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Thread: Low-end commercial vs high-end consumer

  1. #1
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    Low-end commercial vs high-end consumer

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Still in the market for an espresso machine (well, doing research for next year - taxman wasnt as kind as Id hoped) and so far have narrowed it down to LaScala Butterfly and ECM Ghiotto Premium. Im very keen on a plumb-in model as my 2 biggest bugbears with the ECM Botticelli (now that Im able to get great coffee from it) are the small (2L) water tank and small drip tray. I seem to be refilling and emptying the tray daily (as I do a lot of flushing).

    When I contacted the ECM disty they said that although a plumb-in kit was available for the Ghiotto, they didnt recommend it. Alan Frew sells a plumb-in kit for the Butteryfly and will shortly be stocking the dedicated plumb-in version known as the Eroica.

    Am I better off looking at a dedicated plumb-in model? Im less keen on the lever as time goes on, and would like an automatic or semi-automatic. Ive seen some nice single-group low-end commerical machines - a Faema caught my eye at a local gourmet shop.

    Who else has beem faced with this decision? I know coffee quality probably wont be distinguishable but if Im going to invest $2K - $2.5K in coffee I want to make sure all my bugbears are solved.


  2. #2
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    Re: Low-end commercial vs high-end consumer

    Errm, sorry David but you need to buy the one YOU LIKE.. Both machines work well and will do the job...the rest is just bling...

    Plumb in kits for semi commercial machines that start out as resevoir models are a compromise and you have been given the correct advice ie we do not "recommend" them for various technical reasons.

    However, just going on your comment about small drip trays....machines that are converted with "plumb in kits" just end up with a mains water connection.... they do not end up with a drained drip tray, so in the case of machines wirth small drip trays, you can end up in big trouble ( bigger trouble than before the conversion to the mains). *

    You could try modifying the drip trays, but I for one do not buy new equipment so that I can bodgy it up trying to modify something that should have done the job straight up!

    If you want plumbing then yes, a dedicated plumb in machine is the way to go and it will have the drained drip tray as standard....but remember for your trouble, you get a *machine that is then rendered static and cant be taken on holiday with you. Dont laugh, its a serious a consideration and you dont necessarily want to hold on to another machine such as the botticelli, for the portability it offers....

    For the rest of it, please see your PMs.

    Regardz,
    FC.

  3. #3
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    Re: Low-end commercial vs high-end consumer

    David,

    Im using a botticelli for weekdays on a timer and a commercial for weekends.

    Having said that I wouldnt have gone out and bought a prosumer or commercial- I love what they do but mine was a gift (truly).

    With the botticelli I just accept that Ill fill it with water each morning- youd want to do that with a giotto or butterfly anyway, and while theres less flushing with an hx its still an issue. I flush into cups to heat- less in the drip tray.

    About the only time an hx is neccesary (maybe never that at home) is when you are making a lot of coffees. But Id say more of an indulgence than necessity- you can do almost anything if you try.

    I used an Isomac Millenium (similar to Giotto) at work for a while and always seemed to filling it up and certainly always emptying the drip tray.

    As FC says a plumbed in prosumer wont have a drained drip tray- youd void your warranty to mod it, I think.

    Heres the trick- get a relative to replace a perfectly good lever activated commercial with a volumetric one and ask them to give you the old one. Then keep the botticelli- its a great toy to take to parties and on holidays so you can have great coffee.
    It worked for me.

    Seriously though- think hard before you upgrade- theres precious little to be gained in terms of coffee quality and years of growing we could all do with a machine as portable and forgiving as the botticelli. With a few tricks up your sleeve a large single boiler isnt that far behind in most situations, but it sounds like you still have your eye on an hx.

    Brett

  4. #4
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    Re: Low-end commercial vs high-end consumer

    Slades will retrofit a rotary pump into a brewtus for you for an extra $300. There is a hole below the drip tray and the tray is molded to a point in the middle so that you can punch through it - all ready to be both plumbed in and out. Seeing as all of the work is done by the importer, Chris, Veneziano, Attilio, Coffee Hit, Di Bartoli and any of the other sponsors that sell expobars should be able to call up and organise this for you with no problems. The only question is if you like expobars! Not sure if they can do this for the rest of the expobar range.

    Im also not sure if any of the other rotary/plumbed machines will necessarily fit your budget. You might want to talk to Genovese and see if they can do a plumbed Wega for you, which would be semiauto or auto, but I bet that it will exceed your budget. The Faema semiauto is basically the same as the La Cimbali Junior, which is also more than $2.5k. The nuova simonelli machines are also really nice. I love the lever activated steam wand.

    The other possibility is to buy the machine of your choice, then hack a float valve into the reservoir, but there are any number of reasons why this is a stupid idea, not the least of which is that if the valve jams in the open position, you come home to a flooded house. Plus youll still have the noisy vibe pump.

    Quote Originally Posted by telemaster link=1158562025/0#2 date=1158565379
    Seriously though- think hard before you upgrade- theres precious little to be gained in terms of coffee quality and years of growing we could all do with a machine as portable and forgiving as the botticelli. With a few tricks up your sleeve a large single boiler isnt that far behind in most situations, but it sounds like you still have your eye on an hx.
    Im sooo curious to try out a botticelli now! Most of the prosumer HXs that I have tried out were infinitely superior to my silvia, which seems to be a very similar machine.

    Cheers,

    Luca

  5. #5
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    Re: Low-end commercial vs high-end consumer

    Hi Luca- Botticelli is similar to Silvia but bigger boiler and it seems, easier to use thermostat.
    Using my thermocouple I find that after the boiler light goes out, I do a quick 5 sec flush to purge boiling water and I have water in the 92-93C range, which means it is a bit easier than a Silvia to get a good starting point.
    The coffee from it is close to that from the commercial bezzera I use- Botticelli may have slightly more edge- Im sorry but I cant relate the difference to the usual sour/biiter range- its just different. It may be due to difference in pressure- going to borrow a gauged fliter handle to compare it. It may be a preinfusion thing. Also it seems to like 1 click finer on my Cunill grinder- again that may be due to slightly higher pressure or a diff height shower screen.
    Only down side is that the steam arm is fixed- but easy to modify by slight outward and forward bending mod.
    I like its portability, great and consistent coffee and the pretty looks dont hurt either!
    Not sure if anyone else likes them- they dont have the Silvias rep but I think they are a little more forgiving.
    In what way other than convenience did you find espresso better on all hxs?

    Brett

  6. #6
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    Re: Low-end commercial vs high-end consumer

    as for retrofitting other expobars with rotary pumps via exit holes ... its definately doable.

  7. #7
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    Re: Low-end commercial vs high-end consumer

    David,

    Im gonna give a plug to one of the site sponsors. Chris at Barazi sells and uses the whole range. He wont try to talk you into something you dont need. They do good prices for CoffeeSnobbers and occassionly have ex-demo in perfect condition.

    Good Luck!

  8. #8
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    Re: Low-end commercial vs high-end consumer

    Thanks for the advice guys. Its given be a bit to think about. If I do go the plumb-in path it wont be an option for at least 12 months as my new kitchen (in my new house) wont be finished until then.

    As for the drip tray, FYI the Butterfly drip tray can be drained and its part of the plumb-in kit.

    Ironically, now that I get damn good coffee from the Botticelli, I am less inclined to upgrade as time goes on. Its now more aesthetic and operational rather than the underlying coffee quality.

  9. #9
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    Re: Low-end commercial vs high-end consumer


    Have a look at Promac, they make commercial single group machines with all the gear at very good prices. They are made in Italy in the Rancilio factory. Try contacting Chris at Barazi and ask him about these machines. He should be able to get one for you if youre interested.

    Just bear in mind it is a full commercial machine and so is larger than the prosumer models. It also doesnt use the E61 group, but then most commercial machines dont use this group anyway.

    Also remember that ECM makes a plumbed in big brother to the Giotto.

    Cheers,

    Mark.

  10. #10
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    Re: Low-end commercial vs high-end consumer

    ...and a Veneziano A1. Yummmm!

  11. #11
    black_dog
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    Re: Low-end commercial vs high-end consumer

    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    Quote Originally Posted by mattyj link=1158562025/0#5 date=1158582355
    as for retrofitting other expobars with rotary pumps via exit holes ... its definately doable.
    The stock Leva has pre-drilled exit holes and the drip tray has the same drip tray incline to a punchable drain hole as the Brewtus. It has, however, a lever.



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