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Newbie - Confused on Upgrade Path from Via Venezia to Silvia or Beyond?!?

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  • Newbie - Confused on Upgrade Path from Via Venezia to Silvia or Beyond?!?

    Hi Guys and Gals
    Have been reading so much info on the site - such a great forum of fellow coffee lovers to share tips and information...

    Forgive me if already asked 1000 times (and PLEASE refer me to any relevant posts - i did search but didnt quite anything on exact topic/models).but need some guidance on upgrading my 3yo Saeco Via Venezia (its actually the Starbucks Barista model, but believe this is just the Saeco rebranded)... I also have the Starbucks Barista Burr Grinder (rebranded DeLonghi).

    I was sold on this machine originally as it pulled a great shot ..visually...but cant say Ive ever had a great shot taste wise. OK, drinkable shots but nothing to the level I was expecting (dreaming, longing for....!!)

    I am more a latte vs espresso drinker when using the machine so have never fiddled with the variables of the espresso shot itself, but even in the lattes etc I always seem to need a double even triple shot to actually get some real flavour coming through, with some real mouthfeel etc.  Otherwise my drinks are rather weak and overly milky ..a far cry from the better Cafe experiences Ive had and one day wish to emulate (and better!) at home...

    Friends and family say I make great coffee and they ask for it - poor things, I just dont think they know any better  :P  or humour my wannabe barista aspirations  :-[

    Ive used various beans (including a few sponsors) ..but to be honest I never get as good a shot (definition of good is not brilliant as per above!!) as when I use Starbucks Beans...yes I know and can sense the cringes  :-[

    I prob havent played with the Grinder enough to vary it for each new bean - whereas am used to the standard setting that goes OK for the Starbucks beans.  I suspect this is a large part where I have gone wrong all this time  

    Consequently I have hardly used the machine in the last 12 mths and instead grind fresh coffee for a drip machine - again S/Bucks seems to do it for me - nice oils, caramelly feel and great flavours in a long cup of coffee (taken black with 1 sugar).  Again ive tried to replicate my desired cuppa using some great local coffees (freshly ground coarse grind for filter) but  my results are watery, lacking flavour and no pull or mouthfeel (almost caramelly if that makes sense..presume it is the oils that remain in the brew?) which I seem to get consistently from the Starbucks grind (alternate btwn House Blend and Gold Coast).

    I just aint doing it right eh??????

    Sorry for all the background but wanted to set the scene - as in doing much research on this site I was thinking of upgrading to the highly recommended Siliva and (for now) keeping the current grinder (I believe its OK - not brillant, but passable - correct me if Im wrong).

    THing is whilst I know  the Silvia to be a superior machine to mine, and with some practice and loving (like marriage - HA!) it will return same .. as in some GREAT coffee,  but on the other hand Im thinking its really around the same price point (the VV cost me @ $600 ) and is more a side step than upgrading to the next level.

    In other words I shouldve bought the Silvia 3 years ago and I would now be talking about upgrading IT rather than the VV.

    OR...is it possible with alot more TLC could I actually get some decent coffee out of the VV and keep her a bit longer?

    Ive had my eye on the Vibiemme Dobomar Super Lever, or even the Diadema Unico Splendor (very stylish to boot!) but think Im looking 2-3 steps above my next step and way out of upgrade budget....

    Is there anything in between that will bring me to Nirvana?!

    I was thinking of working with a budget of $1200-$1500 on a machine.. I know there is a common vein out there to recommend upgrading to t a great grinder vs spend budget all on machine but as per above hoping my existing one would support the higher quality machine for the short term.

    Am I confused, delerious, lost...all of the above? :-/ :-? :-[

    Can anyone steer me back to the road of logic and ..ultimatley a cafe quality shot that doesnt just LOOK good but tastes FANTASTIC!!!!

    Appreciate any/all feedback!

  • #2
    Re: Newbie - Confused on Upgrade Path from Via Venezia to Silvia or Beyond?!?

    Hi Crema lad,

    There are a few things that you can do:

    1. Get some training to learn how to use your machine and a good grinder correctly. If your machine still uses pressurised baskets- many holes on top, only 1-2 small holes on the base of the basket- get rid of them too for some depressurised baskets.
    2. Turf the grinder and purchase a real one
    3. Use fresh beans

    If you do decide on a new machine, your present budget will not let you get towards the machines that you want, so:

    Machines: look at VBM Domobar piccolo, Diadema Perfetta or perhaps a souped up Expobar Office SA

    Grinder: Bare minimum Rancilio Rocky. Better still, at least a Compak K3T...

    Most important is the training required to learn how to get the best out of them. Its clear that *$ havent helped you at all :

    You might keep an eye on this thread: http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1253783918 where the buyer has similar requirements to yours...

    I happy to assist if I can...

    Chris

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Newbie - Confused on Upgrade Path from Via Venezia to Silvia or Beyond?!?

      Hey, thanks Chris for being game to try and sort me out :-)
      Also for the link.. Ive also found some off forum info that has helped clarify things for me heaps. In review of my initial post I was pretty much all over the place!!  

      And  yes, think first step for me is to to a course and validate the little I do know and learn all that I do not about home coffee making...

      As my grinder doest pass muster seems my upgrade path needs tweaking! The new machine may need to be put on hold

      LOL I know the grinder issue would come up!  Taking your advice on the Rocky or K3T, can you explain what the benefits these units and the  extra $$ will provide - maybe obvious to many but I bought my existing one at least knowing a burr grinder is a must have vs blade (they should be called choppers!).

      For home use (2 drinks at a time, occaisional larger groups 6-8 drinks at at ime) would a doserless version be way to go?  Can a doser version (which if understand correctly simply allows for grinding larger doses at a time vs on demand?) be used/converted to doserless if/as required? Not sure even if there is need to so poss mute question.

      Also looking up some backgrond info I note there were some quirks with the K3T - are these all resolved with the latest model? Are the issues showstoppers in use or reliablity? Would a NOOB even notice them  

      Which brings me to your question regarding the pressurised basket.  Sorry Im not 100% sure but  I think Ive got one of these beasts.
      Ive got a removable metal basket with lots of tiny holes.  Where this is inserted into it has a plastic (rubber?) plate in the bottom with one hole...then on the other side (where coffee comes through) is two metal  pour holes.  Does this make sense?

      If indeed pressurised... can it be converted else how do i replace completley?

      Will this dramtically improve shots (along with those lessons!!) on current  machine?

      If so I would defintiley give it a try - which will support argument to purchase of said grinder ASAP  [smiley=tongue.gif]

      Thanks again!

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Newbie - Confused on Upgrade Path from Via Venezia to Silvia or Beyond?!?

        Originally posted by 59687F777B45567B7E1A0 link=1253805964/2#2 date=1253972124
        Which brings me to your question regarding the pressurised basket.Sorry Im not 100% sure butI think Ive got one of these beasts.
        Ive got a removable metal basket with lots of tiny holes.
        Hold it up to the light and look at the bottom.
        Do you see lots of holes letting the light through or only one?
        If only one, its pressurised.


        Originally posted by 59687F777B45567B7E1A0 link=1253805964/2#2 date=1253972124
        Taking your advice on the Rocky or K3T, can you explain what the benefits these units and the extra $$ will provide
        More consistent grinding therefore better tasting coffee.


        Originally posted by 59687F777B45567B7E1A0 link=1253805964/2#2 date=1253972124
        Can a doser version (which if understand correctly simply allows for grinding larger doses at a time vs on demand?) be used/converted to doserless if/as required?
        Yes. Used like, not converted.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Newbie - Confused on Upgrade Path from Via Venezia to Silvia or Beyond?!?

          Thanks Thunderwood!

          I also answered question re filter - definitley pressurised
          but based on following thread (for pics for dingbats like me to follow!)

          http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1215413460

          it seems easily converted. Also found some US web sites offering parts and too funny , they sell the pressurized filter as if its a feature - enhancing the coffee experience vs RUINING it !!

          I think I will give this a go tomorrow and see how a non pressurised shot compares to my previous efforts...

          Hopefully I am on the right road....at last.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Newbie - Confused on Upgrade Path from Via Venezia to Silvia or Beyond?!?

            P.S. My wife has given up on me... she went out and bought a basic NESPRESSO machine today...had tried it at girlfriends place and then told proceeded to tell me it was far better than anything you had made...

            Oh the shame, the embarrassment !!! :-[


            The challenge is ON! ;D Minus the S/bucks beans to boot

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Newbie - Confused on Upgrade Path from Via Venezia to Silvia or Beyond?!?

              Originally posted by 1425323A36081B3633570 link=1253805964/5#5 date=1253975993
              P.S.  My wife has given up on me... she went out and bought a basic NESPRESSO machine today...had tried it at girlfriends place and then told proceeded to tell me it was far better than anything you had made...  

              Oh the shame, the embarrassment !!! :-[


              The challenge is ON!  ;D    Minus the S/bucks beans to boot
              The poor deluded woman!!! Nespresso............noooooooooooooo!!!!

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Newbie - Confused on Upgrade Path from Via Venezia to Silvia or Beyond?!?

                At least she hasnt set the bench mark to high ;D

                If she thinks Nespresso is good she will definitely like fresh coffee from an unpressurized basket then again she probably likes coffee from Glorius Janes. :

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Newbie - Confused on Upgrade Path from Via Venezia to Silvia or Beyond?!?

                  My advice is
                  Just be patient and you could pick up a pre loved HX with quality grinder combo from a CS member

                  You wont look back

                  KK

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Newbie - Confused on Upgrade Path from Via Venezia to Silvia or Beyond?!?

                    Originally posted by 495C4B4B40434F402E0 link=1253805964/6#6 date=1254002934
                    The poor deluded woman!!! Shocked Shocked Shocked Shocked
                    Originally posted by 7D5A4F402E0 link=1253805964/7#7 date=1254007609
                    At least she hasnt set the bench mark to highGrin
                    Fair points both of you ;-p I think Ive been a bit deluded with the brilliant LOOKING crema all this while...have pulled apart the group handle this morning, there is springs and levers and all sorts of shite in there!!! Will be interesting to do my first shot later today.

                    I did succumb and have a NESPRESSO this morning (made by wife http://coffeesnobs.com.au/Smilies/embarassed.gif[smiley=embarassed.gif]) and i have to admit it was not tooooo bad.... which just makes me realise HOW BAD the coffee was from the Via Venezia to this point.

                    AND...how GOOD it can get...will make wifey wish she held out a little longer hee hee...

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Newbie - Confused on Upgrade Path from Via Venezia to Silvia or Beyond?!?

                      Originally posted by 40646D6D6E6E5440647866640B0 link=1253805964/8#8 date=1254010655
                      My advice is
                      Just be patient and you could pick up a pre loved HX with quality grinder combo from a CS member

                      You wont look back

                      KK
                      Thanks KK! Good advice - do such combo deals come up often? Just need to keep checking the for sale forums yeah?

                      I am also interested in finding out some of the CS member deals the sponsors can provide..at least on the grinder. Im still doing so much reading and learning...so brakes are on opening the wallet at this point :

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Newbie - Confused on Upgrade Path from Via Venezia to Silvia or Beyond?!?

                        Originally posted by 4F7E69616D53406D680C0 link=1253805964/10#10 date=1254014769
                        Thanks KK!Good advice - do such combo deals come up often?Just need to keep checking the for sale forums yeah?
                        Yes they come up on a regular basis so keep looking Or put up your own "Wanted" post

                        Originally posted by 4F7E69616D53406D680C0 link=1253805964/10#10 date=1254014769
                        I am also interested in finding out some of the CS member deals the sponsors can provide..at least on the grinder.Im still doing so much reading and learning...so brakes are on opening the wallet at this point
                        They (the sponsors) are also posting specials all the time
                        Some of the better specials that come up are of display units

                        KK

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Newbie - Confused on Upgrade Path from Via Venezia to Silvia or Beyond?!?

                          Unless the VV has changed, it has a pressurised handle, not a pressurised basket!

                          The pressurised handle is easy to modify to non-pressurised and will make a great difference to the coffee--especially with well-ground fresh beans. There are threads here that show how to remove the pressurising gear from the handle (and the removal is reversible--from memory it is a spring and pressure plate).

                          Since the Nespresso uses stale coffee it will not be much of a contest--unless your wife (like some others I know) prefers the taste of stale coffee. :P

                          Greg

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Newbie - Confused on Upgrade Path from Via Venezia to Silvia or Beyond?!?

                            Originally posted by 53667173437B6679757870140 link=1253805964/12#12 date=1254017458
                            Unless the VV has changed, it has a pressurised handle, not a pressurised basket!
                            Hi Greg, you are so very right!

                            Sorry Im getting a bit mixed up with terminology but realised the guys were referring to the acutal basket, my mahcine takes it a step further with the whole freakin handle :-)

                            I found other threads that explained how the VV uses this, and how easy it is to modify. I have just done so this morning and about to start a little testing. (the amount of gunk and residue in there was disgusting)

                            I realise now I have an non pressurised handle/basket I need to tamp the coffee (freshly and finely ground) quite firmly (previously no tamping required) to allow the correct pressure build up and <hopefully> equivalent but natural crema and taste as a result.  

                            The modfied handle is far from ideal , it still has the spring loading and lots of plastic where it passed through all the innards :-(  So if the results warrant it I will try to find a replacement unpressurised handle.

                            Ill let you all know how i get on!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Newbie - Confused on Upgrade Path from Via Venezia to Silvia or Beyond?!?

                              P.S. Greg, nice kit in your signature, you must be making some fine coffees

                              Is the Madcap 4M/D grinder good. The /D stands for digital yes - do you find this addition useful in domestic use?

                              Also do you ever grind coffee for filter/plunger? Do the grinders. Madcap, Rocky, K3T etc lend themselves easy to grinding the higher volume needed to make 8-10 cups worth of coffee ..
                              I suppose thats a silly question but they all seem setup to dose coffee straight into espresso machine handle...

                              Thanks again....

                              Comment

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