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Thread: Giotto vs VBM Super Lever

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    Giotto vs VBM Super Lever

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hi Guys,

    I gotta say I love this site, I have learnt so much from you guys already, but now I am a bit stuffed and need some advice / recommendations.

    I have been doing some research and narrowed down my purchase to the Giotto and VBM but am having a hard time making a decision. I like both these machines and a big tanks to Chris from TalkCoffee for running me through them both. I seem to be hung up on real little things like the giotto with the small drip tray.

    You guys have now doubt gone through similar evaluations in the past and I am hoping you might give me the ammunition to get off the fence.

    Cheers

    Graham

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    Re: Giotto vs VBM Super Lever

    I seem to be hung up on real little things like the giotto with the small drip tray.

    Hi and welcome Headly

    My Bezzera Galatea has a small tray 750 ml capacity
    So I use a small glass bowl for both cooling & cleaning flushes

    This bowl is also used for the chemical cleans as well
    Tainted contents go in the sink

    I can tell you this much
    The machine stays clean
    The bowl prevents splashing
    Less cleaning is required especially on the shinny surface

    In addition I place a polished stainless steel plate on the tray to catch any late drips

    So having a small tray is not an inconvenience for me
    On average I spill the drip tray contents 2 times a week

    KK

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    Re: Giotto vs VBM Super Lever

    All comes down to your priorities - I discounted the Giotto based on its drip tray - I knew it would drive me crazy. Having said that I think the new model may have improved the sizing.

    The VBM seems to have everything from a functional point of view, but lacks the exterior finish of the Giotto. In the end I settled on the Galatea too as it fits somewhere in between - great build and finish with adequate drip tray/tank size. I also liked the wider tray area and layout of the wands compared to the VBM.

    They all perform really well at this level but recommend you have a play with each before buying....good luck

    CTGTC

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    Re: Giotto vs VBM Super Lever

    Hi Headley and welcome to CS!

    These are the top two sellers in our range (and, I suspect throughout Australia) with scores of happy owners.

    You will love either machine and ultimately the most important consideration is what ends up in the cup. Both are very accomplished performers ;)

    If the drip tray is a deal breaker for you, the decision is an easy one- Vibiemme. On the other hand if the design of the Giotto tickles your fancy, its the one for you...

    Please feel welcome to call for a chat or to arrange another play if that helps...

    Enjoy your journey!

    Chris

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    Re: Giotto vs VBM Super Lever

    So many little things to consider relative to your own personal preferences and the type of coffees you make, but either will be good choice in the end. *

    For me, the foot-print of the VBM counted it out as it was too long to fit on the bench where I needed it to go. *The Giotto is slightly wider but not as deep so that won out. *I also felt that after Chris’ upgrade it was a slightly better unit but that’s just my personal opinion. *

    The Giotto water tank is smaller but easier to fill without removing which is great for me but you have to weigh all these things up.

    All part of the fun of the process. *I found the grinder decision much tougher! *:)

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    Re: Giotto vs VBM Super Lever

    Hi,
    I bought a VBM on advice from service agents in my native NZ (who look after my San Marco which I left there and I trust )
    I purchased before any of the site sponsors here sold VBM

    Sadly the people I purchased from fled the country a few months later - and hence my warranty went also
    In its first year I have spent $550 on repairs and freight

    I believe: it doesnt matter what you buy ( both are great machines - compare BMW to Audi, both have good points) but it DOES matter who you purchase from

    If you purchase either from a site sponsor you will be fine
    Good luck
    Dr Dave

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    Re: Giotto vs VBM Super Lever

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr Dave link=1218027407/0#5 date=1218069986
    Hi,
    I bought a VBM on advice from service agents in my native NZ (who *look after my San Marco which I left there and I trust )
    I purchased before any of the site sponsors here sold VBM

    Sadly the people I purchased from fled the country a few months later - and hence my warranty went also
    In its first year I have spent $550 on repairs and freight

    I believe: it doesnt matter what you buy ( both are great machines - compare BMW to Audi, both have good points) but it DOES matter who you purchase from

    If you purchase either from a site sponsor you will be fine
    Good luck
    Dr Dave
    Hi Dr Dave,

    As you know from our discussions, I cannot believe the experience you had with your machine. Something dodgy clearly happened- not a surprise given your dealer. I know that Dave of ECA got your machine right for you. What did he say in the wrap up?

    ECA have done brilliant work with the VBM and we simply dont have issues with them. I have little doubt that other clients of ECA will mirror my experience- having sold a heap of them.

    Do purchase from a sponsor. We are here because were passionate about the experience.

    Chris

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    Re: Giotto vs VBM Super Lever

    Hi Chris,
    Yes ECA were a great help and I am greatly indebted to them. However it was still a major cost to me as the machine wasnt imported through ECA
    As stated , Headly - I hope you dont have a similar experience to me, and you wont if you buy from a site sponsor
    Dr Dave

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    Re: Giotto vs VBM Super Lever

    Quote Originally Posted by Headly link=1218027407/0#0 date=1218027406
    I seem to be hung up on real little things like the giotto with the small drip tray.
    Graham,

    Youre not alone - I went through the same ordeal when I recently bought a Giotto (it came down to Giotto, Domobar and I flirted with the Minore II). The machines all perform at basically the same level; they do however have unique ergonomic or operational "quirks" and you need to work out which are the best compromises for you.

    Giotto drip tray is small and is somewhat frustrating (mainly when doing a PF rinse from the group head) but Im delighted with how easy it is to refill the water tank. My first mod was to replace the steel tank cover with a sheet of perspex (no, it doest get too hot) with the corner cut out. Stick small funnel in place - easy to check water level AND to refill as you go.

    HTH,
    Dave.


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    Re: Giotto vs VBM Super Lever

    Having just recently picked up the new giotto I can say that while the drip tray is not enormous, I have not found it to be an issue - its quite easy to remove and clean and actually holds a deceptive amount of liquid as its quite well sealed. It was also pointed out to me by Chris from Talk Coffee that the new model has been modified to allow for a punch through the tray to allow for a drain which could be a viable option for those concerned about capacity.

    Given both the VBM and the Giotto are so close in their ability to make coffee it came down to other factors such as ease of use and appearance.
    * The VBM SL for me was too deep on the bench - the drip tray would have been at the edge with the portafilters intruding into the kitchen walkway. The Giotto sits quite a bit further back such that the portafilter handle doesnt intrude into the walkway.
    * The Giotto is hands down a more attractive machine with a better fit and finish to boot
    * It has been suggested to me the steam wand is more friendly on the Giotto (useful when you want to encourage others to also have a go)
    * Giotto drip tray is smaller, but in practice your unlikely to empty it more than once a day unless your having regular dinner parties. Personally, I dont like to leave the drip tray full of crap for days anyway!

    Good luck with your decision - at the end of the day you need to decide which factors swing it for you *;)

    Cheers,

    Andrew.

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    Senior Member tasadam's Avatar
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    Re: Giotto vs VBM Super Lever

    VBM won for me for many reasons already mentioned (for and against).
    I will start by saying I am very, very happy with it.
    The plusses that won it for me -
    Bigger drip tray - well covered already.
    Narrower machine - depth isnt a problem for me but in a small kitchen, bench space is at a premium so a narrower machine is a better choice for me.
    Steam that ROCKS!
    Bigger water tank means fill it up less often.
    Bigger boiler.
    The look of the thing is hardly ugly - some have said the finish in the Giotto is *superior, I cannot comment as I havent seen one. But the VBM is far from ugly with all its shiny bits and a massibe amount of metal in it as well, 27 kgs or something like that.
    And, lastly, and possibly somewhat controversially, no mod. You have probably seen the thread about a "pimp" that is done on the Giotto, which gives it more grunt / more stable temp control or something, sorry my memory is vague on it. But my logic works like it seems better if I get a machine that doesnt need such a mod. Now the disclaimer to keep the peace - many have had the unmodded Giotto which works fine for them, and many have had the mod done (indeed done as standard from one site sponsor that I know of), and all seem happy with it, and it is well tested and a lot of research done to it. As I said, just my logic.
    Its been said, theyre both great machines so you really are on a win-win. Go see em and play, then make your mind up and let us all know which way you went and why.

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    Re: Giotto vs VBM Super Lever

    Ive got a Galatea and Domobar Super. Id go for the Galatea, primarily becuse of the nasty steam arm burny tendency of the VBM and the super-low shower screen.

    The Giotto in Plus version now has a lovely finish, but its a few hundred $ more.

    My advice would be to try Galatea before you decide, and possibly the Isomac Mondiale too.

    If youre hung up on real little things, and you should be at this price point, then why accept a machine with compromises?

    BTW, Galatea versions have been spotted with the OPV plumbed back into the tank - these are a great improvement as this is where my tray fills from. You may find the VBM drip tray with the razor edges isnt so useful when you struggle to get the lid off past the dump valve and spill dregwater everywhere.

    cheers,

    John

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    Re: Giotto vs VBM Super Lever

    Quote Originally Posted by Identity link=1218027407/0#11 date=1219669324
    BTW, Galatea versions have been spotted with the OPV plumbed back into the tank - these are a great improvement as this is where my tray fills from. You may find the VBM drip tray with the razor edges isnt so useful when you struggle to get the lid off past the dump valve and spill dregwater everywhere.

    cheers,

    John
    Correct you are John- they have been plumbed like this for quite some time.

    Sadly though, the Galatea OPVs are still set to 11+ bar at the factory, glued with locktite and a you have to remove all but the body of the OPV to set it to 9 bar and then be a 3 handed rubberman midget body builder to reinstall it. More often than not, you then get the much loved Bezzera godshot squeal ;) That aside, theyre built like a tank!

    A big plus for Giotto is that they now ship at 9bar. Even VBM are simple to adjust and both brands use the same pump....Perhaps Italian espresso is best produced at 11 bar? I dunno why the different philosophies *::)

    Chris

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    Re: Giotto vs VBM Super Lever

    "godshot squeal"? tell me more!

    I know my galatea comes with the double-drip (opv and overflow valve), but I didnt see it at all on the one I was using @ aromafest.

    now.........to get modding. anyone seen the cafe kultur retro set for the galatea? ;)

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    Senior Member tasadam's Avatar
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    Re: Giotto vs VBM Super Lever

    Quote Originally Posted by Identity link=1218027407/0#11 date=1219669324
    You may find the VBM drip tray with the razor edges isnt so useful when you struggle to get the lid off past the dump valve and spill dregwater everywhere.

    cheers,

    John
    I dont understand this.
    On my VBM the drip tray has no razor bits.
    If you pull the drip tray out and want to clean the metalwork around the area under the drip tray, better be tough skinned for that - some of that metal is sharp, though the need to get to it with hand is rare.
    As for the "lid off past the dump valve", I assume you mean the mesh screen - which is in effect the lid to the drip tray. And the dump valve is the exit flow for the pressure release on the E61 mechanism - big round nutty (hexagon bits) shiny steel bit that extends down almost to the mesh screen.
    Remove the drip tray then slide the mesh screen (lid) off. Never a risk of spilling.
    In any case, Ive never had a problem removing my lid without the need to opening the drip tray any, just raise it a bit at the front, slide it forward past the "dump valve", and it is free to lift off. If you need to. If you are removing it, one would assume for a clean - so you would likely be removing the drip reay anyhow.
    And with a drip tray that big, if its full enough to risk spillage, shame on you. Fullest I had mine was about three quarters when I forgot I had done a flush. No problem carrying that to the sink.
    On the VBM, doesnt the OPV flow go back to the tank anyhow?

    Having said all that, there may be a better design out there, or at least, one that you like better. Go have a look, and make up your own mind, basing your decision on what you like, with all the things you read here in the back of your mind - things to look at when you see the machine for yourself and think "So thats what they mean when they say...", and then decide whether you think it will be a problem for you.

    What I mean is, I like my VBM and have no hassles with it. Others might like the Giotto or another machine more for their own reasons or experience. Can I imagine myself being happy with a different machine? Possibly. I havent seen comparable machines (being in Tasmania) so cant say for sure.
    But at this price point, whatever you get is likely to be pretty good and were all probably splitting hairs a bit.

    Ive never burnt myself on the steam valve either. I know it gets hot, so it gets put into position and a nudge to fine tune the angle doesnt kill my skin - it does have a rubber thingy on it to protect you a bit - the rubber transmits heat somewhat so you cant hang on to it. But operationally, I have no issues with the steam wand.

    This has probably all been said before so Ill shut up now & let you decide.
    You are going to love making coffee that good soooo much. Just have a look at the "happy" comments by new owners through the various posts of owners. When you see the rich dark brown gold flowing from the group, when you smell what it is telling you, when you taste your coffee you will know how happy they were - you will be enjoying the start of what will for you be a long and successful partnership with a machine and its capability, driven correctly.
    Enjoy!

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    Re: Giotto vs VBM Super Lever

    Hi all
    As a new member (itching to get a new machine - living on plunger currently as the Sunbeam turned up its toes a month or two ago and we are about to lose our kitchen to a Reno hence no benches to put a new machine!) I was just wondering how the VBM (future machine of choice) deals with multiple cups of milk based drinks - we do a bit of entertaining. The previous machine required a long weekend to do 6-8 drinks - how would this machine cope?

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    Re: Giotto vs VBM Super Lever

    Quote Originally Posted by DesigningByCoffee link=1218027407/0#15 date=1219729168
    Hi all
    As a new member (itching to get a new machine - living on plunger currently as the Sunbeam turned up its toes a month or two ago and we are about to lose our kitchen to a Reno hence no benches to put a new machine!) I was just wondering how the VBM (future machine of choice) deals with multiple cups of milk based drinks - we do a bit of entertaining. The previous machine required a long weekend to do 6-8 drinks - how would this machine cope?
    Hi DBC and welcome...

    I can assure you that youll be the weak link in the equation with a VBM....Coffee for 50 is a walk in the park with the domobar super ;)

    2mcm

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    Re: Giotto vs VBM Super Lever

    Thanks for that. I thought as much, but until you use a machine at this mid range level it was hard to know. Ive worked in two places in the last year with full commercial machines to cut my teeth on - and you get spoilt. Wasnt sure how this machine stacked up - better than the Cafe Roma, I have no doubt, but up to this commercial standard?

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    Re: Giotto vs VBM Super Lever

    Quote Originally Posted by Identity link=1218027407/0#11 date=1219669324
    You may find the VBM drip tray with the razor edges isnt so useful when you struggle to get the lid off past the dump valve and spill dregwater everywhere.
    Got the new VBM last night - found out about the sharp drip tray edges first hand (no pun)when wiping it down. Ill need to file these down a bit as in their current state I can imagine id cut myself again. Only a minor prob though, easily fixed - the tray, that is *:). Otherwise its awesome!

    Was pleased to see that VBM have addressed the problem of water running down the front face and then down behind the drip tray (rather than into it) by simply bending forward the bottom 1cm of the front panel a bitwhere it meets the mesh screen.

    Mark

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    Re: Giotto vs VBM Super Lever

    Quote Originally Posted by ml27 link=1218027407/0#18 date=1219796051
    Got the new VBM last night -
    Need some piccies Mark.... Gotta see all that bling in action, ;D

    Mal.

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    Re: Giotto vs VBM Super Lever


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    Re: Giotto vs VBM Super Lever

    Quote Originally Posted by ml27 link=1218027407/20#20 date=1219841151
    Excellent! 8-)

    Mal.

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    Re: Giotto vs VBM Super Lever

    I recently recieved my new VBM and have been very much enjoying the new addition to our family. *A very cool machine. Our old sunbeam 6900 has had a full clean up and been decommissioned.

    However, in comparing the VBM with say the Giotto, one thing I havent read yet is the fact that all VBM drip trays leak through their handle fastenings. *

    Basically there is no water tight seal where the handle to the drip tray fastens to the tray itself. *So as it fills with water, the water streams out through the handle holes and onto your bench. *Not so cool.

    But it is easily fixed- a dob of silicon will probably do it. *Im just surprised no-one has bothered to correct it and that no-one has mentioned it before (to my knowledge, of course it probably is somewhere on the site).

    No other immediate problems or issues, just a minor one that seemed pertinent to this thread.




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    Re: Giotto vs VBM Super Lever

    Quote Originally Posted by serenitynow link=1218027407/20#22 date=1221709981
    I recently recieved my new VBM and have been very much enjoying the new addition to our family. *A very cool machine. Our old sunbeam 6900 has had a full clean up and been decommissioned.

    However, in comparing the VBM with say the Giotto, one thing I havent read yet is the fact that all VBM drip trays leak through their handle fastenings. *

    Basically there is no water tight seal where the handle to the drip tray fastens to the tray itself. *So as it fills with water, the water streams out through the handle holes and onto your bench. *Not so cool.

    But it is easily fixed- a dob of silicon will probably do it. *Im just surprised no-one has bothered to correct it and that no-one has mentioned it before (to my knowledge, of course it probably is somewhere on the site).

    No other immediate problems or issues, just a minor one that seemed pertinent to this thread.
    Its a special hidden feature of some VBM drip trays! ;D

    Fortunately, VBM does not charge any extra for this option. As mentioned a drop of silicon will fix it for good....

    Chris

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    Re: Giotto vs VBM Super Lever

    At least you know when its filling up? :D

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    Re: Giotto vs VBM Super Lever

    Rather than Silicone Sealant, visit your local Repco Motors type store and ask for a couple of O-Rings (Viton if possible) with a hole the same or slightly smaller diameter than the screws securing the handle (may need a flat washer if the head diameter of the screw is too small). Place between the head of the screws and the drip-tray and then tighten. Should provide a reliable seal for many years and not have to use any silicone sealant, some of which uses acetic acid that will mark the stainless steel of your new VBM... :o

    Mal.

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    Re: Giotto vs VBM Super Lever

    O rings an excellent idea.

    Mine leaked a bit, I asked the question...
    The VBM drip tray – Drips…
    Shall I tighten the bolt inside the tray?
    Or is it likely there is supposed to be a rubber washer in there or something?
    I imagine it’s just a loose bolt, but thought I should ask you first.
    And I got a response -
    I suggest you tighten it and see how you go…
    So I did - being careful not to overtighten - didnt want to snap anything.
    It hasnt leaked since. No rubber washer, no O-ring, and certainly no silicone...

  28. #28
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    Re: Giotto vs VBM Super Lever

    Basically there is no water tight seal where the handle to the drip tray fastens to the tray itself. *So as it fills with water, the water streams out through the handle holes and onto your bench. *Not so cool.

    Following on what Mal said regarding O rings

    My no cost to you method
    Nothing is stopping you from just cutting out washers from a thin piece of wax cardboard (similar to a small round gasket)

    If you want I can do it for you with some automotive gasket and hole punch.
    I will post them to you free (but I need dia size of screw head)

    KK

  29. #29
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    Re: Giotto vs VBM Super Lever

    Quote Originally Posted by Koffee Kosmo link=1218027407/20#27 date=1221890298
    If you want I can do it for you with some automotive gasket and hole punch.
    I will post them to you free (but I need dia size of screw head)

    KK
    Another fine example of how friendly you find people on some forums around the traps. This is definitely one of them.
    Kudos to you for such a fine offer.
    8-)



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