La Spaziale Vivaldi S1 or Expobar Brewtus

Recommendations for espresso equipment buyers and upgraders.
PatRi

#1: Post by PatRi » Jul 19, 2005, 1:55 pm

After spending the last month reading everything I could find I decided that in the next few months to upgrade to a double boiler and more specifically Brewtus or Spaziale Vivaldi (or wait for chris dual boiler machine)
Obviously both are great and I expect will do the job very well for me. I pretty much placed my value on most of the difference between the two, rotary vs vibe, price difference, size of boiler, style ... but there are two items I have not been able to assess;

1. The E61 group of Brewtus vs Proprietary design of spaziale. Is the e61 really bringing added value or is the Spaziale design (used on their commercial design I assume) is just as good?

2. Quite a lot of discussion on Pid for the Brewtus, but in fact my question is before any of these modification how temperature control and stability compares between Brewtus and S1 (out of the box).

thks , Pat

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HB
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#2: Post by HB » Jul 19, 2005, 8:49 pm

You're timing is good Pat, On the Bench includes Brewtus research notes and Abe is finishing up its Buyer's Guide. Couple that with the Buyer's Guide to the La Spaziale S1 and you'll have a good roundup of how these two compare. Specificially to your questions:
  1. E61 versus Spaziale group. Both are effective designs. The E61 relies on a thermosyphon, the S1 boiler is directly bolted to the grouphead (see Picture 3). The E61 has an expansion chamber to aid preinfusion and that helps its espresso performance score (sorry, more details will have to wait until Abe's article is published).
  2. Temperature control and stability. Abe and his fellow Brewtus Group members have compiled a mountain of data. Bob Roseman, Chas Rimpo, and the S1 Forum members have their own stacks of data. I'm not foolish enough to negotiate a debate between them! The most I'm willing to say without committing to a month-long side-by-side comparison is they are damn close. That's my story, and I'm sticking with it.
Quick reality check: In terms of your assessment, the limiting factor for these two fine machines is the barista. To wit, Bob brought his S1 to North Carolina for the Counter Culture Coffee EspressoFest last year and he pulled excellent shots, one after another. On the other hand, Abe's writeup will include barista tips and techniques that reduce the mastery of Brewtus' temperature control to a no-brainer.
Dan Kehn

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malachi

#3: Post by malachi » Jul 19, 2005, 9:36 pm

HB wrote:The E61 has an expansion chamber to aid preinfusion and that helps its espresso performance score.
I know it's a sacred cow... but I cannot honestly say that there is concensus on that statement.
"Taste is the only morality." -- John Ruskin

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HB
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#4: Post by HB » Jul 19, 2005, 10:05 pm

I don't attribute "sacred cow" status to E61s, although I do like them. When Steve gives back the Elektra A3, I'll have more to write about that point... and on a related note, he's going to give the Cimbali Junior a quick comparison spin around to block, if only to keep me honest. :-)
Dan Kehn

PatRi

#5: Post by PatRi » Jul 20, 2005, 11:09 am

Thanks for the info,

Dan, Malachi,
First I found another source of info with your link to S1 Forum (how could I miss that when I read C.Rimpo a few times!!! Anyway thks on this).
I laughed because you are right (even more in this case the gating factor is the barista :) ).
Without taking too much time on my personal story, but just to position why I am looking at these. Was a wine enthusiast for many years but a medical condition tortured me out of it. I love that research for taste, it is true a pleasure for me.
I drank espresso/cappa forever but not looking for the subtleties of it, like someone always drinking the housewine without ever trying to get the difference between a Margaux and St-Estephe (aaahh st-estephe).

Anyway turned my attention to coffee with as much enthusiasm. My gaggia Espresso was really not up to par so I got a silvia that is providing me a good opportunity to appreciate higher end coffee when it is in its best moment. The great shot on a silvia are as good as any machine, but getting a great shot is sometimes bit more tedious that I would like. I would prefer to focus on the coffee more than the Machine.
I am looking for more consistency, and higher % of getting a great shot.
I love the hard work in learning but just feel IMHO that the lovely silvia has a sweet spot and would like a machine with a larger sweet spot.
For the not so young here I would compare this to the Tennis racket of my youth (35 years ago) to those now. You still have to be good, but the sweet spot is so much larger that you can focus on playing rather than pure mechanics!!! and it is a good thing.

malachi, I must have missed the debate on this, but which part are you unsure that the E61 chamber helps the preinfusion, or that the preinfusion helps the performance score?? or else, thks

All that tells me that both machine would be a good platform for me, still have to find the angle that gives that (maybe elusive) 0.1% advantage to one for my context.

Again huge thanks, Pat

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malachi

#6: Post by malachi » Jul 20, 2005, 11:23 am

PatRi wrote:malachi, I must have missed the debate on this, but which part are you unsure that the E61 chamber helps the preinfusion, or that the preinfusion helps the performance score?? or else, thks
It's not an issue of being "unsure" but rather just the statement that there are different camps on both these issues - both with very strong opinions - and there is no clear concensus on which is right.

Personally... I think the E61 group makes the job of the barista easier, but also limits the results. I am a fan of pre-infusion for shot quality, but for a single group machine prefer the Synesso (or GS) style line-pressure pre-infusion (or the Mistral style gicleur plus style) to the E61 style. In addition, I feel like there are some design flaws in the E61 group that make life more challenging that it needs to be.

Of course, as Dan has said in the past... "the problem is on the handle side of the portafilter" so it probably doesn't really matter.
"Taste is the only morality." -- John Ruskin

bobroseman

#7: Post by bobroseman » Jul 20, 2005, 4:31 pm

I'm in no position to compare the S1 with the E61 machine, in as much as as I have never owned anything other than my S1. I can say that the S1 pulls great shots for me. And, it is a thing of beauty as well.

(That being said, I'm sure that Brewtus owners love their machines as much as I love the S1.)

I am a fan of the rotary pump as much for its quiet operation as for any other reason.

Although I can get 19 grams of coffee into my double basket, the big news in the S1 community is the advent of the "triple" basket. These are so new that you will need to "tune" into the S1 forum to get the latest on them, but I can't wait to get my hands on one and try some 25 gram doubles.

Good luck on your search!

Bob

tweeek

#8: Post by tweeek » Jul 26, 2005, 10:28 pm

HB wrote:and on a related note, he's going to give the Cimbali Junior a quick comparison spin around to block, if only to keep me honest. :-)
thats great news! I'm in the throes of upgrading and the dilemna at the moment is, do I wait for Brewtus to arrive here in Aust, another three months at least, or do I go for the junior D. A lot to consider, so any further info would be timely and helpful.

bobroseman

#9: Post by bobroseman » Jul 27, 2005, 4:39 pm

tweeek wrote:I'm in the throes of upgrading and the dilemna at the moment is, do I wait for Brewtus to arrive here in Aust, another three months at least,....
I'm not in a position to advise you on either machine but I will say this. If you settle for your second choice simply because of the delay, you will regret it, in time.

Bob

kdkrone

#10: Post by kdkrone » Aug 01, 2005, 8:17 pm

I was in the same dilemma a number of months ago.

To me it boiled down to aesthetics (the S1 is a lovely machine, but I do like the retro look of the Brewtus) and whether I wanted/was able to plumb in a unit. While the rotary pump is a less noisy pump, I am making espresso at home and I am usually close to awake by the time I pull shots (if my wife is awake before me, the noise does not carry to the bedroom.) The cats are not fazed by the noise and the cats have a big vote in our house.

I ultimately decided to opt for the fact that I did not want to plumb the unit into the only place that was available in our kitchen and I did not want to fool with adjusting the hardness of my water (with regard to the hardness. You can find a few threads in which I have participated on alt.coffee, coffeegeek.com, and brewtusgroup.com. The issue is that it is a lot easier to mix water [bottled with reverse osmosis] to a hardness that will keep the brew boiler from scaling than it is to try to adjust it with filters, and, in the end, I did not want to have to deal with descaling the boilers. It is not such a huge thing but if I can avoid it, what the heck? If you actually read the threads, you will discover that the SCAA gurus think that coffee is best brewed with water of hardness about 110ppm. I mix my water to be about 25ppm to keep scaling to a snail's pace. I have tasted my espresso at 150, 100, 100, 50, and 10 and I cannot tell much of a difference--change that to any difference--so there you have it....)

The bottom line is that I wake up in the morning to a machine that has been awake for an hour before me, I pull consistent shots for my daughter, wife, and myself, and I can repeat it the next day, and the next. That was not the case with my HX machine, but I wasn't too bad with it. I am sure that the S1 does the same thing when I recall comments as I did the research months ago so you will not go wrong with either. Just to muddle things, I understand that Chris Coffee will be introducing a 2 boiler machine before the end of the year--you might want to contact them just to confuse yourself....!!

If you need to know anything about the Brewtus, feel free to ask.

Cheers,
Ken K