The Espresso Machine MOST of You Should Buy - Page 2

Recommendations for buyers and upgraders from the site's members.
walr00s
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#11: Post by walr00s »

While I have no problem with the idea of the post, and am/was very interested to hear the justification for the title...have to admit I feel a bit disappointed. It comes across as sort of a bitter customer review. I don't have a horse in this game. I've never been in the market for a 2.5k+ machine. Never done any due diligence. Questions that the initial post doesn't seem to answer that it probably should: what does the Decent do worse than an e61 platform with flow control? What does the Bianca do better than other e61 platforms with flow control?

Right now my uninformed impression is that the Decent gives unparalleled feedback and control over brew, and while the Bianca may have pioneered e61 flow control, it doesn't exactly do anything special in today's market. And I guess if I'm being honest, I'm looking for a reason to not someday buy a Decent. I own their "Simple Scale" (I understand they didn't make it), and their black wooden bottomless PF and frankly they're both cheap, overpriced crap. But the Decent is still at the top of my list when I go to upgrade.

Hopefully the following posts will clarify a bit, but I can't help the feeling that if there's clarifying information, it really belongs in that top post.

pcrussell50

#12: Post by pcrussell50 »

As a little bit of an insider in this thread, readers need to be careful denigrating either Jayson's motives or his credibility.

I can assure you that he has been both more than humble, and even more, he has TONs of very well considered and vetted thoughts. Many of which have appeared here in HB, scattered hither an honest in all kinds of threads, by some very smart folks... Engineers, mathematicians, physicists types. And he has no reason to be embittered at this point, despite years ago holding the prevailing, "Why force yourself to decide between a Slayer and a Londinium when you can have both, with DE?"

His "resume" paragraph should be re-read and taken to heart.

-Peter
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JayBeck (original poster)

#13: Post by JayBeck (original poster) »

cgibsong002 wrote:Why is the Bianca so popular? At $3k, there are a lot of cheaper options with nearly identical features, and i haven't heard exactly glowing reviews of the internal design and engineering. Is it just the flow control?
I promise to address this question as I continue contributing to this thread.

JayBeck (original poster)

#14: Post by JayBeck (original poster) »

pcrussell50 wrote:As a little bit of an insider in this thread, readers need to be careful denigrating either Jayson's motives or his credibility.

I can assure you that he has been both more than humble, and even more, he has TONs of very well considered and vetted thoughts. Many of which have appeared here in HB, scattered hither an honest in all kinds of threads, by some very smart folks... Engineers, mathematicians, physicists types. And he has no reason to be embittered at this point, despite years ago holding the prevailing, "Why force yourself to decide between a Slayer and a Londinium when you can have both, with DE?"

His "resume" paragraph should be re-read and taken to heart.

-Peter
Thanks, Peter!

wai2cool4u
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#15: Post by wai2cool4u »

As a Londinium R user looking for reasons to move to a DE1+, I look forward to seeing how this thread evolves.

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BaristaBoy E61

#16: Post by BaristaBoy E61 »

I think we put too much faith in technology when almost any DB E61 or spring lever machine can pull an excellent shot and even some lessor machines as well. Beyond these machines it's the Barista that provides the 'Technology' with their experience and accumulated knowledge.

My proof for this is that for me, I can still pull better shots at home than at any café with 'Who knows what kind of any Super machine'. It's just delivering hot water at a constant temperature at specific pressures to a puck.

The 'Magic' is in the Bean, Grinder & Barista.

It's just Hot Water for G-d's sake - It's not Kidney Dialysis!
"You didn't buy an Espresso Machine - You bought a Chemistry Set!"

lessthanjoey
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#17: Post by lessthanjoey »

I'll just throw in that I've had a very different experience regarding DE1 repeatability and % of good shots, for whatever that's worth.

Prior to the DE1, I had a La Spaziale Mini Vivaldi for about 10 years, and before that a bunch of years on a Gaggia Classic. The Mini Vivaldi is generally regarded as a stable, repeatable dual boiler and for what it did, I think it did it well and repeatedly. Having said that, I couldn't make shots I was happy with with more than about 25% of lighter-roasted single origin beans.

Since getting the DE1, and giving myself about a month to get used to things, I've had extremely high success rate on shots. I have a 1.4, so Jay's experience on a 1.0 quite reasonably may have been different - the machine design has stabilized a lot with 1.4 only being minimally different from 1.3. I typically have 6-8 bags of beans open (with a whiteboard for notes so I don't forget what's what) and on a new bag of beans that I haven't tried before I probably sink a single shot about 1/3rd of the time, maybe less. The vast majority of the time that first shot is very drinkable, already better than what I could get from light roasts on the La Spaz, and 2nd shot onward is fantastic.

Basically, for medium+ roasts, both machines would give me essentially 100% success as they're both very repeatable in what they do, so as long as the grinder isn't being wacky, and puck prep is good, things just work. For light roasts, I couldn't get the La Spaz to do things to get extraction levels where I want them to taste good to me, whereas I'm essentially 100% on those too on the DE1. Everything is perfectly repeatable and I can quickly and easily adapt to strengths and weaknesses of various beans.

One thing I would say is that the DE1 errs on the side of high extraction yield. You can of course cut that short, but most of the included profiles and normal ratios people gravitate to tend to extract quite high. That means that flaws in the beans are often more apparent, and as a result I've gravitated toward higher quality greens and roasts (again, from my perspective). I can see how someone could see this last part as lowering the "success rate" but in reality I just don't think those beans are as good - I know how to change the extractions on the DE1 to extract less and make them similarly palatable as they would be on the La Spaz - but I'd personally rather drink higher quality beans, roasted lightly to where I can taste their unique characteristics.

Regarding the GHC, it's "fine". It's not very enjoyable to use, and I only use it very very occasionally to "save" a shot. Because the machine behavior is so predictable and repeatable, I find that I can very quickly dial in a new coffee (ie., no wasted and only 1-2 just "good" rather than "great" shots) and then I can bang out that fantastic shot over and over again. Essentially there's nothing I need to correct on the fly because everything is staying the same, and in my opinion the machine is absolutely better at doing that than I am.

I do agree 100% that the last paragraph above highlights a difference, and I certainly have no issue if someone prefers the manual approach here. I think manual levers like the Robot and Flair are phenomenal value and can produce excellent results. Flow-profiling E61s can also clearly make good coffee too, including from light roasts if one is dedicated to the hands-on dialing each shot. Personally I'm heavily biased toward manual transmissions in cars, so I get it. Most of the time for my coffee though? I want it to just work without too much thought and intervention, and the DE1 utterly nails that for me.

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Randy G.

#18: Post by Randy G. »

JayBeck wrote: I've pulled some great espresso on the DE1. I've pulled way more shots that were blah or sink shots and by comparison to the other machines, the ratio of good to sink shots on the DE1 is not in the DE1's favor.
Going beyond the rest of the OP, being that the DE1 was designed from the beginning to give repeatability unmatched in the coffee industry, that statement seems to indicate that there is some outside factor that has caused this inconsistency. My first thought upon reading that (and not an accusation) would circle around outside factors like a low quality grinder, worn burrs, un-weighed dosing, poor dose distribution, tamping difficulties, and other such problems that can cause poor quality or inconsistent espresso production. And certainly we can discuss the possibility of getting a lemon, I am not familiar with the first production runs, but still..
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JayBeck (original poster)

#19: Post by JayBeck (original poster) »

This is a good point and I'll update the original post. Grinders used with DE1 have been Monolith Flat, Monolith Max, Niche Zero, Baratza Forte (Alicorn).

These same grinders were used by friends of mine with different machines from different batches across the country all with similar result.

I have several theories for inconsistencies. The primary one is the DE1 does an extremely poor job handling preinfusion in a program. Only with the GHC can someone who frequently changes beans seamlessly get proper preinfusion.

I will explain what preinfusion is, isn't, and why I make this claim in the reserved posts coming soon.

JayBeck (original poster)

#20: Post by JayBeck (original poster) »

I will address this in my planned future posts. My standard of consistency is how easily I can dial in a new bean and go between several different beans at once. On my Bianca (or ANY needle valve machine) I generally never have to touch my grind size. And I can take a brand new bean I've never tried and get a fantastic shot in 1-2 tries using a super simple technique and repeat it over and over again. It was incredibly rare to get there in only 1-2 shots on DE1.
lessthanjoey wrote:I'll just throw in that I've had a very different experience regarding DE1 repeatability and % of good shots, for whatever that's worth.

Prior to the DE1, I had a La Spaziale Mini Vivaldi for about 10 years, and before that a bunch of years on a Gaggia Classic. The Mini Vivaldi is generally regarded as a stable, repeatable dual boiler and for what it did, I think it did it well and repeatedly. Having said that, I couldn't make shots I was happy with with more than about 25% of lighter-roasted single origin beans.

Since getting the DE1, and giving myself about a month to get used to things, I've had extremely high success rate on shots. I have a 1.4, so Jay's experience on a 1.0 quite reasonably may have been different - the machine design has stabilized a lot with 1.4 only being minimally different from 1.3. I typically have 6-8 bags of beans open (with a whiteboard for notes so I don't forget what's what) and on a new bag of beans that I haven't tried before I probably sink a single shot about 1/3rd of the time, maybe less. The vast majority of the time that first shot is very drinkable, already better than what I could get from light roasts on the La Spaz, and 2nd shot onward is fantastic.

Basically, for medium+ roasts, both machines would give me essentially 100% success as they're both very repeatable in what they do, so as long as the grinder isn't being wacky, and puck prep is good, things just work. For light roasts, I couldn't get the La Spaz to do things to get extraction levels where I want them to taste good to me, whereas I'm essentially 100% on those too on the DE1. Everything is perfectly repeatable and I can quickly and easily adapt to strengths and weaknesses of various beans.

One thing I would say is that the DE1 errs on the side of high extraction yield. You can of course cut that short, but most of the included profiles and normal ratios people gravitate to tend to extract quite high. That means that flaws in the beans are often more apparent, and as a result I've gravitated toward higher quality greens and roasts (again, from my perspective). I can see how someone could see this last part as lowering the "success rate" but in reality I just don't think those beans are as good - I know how to change the extractions on the DE1 to extract less and make them similarly palatable as they would be on the La Spaz - but I'd personally rather drink higher quality beans, roasted lightly to where I can taste their unique characteristics.

Regarding the GHC, it's "fine". It's not very enjoyable to use, and I only use it very very occasionally to "save" a shot. Because the machine behavior is so predictable and repeatable, I find that I can very quickly dial in a new coffee (ie., no wasted and only 1-2 just "good" rather than "great" shots) and then I can bang out that fantastic shot over and over again. Essentially there's nothing I need to correct on the fly because everything is staying the same, and in my opinion the machine is absolutely better at doing that than I am.

I do agree 100% that the last paragraph above highlights a difference, and I certainly have no issue if someone prefers the manual approach here. I think manual levers like the Robot and Flair are phenomenal value and can produce excellent results. Flow-profiling E61s can also clearly make good coffee too, including from light roasts if one is dedicated to the hands-on dialing each shot. Personally I'm heavily biased toward manual transmissions in cars, so I get it. Most of the time for my coffee though? I want it to just work without too much thought and intervention, and the DE1 utterly nails that for me.