Input about La Spaziale Mini Vivaldi II upgraditis

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

#1: Post by phillyguy »

Hi everyone.
Here's the background to my question... I've had a La Spaziale Mini Vivaldi II for 10 years. It has generally served me well, though to be honest, over the years I have used various soft water options (in reservoir softeners/filters, Third Wave water added to distilled water, soft bottled water, etc), there have been times during which a thin layer of clear algae has built up inside the water reservoir. I then clean it well, and continue using the machine. I have no idea if any algae is able to get into either of the boilers (double boiler machine) or not. Also, the technician/rep from the store that I bought from advised only descaling every 2-6 years, and thus i've only descaled it once thus far. Lastly, despite countless hours of online learning and practicing things like puck prep, grinders and grinds, microfoaming milk, using many different various water options, etc i've never really fully completely loved the espresso from the machine, nor it's milk microfoaming abilities (can get milk adequate with which one can do latte art, but it usually separates quickly in the cup and never really gets the wonderful non-watery mouthfeel like one can get in a good coffee shop). The mouth feel of the shots has also never been particularly wonderful.

I've had on-and-off thoughts about getting a new machine, such as a LMLM or Londinium R or something else.

My questions are as follows:
1. Is it common for reservoir-based machines (non-plumbed) to get this clear algae in the reservoir after just a few days, if the water in the reservoir isn't changed every other day or so? Changing the water so frequently would be costly, since now mainly use Third Waver in Distilled Water.

2. Is there a way to assess the status of the inner workings of the machine (eg, boilers, etc) to determine if algae from the reservoir has gotten inside the machine? And or to assess the amount of scale in the machine, etc, as this might push me to upgrade rather than stay with the Mini Vivaldi?

3. Has anyone here upgraded/switched from a La Spaziale Vivaldi II machine to something else? If so, would love to hear your experiences (what you bought, perceived improvements, things that you hoped would improve but didn't, things that are worse with the new unit, etc).

Thanks! Feel free to PM me if you prefer.

User avatar
Jeff
Team HB

#2: Post by Jeff »

Let me start with the "taste" aspect. The Vivaldi series is enjoyed by many whose taste I respect. My instinct is that changing machines won't magically change the flavor of the result. Coffee choice seems a good thing to examine. Have you tried cupping what you're using? If you don't like it there, espresso is likely to intensify things.

On water, I don't know which of the TWW mixes you're using. As I vaguely recall, one is moderately scaling. Water can make a subtle difference, especially in terms of perceived acidity and sweetness. There's a wide range of options ("rabbit hole") out there, if you've got a coffee you enjoy.

With "non-scaling" water, you should "never" have to descale, as long as you periodically draw water from the steam boiler. Recommendations for descaling are often based on "general public" that throws whatever seems good into the machine.

You might want to look at some videos on steaming technique. It's not an obvious thing and that may resolve the separation you're seeing. Once you've got the technique down, you may find certain machines easier or harder than others. Once you get a feel for a given machine's timing, most any can produce good microfoam that holds up.

"Biofilm" is a challenge. The warm environment of a machine doesn't help. For me, I change the water weekly and wash the reservoir with soap and water. I'm not a health expert, but with brew water reaching near-boiling temperatures, my personal choice is to not worry too much as long as I regularly clean the reservoir thoroughly. This is a personal choice.

If you do decide an upgrade is something you want to do, letting people know the kinds of coffee you enjoy and what you enjoy in the cup would help guide comments and suggestions.

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mgwolf
Supporter ♡

#3: Post by mgwolf »

I used a Mini Vivaldi for 3-4 years and never had algae (or anything) grow in the reservoir. I've used mostly reservoir machines other than Vivaldi for 20 years and never had algae, slime, or whatever. I wash the reservoir with soap maybe once a month.

michael

#4: Post by michael »

Switched from a spazalie Vivaldi II after more than 10 years and I'm liking the upgrades, better shots, better temperature control, more flexibility on preinfusion and more baskets and other accessories available in 58mm, super happy with the upgrade 8)

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JohnB.
Supporter ♡

#5: Post by JohnB. »

phillyguy wrote:
2. Is there a way to assess the status of the inner workings of the machine (eg, boilers, etc) to determine if algae from the reservoir has gotten inside the machine? And or to assess the amount of scale in the machine, etc, as this might push me to upgrade rather than stay with the Mini Vivaldi
On my old Vivaldi V2 both boiler lids could be removed. No idea if the Mini is the same.
3. Has anyone here upgraded/switched from a La Spaziale Vivaldi II machine to something else? If so, would love to hear your experiences (what you bought, perceived improvements, things that you hoped would improve but didn't, things that are worse with the new unit, etc).
In late 2009 I sold my Vivaldi V2 & bought a lightly used Speedster. Back then Vivaldi basket choice was limited. To get a triple basket I cut up two stock double baskets & welded different sections back together. Also modified Dalla Corte baskets to fit the Vivaldi pf. Personally I prefer the 58mm grouphead & I doubt you'd be disappointed with either of your two replacement choices. I've certainly never regretted making the change.
LMWDP 267