Bezzera Duo User Experience

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PeetsFan
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#1: Post by PeetsFan »



I've had a Bezzera Duo MN for about two weeks now, and I'll add to my impressions as I own the machine longer. I first made home espresso in the mid-1990's, with my Pavoni Europiccola. My friends and I were very happy with the results, but I did not apply the level of sophistication that home baristas are using today. After studying barista techniques, I purchased a used Breville Infuser and a Sette 270 grinder, worked with them for about six months, and then I was ready to upgrade to a prosumer machine.

Bezzera is an Italian company who has manufactured espresso machines in Milan since 1901. They invented and patented the portafilter. I decided that I wanted a classically-styled Italian machine. The Breville Dual Boiler and the like were quickly scratched from my list. This left me with the usual providers, such as ECM, Lelit, Rocket, Marzocco, Profitec, Crem, Rocket, and I suppose a few others.

The Bezzera Duo has the usual check-box items which the other brands offer, including Dual boiler, Plumbable Rotary Pump, Dual PID, Classic Italian Prosumer design, etc.

Bezzera makes four versions of this machine: First, there is Duo and Matrix. Identical, except the Matrix has LED-lit transparent side panels for a very modern look. Second, there is MN (for Manual) and DE (Dosed). The MN versions have a traditional E61 group head, while the DE versions have a custom Bezzera-made group head with a third PID. The DE has volumetric dosing -- press a button and a specific amount of water flows through your portafilter. All models come with two wood-handled portafilters (a dual and a bottomless) and wood handles for steam and hot water dispensing. The machine is stunningly beautiful, although the other prosumer makers have beautiful stainless designs as well. The included plastic coffee tamper is suitable for, well, nothing. It is too small and you must buy a proper tamper for this machine. The price was slightly lower than most comparably fitted competitors, such as Rocket, ECM and Lelit. It's likely that, as more people buy these new models, the prices will rise.

I chose the most basic -- the Duo (no LED side panels) and the MN, which means I manually raise and lower a lever to brew my espresso. (i.e., it has a standard E61 group head)


Without a doubt, what sets the Bezzera out apart from the other brands is the touchscreen on the front of the machine. In using the machine, I have to say that this screen is fantastic, well-designed, and very useful. The UI design is very easy to work with, showing both brew and steam temperatures, boiler readiness, and pressure. While brewing espresso, the display becomes a shot timer, which is very convenient. Simply place your cup on a scale, tare it, and lift the brew lever. The timer starts automatically, although I'd prefer for it to remain onscreen a few seconds longer.

Another very useful feature of the display is that you can program wake and sleep times. Every morning I wake up to a fully warmed up machine. The cup warmer on top of the machine warms the cups very well, but you can easily warm any cup with the hot water dispenser. You can also use the display to program a pre-infusion time, but this feature hasn't had much effect yet because my machine is not yet plumbed.

I've read negative comments about the screen from people who fear the machine's high heat will cause the screen to break. I have touched the screen and surrounding areas while the machine was fully warmed up, and the screen itself is cool. About two inches above the screen, the metal panel is hot, and the group head, of course, is very hot. But the screen is cool to the touch. Beyond that, automobiles and cell phones expose semiconductors and display screens to extreme heat without causing them to fail, and, frankly, if it does fail in five years, I'll fix it. Besides, all of these prosumer machines depend upon breakable electronics, such as sensors, CPU, etc.

So far, I am delighted. Fortunately for me, I live near Portland, Oregon, so I am able to drive to the Clive Coffee showroom and look at a huge variety of these prosumer machines. Clive has been extremely helpful and patient. They are true coffee enthusiasts, and always happy to brew an espresso shot for me when I drop by. I was able to bring my machine home without shipping and I've picked up a variety of odds and ends. As with most brands, the plumbing connection is some sort of British or Metric fitting which can be difficult to find in most hardware stores; Clive gave me one at no charge.

What's really new for me with this machine is milk steaming. With my Breville, it was so slow to switch from brew to steam, and for steaming to complete, that the espresso would be cold. So I always used a separate milk frother with the Breville. With the Bezzera, I can steam milk FAST, in about 20 seconds, though I've never timed it. I'm still working on my steaming techniques, but the taste is good and I'm sure I'll get there soon.

I hope to have the water lines plumbed this weekend or sooner; I really look forward to that. So far, the drinks have been great, but despite my experience, I'm still in the learning curve. I did have family over for the recent holiday and made a total of six drinks in ten minutes, and everyone liked them very much. So far, I am completely happy with this machine and I haven't had a whiff of regret.

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CPARKTX

#2: Post by CPARKTX »

I just got the Bezzera Duo DE and am trying to get it dialed in. Appreciate your observations, and would be interested in sharing information.

PeetsFan (original poster)
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#3: Post by PeetsFan (original poster) » replying to CPARKTX »

Hello, fellow Bezzeraphile!
Sure, I'd be more than happy to help. Although, there's nothing different in dialing it in compared to most any other machine. I just finished an online class from Clive Coffee which was very helpful.

Have you dialed in a machine before, or are you just starting out?

CPARKTX

#4: Post by CPARKTX »

This is my first time with a real espresso machine, my previous machines were super automatics (most recently a Saeco), so I am struggling with the learning curve a bit. Watching a lot of videos online to get the basics. Curious what recipe/ratios you are using? I am targeting 2:1 with 18g input and 36g output, but finding that I need a lot longer than the 20-30 seconds I am seeing recommended by most videos...

PeetsFan (original poster)
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#5: Post by PeetsFan (original poster) » replying to CPARKTX »

Here's the deal:
There are a lot of variables to espresso making. By following a recipe and using consistent techniques, we reduce all the variables down to one: Your grind setting.

In your case, if it takes longer than 30 seconds to get 36g, then you need a slightly coarser grind. Slightly coarser means faster water flow, and less time.

I just took a class from Clive Coffee which was fantastic, and it would help you very much. It's video-based, but the instructor follows up with a 1:1 via Zoom. She's very dedicated to helping you succeed.

https://clivecoffee.com/products/home-b ... o-espresso

In the Clive class, they use a recipe with a 1.5:1 ratio, not 2:1. But that's because they give their customers a light roast coffee. If your beans are dark roast, the 2:1 is just fine.

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OpenSource

#6: Post by OpenSource » replying to PeetsFan »

sorry but lighter roast usually means longer extraction and usually larger ratios e.g. 1:2.5 ...

oh and by the way I LOVE your machine!! I have the baby but this one is really nice...

do you know if there is a water connection between the steam boiler and the brew boiler ??

thanks!

PeetsFan (original poster)
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#7: Post by PeetsFan (original poster) »

Whole Latte Love has a tear down video, and the two boilers aren't connected. I think they tore down a Crem machine which tied them together, so it's a dual boiler plus heat exchanger, which gives the coffee boiler pre-heated water for faster recovery.

I had family over and brewed six cappuccinos without any waiting. The boilers definitely drew in water and reheated, but I can't grind/dose/tamp fast enough to be slowed down by that. If you want more details, like some timing, let me know. I'm still trying to get the thing plumbed. Hoping to have the water line in tonight.

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PeetsFan (original poster)
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#8: Post by PeetsFan (original poster) »

I got the water line installed. Fantastic!

I noticed that the brew pressure gauge hits 10 bar, which is the maximum. This will eventually damage my machine. There is a procedure for this, which is described in the User Manual. It's pretty simple:
  • Install Backflush Disc into Portafilter
  • Brew a shot and check pressure
  • If too high/low, turn adjustment screw on bottom of unit
  • Repeat until pressure indication reaches 9 bar
It is possible that my line pressure into the machine is too high. I haven't yet figured out an inexpensive way to measure this. I'm going to buy an inline water filter, and that filter will probably limit the outbound line pressure anyway.

In other news... WOW! We are all so happy with the quality of the espresso. The Breville machine was nice, but this is a whole different world. I didn't expect the taste to improve so much.I bought a distribution tool from Saint Anthony's, as well as their block station, and I use it with a traditional tamper, not a palm tamper. At first, I never thought I'd get shots out of the bottomless portafilter like the ones I see on YouTube, but now I consistently get perfect single-flow shots out of the bottomless portafilter.

This machine steams milk FAST. My milk steaming is getting much better, and I bought some 6 ounce cappuccino cups. They're beautiful, but I need slightly smaller shots, and only a little steamed milk.

What's next? My Bezzera came with a 20g VST basket, which isn't stock. I'm next going to try perhaps a 16g VST basket, to brew smaller shots. With the 20g basket, I'm getting 38 ~ 40g of delicious espresso, but it's difficult to get enough milk to float on the shot in my 6 oz cups. Also, I will install an inline water filter and I still have to get the drain line hooked up.

stiksandstones

#9: Post by stiksandstones »

I am about ready to pull the trigger on this machine, with 1st-line and the free grinder deal, its a Mazzer mini which I really don't want-but I need a machine and grinder and $3k is my budget haha.
I am nervous about the digital screen, but, your point of we are living in a digital world and screen's are so common place, (paraphrased) I think I can trust it.
ONE thing I saw on reviews before, was that the LCD stays on 24-7, even when using the OFF timer feature? did they fix that on these newer models?

CPARKTX

#10: Post by CPARKTX »

On my model (Bezzera Due DE), the screen stays on...the screens is the on/off button (there is a manual button as well, but that is the master power, and if you turn that if, the auto-on will not work). It do not find the screen obtrusive or overly bright. There is also an LED light, but that is configurable and can be turned off entirely; mine is set to only be on when the unit is actively on.