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Thread: Which machine is right for me?

  1. #1
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    Which machine is right for me?

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hi all,
    Long time Listener, first time caller.

    First off, I apologise for creating another "Which machine should I buy!?" Thread, I know they are here a lot.

    I am currently in the market for my first home machine (And grinder, looking at the Rocky).

    Originally I was looking at the basic but able Gaggia Classic as per reviews on CS, then I considered the fact I may want to upgrade this sooner then later, and it would be a wise decision to purchase something thats a little more. Then the Silvia fell into my sights and after a lot of reading It seems this machine is quite unforgiving to new-comers and it is also suggested to purchase a PID for it (to assist in taking out one of the "variables"), which adds quite a bit to the overall cost.

    While speaking to Chris over at Talk Coffee (Who has been very helpful!) it was suggested that I look into this machine, the Vibiemme Domobar Piccolo instead as the price of the silvia + PID is close to the cost of the VDP. Now this is pushing my budget a fair bit, and its a long way from the original Gaggia classic I was looking at, and I do not doubt that he knows his stuff, but I am just after a few opinions before purchasing a machine.

    As of next week I will be attending a short course at the local TAFE/Skillstasmania (whatever they are called now :) ) to hopefully help me with my quest for the perfect shot. (No point getting a nice machine and wasting it with my current skillset!)

    So, after that boring backstory, would purchasing this machine be a good idea/purchase ? It is quite a bit more then I have budgeted for, but I am ever so tempted by it. Any advice or comments are muchly appreciated.

    Cheers,
    Mitch

  2. #2
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    Re: Which machine is right for me?

    It is fairly easy to produce good coffee (and often great coffee) with the Silvia, even as a novice and without a PID. "Temperature surfing" is not as complex as it is often described, just draw water until the thermostat comes on, grind/tamp your coffee, do a quick cooling flush and its pretty much right.

    The Silvia tends to hold its value if your plan is to upgrade later.

    I have not used any other machines.

  3. #3
    Senior Member greenman's Avatar
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    Re: Which machine is right for me?

    Hi Mitch, I think the Piccolo has a 700ml boiler compared to Silvias 300ml so you would have more steam power plus it has the E-61 group which is a lot more stable than Silvia and you would not have to temp surf. Silvia is a great machine and once learning her little vagaries great shots can be produced, buttttttt if you can manage the Piccolo I dont think you would be getting upgraditis for quite some time.
    Good luck with you choice
    cheers gm

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    Re: Which machine is right for me?

    As I understand it the VBM is still a single boiler machine, yes it is better than a Silvia, but the difficulties with Silvia do seem a bit over emphasized....(Although I have never used a VBM)
    If you could be making a lot of milk drinks, and If you think you might upgrade to a HX machine sometime in the future, so that you can steam milk immediately after or during brewing, then the Silvia or Classic would be a good starting point now, and later on upgrade to HX machine.
    If espresso is predominantly your drink and milk drinks few and far between then the VBM would definitely suit you for a long time.
    Another option might be to get a better grinder than Rocky, which will last as long as you make coffee, and buy Classic now, then upgrade to better machine later.
    Classic will lose more value than Silvia when you upgrade.
    Silvia will work quite well without PID, although is handy to have temp display, which can be done relatively cheaply, there has been some posts on this before. *Upgrading to PID later on is more affordable and should increase the value of Silvia on 2nd hand market.

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    Re: Which machine is right for me?

    Hi,
    Thanks for the responses.
    The machine will mainly be used for Cappuccinos and espressos, but only a few at a time (1-2). Regardless of my choice I do not see me upgrading the machine in the near future and am hoping to grab something that will last me a while.

    The classic seems like a fair bit of work to get it up to the standard of similar machines, eg. the steam wand mod, Pressure mod, etc. (If I know the machine can perform better, I wouldnt be happy until I did them - personal flaw :) ). Purchasing a better grinder may be an option, but I think I would prefer to upgrade this down the line, as it would be around 12+ months before I would be looking to upgrade the machine.

  6. #6
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    Re: Which machine is right for me?

    [split] [link=http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1238041000/0#0][splithere][/link][splithere_end]

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    Re: Which machine is right for me?

    Viper,you are on coffee snobs remember. There is always better and the need to maintain your limit is totally up to you. I have been using he Gaggia Classic now for 3 years. Sure I could do better, I dont get coffee of Smith St (Melbourne) standard, but I do get better than a lot of cafes and I get it at home (after some practice and dvise from this site re how much coffee to use, the grind and the steaming approach on the Classic.

    So, work out what you want and what you can afford. Classic works well for me, good to learn on, cheap (relatively) and nice coffee. Pay more and will get better, but will you feel the pain in the bank balance?

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    Re: Which machine is right for me?

    I decided to go with the VBM + Rocky from Talk Coffee. I cant wait for it to arrive.

    Thanks for the opinions :)

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    Re: Which machine is right for me?

    I recieved my machine Monday morning :)

    I am having a lot of trouble getting to the 30ml in 25 - 30 seconds though! I feel I am fairly consistent with dose and tamp, and have sat a 10c piece on top of the puck to measure the gap, its just touching (ever so slight indentation).

    I have fiddled with the grind and found that my "zero" is at about 4, and the closest I get to the 30ml/30s is with it set to 5, where it takes about 20seconds.. I then moved it back up thinking that cant be right and at about 8 I am getting 18seconds/30ml. Should I keep reading and working on my tamp/dose? I have read so many different guides, just need to think about something other then coffee for a bit I think! * :-?

    Its so heartbreaking tipping espresso after espresso down the sink. *:(

    -Mitch

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    Re: Which machine is right for me?

    Im assuming that with your new machine were some freshly roasted beans and your not using whatever you found in the cupboard?

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    Re: Which machine is right for me?

    I recieved 250g with the machine from Talk Coffee, I have ordered another 1kg of beans from BeanBay which Im hoping to arrive soon.

    I do have about 500g of dodgy Supermarket beans I have been using to find the difference in consistency for my grinder, I have been using them a fair bit tonight though purely for testing.

  12. #12
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    Re: Which machine is right for me?

    it will be much harder to run dial in your grinder and method using supermarket beans. dont bother. really. i know its hard but youre going to waste some good coffee at first. thats normal.

    If youve bought the piccolo, I found the e-61 brewing tips method under "$1500-3000" section to be helpful....fill, tap once or twice, fill, level, lay heavy tamper on top (apply no pressure other than gravity), fill, level, tamp lightly, tap, tamp heavy. thats just me though.

    use fresh beans though and it will be much easier.

    sd

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    Re: Which machine is right for me?

    I did get the piccolo, I have found that even at the fill line (on the double basket) it is to close (read: touching) the shower screen.

    Ill have a hunt for that thread, practice my consistency using dodgy beans, then try the pour when my BeanBay ones arrive. Hopefully that will work out okay? :D

  14. #14
    Senior Member flynnaus's Avatar
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    Re: Which machine is right for me?

    You have to remember that 30ml in 30 secs is a rough rule of thumb. How do the shots taste (not the dodgy supermarket bean ones). Ive poured 30ml in 20 seconds and got a reasonable tasting shot.

    Do a home barista course where you can take your own machine along or book Chris for an hour one-on-one session. I went through the same thing as you on my Piccolo and getting instructions while someone watched me on my machine made a big difference.

    Above all - be patient. I found it frustrating to hear the seasoned campaigners on CS talk about their successes while I was pouring rubbish.

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    Re: Which machine is right for me?

    The taste is okay, not terrific. I have attended a Barista course but unfortunately it wasnt BYO machine, and we didnt end up looking at the grind much at all..
    I am unaware of a Launceston/Tasmania based course that allows you to bring your own machine.

    Its not really viable for me to get up to VIC to see Chris either, which is a shame.

  16. #16
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    Re: Which machine is right for me?

    Quote Originally Posted by 724D54415617240 link=1238026218/14#14 date=1239147214
    The taste is okay, not terrific. I have attended a Barista course but unfortunately it wasnt BYO machine, and we didnt end up looking at the grind much at all..
    I am unaware of a Launceston/Tasmania based course that allows you to bring your own machine.

    Its not really viable for me to get up to VIC to see Chris either, which is a shame.

    Doesnt sound like much of a course to me Viper :-?

    Might be worth grabbing a flight across the ditch. http://www.espressocompany.com.au/how-to.htm is also an excellent training resource.

    2mcm

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    Re: Which machine is right for me?

    Yeah.. Problem is I wouldnt be able to cart my machine over to the mainland easily at all. Might be one in Hobart or even one hidden away locally. Just a matter of finding them!

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    Re: Which machine is right for me?

    Perhap if there is a good cafe in tassy, then (for a fee) they "may" let you take in your machine a/hours for a course. Its probably at least worth asking the question.

    But as per above, you simply wont get any inkling as to what the machine with stale beans

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    Re: Which machine is right for me?

    Good news! I went into town in my lunch break, and found a store that does allow me to bring in my own machine. Even better - They are having a VBM rep in town next week and is going to show me the ins and outs of the machine.

  20. #20
    Senior Member flynnaus's Avatar
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    Re: Which machine is right for me?

    Thats good news. I hope its worthwhile in that they are familiar with the machine. The VBM rep will no doubt help but the bean quality and grinder are highly important parts of the good shot equation.

    Another option is to pay Chris a visit at his shop. He will more than likely have a VBM demo machine and Rocky to show you.

  21. #21
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    Re: Which machine is right for me?

    Youre very welcome to pop in if you ever do come up to Melbourne, Viper...We have a Piccolo on the bench and are happy to pull a few shots with you ;)

    Wonder who the VBM rep is :-?. Dont think Sal is going to Tassie...Might be a self appointed one ;D

    Chris

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    Re: Which machine is right for me?

    Thanks Chris, Ill be sure to pop in if I ever find myself in Melbourne.

    I didnt get a name for the VBM rep, apparently its someone coming to service a few big machines and show the owner how to do it properly, so they are coming down from the mainland (Might just be a certified service person?) *shrug*

    Information wires might of got crossed somewhere though. Regardless, any help I can get will be excellent - Cant wait to hear back from them with a time.

    Mitch

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    Re: Which machine is right for me?

    hey there viper3.just a thought. as you are probably are already aware, many rocky owners have modded their machines to take out the play in the upper burr carrier, which apparently makes the grind much more consistent and hence better tasting coffee! im not sure if youve done this already or not? search on here for teflon tape modwhich will explain it fully. as a quick fix though, hold the hopper firmly to one side while grinding, pull a shot and see if that makes a differerence. all the best!



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