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Thread: Mattys VBM/Mini review

  1. #1
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    Mattys VBM/Mini review

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hey all, my new toys arrived yesterday! Stainless tanked Vibiemme Domobar Super Lever and a Mazzer Mini. Mmmmm.

    Rather than add to the big VBM Domobar thread, I thought it would be better to start another one, so here goes...

    First, promise Ill put some pics up soon! just imagine lots of shiny stainless covering most of a tiny kitchen bench. ;)

    I didnt start unpacking and testing til late last night, so I only pulled a few shots and didnt drink any (just some sips), otherwise I wouldnt have slept...
    I wont bore you with the whole setup routine, there are umpteen websites doing that already. Ill just point out my observations. Keep in mind Im pretty green at this, and my last gear was Sunbeam stuff (EM5800 and EM0480).

    The distributor threw in a nicer tamper than the factory plastic one; its polished aluminium, feels good but is still a bit undersize (1-1.5mm Id guess). Need to hit the workshop and make something better fitting I think.

    The retailer threw in a 2kg bag of freshly roasted beans and a jar of Puly-caff. Im sure Ill rip through the beans fairly fast, or at least Ill try to before they go stale, Ill need lots of practice though.

    Once the VBM was up to pressure (1.5 bar!), I blurted out a couple of hot chocolates to get started. Holy Carp! this thing has some steaming grunt! This thing doesnt so much whirlpool the milk as drop it in the middle of a hurricane. Probably influenced by the high boiler pressure, I know Ive got a lot of practice to do to get some good foam out of this thing, but it wasnt bad for a first run.

    I did notice that if you only open the steam valve a small amount to try to control the steam rate, just like a hot tap it will heat up until the valve closes itself! A bit annoying, but Im sure with more experience Ill get used to the speed and wind it out a bit more.

    Mazzer:
    Started at the recommended starting point. Very quiet. Doser throws left pretty badly, will have to work on finding a good paddling speed...

    With a moderate tamp and learning the correct dose for the filter, the starting grind setting seemed a little fine. This might be to do with the machine as well though: it takes almost 15 seconds before coffee starts dripping from the spout, slowly at first then a little faster. Very rich and dark. The pump pressure gauge wound right up to 12 bar, so I might have to dial down the OPV setting...

    I tried a couple of grinder tweaks, its pretty sensitive to the setting, but of course as adjustable as you desire. Does anyone know what the Mazzers dial numbers mean? Is there any relation between the numbers and the finest/coarsest settings it can grind? My sticker is at about 5.5, but coffeegeeks review was at about 0... How much do you normally vary it for espresso?

    Well, thats enough for starters, back to work! :-/

  2. #2
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    Re: Mattys VBM/Mini review

    I got home late today but started tinkering (just try and stop me!).

    Found the pressurstat pretty easily (on top, under the cup warmer tray). Wound it down to about 1.0 bar (theres about 0.1 bar hysteresis)

    Pulled the covers off and went looking for the overpressure valve. Eventually found it hiding down the back under the tank, at such an angle that is impossible to access with a screwdriver. At least, thats without bending some copper pipes... Pulled a few shots to dial it back to 9 bar (from the factory 12 bar!) In those trial shots I really noticed more sourness at the lower boiler pressure and pump pressure, compared to yesterday. (ie: Wow, even I could tell the difference!)

    Finally made a cappa for me and the wife too, nice and easy. The lower pressure really takes the edge off the steaming power, still fast enough though. Yum.

  3. #3
    TC
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    Re: Mattys VBM/Mini review

    Matt- I suggest you check your pump pressure with a p/f pressure gauge if you havent done so....Your vendor should have done that??!

    In my experience so far, every VBM machine pump pressure gauge has read 1.0-1.5 bar over that indicated- so you could potentially be running 7.5 bar if you didnt use a gauge.

    Suggest you set your boiler pressure to 1.2 bar.

    Chris

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    Re: Mattys VBM/Mini review

    Thanks Chris. Much appreciated.

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    Re: Mattys VBM/Mini review

    I brought the filter baskets in to work today for a date with the verniers...

    No wonder the tamper was loose, these suckers are huge! >59.0mm for the double and >58.8mm for the single. Looks like some custom work is in order...

    Certainly the filters are tricky to pull from the portafilters, the only way I can do it is with a screwdriver.

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    Re: Mattys VBM/Mini review

    Random question time:
    1) Does the sheet metal shroud on the twin-spout portafilter serve any purpose?

    2) Is there a recommended starting point on the Mazzer Mini for use with a single cup filter? eg, "1.5 coarser than the double" or somesuch?

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    Re: Mattys VBM/Mini review

    mmm, shiny! :D


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    Re: Mattys VBM/Mini review

    yum!


  9. #9
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    Re: Mattys VBM/Mini review

    Gday Matt,
    very nice looking set up youve got there 8-).
    A little tip I can pass on is to use the blind filter basket to lever the baskets out of the PF, it saves having extra tools around cluttering up the bench space.
    Ill have a guess at your random question with a random answer ;).
    I think the shroud over the double spout PF is for the cleanliness of the machine face, in that it stops coffee that is flying out of the bottom of the PF hitting the top of the spout and spraying everywhere. This would be especially true if you had a gusher. My Giotto has a similar shroud.
    Ive got no idea with the Mazzer though.
    Good luck with it all.

  10. #10
    Senior Member robusto's Avatar
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    Re: Mattys VBM/Mini review

    Looks great, Matt. Love the finish --nothing like acres of reflective steel to dazzle. And all those levers and gauges. Great stuff. 8-)

    Have fun.

    -Robusto

  11. #11
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    Re: Mattys VBM/Mini review

    Nice one Matt.

    I suggest you take that little shroud on the back of the PF off. IMO the only purpose it serves is to make it difficult to clean. It also spoils the fun of watching that first bit of coffee ooze out.

    Also, I suggest you ignorethe numbers on the mazzer dial. If its taking 15 sec for the pour to start then that suggests your grind is too fine. Adjust by no more than half a notch - its amazing how much difference that will make to your next shot.

    Looks like you poured a cup full of crema in that pic and I can only imagine that if it took while for the pour to start, then that coffee is very bright.

    Oh, and definitely get yourself a decent tamper!

    I jumped from a little sunny to the giotto, so have a bit of an idea how it all must feel for you........fantastic! ;)

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    Re: Mattys VBM/Mini review

    Thanks guys. That first pic was snapped as soon as it was put on the bench, so thats as shiny as it will ever be!
    Quote Originally Posted by Dennis link=1184797512/0#10 date=1185007664
    Nice one Matt.

    I suggest you take that little shroud on the back of the PF off. *IMO the only purpose it serves is to make it difficult to clean. *It also spoils the fun of watching that first bit of coffee ooze out.
    Already done before I asked the question ;D
    Also, I suggest you ignorethe numbers on the mazzer dial. *If its taking 15 sec for the pour to start then that suggests your grind is too fine. *Adjust by no more than half a notch - its amazing how much difference that will make to your next shot.
    I havent actually played with the grinder much; Id rather get my technique up to scratch before introducing another variable...
    Looks like you poured a cup full of crema in that pic and I can only imagine that if it took while for the pour to start, then that coffee is very bright.
    3 days post-roast.
    Oh, and definitely get yourself a decent tamper!

    I jumped from a little sunny to the giotto, so have a bit of an idea how it all must feel for you........fantastic! ;)
    Noted, and thanks :)

    The machine also makes a good auxiliary heater for this cold little house we live in.

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    Re: Mattys VBM/Mini review

    Quote Originally Posted by Lovey link=1184797512/0#8 date=1184984542
    Gday Matt,
    very nice looking set up youve got there *8-).
    A little tip I can pass on is to use the blind filter basket to lever the baskets out of the PF, it saves having extra tools around cluttering up the bench space.
    Good tip. But then Id have to find something to dig the blind filter out of the other portafilter with first... ;D

  14. #14
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    Re: Mattys VBM/Mini review

    A teaspoon is quite good at removing baskets (and usually handy to your coffee making area).

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    Re: Mattys VBM/Mini review

    2 baskets and a blind filter. Only two PF. Theres bound to be an extra something there. Just use the basket you removed to make way for the blind filter.

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    Re: Mattys VBM/Mini review

    Hence the laughter. Actually the blind filter is easy to get out as it doesnt have a retainer groove.

    I was banging out a few practice shots yesterday (trying different tamping and levelling methods) and having no end of trouble with channelling, usually somewhere near the edge of the puck.

    Eventually I stopped tapping the PF with the tamper (which was an attempt to make up for its small size and hence the ring of uncompressed grounds). Voila, no more channelling issues. Just a simple level, tamp once and twist seems to work best.

    By the way I love how easy it is to knock out the used pucks from this machine compared to the old Sunbeams small diameter, tall, straight sided filters.

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    Re: Mattys VBM/Mini review

    A question for those with experience with the Aussie version (on the guess that it might be different to the NZ version) - how much flushing do you need if the machine is idle for a long time?

    I find that mine nearly fills a small cup (probably 150ml) before the stream stops spitting and bubbling.

  18. #18
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    Re: Mattys VBM/Mini review

    Hi Matty

    Had my set up for a couple of weeks now.

    Flush is only about 10 seconds (100ml) after a couple of hours idle and then a quick flush between shots (1-3 seconds)

    Have not had to fiddle with pressure or opv

    Boiler is at 1.25 bar

    OP gauge reads 9.5 to 11.5 bar depending on grind .

    My experience with steam and boilers (industrial) suggests the actual pressure at the group would normally be about 10% less than the gauge reading.

    BTW 16 g double and 9g single @ 26 seconds seems to work best for me.

    Cheers Gazz

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    Re: Mattys VBM/Mini review

    Hi Matt,
    I Havent touched my valves either
    Similar to Gazz mine takes about 5- 10 sec to flush"spitty" water out, I tend not to flush between shots as generally dont hve much gap between them
    Boiler sits at 1.1 ( on border of green/red) - seems OK. Depending on grind pump P usually sits about 12ish barr which I figure is OK as I assume it over reads and isnt that high at group head
    I really like this machine, I have a plumbed in La San Marco at home in NZ and wanted a smaller machine for my year here. This has veen a fantastic buy
    I would highly recommend the VBM
    Regards
    Dr Dave

  20. #20
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    Re: Mattys VBM/Mini review

    Well I have had my combo for about 2 weeks and trying to use it one handed (courtesy of recuperating from a skin cancer removal), and I am wrapped.

    Ease of use is sensational, particularly with one hand, result is wonderful.

    Still getting used to milk texturing but once I get my other hand back this weekend looking forward to lots of playing.

    Mazza sprays left but learning to compensate. Only played with the grinder setting because I use the single basket and it is certainly trickier than the double. I am about 3.8 for a single and 3.6 for a double.


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    Re: Mattys VBM/Mini review

    Quote Originally Posted by rowdee link=1184797512/15#19 date=1186570600
    *Only played with the grinder setting because I use the single basket and it is certainly trickier than the double.
    No kidding. I nailed a couple of single basket pours two days ago with total ease, then last night every one choked (until my wife came home, so I gave up and swapped to the double to make us two coffees).

  22. #22
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    Re: Mattys VBM/Mini review

    Today has been a perfect day, poured 3 and they have all been perfect! Going to push my luck now and try for 4!

    Must have been out of it last night when I wrote about grinder settings, I meant 3.6 for the single and 3.8 for the double.

  23. #23
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    Re: Mattys VBM/Mini review

    funny, my single chokes on the same grinder setting as the double, even with heaps of down-dosing. (Numbers are totally different though, around 6)

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    Re: Mattys VBM/Mini review

    Just had my fourth, short black this time, beautiful!



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