far behind in those attributes. Both deliver a good espresso shot with the forgiving nature that is associated with lever machines. Both are also well engineered using top quality materials and certainly built to last.

    It was with very mixed feelings that I parted with the Flair, but one can have too much coffee gear and I think I have found my off-grid espresso nirvana in the Robot.
    Dimal, nickm, saeco_user and 1 others like this.

  2. #2
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    Cafelat have now listed the Robot for retail in their web shop, but with a 2-3 week wait for assembly and testing.
    justacuppa and saeco_user like this.

  3. #3
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    Thanks Otago,
    Now waiting on your review and comparison to determine whether to buy the Robot or the Flair!

  4. #4
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    Thanks Otago, I have ordered one but using my heart instead of my head!

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Otago View Post
    broken link, for me

  6. #6
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    Got mine today, build quality is insanely good. So solid! Only had enough beans for a single shot, but feel was great!
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  7. #7
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    Thanks for you post and links on the Robot @Otago

    Curious as to how the Robot is working out for you. In terms of extractions, can anyone on here shed light on how shots from the Robot would compare to say an entry level pump like a Silvia or Lelit?

  8. #8
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    Hi pyrmontboy200

    Sorry, can't help with a comparison to the Silvia or Lelit but I continue to enjoy the Robot. I can't see that an entry level machine could do much better.

    As with most manual levers, it is a forgiving machine and, for me at least, simplifies getting good extractions.

    Latest news from Cafelat is that he is working on a self centering/levelling tamper for the Robot. Not sure that this is essential as I think I can get a very close result by eye. However, a centering/levelling tool would help with perfecting this part of the process.

    If you are still weighing up the pros and cons, as far as price goes the Robot was a bargain at the Kickstarter price, but is now close enough to the Flair Pro price to, IMO, eliminate that from the equation.

  9. #9
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    Thanks Otago. Do you know from your experience, is the Robot fussy with older beans?
    Where I am I am unable to get fresh beans that often and often they get a bit flat and stale. Curious if the Robot just blasts away the puck if the beans are on the stale side, or if it is possible to correct for this in pulling the shot?

  10. #10
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    Yes, I find that the Robot won't cope well with stale beans. However, doesn't this apply to any machine?

    Cafelat put some emphasis on the need for fresh beans in their product information and are open about the need to use pressurised baskets when using supermarket (read stale) beans.

    If a lack of fresh beans is a frequent problem for you then an additional double wall pressurised basket is probably a good standby. Maybe not ideal but the best that can be gained in those circumstances and generally better than the alternatives.
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  11. #11
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    I'm finding the robot quite forgiving having used it extensively with top shelf beans (clandestino roasters) and aldi medium roast (by far the pick of aldi). Maybe the Niche Zero grinder helps a bit. Most of the 1kg from aldi go straight in the freezer and use them over the next month or two - makes a good standby option, or for my less discerning friends who add milk More crema from defrosted aldi than from super fresh top shelf. I haven't stooped to coles or woolies beans.

    One thing though - during preinfusion the coffee always comes out of the naked basket around the edges first, forming a ring that then gets filled in. I consciously avoid a nutating tamp, but still the same. Possibly a convex tamper would help if it diverts grounds towards the edges. Only solution I've found is to form a hollow in the grounds with my WDT toothpick tool before tapping and tamping. Anyone experiencing this?

    cheers!
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  12. #12
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    G'day mate...

    After dosing, try a couple of gentle side taps with your hand or fingers to level and settle the grounds before tamping.
    Should ensure a better distributed dose...

    Please ignore if you already do this.

    Mal.
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  13. #13
    Senior Member matth3wh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cybrewer View Post
    I'm finding the robot quite forgiving having used it extensively with top shelf beans (clandestino roasters)...

    One thing though - during preinfusion the coffee always comes out of the naked basket around the edges first, forming a ring that then gets filled in. I consciously avoid a nutating tamp, but still the same. Possibly a convex tamper would help if it diverts grounds towards the edges. Only solution I've found is to form a hollow in the grounds with my WDT toothpick tool before tapping and tamping. Anyone experiencing this?
    Iíve heard somewhere there may be some development on a distrb tool to help.

    At the moment Iíve been testing with aeropress filters and long low and slow preinfusions. Iím liking the results so far for espresso and long black drinks.
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  14. #14
    Senior Member matth3wh's Avatar
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    Cafelat Robot espresso machine

    Quote Originally Posted by Dimal View Post
    After dosing, try a couple of gentle side taps with your hand or fingers to level and settle the grounds before tamping.
    Should ensure a better distributed dose...
    Mal.
    Definitely do the side taps as Mal suggests. Iíve found this helpful across the board. Others combine that with a single tap down and then side taps.

    The fun on these Mal is the basket is massive / brew water chamber in one. No fingers can help once the dose is in. The good size is you can go crazy with high dose / high water shots if youíd like.

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  15. #15
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Wow!

    You're not kidding Matt; that's a ginormous filter basket, the best kind in my opinion.
    These were on my shortlist before the Flair became available but ended up going with the Flair as I thought it would be easier for me to use.

    The Robot sure looks to be well made...

    Mal.

  16. #16
    Senior Member matth3wh's Avatar
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    Cafelat Robot espresso machine

    Quote Originally Posted by Dimal View Post
    The Robot sure looks to be well made...
    Mal.
    Seems very well thought out and difficult to break anything.

    Iím sure the Flair is rocking along nicely Mal
    Be interested to know how much coffee can be packed in to Flair brew basket.

    Love this cut away with video showing Robot in action...

    https://www.instagram.com/p/BwBmLY4B...=16psedvgh435s

    Might do some side by side brewing at work should the madness settle down.

    Iím usually making four to five 18-19g double shots at work these days. Addicts all round in the finance and IT team. Manual brewing provides mental health therapy and time away from desk standing up.
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  17. #17
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Yes mate, the Flair is doing very well...
    Dose ranges from roughly 15.5g to 16.5g (depending on the coffee) for yields of approx. 1.8 which is where I like it.

    Nice video and if I had have seen that before I bought the Flair, may have gone with the Robot.
    Oh well, as they say; sticking with what I've got now and not unhappy with the quality in the cup, where it counts...

    Mal.
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  18. #18
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    Can either the Flair or Robot do singles (anything, between 7-10g) well? I would be interested to hear if anyone has had any success.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by pyrmontboy200 View Post
    Can either the Flair or Robot do singles (anything, between 7-10g) well? I would be interested to hear if anyone has had any success.
    Iíll give it a go for you and let you know later today. 10g or bust!
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by matth3wh View Post
    I’ll give it a go for you and let you know later today. 10g or bust!
    Any luck?
    I have been looking at a non pro flair (pro flair seems to have a minimum of 16 grams) or barista robot

  21. #21
    Senior Member matth3wh's Avatar
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    Cafelat Robot espresso machine

    Quote Originally Posted by HappyDaisy View Post
    Any luck?
    I have been looking at a non pro flair (pro flair seems to have a minimum of 16 grams) or barista robot
    I will need to try again tomorrow...

    I have this partial video. But then got a work phone call as I was filming. :-)

    Need to grind finer if only using 10g.

    I think it should be doíable. But we shall see.





    Video 6 second gush / phone call ->
    https://photos.app.goo.gl/CrQh8esbtbQht93T8
    Last edited by matth3wh; 21st May 2019 at 09:41 PM.
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  22. #22
    Senior Member matth3wh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pyrmontboy200 View Post
    Can either the Flair or Robot do singles (anything, between 7-10g) well?.
    Mal may able to chime in on smaller doses with the Flair if heís tried that.

    Iíve seen mention of the Robot potentially getting a smaller basket option for smaller doses.

    Today I used the spout to split a 20g in to two espresso cups. Worked out very well.

    Iíll have to try 10g finer and also 10g with filter paper on top.

  23. #23
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    I did try a few shots ranging from 8-12g whereupon the lower the dose/finer grind, the more difficult it was to get anything resembling a decent shot. I'd say that 12g/finer grind, would be as low as I would be happy to go and for me, that produces only a marginally acceptable result in the cup. You may find that you are happy with the shot quality at these lower doses however, I've been drinking Doubles and Triples for a long, long time before now and small Doubles are about as low as I prefer to go...

    Mal.
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  24. #24
    Senior Member matth3wh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dimal View Post
    I've been drinking Doubles and Triples for a long, long time before now and small Doubles are about as low as I prefer to go...
    Mal.
    That is the correct answer :-)

    The others at work all have me make 18-19g double dose through their desire for large cup drinking. Mind you they are having 220ml milk to dilute that down.

    I might aim for a 14g dose and see what happens towards the end of providing feedback on a ďsmallerĒ dose :-)

    I should bust out the Brazen brewer again before it starts to grumble in the corner. Problem having staff leave. Less coffee drinkers. Sad.
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  25. #25
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    The larger cup size is certainly a factor.
    Never really enjoyed long blacks or flat whites in anything larger than a 150ml cup to be honest and that is what I still use these days, no matter the brew method. Each to their own of course but I definitely prefer my coffee to be rich in flavour, naturally sweet and punchy...

    Mal.
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  26. #26
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    I hope Andy will allow me to post a reply and not be seen as too spammy.

    The minimum for this basket would probably be around 10g, it slopes in at the bottom and therefore the dispersion screen will only go down to the end of the straight sided walls. For ideal operation I think you would want the screen resting on top of the coffee - which would mean lower than say 10g would not be ideal - although truth be told I have not done the tests as I did not see the point. I have drawn up the schematics for a traditional single basket shape and will look into that next week. Many years (decades) ago I used to use singles in my shops and always thought they performed well.

    I did make a fancier tamper last month and used it at the SCA boston show. After a few shots I reverted back to the simple standard tamper I make for the Robot. I personally felt it was overcomplicating things, a little light tamp is all you really need. But I will try and make a V2 of a fancy tamp for those that want it.

    I have a love/hate relationship with the pressure gauge system. I adore the clean looks of the regular machine and feel the gauge spoils the design. The gauge was only ever intended as a fun tool. However 80% of machine I build have gauges. For every 1 Barista robot I assemble I could assemble 3 regulars. I'm trying to adjust the design a bit, a new gauge bracket is being cast now that would allow you to adjust the viewing angle. Still early days though.

    Thanks to those that have supported us over the years.

  27. #27
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    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    Thanks Paul, wow, I'm glad I asked the question now.

    Truth is, I am almost certainly in the minority here, my preference is for European singles 7-9g. My caffeine tolerance only seems to be going one way with age.

    Look forward to hearing how the single basket investigation progresses.



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