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Thread: Controlling HX machines

  1. #1
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    Controlling HX machines

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    How to control each factor to perfect espresso coffee in a prosumer coffee machine? I own Expobar Office Control coffee machine.
    What is your opinion about the optimum pump and boiler pressure in those HX machines,

    Kovacs

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    Re: Controlling HX machines

    Kovacs:

    The optimum temperature is 86 - 94 degrees and the ideal boiler pressure is 8.0 - 15.0 bar.

    This is the range of opinions!

    PS. I use 8.5bar and 90 - 94 degrees (total temperature variation top to bottom of the boiler cycle 1.0Bar - 1.4Bar). Note that boiler pressure is not necessarily accurate unless you have calibrated it against a reference pressure gauge.

    Bezzera recommend 8 - 9 bar and 86 - 89 degrees.

    Most manufacturers of commercial hx manchines recommend about the 90 degree mark.

    94C is recommended by people in Seattle but in my opinion must be the absolute highest if not beyond the temperature at which some decomposition of the coffee oils occurs (as evidenced by a black slick on the shot).

    I am thinking in fact of dropping my machine back a degree or so.

    Grant


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    Re: Controlling HX machines

    correction brew pressure is 8.0 - 15.0 bar

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    Re: Controlling HX machines

    If you go by the Italian standards, the brewing pressure should be in the 8-10 bar range. Brew temperature should be in the 88-94 deg C range. Alan Frew lists some of these espresso factoids in an article he wrote on CoffeeGeek. http://www.coffeegeek.com/opinions/alanfrew/08-22-2003

    As for controlling your machine, the Expobars are based on an E61-like head, so the best source for information on how to drive this machine might be Dan Kehn article on HX machines that can be found on the Home-barista site.: http://www.home-barista.com/hx-love.html

    Plenty to consider in these articles.

    Cheers,

    Mark.

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    Re: Controlling HX machines

    I found Dans article really helpful - so far Ive just been trying to figure out how much to flush. I really thought it would be a bit more obvious when the expobar is doing the water dance, and when it settles to a cooler flow, but its actually harder than I thought!

    Well, thats my excuse for not writing a review yet, as Mal suggested last week...

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    Re: Controlling HX machines

    Mattyj,

    Have you got a thermocouple? I bought a cheap one from Jaycar for about $23. What I ended up doing was threading the probe through my PF with the single spout and into a double basket with a small hole drilled into it. The main thing I got out of this (other than a couple of burns) was the volume of water I need to flush before brewing after the machine has been idle for any more than a couple of minutes. Now as Im distributing and tamping I flush the necessary amount of water from the Diadema (usually 250mls) to get it down to 92-3*C.

    Not perfect but works well enough.

    MMM Thermofilter

    -Stephen-

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    Re: Controlling HX machines

    matt,

    i will be interested in how you go. my impression of a lot of these prosumer machines is that the hx is just a coil in the boiler which will make flushing an interesting exercise.

    you really have to have a good thermocouple to sort this out and also tools like a portafilter pressure gauge can be useful.

    Grant

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    Re: Controlling HX machines

    I made my own PF pressure gauge. In the end it was surprisingly easy. My machine was running at a brew pressure of 11.5 bar. I adjusted it down to about 9.5 bar. Cant say it has been a major revelation, but it seems easier to pour some nice slow oozing pours that are noticably smoother.

    -Stephen-

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    Re: Controlling HX machines

    Matt:

    Just for reference, the Bezzera is an hx machine and really requires no purging at all or very little. They are all very different. It has a proper hx in it which allows mixing of hot and cold water and not just a coil with one way in and out and no mixing.

    The La Cimbali also has a proper hx in it where some mixing occurs.

    Grant

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    Re: Controlling HX machines


    "The La Cimbali also has a proper hx in it where some mixing occurs."

    Cimbalis also sport stainless steel boilers. Theyre pretty much as the top with regards to build quality.

    Of course theres always La Marzocco...

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    Re: Controlling HX machines

    but it seems easier to pour some nice slow oozing pours
    Sharkboy,

    Reminds me of the time I got footrot in the tropics...

    Grant

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    Re: Controlling HX machines

    Just one small note about La Cimbali.

    If we are talking about the "Junior" which I guess we are as it is the model most likely to be used in high end domestic circumstances, it has a "tinned" copper boiler and due to the silvery external look of the boiler, it could be mistaken for being stainless steel, when it is not...atleast, not that I know of.

    It is very well & solidly built but in some ways it could be said it is overbuilt...particularly the overly technical boiler auto fill set up as fitted to a Junior D1 we have in here at the moment.

    Regardz,
    FC.

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    Re: Controlling HX machines

    FC:

    Mmm. I looked at a pic of one and you may be right, it looked like stainless and I assumed it was as did Sparky. Something to be said for stainless although attaching dissimilar metals to ie ie copper would not be a good idea.

    What do you mean overly technical? The brain box or auto refill box on my Bezzera is simple. In any case it just seems to prime the pump occasionally and then refill when the level drops and cuts out when it hits the high level probe.

    Grant

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    Re: Controlling HX machines

    My cimbali junior boiler although shiny on the outside is either brass or copper, probably copper as FC suggested as the water has a distinct "blueish" tint for some time after periodic descaling with citric acid although that could be from HX or element.

    No autofill on mine to worry about. :)

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    Re: Controlling HX machines

    Oops,

    said boiler auto fill...meant to say auto cup level!

    Thanks for that ;)

    Regardz,
    FC.

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    Re: Controlling HX machines

    Maurice,

    Does your S1 have a brushed finish or a shiny finish?

    Mine is shiny but I dont think thts the norm....

    (PS: HB (Dan Kehn) review on the D1/S1 says the boiler is solid stainless)

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    Re: Controlling HX machines

    Tim,

    Re: (PS: HB (Dan Kehn) review on the D1/S1 says the boiler is solid stainless).

    If it was solid stainless, it would be even heavier & there would be no void inside to fill with water & steam...sorry, couldnt help marself ;)


    Pull the cup tray, undo the 4 screws that hold the top plate and remove the plate to reveal the inside of your machine. The boiler will most probably appear a dull silvery grey colour. Get a sharp object like a screw driver and scratch the surface of the boiler. You wont hurt it...keep scratching.

    If you keep coming up with nice bright white metal, then its stainless steel.

    If instead as you keep scratching it first changes to a pink colour, you will most probably find that if you keep going you will scratch down to copper.

    Reassemble and enjoy, another espresso coffee machine myth busted, one way or another!

    Regardz,
    FC.

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    Re: Controlling HX machines

    Yeah, I was going by the Dan Kehn article as well. Chromed copper seems more likely. Chrome plating is relatively cheap and prodces a nice finish.

    Rather than scratch a pristine looking boiler, you could just estimate it by the difference in thermal conductivity. Stainless steel is a very poor conductor of heat, while copper is one of the best. If you ever pull apart your machine. Take the boiler and pour in some hot water. If it is copper, it will quickly become too hot to touch. In comparison, the stainless steel boiler will remain cool in areas not in contact with the water. Thats why they use stainless steel to make vacuum flasks.

    I discovered just how good copper is as a heat conductor buy inadvertently conducting this test. While cleaning out my boiler, I held it under the hot water tap and ... ouch! :o ::)

  19. #19
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    Re: Controlling HX machines

    Yeah awwwlright FC.......there is some space inside for water Im sure! ;D
    I guess it makes sense that the boiler would be copper or brass (why would you use stainless).
    Anyway, Im not taking the cover off to find out cause Im too busy making great coffees for myself! (and I dont care)
    Ill leave the scientific analysis, PIDS, FIDS, WIDS, WIDGETS and thermocouples to others.
    I just love roastin it, makin it and drinkin it!!!

    :P


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    Re: Controlling HX machines

    Tim:

    You chicken... wuss. Just get the hacksaw out and cut the bloody thing in half and have a look.

    Be a man!

    :)

    Grant


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    Re: Controlling HX machines

    Grant!
    Youve just described 50% of my whole toolkit!
    (the other half is a hammer)

    :)

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    Re: Controlling HX machines

    Quote Originally Posted by Tim link=1125312522/15#20 date=1125985998
    Grant!
    Youve just described 50% of my whole toolkit!
    (the other half is a hammer)

    :)
    Geez Tim,

    You sound like this guy who used to work in our workshop.... Always came to the job with this nicely maintained toolbox and very tidy work gear. 8-)

    When he opened the toolbox though, all that was in it were two bloody great hammers, one about twice the weight of the other; a dirty big screwdriver with a hexagonal shaft so that you could exert extra leverage if needed; yep, you guessed it, a pretty handy looking hacksaw and finally, a monstrous shifting spanner (for using with the screwdriver I was told) and plenty of empty space left in the toolbox.

    What was his trade you might ask? Why, he was our one and only maintenance fitter of course.... nice bloke too from memory. :)

    Mal.

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    Re: Controlling HX machines

    :)
    Mal,

    I bet when things wouldnt fit he could bloody well make them!
    Tell ya what though..... he went a bit overboard with a fancy toolkit didnt he?

    ;) :D

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    Re: Controlling HX machines

    Quote Originally Posted by Tim link=1125312522/15#22 date=1126433373
    :)
    Mal,

    I bet when things wouldnt fit he could bloody well make them!
    Tell ya what though..... he went a bit overboard with a fancy toolkit didnt he?

    ;) :D
    You got it in one there Tim. :)

    I think his toolbox was his pride and joy... always clean and almost a polished finish. He even had a T/A to carry it around for him, always three steps behind the master, of course. Geez, thats nearly 40 years ago you know... amazing what pops back into your head when the right triggers are present. :-?

    Cheers Tim,
    Mal.

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    Re: Controlling HX machines

    Quote Originally Posted by wattgn link=1125312522/0#8 date=1125565470
    Matt:

    Just for reference, the Bezzera is an hx machine and really requires no purging at all or very little. They are all very different. It has a proper hx in it which allows mixing of hot and cold water and not just a coil with one way in and out and no mixing.

    The La Cimbali also has a proper hx in it where some mixing occurs.

    Grant
    Im a little surprised - only because thats not my experience with the BZ -40P. Using the Scarce measuring device an unpurged machine starts at 98C and climbs briefly to over boiling. Purging, so that it stops the "water dance," brings it down to about 89C. So far I can get it to hover somewhere between 89 and 94, but only within a range of 5 or 6 degrees C. For the 2 different espresso blends that I use this isnt anywhere near fine tuned enough. Would be glad to hear from any B40 users who are getting better results (mine is about 2 years old).

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    Re: Controlling HX machines

    Position Statement.

    a) Dear Hperry, please understand that the following is in no way intended as a flame on you...or anyone. Right, now that you understand I am not having a go at you....

    b) Lets get a couple of thngs straight here gents ( & ladies :D)

    99% of all *ccommercial type esp machines are heat exchanger single boiler machines.

    Whether they have heat exchangers that do, or dont mix water of diff temps, or whether they have "outboard" coolers connected into the brewing water system or whatever, depending on the model and manufacturer, they are all ***PROPER*** heat exchager machines, even if they have a simple single copper pipe running through the boiler and straight out into the grinds in the group.

    Just because one machine behaves itslef nicely, doesnt mean any others of the same brand and model do. It depends on whether someone has been fiddling (judiciously) with the cover off and has done some tuning, or whether the individual machine has been left as assembled on the production line.

    There are various ways in which a technician can fine tune a machine, and this is done on an individual machine basis depending on what that particular machine is doing. And ofcourse this also means that any particular machine that gives a particular result, is not necessarily tuned with identical settings to another of the same type. Ofrcourse, dioff machines / models require diff ideas in tuning.

    Our murrikan brother Javaphile gave us (in another thread yesterday) a very brief and to the point explanation about commerfcial type machines and how or why they may o/heat when not used as intended (which is to leave them sitting & not making coffee when they are intended to be used continually in commercial situations). They cannot help but o/heat when left sitting. That is not something to be concerned about except if it is "out of control".

    The problem with wanting to cool a machine down to a point where it does not require *purging after sitting and before flowing ("erogating") the next brew, IS THAT YOU MAY THEN CAUSE IT TO OVERCOOL DURING THE BREWING CYCLE, which will underextract and cause the operator great lack of satisfaction by resulting in a sour espresso.

    Please...this has now been done to death and I think its time for you blokes to get off the "thermal stability" and "purging" bandwagons and find something else to occupy your time with like commenting on and enjoying the excellent coffees being offered to you through this really very good site.

    There are people who look into this and other sites who have no experience, who are looking to buy an espresso machine & some ask directly for advice, and they are being fed drivel...and as a result they are being influenced to make demands upon business to supply only models that have been ***talked up*** in these forums.... on the basis of these cyclic academic discussions about nonsense specifications.

    There are people that "get" espresso, and plenty of people that dont....I sincerely doubt that a truly interested "home barista" would be unable to *brew great espresso *(much better than he can buy in most cafes) from a miriad of good quality single boiler heat exchanger espresso machines.

    If they cant they should get off these sites and go and get a professional lesson. There is no point spending heaps of dollars on equipment, then being cheap on the instructiuon.

    And lastly....yes there are a miriad of good quality esp machines out there. For gods sake dont be cheap ( or you have to live with a bad decision for a long time), and buy where you can get service. *THAT is what makes the difference...buy from those who are professional ad who are in the know.

    Notwithstanding all the above I have no problem with any technical discussion...just know when its time to get off please.

    Apologies to all but as a professionalo trader I can see no good reason to keep quiet and allow the constant spread of misinformation or irrelevant information around and around in these sites, unduly influencing both the consumers decisions, and professional business.

    Regardz,
    FC.

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    Re: Controlling HX machines

    Great post FC. [smiley=thumbup.gif] [smiley=thumbup.gif] [smiley=thumbup.gif]

    I hope EVERYONE reads it.

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    Re: Controlling HX machines

    Woah FC, that must have been a load off your chest. For the most part I agree with you. I think it is really premature to start ranting about the efficacy of this over that when you have no idea about how a machine is designed. The bottom line is that a good barista learns to adapt to their equipment and how to operate it to get the best out of it. For instance all this diatribe about overheating E61s is just nonsense. They simply have an operating characteristic that you need to learn, but have the potential to make coffee that rivals any machine on the market. That has been made very clear by many reviewers with many years experience.

    I have certain interests in machine design, but I realise most people dont care less and just want a good machine that can make great coffee. This hyping a particular machine based on a very limited experience with other machines is simply counter productive and basically bad science.

    Hperry, I presume you mean the Scace device for measuring brew temperatures in the group. Your measurements of the BZ 40 seem to concur to some extent with my measurements of my BZ35 using a thermocouple in the basket on top of the puck. I see brew temperatures ranging from 98 deg C down to 88 deg C depending on the purge, and the stability during a shot is of the order 2-3 deg C. Ill be in a better position to comment in a couple of weeks when I run an intensive thermologging session. Right now Id say the thermal stability could be improved a bit, and there are ways to do that with a Bezzera, but theyre not that straight forward.


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    Re: Controlling HX machines

    hperry:

    No, it must be a different model!

    The BZ-40P I have is certainly much more stable than that. The highest temperature I have had out of it was 94C and that was when I had the boiler turned up to 1.4 - 1.5 Bar maximum.

    I now have it down to 1.2bar maximum as I thought even that was a bit hot ie. up to 94C at the top of the boiler cycle.


    The guys were using it at our last Perth Cafe day and can vouch for the fact that if you forget to purge it after it has been idle it still produces a good shot.

    A very stable machine and not the same model you have, thats for sure.

    Grant

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    Re: Controlling HX machines

    FC,

    This is fun!

    It is a forum for exchanging ideas. Sure you can get, hopefully good performance out of most machines when you know what you are doing, that is obvious.

    I am interested in how the machines are put together and why the work as they do. ie. measured performance, experiences making espresso on the machine and the design of the machine.

    I think rather than people getting defensive, they should start posting useful information on machines.

    Grant

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    Re: Controlling HX machines

    Sure you can get, hopefully good performance out of most machines when you know what you are doing....
    ...and more importantly know when to listen to people with professional, relevant real coffee industry experience.

    Everyone in an internet forum is an expert including the experts. The trick is to weigh-up the knowledge and credibility of one author over another while reading a post.

    …and then more often then not ignore everyone else, test it yourself and make your own opinions, post them, stand behind them and be ready for criticism. Thus the never ending circle of Internet forum post is created.

    Another good trick is to get really wired on caffeine and then jump into a forum. We have some regular coffee fuelled posters in here too!

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    Re: Controlling HX machines

    Ahh whadda you know Andy, youre only running that crappy old Boema :D

    Sorry mate.... counting seconds until this post is moderated out....... one two three...

    Seriously, Ive run into a lot of professionals with years on industry experience that also dont have a clue. In all endevours, respect has to be earned, and the coffee industry is no different.


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    Re: Controlling HX machines

    Hmm.

    Re:

    a) "...I think rather than people getting defensive, they should start posting useful information on machines...and...

    b) "...In all endeavours, respect has to be earned.."


    .....This morning I had a lengthy conversation with a fellow that has been thoroughly confused in addition to being unduly influenced by posts made in this and one other forum, and he rang me to get some straight answers. The bottom line, is that he has been given to understand that he (or anyone) "needs" to buy certain model equipment because it is the only equipment that can "deliver" according to a jumble of technical parameters.

    All this talk of heat exchangers and temperature stability has got him running scared of the possibility of making the wrong decision in choosing a regular single boiler heat exchanger machine, of the possibility of him not being able to brew his favourite coffee properly with it as a result, and that he would therefore have to go with a *2 boiler machine. The choice has been taken away from him, but hes not quite sure, and he doesnt know which way to turn.

    In short, he has been scared off by this forum, from buying a "regular" semi commercial machine from a local source (Adelaide, not me) from where he can get a decent machine, with great and local back up service...from someone he can actually stand face to face with and have a regular conversation. The short list he originally compliled of models to choose from, was out the window.

    Well...thats my enterpretation of the conversation.

    You people are making clients suspicious of their local service providers to a point where they will believe you, rather than someone with many years experience in the fileld. You are also building market for your pet brands and models, based on tech specs and paraphrased internet reviews from elsewhere.

    I have a shop full of regular Mini Mazzers that no one will buy any more..because the technojunkies have moved on to the Mazzer electronic...the regular mini just doesnt cut it any more.

    I have a showroom full of perfectly good (no / great) single boiler heat exchanger semi commercials and people are coming in fresh from the internet and walking past them because theyve read on this site that this grouping of machines is not thermally stable enough (their enterpretation)....

    The tail is wagging the dog here, misinformation (or misinterpretation) *is rife, resulting from the constant paraphrasing of stuff read on the net.

    Coffee Industry Professionals dont need to provide blueprints on the internals of boilers or distribute *temperature parameters ("...useful information..."?) to the forum membership in order to set up machines to work as intended by the manufacturer or coffee supplier to brew good espresso, or to earn someones respect.

    I put it to forum members that measuring thermal stability or any other parameter "after the fact" is entirely irrelevant. The machines either do the job, or they dont, as set up by your professional vendor.

    I think CoffeeSnobs originaly started out as a coffee appreciation forum...didnt it?

    It cant get any plainer than that, thats my position, and I think thats the end of it from my part.

    Regardz,
    FC.

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    Re: Controlling HX machines

    Sorry FC, my comment wasnt aimed in your direction. I certainly appreciate the help youve given me and others in this forum. I find most of your observations very grounded. There are other industry professionals as well, many with a wealth of experience to share and some not so...

    In as far as the dual boiler discussion is concerned. I know that I prefer a technological solution. Good quality dual boiler machines are coming on to the market and are worth considering. I know an E61 HX machine can perform as well as the best dual boiler machine, provided the operator is skilled enough to exact this level of performance. I prefer the technological solution. Im also not afraid to work on my own machine and repair it if need be.

    Everyone is different. Some will require a good local vendor to service and adjust their machine for them. Some will not. The sad truth is that with these forums comes ideas and opinions from around the globe.

    At the end of the day, if you read these forums, you take a lot of peoples opinions, consider them and decide which opinions are applicable to yourself.

    BTW: Ive heard from more than a few people who appreciate the thermal profiling studies. Industry professionals included. Nevertheless, Ive long ago moved my more technical interests to other more appropriate forums.

    Some people just like to drink it, others like to tinker. Theres a lot to coffee appreciation other than just tasting whats in the cup.

    Heres what Ive gained from this Coffeesnobs forum:

    I was prompted to temperature control my Gaggia Classic following posts from both Mal and HV_MAN.

    I have found a number of really innovative home roaster set-ups that Im contemplating building.

    Ive found a great source of high quality green beans.

    Ive now met a number of people with similar interests to myself and had some interesting conversations.

    Ive managed to source some parts for my machines, that would otherwise be far more difficult to source.

    An Aussie forum tends to be more relaxed, and people dont take things too seriously, which is refreshing

    ..... well thats a few things.

    I think Coffeesnobs is a pretty good forum!!!

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    Re: Controlling HX machines

    Dont forget there are other factors involved in purchasing a coffee machine
    budget, kitchen space, whether you own your home or not, how many people you make coffee for........
    It could even be possible that temp stability isnt at the top of the shopping list ! (Oh MY!) I had a laugh... ;D

    I *heart* my gran, I know shed not perfect but I am a poor student in a rental house so no matter what machine I would like she is pretty good and makes a mean coffee. And for $37 I think her price to performance ratio just cant be beat!







  36. #36
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    Re: Controlling HX machines

    FC,

    Remember that techno junkie thing cuts both ways.

    The Mini Mazzers are there in your shop in the first place because the techno junkies decided that the Rocky wouldnt cut it anymore.

    The E61 single boiler machines are there because techno junkies thought/think that these machines are the bees knees.

    Now you are discovering that people are maybe moving on to two boiler machines, courtesy of us techno junkies (again).

    Peoples thoughts and ideas change all the time on the subject of machines and grinders. It cant be helped.

    Now, Im off to enjoy a nice latte on my Bezzera.

    :)

    Grant




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    Re: Controlling HX machines

    Clarexican:

    It could even be possible that temp stability isnt at the top of the shopping list ! (Oh MY!) I had a laugh...
    How could you say such a thing?

    Now go and wash your mouth out with civit faeces...

    Grant

  38. #38
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    Re: Controlling HX machines

    I think an important point to keep in mind in discussions like this is that in most cases the point under discussion is such an esoteric part of our (espresso) world that 99+% of the people out there would never be able to tell the difference in the cup between the differing views.

    Our discussions of this type tend to deal with such minutiae that they can easily be corrected by using the proper technique for the individual machine.

    While those partaking in the exchange of ideas/information in such discussions may know this, it is not known by people new to the world of espresso making. They dont realize that were dealing with the fine tuning of a system on a level where most will never be able to tell the difference between the different camps by whats in the cup.

    Properely set up *any commercial or even semi-commercial espresso machine is capable of producing consistant God Shots. Provided that the proper technique FOR THAT SPECIFIC MACHINE is followed. This is true whether it is a single or double boiler system, whether its a manual or a automatic, or whether it uses the E-61 or the massive boat anchor block of brass Cimbali calls a grouphead.

    Sure some machines have a steeper learning curve than others and some are more or less forgiving of bad techniques than others, but in the end they are *all fully capable of producing a great cuppa in our homes.

    In the end, with the exception of the few of us techie snobs who care about such minutiae because were anal about stuff like that or the few coffee snobs who can actually taste the difference of a half a degree drop in the brewing temp, all of these things come down to personal preference and hype.

    The best advice I can offer people new to the world of home brewing of espresso is to ignore the hype and the my machine/system is better than yours crowd, and buy what you can reasonably afford based on your own personal preferences.

    In re the single/double boiler debate I leave you with this thought.

    The two espresso machine lines that most consider to be the best in the world are La Marzocca and La Cimbali, which are in a virtual dead heat for top honors. One is a single boiler system and the other is a double boiler system. Both of which have been that way for many years. If it were really true that one design was superior to the other it would have moved into a clear first place position long ago.

    Java "Things that make you go hhhmmm......" phile

  39. #39
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    Re: Controlling HX machines

    Java:

    Well, I was happy at one stage with my Gaggia Classic (spit spit) and my Gaggia MDF (phooey!).

    Seriously though they both worked quite well and in fact Sparky still likes to use his PIDed Classic.

    You may be right about what you say although...

    Grant

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    Re: Controlling HX machines

    Quote Originally Posted by Javaphile link=1125312522/30#37 date=1126611206
    In re the single/double boiler debate I leave you with this thought.

    The two espresso machine lines that most consider to be the best in the world are La Marzocca and La Cimbali, which are in a virtual dead heat for top honors. One is a single boiler system and the other is a double boiler system. Both of which have been that way for many years. If it were really true that one design was superior to the other it would have moved into a clear first place position long ago.

    Java "Things that make you go hhhmmm......" phile
    Even the above is yet another example of the "hype" aspect of coffee machines. These manufacturers have managed to create their own hype and on either of them the same amount of work is involved to "control it" as any other machine.

    At the end of the day its whats in the cup that counts - you cant get passed that. Unfortunately a lot of technical discussions completely overlook it - including the temp discussions, and it is by no means settled to what degree temp stability is needed.

    The other thing the uninformed comming to these discussions will miss is that 90% (arbitrary figure but seems about right to me) of the improvements you will make to your espresso/coffee will be in technique.


  41. #41
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    Re: Controlling HX machines

    Quote Originally Posted by AlMac link=1125312522/30#40 date=1126661773
    Quote Originally Posted by Javaphile link=1125312522/30#37 date=1126611206
    In re the single/double boiler debate I leave you with this thought.

    The two espresso machine lines that most consider to be the best in the world are La Marzocca and La Cimbali, which are in a virtual dead heat for top honors. One is a single boiler system and the other is a double boiler system. Both of which have been that way for many years. If it were really true that one design was superior to the other it would have moved into a clear first place position long ago.

    Java "Things that make you go hhhmmm......" phile
    Even the above is yet another example of the "hype" aspect of coffee machines. These manufacturers have managed to create their own hype and on either of them the same amount of work is involved to "control it" as any other machine.

    At the end of the day its whats in the cup that counts - you cant get passed that. Unfortunately a lot of technical discussions completely overlook it - including the temp discussions, and it is by no means settled to what degree temp stability is needed.

    The other thing the uninformed comming to these discussions will miss is that 90% (arbitrary figure but seems about right to me) of the improvements you will make to your espresso/coffee will be in technique.
    I agree. While there are more and more people adopting new methods of metrology, there is still no clear consensus of what constitutes "optimal behaviour" and there may never be. Each bean/blend may respond differently. For example when I first measured my Classic and found it not to be very thermally stable, compared to say a Silvia or HX machine, it nevertheless produced a shot that was soooo nice that I endevour to this day to regain that past wonder.

    Nevertheless, it is the business of technology to reduce the level of technique required, so the elusive god shot might just become slightly less elusive. So, even though the Classic is not a very thermally stable platform, I found the PID modification dramatically simplified the technique required to achieve consistent good shots. So much so that my new HX machine is far harder to control to achieve the same level of consistency.

    On the HX vs dual boiler discussion. I find it interesting that neither Cimbali nor La Marzocco are common here in Australia. In fact finding anyone running a dual boiler machine is pretty difficult. As far as Im concerned, they are entirely not warranted in commercial situations, as the weak link is more often than not, operator technique, and when the operator is up to scratch, then the machine is virtually irrelevent. However, for home use, I think differently.

  42. #42
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    Re: Controlling HX machines

    Its all about technique. Even the best machine in the world, which-ever one it may be, will produce crud if the operators technique isnt up too snuff.

    Java "Its all in the head" phile

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    Re: Controlling HX machines

    hmm ... what about those machines Schomer uses (Synesso?), with independant (PIDd) boilers for each group? Overkill?

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    Re: Controlling HX machines

    Matt:

    Oh, dear. Overkill?

    I will be interested when there are some Brewti here in Perth!

    Overkill is a moving target. If people can control the temperature to the nth degree and over time of ownership can start to pick out more subtle difference, say doing one shot at 89 and another at say 90C then they are likely to not want a machine that will deliver any less precision. It becomes the new benchmark by which people judge other machines.

    A lot of it too, as you guys have been saying, is ease of use which is another factor with some machines more straightforward than others.

    I think the Brewtus may change the way we think about this subject in time, or maybe not? Who knows, well see.

    An interesting year ahead in the machine technology department.

    Grant

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    Re: Controlling HX machines

    Guys

    About controlling Hx machine temp Ive read about the "water dance" :question im guessing flushing water how much? how long?
    P/F shake / wiggle?

    Cheers
    Mark


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    Re: Controlling HX machines

    a) Mark,

    this is something that will / should be covered by your vendor when *your purchase.

    In any case you might purge a cup full of water out of a machine before brewing...depending on how long it has been left sitting before you use it, and depending on what part of the heat/cool cycle its in, and depending on the make and model you have bought, and / or the way it has been set up by your vendor in the pre delivery service.

    So, guess it depends on what you have bought and who set it up. In any case, dont be worried by this as it is a reasonably normal part of managing your espresso machine, even domestic machines, because they behave in similar manner and overheat even more quickly because they hold far less water for a much more powerful element.

    Eg: a semi commercial might have say a 1.5 lt boiler with a 1300 watt element, and a domestic may have a 300 ml boiler, with an 1100 watt element. *The domestic packs a hell of a punch, and requires a purge before brewing.

    Normal.


    b) Almac,

    Re:"...Even the above is yet another example of the "hype" aspect of coffee machines. These manufacturers have managed to create their own hype and on either of them the same amount of work is involved to "control it" as any other machine.

    At the end of the day its whats in the cup that counts - you cant get passed that. Unfortunately a lot of technical discussions completely overlook it - including the temp discussions, and it is by no means settled to what degree temp stability is needed.

    The other thing the uninformed comming to these discussions will miss is that 90% (arbitrary figure but seems about right to me) of the improvements you will make to your espresso/coffee will be in technique......"


    Bravo. You are on the money.

    Regardz,
    FC.

  47. #47
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    Re: Controlling HX machines

    Quote Originally Posted by Mad Barun link=1125312522/30#44 date=1126681842
    Guys

    About controlling Hx machine temp Ive read about the "water dance" :question im guessing flushing water how much? how long?
    P/F shake / wiggle?

    Cheers
    Mark
    The water dance routine for E61 type machines can be found in this excellent article:
    http://www.home-barista.com/hx-love.html

    As every machine is different, so too will be the flushing routine. Most HX machines will require a cooling flush if left idle for too long. This is simply due to the fact that the steam boiler is used to heat the brew water using a heat exchanger, and that the steam boiler temperature is far above the optimal brew water temperature.

    The PF wiggle is simply a way to clean the group head gasket using a blind filter basket and wiggling the PF handle to cause water to escape past the group gasket. Its quick and easy and you can usually backflush at the same time.

    Regards,

    Mark.



  48. #48
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    Re: Controlling HX machines

    This is the water dance.

    Poetry in motion. *Lovely.


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    Re: Controlling HX machines

    Yes, it looks nice, but how does it taste? :P

  50. #50
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    Re: Controlling HX machines

    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    nunu:

    I quote one possibility from papalui:

    "nice lovely recently passed cowdung with some earthy compost thrown in for good measure"

    This was his thoughts on the Ismaili but it could apply here depending on where you taste...
    :-X

    Grant



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