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  • first home setup - lelit dual boiler or ponte vecchio lever?

    Hi everybody!

    big post incoming, sorry in advance for the wall of text.

    Ive got a how long is a piece of string question that id like to put out there; but first a little bit of my background and what im trying to do so hopefully the question has a context.

    ive been on this site daily for months now, ive devoured a whole mess of info, watched a bunch of videos and learned a lot... while im here - great site and great community, thanks to the mods and sponsors for keeping it all going - coffeesnobs rocks my socks :-)

    i guess this post might end up in introductions; but my most important question is definitely in the right forum section so ill keep it here - mods do what you will! :-)

    Ive never used a home espresso machine in my life - ive been a barista for several years; built from scratch and sold a small espresso bar in brisbane a few years back; and ive always worked somewhere or other punching out high volume coffees on the regular mazzer/wega type commercial setup. recently been around the world and seen whats going on with coffee in lots of different places - safe to say im a bit of a snob (in the making?) with a desire to make that little bean an even bigger part of my life and learn a lot more.

    i *thought* i was a reasonable barista until i started looking into this site and going to great places like no name lane, govs espresso and canteen coffee (on the gold coast, QLD) where ive since found i dont know half of what i thought i did, and im about a third as good as i thought i was! tho i admit, ive blamed this on the machines ("well if I had a synesso i could pull a shot like that, sure i could!"):-)

    so.
    im wanting to continue improving my barista skills via a home setup; somewhere i can take my time and really try and perfect my method with a machine that is capable of producing superior quality shots and milk coffees. this also means ill have access to (hopefully) awesome coffee at home for myself and wife/friends/family as needed.

    after lots of deliberation ive come down to what i think is the right path and the right products; just looking to share my thoughts and see if anyone has another suggestion or thinks i should get onto a different track or perhaps look at something completely different.

    so, to the machines!:

    1. lelit dual boiler - was really hoping for more info/reviews/feedback from the recent shootout of this machine; it really seems like its too good to be true for the price point. its got a tonne of shot making info (pids, guages etc) that im sure will help me experiment with and understand more the effect of temp and pressure on the flavour my shots. i hope its similar enough to a wega commercial machine that it wont annoy me too much in its operation (hope that sentence makes sense and doesnt make me sound like too much of a wanker!)
    please if anyone has bought one of these and had it in operation - let me know about it! make a video! how has it performed?

    2. ponte vecchio lusso - so this is where im heading at the moment. a lever machine seems like it would suit my plans though from a completely different perspective to the lelit.
    in my mind it seems that with a lever machine ill be using tastebuds, feel and monitoring the actual shot (more than dials and temperatures and guages on the lelit) to improve my shot making - am i being romantic here thinking this might benefit me more in the commercial sense (for my next espresso bar) than knowing what my group head temp is to the .0001 degree?

    im hoping jack and other lever owners might jump in and say that a home lever machine will give me the best chance of getting those thick sweet shots ive only had out of lineas and synessos?

    3. second hand commercial - i had this on my list for a long time; plenty of 2/3 head machines commercial machines that end up for sale at great prices... but im more wary now of getting a dud and even budgeting for repairs/servicing on a 2nd hander im worried about ending up with a machine unable to pull the shots i want. (not to mention needing a tank plumbing solution and having to worry about power, long warmup time, size and other impractical-for-home type issues)
    should i consider second hand? you can see my price point im trying to get setup for as close to $2k as i can...

    grinders:
    mini mazzer-E. this would be the ducks nuts for what im after? should i even bother looking at something like the baratza precisio? second hand mazzers seem to be at great prices at the moment (for the buyer!)
    thoughts? ive also figured when i buy my machine that id be likely to get a better deal getting a new grinder along with the machine.

    well thats long enough - if youve made it this far thankyou for reading; if you have anything at all you think i should think about or hear id love some feedback; particularly if you are/have been in a similar situation to mine.

    being in QLD and with these particular machines im SOL supplier wise and pretty much resigned to buying one of these machines blind since they dont seem to be up here..

    cheers!
    troy

    ps. the long term plan includes home roasting, but not until i can consistently pull a fantastic shot on my home setup - first things first!

  • #2
    Re: first home setup - lelit dual boiler or ponte vecchio lever?

    Originally posted by 6F6974627974622A22232B1B0 link=1329293796/0#0 date=1329293796
    im hoping jack and other lever owners might jump in and say that a home lever machine will give me the best chance of getting those thick sweet shots ive only had out of lineas and synessos?
    Not a lever owner - I have a dual boiler . Ive used a lever exactly twice in my life and both times it has made a stunning shot. Id personally have one in a heartbeat, but Mrs KJM would probably kick up a fuss ;D - because I also wouldnt part with the Expobar. Being able to set the brew temperature suits me down to a tee.

    Originally posted by 6F6974627974622A22232B1B0 link=1329293796/0#0 date=1329293796
    3. second hand commercial - i had this on my list for a long time
    As did I. But Id not even consider this now - I couldnt sleep with the energy cost involved. But thats probably just me...

    /Kevin

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: first home setup - lelit dual boiler or ponte vecchio lever?

      Hi Troy, welcome and all that, and I think youve come with the right attitude so you should find yourself improving and learning quickly (not that Ive reached the limit of understanding - Im still at the beginning of the journey!) I get the feeling that you would be a bit limited or disappointed by a "small" or entry level machine, but I cant comment on the Lelit DB, nor do I have a lever.

      Chris from Talk Coffee just ran a "shootout" between the Lelit DB and Alex Duetto, so I would recommend calling him (even if you cant visit) as hes a walking wealth of knowledge on coffee equipment! Here he says "So far, I have had some terrific shots from the Lelit DB and theres not too much Id change about it" and later "We got close enough ... to confirm that there is precious little in it when it comes to shots".

      Originally posted by 4345584E55584E060E0F07370 link=1329293796/0#0 date=1329293796
      i hope its similar enough to a wega commercial machine that it wont annoy me too much in its operation
      Youll loose some steaming power for sure, but I doubt you want to run 100 coffees per day through a Lelit, or make 4 at a time, so it may be good enough for its home purpose. Check the boiler size vs the Alex Duetto for example. I find with my Giotto (single boiler, heat exchanger) if I grind on demand > extract > steam 2 cups, I can keep repeating the process without loosing capacity, given that commercially I would be grinding faster, and extracting + steaming at the same time.

      Originally posted by 4345584E55584E060E0F07370 link=1329293796/0#0 date=1329293796
      am i being romantic here thinking this might benefit me more in the commercial sense (for my next espresso bar) than knowing what my group head temp is to the .0001 degree?
      No absolutely not. Dont get stuck with gauges and numbers, otherwise youll learn to make coffee according to numbers and not taste, look, and feel. The problem with this is that all the numbers will change for a different machine, different beans, different day. Having the pressure, temp & flow right is necessary for a good output, but once its set up right, you should be able to forget about it and use your own "feedback" loop of adjusting the grind / tamp / extraction based on taste and colour.

      Originally posted by 4345584E55584E060E0F07370 link=1329293796/0#0 date=1329293796
      mini mazzer-E. this would be the ducks nuts for what im after?
      maybe! They are expensive, and the mini-e doesnt have a great timer. In comparison the Compak K3T and Macap M4D all have a similar quality of output for different price ranges. I personally am cautious of the Mazzer doserless grinders because of the "grid" that breaks up the clumps - it tends to get chocked up with stale grinds, but Ive never had one so I cant say for sure. Theres a good review here. I have the K3T, and the quality is very good. Again, talk to sponsors as theyll know more ins and outs of each one.

      Dont forget a good fitting tamper in your budget (~$100), some cleaning products (cloths, brush, backflush solution, etc), and a supply of fresh beans.

      hope that helps

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: first home setup - lelit dual boiler or ponte vecchio lever?

        Lol it is so funny to me every time I read comments about the Mini-E. Especially when it is based on here say.

        Granted there are a few who have used both and prefer one grinder over another but seriously the Mini-E is subject to some bad wrap thats only prevailed over because of peoples high regard for Mazzer.

        I have a Mini-e and to be honest it puts out some awesome grind. It is so consistent and lump free that you can grind and tamp and get a perfect extraction with no extra techniques involved and the grinds remains consistently cool in home use.

        The grind time is a little slower than other offering but to be honest in the end once you have stuffed around removing the lumps produced by other grinders and distributing here nthere there is probably little to no difference and probably more mess in the process than walking up sticking your portailter under the shoot and hitting grind.

        A digital timer would be better, but you get over it n dare I say used to it. The Jolly-E would be great but some may consider this a lil too big. In its defence it is very consistent and once set and once out of the way requires little to no more adjustment over a bag of beans.

        To say you shouldnt look at no other grinder is a bit far fetched, but if you got the dosh I think you would be pleasantly surprised!



        To say

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: first home setup - lelit dual boiler or ponte vecchio lever?

          Hi Troy,

          I think either machine will offer you great opportunities to learn how to get great shots and then further refine your technique. Its a matter of whether you prefer old school or high-tech.

          When it comes to grinders, I declare my hand in that I sell both.

          I still believe that the mini-e represents poor value for money. You can get a Macap M4D with a digital timer and 2 x as fast for a similar spend. These are far easier to set than first finding a screwdriver and then fiddling to get a timed dose. Alternately, you could have 2 x Comapk K3T with analogue timer like the mazzer for the price of the Mazzer. Theyre still easier to set.

          Until the mini-e receives a real timer, my opinion will not change. The Macap performs similarly to the Super Jolly-E, but for mini-e spend. For me, its a no brainer.

          Chris

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: first home setup - lelit dual boiler or ponte vecchio lever?

            Originally posted by 575C465D47585A53340 link=1329293796/3#3 date=1329356873
            Especially when it is based on here say.
            hehe I look forward to opinions that are different to mine because I have a limited experience, and I declared up front that Ive never had one, however the grid issue is not just based on heresay - there are plenty of mazzer posts all over the natz concerning the anti-clumping grid, static, funnel, etc. If what I quoted was heresay, then so is my own comments on my own equipment :P

            Thats not to say that other grinders dont have issues - I have a K3T which comes out a bit clumpy, but I dont do anything about it as the clumps are so loosely bound it makes no difference (to me). It also has a plain old timer, but Im using it in the "push" fashion anyway. It also seems that I can affect the position of the top burr by touching the hopper during grinding (the noise changes, so it must be moving something...) so I just dont touch the hopper!

            Troy - if you are interested in the K3T, Talk Coffee is selling them for $499 for a limited time. Check their sponsor page. Coffee Roasters Australia (Talk Coffee agent?) is in Arundel near the Gold Coast so maybe theyre close enough for a visit? Better than freighting it from further south anyway. I dont know what machines / grinders they stock if you want to play.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: first home setup - lelit dual boiler or ponte vecchio lever?

              Originally posted by 515951565C5A380 link=1329293796/5#5 date=1329360002
              Coffee Roasters Australia (Talk Coffee agent?)
              No- not an agent. They are the QLD dealer for Alex Duetto. They do sell Expobar and Compak though- amongst other good gear

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: first home setup - lelit dual boiler or ponte vecchio lever?

                thankyou very much for the views guys - appreciate the time.

                re: grinder
                the only reason im thinking mazzer is because i always have (albeit never used an E model) but if the compak from chris can do the job then that might be the go... a pretty good saving made there... i wonder if the ponte vecchios smaller portafilter would rest on the prongs of the compak easily?


                KJM - the minores look like a stunning machines and would easily be my premium pick if the budget could stretch that far :-) you have the macap - what are your thoughts on that vs a mazzer? youve helped confirm for me im definitely not going commercial.

                IAIN - some great stuff for me to consider - thankyou for the post

                Inthecup - great to hear you are very happy with the mini-E, i bet it hasnt skipped a beat in as long as youve had it also.

                I must say i put a special emphasis on personal experience direct from owners or ppl who have used said equipment for a considerable amount of time - typical reviews just dont cut it sometimes!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: first home setup - lelit dual boiler or ponte vecchio lever?

                  GDay Troy,

                  Have you considered this Bezzera Domus Galatea from Supreme roasters here http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1251468789
                  brilliant machine at an excellent price $2050.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: first home setup - lelit dual boiler or ponte vecchio lever?

                    Originally posted by 3E3825332825337B73727A4A0 link=1329293796/7#7 date=1329377907
                    re: grinder
                    the only reason im thinking mazzer is because i always have (albeit never used an E model) but if the compak from chris can do the job then that might be the go... a pretty good saving made there... i wonder if the ponte vecchios smaller portafilter would rest on the prongs of the compak easily?
                    I cant quote much in the way of long term usability statistics with the compak K3 and the Ponte Vecchios portafilter, But I can report that the bars are narrow enough to rest a sunbeam EM3600 portafilter on, so Id imagine that the pontes isnt that much difference in size.

                    Having said that, The K3touch deal that Talk Coffee is offering is very much excellent value. And they are Excellent to purchase off. (yes, I know, New User of the K3, less so of the Ponte Vecchio.) ;D

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: first home setup - lelit dual boiler or ponte vecchio lever?

                      Originally posted by 6C41554748494E47615466415445200 link=1329293796/9#9 date=1329384710
                      But I can report that the bars are narrow enough to rest a sunbeam EM3600 portafilter on

                      I have a giotto premium plus and the spouts sit on the tray so the group handle doesnt even sit on the prongs

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: first home setup - lelit dual boiler or ponte vecchio lever?

                        If the best coffee in the easiest way is what you want, then go for a lever.

                        Of course the learning then will basically only transfer to levers, and not to commercial pump machines.

                        Having never used a commercial pump machine I cant say whether the learning on a good domestic machine transfers to commercial machines either.

                        Greg

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: first home setup - lelit dual boiler or ponte vecchio lever?

                          Sorry Iandb,

                          Probably sounded a bit stand offish. Not intended. To be honest you were just the last in a long line of posts and it wasnt really directed at you.

                          For OP made a quick overview you may be interested in?

                          http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1122441263/0#35

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: first home setup - lelit dual boiler or ponte vecchio lever?

                            no worries, I know what its like sometimes

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: first home setup - lelit dual boiler or ponte vecchio lever?

                              some more good stuff there thanks lads.
                              i think grinder wise ill be steering towards the cheaper end of the spectrum; the compaks look great and i think should be more than capable, but also the baratza precisio looks pretty neat too for just home use - and only $360 or so.

                              still torn on the machine front between lelit DBand the lever machine....
                              youtube --> /watch?v=2-KiJzO7exQ
                              the lelit looks very capable here, wonder what those shots tasted like!

                              and have been watching some pours from a guy using a strega lever, and man that stuff looks fun... tho im not sure if the ponte vecchio is the same style of lever?

                              just waiting for quotes to come in from sponsors; need to make this decision soon i spose!

                              Comment

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