Why not double boiler with PID? - Page 2

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

#11: Post by Arpi »

Ben Z. wrote:What PID DB machine looks as nice and with similar build quality as a good $1700 HX for only a few dollars more?
I paid $1800 for a new expobar brewtus IIIR with free shipping no taxes. It's been working great everyday for 1 year+.

Cheers

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Bex

#12: Post by Bex »

Steelman,

Neither HX nor PID single/double boiler has an advantage. They simply have differences that lend themselves to different styles. The more you spend on a grinder, the more nuance you'll see. It's a cost/benefit analysis that only you can perform & should be based on the quality of your palate. I freely admit I don't have the palate for coffee that makes the cost/benefit analysis make sense on a grinder over $1000.

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HB
Admin

#13: Post by HB »

Steelman wrote:Why surf when you can get it dialed in to the the exact temperature.
Your question is a variant of the "HX versus double boiler" debate that comes up regularly. Below is a sample of the more thorough discussions of the topic:
For me, the ease with which an espresso machine automatically manages brew temperature isn't a key criteria. The stick shift versus automatic analogy applies, i.e., if I were searching for my ultimate driving experience, I would not limit myself to cars equipped with automatic transmission. However, if I were shopping for my wife, I would eliminate any without it.
Dan Kehn

zin1953

#14: Post by zin1953 »

HB wrote:The stick shift versus automatic analogy applies, i.e., if I were searching for my ultimate driving experience, I would not limit myself to cars equipped with automatic transmission. However, if I were shopping for my wife, I would eliminate any without it.
Well, clearly not only mileage but wives also vary! :wink: :twisted: :mrgreen:
A morning without coffee is sleep. -- Anon.

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Bex

#15: Post by Bex »

I really like the automatic/stick shift, "dream car" example.

My commute is only 24 miles but it's through miserable traffic, and takes generally 50 mins to well over an hour each way. My dream car for this commute is something that makes the experience as painless as possible - automatic, comfortable seats, great workmanship, no road noise, great stereo, etc. I want to tune out, listen to a book, and glide along. I don't want to be standing on the clutch in stop and go traffic. (Hey - if I had a private mountain road & lots of cash, I'd love a Ferrari 360, but that's not in the current hand of cards :D )

My choice of espresso machine reflects a similar outlook: the water dance was like using a stick in an endless traffic jam.

zin1953

#16: Post by zin1953 »

Jeff,

In the "For-Whatever-It's-Worth" mode, for the 10 years I lived in San Francisco, I drove a stick shift. (Not all manual transmissions are found within the body and frame of a Ferrari 360.)

More importantly, when I still lived in Santa Cruz, I used to commute to San Leandro. (I know you're in Virginia, so you can click here to see the route.) It was a 63 mile commute, over a mountain range and then through bumper-to-bumper commute traffic.

Any of the SF Bay area residents here will tell you about Highway 17 -- it's 2 lanes in each direction, makes much of California's fabled Highway 1 look like a straightway, and THE major commute route between Santa Cruz on the coast and San Jose and Silicon Valley. Driving a manual transmission never bugged me, and my little Renault R5GTL would beat Porsche 911s through the windy curves of Highway 17 -- though they'd blow my doors off on the straights!

The point, in terms of espresso, is that where some see a traffic jam, others see an open road . . .

Cheers,
Jason
A morning without coffee is sleep. -- Anon.

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Bex

#17: Post by Bex »

zin1953 wrote:
The point, in terms of espresso, is that where some see a traffic jam, others see an open road . . .
Could not agree more! That's why in recent posts about HX v. PID I've really tried to direct the user to think about what they like/dislike about espresso preparation. I really should have thought more about it. When I just had a Gaggia Carezza, a quite serviceable little machine, I hated dealing with temperature. Really made me unhappy. If I'd paid better attention to that I would have gone right off the bat with a machine tailored to my particular needs. My focus back then was more on pros & cons of particular machines & how they matched with what I wanted to make, without including how I felt about making it.

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dialydose

#18: Post by dialydose »

HB wrote:For me, the ease with which an espresso machine automatically manages brew temperature isn't a key criteria. The stick shift versus automatic analogy applies, i.e., if I were searching for my ultimate driving experience, I would not limit myself to cars equipped with automatic transmission. However, if I were shopping for my wife, I would eliminate any without it.
Dan -

This is precisely the analysis I went through before buying the Vivaldi. I think I would have been more than happy with the Vetrano or Alex, but knew my wife would hate the temp surfing and could never see the benefits associated with it.

For the OP, I really liked the thought of pulling three shots back to back at different temps to dial in a blend. Trying to do this on the Vivaldi takes several minutes between temp changes for the machine to "equalize" to the new temp...a real drawback of the DB setup. Having said that, the Vivaldi has been a real joy to use, makes great espresso, and the wife loves it as well. So I certianly have no regrets. Just different benefits for different users. If you want to make a leap between a solid home DB (Duetto, Vivaldi, etc) or a solid home HX (Vetrano, Vibiemme, etc) to something much better you are probably looking at a real price jump to say a GS3 or Speedster...which is more than a few dollars. My advice for you is to think about your personal usage and priorities and buy within your budget. Same advice for the grinder.

clumeng

#19: Post by clumeng »

It has occurred to me that the biggest disadvantage with this "hobby/obsession" is the inability to put your hands on a HX machine or a DB and understand the workflow involved, how it feels, the advantages and the limitations. Not everyone is close to Chris Coffee or other home espresso places to get a chance to try out different options where the advantages and disadvantages which come to light.

This is why people obsess over boards - $1000-2000 for espresso equipment sight unseen and never touched before is a big commitment and there is alot of anxiety (let alone spousal squabbles) over the investment.

So I was thinking that the HB community could be leveraged for this in some way (similar to what JonR does in Houston for those who are fortunate enough to take him up on his hospitality). I set up a google map for HB's to post their location (can be rough estimate for those worried about privacy) if they are willing to share experiences and perhaps hands on tests for those thinking about taking the plunge in their locale. It is an open collaborative map that anyone can edit (I think...I'm not 100% sure if you need a Google account to edit or not).

Just floating this out there. Is this a good idea? If so I can post this as a dedicated post on the buying advice forum. Clearly this only works if people join in...if it flies great. If it dies... no worries.

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RapidCoffee
Team HB

#20: Post by RapidCoffee »

Steelman wrote:if you are going to spend $1,700 plus for a machine why would you not spend a few dollars more and go with a double boiler with a PID?
Steelman wrote:I was thinking about the Alex Duetto which is about $400.00 more.
Just to keep this real:
The Alex Duetto currently sells for $2300 at Chris Coffee. What HX machines were you considering? The Izzo Alex (HX) is $1700, a $600 difference. The Vetrano is $1600, a $700 difference. That's enough for a decent grinder and several espresso accessories, and certainly not just "a few dollars more". Economics plays an important role in purchasing decisions for most people.

I have owned both HX and DB espresso machines. Love 'em both. Less attention to the flush is required for DBs. If that's worth $600-700 to you, then the decision should be easy.
John