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Thread: My Dilemma...Piccolo / Venus / BZ99 (used)

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    My Dilemma...Piccolo / Venus / BZ99 (used)

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    NEWBIE seeking enlightenment

    After crunching my way thru the WWW my dilemma is just as great now as it was before I started this journey..... This is my first post here as a bonifide Snob.

    Briefly I went searching an improvement on my Saeco Espresso Magic that has encounted a few problems lately. First instinct was to chase a Silvia , most affordable but has since been crossed off the list . Thats the problem "The List " *is lacking clarity.

    My Usage.... Always 2 espressos per day sometimes 3 , plus wifey goes for about 3 flat whites on the weekend. That equals about 18-20 Espressos + 3 FWs per week...... Single boiler machine is the G O ( I think)

    DONT WANT TO KNOW ABOUT TEMP SURFING and REPEATED FLUSHING

    The List....... Vibiemme Piccolo / Isomac Venus / Bezzera BZ99s used. All within a $1.3k ish budget. But all have their negatives as I see it , hopefully other Snobbers can set me straight. This is how I see it..!!!

    Piccolo
    Small water tank , no auto boiler priming , even with E61 group it sounds to me that it needs a temp control /PID.... and there are plenty of disgruntled users on this site , who feel they cant get the full potential out of this little beauty.I have checked Erics Temp gauge mod,...this stuff should be done at factory.
    On the plus side , I like the idea of a 700ml boiler , just about the right trade off for my usage,and the E61 has got to be a bonus at this level.
    If you have one of these Piccolos please add your 2cents worth and set me right about these things.

    Venus
    Probably should have a PID control ,( shouldnt every machine above $500, would cost manufacturers xtra $40, if that * ) *400ml boiler is only just enough & almost equal with Silvia. Is it a step above the Silvia? Not an E61 , but probably OK.Tank size is good..... Just not convinced..!!

    BZ99S
    Probably too much machine for my basic and simple tastes and low volume. More than double the boiler size and a Hx rig with good size tank . No E61 *and no temp info , likewise should have PID I reckon , but these machines can be bought used *at the right price..... Do they deliver primo espresso, and how long do they need to warm up a 1.5ltr boiler?

    I actually like all 3 of these choices , probably in order , Piccolo,BZ99,Venus, but until I part with the cash Im open to all options , *endless web searching , and would greatly appreciate all CS input and opinions. At this stage Im not uder pressure from wifey to buy BUT ,"just *GET *IT RIGHT" * *:-/
    *"yes dear" ....."another flat white coming up"


    Cheers from Nth Coast *NSW....
    hotshod[/size]





  2. #2
    Senior Member GregWormald's Avatar
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    Re: My Dilemma...Piccolo / Venus / BZ99 (used)

    The only one I can talk about from your list is the VBM. I am more than satisfied with mine.

    The espressos are great, no surfing needed. (Ive tried various schemes and they dont make any difference I can taste.)

    Steams milk easily. Push the steam button. Wait 45 seconds (get milk from fridge, clean portafilter and re-mount on the machine), drain steam wand, stretch milk (about 5 seconds for a piccolo latte), turn off steam button and open steam valve, pour milk into coffee, push pump button to re-prime, rinse milk jug, turn off pump cause boiler now re-filled, close steam valve.

    Drink coffee and repeat as required.

    I used to have a La San Marco Domus (Silvia equivalent) and this is definitely a big step up.

    Greg

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    Senior Member flynnaus's Avatar
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    Re: My Dilemma...Piccolo / Venus / BZ99 (used)

    Ill second Gregs points about the VBM. The disgruntled users are usually those who are starting out with it. Ive had mine for about 4 months and can consistently make good brews now.

    I dont know about the Bezzera but I wouldnt worry about too much oomph as it will be there for the few times you might need it . Also theres no waiting for the steam to build like with the other machines. You can steam while you pour your shots.

    All these machines will probably produce a better cup than your Saeco Auto and then you might find your coffee consumption will increase.

    I dont know how good the temp stability of the Bezzera is but I dont think this will be hugely different than the VBM

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    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Re: My Dilemma...Piccolo / Venus / BZ99 (used)

    I can only speak for my own particular Bezz and its thermo-stability (checked with a home made Scace-like device) after a small cool-down flush after the initial warm-up of an hour or so, is quite good during a shot.... a very slight negative temperature gradient that then flattens out. Subsequent shots during the same session reveal quite a flat temperature profile and as a result, its shot to shot stability is also quite good and very repeatable. The amount of flush water required after a significant idle period would only be about 60-80ml, mainly due to my adjusting the boiler pressure down to 0.9Bar. Steam capacity is nothing short of awesome and I havent been able to pull it up short no matter what I do. Theres no mixing of cold water with the water from the boiler for the Hot Water Outlet though but this is not all that unusual, just something to be aware of.

    Anyway, I think that with this class of well known and respected machinery (your list), you can expect them to be reasonably well behaved from one brand to another. It would be just a matter for you to get to know the machine you eventually choose, as well as you can, in order to be able to extract the best coffee you can from it. Which ever machine eventually graces your counter-top, you need to pay as much attention to and maybe even more, to the quality of grinder you choose as this will have far more impact on the quality of shots you can pour. All the machines you mention are well able to produce excellent quality coffee, given high quality, freshly roasted beans and a decent grinder with which to grind them immediately before brewing.

    If possible, try to test out the machines yourself as that is really the only way to determine which one is going to suit you best. I must admit to having a preference for machines that have quality under the bonnet and not so much influenced by external appearances. For example, my little Bezz (all 31Kg of her) is a great little machine, well engineered and competently manufactured and so long as I do my part, it will keep churning out excellent espresso hour after hour, day after day, month after month and year after year...... Thats what its designed to do. Its not really a domestic machine of course but a single group commercial. I love her though; the term rough diamond comes to mind given its utilitarian external panel work. By the time I eventually finish a full restoration though, she will be fairly gleaming and a little less rough to look at.

    Choosing an espresso machine is a very personal thing and it is pretty difficult to know what really appeals to an individual purchaser and probably even more difficult to make a recommendation. Of the machines you have listed, none of them needs to have a PID Controller fitted in order to perform at its best. In fact, it would be a complete waste of time and money IMHO to even think about doing this with the Bezzera as the Pressurestat already maintains the boiler temperature at its preset value extremely well and with HX machinery, there just isnt any real benefit to be had. A totally different proposition where Dual Boiler machines are concerned though and to a lesser extent, Dual Purpose Single Boiler machines.... especially those fitted with an E-61 style Group and thermosyphon.

    I think you need to get out and get as much hands-on testing of your short-listed machinery as possible, as this will be the only way youre going to know what suits you and your circumstances. All the best, :)

    Mal.

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    Re: My Dilemma...Piccolo / Venus / BZ99 (used)

    Thanks Greg & Flynn

    As you could probably tell I have a leaning towards the Piccolo, and as you guys are users or any users for that matter , could I run a couple of issues past you.

    1. Do you find the tank size adequate ? It would seem to me that another half litre would be ideal. If you have to remove cups to access a refill *does it become a pain?

    2. *** I dont quite understand the the priming procedure , and what scares me the most is the potential for the Piccolo to run its boiler dry. Surely *auto priming would be a no brainer !
    Am I overly concerned about this issue ? I read it here from an expeirence CS that the boilers were getting cooked .

    3. Is the drip tray adequate and easy to use ..?


    Thanks Mal

    Im still very keen on the BZ99 and your words only *made me think harder about the Bezzera. It appears that this machine has been around for quite a while , it may not have a modern bling factor but it could live on any bench and not be out of place .

    Last night I found about 40 reviews of this machine @ CoffeeGeeks, in its American *guise *of a Pasquini Livia 90 . It appears they used to give them away ($700us) as part of a coffee deal with Illy, ie must buy $400 of coffee .
    The reviews were extremely positive with about 2 or 3 not happy with the machine or the back-up service. There were frequent pressurestat failures, and *some O-ring gaskests , plus over 40% of users left these machine turned on 18 hrs per day & some 24/7. The overall majority would choose to buy the same machine again , and the review went back to pre 2000. Many doing follow up reviews 2-3 years latter and still pleased with their purchase.

    After the reviews I went to youtube for some espresso porn and the Livia 90 was flaunting itself there.

    Now if I understand your earlier post , you believe a Hx machine would *not need a PID/temp device attached to it , but a single boiler , even with a E 61 *would benefit in order to maintain constant brew temps ?

    So in these enviromentally challenged time is this machine, *BZ99 *using a 1.5ltr boiler a bit excessive for my 2-300 mls of espresso per day ?

    More Q & A , but I welcome all reponses.

    Cheers
    hotshod

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    Senior Member flynnaus's Avatar
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    Re: My Dilemma...Piccolo / Venus / BZ99 (used)

    Quote Originally Posted by hotshod link=1231564967/0#4 date=1231658557
    1. Do you find the tank size adequate ? It would seem to me that another half litre would be ideal. If you have to remove cups to access a refill *does it become a pain?

    2. *** I dont quite understand the the priming procedure , and what scares me the most is the potential for the Piccolo to run its boiler dry. Surely *auto priming would be a no brainer !
    Am I overly concerned about this issue ? I read it here from an expeirence CS that the boilers were getting cooked .

    3. Is the drip tray adequate and easy to use ..?
    1. Yes, adequate. You will find that one tankful is only enough for up to 2 double shots + 2 x textured milks (600ml) + priming/cleaning. It has a water level safety cut out but its a good idea to keep your eye on it so it doesnt cut out in the middle of a shot or milk texturing. Apparently the Piccolo can be plumbed in but Ive never heard of anyone doing this.

    2. Priming the boiler after steaming is straightfoward and not something the Piccolo user can ignore, but its no great chore IMO. Auto-priming would be nice. It confused me at first but will make sense when you try it on an actual machine

    3. Drip tray is more than adequate. It will easily hold a tankful

    As I said, Id probably tend towards a HX even though Im quite happy with the Piccolo for my small needs. Bang for buck, the BZ99 may be the better buy if the aesthetics isnt that important. The Piccolo has a relatively small footprint so another consideration if space in your kitchen is at a premium.

    I know this is mentioned ad nauseum on CS but have you factored in a decent grinder? Dont underestimate its importance.

    Cheers
    Steve

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    Senior Member GregWormald's Avatar
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    Re: My Dilemma...Piccolo / Venus / BZ99 (used)

    Just what Steve said, although when drinking ristrettos the tank will easily last for 8-10 shots. Steaming takes a lot of water because some is lost each time you drain the steam wand and a bit more on refilling the boiler.

    In addition--priming:

    This is only needed after steaming milk--pumping an espresso will fill the boiler as long as there is water in the tank. (If there is no water in the tank everything stops--so you know it wants filling.)

    When Ive finished steaming the milk, I turn off the steam (push button) and open the steam valve to let off the pressure. This takes about the same length of time it takes to serve the latte or whatever. I then engage the hot water pump (push button) and within 10 or 20 seconds water starts to squirt from the steam arm. Turn off pump, close steam valve--finished.

    I can only see a problem if you have tried to steam *many* drinks at once without a refill or brewing another coffee. And remember it only takes 45 seconds to go from brewing temperature to steaming, so a refill of the tank would barely slow you down enough to get the already-made milk drinks out to the customers.

    I once steamed a full litre of water to boiling point just to see how it would go, and it coped easily, so unless you are using a 2 litre milk jug...

    The E-61 was designed to be temperature stable and I cant see much, if any gain with a PID on the Piccolo. Ive not used an HX machine, but for occasional coffees over the course of the day they seem to be more trouble than the single boiler--they get hot and often need cooling flushes.

    Greg

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    Re: My Dilemma...Piccolo / Venus / BZ99 (used)

    Quote Originally Posted by GregWormald link=1231564967/0#6 date=1231671519
    The E-61 was designed to be temperature stable and I cant see much, if any gain with a PID on the Piccolo. Ive not used an HX machine, but for occasional coffees over the course of the day they seem to be more trouble than the single boiler--they get hot and often need cooling flushes.
    Thats a very generalised statement Greg and not true for all HX machines....

    I agree with what you have written about the E-61/PID Controller combo.... Probably one of the main benefits of using a PID Controller, is that it allows you to adjust the temperature of the Brew Water Boiler on the fly so to speak and with what ever differential exists between the Group and the Boiler, you can tailor your brew water temp to suit the characteristics of a particular bean.

    With the E-61 Group though (due mainly to its mass) this is probably less easily accomplished than with a simpler less massive group design. Personally, if you like the idea of being able to control brew water temperature on the fly, then I would look at machines that utilise either a Dual Boiler system without an E-61 Group or a Dual Purpose Single Boiler design not too dissimilar to a Silvia or Nemox/Imat/ Quaha style of machine.

    Mal.

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    Senior Member GregWormald's Avatar
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    Re: My Dilemma...Piccolo / Venus / BZ99 (used)

    Not a problem on the correction Mal, as I said, Ive not used an HX machine, and Im always prepared to learn.

    I do see lots of threads however about cooling flushes on HXs, especially when theyve been idling for a while, so
    I guess this means the advice about HXs is to clear this for the particular machine before committing money.

    Greg

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    Re: My Dilemma...Piccolo / Venus / BZ99 (used)

    Thanks guys for the input , I really neeed to make a decission and stop this relentless searching of websites.

    It appears every time you look at the next level , add another $300 something better is looking back at you.
    That said , Im still very much split between the Vibiemme Piccolo and Bezzeras BZ99S as my two options. *:-/

    Here is another dilemma,... *I think the Piccolo would serve me very well , but I do like the added features of the Hx BZ99.

    So when Im comparing apples with apples , or should I say E-61 Single boiler machines with other *E-61s can I assume that all E-61 *SB are going to perform equally as well as each other , and it is only build quality, design or appearance *that is a factor of an individuals choice...!

    **** Why I ask is I feel I can buy the Piccolo at a good price,..... a very good price.
    So should I be comparing it other SB E-61 .... namely *The Isomac Zaffia *or the Diadema Perfectta.
    If these 3 were lined up against each other in the "E-61 Single Boiler Stakes Handicap Race" , could I expect personal *preference to win out, but espresso, crema and taste to be a deadheat, presuming they all have the same jockey.

    Remembering that my usage is 2-3 Espressos per day , and my good wife will have 3 milk brews on the W/end.
    I have a liking for the Perfectta but the Piccolo is well ahead in the dollar department. Am I likely to get equal performance from the E61 SB trio???

    Cheers
    hotshod

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    Re: My Dilemma...Piccolo / Venus / BZ99 (used)

    Quote Originally Posted by 7D7A61667D7A71150 link=1231564967/9#9 date=1231760460
    Thanks guys for the input , I really neeed to make a decission and stop this relentless searching of websites.

    It appears every time you look at the next level , add another $300 something better is looking back at you.
    That said , Im still very much split between the Vibiemme Piccolo and Bezzeras BZ99S as my two options. *:-/

    Here is another dilemma,... *I think the Piccolo would serve me very well , but I do like the added features of the Hx BZ99.

    So when Im comparing apples with apples , or should I say E-61 Single boiler machines with other *E-61s can I assume that all E-61 *SB are going to perform equally as well as each other , and it is only build quality, design or appearance *that is a factor of an individuals choice...!

    **** Why I ask is I feel I can buy the Piccolo at a good price,..... a very good price.
    So should I be comparing it other SB E-61 .... namely *The Isomac Zaffia *or the Diadema Perfectta.
    If these 3 were lined up against each other in the "E-61 Single Boiler Stakes Handicap Race" , could I expect personal *preference to win out, but espresso, crema and taste to be a deadheat, presuming they all have the same jockey.

    Remembering that my usage is 2-3 Espressos per day , and my good wife will have 3 milk brews on the W/end.
    I have a liking for the Perfectta but the Piccolo is well ahead in the dollar department. Am I likely to get equal performance from the E61 SB trio???

    Cheers
    hotshod
    Hi Hotshod,

    All the single boiler machines are very good- but the need to be looked after.

    If milk is a priority- you have family, entertain or get frustrated waiting, hold your horses for a HX machine. You may well find a pre-loved 2nd hand machine which will fit your budget. Keep in mind also that every time you upgrade, you lose $$$. Try to get is as close to right first time....

    This may in time save you looking at the greener grass over the fence. Also, there have been a few cooked elements in this class of machine recently. I suspect that this may be due to users pushing them beyond their capabilities.

    One bonus of the Diadema is that it has an inspection plate underneath which allows for a rapid element change. The VBM requires the boiler to be removed. I am unsure what is required on the Isomac as I have never worked on one.

    Enjoy the research ;)

    2mcm

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    Re: My Dilemma...Piccolo / Venus / BZ99 (used)

    Thanks 2mcm

    Today I had a reality check, and re-read all those posting over again concerning my needs, 2 espressos a day + 3 milk *brews per week ..... Plus the wife and I live in a small house with limmitted kitchen bench tops, no kids , no inlaws nearby. The Bezzera was starting slipping from view.

    Whilst still having a soft spot for the BZ99 , I just dont need a Hx machine to produce good Espressos. I came to the conclusion if I could buy the VBM at a good price locally Id go for it, if not the BZ99 was a chance still.
    *As it turned out the retailer was quite keen to move the little VBM on and a deal was struck.!!!! The search was over !!!!... Then he couldnt locate the box and another $50 was deducted + threw in 1kg beans / $30 tamper /back flushing pills / and a blind PF basket. So all in all I think I very pleased with my new toy.

    I havent been able to find a name on it or a manufacturing date so I presume its a Piccolo *or maybe the model before , Levetta , it has *black sides ,and it may have been sitting on display for quite sometime , certainly *the ticketed price was no reflection on current Piccolo prices.

    By weeks end I should have a new grinder and then the real fun starts.

    I would really like to thank all the folks who put forward their valued opinions , some of whom Ill be chasing up looking for more info.

    Cheers
    Greg
    "hotshod"


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    A_M
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    Re: My Dilemma...Piccolo / Venus / BZ99 (used)

    A pic or two would be nice ;)

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    Senior Member flynnaus's Avatar
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    Re: My Dilemma...Piccolo / Venus / BZ99 (used)

    I dont think the name Levetta refers to a certain model. Mine says Vaschetta on the box but was sold as a Piccolo.

    I agree with Chriss comments. Budget mainly dictated my choice at the time of purchase but with the benefit of hindsight, I wish I had held out for an HX. As Chris (2mcm) and others have said, try to get it right the first time.

    Having said that, your decision to go for the (alleged) Piccolo is a good one for your needs which arent dissimilar to my mine. The careful maintenance routine I dont mind because of the problems avoided and the benefits reaped.

    When you get the machine, depending on where you live, I would have someone run a pressure gauge portafilter and Scace device over it. Also do a home barista course (and get a good grinder!!!)

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    Re: My Dilemma...Piccolo / Venus / BZ99 (used)

    Now ya tell me ....

    Just PMd you flynn.....

    First brews are not brilliant, temp appears a bit low.

    I dont know if my retailer can run those pressure tests , more just setup and service.
    Gauge on machine reads about 9.2 during brew extraction .

    Cant really do too much till a decent grinder is available.

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    Senior Member flynnaus's Avatar
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    Re: My Dilemma...Piccolo / Venus / BZ99 (used)

    PM replied

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    Senior Member GregWormald's Avatar
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    Re: My Dilemma...Piccolo / Venus / BZ99 (used)

    Greg,

    9.2 sounds pretty reasonable. You could kick it up to anywhere just under 10, as the consensus seems to be that they lose about .5 or a bit more between the gauge and the brew head, but 9.2 is in the ballpark. The OPV is on the left of the machine close to the front. Clockwise on mine is higher--adjust till the gauge reads what you want (use the blind filter).

    The temp screw is under the cup warmer on the front right. Before adjusting it I recommend pre-heating a foam cup and fast-reading thermometer with boiling water and then pumping 50ml of water through the brew head to get an estimate of the temp. Anything close to 90░ should be fine as the water cools very quickly.

    92-96░ is ideal but I doubt youll be able to be accurate without a special thermometer attached to a group handle. Some people are fussy within .5 of a degree!

    Adjust the temp screw only about 1/12 of a revolution at a time--clockwise on mine is hotter.

    Remember that taste is the ultimate criterion, and without known fresh beans, a good grinder, and a well-judged extraction, the taste will be less than optimal anyway.

    HOWEVER--you should be able, with a bit of practice, to get shots that will put most cafes to shame, and satisfy you. Have fun and enjoy the coffee.

    Greg

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    Re: My Dilemma...Piccolo / Venus / BZ99 (used)

    Here are some pictures.

    As I said , this was a display model , never used , but original packaging was lost and there is no name plate , just a compliance sticker on the boiler shield, Domobar appears but no manufacturing date.

    Definitely a Piccolo or previous version .....






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    TC
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    Re: My Dilemma...Piccolo / Venus / BZ99 (used)

    Quote Originally Posted by 7C7B60677C7B70140 link=1231564967/17#17 date=1231973951
    Here are some pictures.

    As I said , this was a display model , never used , but original packaging was lost and there is no name plate , just a compliance sticker on the boiler shield, Domobar appears but no manufacturing date.

    Definitely a Piccolo or previous version .....

    Interesting hotshod...Your group handle is also non-standard. The VBM does not have offset lugs and the handle is fluted with an open end....

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    Re: My Dilemma...Piccolo / Venus / BZ99 (used)

    Thanks for the heads up 2MCM

    I chased up the supplier and retailer and they found another PF. At least with this new one I dont get burned on the steaming wand when Im inserting it .

    Check it out ...... ridgey didge..???









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    Re: My Dilemma...Piccolo / Venus / BZ99 (used)

    Quote Originally Posted by 3A3D26213A3D36520 link=1231564967/19#19 date=1232149734
    Thanks for the heads up *2MCM

    I chased up the supplier and retailer *and they found another PF. *At least with this new one I dont get burned on the steaming wand when Im inserting it .

    Check it out ...... *ridgey didge..???
    Erm- not authentic VBM, but at least it fits. Its just a cheapie generic. nevertheless, itll do the job fine...

    2mcm

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    Re: My Dilemma...Piccolo / Venus / BZ99 (used)

    A useful discussion for me to ponder over, as I am considering upgrading from my ... saeco via venezia, and are considering similar machines and have similar requirements regarding usage. I also wanted to leapfrog the 6910 and Silvia, as while they both seem like a good step up from what I have also have their limitations. The machines discussed here all seem to adequately cover those shortfalls.

    Ill return to this thread when I have / Mr Rudd hands out more dollars :) :)
    cheers

    Greg

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    Re: My Dilemma...Piccolo / Venus / BZ99 (used)

    Hotshod,

    I reckon youve done well with the Piccolo. Just remember that this is a real coffee maker not a Saeco magic which lets you think you are making great coffee because of the crematic devices used.

    When you get your grinder if you haven;t already you will find a marked difference in the coffee results once you have the settings right.

    Something important to remember is that to get the best out of this sort of machine (including Silvia and up) is that you should haveit turned on for at least an hour before you start making shots.

    1. Turn the machine on
    2. Open up steam wand while it heats (normally what I do on any machine)
    3. Once machine is heated run through a couple of cups of water from the head.
    4. Let machine sit for at least 30 mins.
    5. Pour some seasoning shots
    6. Make yourself a great coffee.
    7. Make yourself another coffee and wonder what the hell went wrong with that shot
    8. Make another shot...........

    I like to get the machine to an ambient heat before use.
    Since we have been leaving our machine always on (at our cafe) the results have improved. I do not recommend leaving the Piccolo on all the time but if you give it a chance to heat all the way through it will give you a better result.

    Cheers
    James C

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    Re: My Dilemma...Piccolo / Venus / BZ99 (used)

    Thanks James .

    Ill take that on board and its pretty much what Im doing now except for opening the steam wand. Do you mean leave it open for .... how long ?? *entire warm up *30+ min. Have to check this option out !

    What I have been doing, is turning on machine , for 10 min , boiler light has gone out by then , .....Next hit the steaming button to raise temp ,..... after it is out, leave for about 5-10min then start to flush thru group head & PF in 10 second *bursts wait 25-45 secs and repeat till boiler light comes on at BOC. When the light goes out at the top of the cycle I think it is pretty much heated up and stable maybe wait another 2-3 min.All that has still taken 25min plus.

    Do you think it is ok to use the heat from steam cycle in this manner ??


    Is there a reason why you wouldnt leave the machine on *all the time ? *I tend to start it at 7am *and let it run till after midday, maybe 2-30pm. I gennerally dont drink espressos after 4pm... (currently Im making an exception)

    Changing the subject slightly ...
    Ive had this machine for just on a week,( basicly know nothing) .... I *reckon the boiler could do with another 200mls, even though the temp is very consistant between TOC & BOC ,... and I know my technique is using more water than it should, I also think the water tank could *do with another half a litre + + . ( 3 or 4 ltr tanks must be wonderful) I have re adjusted the water cut-off which was leaving 1.2 litres in the tank unusable.... :D
    It still seems a constant task of keeping water up to it. This is also at a stage where Im tossing away a few dud brews and going again. This will improve *when I have the technique down pat and just make my 2-3 shots per day.

    At this stage I definitely bought the right machine for our use. The Piccolo has no trouble at all heating milk for my wifes occasional cappuccino and its a perfect machine for an espresso fiend. A Hx machine is not needed in this house at the moment , though a bigger water tank you be appreciated.

    hotshod



  25. #25
    Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Posts
    32

    Re: My Dilemma...Piccolo / Venus / BZ99 (used)

    Quote Originally Posted by 3E3922253E3932560 link=1231564967/23#23 date=1232333188
    Do you mean leave it open for .... how long ??entire warm up30+ min. Have to check this option out !
    Just leave the steam on until a little dribble of water comes out of the steam tip. This seems to help the thermostat kick in correctly. (look having said that I only assume the Piccolo works the same way)

    I am getting a couple in this week, one for doing demos. Salvatore (ECA) has run through the Piccolo with me and it seems to work the same as other machines.

    What I am basically suggesting is to make sure the machine has an ambient heat. This seems to give a better flavour. I am not entirely sure of the science behind this but from experience I have found that its all about maintaining consistent heat all the way through the process not just getting the flow from the head right. I even make sure my tamp is warm an obviously the cups.

    As far as leaving the machine on all the time. Because it is not plumbed and has a relatively small boiler I would probably not leave it on all the time. Although i do tend to suggest leaving the Giotto or the Vibiemme on. You may go through a few more seals this way but you will save on coffee in the long run. I am open to comments on this by the way as I am still learning after 20 odd years in the industry.

    James C



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