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Espresso-only machine recommendation (budget under $1000, don't need steam) - Page 2

Postby swrobel on Sat Jan 05, 2013 11:00 pm

I have the Virtuoso with Preciso burrs (model 586) so again, doubt it's the issue...
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Postby chapelizod on Sun Jan 06, 2013 12:25 am

I have the Virtuoso with Preciso burrs (model 586) so again, doubt it's the issue...


It's not the burrs, it's the ability to adjust them.
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Postby jonny on Sun Jan 06, 2013 5:29 am

Going from your machine with the Virtuoso to a $1000 machine with the same grinder, will get you hardly better shots, sorry. The virtuoso, whether preciso burrs or not, is going to hold you back big time. I doubt it is even giving you the full potential of the humble Saeco. I would HIGHLY recommend you lower your machine upgrade budget to about $600 and look for something used like a PID Silvia or a small HX like Nuova Simonelli Oscar, Pasquini Livia 90, or if you can find one in good shape, I've been happy with my Pasquini Livietta/Olympia Maximatic/Coffex for a couple years. Put that other $400 toward a new grinder. Stepping up to $400 on your grinder will probably be the biggest improvement for you right now. That will get you either a Baratza Vario or a used Mazzer Super Jolly, which are both excellent grinders. I prefer my Super Jolly for robustness, but Vario supposedly produces just as good of coffee. If you have $1000 to spend, you should NOT be hanging on to that Virtuoso whilst thinking a $1000 machine is going to make a difference! I'm not trying to be condescending, it's just the truth.
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Postby frank828 on Sun Jan 06, 2013 6:06 am

swrobel wrote:I have the Virtuoso with Preciso burrs (model 586) so again, doubt it's the issue...


you have yourself a very good drip grinder.

now you need an espresso grinder.
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Postby swrobel on Sun Jan 06, 2013 12:30 pm

Ok, I can see the consensus here is that the Virtuoso won't cut it for quality espresso ... now I guess I'd just like to know why. I thought when I bought this grinder it was supposed to be one of the best, at least as far as home grinders go. I mean, I'm not opening a coffee shop.

Anyway, what is the limiting factor? I can't even pull a shot from my Saeco with the Vario set to any of the 10 finest settings - it just doesn't seem like the pump can manage to push water through. Is it just a matter of fine-tuning exactly the setting that I need for the best espresso, or is it a matter of going as fine as humanly possible?

Thanks,

Confused ;)
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Postby chapelizod on Sun Jan 06, 2013 12:50 pm

It's not about grinding ultra-fine, it's about being able to control the grind. A very small change in grind size can have a significant impact on the espresso extraction. The preciso has 11 steps in between every single step of the virtuoso. So for every one click that you are able to change the grind size with the virtuoso, the preciso has 10 more options. The vario has even more. The ability to fine tune the grind based on your extraction is what will ultimately give you a better quality espresso and allow you room to grow and experiment.

For example, say one grind setting on the virtuoso gave you only a 17 second extraction before the shot blonded (and probably wouldn't taste very good). This would require a finer grind to get a better extraction, but the next step finer on the virtuoso might choke your machine. You would need at minimum those extra 10 steps of the preciso in between the single step of the virtuoso to find the right grind setting for a decent shot.
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