What E61 & grinder would you buy for <$2K? - Page 2

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

mtnwoman wrote:I'm starting to think that a lot of the decision may be based on looks...as they all seem to function quite well and in a similar fashion.
You're right, above a certain pricepoint, it's really a challenge to tease out the subtle differences that may matter to one person or another. The Buyer's Guide scores of Exceptional Espresso, Morning After, Cappuccino Lover's, Convenience / Features, and Materials / Workmanship are this site's attempt to quantify these distinctions. I avoid an Aesthetic score because it's probably the most subjective of all. Of course given how much espresso machines cost and the space they demand, most buyers do give 'looks' serious consideration.
Dan Kehn

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Balthazar_B
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#12: Post by Balthazar_B »

mtnwoman wrote: As to the esthetics, the Domobar has my vote hands down! Unfortunately, 1st doesn't have them in yet so I don't have many specifics or specs...but I think I may wait until they get their shipment in a few weeks as the machine is quite stunning.
Unfortunately, the Domobar series is equipped with a vibratory pump (not rotary), but I agree it's a handsome machine. I happen to have a Vetrano (I see you've already discussed it with Chris Nachtrieb), which is a lot of machine for the money, and like most HX types in this price range (and higher), very capable of turning out great espresso easily and predictably. FWIW, I'll never go to a pourover and/or vibe pump machine again; I've been totally spoiled.
- John

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mtnwoman (original poster)
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#13: Post by mtnwoman (original poster) »

John,

My understanding is that the Domobar Super is a rotary pump. After hearing both the rotary and vibe pump, I think I'll head toward the rotary.

kaioslider
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#14: Post by kaioslider »

I'd agree, rotary all the way. The reduction in noise alone is worth it, but there's also never having to refill the machine, it's just nice never having to think about it. I have a Vetrano and have no regrets at all. The Domobar has caught my eye a number of times, it's a nice looking machine and from the CG podcast, it has a 2L boiler. I'm really curious about what that does for the temp stability, i.e. closer to commercial HX machines.

mtnwoman (original poster)
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#15: Post by mtnwoman (original poster) »

Well, imagine my surprise when I double checked on the domobar super (after John's comment that it is a vibe pump). I originally got that idea from Diane at 1st-Line. This time I emailed Stefano at espressocare.com. He said it's NOT a rotary pump, and that the first 90 units that they receive will not be plumbable. Bummer. Guess I'm back to Vetrano vs. Volante.

mtnwoman (original poster)
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#16: Post by mtnwoman (original poster) »

Well, I opted for a Vetrano and a Macap stepless grinder. They should be here next week. (my UPS guy will probably give me an ear full, since the package weighs 109 lbs.!) Thanks to all for your input and suggestions.

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Balthazar_B
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#17: Post by Balthazar_B »

Congratulations on your new toys! I assume you have the pump business worked out, but in case not, all you need is a large water bottle (5 gal is best) and a FloJet pump (I got mine at Espresso Parts NW). One other thing you might consider is an automatic timer capable of handling 15 amps; I use one to turn on the machine 45 minutes before I make coffee (you can program in differential times for weekend vs. weekdays) and to turn it off. Saves juice.

You should also pick up some machine detergent and, eventually, some descaler for maintenance (I'll bet Chris's folks thought of this when you placed your order).

It took me a couple of weeks to dial in everything to the point I could consistently turn out espresso superior to any I find in shops in the SF Bay Area, with very rare exceptions.
- John

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mtnwoman (original poster)
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#18: Post by mtnwoman (original poster) »

John,

Which grinder do you have? Any suggestions for what/how to dial in the proper setting for getting started? I'm getting a couple of pounds of Lavazza (sp?) from chriscoffee. I've also ordered some Toscano from counter culture (for when I know what I'm doing!)

I'll be using the 5 gal. jug and flojet for now. Ordered the flojet from chriscoffee. Also have the timer and I guess the detergent (cafiza machine cleaner). I'm going to try to cheat and use one of those espro tampers that is supposed to click or something at 30 lb. pressure. I want to make everything as easy as possible, not only for my learning curve but so my 13 year old daughter can learn, too. Everything is due to arrive Tuesday.

Any recommendations/suggestions on what I might read or do to shorten the learning curve will be greatly appreciated!

dk
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#19: Post by dk »

I also ordered and received my Vetrano just this past week and I must say that it is a considerable step up from my Expobar Office Control, when I say considerable I truly mean it. The fit and finish of the machine is awesome and it looks much better in person than in the pictures. It takes a little getting used to the Lever instead of the programmable buttons on the Expobar Control, however I am liking its simplicity. The steaming power is amazing almost too much for me right now as the milk heats up far too quickly, I will get used to it I'm sure.

Besides the water spraying all over my kitchen from my initial improper hook-up, the plumbing was not too difficult too hook up even with the filter kits. Rotary is extremely quiet and seemingly powerful. I am one happy camper right now and I have a feeling you will be as well when you receive and hook up your machine.

Sorry for the run-on sentences.

Good luck with it.
"Does the Sun Come up before that Doppio, I think not"

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RapidCoffee
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#20: Post by RapidCoffee »

mtnwoman wrote:Any recommendations/suggestions on what I might read or do to shorten the learning curve will be greatly appreciated!
There are some great articles on the How Tos link on this site. Jim Schulman's "Espresso Guide" is the best place to start. Among other things, he gives hints for "dialing in" your grinder. Dan Kehn's "HX Love" is required reading to understand the whys and hows of the dreaded HX flush (just kidding, it's really easy).

You've made excellent choices for your machine, grinder, and vendor. Congratulations!

- another John (and another happy Vetrano owner)