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Thread: espresso machine group head standard

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    Senior Member summercrema's Avatar
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    espresso machine group head standard

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    after reading spec of several espresso/coffee machines I noticed there are not just E61 but E64 and others group head standards, so can someone tell me what are the common ones out there and what difference does it make from one over the other benefitwise in terms of making good coffee. thanks

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    Re: espresso machine group head standard

    Standards? The E-61 was originally created and patented by Faema. It was invented in 1961 which was a year of an eclipse, thus the name-- "E" for eclipse, and 61 for the year. When Faema ran into financial difficulties and was taken over by the Italian government, three of the executives took the patent for that brewhead design with them and started the Vibiemme company (V, B, M for the initials of the three executives). All other E-61 brewheads are made under license of that patent. Even there, numerous variations exist. The VBM E-61 weighs in at about 9 pounds which is reported to be about two pounds heavier than some competing E-61s.

    So as far as a standard, I dont know. Any company is free to invent their own brewhead-- see the La Marzoccco GS-3 for example. I suppose the only lesson here is that if a machine states that it has an E-61 brewhead, it does not mean that it is comparable to other E-61 equipped machines.


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    Re: espresso machine group head standard

    So Randy, do you know much about the history of espresso? :-? ::) Nice to have you aboard by the way, have found your ongoing diary an informative read!

    Greg

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    Re: espresso machine group head standard

    It is interesting that E61 is attributed to the group design (and that is correct) but it marked a far more important development in Coffee Machines...

    For those interested in the history, grab a copy of "Espresso - made in Italy - 1901-1962" written by Enrico Maltoni (collector and recognised expert in the field of coffee machine history).....

    The E61 marked the first pump driven heat exchanger with the now familiar group head..... but the other parts of his invention seem to have been forgotten.... and these are probably more important. There are other designs for group heads which arguably work just as well..... but all modern machines use pumps and just about all commercial machines use heat exchangers.... except the multi boiler units.

    So Faema E61 means a lot more than just a group design.... it was a revolution in the manufacture of espresso!

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    Re: espresso machine group head standard

    ...not to mention circulating the hot boiler water through the group! Amazing how many revolutionary patents were stuffed into one amazing little machine. But... didnt Cimbali sue Faema over the HX patent, and win? I guess its what you do with the ideas that counts.

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    Re: espresso machine group head standard

    Well I cant find any reference to La Cimbali suing but the brothers Castiglioni designed the Pitagora for La Cimbali (using a differnt group head but the rest of the E61 ideas) in 1962.

    With this La Cimbali won the highest Italian reward for design - the "Il Compasso doro"...... "a new way of conceiving and creating bar coffee machines was born" which put La Cimbali on the "map" where they remain....

    I guess they "owned" Faema - even in those days ;)

    Maybe all Faema was left with after the release of the La Cimbali model was the group head that La Cimbali didnt use...... and as the only bit of the E61 left ..... "E61" has become synonymous with that one innovation (of many) which was made in the E61 machine design as it still stands on its own.

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    Re: espresso machine group head standard

    And the E61 eclipsed all others and will never be forgotten - even after Faema is forgotten.

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    Re: espresso machine group head standard

    Quote Originally Posted by Greg Pullman link=1206931244/0#2 date=1206938151
    So Randy, do you know much about the history of espresso? :-? ::) Nice to have you aboard by the way, have found your ongoing diary an informative read!Greg
    ME? Know the history of Espresso!? Oh, man! I cant remember where I left my wallet! I only learned all that E-61 info because I just finished my review of my Vibiemme Domobar Super (top of the right-hand column on my website). I also wrote a comprehensive owners manual for it in employ of the US distributor of the VBM Super machines.

    It has been fun hanging around here, although the navigation is a bit more difficult than most of the forums I frequent.

    Glad you have found my website informative. Should have a review of my Mazzer Kony up by the end of the week... :o WHAT A GRINDER!

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    Re: espresso machine group head standard

    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    This is a sensationally good question, and one that I could probably spend years experimenting on if I had a gagillion different machines lined up on a work bench!

    There are two big variables that an espresso machine needs to control in the brewing process: pressure and temperature. (I really hope that there arent any more because these two are already doing my head in ;P) The type of group that you have can make a huge impact on both.

    Pressure is probably the simplest variable to take a look at. Maximum pressure is usually set at the pump on a rotary pump machine or at the OPV on a vibratory pump machine. Features of the group can determine how the pressure builds up. The two features that I am aware of are gicleurs/restrictors and preinfusion chambers. A gicleur/restrictor is simply a piece of metal or teflon or something with a hole of a specific diameter in it. I must confess that I dont "get" preinfusion chambers - every explanation that I stumble across seems to be different. Suffice to say that the effect of each, from the baristas point of view, is to increase the "dwell time" before seeing the first drops of espresso. For this reason, I tend to refer to the effects of each as "preinfusion," although some people out there take objection to lumping the two in together. Id love to hear some more explanation of this, because it seems to me that the effect of each on the cup is pretty similar. A longer preinfusion time tends to build up body and mouthfeel; it also seems to give the barista a bit more margin of error. A shorter preinfusion time seems to do the opposite, but I think that it is at least partially responsible for bringing out some interesting flavours.

    People certainly have their personal preferences with respect to preinfusion. Personally, I think that too much preinfusion messes with the clarity of the resulting cup. I dont think that theres much point in mucking about getting the best quality beans that you can find only to crush them down to a generic chocolatey and gooey ristretto profile - if I want that, Ill dose up or buy/roast a chocolate-bar type blend.

    It is worth noting briefly that machines with a commercial lever group are in a different ballpark from pump machines - as the spring releases, the pressure drops. The resulting cup profile is different, but I havent had enough time playing around on commercial lever machines to talk about it.

    It is also worth noting that many pump machines with a lever (ie. e61 type) or paddle (ie. La Marzocco or Synesso type) group have a middle position that allows water to flow at mains pressure if the machine is plumbed in and at whatever measly pressure is coming from the reservoir if it is a pourover. That covers a lot of machines, but I havent found the middle position to be useful on a single one of them, seeing as this feature can only be used to extend the dwell time and I have never wanted to do that. I have heard mixed rumours about the new La Marzocco paddle group - some rumors say that it is a three position paddle like the old LM group and others say that it allows for full-blown pressure profiling. If the latter is the case, there is some speculation, based on experience with commercial lever machines, that ramping the pressure down towards the end of the shot might have some benefits.

    Next post: temperature ...



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