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Thread: Isomac Zaffiro questions

  1. #1
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    Isomac Zaffiro questions

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Damn, upgradeitis is starting up again.

    Im starting to think the Zaffiro, as I like the thermal stability of it and the possibility of a PID mod to improve on an already good product.

    While I love a cappuccino in the morning, Im really looking for that great espresso. Ive had good results with the Classic, but just cant get rid of the sour note. Ive tried shots from commercial machines and, while it is hard to describe the exact taste, they seem to possess a uniformity in taste, not bitter and not sour. They tasted rather full and complex. Now Im thinking about what life would be like if I could take my beans of choice and subject them to similar brewing conditions.

    Ive seen Zaffiros advertised for AUD$1600. Is there anywhere in Brisbane that sells them? Im just putting out the feelers at the moment, as it will be a difficult task to convince the powers that be that my recently purchased "new" machine may need to find a new home.

    Another question of Zaffiro owners is how fast does it get up to steaming temperature? It seems the US machines are quite slow, but the European ones arent quite so bad.


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    Re: Isomac Zaffiro questions

    Hi there. I used to have a Classic, had no issues pulling non-sourish shots.
    Perhaps one of the first places to look for the sourness is at the beans (roasted correctly? fresh?)

    Next would be is your shot under extracted? (20-25 second shot?)

    Do you allow the machine to warm up before pulling the shot?

    I am sure there are a few here with the classic, and could chip in with more tips.

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    Re: Isomac Zaffiro questions

    Thanks for the suggestions. I might have overemphasised the sourness. Ive had some superb shots from this machine, but there is always a hint of sourness. I have a PID controlled temperature, so removing the bitterness is quite straight forward, but I can never remove all traces of the sourness. :-/ Everything else is fine. The crema is thick, mouthfeel is silky/creamy, taste is complex caramel/chocolaty with a hint of sourness. I hope to cross-check these beans on a HX machine this weekend, so I know what can be achieved.

    Maybe Im too fussy with my espresso. The machine certainly makes awesome cappas.

  4. #4
    tim
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    Re: Isomac Zaffiro questions

    Sparky,
    I helped an Aunt & Uncle set up a Gaggia Classic they had just bought & get it working last Sunday.
    They rang in a panic because the coffee wasnt hot etc.
    They had some really stale stuff from Moccopan (ground in one of those buggery little choppers) and although I got the coffee hot by doing a couple of blank shots, the coffee was, well Bleeergh. So I went home and got some Mao Horse I roasted about a week before ( and ground in my own grinder).
    I knew my Sunbeam was crap, but I have to tell you, the shots from the Gaggia were fantastic! Whats more, my bloody Sunbeam was only 70 bucks cheaper!(20 months ago) My already rampant case of upgradeitis hit crisis point and I have a new machine being shipped towards me as we speak.
    Check out reviews of Zaffiro on coffeegeek and elsewhere. consider factors like:
    - build quality
    - parts availability
    - service in Australia
    ........ etc before you choose.

    Talk to a few blokes in the trade such as the CS site sponsors and maybe someone like Alan Frew also before you choose.
    Tim

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    Re: Isomac Zaffiro questions

    Sparky sparky sparky.... the fix to your problem is simple

    ROAST YOUR OWN BEANS

    Ask anyone here, the quality of the coffee is awesome and having control over the roast gives you a chance of getting shots that suit you!

    Im affraid that while you persist in drinking other peoples roasts you will continue to chase your tail. ;D

  6. #6
    tim
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    Re: Isomac Zaffiro questions

    Ahhhhh Sparky

    I assumed you were roasting.

    A whole paradise awaits you on the other side of the shed door amigo......

    :D :D

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    Re: Isomac Zaffiro questions

    Sorry guys, Ive not yet started home roasting. Im buying my beans for Coffee Company in Melbourne. A new shipment arrived this morning and I just had to pour a ristretto: Nearly total crema! Impressive to look at, but still had that lingering sourness. I really need to cross-check these beans on a different machine to convince myself that it is not a characteristic of this particular variety.

    As for home roasting, I have been eyeing off a roaster in Coles for $59. Im thinking of cutting a hole in the bottom and installing some rotating blade to keep the beans moving, just like the wok-roaster posted by Kopi-O a while back. Incidentally , I bought a popcorn popper and it died on me before it even saw its first bean.

    My fear with roasting is the weeks of drinking coffee that is just not right, due to operator incompetence. Maybe this weeks coffeegeek meeting in Yandina will help me see the light.

    BTW: Im drinking these espressos/ristrettos without sugar, which is much more demanding on the coffee making process. If I add sugar, it all goes to syrupy niceness, but I lose much of the subtlety.

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    Re: Isomac Zaffiro questions

    Hi Sparky...

    operator incompetance :P

    The weeks of drinking substandard coffee? huh?
    I AM DRINKING THE BEST COFFEE OF MY LIFE!

    no no no no it is SO EASY, You just have to try it. You should get a popper and have a play with that before you start modifing a roaster so that you can see what you like about the roasting process first.

    Have you tried letting the first couple of seconds of flow run off before you place the cup under the flow?

  9. #9
    tim
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    Re: Isomac Zaffiro questions

    Ditto Clares comments Sparky,

    I have been roasting for about a year and Ive only ever managed to truly cock-up one roast (I burnt it).
    Other than that its been GOLD GOLD GOLD!
    Get down to the local discount store and get yourself a $20 popper son.
    On the way home, stop in for a can of soup at the supermarket.
    Get home, eat the soup, take the other end out of the can so you have a chimney. Attach to your popper, fire up with 100-150 GMS of green beans, listen for loud cracks, let them subside, listen for a 2nd set of softer cracks, when they start, pour beans into a steel colander and cool, stirring with a wooden spoon. Wait 8-12 hours and get into em!
    Its that simple.
    Ross at Coffee Company does a very nice roast but theres nothing like your own beleive me.....

    Tim

  10. #10
    JR
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    Re: Isomac Zaffiro questions

    Sparky

    Last year I was making weekly pilgrimages to the Coffee Company to get my beans. Ross is a fine roaster who provides great knowledge and his beans were by far the best I could find around until.... I stumbled onto this site.

    Since I performed my first roast I haven’t been back to purchase any beans from The Coffee Company because the best around now comes from my place. Sure sometimes I roast up a poor batch but I learn and the next roast is better and I believe the majority are very good. It really doesn’t take much skill, effort or time to obtain great results and the process is rewarding.

    I roast with a heat-gun and the total setup cost was maybe $30.

    On the other hand if you are getting sour results I wouldn’t think the beans are the problem.

    Just my thoughts.

    Dan.

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    Re: Isomac Zaffiro questions


    I dont think the beans are the problem. They smell and taste sooo nice. Easily the best single origin Ive stumbled across so far. Im pretty sure its the machines fault, especially after running a pretty thorough study of the brew temperature. Hence the reason for this post.

    Clares suggestion of taking a cut out of the flow might be the best solution with my machine, then I can set the brew temp a bit higher and maybe remove the traces of sourness. Hopefully this weekends CG meeting will reveal all.

    Short of a machine upgrade, I have a mod in mind that might just cure the machine of its temperamental behaviour.

  12. #12
    tim
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    Re: Isomac Zaffiro questions

    I assume you run a blank shot or 2 before you make a coffee?

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    Re: Isomac Zaffiro questions

    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    A blank shot absolutely clobbers the thermal stability of the Gaggias little boiler. I have the temperature controlled with an industrial PID controller, so I have no probs with shots being too hot.

    Whether my machine is actually faulty, or all Gaggia Classics have the same woeful thermal stability remains to be seen. I played with using hot tap water in the reservoir last night and reduced the temp drop from 8 C during the shot to only 3 C (as seen on top of the puck). The hot shot didnt have any sour traces at all and the taste of the shot was much more complex and the flavours much more defined.

    Have a look at my temperature study thread if you want to see how bad the temperature stability of my machine is. After last nights "hot shot" Im really on a mission to fix it (or upgrade to a better machine)

    As for better machines, Im thinking Isomac Zaffiro, Vibiemme Domobar and Quickmill Eliane. I know the Zaffiros are available here in Australia, but am not sure about the other machines. The other option is a PIDed Silvia or a second hand HX machine.

    Cheers,

    Mark.




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