Upgraditus - Mod La Spaziale Vivaldi II, or a new espresso machine?

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

I've had my La Spaziale S1 Vivaldi II since summer 2009 when I purchased it used from a member on a different forum.
It works great. Stable temp, dual boilers, great steam, 2 volumetric dosing buttons. I feed it with 5 gallon bottled water from Lowes with a Flojet.
Last month I upgraded to a Lagom P64 grinder with High-Uniformity Red Speed burrs (espresso burrs).
My Buckeye BC-2 generally roasts Guatemala greens to a mediumish roast and 410F drop.

But after reading all the threads here about preinfusion and flow control, I feel like I'm missing out.
How noticeable is the flavor change/improvement with pre-infusion and/or flow control?

I can add passive pre-infusion to my Vivaldi - I'm communicating with Chris's Coffee to figure out if my control board can be reprogrammed, or if I need a new board.

Or I could go big, and get a new machine.
Needs to be plumbable, dual boiler, PID.
Lelit Bianca looks great - price, paddle flow control, wood accents, plumbed and tank water, faster warmup with its brew boiler temp profile. Slightly smaller than most if I downsize a house in the future.
Other E61 machines, Alex Duetto IV Plus, Profitec Pro 700, Rocket, etc.
LMLM - just too expensive

I'm still working from home (have been for almost 2 years). So I'm currently enjoying 2 espressos in the morning, and 2 cortado's in the afternoon. But that may come to an end if omicron declines in the next weeks/months and I'm called back to the office.

New machines are nice, but if I'm only chasing a fraction of a percent improvement, maybe I don't need to run further down the rabbit hole.
As always, appreciate your inputs and opinions.

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mckolit

#2: Post by mckolit »

It's a slippery slope. I've only had the flow control device on my machine for a couple of weeks. It's fun to tinker and see what changes in the cup messing with the profile can do. But now I'm thinking what's next? It's fun and all, but the level of control you get manually turning a dial is just so so. Guess DE1 is now on the list. But before that, I can get a Bluetooth scale and the espresso profiler app. Then the espresso profiler itself... and on and on.

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CoffeeMac

#3: Post by CoffeeMac »

You might consider a Londinium Compressa. I went from using a similar vintage Vivaldi for many years to the Compressa. What other machines try to emulate in terms of pressure profiling and flow control using complex electronics and software, Compressa does with elegant design. I'm very happy with the upgrade; the improvement in my espresso has been profound.

See story here: /forums/vi ... 29#p808029
Eventually you will end up with a lever.

LMWDP #706

michael

#4: Post by michael »

Long time spazalie user, had lots of fun with mine, made some very good coffee

Got a slayer last April and a GS3 for a second location in September; making much better coffee and having more fun

Lots of choices out there; I recommend a new machine 8)

CamBam_HB

#5: Post by CamBam_HB »

Many of us LS owners suffer from upgradetitus, largely due to the different portafilter size and the non-e61 ness of the group head.
I think its well worth the exploration to try out an E61 or a more modern machine where you can try out the controllable pre-infusion and flow control.
I went with a ECM Classika PID to try out the E61 and to later add the flow control.

You have the right mix of machines for consideration already, but I would add 1 more - Bezzera Duo DE. If you like the volumetric dosing of the LS, you will quickly miss it on all the E61 machines.

GDK

#6: Post by GDK »

beanman wrote:I've had my La Spaziale S1 Vivaldi II since summer 2009 when I purchased it used from a member on a different forum.
It works great. Stable temp, dual boilers, great steam, 2 volumetric dosing buttons. I feed it with 5 gallon bottled water from Lowes with a Flojet.
Last month I upgraded to a Lagom P64 grinder with High-Uniformity Red Speed burrs (espresso burrs).
Same here, and still on the lookout. There are a couple of things that I got spoiled by since the early days of ownership - it is a commercially certified machine - very solid build, works flawlessly (I just greased the steam valve mechanism once as it got stiff), got used to auto-dosing as it improves workflow a lot for me. The only inconvenience I currently see with the 53mm portafilter is with latest single dose grinders supporting 58mm holders, using bin is one workaround. Other accessories are usually available. I like the saturated group approach and LS is designed close to that.

I have already moded my LS to be like a smart device - schedules, on/off control by app from anywhere, or via google assistant/google home. I made it fill semi-automatically as well. When I see the red light, I just say "hey google activate refill", and a preprogrammed by time quantity of water is dumped into the tank - works flawlessly and w/o interference with work flow. Zero need for plumbing now.

Machines with vibe pumps can be easily modified to deliver variable water flow - takes a dimmer. I have not done it but there are a few videos showing this. This is of course all manual and not programmable - like most E61 machines with flow control, except a couple. If you do that modification, it becomes kind of equal to many other newer machines wrt manual pre-infusion and flow control. I have had the passive pre-infusion and it helped when I installed it. If I mode the machine with a dimmer, I have to remove the chamber. Personally, I would like to have programmable flow/pressure and pre-infusion - like on the DE1, Dalla Corte Mina, etc. Others prefer manual, tactile process - really personal.

I am also interested to hear thoughts from others in hope that something will click soon :)

beanman (original poster)
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#7: Post by beanman (original poster) »

Thanks for all the inputs.
I wasted the day surfing the net.

CoffeeMac, the Londinium Compressa does look nice.
Are the steam and hot water joy stick valves? That might be a no-go because my afternoon drinks are cortados, and I steam 2 oz of milk in a 5 oz picture. I think full open joy stick would have milk flying everywhere. Most forum posts say less than full open joystick is difficult to do.
Levers are intriguing, but with flow control on E61 machines now, I think I want its flexibility/control (but have no data to back that up).

Bezzera Duo DE - need to look into this one more. But also looks to have joy stick steam/water controls.

I also agree with CoffeMac that simple is good. Its amazing how much electronics they're putting on E61 machines. Rocket even has a removable display. I want PID. But don't need all the other gizmos.

Contenders, and I'd add flow control to any of them:
Quick Mill Vetrano 2B Evo -- seems to fill the squares, minor dislike is the gauge down low
Rocket Espresso R58 Cinquantotto - nice machine, by don't need all that removeable controller. May work for years, but could be a repair/no longer available part in 10-15 years
Lelit Bianca V2 -- Also fills the squares. Does the 200 degree paddle movement give enough (and fine enough) adjustment? The Coffee Sensor and Quickmil brands seem to give about 1.5 turns. But the paddle looks nice, and 200 degrees of turn is very easy to see where its set.

I live in SD, and well below freezing, so not sure I'd want one shipped until spring (is 100% of water removed when they drain them?). So don't need to make a decision today.

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CoffeeMac

#8: Post by CoffeeMac »

beanman wrote: CoffeeMac, the Londinium Compressa does look nice.
Are the steam and hot water joy stick valves? That might be a no-go because my afternoon drinks are cortados, and I steam 2 oz of milk in a 5 oz picture. I think full open joy stick would have milk flying everywhere. Most forum posts say less than full open joystick is difficult to do.
Levers are intriguing, but with flow control on E61 machines now, I think I want its flexibility/control (but have no data to back that up).
Yes - the Londinium does use a "flick valve" for steam and hot water, so you get pretty much full power when you move it in any direction. You do have some ability to vary power at the beginning, but it is a small range. I tried steaming just 50g of milk in my 25cl pitcher this morning (1/2 to 1/3 my usual volume) to try a cortado. It's definitely fast and something I wouldn't want to do regularly with such a "large" pitcher. Milk didn't fly anywhere, but it was kind of awkward reaching the wand all the way to the bottom of the pitcher and not much of the tip was submerged. I'll have to pick up a 15cl pitcher and see if that's any easier; it would be nice to add a single cortado to my repertoire while minimizing milk wastage.

A Steam Dial tip from WeberWorkshops might be another option. https://weberworkshops.com/products/steam-dial

Here is what my usual steaming process looks like (120g milk in 25cl pitcher): http://www.vimeo.com/669165911

It does look like more and more machines are offering some form of preinfusion and/or flow control these days. However my observation, after using a spring lever for 6 months, is that users of these flow profiling machines end up chasing a profile that is remarkably similar to a lever. Hence my new signature below ...
Eventually you will end up with a lever.

LMWDP #706