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Thread: Upgraditis hit: VBM Super Leva

  1. #1
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    Upgraditis hit: VBM Super Leva

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Ahhh, I am delighted, so delighted. Upgrading from the Breville Cafe Roma after explosive experiences to a solid workhorse of a machine is blisssssss.

    Thanks to Renzo at Di Bartoli for taking the time to help me bench-test the machines - definitely a worthwhile experience, and as hes the technician as well you get the honest inside info on what commonly happens. And thanks for his training and telling me what the valve point on the lever was for, how to backflush...

    Im the kind of person who will usually choose form over function *;) but when it came to coffee machines, the not-so-pretty solid workhorse won out on top easily after my experience with the Cafe Roma. The power of the steam, its capacity to cater for functions at home without a hitch, the fact it didnt move when I put the portafilter in and out, the small amount of dialling of the knobs to get powerful steam were what I loved about this machine. And the two pressure gauges. And the huge drip tray. And the huge boiler and water capacity. I just wish it had the gorgeous styling of an Isomac Millenium or a Galatea. I think Ill work on decorating the sides of my VBM instead *:) I was too impatient to wait for the stainless steel version to come into the store - I wanted it on my bench that day!

    My thanks to Ofra for guiding me through the other purchases I needed and arranging for a smooth transaction. I walked out a very very happy customer. The price was great, the service was fabulous, the information was invaluable, and the experience worth every second. And the fact that three other customers in the shop were definitely CoffeeSnobs by their own admission was the icing on the cake!

    EDIT: My VBM is called "La Beast".

  2. #2
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    Re: Upgraditis hit: VBM Super Leva

    Quote Originally Posted by Intellidepth link=1215899466/0#0 date=1215899466
    Ahhh, I am delighted, so delighted. Upgrading from the Breville Cafe Roma after explosive experiences to a solid workhorse of a machine is blisssssss.

    Im the kind of person who will usually choose form over function *;) but when it came to coffee machines, the not-so-pretty solid workhorse won out on top easily after my experience with the Cafe Roma. .
    You think the VBM is ugly - you should see my Minore!! *;D ;D (I think it was 2 machines down from the display one at DiB ;))

    Thats great news though Intellidepth - Im excited for ya.

  3. #3
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    Re: Upgraditis hit: VBM Super Leva

    Thanks Yeeza - Yes, theyre closely matched in the ugly world, but the Minore had some features I really would have liked on the VBM. As so many CSers say, its a matter of which set of compromises you wish to live with...

    Am I allowed to rave over my first coffee of my own making (full credit to the VBM)? WOW. What on earth was I drinking before? Straight coffee grounds? It had NO semblance to the smooth drink I had this morning. I am now utterly embarrassed about the coffees I was serving my guests before :o. If anyone is thinking of upgrading JUST DO IT! Save every cent until you get there. Many a handbag and pair of shoes went lonely, many a "special" beckoned at me... but the VBM won. And so it should have, now Ive tasted the real stuff.

    And I cant imagine going to a cafe anymore - Im too afraid of the hit-and-miss! Ive stepped finally into true CoffeeSnobs territory.

  4. #4
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    Re: Upgraditis hit: VBM Super Leva

    Great choice! I got my VBM Super 2 weeks ago.

    The fact the VBM didnt move when you put the portafilter in - yep, one of the reasons it stood out for me too
    Huge drip tray - yep, reason 2 and add ease of use of drip tray as well - just slides straight in and out
    Looks the biz - I actually counted that as a plus, plenty of bling factor but somehow purely functional
    Specs - yep, huge tank, huge boiler, 1800W heating power...

    Sounds like we were on a similiar wavelength, all the way to a dosered stepless M4

    ...and I too was blown away by the quality and taste of the end product and now nearly a dozen visitors have too! :)

    Wait until you start trying different coffees and different roasts you detect the subtle differences as well as the "expected" ones.

    Enjoy!

  5. #5
    Senior Member redzone121's Avatar
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    Re: Upgraditis hit: VBM Super Leva

    Welcome to VBM the club :)

    I ordered a Digital Thermometer from Jim its been made to fit in to where one of the existing bolts go above the group head and this helps to get consistant temps when trialing a new bean. Maybe worth having a think about?

    http://users.rcn.com/erics/DigThermAdptr.pdf

    Enjoy the beast, its a great machine !!!

    CB


  6. #6
    Senior Member Koffee_Kosmo's Avatar
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    Re: Upgraditis hit: VBM Super Leva

    And I cant imagine going to a cafe anymore - Im too afraid of the hit-and-miss! Ive stepped finally into true CoffeeSnobs territory
    I welcome your tastebuds to CS territory

    KK

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    Re: Upgraditis hit: VBM Super Leva

    Thanks :) delighted to be here. Ill have a look at that temp link redzone. Sounds good.

  8. #8
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    Re: Upgraditis hit: VBM Super Leva

    Hi Intellidepth,

    Thanks for sharing the experience you had in our store. The pleasure was all ours, as we have witnessed your stepping into the "real coffee" zone with passion, admiration and anticipation for pulling at home the same shots quality demonstrated...this is our reward for sharing all we know with CSs , and empowering them to go on the next level of appreciation, we can get really emotional about it when it happens... ;)

    Happy its all working well for you at home!

    For anyone who considers a VBM DS, we have now put a transparent cover around the machine, you can see the huge boiler, the commercial pressure switch and all other components were often raving about...

    Ofra


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    Re: Upgraditis hit: VBM Super Leva

    Quote Originally Posted by Intellidepth link=1215899466/0#0 date=1215899466
    and telling me what the valve point on the lever was for.
    So what is it for? :)

  10. #10
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    Re: Upgraditis hit: VBM Super Leva

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidR link=1215899466/0#8 date=1216208862
    Quote Originally Posted by Intellidepth link=1215899466/0#0 date=1215899466
    and telling me what the valve point on the lever was for.
    So what is it for? *:)
    Its actually a passive pre-infusion point - as well as a handy gentle back flush tool / option.

    The half way point on the lever allows a slight flow of water onto the coffee. This gentle flow of water wets the puck slightly which apparently helps with extraction and can also help eliminate channeling.

    Its not necessary to use the position, as the machine pre infuses before ramping up the pressure anyway. But as a newbie getting routine, dose and tamp right I got myself into the habit of "if its got the function to help me, use it!" and I usually click into this position for a few seconds and then lift and start the shot. Wether it makes much of a difference I dont know, except to say that any fast shots Ive had have always been fixed by a grinder adjustment so I can only assume that it has been helping me.


  11. #11
    Senior Member speleomike's Avatar
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    Re: Upgraditis hit: VBM Super Leva

    Hi Wrecker

    Question: If you have the PF out when you place the lever in that half way position does any water dribble out of the screen?

    On my Galatea no water dribbles out so I cant see it doing any wetting of a puck. Maybe the VBM is different?

    Mike

  12. #12
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    Re: Upgraditis hit: VBM Super Leva

    Youre right speleomike, with the PF out nothing happens... :-?

  13. #13
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    Re: Upgraditis hit: VBM Super Leva

    I think what Wrecker means is when its lifted just beyond the half way point (before it clicks the switch for the pump to activate) than water can flow.

    You *could* also pull the lever up for a second, then release to half way, wait a second, then brew.

    I have not noticed any advantages with these methods so I just let my E-61 do its own pre-infusion.

    It has been discussed many times before and always seems to confuse people new to the E-61 world...

    It still confuses me sometimes :P

  14. #14
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    Re: Upgraditis hit: VBM Super Leva

    Be careful using the "after half way before the pump" thingy on a tank machine, as it drains the HX and causes massive instability in temperature and also "burps" of air or steam into the brew water sometimes damaging the puck and causing channeling.

  15. #15
    Senior Member fatboy_1999's Avatar
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    Re: Upgraditis hit: VBM Super Leva

    On the Expobar, the middle position can also allow dribbles of water through.

    For some reason, I had it in my head that the pre-infusion was for plumbed in machines only.
    For non-plumbed machines, it doesnt do a proper pre-infusion as water pressure is a factor (but I may have dreamt it).

    I normally use the middle position for backflushing. When I first get the caffetto into the system, I leave it in the middle position for a few minutes to allow it to soak.

    Brett.

  16. #16
    Senior Member GregWormald's Avatar
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    Re: Upgraditis hit: VBM Super Leva

    I think Brett has it.
    My understanding is that the half-stop allows the basic pressure of the system to begin the pre-infusion. If it is not plumbed in, there is no basic pressure, so that position opens a valve but nothing happens on a tank machine.
    The built-in pre-infusion run by the pump is the essence of the E-61 design according to the patent.
    Greg

  17. #17
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    Re: Upgraditis hit: VBM Super Leva

    The middle point: I can only comment on the tank version. Only used for backflushing, which Renzo starts by putting the teaspoon of chemical into the blind filter filled with water to the rim, inserting the portafilter into the group head, opening the valve to the middle position, and the chemical reaction causes a slooow ooze back up the open pipe and a slooow drip out of the base of the valve near the drip tray.

    After a little while (allowing the chemical to dissolve the oils in the pipes), its followed up by eight true backflushes with the lever in the on position, held for a fast count to five, then off for a couple of seconds. On, then off etc. Then followed by one double-shot brew, which is tossed, of course.

  18. #18
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    Re: Upgraditis hit: VBM Super Leva

    Did my first "suds additive" backflush today. :o

    The amount of $hit that ended up in the drip tray was extraordinary.

    Oh, and middle position be damned!



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