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Thread: Humbly asking for your brain-time.

  1. #1
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    Question Humbly asking for your brain-time.

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hi, I have read over some replies in forums on questions about coffee machines and was thinking that your advice is good and wouldn't mind humbly asking for your help with some options please.

    I have worked my way up through machines, experience in making a good shot and stretching milk. My wife and I have one flat white every morning, it's the best part of the morning (2 children under 10 make coffee a necessity), sometimes one in the evening and maybe one more again on weekends. I don't cater and don't consider that I'll ever need to. We have caeser stone bench tops and will not drill holes in it, but can always buy a bottle to hook up to a feed-in pipe if necessary (have plenty of bench space) so plumbed in vs. not isn't really a problem. Machine noise isn't a problem either, don't really care about that. Heat time should be anywhere between 30 and 45 minutes, the routine is get up, switch on coffee machine to pre-heat, then do everything else.

    I am considering something along the lines of an Expobar Office Barista Minore IV or an ECM Manufacture Mechanika IV, but would like to know if there are more options. Why? Both aesthetics and useability. My wife and I would not like something like an Elektra Micro Casa as that's a bit more like a trophy than a coffee machine to us (not wanting to offend anyone, that's a personal preference). I also don't like the triangle shape of the knobs on the Vibiemme Dobomar Junior, so have ruled that one out. I'd like something that could be serviced in the Canberra region if possible, but that's not my no. 1 priority.

    I currently use a Sunbeam em6910 (or a 710 - I forget which model) and have for a few years, am getting good coffee out of that because I have a good grinder, use fresh coffee beans (roasted locally) and prepare for the pour well using fresh rain water and have learned how this machine stretches the milk (slowly, but you can do it ok) - but I'm ready to get better now. As I said above, I've worked my way up to a good machine and have an appreciation of what's involved in making a good coffee, so am able to use those machines features (after I learn their nuiances) - but wondered if you would like to offer some advice?

    Namely - given the context - what would you buy if you had $2500 - $2800 to spend?

    Thanks in advance for your brain time and time to write a reply.

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    I notice from your post that you are considering a dual boiler and a HX machine. Do you have a preference as to which way to go.
    FWIW we ended up with a Giotto Rocket v3 (2015) that lies with discount just in you price bracket. It is popular and had good reviews. There will be better comments I am sure. This is the second Rocket that I own, the other older model makes excellent coffee at work.
    All these technical espresso machines do have problems. I have had to replace the electronic controller and the pressure gauge on the older one (2008 Premium). But I have found the popularity of the Rocket means parts are readily available and technicians know what to do.

  3. #3
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    Welcome baileys,

    CosmoreX Coffee is in your neighbourhood and will also be able to provide local support.

    You could do worse than to pop by and check if something from their range tickles your fancy.

    FWIW, if you are considering Rocket/ECM et al, it's unlikely that the external finish of the Expobar machine will cut it for you...

    Happy shopping.

    Chris

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    Quote Originally Posted by dumiya View Post
    I notice from your post that you are considering a dual boiler and a HX machine. Do you have a preference as to which way to go.
    Hi Dumiya - no, I have no preference at all. There are pluses and minuses each way I think and I know most people will say that a HX machine is better than a boiler - fair enough - but I wonder if a HX machine will need de-scalaing more often than a boiler.

    Quote Originally Posted by dumiya View Post
    All these technical espresso machines do have problems.
    Gah! That's a little worrying. Means I should perhaps look more locally?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Talk_Coffee View Post
    Welcome baileys,

    CosmoreX Coffee is in your neighbourhood and will also be able to provide local support. You could do worse than to pop by and check if something from their range tickles your fancy. FWIW, if you are considering Rocket/ECM et al, it's unlikely that the external finish of the Expobar machine will cut it for you...

    Happy shopping.

    Chris
    Thank you Chris. Yes, I gave Cosmorex a call earlier today and will pop in once the ATO do their part of my yearly bargain with them.

    When you say the finish of the Expobar will probably not cut it for me, do you mean the quality of workmanship? I'm seeing the Rocky and ECM online and looking at the Expobar and having difficulty telling the difference (machine design differences notwithstanding of course).

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    Just some info. A Rocky is the name of Rancilio grinder! A Rocket is the name of an espresso machine.

    Both the types of machines you have mentioned have boilers! The HX has one boiler. And the dual boilers have two? Both types would need the same level of de scaling but not often unless the water is very hard. You can get a water softening cartridge.

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    Quote Originally Posted by baileys2611 View Post
    I know most people will say that a HX machine is better than a boiler
    HX versus dual boiler - equivalent but different, not better or worse
    Dimal likes this.

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    Yep - my bad re the Rocky, subliminal stuff happening in my head. I already have a Rocky. Having looked more closely at the Expobar vs. Rocket finish, I think I can definitely see the difference in finish now. The Rocket does look very nice. Hmm...good advice I think.

    Thank you for the advice all. Stuff to sip a short black over and ponder.

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    Quote Originally Posted by baileys2611 View Post
    ...
    I am considering something along the lines of an Expobar Office Barista Minore IV or an ECM Manufacture Mechanika IV, but would like to know if there are more options. Why? Both aesthetics and useability.

    ...

    Namely - given the context - what would you buy if you had $2500 - $2800 to spend?

    Thanks in advance for your brain time and time to write a reply.
    Hi baileys,

    If you are considering the ECM brand have a look at the sister brand Profitec. The same build quality and attention to detail but with some differences. For example, comparing the ECM Mechanika to the Profitec Pro 500, the Pro 500 has:
    * non crush steam and water valves
    * sirai pressurestat (aus spec)
    * 4 hole "microfoam" tip (aus spec)

    charlie

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    Hey Charlie,

    What's the difference between the ECM pressurestat and the Profitec? From what I understand they're both Sirai - is that true? I'm guessing it's either a difference in the pressurestat model, or a difference in the way they've been tweaked.

    Thanks

    Al

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    Gah, this should not be so hard!

    Seems there's a common fork in the road between the ECM Man. T IV Profi and the Profitec Pro 500 I think. For consideration:

    - Pressure gauge location: At the top seems easier than near the drip tray. Watching many youtube videos and the steam and vapor clouds up gauges close to the drip tray
    - Square corners vs. rounded corners: ECM are rounded, Profitec are less rounded.
    - Lever vs. Knob: Profitec use knobs, ECM are lever action. Lever seems easier to use but Profitec have spring compressed valves which mean you don't need to move the knob much. I like the idea of a lever.
    - Welding of the drip tray vs. single piece manufacture: ECM use a single piece of metal (search on google using the phrase "ecm manufacture whole latte" and click the second video in the video list to see the insides), whereas Profitec are welded (search youtube for whole latte love's video on the Profitec and you can see it).
    - Both are pressure adjustable, but ECM seems to be able to do this without removing the cover whereas I think you have to remove the cover with the Profitec.
    - Noise of pump: I don't care about this because the noise of grinding coffee far outweighs the noise of a pump, but FWIW the Profitec has a well thought out and engineered mount for it Vib. pump. Probably doesn't matter if you are going rotary but I know little about both.
    - Cost: Much of a muchness.
    - Overall design: I like the look of the group handle from ECM, it's machined and matches the grouphead lever so it's aesthetically nice. Profitec however have done nice things with their knobs and the group handle to make them match too, so again much of a muchness.

    For me, the ECM is looking like the go but I cannot decide by looking over the web - will need to go and see it for myself to decide. Pity I'm 300km away!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by readeral View Post
    Hey Charlie,

    What's the difference between the ECM pressurestat and the Profitec? From what I understand they're both Sirai - is that true? I'm guessing it's either a difference in the pressurestat model, or a difference in the way they've been tweaked.

    Thanks

    Al
    Mater in the ECM domestic HX machines (T, Mechanika) and Sirai in the Profitec Pro 500 (aus spec)

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    Quote Originally Posted by JetBlack_Espresso View Post
    Mater in the ECM domestic HX machines (T, Mechanika) and Sirai in the Profitec Pro 500 (aus spec)
    Ah ok thanks for that. So from what I know about Sirai, they're kind of the top tier of the pressurestats. Is the Mater reasonable, but might need replacing sooner?

    I'm trying to work out if I want to get an ECM as well, but don't think I personally could stretch to the Profitecs (also I really like the levers on the ECM T Profi - that's the biggest appeal of the ECM over other top notch machines in this price range)

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    Is there many cases where people are reporting clapped out pressurestats?(I know these things need replacing later in life)

    Wouldn't that be the last thing on your mind when choosing a reliable quality brand?

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    Ive been through this recently and decided on the expobad minore just today. I see above that some think the appearance is lesser than the rocket range. This i did not pick uo on. But i do think it is superior to the Rocket Giotto plus v3. I also noted that HX was no disadvantage to a twin boiler in the case of the minore. Both these comments suprised me and I really did think there is an advantage in more stable temps and some continuous use in party times.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by kyeba View Post
    Is there many cases where people are reporting clapped out pressurestats?(I know these things need replacing later in life)

    Wouldn't that be the last thing on your mind when choosing a reliable quality brand?
    Probably not, kyeba - just depends on knowing what you're working with and looking after it - I guess, I'm not one for spending $3k lightly without knowing what to expect!! Happy to balance a $3k spend with sufficient understanding of how long I'd be able to maintain it's major parts. Everything is on my mind

    I went to speak to Charlie today, he was immensely helpful in a whole bunch of ways. He explained that if the machine is on a few hours a day, maybe a little more on the weekends, the Mater pressurestat would happily cruise to 10 years. If it's on for longer, more cycles in a shorter amount of time, shorter lifespan. Makes a lot of sense. He also explained the virtually maintenance-free benefit of the Profitec no-crush valves. Really with these high level machines, I guess it's all just down to how well we respect them. Case in point is the repeated discussion on scale build up around here.

    Quote Originally Posted by baileys2611 View Post
    Gah, this should not be so hard!

    Seems there's a common fork in the road between the ECM Man. T IV Profi and the Profitec Pro 500 I think. For consideration:

    - Pressure gauge location: At the top seems easier than near the drip tray. Watching many youtube videos and the steam and vapor clouds up gauges close to the drip tray
    - Square corners vs. rounded corners: ECM are rounded, Profitec are less rounded.
    - Lever vs. Knob: Profitec use knobs, ECM are lever action. Lever seems easier to use but Profitec have spring compressed valves which mean you don't need to move the knob much. I like the idea of a lever.
    - Welding of the drip tray vs. single piece manufacture: ECM use a single piece of metal (search on google using the phrase "ecm manufacture whole latte" and click the second video in the video list to see the insides), whereas Profitec are welded (search youtube for whole latte love's video on the Profitec and you can see it).
    - Both are pressure adjustable, but ECM seems to be able to do this without removing the cover whereas I think you have to remove the cover with the Profitec.
    - Noise of pump: I don't care about this because the noise of grinding coffee far outweighs the noise of a pump, but FWIW the Profitec has a well thought out and engineered mount for it Vib. pump. Probably doesn't matter if you are going rotary but I know little about both.
    - Cost: Much of a muchness.
    - Overall design: I like the look of the group handle from ECM, it's machined and matches the grouphead lever so it's aesthetically nice. Profitec however have done nice things with their knobs and the group handle to make them match too, so again much of a muchness.

    For me, the ECM is looking like the go but I cannot decide by looking over the web - will need to go and see it for myself to decide. Pity I'm 300km away!!
    Hey Baileys, I was in at JetBlack today - super handy to talk face to face with Charlie. Totally worth the drive IMO when dropping this much coin (I'm fresh on a 600km round trip Syd to Canberra, so totally understand the effort/fuel/time factors!) but I understand you want to know enough of your options before heading out.

    On the gauge locations, Charlie and I were discussing that really you kind of only look at the gauges when there is possibly something wrong. Mostly, you're watching the pour! So the placement of the gauges is really more a cosmetic decision than a practical one. Wouldn't gauges, if they're likely to steam up, do so irrespective of their location?

    The levers are definitely cool (I'm really keen on them too!) however, spinning the Profitec valve was just so nice (and smoother than flicking the lever), turning the steam off with a brush of the hand was a breeze. So again - it's like this is really down to cosmetics... I'm still keen to go levers though because they look so damn cool Charlie was saying that there is a bit of routine lubrication to do on the levers to keep them happy, compared to the valves. If you're not a DIY guy and also not near a coffee machine mechanic, the valves would probably serve you better in the long run.

    Both the drip trays are welded. They're almost identical, same volume, build quality etc. except the ECM one is a little wider on it's outer lip (to match the machine width). In the WLL video, they talk about companies "weld(ing) the drip tray onto the machine's body" - what they mean is, the frame that supports the drip tray is all one piece with the rest of the body. The tray itself does have spot welding construction for both models.

    I'm looking at going the ECM, basically for the plumbing flexibility once I stop renting, as the next option to plumb is the Profitec Pro 700 which is outside of my price-range. However, I was almost swayed by those steam/water valves. The incredible niceness of them is probably the lasting experience for me of walking into JetBlack (aside from their friendliness).

    Charlie had a bunch more to say about the machines (boiler info, upgrade options, steam tips, etc.), and was happy to indulge my thought experiments about swapping parts in and out down the track - so I really do recommend going in to see them.

    Happy to answer any other questions!



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