VBM Domobar Super Digital DUAL PROFILER Espresso Machine Review

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HB
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#1: Post by HB »

Espresso machines with the E61 group design are ubiquitous!

They're popular for good reason: E61 espresso machines are easy to use, easy to repair, and they look great. Not surprisingly, they are featured in no fewer than 10 HB reviews. Over time, the original design has evolved. Improvements include more predictable temperature control than the original heat exchanger (HX) design thanks to a dedicated brew boiler, more precise temperature control with electronic PID controllers, and more recently, the ability to explore the effects of tweaking the brew pressure profile.



The more common E61 brew pressure profile designs rely on an adjustment knob that the barista manually controls while watching a gauge attached to the brew chamber. The VBM Domobar Super DUAL PROFILER Digital Espresso Machine includes this manual brew pressure profile feature AND it goes a step further, enabling the barista to automate this control with a variable-speed gear-driven pump.

This review will be a little different from the ones I've done in the past - I've teamed up with Martin Keen of Keen on Coffee. I expect that he'll bring a fresh perspective to the review (and also much better video quality than my own!).
Dan Kehn

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#2: Post by keenoncoffee »

Upon first look the VBM Domobar Super Digital Electronic is a reasonably compact E61 machine with dual boilers and a pleasing inox finish. But quickly your gaze shifts to the 3.5 inch touch screen that sits front and center. Upon pulling my first shot I was presented with - of all things - a bar chart:



A series of yellow bars that after about 30 seconds turned green, and soon after that an alarming red. It was the first sign that all is not as it seems.

The VBM Domobar is all about customization. Those curved side panels are simply held on by magnets, making them easily swappable. The company offers 7 colors - a new side panel for every day of the week? The touch screen also allows multiple levels of customization that you'd fully expect including extraction temperature, auto on/off, and boiler temp. But the star of the show are the pressure profiles.



The system offers 10 pressure profiles including a manual profile. With the manual profile you are essentially saying give me one fixed pressure over the course of the entire shot. By default, that's 9 bar of pressure - so 9 bar of pump pressure as soon as the pump can pressurize to that. But you can also specify custom pressure profiles across seven segments. So for example to replicate the pressure of a lever profile we can set the first segment to 3 bar for 10 seconds for the pre-infusion phase, then ramp up the pressure: 6 bar for 5 seconds then hold at 9 bar for 15 seconds.



And we can simulate the pressure declining as our virtual level profile spring decompresses by setting segments at 7 bar through to 4 bar. All of this is entirely programmable and is a great way to experiment with the impact of pressure in a consistent and entirely automated way.

The pressure profiles are something I intend to play with further, with particular emphasis on experimenting as to how different profiles affect different roast levels.

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HB (original poster)
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#3: Post by HB (original poster) »

Below is the second part of the video review, focusing on the automated brew pressure profiling and manual (flow device) usage, this time using a lighter roasted coffee.
Dan Kehn