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Thread: Rocket Giotto Premium Plus - Feedback and Questions

  1. #1
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    Rocket Giotto Premium Plus - Feedback and Questions

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hi fellow snobs,

    Long time lurker, first time poster (so please be gentle!)

    After months and months of research I finally bought:

    Rocket Espresso Giotto Premium Plus
    ECM Best Grinder (otherwise known as Anfin I believe)
    Pullman checkerboard tamper
    Accessories (jugs, thermometers, tamp mats and even glasses)

    After ruining 1 kg of coffee (pure user error, nothing to do with the equipment) Ive finally gotten to the stage of making a half decent shot.

    Already have ordered a naked group handle with double (12gm) basket for strong singles and have a heap of other goodies on the way!

    The learnings and feedback Id like to provide on the machine are:

    A. Single baskets are very difficult to get right! Double baskets are much more forgiving!

    B. The amount of coffee I need to put in the basket to get the right pour consistancy (thick honey looking pour) has to be quite exact. I need to work on this a little further.

    C. The cleanup is worth the result!

    In addition, I have a couple of questions: (I have read the tutorials, searched youtube and read various websites)

    1. Coffeebags. Ive ordered some (250gm with zip lock seals and degassing valves) to preserve the life of coffee bought by the kilo as I dont consume this amount within 1 month (i.e. before the coffee goes stale). Good move or bad move? Any other solutions?

    2. Pour times. Im finding it hard to achieve the 25 second pour. Ive tried changing the variables of grind, tamp and freshly ground coffee (roasted and rested for 4-5 days from wholesaler). On this machine, should I be aiming for the 25-30sec pour or is it normal for an 18 sec pour before blonding?

    3. Basket fill amount. I find I need to fill the basket right on the inside line of the basket, and ensure the grounds touch the shower screen to ensure a solid puck, otherwise I get a sloppy puck. But the error margin is so small (between not enough or tamped too hard and not touching the screen vs putting too much or not tamping hard enough and not being able to fasten the group handle) that Im failing on 1 out of 5 attempts. Is this normal or can you offer any advice?

    4. Thermostability upgrade. Read heaps about it, been told so many opposing views about it. Anyone have an unbiased view on this? Is it really worth the $200?

    5. My grinder. Sold a good story when I bought it, but being a spec sheet junkie, Im not sure how good it is as it has stepped adjustments. Is this holding me back?

    6. Steam wand spittle. Im noticing now after 4 weeks of ownership, even after the initial 4-5 second purge that whilst the steam is on, there is quite a bit of spittle (water) flicking off the tip. Is this normal?

    Sorry for all the questions, but thank you for providing your feedback and I look forward to be able to contribute the same in due course!

    Kindest Regards,

    -R

    P.S Pics to follow shortly :)
    mod edit- font colours removed to improve readability

  2. #2
    Senior Member flynnaus's Avatar
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    Re: Rocket Giotto Premium Plus - Feedback and Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by 070C0015170D540 link=1245723393/0#0 date=1245723393
    After months and months of research I finally bought:
    Rocket Espresso Giotto Premium Plus
    ECM Best Grinder (otherwise known as Anfin I believe)
    Pullman checkerboard tamper
    Accessories (jugs, thermometers, tamp mats and even glasses)
    Belated welcome and congratulations SXTACY (another classic username).

    Except for the grinder, your setup matches mine. Before addressing your questions:
    A I always use a double basket even if making a single coffee and I find a level 1/4 cup measure provides the right quantity of beans for the double. I also have a naked pf but still use a double - the Synesso basket that came with my Pullman.

    B I find the GPP quite forgiving and even over-extracted shots arent bad.

    C The clean up is easy. I always brush the grouphead then use a blind filter in the naked pf to first jiggle loosely in the head which removes leftover grinds and then do a freshwater backflush very day after I finish. Then do a detergent backflush fortnightly.

    Now your "couple" of questions

    1. The 1-way valve bags wont stop the coffee from losing its freshness after 3 weeks. You can search for one of my recent posts on the heretic crime of freezing. If you are relatively remote and cant get to a roastery weekly then consider buying a popper and greens and trying some home roasting. Then you can roast to your needs.

    2. The 25 sec pour is a guide - dont take it as absolute. However, strongly consider booking yourself into a home barista course one weekend - one where you can use your machine (or a GPP)

    3. See my response to point A above. As I said the GPP is fairly forgiving and, if the grind is right, I dont get sloppy pucks if I under-dose. Once again, consider doing a course so someone can watch you.

    4. The thermo upgrade is more the ECM Giotto - the model before yours. Yours may need some calibration though. Dod you buy from a sponsor?

    5. Not familiar with the Best grinder so not sure if a stepless mod is possible. You still should get a good enough grind I would think.

    6. I do a 1 - 2 second purge on the steam wand of mine and no, it doesnt drip. Doesnt sound right. Contact your vendor and if they cant/wont help, contact a sponsor.

  3. #3
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    Re: Rocket Giotto Premium Plus - Feedback and Questions

    Thanks flynn_aus!

    Quote Originally Posted by 606A7F6868677375060 link=1245723393/1#1 date=1245727339
    The 1-way valve bags wont stop the coffee from losing its freshness after 3 weeks.
    I was under the impression the 1kg bags I buy from the roaster which have a one way valve have a shelf life of around 6 months? Is this right? (because it was the basis of my second response).

    The 2nd logical thought was if I could re-bag the beans into smaller quantities, I should be able to preserve the same conditions (give or take) under which the beans were bought and therefore enjoy a shelf life in line with my consumption pattern. Wrong?

    Quote Originally Posted by 606A7F6868677375060 link=1245723393/1#1 date=1245727339
    2.The 25 sec pour is a guide- dont take it as absolute. However, strongly consider booking yourself into a home barista course one weekend - one where you can use your machine (or a GPP)
    I actually did a course before I bought the machine, but unfortunately it was using commercial machines. The one domestic machine I used whilst I was there was a VBM which I enjoyed using, and hence the research and eventual purchase of the Giotto. Im hoping I can "refine" my technique rather than spend another $200 or so on a course.

    Quote Originally Posted by 606A7F6868677375060 link=1245723393/1#1 date=1245727339
    Yours may need some calibration though. Dod you buy from a sponsor?
    No, I actually didnt as I was offered an unbelievable price from someone else. But I will definitely have a chat to them about the spittle and see what their response is (their service has been great so far).

    I was told the calibration is done by the importer/factory and it doesnt need any further mods, Im hoping this is the case or Ill have to have a chat to them about getting the best out of my machine...

    So should I assume the 18-20sec pour Im currently doing is incorrect and I should be aiming for a 22-25 second pour? The time is measured from lifting the lever, with output beginning 6-9 seconds afterwards.

  4. #4
    Senior Member flynnaus's Avatar
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    Re: Rocket Giotto Premium Plus - Feedback and Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by 7A717D686A70290 link=1245723393/2#2 date=1245729303
    I was under the impression the 1kg bags I buy from the roaster which have a one way valve have a shelf life of around 6 months?
    The bags will definitely last that long :) but not the contents. Most beans will arent that good after 3 weeks - you might stretch it to a month if you are lucky.
    Quote Originally Posted by 7A717D686A70290 link=1245723393/2#2 date=1245729303
    I was told the calibration is done by the importer/factory
    Yes, that would be ECA and its my understanding as well.

    Quote Originally Posted by 7A717D686A70290 link=1245723393/2#2 date=1245729303
    So should I assume the 18-20sec pour Im currently doing is incorrect and I should be aiming for a 22-25 second pour? The time is measured from lifting the lever, with output beginning 6-9 seconds afterwards.
    Not necessarily. Ive had pours <20 seconds and pours >30 seconds that have tasted OK. The time is measured from when you raise the lever.



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    Re: Rocket Giotto Premium Plus - Feedback and Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by 616A6673716B320 link=1245723393/2#2 date=1245729303
    1kg bags I buy from the roaster which have a one way valve have a shelf life of around 6 months?
    The accepted "shelf life" of roasted coffee is around 3-4 weeks (some even consider this too long). Solution: Buy green from beanbay and roast your own in the quantities you require.

    There are some who buy in quantities and freeze smaller quantities as they cant get fresh very often, they are happy with the results but fresh is better.
    Quote Originally Posted by 616A6673716B320 link=1245723393/2#2 date=1245729303
    Im hoping I can "refine" my technique rather than spend another $200 or so on a course.
    Up to you I am a fan of doing a course practicing get better on my own. Then going and doing another course learn some more, refine, etc etc etc. This could just be getting to know snobs or roasters and pumping them for information but the help of others will push you faster than if you stumble along on your own.
    Quote Originally Posted by 616A6673716B320 link=1245723393/2#2 date=1245729303
    I was told the calibration is done by the importer/factory and it doesnt need any further mods, Im hoping this is the case or Ill have to have a chat to them about getting the best out of my machine...
    [s]In the case of the two commercial machines I have bought I have had to calibrate both of them for boiler pressure and pump pressure so assume nothing.[/s]

    I stand corrected

    Quote Originally Posted by 616A6673716B320 link=1245723393/2#2 date=1245729303
    So should I assume the 18-20sec pour Im currently doing is incorrect and I should be aiming for a 22-25 second pour? The time is measured from lifting the lever, with output beginning 6-9 seconds afterwards.
    The golden "guideline" is 30mls in 30sec (single basket) or 60ml in 30 sec from a double. 5 sec from water hitting the puck is around right but 18-20 is too fast. Adjust grind, tamp or dosage one at a time until you are happy.

    Hope that helps, there is a lot more info in the forum if you have the time or want more detail.



  6. #6
    Senior Member Koffee_Kosmo's Avatar
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    Re: Rocket Giotto Premium Plus - Feedback and Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by 69626E7B79633A0 link=1245723393/0#0 date=1245723393
    B. The amount of coffee I need to put in the basket to get the right pour consistency (thick honey looking pour) has to be quite exact. I need to work on this a little further.
    Welcome SXTACY
    You will need to experiment with you tamp depth level unique to your machine so the tamped puck is a hairs whisker from the Group Head shower screen when the
    porta-filter handle is locked in

    On your Pullman tamper you will see a few lines on the side
    These lines are used as guides for level & depth

    As an example I need to tamp 8mm in depth to clear the filter screen on my machine

    The tamper guide lines are spaced 2mm apart I think ?

    So try that first and then experiment with grind and tamp pressure to get to 25/30 seconds pour

    KK

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    Re: Rocket Giotto Premium Plus - Feedback and Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by 353F2A3D3D322620530 link=1245723393/3#3 date=1245729969
    The bags will definitely last that longSmiley but not the contents. Most beans will arent that good after 3 weeks - you might stretch it to a month if you are lucky
    Bugger... just wasted $50 on bags! Even the coffee bag place said this would work and I would definately be able to preserve the shelf life of the coffee beans to the 6 month mark atleast (was advised the shelf life of the coffee beans in the 1kg bag from the roaster should have a shelf life of 6-12 months).

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    Re: Rocket Giotto Premium Plus - Feedback and Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by 535D505F485E5F310 link=1245723393/4#4 date=1245730195
    Buy green from beanbay and roast your own in the quantities you require.
    Will definately do this as I get better in my skills and appreciation, but at present, I dont think I could out do or even match a roaster with 13 years experience. He uses some custom blend which I really like, so I rekon either I up my consumption or find a few people to divvy the beans with for the time being!

    Quote Originally Posted by 535D505F485E5F310 link=1245723393/4#4 date=1245730195
    The golden "guideline" is 30mls in 30sec (single basket) or 60ml in 30 sec from a double. 5 sec from water hitting the puck is around right but 18-20 is too fast.
    Okay, back to the drawing board! Hehe... thanks, I will work on increasing the fineness of the grind first, as 18-20 sec is the best shot I can get at the moment (have tried other variables one at a time without success, tamping harder chokes the machine)

  9. #9
    Senior Member Koffee_Kosmo's Avatar
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    Re: Rocket Giotto Premium Plus - Feedback and Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by 5F54584D4F550C0 link=1245723393/6#6 date=1245731149
    Bugger... just wasted $50 on bags! Even the coffee bag place said this would work and I would definately be able to preserve the shelf life of the coffee beans to the 6 month mark atleast (was advised the shelf life of the coffee beans in the 1kg bag from the roaster should have a shelf life of 6-12 months).
    I am sure these recommendations were not made by coffee snobs
    They may be well meaning but uninformed people

    Remember you are a coffee snob now and your education to better coffee starts now :)

    KK

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    Re: Rocket Giotto Premium Plus - Feedback and Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by 06222B2B28281206223E20224D0 link=1245723393/5#5 date=1245730518
    On your Pullman tamper you will see a few lines on the side
    These lines are used as guides for level & depth
    Excellent! Learning everyday... Ill use these lines from now on. I thought they were just decoration up until now!

    Thanks for your help... pulling shots tonight!

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    Re: Rocket Giotto Premium Plus - Feedback and Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by 557178787B7B4155716D73711E0 link=1245723393/8#8 date=1245731417
    I am sure these recommendations were not made by coffee snobs
    They may be well meaning but uninformed people
    No, definately not coffee snobs, but now I think business snobs!

    I might call them up and see if I can cancel the order considering it was sold to me for a specific purpose, which I am learning can not be achieved.

  12. #12
    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    Re: Rocket Giotto Premium Plus - Feedback and Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by 545F5346445E070 link=1245723393/0#0 date=1245723393
    is it normal for an 18 sec pour before blonding?
    Different things can affect the speed of a pour.
    If you want to slow it down you need to change them.
    But only one of them at a time until you find a repeatable process.

    To go from an 18 second pour to a longer one you could:
    * Grind finer (gives more resistance to the water flow as there is less space between the grinds).
    * Put more coffee in the basket (gives more resistance to the water flow as there is more coffee in its way).

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    Re: Rocket Giotto Premium Plus - Feedback and Questions

    Thanks thundergod,

    Quote Originally Posted by 1F233E252F2E392C242F4B0 link=1245723393/11#11 date=1245731829
    Grind finer (gives more resistance to the water flow as there is less space between the grinds).
    Last I tried to go finer, I tamped less and choked the machine, that was adjusting the grind the minimum amount from course -> fine (on the ECA Best, there are numbered settings with 0.5 increments, so I went from 4 to 3.5). So obviously Im not doing something right... just have to figure out what...

    Quote Originally Posted by 5A667B606A6B7C69616A0E0 link=1245723393/11#11 date=1245731829
    Put more coffee in the basket (gives more resistance to the water flow as there is more coffee in its way).
    Im already putting in enough to touch the shower screen, and on 1 out of 5 times, putting too much in (or not tamping enough) and therefore not being able to lock in the group handle...

    But Ill try again, this time more conscious of what Im trying to achieve... appreciate your help and thanks!

    Ahh the joys of learning!

  14. #14
    TC
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    Re: Rocket Giotto Premium Plus - Feedback and Questions

    Re calibration:

    We have found that some 2008 build machines (black on brushed silver name plate) can be improved with a little judicious Scace work- as can almost all other brands. Note that they require far less work than the Giotto Premium for example.

    There are about 3 very slightly different GPP configurations leading to a degree or two up or down dependent on build date. Like all other importers, ECA worked with Rocket and the later the build, the better the machines got.

    Recent 2009 build machines- recognisable by silver on black name plates front and back have been perfect and the only thing we have been doing is offering a custom gliceur on request for clients who promise to use ONLY filtered, softened coffee quality water...

    Hope that clarifies a few things ;)

    Chris

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    Re: Rocket Giotto Premium Plus - Feedback and Questions

    Thanks Chris, was waiting for you to chime in!


    Quote Originally Posted by 7045484F7B674B42424141240 link=1245723393/13#13 date=1245734132
    can be improved with a little judicious Scace work
    With respect to the 2008 builds, after your "judicious Scace work" what differences are there and are they any easier/quicker/cheaper than the full blown $200 thermostability upgrade?

    Im a little disappointed to learn mine is the 2008 build when I was told mine was the latest build, and bought only 4 weeks ago.

    Ill definately be ringing up the vendor to quiz them about this!

  16. #16
    Senior Member GregWormald's Avatar
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    Re: Rocket Giotto Premium Plus - Feedback and Questions

    About the timing of the shot.

    The general guidelines are just that--general. They may not represent the taste YOU want in YOUR coffee.

    For instance, no matter what I do, I do not like double shots that go for more than 20-30 ml. Thats a ristretto. To quote Instaurator from his recent classic tome The Espresso Quest--"A doppio ristretto if you please! The standard shot for fellow, coffee Holy Grail hunters..."

    Greg

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    Re: Rocket Giotto Premium Plus - Feedback and Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by 62575A5D69755950505353360 link=1245723393/13#13 date=1245734132
    Recent 2009 build machines- recognisable by silver on black name plates front and back have been excellent and the only thing we have been doing is offering a custom gliceur on request for clients that promise to use ONLY filtered, softened coffee quality water...
    Okay, just called the vendor who then called ECA who said besides the change in badge, there has been no change to the calibration settings and there should be absolutely no difference in performance from the ones with the black on silver vs silver on black models.

    [Confused and annoyed at the varying answers] does ECA participate on these forums?

    Thanks,

    -R

  18. #18
    TC
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    Re: Rocket Giotto Premium Plus - Feedback and Questions

    Hi SXTACY,

    ALL Giotto Premium Plus machines are terrific and you should be seeing that as well with yours. Unless there is a problem with your machine, use it and enjoy it!

    A Scace device will give a definitive answer on temperature, but the biggest issue with any machine is more often than not the nut on the group handle- i.e the user...My advice would be to invest some $$$ in training to improve your technique rather than worrying about tiny changes.

    You have a purchased a thermostable machine, coupled with a good grinder...Use them!

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    Re: Rocket Giotto Premium Plus - Feedback and Questions

    Chris your earlier post suggests there were slight variations from the 2 years:

    2008
    Quote Originally Posted by 56636E695D416D64646767020 link=1245723393/13#13 date=1245734132
    There are about 3 very slightly different GPP configurations
    and 2009
    Quote Originally Posted by 56636E695D416D64646767020 link=1245723393/13#13 date=1245734132
    Recent 2009 build machines... have been perfect
    My concern is that I was sold an older model, when the newer models had some improvements made to them.

    Irrespective of user ability or any problems with the machine, as a consumer, I have the right to get what I was a) represented and paid for and b) what I asked for (which was the newest, current model).

    Im not questioning the brand or the enjoyment, Im keen to find out what the changes were (if any) which would make my machine "perfect" as you put it.

  20. #20
    TC
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    Re: Rocket Giotto Premium Plus - Feedback and Questions

    sxtacy,

    Have your vendor check your machine with a Scace device and if the brew temp is around 92deg, this will work well with most espresso blends. If not, you can have the boiler pressure increased or decreased slightly to achieve that. We did that with early build GPP. Late 2008 build did not require adjustment. Please keep in mind that these differences are tiny and without a Scace you are most unlikely to detect them.

    With Giotto Premium machines, we made many more adjustments, including adjustments to thermosyphon restrictors. We have not needed to do this with any Giotto Premium Plus.

    If you have purchased recently and if your vendor has not been holding stock for many months, you need not worry.

    Chris

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    Re: Rocket Giotto Premium Plus - Feedback and Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by 1E15190C0E144D0 link=1245723393/9#9 date=1245731429
    Quote Originally Posted by 06222B2B28281206223E20224D0 link=1245723393/5#5 date=1245730518
    On your Pullman tamper you will see a few lines on the side
    These lines are used as guides for level & depth
    Excellent! Learning everyday... Ill use these lines from now on. I thought they were just decoration up until now!

    Thanks for your help... pulling shots tonight!
    You mean, you didnt read the instruction sheet that came with the tamper?? *:o And I spent so much time typing it all out! *::) ;D

    Id concur with Chris comments; the sorts of variations were talking about are so minute its unlikely youll notice it. The annoyance is probably more akin to buying a new car and finding a newer batch was just out which achieves an extra 1kW at the flywheel - the difference is basically theoretical, but the annoyance comes from just knowing its not there (basically bragging rights). Im not saying its not still annoying or that you shouldnt have gotten what you asked for, but in practical terms I doubt youll notice the difference even if they exchange your machine for a brand newie (which I reckon youll be lucky to get if theres no official change in the spec).

    Greg

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    Re: Rocket Giotto Premium Plus - Feedback and Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by 3520373522273E3E3F333C520 link=1245723393/20#20 date=1245799821
    You mean, you didnt read the instruction sheet that came with the tamper??Shocked And I spent so much time typing it all out!
    Haha! Thanks for participating Greg, its an honour to meet the person who designed such a practical and well built item.

    I didnt actually get an instruction manual with the tamper, just the tamper, 3 rings (to adjust height) and thats it... so I didnt even know one existed... unless youre pulling my leg :)

    Like you said its more the annoyance of knowing youve requested and been represented something when it fact was something inferior to what you would have otherwise bought.

    I dont mind on any cosmetic changes, but if there are performance, safety or quality changes, then Id want a new one, and hence my request for Chris to detail what those changes were.

    In terms of credibility, Chris has no doubt spent a lot of time testing these machines and his business Talk Coffee states on their website they are the No. 1 dealer of these machines in Australia, so if Chris is saying there are performance changes in the machine, Id believe him!

    Its more so annoying that there is a discrepancy in what the importer is telling me (via my vendor) and another (credible) vendor. Youd think there would be a more definitive and consistent answer?

  23. #23
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    Re: Rocket Giotto Premium Plus - Feedback and Questions

    Pleasure SX. Perhaps send me an email to let me know where you got the tamper as all our resellers are supposed to supply them with the instruction sheets we provide with the tamper (and this is a case in point as to why!). Theres an online version at http://www.coffeetamper.com.au/products/deluxe.html#usage which has the same info.

    My guess on the issue (and its a guess as I dont have any experience with these machines) is that Rocket and ECA are like most reputable companies who are always looking to improve their product. They will release a product and make little tweaks in response to consumer and retailer feedback. However those changes are unofficial and dont result in the release of a new model, so its hard for a consumer to pin down the exact date of change - in fact the existence or nature of any change at all is only known to those with inside information.

    A few examples:
    1) Youve got a Deluxe tamper and Ive been making those since early 2003. Theyve always been called a Deluxe tamper, but if you compare one of the early units against a current model they look somewhat different. Same thing; lots of little improvements along the way without actually formalising it in a new release.
    2) Sunbeam did the same with the EM69XX series machines - the early 6900s were real lemons, they refined and improved things such that the late ones were 95% EM6910, but they were still officially a 6900. Only those who really knew what they were looking for could pick the difference.
    3) When vehicle manufacturers issue a product recall, have you noticed they often specify a date range rather than a blanket recall on every (say) BA Falcon? More often than not its because a new part, process or supplier was used at some stage in the production time of that model so the recall only applies to vehicles manufactured with a particular part - but theyre all still BA Falcons and officially theres no difference between them - its only those with the inside knowledge that know which models have which bits and how this may affect their reliability.

    There have only been four official Giottos - ECM Classic, ECM Premium, Rocket Premium and Rocket Premium Plus, but Id bet within each model there are a ton of tweaks from an early unit to a late unit. This is why I think youll be lucky to get any joy out of your reseller as what they sold you is officially the current version. Fortunately in your case the differences sound to be pretty minimal.

    HTH,
    Greg



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