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Thread: Vibiemme Piccolo Vs Electro Microcasa semi

  1. #1
    ejg is offline
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2013

    Vibiemme Piccolo Vs Electro Microcasa semi

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hey guys,

    I've had a secondhand em6910 and using a Sunbeam em0480.

    I'm looking to upgrade to most likely another secondhand machine....

    If anyone has had experience with either or both of these machines I'd love their take on them.

    I'm planning to upgrade my grinder as well so don't worry.

    The things I make most are espresso and Latte.

    I make low volume amounts of coffee so am looking for something that won't be used that much but will last a long time.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Hi EJG

    I have no experience with the VBM but do have a micro casa semi. Comparison wise, i cannot help, but am happy to share experiences with the MC semi.

    Overall, I am very happy with the machine. It is now a couple of years old and has been faultless. Mine is copper/brass, so finger prints and scratches do show up more readily than the chromed model, but that doesn't bother me. The machine has an exposed boiler and the steam wand is not cool touch, they both get hot. I have not burnt myself, but I was cautious the first couple of weeks ... the machine doesn't radiate a lot of heat. The porta-filter is heavy and well made, and the machine always attracts attention.

    Steam performance is more than adequate.
    Brew and extraction quality is excellent ... there is some discussion which refers to the MC Semi not coping well with over dosing, and I believe this is correct ... the occasional damp puck can be experienced, but this seems to have little effect on extraction.
    I generally leave the machine for twenty minutes to warm up, and bleed off some steam after about ten minutes ...
    Large mugs will struggle to fit under the PF.

    Some say it's expensive, to me the value is in the performance, and the performance is superb.
    It's a beautiful looking machine and the extraction and steaming are excellent.

    The things that bug me:
    A few things, all minor ..
    - The water tank is on top of the machine and as the water heats up condensation will form on the underside of the lid .. when you take the lid off, you need to hold it horizontal else water will drip out ... yup, it's not a big deal and there is no way to stop it so it's just something to be aware of. the water will simply drip on your machine or bench, so it's not going to zap anything.
    - I used to obsess about keeping it all shiny ... I am no longer obsessed, but I still clean off any marks if I notice them when I walk past .. don't buy one if you are easily distracted or have a pet magpie.
    - The copper/brass will scratch up after some use .. you cannot avoid it. It does give the machine some further character, but the first scratch is mortifying
    - The drip tray is small .. one or two brews and a back flush is all it will cope with .. it's easy to empty, though
    - The machine is hand made ... pipes and such may not be 100 percent straight .. personally, i like that but some may not
    - The boiler doesn't auto fill - you have control over the boiler water temp stability, but you can run it dry ... don't forget to check the water level before switching on
    - As per above, the water level is via a glass sight tube .. it does fluctuate a little, but I keep mine about 2/3rds to 3/4 full

    I wouldn't hesitate to buy another, but I would suggest you spend some time playing with the machine before making your decision. I know Jetblack can supply, maybe give them a call.
    Elektra machines are (to me) something very special ... seeing a belle epoch in the flesh is truly beautiful, and the MC semi does give a similar feeling. That it can produce such high quality shots and look so good is a bonus.

    I had so many machines on my short list but in the end went with the MC semi .. and have zero regrets.
    If I were to grab another machine, it would be an Elektra 60s or maybe the funky new lever Chris (talk coffee) is discussing, but I would consider neither an upgrade on the MC Semi ...

    Again, spend an hour or so playing with one before you buy and make sure this is the machine for you ... If you buy it and don't like it and decide to sell it, send me a PM and give me first option at buying it from you !!


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