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2-group Mirage Idrocompresso: Approx. Cost?

Postby Dogshot on Sat Apr 26, 2008 10:04 am

Does anyone have a rough idea (ballpark) of the cost of a 2-group Idro? I would really prefer a 1-group, but Kees says he cannot currently make one.

For the home-barista, there is nothing more beautiful or easy to maintain than 1 of these, IMO.

Mark
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Postby CafSuperCharged on Sat Apr 26, 2008 10:54 am

I have no clue, but must admit it is an exceptionally beautiful machine, I don't think actually anything looks better than this one.

Having said that, a coffee bar I sometimes visit (when in the neighborhood) has a 3-group version.
Their grinder: LM Swift.
The Mirage Idro has exceptional stability and is PID'ed, but the end-result still to large extent depends on the barista. For one thing, pulling the lever: how fast, how far, how long in a position that fills the cylinder, how to pre-infuse and then let the spring do its work to press the caffè juices ex machina.

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Postby Dogshot on Sat Apr 26, 2008 7:56 pm

You are lucky! I've never even seen, let alone had a shot prepared on an Idro. I'd be surprised if there are any in Canada at all.

I wonder why they PID'd it? An HX machine with PID would presumably be useful if you don't want to steam, or if you want to change temps from brewing to steaming, but how is it worthwhile in a shop situation? DB would be another story.

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Postby CafSuperCharged on Sun Apr 27, 2008 3:57 am

Dogshot wrote:You are lucky! I've never even seen, let alone had a shot prepared on an Idro.

My coffee vendor informed me about this coffee shop when it opened up (in Amsterdam - I live elsewhere in the NL) and asked me to go drink coffee there and tell them what I thought of it.
I gave detailed taste feedback and a week later they e-mailed me, someone, maybe even Kees himself as his business is in this (small) country, had adjusted the machine to 1C lower - and the coffee was much better now.
Which I verified by going back and I came to the same conclusion.
As the coffee shop and I were using the same coffee (beans), another conclusion was easy: they could reach a level of sophistication just a notch higher than I had ever accomplished at home.

Dogshot wrote:I wonder why they PID'd it? An HX machine with PID would presumably be useful if you don't want to steam, or if you want to change temps from brewing to steaming, but how is it worthwhile in a shop situation? DB would be another story.

You got me there. I am actually not sure it has a PID.
In his brochure on the Mirage Idrocompresso, Kees van der Westen states: "The absence of group-solenoids, pump and most electronic controls makes this a very reliable, silent and easy to service espressomachine."
When I went back as described above, I looked under the machine and saw this digital LED display screen with big digits telling temperature. I assumed that was a PID. However it could have been this was just telling what the machine was doing.
I can speculate about what his serene Keesness has contraptioned, but simply don't know.
(btw. the Dutch pronunciation of Kees is not what you Anglosaxons make of it, but more like 'case' - without the 's' on the end tending towards a 'z'. More staccato, that is.)

About the operation of the machine, there must be some ritual involved, although its stability will make it a breeze to get to grips with it. E.g. there is flushing involved.

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Peter
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Postby CafSuperCharged on Sun Apr 27, 2008 4:09 am

If I ever commissioned the artist to build me one of his masterpieces, I would see if he could do a hybrid machine with one LM group and one lever, integrated pump, Classic bodywork and Veloce sides. Plumbed-in a requirement, I could even imagine asking for a water tank as a buffer from water mains pressure swings and temperature buffer.
And next the gourmet games can start: trying Southern Italian style blends on the lever, Northern style on the pump, vice versa, seeing what American roast would do. Etc.

As they say: K.O.D. - keep on dreaming

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Postby JimWright on Sun Apr 27, 2008 11:10 am

Before sending off the check for a GS/3 last week, I actually priced one of these. I found a relatively lightly used one the dealer thought I could get for $6k, and got two quotes for a new one at $9500 and $11500.

I don't believe it has a PID, but more than one person told me it produced among the best espresso they'd tasted (though this should not differ from other similar lever groups).

PM me if you want to know more and I'll connect you with the folks I was speaking with.
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Postby CafSuperCharged on Sun Apr 27, 2008 12:14 pm

JimWright wrote:more than one person told me it produced among the best espresso they'd tasted (though this should not differ from other similar lever groups).


The devil is in the details that differ from brand (model?) to brand.
A commercial repairman once commented to me that the HX tube in brand C was too short for his liking.
That is a fixed parameter and you must take that into consideration for all parameters/variables you can influence in operating your machine. Boiler water level, temperature/pressure, flushes, etc.
Even if Kees' machines have been system integrated from readily available parts it still is possible that his machine does better than any other, or another one would beat his.

A "deviating" KvdW example is he uses a small ("sensitive") pressurestat with SSR instead of the big, heavy (inert?) Sirai that can switch loads of 30A without relay. I would not be surprised if he uses the CEME we prosumers are replacing by something "better", even when our home machines also use the pressurestat to switch a relay.

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Peter
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Postby JimWright on Sun Apr 27, 2008 2:06 pm

Almost certainly true Peter - though I think I've had someone else tell me a VA produced the best espresso he tasted as well.

I suppose most of us have had our moments of espresso magic, and it's hard to distinguish between a one-off experience (whether a single shot or bag of oh-so-lovely beans, or our own taste buds that day) and a machine that does it all better than the rest, without a lot of experimentation and measurement. Whatever the case though, I'm pretty sure there's a reason (other than aesthetic beauty) why Kees's machines have the rep and followers they do. :-D
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Postby CafSuperCharged on Sun Apr 27, 2008 2:31 pm

Jim,

Totally agree. As I mentioned myself, another machine might be better. In my case the bar used the same coffee I have at home. I discounted the LM Swift in the meantime. Also, through my coffee vendor I commented at the training level of staff and a number of improvement points - they took care off, and then staff moved on and new came in ... staff generally working students, I think, not really dependable. Still very good coffee.
The Idrocompresso really needs someone with some training, but I think it can be minimal and it struck me how this bar turned out one shot after another when all my samples were actually better than the same coffee at home, with trained staff.
Now another coffee bar (a dangerous wording in Amsterdam) I visited had the Mistral Veloce three group E/61 version. Italian barista with high ranking. Same coffee I use at home. Phenomenal.
In another town nearer where I live they have a three group LM version of the Mistral Classic. Excellent coffee, not as good as the one I have at home, with exceptionally trained staff, b.t.w.

The price you mention and the USD/Euro rate made me really make the calculation.
Moneywise, I would even buy it were it not my kitchen is too small and replacing Andreja (in my music room) with this beast would require plumbing I myself would never allow in that room (a man has his priorities), then it would lead to divorce - now that I think of it, I do have dedicated power amp spurs/wall outlets that I could run this machine off. But, no, no plumbing in the music room :lol: .

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Peter
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Postby Dogshot on Sun Apr 27, 2008 2:51 pm

JimWright wrote:$9500 and $11500.


Ouch! Those numbers make sense, but they are hard to hear nevertheless.

Thanks for the information, Jim. I probably won't be buying for a while yet, but when I do, it will make sense to look for a used one. Failing that, I suppose it will have to be something like an Astoria or an Izzo.

The simplicity of the large spring levers is compelling for a home-user who wants to keep the machine for a long time, and who does not want to be chasing down parts. Brain-boxes, solenoids, even teflon tubing can be a real pain to get, let alone replace.

Mark
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