Who do you trust for unbiased advice? - Page 2

Recommendations for buyers and upgraders from the site's members.
robin416

#11: Post by robin416 »

The one thing I learned in the year I've been exploring my options is that everyone is biased in one way or another. Not because they mean to be but because they are incredibly satisfied with their setups.

The advice I took came from here and one other place, mostly here. No one really knows that, I just read and read some more. Changed my mind multiple times but then things just sort of clicked after reading more in the lever group.

I wanted to know about failure rates, CS of the chosen vendors, ease of use. I don't think there is anywhere to get that kind of advice than a place like HB.

MNate
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#12: Post by MNate »

"Needs" seems like an odd designation with espresso gear. It's more about fitting your preferences to your budget. So I like HB posts don't claim "best" but say, "I like how this machine..."

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bluesman

#13: Post by bluesman »

robin416 wrote:The one thing I learned in the year I've been exploring my options is that everyone is biased in one way or another. Not because they mean to be but because they are incredibly satisfied with their setups.
It's also because very few people have enough experience with multiple machines to offer a comparative opinion based on their own use. I truly love my ECM, but in 50 years I've owned only a handful of "good" machines. I've used many in friends' homes and in shops, but only for a few shots each time.

I loved the LMLM at their road show & in the Seattle cafe, and I suspect I'd rave about it if I owned one and used it daily. But I don't have enough experience with it to be sure of that - so I can only suggest that those who consider one check it out for themselves. I know Oscars intimately and I know my Technika well enough to recommend it. I don't think I'm biased against machines I've never used just because I'd only endorse ones I know well. But that's a qualifier I include when asked my opinion.

robin416

#14: Post by robin416 » replying to bluesman »

And it's users like you that have helped in making decisions on where the best fit lies. You're honest, discuss shortcomings and benefits freely. Essentially, it's the open discussions had by members that help those of us that will never have the opportunity to use more than one or two machines.

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AssafL

#15: Post by AssafL »

Oy vey. To avoid upgradetitis the best advice is to dogmatically avoid anyone of this sorry lot here for as long as you want to avoid upgrading.

Less jokingly, espresso has been in a state of flux since the alt coffee guys started putting PIDs to their Rancilios and other machines.

Decent & Mina & Strada & Rancilio (weird temp profiling) are at the spearhead of the effort to make coffee extraction more tunable. Whether it actually happens or not remains to be seen.

On the grinder side there is a dogma fight between those that think higher EY is better (Coated burrs, flatter geometries) and those (like me) who suspect that if the gold standard did not work something is wrong with the model. I don't know if the model can be linearly expanded to 24% EY abt 1:1.5. Sure one can do it That said I just purchased SSP burrs so I am hoping to have some new parameters to explore.

For me avoiding upgradetitis has been about modifying my gear to do the stuff I read about here. None of my gear is stock anymore. My GS3 is more decent like with flow and pressure profiling (and has been doing extended line level PI for many years - thanks to countless people here like Piezo, Shawndo, Peppersass, Shadowfax and Nicolas and others). My VL has multiple vanes, slower RPM, higher power controlled RPM controller fitted to it. I use a lever indicator to align it (not as good as a Titus but as good as it was when it was new - thanks to NickW and Frank Durra for thir help).

Idiomatic? Slayer? Leva? Strada? Mina? Arguably I can do it all on my setup.

For now the safest bets against upgradetitis are the Decent and the Strada single group (perhaps the GS3 with conical MP). Or a Leva. It is tougher with grinders but a Titus or a Denis.
Scraping away (slowly) at the tyranny of biases and dogma.

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another_jim
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#16: Post by another_jim »

Jasper_8137 wrote:In addition to all the opinions on HB, who do you all feel gives knowledgeable, unbiased opinions regarding the purchase of new equipment? SCG, WLL, Chris Coffee, Clive Coffee?
Advice for what? Many people asking for advice want their already made decision affirmed. Others cannot stand the idea of missing out on the latest and best. Finally, there are those who have spent a ton of money and still think they are missing out somehow. For each of these publics, there are expert advice givers; and I'll let you guess what their expertise consists of.

If you just want a good shot of espresso or a nice cup of coffee, and are willing to put some time into it; it's hard to go wrong.
Jim Schulman

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russel

#17: Post by russel »

another_jim wrote:If you just want a good shot of espresso or a nice cup of coffee, and are willing to put some time into it; it's hard to go wrong.
I agree with this, but as far as espresso is concerned it seems to me that it's only in the last 5-10 years that enough of the equipment intended for consumers has crossed over the boundary of mechanical proficiency to make this possible. For those folks new-ish to all of this, try to imagine a time before the Baratza Vario, Sette, Mazzer Mini, the BDB, before DB e61s (pre Brewtus), and when PIDs where strictly DIY. The difference in performance between a stock Silvia, a Livia 90, and a Bricolletta was pretty huge, a lot more than the difference between a Pro 500 and Pro 700. Grinder choices where pretty bleak, which is why there are so many old Rockys out there. Recently it seems that first or second time buyers feel lost in a sea of options and choices that they don't know how to value...when the truth is that these are options and choices that don't really matter that much (to the average home barista who's primarily concerned with drinking coffee and not spending time in a personal espresso laboratory).

I find it amusing that there are several manufactures in the consumer space who's products haven't changed much in decades but have remained relevant through the constant growth and evolution of their users...La Pavoni, Olympia Express, and Elektra.
russel at anacidicandbitterbeverage dot com

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ira
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#18: Post by ira »

And I will say in my yearly rant against Chris Coffee that the glowing description on their website of the then new Macap M4D led me to that purchase and it turned out to be possibly the worst home espresso grinder ever made. When I tried to have them take care of it, admittedly long after the return period, they both admitted it was so bad they stopped selling it and refused to do anything.

So always remember, in general shops always have their best interest in mind, not yours.

Ira

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peacecup

#19: Post by peacecup »

Then there are those of us who are philosophical (Read: lazy) about espresso. We cling tenaciously to the dogma that our second hand levers and antique hand grinders create an espresso experience every bit as satisfying as some of the more pricey alternatives.

Few people ask our options and fewer still trust us.
LMWDP #049
Hand-ground, hand-pulled: "hands down.."

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russel

#20: Post by russel »

peacecup wrote:We cling tenaciously to the dogma that our second hand levers and antique hand grinders create an espresso experience every bit as satisfying as some of the more pricey alternatives.
About a year into working on bar, after a late afternoon shift that saw the shop absolutely slammed for several hours straight - all of which I spent standing in front of a GB5 working both groups as fast as i could get them to go, I had a small moment of clarity. One of the real joys of being a home baristas is being able to take the time to enjoy the process of making coffee. You don't have be concerned with un-shakable consistency or output rates or recovery time or strictly imposed quality monitoring. I feel that a passionate coffee professional should dedicate the act of making coffee to the person receiving the coffee, but a home barista gets to be selfish and make coffee just for the pleasure of making it. To this end, I think the gestalt of domestic lever machines is an elemental form of the privilege of being a home barista.
russel at anacidicandbitterbeverage dot com