Espresso Machine Shootout at New World Cafe

Talk about your favorite cafes, local barista events, or plan your own get-together.
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woodchuck

#1: Post by woodchuck »

A quick shout out to Mike at New World Cafe for hosting the Friday morning get together. Counter Culture Coffee was kind enough to provide a goodly supply of Apollo. We gave the three prosumer machines that Mike had a real workout. My vote goes to the La Spaziale Vivaldi Mini as the most consistent performer.

Cheers

Ian

Nuprin

#2: Post by Nuprin »

Last Friday the espresso meet up group was held at New World Cafe instead of the usual place, Counter Culture Coffee's training center. Dan has graciously allowed me to take this opportunity to announce a new addition to our cafe: A retail display counter for prosumer espresso machines and grinders in partnership with Chris Coffee.

We currently only have 3 machines right now - The Crossland CC1, Quickmill Alexia and The La Spaziale Mini Vivaldi - but will add more in the future. Hopefully this will be helpful for HB members near North Carolina to have a place to see/demo prosumer units before buying.

Let's start with the Crossland CC1: http://www.chriscoffee.com/products/hom ... osslandcc1

Pros: PID Control
Pre-Infusion
Programmable brew with shot timer
Easy to tell if your water reservoir is low
Small footprint
Good steamer with smaller quantities of milk
Great alternative to the Silvia, especially considering the cost of adding on a PID kit.

Cons: No bottomless portafilter yet (Bill Crossland said it's coming)
Must wait 20-30 seconds before steaming
Shots seemed to lack body, intensity or detail - we think this is due to a temperature issue.
Small drip tray
Not the same "build class" as higher end machine
Unknown long-term reliability


Conclusion: There's a market in the $500-$800 range for people who want to get into great espresso but may not want to deal with hassle of temperature surfing to get a "good" shot. We're not saying, "deliver a god shot everytime!" but something respectable and enough to make a good capp or latte. The Crossland has the potential - if the low temperature issue is resolved with "upgrade kit" that Bill has just come out with - which is supposed to be on the way.

The programmable pre-infusion is really nice to have. Able to program 3 different modes for how long the pre-wet is and how long to wait before continuing the brew. In a direct comparison, (must consider the temp issue) the shots with pre-infusion was way better than a standard shot.

Steaming is very easy on the Crossland for smaller volumes of milk. It comes with a standard 1-hole tip. For me, it was a matter of placing the tip at an angle towards the edge and getting a nice swirling roll going. 4-5oz of milk takes about 30+ seconds but that gives plenty of time to texturize.

Next Up...the Quickmill Alexia

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tekomino

#3: Post by tekomino »

Nuprin wrote:Shots seemed to lack body, intensity or detail - we think this is due to a temperature issue.
I agree partially with this. On CC1 that I tried shots did lack detail and flavors are bit masked and muted as compared to top machines. But I did temperature tests and machine is fairly temperature stable. There is offset of about 5°F degrees that you need to set PID to. So it you want brew temp at 200 you set PID to 205°F. You also need to flush for 3 seconds before pulling shot as shown on CC1 display...
Refuse to wing it! http://10000shots.com

Nuprin

#4: Post by Nuprin »

I tried that...bumped it up to 205, flushed, pre-infused but the shot itself right after was kinda luke-warm. What's your opinion of the CC1 vs the Silvia?

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tekomino

#5: Post by tekomino »

Its possible we have different machines (one I tried may already have changes you are referring to), mine was surprisingly stable on temp front. I never had Silvia so can't comment on that one :D
Refuse to wing it! http://10000shots.com

Nuprin

#6: Post by Nuprin »

You could be right, we may have different units.

My reason for suggesting the low temp issue is because when I first opened my cafe last October, I added a PID to our Linea and was experiencing the same issues with the shots. For the longest time I thought it was the grinder or technique or something. It was driving me nuts but finally Dan brought out his Scace and we discovered the PID was installed on the wrong setting and it was about 26F off.

Also, the espresso tends to "spurt" out more than a steady stream. I wonder if anyone else has experienced the same thing.

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tekomino

#7: Post by tekomino »

I did temp testing with Fluke and found temperature to be OK. I did see the "spurt" as espresso is extracting, might be due to vibe pump...
Refuse to wing it! http://10000shots.com

Nuprin

#8: Post by Nuprin »

Thanks to all those that stopped by - it was great to have everyone out last Friday. Fortunately/unfortunately we were a bit busy in the morning so I didn't get a chance to hang out as much as I wanted. We'll definitely have to do again soon. Maybe I'll have my wife make some breakfast goodies for everyone to snack on :)

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Charbucks

#9: Post by Charbucks »

Nuprin wrote: The Crossland has the potential - if the low temperature issue is resolved with "upgrade kit" that Bill has just come out with - which is supposed to be on the way.
What is this "upgrade kit" you speak of? I think I'm having the same temperature problems you are (along with other problems). I'd chalked it up to newbiness, but after a week and three bags of beans I'm still getting shots that take 30 seconds to pull but end up disappearing in even 4 oz of milk - they just have very little flavour, and are consistently more sour than I'd like. The only time I managed to get "coffee flavour" in my latte was when I used super old beans, ground them really course, and got a pile of bitterness.

The espresso also "spurts" as you describe, though again I think it could be due to my technique. However, I'm interested to hear about the upgrade, as well as a bottomless portafilter...
LMWDP #530

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HB
Admin

#10: Post by HB »

Apologies for the late report! We really had a fun get-together; it was great to see the regulars as well as long absent Lino Verna (Mr. Bottomless Portafilter himself). Before getting into the report, it's worth noting the view customers normally would have of New World Cafe:


Mike's lovely wife Helena working behind the counter

But for our outing, it was self-serve on the equipment of your choice: Crossland CC1, Quickmill Alexia (non-PID version), and the La Spaziale Vivaldi Mini. Mike paired these prosumer / semi-commercial models with kitchen-friendly grinders like the Baratza Vario and Compak K3 Touch. For those who lament that they have to make an expensive purchase sight unseen, get in touch with Mike!


Crossland CC1 (back), Quickmill Alexia (middle), La Spaziale Vivaldi Mini (front)

Ian owns a La Spaziale, so naturally he took the helm on the Mini for our informal shootout. Below he's confirming the extraction progresses evenly:


Stopping the extraction by color

I reviewed the Quickmill Alexia a few years back, but that was the PID controlled version. Before starting, I confirmed the brew temperature was reasonable:


Scace II thermofilter and Fluke 54-II

I'm sure we documented the thermostat's deadband somewhere in the research notes, but heck if I could remember. After 5-10 minutes of flushing and futzing around, I was ready to pull some espressos. Ian was already underway. As I recall, the Alexia and Vivaldi were neck-and-neck in the shootout. Mike spent a fair amount of time with the Crossland CC1, but its espressos were off (temperature too low? channeling?). Sorry for the vagueness, that's what happens when I wait three weeks to post my writeup! :?

Thanks to New World Cafe for hosting the get-together, Counter Culture for supplying the coffee, and Lem Butler for taking photos of the event (the full album is here). Look forward to the next time!
Dan Kehn