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Musings of a new Giotto owner

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  • Musings of a new Giotto owner

    I upgraded from my trusty Silvia to a new Giotto PP this week, keeping my Rocky until I can persuade my wife that a better grinder will produce even better coffee.

    I've been really happy with the shots so far, either the Giotto is incredibly forgiving or my skills have improved considerably since I first started using a Silvia 3 years ago. Probably the Giotto covering my shortcomings like modern golf clubs improve my swing.

    But there were a few unexpected issues:

    A complete state of bewilderment over workflow. Like most Silvia users, I had my workflow down pat. Of course I expected to rejig my workflow with a HX, but it's hard to get out of the Silvia mindset of having a minute or so while the steam is heating up to fill the jug, etc. I find myself staring at the machine in disbelief that it's ready to steam or pull a shot whenever I want. No steam switch, no temp surfing. No thinking 'did the light just go on and off when I wasn't looking? I'll just surf again to be sure'.

    The left sided steam wand is challenging. Again I'm amazed at how forgiving the Giotto is, a couple of times I thought I'd ruined the milk, only for a bit of swirling and tapping to produce half decent milk. But I've got a lot of work to do to get the left-sided steaming working for me.

    When you look at the Giotto in the shop it doesn't look that big, so you think kitchen space won't be an issue. You get it home and realise the width isn't the issue, it's the depth. From front to back its a lot longer than the Silvia. Luckily my wife drinks coffee so she's understanding, but only a little.

    Warm up time seems to be a lot longer. I used to turn on the Silvia, have a shower and get dressed, do a quick flush and she'd be ready, I've now put in a timer switch to give the Giotto over an hour to warm up. Is there a 'cheating mr Giotto' anywhere?

    But none of this is buyer's remorse, it's an awesome machine and I love it. Luckily a great deal came along and I was able to justify the expense.


  • #2
    Hi J. I find mine [Evo] is ready to go in 40~45 minutes, I also run a timer. Once the boiler is up to pressure you can flush boiler water through the handle to save some time. You will adjust your routine to suit in time. I cam from a VBM to the Rocket so had no real adjustment to make. Remember you are heating a much larger volume of water and great lump of brass......takes time. "be patient grashopper" :-) :-) as the rewards are there.



    • #3
      Originally posted by Jonathon View Post
      A complete state of bewilderment over workflow.
      I moved from a Silvia to a Giotto as well.
      At the start I'd watch the shot and stop the pour, then get the milk ready and do it. Then I thought - do the milk while the shot is pouring - you're only waiting because you're used to waiting for the Silvia. Plus you'll get your coffee quicker

      It wasn't too hard to change but like everything took a bit of practice. Just have the milk ready to go in the jug and have the wand bled before you start the shot.
      I count in my head once the pump starts, roughly time how long it takes for the first drops to appear and that's an indication of how the timing is going to go.
      Then get the milk happening. Stop the shot with my right hand when it looks like its done. For a 300ml jug it's finished not long after when the shot finishes too.

      Of course watching a nice pour is pretty cool so feel free to stick your head under the group, salivate over the espresso and leave the milk until afterwards.

      My machine has a cabinet up against its left side so I don't have any room on that side of the machine.
      Hence I sit the jug on the drip tray to steam and play with the wand depth / angle to get it right. Works for me.
      The "Some tricks for creating great microfoam" thread in the Milk Froth and Bubbles forum might help you get good results while you make the adjustment.


      • #4
        I upgraded to a Giotto also only few weeks back, and I'm loving it. It's an awesome machine. No doubt you will be playing with it a bit to get a great shot and its rewarding, and don't worry about the expense you quickly forget about it!
        If your concerned about heating time go and buy yourself a digital timer only cost$20, with about 16 settings. I have mine set up so it comes on at 5:30am so when I get up for work it's ready to go, turns off at 10:00 am, then comes on again at 2:00 pm so when I get back home from work it's ready!!!



        • #5
          Musings of a new Giotto owner

          Originally posted by chonski View Post
          Of course watching a nice pour is pretty cool so feel free to stick your head under the group, salivate over the espresso and leave the milk until afterwards.
          Yeah I do find myself watching the shot, but as I've only done less than 20 shots so far, I'm sure that will wear off.

          Today was my first day back at work, I found myself missing my new machine!


          • #6
            I got my Giotto about seven months ago and I only just got my technique completely smoothed out.

            In terms of warming the machine up, I got an elcheapo timer from Ikea and it works fine. Goes on at 6am and off at 9am. On weekends I just flick the switch on the timer and it stays on all day.

            I find it takes about 30 minutes to get the grouphead hot, although you can shorten this by 5-10 minutes by running hot water through the group. I keep a french press nearby so if anyone can't wait 20 minutes they can still get their caffeine hit.

            As for the steam I always wait until after I have pulled my shots because I like to time them to check my grind and tamping are correct. Knowing me if I started to do milk while keeping one eye on the shot I'd end up knocking something over or burning myself or something.

            I've noticed since I've had my own machine that when I go to a cafe I find myself silently critiquing the barista's technique while waiting for my coffee. Does anyone else do this?


            • #7
              Hi Giotto owners,
              I am about to make the very difficult decision on either a Rocket Evo2 or an Izzo Alex III. Your posts about your Giottos have made very interesting reading for me and it's good to know how happy you all are with your awesome machines. Does anyone have a comment about the two extreme machines on my shortlist which may help my decision?

              Thanks in advance,


              • #8
                Hi Peter,

                I can't think of a single client who has upgraded from an EVO to a Duetto.

                I suspect the that best determination of what's right will be made on site when you sample the results and compare both machines in the metal. They're both excellent machines.




                • #9
                  Hi Peter,

                  I was in a similar boat with the Alex and Giotto (pp) a couple of years back. I ended up going with the Giotto for a few reasons, but all were personal to me and my technique/preference/habbits.

                  You MUST get to a site sponsor like Chris and try the machines in the "metal" as he says. It will be small little things personal to you that will steer you to one or the other, just like me.

                  Up close, they are both amazing machines and can produce wonderful coffee, you can't loose!



                  • #10
                    Thanks Ben, I plan to do just that in a couple of days. Will let you know which way I go.


                    • #11
                      I'm another long-term Silvia owner who upgraded to an EVO 7 months ago. I was pretty much happy with the Silvia but, after 10 years, I decided that I could justify an upgrade (for no particular reason other than that I wanted to). After a couple of long discussions with Chris about EVO vs Duetto (thanks again for your time and advice, Chris), I decided on the EVO because of its (relative to the Duetto) simplicity of construction. Everyone's needs and wants are different and, clearly for some people's needs, the Duetto would be a clear winner, but the EVO has turned out to be ideal for my situation (after I'd adjusted a few things to suit).

                      My wife was initially skeptical because she was concerned about the larger size but it's no wider than a Silvia which has a PID hanging off the side and she has agreed that it is easier to operate.

                      I found that I had to adjust my roast depth and now pull the beans just before 2C, whereas, with the Silvia, I was roasting past 2C. Presumably I was running the Silvia a bit hotter? I never fiddled with the PID on the Silvia and I suspect that there are some Duetto owners who do the same (probably including me if I'd bought one) and this was the basis for my decision.

                      I bought my Hottop with the intention of experimenting with different beans and profiles but due to lack of time and many other interests, that hasn't happened (yet?). I've established what works for my setup and just left it at that. Had I followed my original plans then a Duetto would have been more appropriate for me.

                      I've always been somewhat averse to timers (at least on a Silvia) because of the risk of running it dry if the steam valve were to be left open or one of the switches left on etc. But my daughter leaves for work at 5.30 most mornings and switches the EVO on so I don't have that problem.

                      I spent quite some time on the decision to buy an EVO but I have no doubt that I would be equally happy with any of the range of quality machines from the sponsors. As others have said, mrsixties, go and have a look.


                      • #12
                        Here's another one that went from Rancilio to Giotto, in this case a Lucy (Silvia with built in grinder) to a Premium Plus and K3 Elite, also after spending time with Chris from Talk coffee.

                        Why? Well I wanted a more forgiving coffee making experience and I definitely got that, I find it hard to pull a bad shot on this but I think the learning experience gained with Lucy probably helps in that regard.
                        The GPP has a brain so turning it on with a timer is low risk, it autofills the boiler and if it is out of water it turns off, annoying if you are in the middle of a shot....
                        I roast to just past or just at the start of 2nd crack and am really enjoying the coffee I make with this set up.

                        I find that 20-30 minutes is adequate warm up, if I can't touch the group handle then it's hot enough for me. If I'm in a hurry I'll pull some blank shots to heat things up faster.

                        This is my workflow, from start to stop I can do this in less time than it takes to boil the jug and make the wife's cup of tea, which I do at the same time.
                        I pour the milk in the jug just below the spout (incasa 600ml? jug) and then start the grinder. grind, tamp, quick flush and lock and load. Start the pour and grab the milk jug. Purge the steam wand and start steaming, I rest the milk jug on the drip tray with the steam wand just under the surface and as the milk expands the wand automatically gets deeper. Perfect microfoam 99% of the time.

                        I'm usually counting time in my head but that's just a guide so I stop the shot when it's ready and a few seconds later the milk is ready. Stop steaming, clean the steam wand and purge some steam through it.

                        Pour the milk into the coffee, make beautiful rosetta and set aside.

                        Knock the puck out, clean the basket and grab the single group handle with blind filter and backflush and wiggle. Turn the machine off. Rinse milk jug and relax with great coffee.


                        • #13
                          Musings of a new Giotto owner

                          I was just starting to work out a workflow, then I got a naked portafilter from Chris at Talk Coffee (and cheaper than buying it online from overseas!), now I spend each shot looking at the flow...I'm sure the appeal will wear off soon, but not yet.


                          • #14
                            Hi there, When you say "flow" do you mean a "rats tail" type of flow? I've never used a portafilter but they always look like their "rats tail" is the perfect extraction flow.


                            • #15
                              Musings of a new Giotto owner

                              Originally posted by grindmobile View Post
                              Hi there, When you say "flow" do you mean a "rats tail" type of flow? I've never used a portafilter but they always look like their "rats tail" is the perfect extraction flow.
                              No with the naked it generally comes out thicker than the rats tail, not least because it's a double shot through one flow.

                              I'd also say that the flavour difference with the naked is enormous.