Importance/value of rotary pump if not plumbed

Recommendations for buyers and upgraders from the site's members.

#1: Post by SpiralEscalator »

Thinking of spoiling myself for a significant birthday. I've read numerous times that, all else being equal, rotary pump machines tend to make better coffee that vibration pump machines. I know rotary pumps are usually associated with plumbed in machines, but for my next level jump in quality do you think it makes sense to start with the lower priced rotary pump non-plumbed machines - even if reconditioned (which should all be at a pretty high quality level) rather than upper level vibration pump units?

User avatar
Team HB

#2: Post by Jeff »

In my opinion, there is little difference in the cup between various E61-style machines from reputable manufacturers in a given class (HX or DB). I doubt that someone could pass a blind triangle test with Brand X rotary vs. Brand X vibe.

With an E61 machine, the ability to use line pressure for basket fill and soak ("preinfusion") can be an advantage for pulling shots from some coffees, especially "filter" roasts. I'd prefer a flow valve over that alone as the valve gives me the additional ability to mange the extraction, which can benefit a wide range of coffees.

For me and my choices of light-roast coffees, I'd prefer a good, used double-boiler machine with a flow kit over a shiny rotary-pump machine without the kit, plumbed in or otherwise. The rotary pumps are much quieter, but I put the flavors in the cup over the annoyance of the sound.

Supporter ♡

#3: Post by Mat-O-Matic »

Agree 100% w/Jeff. Rotary is mainly about adding plumb-in ability and it's quieter. Type of coffee you prefer and your temperament re: workflow are likely better guideposts. Also, preinfusion is highly valuable for almost all cases.
LMWDP #716: Spring comes, and the grass grows by itself.

User avatar
BaristaBoy E61

#4: Post by BaristaBoy E61 »

Welcome to HB William

Tastes and preferences might change over time. I would opt for a rotary pump, reservoir/direct plumbed DB E61, choose the one that is better built, easiest to service, doesn't have a pump and motor or electronics sitting under a boiler in the path of water should the worst happen.

"You didn't buy an Espresso Machine - You bought a Chemistry Set!"


#5: Post by Jimmy_The_Saint »

It's hard to overstate the difference in noise level. A rotary is way way quieter than a vibe pump.

I know it doesn't bother some people but I couldn't go back to a vibe pump having had a couple of rotary machines.

User avatar

#6: Post by mrgnomer »

Rotary pump as a vane pump gives steadier flow and can be pressure adjusted at the pump. A vibe pump pressure needs to be indirectly controlled by the OPV.

Plumb in capability of a rotary is a definite bonus, IMHO, especially for E61 preinfusion. Running it dry or with air pockets should be avoided. I think it's worth it on an E61. Only reason I can see not to use one is cost savings.

The hybrid lever I've got uses a vibe pump and is plumbed in. It is a bit noisier and runs a small vibration through the water line. I would prefer a rotary pump but it works for the lever and would be cheaper/easier to replace if needed.
LMWDP #116
professionals do it for the pay, amateurs do it for the love