How do you hookup a commercial machine? The big difference is an external pump and a drain. The pump is already hooked up, and what remains to be done is connect the inlet braided SS tube to the water supply. I hooked it up to a big water cooler tank. The drain is a flexible tube coming out of the bottom of the machine and I put the end of it in an empty water cooler bottle. The external rotary pump connects to the water supply. It could be a static tank as in this picture. The white tube at the back of the machine is the drain pipe. The fender at the top should be installed flush with the body, I was just playing with its configuration. The drip tray has a shallow slope that channels water to the drain - that hole on the right
We are now ready to turn it on for the first time. The control box is located behind and under the drip tray. Remove the tray and there is a safety shutter disconnecting the boilers heating elements. Turn it on, then throw the power switch on, and we are in business. The boilers start filling. The machine has a nice viewfinder that shows the water level in the steam boiler. The auto refill can be adjusted to the level you desire, and there is also a manual boiler fill switch, to bring the water level temporarily to above its set auto-fill point. Steam and brew boiler temps are set on the control box. One can control the steam power & quality by setting both the boiler temperature and the boiler water level. Nice. Control Box - it is obscured from view by the drip tray.
A word about hiding the control box behind the drip tray. This may work well in a coffee shop. They mostly use one house blend for espresso, and temperature rarely needs to be adjusted. However, it is very inconvenient for a home user. I often change blends and adjust temperatures. This may happen three to 10 times a day, especially when I am studying the brew parameters of a new blend. Having to remove the drip tray, kneel down and push buttons is annoying. The two gages on the front panel show brew pressure and steam boiler pressure. The insulated steam wand on the left is operated by moving that cool lever you see on the side of the machine
Now, how do you pull shots on this thing? The semi-automatic lever we are all so accustomed to, has been replaced by a paddle wheel. That cool black handle on top of the group head controls the brew process. It has three positions: Left shut off; middle - preinfusion; and right - brew. Also missing is the decompression exhaust pipe. On an E61 machine it sits right under the grouphead, and releases excess water into the drip tray. On the Cyncra, that function is handled by a small copper tube inside the machine. The brew lever (paddle wheel) transition to the middle position is very delicate, and it took me a few tries to get it. The brew lever (paddle wheel) in the off position
Steaming is done by pulling that beautiful lever on the left panel. It has a no burn steam wand with excellent articulation and a 4 hole steam tip. I'll discuss steaming in greater detail later on, I'll just say briefly that with a 3 liter boiler, the 4 hole produces silky micro foam in 8 seconds.A 4 hole steam tip, the ultimate configuration for silky micro foam
Now let's take a long look at that machine. One of the comments I've frequently made about the Synesso Cyncra 2 & 3 group is that it looks like a toaster. All that stainless steel, practically barren and flat panels did not look very appealing to me. In person however, the single group is surprisingly attractive. Dressed up with cups and saucers on top I am quietly taken by its presence. It is unassuming & elegant featuring modern clean lines; its rectangular shape is esthetically balanced, and the steam wand lever on the left gives it a hot rod kick.
Now that we got the introduction out of the way, we are ready to pull some shots. I spent the morning working on Intelligentsia's Kid O's Organic Espresso blend
, coffee I've never used before. I will dedicate tomorrow's post to espresso performance, but before I leave, here is a picture of today's winning shot Intelligentsia Kid O's organic Espresso. Sweet, heavy body with dry fruit. A very nice straight shot