Dalla Corte Mini - Second Look - Page 17

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AndyS

#161: Post by AndyS »

"Experiment soothes the mind" -- Francis Bacon
Yes, it does! Jim, this was a wonderful experiment. Congratulations.
We used four coffees, the Sidamo Bonko SO at 14.5 grams on the Elektras and 14.8 grams on the DC at normale pours. Intelligentsia's Black Cat at 15.1 for the Elektra's and 15.5 for the DC at ristretto pours, Metropolis's Redline at 14 .7 for the Elektra and 15 for the DC, and a Guatemal Oriente DP at 15.6 for the Elektras and 16 for the DC
If nothing else, your experiment showed that one can save ~2.5% on coffee costs by using the Elektra over the DC. :)
We talk a lot about how different machines are. But those of us who have done blind taste testing know that once the machines and coffees are good quality, this is about very small differences indeed. The formal Titan grinder tests were very close to a wash. The informal "beat the Robur" tests were statistically insignificant and relatively minuscule except for a few ill favored grinders. And that was just about the clearest of the taste tests. Most of the other stuff has been even closer to no difference.

The simple act of setting up a test like this forces one to squeeze consistent performance out of each tested item before the testing starts. That usually eliminates almost all the things that were contributing to the initial ideas about dramatic differences.
It's been said many times, but past a certain level, it seems like the better machines don't necessarily produce better espresso, but they sure make it easier. IIRC, in the Beat the Robur testing the samples were vigorously WDT'd. That was the equalizer. Without WDT, I imagine the Robur would have been a clear winner. Or do I remember wrong?
This test was done with the OPV defeated (turned all the way in to max pressure). I'm fairly sure my OPV was hinky, but given the huge improvement in shot quality I got when doing this, I doubt the 9.5 bar setting the machine is delivered at in the US is even remotely close to right.
I don't know what "hinky" means, and I don't understand this paragraph. Could you please explain?
The final conclusion goes to Ken Fox


As always, Dr Fox rules.
-AndyS
VST refractometer/filter basket beta tester, no financial interest in the company

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another_jim (original poster)
Team HB

#162: Post by another_jim (original poster) »

AndyS wrote:I don't know what "hinky" means, and I don't understand this paragraph (edit insert: about the Mini DC's OPV.) Could you please explain?
The DC Mini has a Fluid-O-Tech vibe pump/OPV combo set up similar to a rotary pump, with the OPV feeding the overpressure spillage back to the pump intake.
-- Greg thinks the spring on this OPV is too soft, so that if set to X bar against a blind filter, it can run as low as X-3 bar at espresso flow volumes.
-- I got lever texture shots when I first used the machines. I didn't have a pressure meter, so I tried adjusting by sound and spillage, even an eighth turn produced large differences and unpredictable performance.
- I ended up turning the valve all the way in, so there is no spillage under any pressure. The Fluid-O-Tech pump curve maxes at around 12.5 bar, so this is hardly a tragedy. It just means singles and double ristrettos still work at around 11 bar, but that single ristrettos can turn into 12 bar two alarmers.

I'm going to recommend they return to the Ulka/OPV combo they had at the beginning; it's quieter and less bitchy. Apparently that wasn't "commercial" enough for some of the Kaffeenetz early adopters, so they changed it.

For three thousand bucks, they might even find their way to adding a pump pressure gauge :roll: .
Jim Schulman

Versalab: maker and supplier of finest espresso equipment
Sponsored by Versalab
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AndyS

#163: Post by AndyS »

another_jim wrote:I'm going to recommend they return to the Ulka/OPV combo they had at the beginning; it's quieter and less bitchy. Apparently that wasn't "commercial" enough for some of the Kaffeenetz early adopters, so they changed it.

For three thousand bucks, they might even find their way to adding a pump pressure gauge :roll: .
From what you said, they should keep the FOT pump and just source a better OPV. Better yet, for three thousand bucks, a FOT ROTARY.
-AndyS
VST refractometer/filter basket beta tester, no financial interest in the company

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another_jim (original poster)
Team HB

#164: Post by another_jim (original poster) »

I would like to thank Sherman and Brandon for participating in this test. Having them over made this potential chore a joy.

Taking sips from three nigh identical shots roughly 10 times in a row can be a huge pain. If we had done the test rigorously, separate tasting, no communication, no feedback, etc etc, it would have been awful. But we did it more like party science, tasting together, then uncovering the cups, and talking about the results after each round. If it had turned out that we were picking one machine consistently, the round by round discussion would have made the result suspicious. But since we found no difference, the loose, sociable format doesn't invalidate the result (i.e. how could the result have been less random if the test had been more blind?)

In any case, it's Maxwell and Folgers that do rigorous testing. At our roasters, people sit down and cup together, still blind of course, but talk about the result, and achieve consensus. Whose coffee would you like to drink? Pragmatism should trump the science ritualism of physics flunkouts.

And Sherman, thanks on the scallop cooking and real fowl market tips.
Jim Schulman

mmarxx

#165: Post by mmarxx »

So Ken got his GS3 recently, but what about the "Final Word." Is this thread dead?

Darin
Darin Marx

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another_jim (original poster)
Team HB

#166: Post by another_jim (original poster) »

We are not reviewing the DC Mini. Enough said
Jim Schulman

hperry

#167: Post by hperry » replying to another_jim »

I'm sorry this is true. Seems like it is just as important to know why something doesn't perform the way that it should as it is to know the "good stuff" about machines. The sudden disappearance of this thread was disappointing to me. While I have a Dalla Corte super-mini I feel the information would be useful, even if negative. If nothing else it would allow me to test my own perceptions of the mini and the super mini, both of which I have used.
Hal Perry

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Ken Fox

#168: Post by Ken Fox » replying to hperry »

The realities of running a website such as this make the pursuit of "absolute truth" (if there is such a thing) impossible to accomplish. Equipment is provided by sellers (and in some cases the manufacturers) in the hope that a positive review will spur sales. If, for whatever reason, a piece of equipment (or a coffee blend) fails to please, a negative review would have quite the opposite effect for the vendor. These vendors are major financial supporters of this website, and without them we'd all be back on alt.coffee (slugging it out with Harmon and Dave B.; a fate worse than death :mrgreen: ) This is one price we pay for getting suppliers to pay for our pleasure on this website. It's a pretty small price, I think.

ken
What, me worry?

Alfred E. Neuman, 1955

hperry

#169: Post by hperry »

"Absolute truth" is something I've never experienced. There are multiple sponsored venues, however, that do review items whether they are "good" or "bad." In somewhat harsher terms you seem to be suggesting that H-B's sponsors can hold the site hostage and that's the "price" we pay. That seems like a pretty high price, although I do recognize the commercial realities. This restraint doesn't always apply, however as it has been quite possible to extensively critique and pan non-sponsors from time to time. Seems like a dual standard to me. I don't think it is necessary to go for "absolute truth" to want balance. And I am talking about a product in which I have some considerable investment in time and money for which I'd like to see the other side.
Hal Perry

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HB
Admin

#170: Post by HB »

hperry wrote:The sudden disappearance of this thread was disappointing to me.
Huh? Three reviewers (Ian, Jim, me), a group test, and +160 posts isn't bad for a "Second Look." :?
Ken Fox wrote:Equipment is provided by sellers (and in some cases the manufacturers) in the hope that a positive review will spur sales.
This may be best discussed in a new thread, but before starting a public review of any sort, the equipment goes through a vetting phase typically lasting 2-3 weeks. If it doesn't cut it, we politely decline the opportunity.
Dan Kehn