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Thread: Reliability VBM, ECM & Minore

  1. #1
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    Reliability VBM, ECM & Minore

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hi all

    Let me say first what a great resource CS and its posters are, and also what a terrible risk to the wallet :P

    Having productively lurked for a month or so, I now feel I know a little (enough) to join in. And, Im hooked, so I am in the process of getting equiped. So I need some advice. My criteria are I want to buy a machine that will minimise the desire for upgradeitis. I do have some fiddle skills (I build my own PCs, do hobby electronics and home plumbing), but have not worked on these machines before.

    I am attracted to the Minore II because of its flexibility, temperature stability and consistency, but to HXs because of simplicity of design and therefore reliability.

    Having looked here and elsewhere, I believe the three choices of interest to me are:
    . the Giotto, smallest, most popular, pretty, but availability is an issue, and Im not sure I want to temperature surf which seems necessary to get the best out of HX machines;
    . VBM D Super, quality, stability and also pretty but BIG, and HX as above; and
    . Minore II, temperature setting, price, power (I dont think its that ugly) but there are many references to quality and repair issues even for newish machines.

    I printed out some pictures for the boss and she helpfully commented that they were all ugly (but she is expecting good coffee).

    So, finally, here are my questions.
    Would the reliability issue for Minore II prevent you from purchasing this machine? Do you have direct experience?
    Can you get good coffee from these HX machines (using a standard approach) even if you dont want to surf, and how difficult is this?

    I have already had a brief chat with Chris (a great resouce for CS, thanks Chris) and I want to purchase from a site sponsor if possible.

    I will appreciate your thoughts. :)

    Regards, Gary

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    Re: Reliability VBM, ECM & Minore

    Hi Gary,

    Welcome to the coffee snobs and to the wallet risk zone... :D

    As a Home Barista specialist , Di Bartoli would be happy to assist you as much as we can with your decision making process for the right machine for you.

    As your options were already narrowed down to the Giotto, Minore 2 and the VBM D Super, why not choosing the next natural step, and visit our store (if youre in Sydney, that is) to see all 3 machines in operation?

    In Di Bartoli we ensure ALL the machines we sell are operative, so people like yourselves, when not sure which way to go and theres only so far that internet research have assisted them, they find actually witnessing the models in action as well as trying it out themselves, answers instantly questions likes: do I feel comfortable with the machine? can I get good coffee from it? how much tempt surf do I really need to apply and is that a nuisance at all or can I happily integrate that to my routine? and for the "Boss", it certainly becomes more visualized and clear which one actually looks better on your kitchen bench, occupies the right bench space, and may, also allow the boss the opportunity to operate the machine herself...(what happens on those business trips when youre away?)

    With our 1 hour complimentary training we provide you with every machine we sell, you can be sure to become proficient with the "ins and outs" of the machines operation, getting your barista skills to a satisfactory level to pull decent shots as soon as you bring it home and know how to take good care of your machine so itll take care of you for many more years to come...

    As for your specific questions, we obviously have an extensive experience with Minore 2 as well as able to put you in touch with some of our customers who operate it to their satisfaction...we believe that in terms of reliability, serviceability, spare parts availability and adequate technical backup, all 3 models are quite similar, so in fact, the decision really comes down to other factors, which may or may not be relevant / meaningful to you as the operator, and will be subject to your expectations, coffee consumption patterns and personal preferences. If you cant make it to our shop, I suggest you PM me or ring me on: 02-9389 9892, Id be delighted to discuss your situation in details and recommend accordingly.

    As CS sponsor, you will receive a great deal from Di Bartoli on whichever model you will eventually choose, not to mention the pre-sale /post-sale backup extended, where we guide you through the home barista process until no more questions are asked.... Visit our sponsor area for the lasts offers on VBM D Super, Minore 2 and the Bezzera Domus Galatea (maybe this model will get the stamp "approved" from the boss?):

    http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1163932885

    Hope that was of help! Ofra










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    Re: Reliability VBM, ECM & Minore

    Hey, you seem to be following the same path as I did... only a week ago.
    I ended up ordering a Diadema Junior from Cosmorex.
    IMO (from endless trawling of forums) it has the looks and overall quality of a Giotto, but it is available!
    It is called "La Valentina" in America, and the reviews on <CoffeGeeks> are compelling.
    Gary

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    Re: Reliability VBM, ECM & Minore

    Quote Originally Posted by gazman link=1186614376/0#2 date=1186625533
    Hey, you seem to be following the same path as I did... only a week ago.
    I ended up ordering a Diadema Junior from Cosmorex.
    IMO (from endless trawling of forums) it has the looks and overall quality of a Giotto, but it is available!
    It is called "La Valentina" in America, and the reviews on <CoffeGeeks> are compelling.
    Gary
    Correct you are Gary!

    The Diadema is a formidable competitor and should be on any HX shortlist. They have terrific build, reliability and performance.

    Diadema are available though Cosmorex.... and ourselves of course!

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    Re: Reliability VBM, ECM & Minore

    Gary, welcome to CS.

    I have recently been down the same path having to upgrade after only 12 months. So I wanted this one to last forever.

    Giotto was going to be my first choice because of limited space but not available. The VBM is a big sucker but after some more renovating (height was the problem, not depth) decided to go with it.

    I need to say that Chris from TalkCoffee was fantastic and because I knew there was some excellent local support (not like my previous machine supplier!) and I trusted him, that made the decision easier.

    The VBM is a fantastic machine, love it. Taken me 2 weeks (with one hand) to get used to it, but feel as though now starting to really use it.

    The other bonus is my partner would never use my previous machine but she has taken to this one like a duck to water and loves it as well. Really simple to use with wonderful results.

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    Re: Reliability VBM, ECM & Minore

    although not owning the minore2 i do have a minore1 and feel bad when no-one stands up for it.
    i didnt buy it from a sposor, as at that time i was in syd, and dibartoli werent!!

    i have had no problems other than a loose on/off switch. a quick call to expobar in melb, and they came around, replaced the switch, and were off.... no charge, and i didnt need to take the machine anywhere!

    so, i dont have any complaints about expobar!

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    Re: Reliability VBM, ECM & Minore

    Thanks for the responses. Ofra (DiBartoli) and Chris (TalkCoffee) have been very helpful.

    Gazman (great name there) I went to Cosmorex and had a look at the Diadema. You are right, its a very nice unit. I really liked the Levetta (looks spectacular and top quality), but I think the boiler (if its 1.2 litre) is a bit small, and the wands were swivel and not ball jointed (I wonder if that can be changed?).

    Rowdy, I think the Vibiemme, nice as it looks, is just going to be too big, but its has been highly recommended.

    Hi Krusty, good to hear kind words about the Minore. I assume your happy with the coffee too :) Any other Minore owners that wish to chime in (or send me a PM if they dont want to be publicly critical ?). Any recent purchasers? Do they have a quality look & feel? Unfortunately, I cant get to Sydney to take up Ofra on the offer to compare all of these :(

    Thanks again for the assistance.

    Gary

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    Re: Reliability VBM, ECM & Minore

    Quote Originally Posted by flowta link=1186614376/0#0 date=1186614376
    ....[snip]So, finally, here are my questions. *
    Would the reliability issue for Minore II prevent you from purchasing this machine? *Do you have direct experience?
    Can you get good coffee from these HX machines (using a standard approach) even if you dont want to surf, and how difficult is this?

    I have already had a brief chat with Chris (a great resouce for CS, thanks Chris) and I want to purchase from a site sponsor if possible.

    I will appreciate your thoughts. * :)

    Regards, *Gary
    Gary,

    I have the Minore II (for about 8 months now) and did experience a small issue with the control board. It was fixed promptly and under warranty and the machine hasnt missed a beat since.
    Personally, I love the darn thing and Im very happy with the quality of coffee coming out of it!
    Also moved to the Macap M5 grinder recently and I reckon that has made a difference too!

    Brett.

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    Re: Reliability VBM, ECM & Minore

    There were some issues with some earlier build machines and the problem Brett has experienced- especially in areas with spiky power supply...

    Expobar Oz have specified a new Australian transformer and control board and no further machines have had issues according to them.

    Pricewise, a Minore II and a Domobar Super are very similar. There is no contest on build quality, but it comes down to how much control you really need :-?. A well used machine will produce a great shot.

    Feel safe to choose the box of compromises that best suits ;) We would be thrilled to assist with supply of either ...

    Chris

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    Re: Reliability VBM, ECM & Minore

    Hi, flowta,

    I am thinking of getting a Minore II as well. I, normally, make 2 coffees at the time but sometimes I make 4. I am leaning towards the Minore for many reasons but one of the reasons is that it seems that it would be easier to pull perfect shots from the first cup. While with HX machines it can be more of a hit and miss at the start but gets more consistent the more you make and the faster you are between shots. Otherwise the group head can get real hot and you need to take ages to cool it down but have to take care not to cool it down too much. Especially with e61 group head it can be difficult as their sole purpose is to keep the temperature constant. So if it is super heated it can take a while and a lot of flushing to cool it down. When you only pull one shot (single or double) it is more likely you will need to chuck it compared to a non-HX machine. You can pull two shots one after another with a HX and they could taste very different early on. If you pull the same two shots with a non-HX machine like the Minore, you wont be able to tell the difference.

    Most on the forum have HX machines and will tell me I am wrong, I am sure. Also, a lot of them are coffeesnobs and so enjoy the challenge a HX machine throws at them, which is great. But if you are someone that enjoys great consistent coffee and dont want to work for it as hard and pouring your favourite blend down the sink as often, you might lean towards the dual boiler Monore II. Even a single boiler machine will make more consistent coffee then a HX, except you need to wait for the steam. They all can make the same quality coffee if you know what you are doing, it is just harder to get the consistency with a HX right from the first shot, IMO. In a commercial environment where they are pumping out one coffee after another and the group head doesnt get enough time to super heat, the HX works fantastic. It is just that a dual boiler is more fool proof. With HX, you cannot get away from the fact that the way it is designed, when the machine is idling for long time (like when you are warming it up for 45 minutes for your first coffee in the morning) the group head is super heated from the steam in the top of the boiler. While with a single or double boiler the group head is preheated by the water in the boiler that is more like the coffee brewing temperature.

    So, anyway, that is how I see it. They are all great machine and can make as good coffee as the others. It comes down to consistency, the environment you are going to be using it, and how much challenge do you want it to be.
    If you only ever make one or two coffees then a good single boiler is great value and makes just as good coffee. It will warm up faster too as they generally have smaller boilers.
    If you make more then 2 coffees then you need to be able to steam straight away and perhaps use a bigger pitcher or else it will take ages to serve everyone their coffee. Then you might need a dual boiler or a HX.

    Like I said, I am in the market for a new machine. I am leaning towards the Expobar Minore II. My partner in crime likes the look of the Domobar Super. I find it difficult to chose as they are both good machines. Maybe, if I get a really nice deal on the Expobar I will buy it. Renzo and Ofra spent a lot of time with me talking about these two machines and I was still undecided. I might go to see them again this weekend and see what happens.

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    Re: Reliability VBM, ECM & Minore

    nice rant Monti ;) , a fine perspective on a widely debated subject,

    thanks.

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    Re: Reliability VBM, ECM & Minore

    If this interests you, there is a Brewtus II reliability/useability thread on Google Groups. Do a Google search for "google brewtus", and once in the groups search for "do you love your brewtus"http://groups.google.com/group/brewt...649222ab321057. Looks very positive :)

    Thanks for sharing your experience Brett.

    Check out the above Monti. I suspect Im heading for the Minore II also, for all the reasons you have enunciated.

    Gary

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    Re: Reliability VBM, ECM & Minore

    Gday Flowta,
    just to add a small point to what Monti has said, and not intending to start any sort of heated debate (no pun intended). Yes, HX machines need a cooling flush to get the group head temp correct, but double boiler (DB) machines need a heating flush to get group head temp correct.
    Luca mentioned in one of his posts that he compared his HX machine (Maver) to a DB (Minore II, I think) and that the Minore needed a larger heating flush than his machines cooling flush.
    Again, my point was just to add a bit of balance to the relative merits of HX v DB machines that have been mentioned, not start a flame war.
    I think that everyone can agree on one point though. Who you purchase your machine from is just as important as what machine you buy.
    Good luck with your decision.

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    Re: Reliability VBM, ECM & Minore

    Well, I just bought the Expobar Minore II from Ofra and Renzo at Di Bartolis on Saturday. They have a good deal going so I encourage anyone that wants to buy an espresso machine to take advantage of it while it lasts. The free Espro damper you get with the machines now is great too.

    I just took the machine home, filled it with water, pulled a couple of shots to dial in the grind, and in no time I was pulling great consistent shot. I even tried two different temperature settings with the digital pad and I could taste the difference between shots. No temp surfing was needed. The amount of water I had to flush before shots was very small and it seemd to make no difference if I pulled more then 30-60 mls. even if the machine was idling for a hour or so. It is early days yet but it seems that if you flush too much it makes no difference so if you do that you can never be wrong.

    I used to be able to get perfect microfoam from my Sunbeam EM6900 but I am having a bit of trouble with the Minore. I need more practice as I still end up with some small bubbles.

    I would be surprised if the Minore needed a longer flush then a HX, Lovey. Most info on the web suggests otherwise, indeed. Also, if you draw too much from a HX you could end up with too low a temperature which is never an issue with a dual boiler. It all depends on the boiler size of the HX. So, one HX can have a larger sweet spot then another and so it is difficult to generalise especially when it comes to HX machines. You have to be more in tune with it then with a dual boiler. Which can be a satisfying challenge on its own for some. With a commercial HX that has a massive tank you can flush a lot more and you are less likely to run the risk of ending up with a temp too low., IMO.


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    Re: Reliability VBM, ECM & Minore

    With my Sunbeam I used to get a perfectly flat and even dry puck after I pulled a shot. With the Minore I dont seem to. I attached a picture of what it looks like after a shot. It seems that some coffee comes up besides the shower screen inside the pf, which never happed on the Sunbeam. This could be normal for the Minore. I donno. I also seem to get a small amount of water on top and center of the puck which disappears in a second when I take the pf off. I dont think that I need more coffee in the basket as it already touches the shower screen and you can clearly see the in-print of it on the puck.
    Any thoughts?




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    Re: Reliability VBM, ECM & Minore

    Hmm ... perhaps dot points for a change ...

    *As someone who works on a LM FB80 and worked on a Synesso Cyncra before that, Im quite happy to say that the importance of brew temperature management is VASTLY overstated.
    *Brew temperature makes a small, but real difference; changes of a degree or two either way wont make crap coffee taste good, they wont paint your house and they wont make the heavens open and angels sing.
    *Small changes in brew temperature will be completely and utterly obscured by other variables that are under the baristas control. Unless you can pull five shots in a row that pour the same volume and taste very similar, in +/- a few seconds, and unless you have a pretty good palate, you probably wont derive any benefit from adding anything more than a simple flush before extraction on any of the good prosumer machines around today.
    *Preinfusion seems to be completely and totally overlooked as a variable in espresso making.

    *The reputation of dual boiler machines being "better" than HX machines is quite clearly a generalisation.
    *The generalisation came about largely as a result of people using La Marzocco machines.
    *People seem to overlook the importance of the very, very different group head that LM uses from the e61 type group heads - it is an utterly essential part of LMs dual-boiler design.
    *It is the fact that there is a massive amount of brew temperature water sitting directly above the portafilter that means that with LMs flushing any given amount wont make much different. (Although the Linea and FB70 AV models do seem to need a bit of flushing to heat up the flowmeter.)

    *The reputation of HX machines as finnicky beasts that need an elaborate brew temperature management regime is also a massive generalisation.
    *A lot of the noise generated about massive cooling flushes and very small windows of time to extract a shot is written by Americans, who have 110V power, a relatively young espresso culture and who buy most of their machines over the internet from a vendor that they will never interact with again.
    *Generalisations are utterly useless. There are a number of variations in the "e61 box" design that can make real differences in how they perform, even though they all look similar. These differences can be large or small. Things that can be varied include thermosyphon volume, HX injector length, thermosyphon gicleurs, group restrictors and preinfusion chamber size. Im not a technician; Im sure that technicians will tell you that there are many more things that can be tweaked. You never, ever, see these things mentioned in spec sheets. Why? I dont know. Presumably boiler volume and number of boilers are a lot easier to relate to than thermosyphon restrictor diameter.
    *Manufacturers and technicians tweak their machines for different markets, so even the same model of the same machine might perform very differently in the US than it does here.
    *A good example is the Expobar HX machines; the US versions apparently require 300mL of water to be flushed before brewing. The Australian importers were one of the first to tweak their machines to drastically reduce that absurd cooling flush and, to this day, from what I have read, the US importer still hasnt bothered to follow suit. Similarly, David Makin practically eliminated the cooling flush on his machine and, more recently, Peter Cairis at ECM/ECA "pimped" the Giotto. That isnt an exhaustive list; just some of the things that I know off the top of my head.
    *The point is that, although there still seem to be a bunch of "uncivilised" HX machines in Australia, your chances of buying a nightmarish box that will cause your portafilter to spew forth molten ash unless you click your heels three times and say "theres no temperature like 203.5F" are considerably lower than in the USA, from where this generalisation originates.

    *From my brief experience with it and from my friends reports, the expobar brewtus performs much more like a HX machine than it performs like a LM.

    *If I had to make a list of the machines that I would most like to work on, the FB80 would probably be on top, but there would certainly be HX machines up there with the commercial dual boilers.

    /End Rant

    Cheers,

    Luca

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    Re: Reliability VBM, ECM & Minore

    Quote Originally Posted by Monti link=1186614376/0#14 date=1186886186
    With my Sunbeam I used to get a perfectly flat and even dry puck after I pulled a shot. With the Minore I dont seem to. I attached a picture of what it looks like after a shot. It seems that some coffee comes up besides the shower screen inside the pf, which never happed on the Sunbeam. This could be normal for the Minore. I donno. I also seem to get a small amount of water on top and center of the puck which disappears in a second when I take the pf off. I dont think that I need more coffee in the basket as it already touches the shower screen and you can clearly see the in-print of it on the puck.
    Any thoughts?
    First up, about the water pooling; I wouldnt worry about it if your shots taste good. It might indicate that your grind is too fine.

    About the coffee coming up around the edge; again, I wouldnt worry about it if your shots taste good. Manufacturing tolerances of baskets are notoriously sloppy; its probably just that your basket is a bit larger than your shower screen. Im not sure, but I think that the coffee in the puck might swell after extraction, so youre probably always going to get coffee around the edges. The eb61 group seems to have a relatively low shower screen, so perhaps you could minimise the stuff around the edges by dosing down (although fining your grind to do this might result in more water pooling on the puck).

    The take-home message is that unless your shots taste bad, I dont see why you would view this as much of a problem Smiley

    Cheers,

    Luca

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    Re: Reliability VBM, ECM & Minore

    Yes, Luca, the shots taste great. I am not too worried about the small amount of water on top of the puck nor the coffee coming up beside the shower screen inside the pf, I was just wondering what you guys thought. I am just used to seeing a more perfect looking puck from the Sunbeam and I thought Id ask to see what others have experienced.
    Thanks for your input, Luca.

    On your comment regarding the Minore is more like most HX machine, I dont see how. The Minoress group is warmed by brew tamp water while the Vibiemme or a HX is heated by steam temp water. The temp difference is very different and I would think that the brew temp water (boiler is set higher by the offset value of 6-7) is keeping the group closer to the right temp then scorching steaming temp water even with flow restrictors.
    I had two shots one after the other from the Vibiemme and they tasted very different. I had many shots from my Minore and they were all the same (I went through nearly half a kilo of coffee yesterday). I could also tell the difference drinking shots that were set 2 degrees apart on my Minore. They came out the same speed and they were the same volume as well, exactly, thanks to my new Espro tamper and consistent dosing.

    I cannot comment on commercial dual boiler machines you are referring to, I can only comment on the Expobar. I dont think we are talking about commercial machines here anyway and so are pretty irrelevant what a commercial LM or a commercial HX is like other then using them to explain some concepts regarding the different designs. I am not sure that US machines are all that different, at least not all of them. When they, are most of the more reputable sources mention it it anyway. There is an inherent design difference in a HX and dual boiler that makes them behave different and all things being equal they will make a difference to how to operate them to get the most out of them. Some are more forgiving then others. You cannot have the same temp stability from a HX that has only one boiler that has to do two things, vs a machine that has 2 individual boilers dedicated to do just one thing. Hx is a very smart compromise that gets very close to achieving (with good skills) what a dual boiler can.

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    Re: Reliability VBM, ECM & Minore

    Hey Monti,

    Congratulations on your new beast ;D Sounds like youve already got it producing for you ;)

    I think Im heading the same way, and will probably order next week. Keep me posted.

    The Espro tamper is an interesting item also, how long have you been using it? The reason I ask, and in part one reason why Im likely to go Minore is that it will make it possible for my master to more easily pull shots for herself. If the process is not straightforward, this is less likely.

    Hi Luca, thanks for the info. I dont think the double boiler is better than the HX, but I think it will be better for what I want at present. Who knows, maybe when I have better settled into a CS mentality I might rethink. In which case I am hopeing there will be a good resale value. Thats hard to tell at present as it seems that most people stick with their machines in this range.

    Cheers

    Gary

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    Re: Reliability VBM, ECM & Minore

    Cheers, flowta.

    The Espro works great. Di Bartoli has a deal where you get the Espro tamper for free with the purchase of the machine for a limited time only. So, if you want one, go and get one now or else you might miss out. They cost $140 otherwise. Plus you get 5% off the price of your machine too.


    The tamper is brilliant. It has a very solid feel to it. For the first time I can set the grinder and my brother and I can pull the same shots after each other. Before, if I made a coffee after him, mine just wouldnt come out at all as I tamp harder then him. It is great that now he can walk up to my machine and make a coffee without changing the grind and it will come out perfect.
    Whenever I go to his shop I can never make coffee on his commercial machine either unless I change the grind or have a few goes at trying to tamp much less then what I am used to, otherwise no coffee will come out or it will be super slow. This tamper is bloody fantastic if more then yourself will make coffee.

  21. #21
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    Re: Reliability VBM, ECM & Minore

    Monti a bit of practise should sort out the milk.
    I used a Minore at the AromaFest for 10 hours and by the end my milk was so much better.
    I also noticed the small amount of water at the end of a shot.
    It was noticeable to me because my Leva doesnt do it.
    But I had no complaints from anyone about the tase of the coffee.

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    Re: Reliability VBM, ECM & Minore

    Yeah, Thundergod, I have faith that I will get the frothing with the Minore after a while. It took me a while with the Sunbeam too when I first got it.
    After I made some coffees yesterday I practiced a bit more just frothing milk with skim milk that my partner bought accidentally instead of full cream. I used up a litre of it as extra practice. I was getting smaller bubbles but I have a long way to go before I can make milk like I did on my Sunbeam. I dont mind the challenge.

    I noticed that my brew pressure gauge got up to 11 while brewing. I thought 9 would be normal. The shots come out very good and consistent (30mls in 30 seconds) so I am not worried. I tamp with my new Espro so my tamping is consistent too. I am wondering though if I should turn down the boiler pressure a tad and adjust the grind accordingly.

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    Re: Reliability VBM, ECM & Minore

    after upgrading my minore steam want to the new no burn steam wand, it took me about 3-4 weeks of typical use (2-3 a day) to really get the milk back to what i was getting before the new wand.
    but now, its a piece of cake!
    hang in there.....

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    Re: Reliability VBM, ECM & Minore

    Its good to know it is not just me, krusty.
    Especially, I find it difficult to froth small amount of milk for a machiato and a flat white. I use my 400 ml pitcher for that.

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    Re: Reliability VBM, ECM & Minore

    ;D
    ;D
    ;D
    Should have my new toy end of this week, or early the next.

    Thanks to all who have assisted.

    Monti, guess what I bought ::)

    Gary

  26. #26
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    Re: Reliability VBM, ECM & Minore

    Good stuff Gary...

    For those unsure of which way to go here, some things to keep in mind:

    - A poorly used Minore or HX will produce a poor shot
    - A well used HX or Minore will produce a good shot
    - As Luca correctly stated, flushes are required, whether they be heating or cooling but good machine design will minimise this...

    When machines become more complex, the cost of ownership will increase in the long term and this should be kept in mind.

    Simple machines are simple to keep operating ;)

  27. #27
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    Re: Reliability VBM, ECM & Minore

    Good points all around here.

    Id bear in mind that a puck is what goes into the knock box as rubbish... while the liquid extraction goes into the mouth.

    Dissecting the puck as though it were the entrails of a chicken while ignoring what the shot was like makes no sense.

    A sloshy, semi-liquid puck is one thing, but theres scarcely anything wrong with one that is dry but for a spot of water and a couple of stray grounds.

    Also overrated is this obsession that a fraction of a degree change in temperature is going to transform a shot from diabolical to god.

    Perhaps that is some urban myth perpetrated by Mr David Schomer and his PID on a LM.

    Temperature does make a difference -- but I doubt whether half a degree is discernible.

    --Robusto, now climbing off his high horse






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    Re: Reliability VBM, ECM & Minore

    Quote Originally Posted by robusto link=1186614376/15#26 date=1187005580
    Id bear in mind that a puck is what goes into the knock box as rubbish... while the liquid extraction goes into the mouth.

    Dissecting the puck as though it were the entrails of a chicken while ignoring what the shot was like makes no sense.

    A sloshy, semi-liquid puck is one thing, but theres scarcely anything wrong with one that is dry but for a spot of water and a couple of stray grounds.

    Also overrated is this obsession that a fraction of a degree change in temperature is going to transform a shot from diabolical to god.

    Perhaps that is some urban myth perpetrated by Mr David Schomer and his PID on a LM.

    Temperature does make a difference -- but I doubt whether half a degree is discernible.

    --Robusto, now climbing off his high horse

    I agree robusto. What is in the cup is what matters. It is nice to dissect anything relating to coffee though, even if it is only the puck. Thats what happens when youve got a Minore. Every shot is so good that you have nothing else to dissect but the puck. ;)

    Also, true about half a degree difference in temp will not turn a bad shot into a diabolical one. I did try 2 C difference and I could tell the difference in the cup, though. Not better nor worse but a different flavour rather. I dont think the temp dial on the Minore is for turning crap coffee into great. It is rather for getting different flavours out of the beans. Some favor different temps just like they need different grinds. Anyway, it is another interesting side of coffee that the Minore will allow me to explore.

    I am not a coffee tech person but I cannot see how the Minore with dual boilers is a great deal more complex then a HX. Most of the things in the Minore you can find in most of the HX machines as well. It just has one more boiler and one electronic dial for temp control. The electronics are very reliable now on the Minore II, and the boiler is like any other boiler. The complexity of the minore is hardly miles above a HX. If we would purchase machines with least complexity in mind we would be all owning lever machines or stove tops. Should anyone with toggle switches on their machines be worried and thinking that they should have bought lever operated semi auto to reduce the complexity. God forbid anyone with a volumetric machine. We all know that the more convenient you make a machine that can control more of the things that we dont want to control ourself will make the machine more complex. It goes without saying, I would think. I reckon, if someone is warning about the Minore being too complex and that the cost of ownership is going to increase in bold writing, has another agenda.

    Perhaps, those that want more support for Minore should look at other web sites and forums as there are plenty of supporting info out there. Most here own a HX while very few own a dual boiler. Therefore most will favour HX in their comments. They are both great. Both make great coffee, but achieve it a little different.
    Monti, guess what I bought
    I have a feeling you got a Minore II.
    Excellent!
    I hope you will enjoy every cup.
    Let us know how you are going with it when you get it.

  29. #29
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    Re: Reliability VBM, ECM & Minore

    Quote Originally Posted by Monti link=1186614376/15#27 date=1187052621
    ...

    I am not a coffee tech person but I cannot see how the Minore with dual boilers is a great deal more complex then a HX. *
    Monti- I cannot agree with that statement.

    You need only open the lid or try to work on one to see that the Minore is much more complex than any comparable HX. You have 2 boilers and their associated plumbing as well as the controller and its board in addition to the usual stuff.

    Budget hundreds if/when a board, transformer needs replacement and for generally higher service costs.

    The Minore is a great machine, but in any purchase, buyers need to proceed with eyes wide open and the knowledge that cost of ownership is directly related to complexity. It would be extremely naiive to think otherwise.

    2mcm

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    Re: Reliability VBM, ECM & Minore

    Monti,

    Ive got to agree with 2mcm that, whilst the Minore is a great machine, it IS far more complex than its HX equivalents.

    The one issue I have with my La Cimbali is also the complexity.... it is an automatic.... with unreliable electronics and added complexity.... once this fails it will be going back to a semi-auto HX.... a relatively simple task.

    But with dual boiler machines.... including the EM6900/6910.... this sort of simplification cant be done.... they must be maintained as purchased and this could cost the owner with expensive repairs.....

    When looking at the value of a machine.... that machines "whole of life" cost should be considered (unless cost is not a consideration)....

    It is often wiser to spend more initially.... resulting in less on-going cost.... (lower whole of life cost) - and it is certainly worth purchasing the less complex machines.... as that will also save the owner considerable money during their lifetime.

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    Re: Reliability VBM, ECM & Minore

    Ive just bought a Domus Galatea from Renzo and Ofra - it came down to that vs. the Minore II.

    While the transformer in it solves the Minore Is problems, the drip tray looked so poorly made, the water tank area showed the lack of build quality, and there were more things to go wrong. The taps had less feedback than the Galatea or VBM and the temperature control, while welcome.....was just another thing to play around with for me. Although it did have many advantages, I have to say......it*does* have Uma Thurmans feet.

  32. #32
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    Re: Reliability VBM, ECM & Minore

    Does Ms Thurman have a John Travolta grinder as a partner? :o

    Actually, I have no idea what Uma Thurman feet mean. :)

    But it sounds like youre more than happy with your choice, and quite rightfully so.

    --Robusto

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    Re: Reliability VBM, ECM & Minore

    It means shes got potential to be a very fast swimmer.

    Congrats on your purchase. May it produce enough god shots for you to start your own coffee cult.

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    Re: Reliability VBM, ECM & Minore

    Quote Originally Posted by Identity link=1186614376/30#30 date=1187090253
    Ive just bought a Domus Galatea from Renzo and Ofra - it came down to that vs. the Minore II.

    While the transformer in it solves the Minore Is problems, the drip tray looked so poorly made, the water tank area showed the lack of build quality, and there were more things to go wrong. The taps had less feedback than the Galatea or VBM and the temperature control, while welcome.....was just another thing to play around with for me. Although it did have many advantages, I have to say......it*does* have Uma Thurmans feet.

    Oh NO, Uma Thurman feet, if only id known :( Is that why many of the Minore photos dont show the feet at all????

    Congratulations Identity (good name too :) Sounds like a great buy ;) Did you get it straight away?

    I checked out the Diadema JUNIOR PLUS LEVER at Cosmorex, and it looked great. Fantastic ergonomic tap handles on that beast. I would have been very tempted then and there except for the smaller boiler and the steam/water wands, which let that machine down (I think). I suppose each machine is a compromise in one way or another. Junior sure looked nice (feet and all).

    I chose differently (Et II Brewtus [smiley=evil.gif] ) Im pretty sure Ill be happy with the Minore II, as it has the feature set that I was looking for. I did carefully consider the complexity issue. But I offset that against the reasonably standard componentry, and that fact that I am a tinkerer (only post warranty, of course).

    These machines are a hefty investment, so its understandable that people become attached. What I like about this site however is that its all kept good natured, with the underlying intent that we are all here to learn.

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    Re: Reliability VBM, ECM & Minore

    Hi Monti,

    Thanks for posting your experiences with the Minore 2, sharing your findings with other CS. Were happy youre getting good shots with your new toy! Im sure well find some valuable advice from CS down the track, but from a quick look at your puck, it does seem to be a bit under dosed.

    Renzo and I tend automatically to updose almost with every machine we work with, and the Minore 2 is of no exception. Certainly a dry puck is achievable. Have you timed your shots? How slow did it run? what color was your crema? how was the taste?

    Youve also compared your Sunbeam pucks to the Minore...bare in mind that each machine requires a very specific grind size to optimize its pours ...how did you adjust your Sunbeam grinder to match your Minore, and were you using the same coffee?

    Additionally, note you are now using the Espro tamper, which you didnt use before, that may have forced you to change your techniques altogether. So in actual fact from Sunbeam to a Minore, were now using different tamper, weve probably adjusted our grind finer already, and we may have incurred more changes to our normal routine due to the Espro. So many variables have changed!

    My suggestion would be first to observe the changes youve applied, try and updose a bit more, and if Espro wouldnt "let" you tamp as hard as youve used to, you can try also double tamping. Whatever you choose to stick with, do NOT change it from one pour to another, be consistent with it and asses your grind size accordingly. You may conclude that grind size wasnt fine enough or consistent enough.

    If updosing and going finer do not change the "wetness" of your puck, give us a call, well be happy to go through it again with you.

    Ofra

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    Re: Reliability VBM, ECM & Minore

    Hi guys,

    I really dont want to write too much more on this thread. I tend to try to restrict myself in expressing my personal opinion on prosumer espresso machines out of respect for people who own and sell the ones that I dont think make great coffee. I dont want my comments on this thread to be seen as an attack on the expobar minore.

    I just want to make the point that I think that the minore performs more like a HX machine than it does like a commercial dual boiler and I think that it would be sad for prospective purchasers not to have accurate information about that. What I mean is that I dont think that the minore has a simpler and easier to use flushing regime than the better HX machines on offer. By commercial dual boiler performance I mean that the amount and timing of the flush is basically irrelevant to how the resultant espresso will taste.

    Monti, I used to think that HX machines have steam temperature water circulating through the group, then I got a good look at an e61 group. The thermosyphon and the brew water inlet are one and the same; ie. HX (brew temperature) water heats the group.

    Cheers,

    Luca

  37. #37
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    Re: Reliability VBM, ECM & Minore

    It does have Uma Thurman feet :(

    Well, it arrived a couple of hours ago. Still waiting on some of the tools to arrive.

    Im using cr_p coffee, and have no skills, but still managed a milk drink (6th shot) that tasted better than most Ive had in the last several weeks.

    Its all up hill from here (it can only improve) :D

  38. #38
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    Re: Reliability VBM, ECM & Minore

    Quote Originally Posted by luca link=1186614376/30#35 date=1187234245

    Monti, I used to think that HX machines have steam temperature water circulating through the group, then I got a good look at an e61 group. The thermosyphon and the brew water inlet are one and the same; ie. HX (brew temperature) water heats the group.

    Luca
    They are the same, yes, but arent at brew temperature when the HX machine has been idling for a long time (ie. warming up), as the water in the boiler is heated for steam and the water in the HX tube becomes as hot as the water in the boiler. Until you flush that out you wont get brew water temperature from the HX tube and after that the group head needs a lot of cooling since it has been super heated from the steam temp water idling in the HX tube.
    Is that not so?

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    Re: Reliability VBM, ECM & Minore

    Quote Originally Posted by Di Bartoli link=1186614376/30#34 date=1187162382
    Hi Monti,

    Thanks for posting your experiences with the Minore 2, sharing your findings with other CS. Were happy youre getting good shots with your new toy! Im sure well find some valuable advice from CS down the track, but from a quick look at your puck, it does seem to be a bit under dosed.
    If Id put more coffee in the basket I could not put the pf on the machine anymore.
    Renzo and I tend automatically to updose almost with every machine we work with, and the Minore 2 is of no exception. Certainly a dry puck is achievable. Have you timed your shots? How slow did it run? what color was your crema? how was the taste?
    I get 30 mls in 28-30 seconds.
    Crema only started blonding towards the end when I stopped it.
    Coffee tastes great.

    Youve also compared your Sunbeam pucks to the Minore...bare in mind that each machine requires a very specific grind size to optimize its pours ...how did you adjust your Sunbeam grinder to match your Minore, and were you using the same coffee?
    I changed the grind on my Lux to make sure that I get 30 mls in 28-30 seconds.
    I did use the same coffee at first but since I tried different coffee as well. Still get some water on top of puck but the puck seems perfectly dry if I brake it apart.
    Additionally, note you are now using the Espro tamper, which you didnt use before, that may have forced you to change your techniques altogether. So in actual fact from Sunbeam to a Minore, were now using different tamper, weve probably adjusted our grind finer already, and we may have incurred more changes to our normal routine due to the Espro. So many variables have changed!
    The Espro tamper makes me tamp with less force. I think I used to tamp much harder before. But should that cause water on top of puck?

    My suggestion would be first to observe the changes youve applied, try and updose a bit more, and if Espro wouldnt "let" you tamp as hard as youve used to, you can try also double tamping. Whatever you choose to stick with, do NOT change it from one pour to another, be consistent with it and asses your grind size accordingly. You may conclude that grind size wasnt fine enough or consistent enough.

    If updosing and going finer do not change the "wetness" of your puck, give us a call, well be happy to go through it again with you.
    Ofra
    I seem to be consistent as the coffee comes out exactly the same and the same amount every time.
    I havent tried to double tamp with this machine yet. Though, on the Sunbeam I got dry flat puck whether I double or single tamped.
    If I would grind finer it would come out too slow it seems and from memory when I did that at the start when I was dialing in the grind the puck still had water on top. But the puck itself is dry, it just has a small amount of water on it. If you would see the pucks piling up in my knock box you would see perfectly dry and hard packed pucks.
    I will try to go one click finer just to try anyway. See what happens.

    Thanks for your reply, Ofra.

  40. #40
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    Re: Reliability VBM, ECM & Minore

    Quote Originally Posted by Monti link=1186614376/30#37 date=1188011096
    Quote Originally Posted by luca link=1186614376/30#35 date=1187234245

    Monti, I used to think that HX machines have steam temperature water circulating through the group, then I got a good look at an e61 group. The thermosyphon and the brew water inlet are one and the same; ie. HX (brew temperature) water heats the group.

    Luca
    They are the same, yes, but arent at brew temperature when the HX machine has been idling for a long time (ie. warming up), as the water in the boiler is heated for steam and the water in the HX tube becomes as hot as the water in the boiler. Until you flush that out you wont get brew water temperature from the HX tube and after that the group head needs a lot of cooling since it has been super heated from the steam temp water idling in the HX tube.
    Is that not so?
    The temperature in the HX depends on the flow rate and a bunch of other factors, all of which can be tweaked. For example, expobars in the USA are apparently set up so that you need to flush 250mL of overheated water immediately before extraction. It has been a while since I have used one here, but I think that I probably only flushed 50 or 60mL, same as on the stock giotto. I more or less pay lip service to the flush with the machine that I have at the moment - the water never spits or steams up if I run the pstat at a sensible setting.

    Cheers,

    Luca

  41. #41
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    Re: Reliability VBM, ECM & Minore

    Yes they can all be tweaked. So, you need to tweak the HX so you can have a desireable flush you dont need to do on the Minore. As you said there are a bunch of factors that affect how much you need to flush with the HX. But whatever you tweak will also effect your steaming and your brewing which is not so with the Expobar as it has separate boilers. With HX you need to find a compromise. You could lower the boiler temp so you need to flush less but it will affect steaming power. There are no compromises with a twin boiler. HX seems perfect for you as you know how to and you like tweaking. Some just like to make good coffee with little effort and trial and error with good consistency.

  42. #42
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    Re: Reliability VBM, ECM & Minore

    By the way, one thing I dont like about the Minore II is the steam tip. Is there another tip that can be ued with the cool touch wand or does it have to be changed back to the old Minore wand if I want a different tip. I would like a single hole or a twin hole with smaller holes on it like the Gold Pro tip. Apparently, you cannot fit any on the market to the new wand which is not made by expobar.
    That tip is terrible if you want very fine micro-foam. I just cannot see how good foam can be made with this tip. The foam I used to make with the Sunbeam is far better than what I can make with this machine. It is starting to annoy me.

  43. #43
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    Re: Reliability VBM, ECM & Minore

    Monti, I think that all of your points are refutable, but I dont want to beat a dead horse and I understand that prosumer machines are a big investment for everyone, so I certainly dont want to make you second-guess your purchase. I think that I have already done what I set out to do in putting something on the internet so that future purchasers wont be seduced by the trite one liners that are everywhere.

    To retrofit another tip like the gold pro, I think that you would have to either swap another steam wand on (not hard to do) or source an adaptor. I know that you can get the adaptor from Canada, but you could probably also get it from ECM Australia ... I gather that it is some standard part; something in the water wand, from memory. Note that the "gold pro" tip is unbearably slow. In a nutshell, you would be paying heaps to get this tip on to be sacrificing the steam pressure that you mentioned was a supposed advantage of a dual boiler.

    I think that the giotto tip is actually one of the better ones on the market, so you might get more bang for your buck by doing some training. It will probably cost you a bit more than retrofitting the gold pro tip, but not that much more. While youre there, youll be able to get some pointers on your espresso as well. I think that you can get great milk out of most of the steam tips on the market, but there certainly is a "knack" to using each of them.

    Cheers,

    Luca

  44. #44
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    Re: Reliability VBM, ECM & Minore

    Quote Originally Posted by luca link=1186614376/30#42 date=1188543748
    ......I think that the giotto tip is actually one of the better ones on the market, so you might get more bang for your buck by doing some training. *It will probably cost you a bit more than retrofitting the gold pro tip, but not that much more. *While youre there, youll be able to get some pointers on your espresso as well. *I think that you can get great milk out of most of the steam tips on the market, but there certainly is a "knack" to using each of them.

    Cheers,

    Luca
    Agreed Luca- In fact I think its the best wand I have used so far on any prosumer machine. Microfoam is an absolute doddle with it....

    Monti,

    I agree with Luca that you might be better to spend some hard-earned on some training or, that it could be worth investigating a different milk :-?.

    The problem could well be the nut on the group handle! ;D

    Chris



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    Re: Reliability VBM, ECM & Minore

    OK, so you guys can make great microfoam with the Giotto wand and the two hole tip that is supposed to be the same as the one on the Minore. Then the problem is clearly with my technique.

    Id already spent nearly a thousand dollars on barista training classes so I dont know if any more would help.

    The tip on the Minore has two holes that seem to be very large. They seem to suck in heaps of air and so make larger bubbles rather than delicate microfoam. Keeping the tip just under the surface where it makes a gentle hissing sound is not easy as it can suddenly create a huge spinning funnel and in a second suck in so much air that ruins the half decent foam that I created up until then.

    I use a 600 ml pitcher for two milk based drinks and a 400 ml one for macchiatos.

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    Re: Reliability VBM, ECM & Minore

    Quote Originally Posted by Monti link=1186614376/30#44 date=1188701730
    *They seem to suck in heaps of air and so make larger bubbles rather than delicate microfoam. * Keeping the tip just under the surface where it makes a gentle hissing sound is not easy as it can suddenly create a huge spinning funnel and in a second suck in so much air that ruins the half decent foam that I created up until then. *
    *
    Monti, use the spinning funnel to your advantage. By gaining a little more control through practice, you should be able to only add small bubbles into the milk, even when its spinning in a funnel. The more vigerous that funnel spins, the more evenly those bubblesare distributed into the milk giving you a better texture. If you can do this, you will have beautiful smooth milk.

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    Re: Reliability VBM, ECM & Minore

    I will not give up, thats for sure.

    Those that have the Giotto with the same wand and tip as the Expobar, is there a sweet spot that you found works best in the pitcher?



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