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Thread: Upgrade to VBM/Mazzer

  1. #1
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    Upgrade to VBM/Mazzer

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hi all,
    Well on Friday my new set up arrived. I have upgraded from a $100 Breville piece of rubbish to a VBM Domobar Super Lever and Mini Mazzer combo.

    Got a great deal from Chris at Talk Coffee - I highly recommend them.

    However I believe the equipment now far surpasses my expertise as a barista.

    If Im struggling to consistently get a good thick crema (I either go too fine and tamp too hard and it takes 2 mins to pour a shot or comes out too fast with no crema) what variable should I change. Change grind first, tamp, something else??? Is there a starting point I would begin with?

    Any suggestions greatly appreciated.
    andy.

  2. #2
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    Re: Upgrade to VBM/Mazzer

    That is a very nice upgrade andy77 --youve eliminated some intermediate steps in machinery.

    In so far as as the variables -- one step at a time is best. Change one thing, get that right, and move on to the next variable. Otherwise you wont know which change worked.

    First of all, assuming you are using fresh beans freshly-ground, get the dosing right.

    DOSE: Weigh out, say 18 grams of beans and grind.

    TAMP: Aim for a 15 kg tamp (put the portafilter on a bathroom scale and tamp. Youll soon get the hang of what 15 kg feels like without the scales).

    How long did it take for a 60 ml pour?

    GRIND: If it took more than 25-30 seconds, grind a little coarser. If it gushed out well before then, grind finer, all the while keeping the tamp a consistent 15 kg.

    That should give you some consistency and good coffee.

    --Robusto




  3. #3
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    Re: Upgrade to VBM/Mazzer

    Hi Andy,

    The most under-emphasised and overlooked skill is dosing the same amount each time. In fact, I think that it if you talked to all of the best competing barsiti in Australia, all of them would probably say that they have difficulty maintaining dose to within more than about 1g or 0.5g, which can result in a few seconds difference in the pour.

    You need to come up with a way of dosing that will get you pretty close to the same amount each time. Grinding more than you need, dosing so that you have a heap above your portafilter, rapping a set number of times and then striking off level with a flat tool is probably the most straightforward way to go. However, there are a few other dosing techniques.

    Let us know how you go.

    Cheers,

    Luca

  4. #4
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    Re: Upgrade to VBM/Mazzer

    Hey Andy. Im in the same boat to a degree: got the VBM/Mazzer a month ago, up from a Sunbeam EM5800 and EM0480.

    Ive found that the dosing is a bit of a trick.
    For the double, I overfill the basket, then gently compress and level off with the side of my little finger.
    With the single, I fill roughly level, then"level off" with the face of my forefinger, which digs the face of the puck quite concave, before tamping. (This is the only way I can consistently dose so that the portafilter can be engaged.

    Basically, I aim to dose just shy of the shower screen. Once the dose technique is sorted, then you work on tweaking the grind. one notch on the Mazzer at a time is usually enough of a change.

  5. #5
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    Re: Upgrade to VBM/Mazzer

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt King link=1187419511/0#3 date=1187431536
    Hey Andy. Im in the same boat to a degree: got the VBM/Mazzer a month ago, up from a Sunbeam EM5800 and EM0480.

    Ive found that the dosing is a bit of a trick.
    For the double, I overfill the basket, then gently compress and level off with the side of my little finger.
    With the single, I fill roughly level, then"level off" with the face of my forefinger, which digs the face of the puck quite concave, before tamping. (This is the only way I can consistently dose so that the portafilter can be engaged.

    Basically, I aim to dose just shy of the shower screen. Once the dose technique is sorted, then you work on tweaking the grind. one notch on the Mazzer at a time is usually enough of a change.
    Hi Matt and Andy,

    Having used a fair few of these now, Im finding that the best way for me is to dose the portafilter to create a mound, level off with a straight edge, collapse with only the mass of my tamper (dont apply any extra pressure), then fill again, level and tamp. I dont bench tap, rather just settle the coffee with my palm.

    This (for me) creates a dose very slightly shy of the shower screen. I then adjust my grind to suit...

    Hope this helps...

    Chris

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    Re: Upgrade to VBM/Mazzer

    Cheers Chris. I reckon if I tried that I wouldnt be able to lock it in, but Ill give it a try.

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    Re: Upgrade to VBM/Mazzer

    See how you go Matt. I dont bench tap at all with the VBM- as the shower screen is a tad lower. Just gently settle the coffee by tapping the p/f against your palm, wipe off, collapse, top up, wipe off and tamp.

    Chris

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    Re: Upgrade to VBM/Mazzer

    Hi Matt / Andy77

    Seems we are all in the same boat as regards VBN/Mazzer setups.

    I am finding that a good ( not excessive) overfill, worked around the pf with a straight edge until even and level but not compacted, then apply firm (20kg) tamp pressure gives me the correct dose for my taste ; that is 60ml in 26sec from 18 gm,good colour and crema.

    BTW a double pf full of beans = about 18gm of grinds when you brush out the grind chute, I only grind enough for the number of shots that I require.

    A little practice and a set of digital scales makes the learning curve a whole lot easier.

    Cheers Gazz


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    Re: Upgrade to VBM/Mazzer

    Hi fellow VBM owners ;),
    Just picked mine up off Chris on friday, and so far I couldnt be happier.
    The steam is extremely easy to use but Im still getting used to the speed, coming from a 6910 I just looked at the angle of the jets and positioned them so one was at the same direction and angle as it would have been with a single hole tip, and it seemed to work fine first go, slightly denser foam than the sunbeam though... must be the extra hole it only takes 2 seconds to finish stretching then I just swirl for another 5 seconds. You really have to be quick an extra second of stretching and its too dense to pour properly.

    As for dosing, what I had always done seemed to work fine, dose to a mound about 1.5cm over basket, then tap 4 or 5 times with the base of my palm until its perfectly level (tap the side of the filter that you want the coffee to move to, not too sure how to explain, but once you get the hang of it you can get it almost perfectly flat without having to level off.) Then just tamp once normal amount (toward the heavy side, 20kg? havnt measured that yet) and wipe off (if) any coffee gets stuck on the sides of the basket. When Im done the second line on my Pullman tamper sits level with the rim of the basket, and the coffee dosent quite touch the shower screen when put in the group, but has the impression on it after the shot is pulled.
    The puck is quite firm and dry and knocks out easily, and I am quite happy with the results this method produces.
    I think I need to wrap the double PF spout thread with teflon too, as it sits in the wrong place when tightened.

    On a funny note, I used the machine when I just woke up this morning and was a bit too tired to know what I was doing and grabbed and lifted the hot water spout thinking it was the lever (there about the same size and shape ;)) and thought I broke the machine untill I felt my hand burning a split second later :S


  10. #10
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    Re: Upgrade to VBM/Mazzer

    well I tried it (fill, collapse, fill, tamp) and it works very nicely. a little bit slow on the pour, but a nice double ristretto latte just hit my belly. (Im too low on beans today to sink too many practice shots)

  11. #11
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    Re: Upgrade to VBM/Mazzer


    Maybe buy an Espro tamper so you can accurately tamp to the exact pressure. This consistency is what you need so that youll be able to adjust your grind fineness properly.


  12. #12
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    Re: Upgrade to VBM/Mazzer

    Does anyone know if any of coffeeparts knobs will fit this machine? The steam knob is just a little too small for my likings when I crank it open quickly its not uncommon for my fingers to slip and burn themselves on the fitting behind the knob.
    Might just be that Im in a hurry, but the big knobs on the commercial machines are just so much easier to use, especially when you need at least 1 whole turn or the valve will shut off as it heats up.

    Also, how do I tell what my boiler pressure is set to? Its on at 1.1, off at 1.25, so is it set at 1.1, 1.25 or 1.175 +/- 0.075?
    Sorry if that is a stupid question but I really have no idea.

    Thanks for any help.

  13. #13
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    Re: Upgrade to VBM/Mazzer

    Quote Originally Posted by itsme5k link=1187419511/0#11 date=1187753710
    Also, how do I tell what my boiler pressure is set to? Its on at 1.1, off at 1.25, so is it set at 1.1, 1.25 or 1.175 +/- 0.075?
    Sorry if that is a stupid question but I really have no idea.

    Thanks for any help.
    Its the pressure that the light (element) turns off at. It should be set at 1.25 bar if sourced through the correct channels.

  14. #14
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    Re: Upgrade to VBM/Mazzer

    Another -couple of weeks in - VBM/Macap happy customer here !! ;D Chris is the man. ;)

    I agree with all the comments, I found getting the dose right to be the most important part for me. Getting enough coffee in and to sit just below the screen, then tweaking grind etc from there.
    Ive been experimenting and Im starting to find a regular amount to stop filling at, brush off level with my pinky, collapse with a slight twist as it goes down to push out to the edges, then Im tamping about 3/4 pressure with some *slight nutating motion ( rolling the tamper ), then the full tamper pressure straight down and away we go. I go for between the second and third line on my Pullman.

    I had an early problem with some crappy beans I bought, supossedly fresh *::), I thought i was doing it all wrong as I wasnt getting the full flavours and was starting to get frustrated at myself, I realised my mistake when I started on the Beanbay Kenyan... WOW, sweet, chocolatey, and a little bit orangey, ( dunno how to describe that flavour, like Vitamin C) just sensational overall. Thats the level of coffee I bought it for, easily surpassing 98%of any coffee Ive bought at a cafe. "Suspense" in Newcastle and "Campos" in Sydney being the exceptions from my experience.

    Im still in love with my set-up, its everything Id hoped for. Gee it looks good too ! ;D


    Cheers,


    Phil


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    Re: Upgrade to VBM/Mazzer

    I tried all sorts of methods to get the dosing right in my machine....filling to the top, scraping level, adding a bit more, scooping out half a teaspoon etc.

    I find what really works for me is to pre-weigh each dose before it goes into the grinder. All things being equal, once you hit upon the optimum dose for the basket that you use, you can then replicate it time after time.

    For me, it has taken out a lot of the "hit-and-miss" that I used to strike before.

    Oh...this was only possible using jewellers scales that measure in 0.1gram increments. My roasting scales just werent accurate enough.

  16. #16
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    Re: Upgrade to VBM/Mazzer

    By the way, Phil....

    I just LOVE your new gizmo!

    If there was ever an espresso machine that would turn my head away from the direction of my 2 group, this is the one!!!

    ENJOY....

  17. #17
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    Re: Upgrade to VBM/Mazzer

    Nice looking pour there Phil!
    Ive just had a couple of brilliant cups today, the blend Im on is just hitting its stride about 4 days post-roast. Lots of static in it though, even the doser doesnt stop it scattering everywhere.

  18. #18
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    Re: Upgrade to VBM/Mazzer

    Congratulations Phil, setup looks great and great pour.

    Love my combo as well. Different beans always a learning curve for the Mazzer but it is just so good to use. Just started some Harrar today and the last single nearly choked the machine. Funny because I had made an earlier one with no trouble, in fact what I would call for me nearly the perfect pour.

    Temp? Humidity? Interesting to know why.



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