Dalla Corte Mini - Second Look - Page 18

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hperry

#171: Post by hperry »

Unlike many product reviews I didn't feel that there was a summary and a conclusion drawn. In addition the responses of some of the reviewers since suggest a negative attitude about the product w/o detailing what it was about product that caused their disappointment.
Hal Perry

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another_jim (original poster)
Team HB

#172: Post by another_jim (original poster) »

This is an enthusiast site, and in the case of the Dalla Corte Mini, the reviewers were not paid for their time. Just like all enthusiasts, we enjoy getting the newest equipment and don't want to piss off vendors and manufacturers. But unlike many enthusiasts, we've all owned or tried dozens of machines and don't impress easily. That's why people are interested in our reviews. But it also means that a lot of the machines we are sent to review end up gathering dust in a dark corner instead, because we never warm up to them. Under such circumstances, the review remains unfinished.

Our decision to review or not doesn't have much to do with flaws. I reviewed the Elektra Semi, which has no pressure control at all, and whose temperature stability is "mostly between 90C and 95C, with chances of rain" because I found it a very enjoyable and tasty machine.

We always find flaws. And when we finish a review, it's not for the lack of flaws, but for the presence of strengths. Moreover, we will report any flaws we find, even the ones many or even most potential buyers would consider fatal. When we don't finish a review, it's not because the machine had worse flaws than the ones we did review, but because nobody in the review group was very interested in spending several months of their coffee life with that piece of gear.

If you want something less emotional, I suggest Consumer Reports.
Jim Schulman

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CGP4

#173: Post by CGP4 »

I stopped reading this thread long ago, as it seemed to cover just about every topic except the Dalla Corte Mini! For the sake of future interested parties who might be researching this machine, I want to post a few thoughts and observations as an owner.

I've had a great experience with my DC Mini, which I've been using daily for about a year. It's been extremely reliable and a pleasure to use (as a former h/x user, the simplicity of temp management has allowed me to grab a second morning espresso when, previously, i might have been too pressed for time). A point I think is often overlooked as its greatest attribute is its size. I have very limited space, and my wife doesn't drink coffee, so a compact machine is a priority -- nothing can touch it in terms of small size. I had a Rancilio Silvia, then Pasquini Livia, and there was no machine that would be a step up that could fit on my counter until the DC Mini arrived. The size, when paired with the features, was enough for me to justify the high price. And it is definitely overpriced at $3K; it should be $2k. Or, if it's going to be $3K, it should have a digital temp control and steam boiler switch.

Once set, I've found the temp to be very consistent. For me, the variety of baskets and dispersion discs have allowed me to experiment with dose as much as I like (I was concerned leaving the 58mm standard, but it hasn't been an issue). The machine heats up very quickly, and it's been a much better steamer than my Livia.

I would buy it again, despite the price, and have no desire for a new machine. While it's tough to recommend over the competition at its current price point, the machine itself has been wonderful and the size has been a true godsend.

Lockman

#174: Post by Lockman »

I got a chance to pick a mini up at a discount. Size would be a great asset to me since my current set up takes up way too much space. My question is, how can you tell the actual temp? Is it possible to put a TC in it or is it overkill? Do you guys who have one just dial in the shots by taste on each batch?
LMWDP #226.

"It takes many victims to make a culinary masterpiece"

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Marshall

#175: Post by Marshall »

My overall impression of the Mini is that it is better than its naysayers believe and not as good as my initial impressions.

Pluses:

- Brilliant brewhead design. Heats water and portafilter quickly.
- Very well built with great quality control. Apart from the original line filter problem, I have had zero problems in over a year, which is nearly unheard of for a new machine design. The interior still looks like new, including all the tubes, connectors and other plastic parts that had turned yellow and brittle after a year in my Isomac.
- No plumb-in or special wiring required. Fits under normal cabinets.
- Shots very predictable and of good quality.
- Steam is dry and powerful.

Negatives:

- Muddy shots. They are very much the same from one blend to another, and it is very difficult to experience distinctive flavors. This may be an issue with the narrow, deep basket or the pressure control. I'm only guessing. It's the main reason I've decided to buy a GS/3 Paddle.
- Overpressure valve placement. It renders the volumetric dosing useless, as it measures the water flow before it reaches the OPV and gets diverted. It may also not be as effective as some other valves.
- Preinfusion. Essentially useless without line pressure. DC may have a preinfusion mod in the works.

Other issues:

I've been told that some feel the temperature control may have an undesirably wide deadband that requires Silvia-like temperature surfing. As I say, my shots are stupefyingly predictable, so, if this is true for all units, it hasn't bothered me, and I don't have a 54mm Scace to do my own tests.
Marshall
Los Angeles

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Martin

#176: Post by Martin »

CGP4 wrote: so a compact machine is a priority -.
I pretty much agree with most of CGPR's impressions. My almost 1-year old DC Mini has gone through 3 apartment moves with one more to go (I must have seen 20 NYC kitchens with six-burner Wolf ranges paired to pathetic recirculating exhaust vents. Practical test is whether you can open the oven and not bump you butt against the subzero. 2 sq ft of counter space. Explanation? "New Yorkers like appliances; they just don't cook much." But that's another story :? . )

Before the DC Mini I had a LaSpaziale Viv II. Quite a large piece of plumbed-in equipment. There are advantages to each in taste, consistency, and overall user satisfaction. Neither is a clear winner/loser, though I'd favor the plumbed-in rotary combo.

My philosophy is "love the one you're with." If you had the counter real estate and wanted a new DB machine, I'd advise the VII. If I were in the same spot I was a year ago, I'd buy the DC Mini and not regret the extra $1k.

BTW, in my own little experiment I carefully noted the delivered position of the OPV, turned it up--down--east and west. Nothing seemed to make a difference. I think the technical term is "hinky."

Lockman

#177: Post by Lockman »

Thanks Marshall,

See if you can get a discount on multiple purchases. :wink:
LMWDP #226.

"It takes many victims to make a culinary masterpiece"

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Marshall

#178: Post by Marshall »

Andy Newbom, the owner of Barefoot Coffee in Santa Clara, used the Mini at their 6th Anniversary celebration this week. I asked him how well it worked. He answered:
The Dalle Corte mini rocks. We have used it for a few events where we pulled 50-150 shots in a few hours and it performed flawlessly. Our unit is not plumbed so you have to fill the water at times but it is an awesome machine. It is a commercial machine in a home size and 110V power.
https://www.coffeegeek.com/forums/worldr ... 008#444008
Marshall
Los Angeles

OZ Barista

#179: Post by OZ Barista »

Hi! I'm extremely new to this site.

I found it today whilst looking for another owner of a Dalla Corte Mini and i guess i found more than i bargained for.

Whilst extremely informative it was also very confusing.
I have no idea what my brew temp is or my brew pressure for that matter and until reading all the posts regarding this on the DC i had never thought about it, instead relying on my experience as a barista to change dose and grind according to taste in the cup but i must say that im very impressed with the resulting shots but i cant really say why?
It FAR better than any other machine i have owned and lot better than some commercial machines i have worked on in my time.
I found the dosing and grind settings a little bit difficult to deal with out of the box considering all my experiences had been with the obligatory 58mm groups and a Nuova Simonelli MDXA commercial(read HEAVY) grinder. Most of this contributed to the fact i upgraded to a Ditting Vario digital grind on demand at the same time as the DC hence the introduction of the difficulty.

Without scales i dont know what my doses are but thank the the timing system of the Vario grinder i can at least be assured they are consistent. After around a month i purchased a 21g basket to add to my (now) naked portafilter and set about pulling some nice triples but unless they were to be ristretto's there was no hope in replicating the smoothness of the single or the body of the double instead getting more like ash and dark sugarless chocolate?

For me im still not sure if i went too far with the purchase but it has been a HUGE step up from a HX machine and far less stuffing around with cooling flushes and burns from an E61 group.

My complaints with the DC seems to be much the same as you guys...
*Steam arm is not as flexible as im used to but still very easy to use.
*The depth of the group seal inside the head makes an easy wipe of the seal not so easy.
*The size of the opening means pulling the water container out is a must for refilling.
*Lack of digital readout for the temp nob is a bit disappointing.

Does any of this affect the overall performance of the machine?... NO!
Does it look a bit funny?...YES!
Does it make great coffee?...YES!
Is it easy to use?... EXTREMELY!

Out of the 5 or more kg's of coffee i have been through to date i can say the only shots that were under extracted were the first 2 whilst dialing in my new grinder at the same time and when i was given some extremely fresh Ethiopian Yirga but that was only because i had to make the grind coarser after not being able to get the handle on the machine after dosing.
I have never over extracted any shots but i have been close a few time... from memory i have consumed ALL shots with the exception of the first 2 i poured.

1 thing i can be very sure of is that owner of the Vivaldi hate us and look at us like we think were better than them... i think what can be said of this is that were just silly idiots that had the extra $1000 to spend on the day OR we just like to be different. I'm going with the later :) :D 8)

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JohnB.
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#180: Post by JohnB. »

OZ Barista wrote: 1 thing i can be very sure of is that owner of the Vivaldi hate us and look at us like we think were better than them... i think what can be said of this is that were just silly idiots that had the extra $1000 to spend on the day OR we just like to be different. I'm going with the later :) :D 8)
I doubt any Vivaldi owner hates you, I think it was/is a case of wondering "what the hell were they thinking". Even if the price dropped $1000 the DC Mini still wouldn't be competitive against the other DBs in that price range without some upgrades.
LMWDP 267