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Thread: Are home espresso machines as capable as commercial machines

  1. #1
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    Are home espresso machines as capable as commercial machines

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hello Fellow CSers

    My question is the subject "Are home espresso machines as capable as commercial machines"

    The reason Im asking this is because no matter what I do I just cant seem to get the same results as a reputable coffee shop.
    I have even purchased the same bean the coffee shop (which roasts their own) was using on this particular day to achieve the same or as close as possible result.

    1. I purchased a short black to see the result I was aiming for.
    2. I purchased the same bean that I was served.
    3. I adjusted my grind to 60ml in 30 sec for a double basket.

    After doing this I pulled the shoot but it didnt have the thick texture like the cafe. Also watching the shot being pulled at the cafe was a beautiful sight, it look nice and syrupy yet when I pulled the shot it look watery and thin.

    Im not sure what Im doing wrong or if I expect to much of my Expobar. I would appreciate any advice.

  2. #2
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    Re: Are home espresso machines as capable as commercial machines

    are they doing 60ml in 30 on a double B to?

    have you tried grinding finer and tamping less?
    up dosing or down dosing?

    do you think you might be getting some channeling

    with your list of equipment and this post made me go *:o :-?

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    Re: Are home espresso machines as capable as commercial machines

    The basket they used looked deeper than my double and the P/F also looked bigger.

    No I havent really tried grinding finer and tamping less, although I have ground finer and tamped the same (approx 10kg) then end up getting no shot at all.
    If I was to grind finer what king of tamp pressure (kg) would I be looking at.

    When I used the D/B with a naked P/F it all seemed too looked good. When I used the D/B with a double spout for two shots is when it looked watery.

    I agree when you say "list of equipment". That is why Im now asking because I know Im missing something here.

  4. #4
    TC
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    Re: Are home espresso machines as capable as commercial machines

    Time for some training luvacap. Just because you got 60 in 30, it doesnt mean you hit the sweet spot...

    Find the right girl or bloke to show you how to get to the next level of espresso ;)

    2mcm

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    Senior Member GregWormald's Avatar
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    Re: Are home espresso machines as capable as commercial machines

    Can you get the shop to let you watch the whole process closely, investigate their equipment, feel the actual grinds between your fingers, etc?

    Greg

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    Re: Are home espresso machines as capable as commercial machines

    Hi Luvacap,

    Im no expert but 60 mils in 30 seconds. isnt that a bit too fast? :-?
    I always thought your suppose to aim for 30 mils in 25-30 seconds. Maybe thats why its so watery ::)

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    Re: Are home espresso machines as capable as commercial machines

    Quote Originally Posted by 6F607B776F6A6F780E0 link=1263369938/5#5 date=1263373582
    I always thought your suppose to aim for 30 mils in 25-30 seconds.
    Thats for a single (in full the "rule" is 7g + 9 bar @ 92*C x 30sec = 30ml)

    For a double only 14g and 60ml change.

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    A_M
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    Re: Are home espresso machines as capable as commercial machines

    Quote Originally Posted by 525D464A52575245330 link=1263369938/5#5 date=1263373582
    Hi Luvacap,

    Im no expert but 60 mils in 30 seconds. isnt that a bit too fast? :-?
    I always thought your suppose to aim for 30 mils in 25-30 seconds. Maybe thats why its so watery ::)
    These values are a ROUGH guide... They are not the be all.

    Double shot basket = 50 - 60 Total volume

    Single shot basket = 25 - 30

    But its whats in the cup... THAT counts..


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    Re: Are home espresso machines as capable as commercial machines

    It could be that my beans a now very fresh +- 5 days but the good pours get that real thick syrup i like to see and have a real body about them. I do give every shot a double ristretto but and dont split a pour....

    when i say lighter tamp it would be say 5/8s -> 6/8s *of when i was buying fresh roasted commercial beans from say The SOURCE / Sibonis / Alchemy / ??? in SYD

    your comment about the twin spout / Naked seems strange is it the same basket, or two diff? Could that be your issue? A basket / tamp / dose problem?

    i dont have a naked but if i get those swirly rats tail watery pours i always think it is channeling (if the dose looks right)

    As 2MCM suggests, a bit of hands on with someone might help you a bit

    frustrating fun hey :)

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    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    Re: Are home espresso machines as capable as commercial machines

    Quote Originally Posted by 2336777177420 link=1263369938/0#0 date=1263369938
    Im not sure what Im doing wrong or if I expect to much of my Expobar.
    Im not sure what you are doing wrong either and cant see from here.

    I have an Expobar Leva and would put the coffee it produces up against most "coffee shops".

    Ive done a comparison using the same beans (mine) against my Expobar and a 3 group LM.

    The first attempt the "barista" deemed acceptable from the LM was no better than anything my Expobar could produce.

    Mind you, after I commented as such, the boss nudged the "barista" out of the way and had a go.

    That shot was the best espresso Ive tasted.

    He was nice enough to say that he had a very expensive machine and that might have made a bit of a difference.

    The point is that you can have a 3 group LM OR an Expobar Leva and not get the best out of either.
    Or you can strive for excellence on either,
    Its possible on both.

    Dont give up; the answer is out there somewhere.

  11. #11
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    Re: Are home espresso machines as capable as commercial machines

    Quote Originally Posted by 732C342229222E272724242C202F410 link=1263369939/3#3 date=1263371145
    Time for some training luvacap. Just because you got 60 in 30, it doesnt mean you hit the sweet spot...

    Find the right girl or bloke to show you how to get to the next level of espresso ;)

    2mcm
    yeah, sounds to me like some training might be in order. Personally Ive found it indispensable. Maybe the Coffebarun can help? If they cant offer training I know who else Id ask in Adelaide.

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    Re: Are home espresso machines as capable as commercial machines

    Quote Originally Posted by 4448414C4C45290 link=1263369939/8#8 date=1263375452
    your comment about the twin spout / Naked seems strange is it the same basket, or two diff?
    What I was trying to describe here was I used the D/B with the naked P/F which seemed to look ok when I pulled the shot but when I placed the D/B into my P/F which had a double spout i.e. splitting the shot, it seemed watery.

    Quote Originally Posted by 1B445C4A414A464F4F4C4C444847290 link=1263369939/3#3 date=1263371145
    Time for some training luvacap.
    Quote Originally Posted by 4148534A414C44290 link=1263369939/10#10 date=1263383116
    yeah, sounds to me like some training might be in order.
    Yes I think you guys are right. Im more than happy to have some training so I can start to use the equipment I have to its full.

    Thank you all for your advice, this is one of the reasons I rate this forum/website so highly.

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    Senior Member GregWormald's Avatar
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    Re: Are home espresso machines as capable as commercial machines

    Hi LuvaCap,

    Sorry I didnt notice you were in Adelaide--give me a quick PM if you want some hands-on on my machine--Im no professional barista trainer but I reckon I get pretty good coffee and Im happy to help where I can.

    Greg

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    Re: Are home espresso machines as capable as commercial machines

    Quote Originally Posted by 704552506058455A565B53370 link=1263369939/12#12 date=1263416641
    Im happy to help where I can.
    Thanks Greg that is very kind of you. I have received a PM with and an outlet for some training. So I have put steps in place to attend and get some real hands on with my equipment. Thanks to all for your help.

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    Re: Are home espresso machines as capable as commercial machines

    Seems to me that there are two questions here:

    1. "Why havent I been able to duplicate the results from this shop?"
    2. "Are home espresso machines as capable as commercial machines?"

    In response to the first, I think that you have been given fantastic advice and I would be that spending some one on one time with a good barista would leave you feeling that your equipment is very capable. Based on the few things that you have said, I would make the following guesses:

    a. the shop sounds like it might be pretty good, in which case they might be using a really nice grinder like a Robur, which I tend to find makes it a little easier to get great shots;
    b. heavier body often means proportionally more coffee for the same amount of water - grind coarser, dose more - the shop might well be using larger baskets than you are using.

    Your machine might well not be as good as the shops machine, but the machine is only one part of the equation, and often an overrated one. I think that in most cases where coffee isnt an issue, its fair to say that grind and dose are the prime suspects.

    In response to the second question of "Are home espresso machines as capable as commercial machines?", Id say that there are a number of aspects to look at ...

    1. Is it possible to generalise about "home machines" and "commercial machines"?

    Id say that a $100 sunbeam and a $7,500 GS/3 are "home machines." They will clearly not perform the same. Id say that a crappy burn box 30 year old heat exchanger machine and a state of the art multiboiler PID saturated group machines are both "commercial machines". They will clearly not perform the same. There are bad commercial machines and there are bad home machines.

    2. Can we be more specific?

    Even if you have two machines of the same model and brand, importers, distributors, techs and owners can set them up differently. For example, apparently in the USA some Expobar domestic machines were sold without thermosyphon restrictors and, consequently, ran really hot. Had you taken that as a given for all such expobar HXs of those models and passed up buying them over the last few years in Australia based on American reviews, you might now be irritated to learn that at least some Australian Expobars (if not all sold in recent memory) actually come with appropriate thermosyphon restrictors. To give another example, you might have a machine that is otherwise pretty good, but happens to be set to a brew pressure that is too high.

    3. What do you mean by "capable"?

    If youre talking about throughput, clearly a five group commercial machine with multiple baristas working it will out-perform a single-boiler domestic machine in terms of the speed at which coffees are produced. If youre talking about the ability to make minor tweaks, some machines offer temperature control, others dont. If youre talking about the ability to get massive body, some machines (and some machines when set up in some ways) are better than others ... but they might well sacrifice something to get that huge body, like, for example, flavour.

    4. So we cant answer the question?

    No, Ill stop being a smartarse. My impression is this: good commercial equipment makes it easier for the barista to control what is happening with the coffee than good domestic equipment (with the exception of the LM GS/3). For example, if you have a multiboiler PID saturated group machine, you can dial in the brew temperature to suit a specific coffee. If you have a domestic HX, you might be able to change the brew temperature somewhat, but if you can it wont be as easy as simply dialing in a brew temperature. I have to say that I think that the better domestic heat exchanger machines seem to deliver shots that are quite similar to some of the decent commercial heat exchanger machines.

    5. So good commercial machines are better than good home machines?

    Well, maybe, but chances are that most of the time that will be irrelevant. First of all, the coffee that you use sets the limits on how good your shots are going to be. Second, the barista has to know what they are doing, and its not actually that simple. I can tell you that it isnt uncommon for me to have a coffee at a place that has great equipment and fairly good coffee and it still tastes bad. Ultimately, you wont get good coffee unless you have a barista that is experienced enough to have tasted good coffee and uses their palate to guide what they are doing. Every now and then, I find myself faced with a really enthusiastic barista that talks about how they manipulated the dose and brew temperature for this coffee ... but what is in the cup sucks. Thats not the fault of the equipment. For example, if you can adjust brew temperature on an espresso machine, you have a 50/50 chance of adjusting it to make the coffee better or worse. Conversely, every now and then I find myself faced with a new barista that delivers simply stunning coffee just by adjusting grind and dose based on taste. Frankly, a lot of the time the limiting factor is the baristas ability to taste, think and make adjustments. This is partly experience, partly frame of reference and partly honesty in tasting. Third, the grinder - for example, a Robur will probably deliver a better cup more easily than a Super Jolly. Then there are a myriad of other factors, of which the machine is just one.

    Hope that helps!

    Luca

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    Re: Are home espresso machines as capable as commercial machines

    Awesome response

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    A_M
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    Re: Are home espresso machines as capable as commercial machines

    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    Quote Originally Posted by 2E372123420 link=1263369939/14#14 date=1263635690
    5. *So good commercial machines are better than good home machines?

    Well, maybe, but chances are that most of the time that will be irrelevant. *First of all, the coffee that you use sets the limits on how good your shots are going to be. *Second, the barista has to know what they are doing, and its not actually that simple. *I can tell you that it isnt uncommon for me to have a coffee at a place that has great equipment and fairly good coffee and it still tastes bad. *Ultimately, you wont get good coffee unless you have a barista that is experienced enough to have tasted good coffee and uses their palate to guide what they are doing. *Every now and then, I find myself faced with a really enthusiastic barista that talks about how they manipulated the dose and brew temperature for this coffee ... but what is in the cup sucks. *Thats not the fault of the equipment. *For example, if you can adjust brew temperature on an espresso machine, you have a 50/50 chance of adjusting it to make the coffee better or worse. *Conversely, every now and then I find myself faced with a new barista that delivers simply stunning coffee just by adjusting grind and dose based on taste. *Frankly, a lot of the time the limiting factor is the baristas ability to taste, think and make adjustments. *This is partly experience, partly frame of reference and partly honesty in tasting. *Third, the grinder - for example, a Robur will probably deliver a better cup more easily than a Super Jolly. *Then there are a myriad of other factors, of which the machine is just one.

    Hope that helps!

    Luca
    Well put..

    I think a few of us have often commented... PEBFAG, however like always... It is easer to flame teh machine..



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