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  • Reliability VBM, ECM & Minore

    Hi all

    Let me say first what a great resource CS and its posters are, and also what a terrible risk to the wallet :P

    Having productively lurked for a month or so, I now feel I know a little (enough) to join in. And, Im hooked, so I am in the process of getting equiped. So I need some advice. My criteria are I want to buy a machine that will minimise the desire for upgradeitis. I do have some fiddle skills (I build my own PCs, do hobby electronics and home plumbing), but have not worked on these machines before.

    I am attracted to the Minore II because of its flexibility, temperature stability and consistency, but to HXs because of simplicity of design and therefore reliability.

    Having looked here and elsewhere, I believe the three choices of interest to me are:
    . the Giotto, smallest, most popular, pretty, but availability is an issue, and Im not sure I want to temperature surf which seems necessary to get the best out of HX machines;
    . VBM D Super, quality, stability and also pretty but BIG, and HX as above; and
    . Minore II, temperature setting, price, power (I dont think its that ugly) but there are many references to quality and repair issues even for newish machines.

    I printed out some pictures for the boss and she helpfully commented that they were all ugly (but she is expecting good coffee).

    So, finally, here are my questions.
    Would the reliability issue for Minore II prevent you from purchasing this machine? Do you have direct experience?
    Can you get good coffee from these HX machines (using a standard approach) even if you dont want to surf, and how difficult is this?

    I have already had a brief chat with Chris (a great resouce for CS, thanks Chris) and I want to purchase from a site sponsor if possible.

    I will appreciate your thoughts.

    Regards, Gary

  • #2
    Re: Reliability VBM, ECM & Minore

    Hi Gary,

    Welcome to the coffee snobs and to the wallet risk zone...

    As a Home Barista specialist , Di Bartoli would be happy to assist you as much as we can with your decision making process for the right machine for you.

    As your options were already narrowed down to the Giotto, Minore 2 and the VBM D Super, why not choosing the next natural step, and visit our store (if youre in Sydney, that is) to see all 3 machines in operation?

    In Di Bartoli we ensure ALL the machines we sell are operative, so people like yourselves, when not sure which way to go and theres only so far that internet research have assisted them, they find actually witnessing the models in action as well as trying it out themselves, answers instantly questions likes: do I feel comfortable with the machine? can I get good coffee from it? how much tempt surf do I really need to apply and is that a nuisance at all or can I happily integrate that to my routine? and for the "Boss", it certainly becomes more visualized and clear which one actually looks better on your kitchen bench, occupies the right bench space, and may, also allow the boss the opportunity to operate the machine herself...(what happens on those business trips when youre away?)

    With our 1 hour complimentary training we provide you with every machine we sell, you can be sure to become proficient with the "ins and outs" of the machines operation, getting your barista skills to a satisfactory level to pull decent shots as soon as you bring it home and know how to take good care of your machine so itll take care of you for many more years to come...

    As for your specific questions, we obviously have an extensive experience with Minore 2 as well as able to put you in touch with some of our customers who operate it to their satisfaction...we believe that in terms of reliability, serviceability, spare parts availability and adequate technical backup, all 3 models are quite similar, so in fact, the decision really comes down to other factors, which may or may not be relevant / meaningful to you as the operator, and will be subject to your expectations, coffee consumption patterns and personal preferences. If you cant make it to our shop, I suggest you PM me or ring me on: 02-9389 9892, Id be delighted to discuss your situation in details and recommend accordingly.

    As CS sponsor, you will receive a great deal from Di Bartoli on whichever model you will eventually choose, not to mention the pre-sale /post-sale backup extended, where we guide you through the home barista process until no more questions are asked.... Visit our sponsor area for the lasts offers on VBM D Super, Minore 2 and the Bezzera Domus Galatea (maybe this model will get the stamp "approved" from the boss?):

    http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1163932885

    Hope that was of help! Ofra









    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Reliability VBM, ECM & Minore

      Hey, you seem to be following the same path as I did... only a week ago.
      I ended up ordering a Diadema Junior from Cosmorex.
      IMO (from endless trawling of forums) it has the looks and overall quality of a Giotto, but it is available!
      It is called "La Valentina" in America, and the reviews on <CoffeGeeks> are compelling.
      Gary

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Reliability VBM, ECM & Minore

        Originally posted by gazman link=1186614376/0#2 date=1186625533
        Hey, you seem to be following the same path as I did... only a week ago.
        I ended up ordering a Diadema Junior from Cosmorex.
        IMO (from endless trawling of forums) it has the looks and overall quality of a Giotto, but it is available!
        It is called "La Valentina" in America, and the reviews on <CoffeGeeks> are compelling.
        Gary
        Correct you are Gary!

        The Diadema is a formidable competitor and should be on any HX shortlist. They have terrific build, reliability and performance.

        Diadema are available though Cosmorex.... and ourselves of course!

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Reliability VBM, ECM & Minore

          Gary, welcome to CS.

          I have recently been down the same path having to upgrade after only 12 months. So I wanted this one to last forever.

          Giotto was going to be my first choice because of limited space but not available. The VBM is a big sucker but after some more renovating (height was the problem, not depth) decided to go with it.

          I need to say that Chris from TalkCoffee was fantastic and because I knew there was some excellent local support (not like my previous machine supplier!) and I trusted him, that made the decision easier.

          The VBM is a fantastic machine, love it. Taken me 2 weeks (with one hand) to get used to it, but feel as though now starting to really use it.

          The other bonus is my partner would never use my previous machine but she has taken to this one like a duck to water and loves it as well. Really simple to use with wonderful results.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Reliability VBM, ECM & Minore

            although not owning the minore2 i do have a minore1 and feel bad when no-one stands up for it.
            i didnt buy it from a sposor, as at that time i was in syd, and dibartoli werent!!

            i have had no problems other than a loose on/off switch. a quick call to expobar in melb, and they came around, replaced the switch, and were off.... no charge, and i didnt need to take the machine anywhere!

            so, i dont have any complaints about expobar!

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Reliability VBM, ECM & Minore

              Thanks for the responses. Ofra (DiBartoli) and Chris (TalkCoffee) have been very helpful.

              Gazman (great name there) I went to Cosmorex and had a look at the Diadema. You are right, its a very nice unit. I really liked the Levetta (looks spectacular and top quality), but I think the boiler (if its 1.2 litre) is a bit small, and the wands were swivel and not ball jointed (I wonder if that can be changed?).

              Rowdy, I think the Vibiemme, nice as it looks, is just going to be too big, but its has been highly recommended.

              Hi Krusty, good to hear kind words about the Minore. I assume your happy with the coffee too Any other Minore owners that wish to chime in (or send me a PM if they dont want to be publicly critical ?). Any recent purchasers? Do they have a quality look & feel? Unfortunately, I cant get to Sydney to take up Ofra on the offer to compare all of these

              Thanks again for the assistance.

              Gary

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Reliability VBM, ECM & Minore

                Originally posted by flowta link=1186614376/0#0 date=1186614376
                ....[snip]So, finally, here are my questions.  
                Would the reliability issue for Minore II prevent you from purchasing this machine?  Do you have direct experience?
                Can you get good coffee from these HX machines (using a standard approach) even if you dont want to surf, and how difficult is this?

                I have already had a brief chat with Chris (a great resouce for CS, thanks Chris) and I want to purchase from a site sponsor if possible.

                I will appreciate your thoughts.  

                Regards,  Gary
                Gary,

                I have the Minore II (for about 8 months now) and did experience a small issue with the control board. It was fixed promptly and under warranty and the machine hasnt missed a beat since.
                Personally, I love the darn thing and Im very happy with the quality of coffee coming out of it!
                Also moved to the Macap M5 grinder recently and I reckon that has made a difference too!

                Brett.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Reliability VBM, ECM & Minore

                  There were some issues with some earlier build machines and the problem Brett has experienced- especially in areas with spiky power supply...

                  Expobar Oz have specified a new Australian transformer and control board and no further machines have had issues according to them.

                  Pricewise, a Minore II and a Domobar Super are very similar. There is no contest on build quality, but it comes down to how much control you really need :-?. A well used machine will produce a great shot.

                  Feel safe to choose the box of compromises that best suits We would be thrilled to assist with supply of either ...

                  Chris

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Reliability VBM, ECM & Minore

                    Hi, flowta,

                    I am thinking of getting a Minore II as well. I, normally, make 2 coffees at the time but sometimes I make 4. I am leaning towards the Minore for many reasons but one of the reasons is that it seems that it would be easier to pull perfect shots from the first cup. While with HX machines it can be more of a hit and miss at the start but gets more consistent the more you make and the faster you are between shots. Otherwise the group head can get real hot and you need to take ages to cool it down but have to take care not to cool it down too much. Especially with e61 group head it can be difficult as their sole purpose is to keep the temperature constant. So if it is super heated it can take a while and a lot of flushing to cool it down. When you only pull one shot (single or double) it is more likely you will need to chuck it compared to a non-HX machine. You can pull two shots one after another with a HX and they could taste very different early on. If you pull the same two shots with a non-HX machine like the Minore, you wont be able to tell the difference.

                    Most on the forum have HX machines and will tell me I am wrong, I am sure. Also, a lot of them are coffeesnobs and so enjoy the challenge a HX machine throws at them, which is great. But if you are someone that enjoys great consistent coffee and dont want to work for it as hard and pouring your favourite blend down the sink as often, you might lean towards the dual boiler Monore II. Even a single boiler machine will make more consistent coffee then a HX, except you need to wait for the steam. They all can make the same quality coffee if you know what you are doing, it is just harder to get the consistency with a HX right from the first shot, IMO. In a commercial environment where they are pumping out one coffee after another and the group head doesnt get enough time to super heat, the HX works fantastic. It is just that a dual boiler is more fool proof. With HX, you cannot get away from the fact that the way it is designed, when the machine is idling for long time (like when you are warming it up for 45 minutes for your first coffee in the morning) the group head is super heated from the steam in the top of the boiler. While with a single or double boiler the group head is preheated by the water in the boiler that is more like the coffee brewing temperature.

                    So, anyway, that is how I see it. They are all great machine and can make as good coffee as the others. It comes down to consistency, the environment you are going to be using it, and how much challenge do you want it to be.
                    If you only ever make one or two coffees then a good single boiler is great value and makes just as good coffee. It will warm up faster too as they generally have smaller boilers.
                    If you make more then 2 coffees then you need to be able to steam straight away and perhaps use a bigger pitcher or else it will take ages to serve everyone their coffee. Then you might need a dual boiler or a HX.

                    Like I said, I am in the market for a new machine. I am leaning towards the Expobar Minore II. My partner in crime likes the look of the Domobar Super. I find it difficult to chose as they are both good machines. Maybe, if I get a really nice deal on the Expobar I will buy it. Renzo and Ofra spent a lot of time with me talking about these two machines and I was still undecided. I might go to see them again this weekend and see what happens.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Reliability VBM, ECM & Minore

                      nice rant Monti , a fine perspective on a widely debated subject,

                      thanks.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Reliability VBM, ECM & Minore

                        If this interests you, there is a Brewtus II reliability/useability thread on Google Groups. Do a Google search for "google brewtus", and once in the groups search for "do you love your brewtus"http://groups.google.com/group/brewt...649222ab321057. Looks very positive

                        Thanks for sharing your experience Brett.

                        Check out the above Monti. I suspect Im heading for the Minore II also, for all the reasons you have enunciated.

                        Gary

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Reliability VBM, ECM & Minore

                          Gday Flowta,
                          just to add a small point to what Monti has said, and not intending to start any sort of heated debate (no pun intended). Yes, HX machines need a cooling flush to get the group head temp correct, but double boiler (DB) machines need a heating flush to get group head temp correct.
                          Luca mentioned in one of his posts that he compared his HX machine (Maver) to a DB (Minore II, I think) and that the Minore needed a larger heating flush than his machines cooling flush.
                          Again, my point was just to add a bit of balance to the relative merits of HX v DB machines that have been mentioned, not start a flame war.
                          I think that everyone can agree on one point though. Who you purchase your machine from is just as important as what machine you buy.
                          Good luck with your decision.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Reliability VBM, ECM & Minore

                            Well, I just bought the Expobar Minore II from Ofra and Renzo at Di Bartolis on Saturday. They have a good deal going so I encourage anyone that wants to buy an espresso machine to take advantage of it while it lasts. The free Espro damper you get with the machines now is great too.

                            I just took the machine home, filled it with water, pulled a couple of shots to dial in the grind, and in no time I was pulling great consistent shot. I even tried two different temperature settings with the digital pad and I could taste the difference between shots. No temp surfing was needed. The amount of water I had to flush before shots was very small and it seemd to make no difference if I pulled more then 30-60 mls. even if the machine was idling for a hour or so. It is early days yet but it seems that if you flush too much it makes no difference so if you do that you can never be wrong.

                            I used to be able to get perfect microfoam from my Sunbeam EM6900 but I am having a bit of trouble with the Minore. I need more practice as I still end up with some small bubbles.

                            I would be surprised if the Minore needed a longer flush then a HX, Lovey. Most info on the web suggests otherwise, indeed. Also, if you draw too much from a HX you could end up with too low a temperature which is never an issue with a dual boiler. It all depends on the boiler size of the HX. So, one HX can have a larger sweet spot then another and so it is difficult to generalise especially when it comes to HX machines. You have to be more in tune with it then with a dual boiler. Which can be a satisfying challenge on its own for some. With a commercial HX that has a massive tank you can flush a lot more and you are less likely to run the risk of ending up with a temp too low., IMO.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Reliability VBM, ECM & Minore

                              With my Sunbeam I used to get a perfectly flat and even dry puck after I pulled a shot. With the Minore I dont seem to. I attached a picture of what it looks like after a shot. It seems that some coffee comes up besides the shower screen inside the pf, which never happed on the Sunbeam. This could be normal for the Minore. I donno. I also seem to get a small amount of water on top and center of the puck which disappears in a second when I take the pf off. I dont think that I need more coffee in the basket as it already touches the shower screen and you can clearly see the in-print of it on the puck.
                              Any thoughts?



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