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My VBM experience

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  • My VBM experience

    Hey all,

    Well yesterday I finally got to join the ranks of VBM domobar lever (SS) owners.  Took a very large effort to come into work today, and not just stay at home pouring shots (poorly)   ;D

    A while ago I took up some of Chriss time (talk coffee) on a Saturday, when he should have been doing other value add things, like spending time with his family, asking silly questions about the machines and pouring shots on the demo machines he had set up.   With his advice, combined with my toying around, I set my heart on the VBM.  

    Then the wait started, and the 1001 inquiries I fired back to Chris (which he patiently answered every time).  I was in a position to get one in July, but then the house got burgled, and the coffee machine grand plan was put on hold.

    Turn to September, and spurned on by the notice that prices were going to rise, I called Chris last Thursday night (after hours mind you).  Turns out the only SS he had left was his demo; a good price was offered, and the deal was sealed.

    Well, yesterday lunchtime it turned up!  In terms of turn around times this is almost unbelievable in my opinion.  The machine was well packaged, and sitting on its own little pallet, very well protected.  I pulled it out, played with it, but alas couldn’t sample the goods as me, sleep and coffee don’t mix well at all.

    This morning, more playing, and after recalling the advice I got from Chris before about how to tamp and set up the shot, got a half decent shot (it had to do, as I had to get ready for work; blasphemy I know but sometimes these things happen).

    Impressions; firstly Chris could sell these things as brand new, and not as a demo model at a discounted price.  There is no marks, no dents, no nothing.  The machine was still wrapped in its protective plastic layers, so over 75% of the machine outside is as it was in the factory.  
    Heavy.  Very, very heavy.
    Big.  Very, very big.  It is basically about twice the size as the machine it is replacing (Gaggia classic).
    The shot; a long way from a god shot at this time, but I got completely different flavours from my shot this morning then I have ever had out of the beans I use.  My wife also commented on the change of flavours in her coffee as well; it also added a sweetness that was incredible.  No bitterness or issues with acidity which I was happy about, but the puck wasn’t dry and as clean as it should be (all user error issues I might add).  I was surprised, as I wasn’t expecting to get much, if any, variation in flavours, especially as my technique with the machine is pretty bad currently.

    Big thanks and raps to Chris for everything; his patience, information, experience and knowledge.  For anyone looking to step up to prosumer machines it is well worth having a play on the demo machines, as Chris has set up.  It may cost you some $$$ and time, but a quick cheap flight and a night in Melbourne (or Sydney) is well worth it in the long term.  Better to spend a little more now, then get the wrong machine and have to change over.

    Also a big thanks to the CS community, for the endless advice that they provide.  It is a really big help to newbies like myself getting into this stuff.

  • #2
    Re: My VBM experience

    Hi rampage, congrats on the new machine - your shots will get much better after a couple of weeks, likewise with steaming milk..

    Its certainly a serious piece of kit, and will serve you well as your skills improve (as are mine, slowly).

    Ive started modding mine already, lined sections of the interior panels with heat-resistant foam to reduce the noise from the vibe pump significantly. Also, placed strategically located bits of electrical tape on the inside of the wrap-around outer panel to prevent some metal-to-metal rattles.

    The cups on top are still rattling slightly, dunno what to do about this - yet

    Mark

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: My VBM experience

      ona rampage - sounds like a serious piece of metal that will help you to perfect your technqiue - just what a good machine should do.

      and mark - to prevent cup rattle, why not wrap each cup with "heat resistant foam" too

      aaron

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: My VBM experience

        ona rampage

        You will be drinking great coffee in no time with a little patience and practice
        The VBM is a great machine
        I am pleased to hear that Chris looked after you as he also looked after me when I was buying my Macap grinder

        Best of taste
        KK

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: My VBM experience

          [ch65279]Hi
          Thanks for sharing, I’m in the process of deciding what to purchase and the VBM in up near
          the top of the list. My wife is still a little worried about the size and is leaning towards the
          Diadema Splendor. But since I make the coffee it has been great to hear how happy you are.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: My VBM experience

            hey,

            I too, am looking at buying a VBM domobar lever, but have struggled to find quality advice on the VBM, it sounds like you recieved excellent service and info before your purchase, and i was wondering if anyone could point me in the right direction so that I can recieve the same level of service as ona ramage experienced. I am located in Melbourne. thanks bargey

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: My VBM experience

              Originally posted by Bargey link=1220917215/0#5 date=1221971403
              hey,

              I too, am looking at buying a VBM domobar lever, but have struggled to find quality advice on the VBM, it sounds like you recieved excellent service and info before your purchase, and i was wondering if anyone could point me in the right direction so that I can recieve the same level of service as ona ramage experienced. I am located in Melbourne. thanks bargey  

              Chris at Talk Coffee <<<<<<<<< sponsor area is your man

              KK

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: My VBM experience

                Originally posted by Bargey link=1220917215/0#5 date=1221971403
                hey,

                I too, am looking at buying a VBM domobar lever, but have struggled to find quality advice on the VBM, it sounds like you recieved excellent service and info before your purchase, and i was wondering if anyone could point me in the right direction so that I can recieve the same level of service as ona ramage experienced. I am located in Melbourne. thanks bargey  

                Hi Bargey- I assume that you mean the VBM DOmobar super if were in this price bracket? If so, we have stock as well as a demonstration machine on the bench.

                Why not make a time to come in and Ill be happy to pull some shots and run you over the machine..

                regards

                Chris

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: My VBM experience

                  Thanks for your quick replys. Chris, it is the VBM Domobar super that i am interested in.i will be in contact soon, ive checked out your site, and as KK said you are the man. Thanks and c u soon. bargey

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: My VBM experience

                    Yep Bargey he is the man. Take up some of his time, and then buy from him, and you will not be disappointed.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: My VBM experience

                      Got my naked PF from di bartoli last night, and had fun doing some naked pours this morning (being careful of burns :-) . Very nice watching the pour out of the bottom of the PF, and also means I can now easily pour into a mug for my wifes coffee.
                      Highly recommend getting one!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: My VBM experience

                        Hi ona rampage,

                        Glad to hear youve joined the club. Isnt it a great machine? I couldnt have been more pleased with mine.

                        I recently swapped back from a bottomless portafilter to the double-spout while I had visitors, and I discovered I much prefer to use the bottomless. Love to look at that pour.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: My VBM experience

                          There is something about having that naked PF on there as well....it is lighter, and more flexible (you can get a cup under there)....I dont know, just something particular about it I love.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: My VBM experience

                            Its been just over 2 weeks now of replacing my sunbeam 6900 for a black VBM superlever from Chris @ talk coffee.
                            I was amazed at the speed of service-Chris had the machine at my door in 24 hours (Sydney!) and I was pulling shots that were a quantam leap ahead of my sunbeam within my first session (admittedly after ditching about 6 shots) using a borrowed Mazzer to grind with.  Chris has been remarkably patient and helpful.  The complimentary Urban blend coffee was really fun to play with.

                            Its been both exciting and daunting.  Exciting because I have regained my sense of looking forward to making the next cup (which Id lost on the sunbeam due to consistent and growing frustrations with the espresso quality of the sunbeam) and daunting because more is expected of me as a home barista.

                            A few things to note in my first 2 weeks:
                            Challenges
                            1. One challenge is that I find it hard to get the steam wand doing microfoam- a lot of my efforts show little extension of the milk or too much foam that sits on top of the milk.  This is especially so with a 300ml jug.  
                            2. I think my home roasts are exposed to greater scrutiny in this level of machine-thus creating an unhelpful variable at this stage
                            3. the whole heat exchanger -temperature-flush thing has been freaking me out- is it too hot, is it too cold, why is it sour-is it my roast or the water?  But the articles on Homebarista.com have been helpful.  It does create another level of barista expertise.

                            A few annoying things:
                            1. water cut off- Ok I know you have to check the water level regularly but it seems silly to me that a little warning light isnt on these kind of machines (as it is on the sunbeam, I now appreciate that feature more! ) and there is no simple way to check the level except taking the lid off.  Being a machine that requires flushing,  I reckon a warning light that tells you the water is low is a feature that would be good to have.  I guess Ill learn to adapt and in time be aware of when its getting low during a session.

                            2. my drip tray leaks through handle fasteners when it gets over half full.

                            It is a beautiful machine, I just hope to live up to it.

                            Any shared joys, frustrations or thoughts welcome, I hope that in weeks and months to come I can demonstrate progress.  

                            Most important, the fun is back!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: My VBM experience

                              1. One challenge is that I find it hard to get the steam wand doing microfoam- a lot of my efforts show little extension of the milk or too much foam that sits on top of the milk.  This is especially so with a 300ml jug.
                              I also had difficulty. The best advice is to be gentle. Do not introduce as much air, and only introduce air in the first five seconds or so. The rest of the time is spent getting the swirl going and keeping it going. With the VBM, its a vertical swirl and not a whirlpool.
                               
                              3. the whole heat exchanger -temperature-flush thing has been freaking me out- is it too hot, is it too cold, why is it sour-is it my roast or the water?  But the articles on Homebarista.com have been helpful.
                              I have Erics thermometer adapter and use it e very pull. it really is a great toool an worth the investment.

                              1. water cut off- Ok I know you have to check the water level regularly but it seems silly to me that a little warning light isnt on these kind of machines  and there is no simple way to check the level except taking the lid off.
                              This was one of the complaints I have made a number of times. A slot cut in the case would have been nice, and then they could have put an LED in there to illuminate the reservoir. Having the light come on telling you than machine has just shut down due to low water level is no help when you have just lost the pull.

                              2. my drip tray leaks through handle fasteners when it gets over half full.
                              I never had that happen. Loosen the two little bolts and wrap some teflon tape up against the head of the bolts and tighten them back down.

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