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Thread: La Scala Butterfly review

  1. #1
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    La Scala Butterfly review

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    The La Scala Butterfly Lever

    I’m new here and found myself joining this forum as some of the comments I read about this machine seemed to lack objectivity. So I thought I’d write a ‘warts and all’ review, having actually owned on for two years.

    The La Scala Butterfly is one of a range of small commercial-style machines made by various manufacturers that use the famous E61 group developed by Faema in 1961. Others include Isomac, ECM, Vibiemme and Bezzera, to name a few. I chose the Butterfly over other makes for two reasons - Firstly, after spending a lot of time searching, I couldnt find a single bad review anywhere and secondly, at $AUD2,100 (at the time) it was at the lower end of the $1850 - $2900 range in which other manufacturers had priced their machines. From my perspective some of the more expensive makes had focused on flamboyant cabinet design to establish a point of difference in the market. Most offered smaller boilers and some had tiny drip trays, so the Butterfly’s features represented better value for me.

    I bought the full stainless steel case variation but you can save about $200 by buying the powdercoated version. The Butterfly has a 1.8 litre welded copper boiler, 3 litre water tank (but is plumb-in ready), 1 litre drip tray, 9 cup storage tray, one and two cup portafilters and adjustable feet. It is ruggedly constructed with an understated design which is somewhat ‘industrial’ in appearance, which I liked. Basically, you either like it or you don’t, but I have found there is some confusion on these discussion groups between appearance and construction quality. Regardless of your opinion about its cabinet design, it is beautifully constructed.

    There is a power switch with power-on tally light, a low water level warning light and a pressure gauge that indicates the pressure in the boiler. Although you can plumb this machine in, I chose not to as I prefer to filter the water I use in it and our small kitchen needs the drawer over which it is located - which would have to go in order to route the plumbing to and from the machine.

    The extraction process is exactly the same as any of the E61 Lever machines as they all use the same group. There is plenty of steam available from the 1.8l boiler for texturing milk. The Butterfly takes about 50 seconds to texture 400 mls of refrigerator-temperature milk into silky smooth micro foam heated to 75ºC. The steamer wand swivels outwards at the appropriate angle for texturing and the hot water dispenser swivels in the same manner.

    Whats wrong with the La Scala Butterfly? Not much at all really. Minor things... such as theres no visual indication of the water level in the tank - if Sunbeam can put one into a $700 machine, why cant it be done in a machine thats three times the price? Having to remove the cup tray to refill the machine is a bit of a drag.

    The instruction manual leaves a lot to be desired. I don’t know about other E61 manufacturers, but La Scala need to get someone other than the factory staff to write their manual. This is probably the only area where domestic plastic machines have the edge over our beloved mini commercial E61 machines. Thats about it for the negatives.

    Another cool thing about the La Scala is it uses mostly the same parts that full-size commercial machines use. So anyone who services commercial machines can service these and theres usually alternative parts available from different suppliers if the originals are unable to be sourced quickly.

    Two years in, this machine has not missed a beat *:)



  2. #2
    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    Re: La Scala Butterfly review

    It does look nice to me.
    I remember considering one in my early research days before settling on what I have now.

    Quote Originally Posted by 2A2928272A394B0 link=1260094847/0#0 date=1260094847
    I have found there is some confusion on these discussion groups between appearance and construction quality.
    Care to cite an example?

    Quote Originally Posted by 2A2928272A394B0 link=1260094847/0#0 date=1260094847
    3 litre water tank
    How many litres usable before the low water cut-out activates?

    Quote Originally Posted by 2A2928272A394B0 link=1260094847/0#0 date=1260094847
    theres no visual indication of the water level in the tank - if Sunbeam can put one into a $700 machine, why cant it be done in a machine thats three times the price?
    Fair question as my machine doesnt have one either.
    But come on...the Sunbeam has a hole in the front so you can see the water tank. It makes it look like my kettle. Come to think of it my kettle is a Sunbeam.



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    Re: La Scala Butterfly review

    Quote Originally Posted by 605C415A505146535B50340 link=1260094847/1#1 date=1260096206
    Care to cite an example?
    I will need to go through the topics I visited to find the one that really pushed my buttons and let you know. In the meantime John C wrote:
    "And as for the Butterfly, never did get to see one in the flesh, but from the many pics Ive seen it looked pretty ordinary, and the plastic tray! well the less said about that the better."
    Not sure whether hes talking about the design or the quality. If its the latter, having a look at one in the flesh would help, but he may be talking about the design and thats a matter of personal taste and I accept that. As for the plastic cup tray (which is actually an insert to provide air circulation between the cups and the stainless steel floor of the tray), that he has mentioned twice now, if that was the worst aspect of the machine, it would be no big deal... just cover it in cups or get some fancy expanded stainless steel for $20. Its easily fixed
    Quote Originally Posted by 605C415A505146535B50340 link=1260094847/1#1 date=1260096206
    How many litres usable before the low water cut-out activates?
    The low water warning circuit comprises two stainless plates that sit on either side of the tank. They go down to within a few mms of the bottom and its only when the plates have no water on them that the machine shuts down. So to answer your question, about 2.8 litres usable
    Quote Originally Posted by 605C415A505146535B50340 link=1260094847/1#1
    date=1260096206
    the Sunbeam has a hole in the front so you can see the water tank. It makes it look like my kettle. Come to think of it my kettle is a Sunbeam.
    Im with you there! But surely something really sexy like an old-fashioned solid clear plastic (or glass) tube set in chrome end pieces on the side of the machine... that sort of thing :D

  4. #4
    brett230873
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    Re: La Scala Butterfly review

    For what its worth I chose my machine largely because I couldnt take my eyes off it, yet, I think that this La Scala also has appeal, especially when all buffed and shiny. There is another website with a review and pics and the internals also look the business. This machine was also very high on my list.

  5. #5
    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    Re: La Scala Butterfly review

    Quote Originally Posted by 4F4C4D424F5C2E0 link=1260094847/2#2 date=1260098700
    The low water warning circuit comprises two stainless plates that sit on either side of the tank. They go down to within a few mms of the bottom and its only when the plates have no water on them that the machine shuts down. So to answer your question, about 2.8 litres usable
    Good.

    My Expobar uses a switch that activates based on the weight of the remaining water.
    It activates at around 1 litre remaining.

  6. #6
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Re: La Scala Butterfly review

    Quote Originally Posted by 7F435E454F4E594C444F2B0 link=1260094847/4#4 date=1260102030
    My Expobar uses a switch that activates based on the weight of the remaining water.
    It activates at around 1 litre remaining.
    You could probably improve the resolution of this arrangement without too much trouble TG.... Unless youre happy with it as it now stands of course :)

    Mal.

  7. #7
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Re: La Scala Butterfly review

    Quote Originally Posted by 2A2928272A394B0 link=1260094847/0#0 date=1260094847
    theres no visual indication of the water level in the tank - if Sunbeam can put one into a $700 machine, why cant it be done in a machine thats three times the price?
    Depending on how far you want to go and just how much you like to tinker around with your machine, there are some very high resolution, very low pressure gauges that could be used for this via an entry point into the bottom of the reservoir.

    Also, you could probably take advantage of the existing arrangement with the contact sensing plates. If you are versed in electronics or know someone who is, you could couple a high impedance input into a simple op-amp circuit which in turn, can be used to drive a suitable voltmeter.... Something that replicates your existing gauges appearance may be possible?

    Welcome to CoffeeSnobs by the way.... [smiley=thumbsup.gif]

    Mal.

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    Re: La Scala Butterfly review

    Quote Originally Posted by 4F62666A670B0 link=1260094847/6#6 date=1260108597
    Also, you could probably take advantage of the existing arrangement with the contact sensing plates. If you are versed in electronics or know someone who is, you could couple a high impedance input into a simple op-amp circuit which in turn, can be used to drive a suitable voltmeter....
    Thanks for the welcome, Mal. I like your thinking on the plates in the tank. One of the things that would make the tube idea a big problem is the fact that the tank is removable for cleaning; but the plates just lift out, as do the hoses, so the plate idea is definitely the way to go.

    There would be an issue with the differing conductivity of water, though. Water with a high mineral content is likely to be more conductive than filtered water, so there would need to be some logic that would take a baseline reading on a full tank on the press of a button and calibrate on that. perhaps.

  9. #9
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Re: La Scala Butterfly review

    Quote Originally Posted by 2D2E2F202D3E4C0 link=1260094847/7#7 date=1260185202
    There would be an issue with the differing conductivity of water, though. Water with a high mineral content is likely to be more conductive than filtered water, so there would need to be some logic that would take a baseline reading on a full tank on the press of a button and calibrate on that. perhaps.
    Or.... ::)

    You could keep things simple and install a reputable filter system from someone like Bombora that will then allow water to be used with a more or less constant conductivity coefficient. Thats along the line I was thinking.... :)

    Mal.

  10. #10
    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    Re: La Scala Butterfly review

    Quote Originally Posted by 507D797578140 link=1260094847/5#5 date=1260108076
    Quote Originally Posted by 7F435E454F4E594C444F2B0 link=1260094847/4#4 date=1260102030
    My Expobar uses a switch that activates based on the weight of the remaining water.
    It activates at around 1 litre remaining.
    You could probably improve the resolution of this arrangement without too much trouble TG.... Unless youre happy with it as it now stands of course :)

    Mal.
    Couldnt be bothered so far.

    What were you thinking?

  11. #11
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Re: La Scala Butterfly review

    Quote Originally Posted by 003C213A303126333B30540 link=1260094847/9#9 date=1260191342
    Couldnt be bothered so far.

    What were you thinking?
    TG, would you be able to photograph the current setup, with as much detail as possible and post them up here? That will make it much easier to come up with something that is relevant,,,,

    Mal.

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    Re: La Scala Butterfly review

    Quote Originally Posted by 55787C707D110 link=1260094847/8#8 date=1260191175
    You could keep things simple and install a reputable filter system from someone like Bombora that will then allow water to be used with a more or less constant conductivity coefficient. *
    Nice idea, Mal, but Im not sure it would be that simple. As I understand it, Adelaide water is relatively hard so its conductivity is likely to differ from Hobart water where there are few(er) dissolved mineral salts. Wouldnt the filter just take out the suspended stuff and leaves the dissolved elements (such as chlorine)?

    And where would you see the filter going? As we are talking about non-plumb-in machines, it would have to go after the tank which would seem to defeat the purpose in the context of this thread.

  13. #13
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Re: La Scala Butterfly review

    Quote Originally Posted by 2E2D2C232E3D4F0 link=1260094847/11#11 date=1260271863
    Nice idea, Mal, but Im not sure it would be that simple. As I understand it, Adelaide water is relatively hard so its conductivity is likely to differ from Hobart water where there are few(er) dissolved mineral salts. Wouldnt the filter just take out the suspended stuff and leaves the dissolved elements (such as chlorine)?

    And where would you see the filter going? As we are talking about non-plumb-in machines, it would have to go after the tank which would seem to defeat the purpose in the context of this thread.
    Which locale are you and your Butterfly situated; Adelaide or Hobart?

    Regardless, Bombora have several "Under-sink" filter systems from which to choose and all can be fitted with dedicated anti-scale cartridges that will significantly decrease the effects of harmful dissolved solids. Would definitely be worth your contacting them to see if a system would suit your kitchen and water quality requirements. The system we have came with a small Faucet, water fountain kind of thing that is mounted off to one side of the sink. I use this to fill the tank in my Diadema via a suitable sized pitcher/jug.

    Highly recommended that you contact Bombora ab.... They wont steer you wrong 8-)

    Mal.

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    Re: La Scala Butterfly review

    Quote Originally Posted by 7C51555954380 link=1260094847/12#12 date=1260344095
    Which locale are you and your Butterfly situated; Adelaide or Hobart?
    Hobart.

    I dont need a filter myself as I already have a benchtop filter which is absolutely brilliant, and is why I bought the Butterfly non-plumb-in model over either the Eroica or the Butterfly plumb-in option.

    My reason for discussing filtration was in the context of the earlier posts concerning a water level meter and following up on your great suggestion about the plates in the tank as a way of possibly achieving that. Maybe another option is to work with the weight of the water in the tank to display the water level on a meter. That way the differences in the composition of the water become irrelevant. This option would still allow for removal of the tank for cleaning. Do you know of a suitable low-price weight sensor such as the one Thundergod describes in his Expobar?

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    Re: La Scala Butterfly review

    I dont need a filter myself as I already have a benchtop filter which is absolutely brilliant
    Maybe not for treating Calcium, my understanding of a anticalc cartridge is that it treats the calcium by coating it with a substance I cant pronounce, there for they need replacing more often than a filter(I was told this by a water filter supplier not a site sponsor) there have been posts here about Brita type filters not doing the job so I suppose this is why.
    Abclair Ive enjoyed this thread on the LaScala and your website which I had read previously, thanks for posting both.

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    Re: La Scala Butterfly review

    Quote Originally Posted by 29363C2D303E323A2D5F0 link=1260094847/14#14 date=1260432465
    Abclair Ive enjoyed this thread on the LaScala and your website which I had read previously, thanks for posting both. *
    Thanks Vicroamer. I wasnt sure how it would all be received. Pretty well, as it turns out, though it isnt kosher to mention my website as it also has non-coffee related stuff on it from which I once earned an extremely small income. Its all in the past as I now have a fulltime job. If people want some extra information about a little known E61 Machine that is well worth finding out more about, they only need to Google and it will turn up. As there is some difficulty seeing one in the flesh, I was driven to put out as much info about it as I could. As they say, knowledge is power.

    I was in Europe recently and was hoping to take up the kind invitation from the people at La Scala to have a look at their factory and see some of the mods they have planned for the Butterfly (including a slide-out drip tray), but was unable to get there in the small amount of time available. Next time.

  17. #17
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    Re: La Scala Butterfly review

    I actually emailed La Scala a few times during one of my upgradeitis battles, I found their replies most helpful, nice that they take the time to respond to a private individual.



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