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Thread: Heart vs Head vs Pocket and the winner is.......

  1. #1
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    Heart vs Head vs Pocket and the winner is.......

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    ROCKET! *;D Sorry folks that was terrible I know. I thought Id post my thought process that led to me purchasing a shiny new Rocket Giotto Premium Plus over the competition in the interests of possibly helping out other notoriously indecisive snobs (Im a Libran) that might be currently cursed with this most delicious of dilemmas.

    My shortlist included the usual suspects:

    Makin
    VBM Domobar Super Lever
    Rocket Giotto Premium Plus

    The Makin was an early casualty. It made the list predominantly because of the fantastic pricing that is currently available but alas, its smaller capacity and aesthetic inferiority (IMO), sealed its fate.

    That left me with the VBM and the Giotto. From all accounts, shot quality is virtually identical with these machines so for me it really came down to build quality, steaming performance, ease of use and aesthetics.

    Build Quality:
    This is a bit ambiguous. While both machines offer exceptional build quality, I believe the VBM to be superior internally with its stainless steel chassis and the Giotto to be superior externally with its gorgeous polished finish.

    Steaming Performance:
    For sheer grunt the VBM takes the cake here though realistically it is probably a bit excessive. This coupled with the fact that the tip produces a steam angle that is far too large to be practical gives the Giotto the points here for mine.

    Ease of Use:
    Again the steam tip of the VBM would in the end annoy me constantly on a daily basis. The drip tray, however, is infinitely better (larger and easier to clean) than the one on the Giotto. The Giotto can also be easily filled without the need to remove the reservoir.

    Aesthetics:
    This of course is very personal but for mine the Giotto just oozes class. The VBM is just a little too symmetrical for my taste and has a less practical footprint being a fair bit deeper.

    And there you have it! I must say a big thank you to Dennis & Chris from Cuppacoffee and Talk Coffee respectively who indulged me whilst I paced the Cuppacoffee showroom unable to make a decision! Thanks again guys, I highly recommend dealing with either of these very wise and helpful gentlemen. Dennis even went so far as to drop my shiny new machine off to me at home at 8.30 on a Friday evening! Now thats customer service! *8-)

    Disclaimer: The above is an insight into my personal thought process in coming to a decision. By far the best advice is to visit a site sponsor, have a play and a chat about your individual requirements. There are of course countless machines of equal or better quality that are not even listed above. Good luck!

  2. #2
    Senior Member Koffee_Kosmo's Avatar
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    Re: Heart vs Head vs Pocket and the winner is.....

    Congrats kai viti

    I know other coffee snobs want to see what it looks like
    Hope you dont mind
    So here it is



    KK

  3. #3
    Senior Member flynnaus's Avatar
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    Re: Heart vs Head vs Pocket and the winner is.....

    Bravo. Good choice Kai. You definitely made good use of the heart and the head. The pocket was the loser of the three contenders but it was for the right reasons. I declare the head the winner!

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    Re: Heart vs Head vs Pocket and the winner is.....

    I found your conclusion interesting in that, years ago, I considered the Giotto. One of the best espresso shots I ever had (at that time, years ago) was from a Giotto pulled by a pro roaster. *

    As it turns out, by chance I ended up with the VBM, and am very happy... Comparing your decision to my observations (with no comments meant to negate or deride your decision), I wanted to offer some observations of my own, and offer another point of view from someone who made the opposite decision:

    From all accounts, shot quality is virtually identical with these machines...
    Probably quite close, indeed. I would think that the massive brewhead of the VBM gives better shot-to-shot temperature stability.

    Build Quality:
    ... I believe the VBM to be superior internally with its stainless steel chassis and the Giotto to be superior externally with its gorgeous polished finish.
    Even a steel chassis will outlast the rest of the components in just about any machine for home use.
    I would have chosen the VBM for the very factor you discounted here. Since I do all my own repair work I prefer a machine that is more solidly designed with better internal components which are easily accessible, and so looks are not really important to me... same reason I drive a 1990 Volvo 240 estate... * ;)

    Steaming Performance:
    ...the {VBMs} tip produces a steam angle that is far too large to be practical gives the Giotto the points here for mine.
    I would disagree there and have not heard that complaint in any of the discussions of the VBM. I am able to pour latte art using soymilk (try it sometime!), and I only stretch starting with about 8 ounces at a time (for two cappas) with the stock tip, and I have about three ounces left over after pouring... *it is different from a single hole tip (Silvia), and there was a learning curve for me, but I find it works fine now.. for me, anyway.

    Ease of Use:
    The Giotto can also be easily filled without the need to remove the reservoir.
    I never remove the reservoir to fill the VBM, but my machine is on a cart and not located under a cabinet. With overhead free access, the VBM fills fairly easily using a pitcher with a spout. *The cup tray does need to be lifted off and the fill opening of the VBM is smallish. The Giottos access panel is very nice.

    I am sure that you will love your Giotto- it is an excellent machine and should give you many years of excellent performance.


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    Re: Heart vs Head vs Pocket and the winner is.....

    Good points Randy. Want to know something funny - I almost flipped a coin to decide! ;D Its nice being so spoiled for choice!

    Simon

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    Re: Heart vs Head vs Pocket and the winner is.....

    Quote Originally Posted by kai viti link=1224248656/0#4 date=1224275888
    Good points Randy. Want to know something funny - I almost flipped a coin to decide! *;D *Its nice being so spoiled for choice! Simon
    Ya, we got it tough. I am glad I didnt have to decide. I took the machine in trade for some graphics art, photography and writing work. If I had to choose in that price range I dont know what I would have done. When the offer came around, I had been thinking about an upgrade for a year or two, but had done no serious looking.

    I seem to recall that Giotto is now a German company... Is the machine made in Germany?

    And although the VBM has been an amazingly consistent performer, there are a number of little things about it to warrant complaints. The Giotto I saw was quieter, to be sure- I thought it had a rotary pump! I complained about the vibrating panels on the VBM in another forum, and another VBM owner there basically said... All you need to do is put some rubber tape here, and bend that panel a little, and use some electrical tape there... :o A machine that expensive should not need those things.

    Mine is paired with a Mazzer Kony, a behemoth of a grinder! But after the Rocky, is is so nice to have a grinder that doesnt clump! The burr mounting and grind adjustment system of the Kony makes the Rocky feel like a toy. I used the VBM wqith the Rocky for the first 7 or 8 months, and the switch to the Kony made a huge difference. It gave me consistency that I never had wit Rocky.

    ... just writing about it makes me want to go and pull a double!



  7. #7
    Senior Member GregJW's Avatar
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    Re: Heart vs Head vs Pocket and the winner is.....

    Congrats Simon! And top choice.

    The new Giotto is a beautiful machine, alright. Its on my wish list at the moment, having had a go on one at Di Bartolis recently. (Im the colour of this page with envy actually, except Id be tossing up between it and a new Diadema.)

    Sounds like great service from Dennis too, but then Dennis is one of natures gentlemen, so thats no surprise. (Hope you picked up a swag of Denniss beans to use in your new machine.)

    Greg


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    Re: Heart vs Head vs Pocket and the winner is.....

    Greg, I havent had the chance to try the Huehuetenango that I picked up with my machine yet as Im still plowing through some PNG Wahgi AA at the moment, looking forward to it though as they are one of my favourite beans! ::)

    Your right, Dennis is one of natures gentlemen, he didnt even mind my 4 year old son poking him in the belly the minute he walked in the door! ;D Sorry about that Den!



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    Re: Heart vs Head vs Pocket and the winner is.....

    I would think that the massive brewhead of the VBM gives better shot-to-shot temperature stability.
    Looks like a very good point for vendors to advertise. After all, the machine that has the biggest numbers on the spec sheet is going to be the best ... right?

    I was thinking about this the other day and Im not sure that that holds up. If youre comparing two machines with identical "chunk o metal" group heads, then presumably the one that is the heaviest is going to take the longest to change temperature. Even then, I guess that its not that clear cut which is best. At home, the heavier group would probably be better because your first and second shots would be the most like each other and youre unlikely to make more. Maybe in a cafe where one group is always pumping, a lighter group might reach its most stable equilibrium temperature faster. Not sure, but it sounds as convincing to me as saying that heavier = better.

    If youre looking at two saturated groups, presumably it doesnt make too much difference. There would be so much water circulating around each that the boiler would be able to pump out enough heat to keep the heads at a stable temperature. Not sure, but it sounds as convincing to me as saying that heavier = better.

    If youre looking at two thermosyphon groups, Im sure that things get a helluva lot more complicated. From memory, theres a thermal diagram of an e-61 group on HB that shows that the temperature is highest at the nut at the top of the group and drops as you move closer to the nut at the end of the group handle, with the temperature dropping off more rapidly as you move from the top part of the group to the saucer and as you move away from the thermosyphon chamber. I think that its at least arguable that this implies that (a) the volume of the thermosyphon relative to the group will determine how stable the bits of metal are and (b) the saucer will be closest to the rest of the group in temperature when it is the most well integrated. Proposition (a) makes sense to me because it is the thermosyphon that heats the group and the larger the thermosyphon, the more water there is to transfer heat energy to the metal comprising the group. Proposition (b) makes sense to me because the heat must be transferred to the saucer from the rest of the group by conduction and the further away it is, the more heat will be lost by radiation. So when you put those together, its possible to speculate that the VBM group will, in fact, be the least thermally stable on the market. It is heavier than other groups and it doesnt look much bigger to me, so this could imply that the thermosyphon chamber is smaller and that it will, consequently, be worse at maintaining the group at temperature. It looks like there is more of a sharp right angle going down from the main part of the group to the saucer section and it looks like the saucer section isnt connected to the rest of the group by as much metal, so it looks like the rest of the group would be less efficient at heating it and, conversely, the saucer section would change temperature more dramatically over subsequent shots. Or, in simpler terms, the VBM group might be closer to a silvia group than a marzocco group than other e61s are. Not sure, but it sounds as convincing to me as saying that heavier = better.

    Im not sure if any of this stuff is right, but it shows that its probably more reliable to actually try machines than to try to draw conclusions from spec sheets.

    Either that, or it shows that manufacturers should put a big lead plate in the bottom of their machine so that they can advertise it as being heavier. ;P

    Cheers,

    Luca

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    Re: Heart vs Head vs Pocket and the winner is.....

    I had my head set on buying a VBM DSL, but ended up walking out with a Rocket GPP.

    Went through the a similar thought process you did, my only concern with the Rocket was the small drip tray. In practice though it hasnt been a problem at all, holds quite a bit more than what it appears to do. My main concern with the VBM was that it was extremely long (deep), on a standard kitchen benchtop, with the handle in it would poke pass the benchtop.

    Happy to bits with the Rocket, so is everyone that come around for coffee.

  11. #11
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    Re: Heart vs Head vs Pocket and the winner is.....

    Same here, I actually had every intention of buying the VBM DSL also and like you walked away with the Giotto. Im a sucker for eye candy.

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    Re: Heart vs Head vs Pocket and the winner is.....

    Congratulations on your purchase kai, and pleased to be of service. Hope you had fun with it today and that it gives you great pleasure in the future!

    KK - thanks for the pic, though I have to say in the case of the Giotto, a pic doesnt do it justice...and thats probably true of most machines.

    Randy - I believe its still made in Milan. The VBM is certainly a bigger machine, but I dont think the componentry is better than the Giotto. Theres certainly been discussion re the porting on the steam wand. For someone who isnt used to working with either machine, Id argue that the VBM would take a little more getting used too. Both machines are Ferraris - it often just comes down to which colour appeals more, and in this case, the Giotto won out.

    Luca - agree...bigger should never imply better!

    And to CSers thinking of buying one of these, or a similar machine - come in and try them side-by-side and make up your own mind. We have huge savings on the Talk Coffee range at the moment, that simply cant last! ;)

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    Re: Heart vs Head vs Pocket and the winner is.....

    Quote Originally Posted by Randy G. link=1224248656/0#5 date=1224279487
    I seem to recall that Giotto is now a German company... Is the machine made in Germany?
    Whoops; forgot to reply to this one.

    Im not too sure about it, but the story that I heard was that the ECM brand was jointly owned by a two or more parties, one of whom was in Germany. Apparently there was some sort of battle over it and the dude in Germany started manufacturing machines under the ECM brand. The web page is still up; you can google for it and I think that there is an Australian agent for the machines. Some of the buzz around the internet is that they are supposed to be superior to the old ECM machines, which makes sense, given that they must have known that they would have to demonstrate a better value proposition to sell any machines. On the other hand, it might just be continuing the same strategy that seemed to work for the old ECM, of advertising their machines as top quality. No idea. One of the machines that was up on their web page a while ago looked like a re-badged bezzera domus galatea. Anyhoo, the Giotto is now manufactured by a new company called rocket.

    Cheers,

    Luca

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    Re: Heart vs Head vs Pocket and the winner is.....

    Quote Originally Posted by Koffee Kosmo link=1224248656/0#1 date=1224252693
    Congrats kai viti

    I know other coffee snobs want to see what it looks like
    Hope you dont mind
    So here it is



    KK
    I wish they could put a short cut to pictures of all the machines after you have named them!! I spend a lot of time swiching to google to look at pics although i dont do it as much now, i think I have looked at every different machine mentioned in here.

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    Re: Heart vs Head vs Pocket and the winner is.....

    Quote Originally Posted by luca link=1224248656/0#12 date=1224316390
    [Anyhoo, the Giotto is now manufactured by a new company called rocket. *
    And still manufactured in Italy.

  16. #16
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    Re: Heart vs Head vs Pocket and the winner is.....

    Quote Originally Posted by cuppacoffee link=1224248656/0#14 date=1224408827
    Quote Originally Posted by luca link=1224248656/0#12 date=1224316390
    [Anyhoo, the Giotto is now manufactured by a new company called rocket. *
    And still manufactured in Italy.
    Not really a new company. Rocket Espresso is a New Zealand company which previously manufactured the old Giotto Classic under license for the NZ market. It was sold there as the Rocket e-61...

    When ECM experienced difficulties, Rocket bought the Milan operation lock stock....

    For mine, the GPP has taken the Giotto to a whole new level of quality and I personally reckon its the best finished machine on the market under $4k...

    BTW- Congrats on the purchase Simon. It was great to meet you and to assist Dennis in helping you decide on your winner...

    I wish you many a perfect shot!

    Chris




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