Newbie Introduction to Espresso - Heat Exchanger vs. Double Boiler Espresso Machines [video] - Page 2

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damonbowe

#11: Post by damonbowe »

FotonDrv wrote:Dan: Thanks for the good video! I got a laugh out of you description of the Lever machine as a "Tea Kettle on steroids".

Thanks again

Stephen
I like the tea kettle analogy, too! Lol.

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damonbowe

#12: Post by damonbowe »

HB wrote:I speculate that it's due to the hump/declining brew temperature profile (HX) versus flat brew temperature profile (double boiler).
Wow, I didn't realize that there would be such a hump that you could taste it in the cup! Maybe the hump thing is all over the forums, but I didn't pick up on it being a problem after you had gotten the brew head flushed. I was really hoping this review would convince me to get a HX because I like the ECM and I didn't see a big difference in the flushing routine, but this drives me back to a double boiler because I can't spend $2K+ and not have enough stability to pull a double without temperature humps.

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FotonDrv

#13: Post by FotonDrv » replying to damonbowe »

That "Hump Thing" is what the Tea Kettle on Steroids produces :D
That Light at the End of the Tunnel is actually a train

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keno

#14: Post by keno »

damonbowe wrote:I was really hoping this review would convince me to get a HX because I like the ECM and I didn't see a big difference in the flushing routine, but this drives me back to a double boiler because I can't spend $2K+ and not have enough stability to pull a double without temperature humps.
This exactly illustrates my point above in this thread about how people obsess about technical stuff instead of taste. I think you can argue that in terms of the taste test that the ECM came out on top because as the testers noted the fruity varietal aspects of the CC Rustico was more evident and that is what a good machine should do.

This means the "HX hump thing" that you disparage may actually be a good thing. Flat stable temp isn't the be all and end all of an espresso machine. As the video notes the key is reproducibility, which in turn allows for control over taste.

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FotonDrv

#15: Post by FotonDrv »

I sold a high end double boiler machine in favor of the Humpy Thing (actually a Tea Kettle on Steroids)...
That Light at the End of the Tunnel is actually a train

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

damonbowe wrote:I was really hoping this review would convince me to get a HX because I like the ECM and I didn't see a big difference in the flushing routine, but this drives me back to a double boiler because I can't spend $2K+ and not have enough stability to pull a double without temperature humps.
If you think that an ultra-flat brew profile is the bee's knees, a double boiler espresso machine is your best choice. I believe that a double boiler's slant L profile is the most easily reproduced, but I'm unconvinced that the taste of espresso from such a profile is intrinsically superior to other profiles. For example, the Bezzera Strega, Elektra Semiautomatica, and Olympia Cremina-- to name only a few top performers --have brew temperature profiles quite different than the typical double boiler. This subject was recently revisited in HX vs. double boiler temperature stability; Jim offered some good general advice for shoppers:
another_jim wrote:This is only complicated in the abstract; from a user point of view it's dead simple. If you like to pull three or four different espresso blends or SOs each day; a DB is a pain, since you can't change temperatures on the fly. If you pull just one very persnickety and precisely dialed in blend; an HX is a pain, since you can't dial it in as precisely and repeatedly for temperature. The only thing you need to know is how you like to pull shots.
Since the HX vs. Double Boiler debate has been rehashed many, many times, I'll excerpt my boilerplate reply from Need help choosing double boiler espresso machine:
HB wrote:To use an analogy, the heat exchanger vs. double boiler espresso machines debate is like the manual vs. automatic transmission car debate. With modest skills, the differences are tiny. Some consider these differences a nuisance, others consider them an advantage in flexibility (e.g., if one lives in a traffic jam laden area, manuals get old fast). To continue the automotive analogy, as a group, I think we focus too much on the transmission type as an assumed proxy to an ideal choice and not enough on the actual collective drive experience.
In other words, it's comforting to choose an easily measurable metric to judge an espresso machine, but I believe it's a false comfort. Taste is the final arbiter.
keno wrote:This means the "HX hump thing" that you disparage may actually be a good thing.
That's what Jim asserts in his Bezzera Strega Review.
Dan Kehn

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damonbowe

#17: Post by damonbowe »

FotonDrv wrote:That "Hump Thing" is what the Tea Kettle on Steroids produces :D
Feeling like I know zero. But hey, it's a win if I can get everyone to call HX machines "humpy things" :D

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FotonDrv

#18: Post by FotonDrv »

I believe you have succeeded! :lol:

HX machine can produce some excellent shots, but so can the double boiler.

With the double boiler machines I have owned (2 of them) I was tailoring the machine to the beans to get the most out of the beans but with my lever machine I just find a bean that I like and use it and don't mess around with adjusting very much (P-Stat only). So I guess I don't like to tinker as much with the coffee's as I do drink them :D
That Light at the End of the Tunnel is actually a train

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damonbowe

#19: Post by damonbowe »

This has been really helpful discussion for me. Thanks to all you guys for helping me out!

Incidentally, I was starting to think that I would want to emulate the coffeeshop. I think the DB machines accomplish this, because most 3rd Wave shops use extremely stable machines which I assume would emulate a DB...because almost all of them are using DB machines. As a result of our discussion, I can value the slightly different output of a HX machine.

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keno

#20: Post by keno »

damonbowe wrote:This has been really helpful discussion for me.
Agree! The Strega review by Jim Schulman that Dan referred to was also very helpful. Particularly the following passage:
Jim Schulman wrote:The higher initial temperature ensures a properly heated puck and a full extraction, so that the slower dissolving caramels and oils add sweetness and body to the faster extracting, aromatic fruit acids and Maillard reaction compounds (which create the toast, wood, and nut flavors). The lowered finishing temperature prevents overextraction, avoiding the muddy and highly bitter flavors one gets in bad ristrettos, in coffee left too long on hot plates, or in instant coffee.
This would seem to explain why the HX machine presented with a somewhat fruitier shot as the higher initial temp of the HX hump accentuates the varietal flavors while the declining temp minimizes the extraction of the bitter compounds.