VBM Domobar Super Digit. 6 months later.

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mrclean

#1: Post by mrclean »

Was going to write a lengthy review, but returned it after 6 months. The machine was great with initial teething issues, but my dealer stopped carrying the brand, so I've exchanged it for the time being.

Pro

1) gear pump allows variable water debit via pressure control
2) 10 storable profiles with 7 sections. Pump pressure can be set anywhere from 2 to 11 bar. Unlike Bianca and Profitec/ECM, this allows repeatable profiling
3) steam pressure can be adjusted via the screen in bar, not temp. No need to go through the manual to set steam boiler temp to achieve desired pressure
4)LED touch screen allows intuitive settings control
5) Control unit can be updated via microSD card. If VBM desires they can easily add functions to manually control profiles while pulling shots. Synesso MVP Hydra anyone?
6) Unlike the usual square design of E61 machines, Domobar has curved compact design with side panels that are magnetically attached. You can easily wrap the side panels to achieve custom look. This is whar initially drew me in.
7) For a machine with relatively compact footprint with packed features, the internals are cleanly laid out. Boilers are insulated, control modules are mounted on solid metal plate. This is possible partly due to gear pump being smaller than the traditional rotary pump
8) speaking of the internal, I believe the most parts and layouts are unchanged from the previous gen Domobars. This is a plus because Domobars were fairly solid machines
9) Drain valve that extends all the way to the drip tray. I think this is unique to VBM. Unlike most E61s the excess back pressure water from the drain doesn't splash everywhere.

Neutral
1) Synthetic plastic drip tray. This can be con for some, but was pro for me. Plastic feels thick and heavy duty. Magnetically attached to the solid metal frame, I do not have to be gentle when removing/cleaning the drip tray in fear of scratching it.

Con
1) drip tray can not be plumbed. Not a huge con for me because it can hold 2~3 days worth of liquid easily, and you should be cleaning your drip tray frequently anyways
2) initial batches had teething issues that were since ironed out
3) thin dealer network in north america. If you live in the states, you'll be stuck with 1st line or Stefano's
4) not enough online resources. No WLL style video on these.
5) water debit still high at 4g/sec at 2 bar. Haven't tried 0.5mm gicleur so not sure how much of difference that will make


I'm personally very disappointed to see it go, but as my dealer postponed selling these I didn't want to get stuck with a machine that my take weeks to get the parts in. iDrink coffee was really good about standing behind a product they have sold, and VBM was very responsive in hearing their customers and fixing the issues promptly.

If you are in the market for Bianca or ECM/Profitec with flow control have a hard look at the Domobar Super. It had much better build quality over Crem imo.

mgrob

#2: Post by mgrob »

HI :)

I am after feedback from owners on how this machine holds up with time and use given the plastic used on knobs, lever and such. Compared to my Giotto it seems... flimsy. I don't mind plastic or composites... but I do expect quality.

In Australia the price is Au$4700 and at this price point I am very underwhelmed. Not many other options for flow control - especially electronic... but I'm still not happy with the quality even with the extra capability.


I just bought one of these site unseen as I was unable to see one in my locality. Watched YT reviews etc and VBM has a decent rep yes?
My machine of the last 10 years has been a Rocket Giotto.

I wanted an upgrade in espresso quality and for my milk based drinks.

On getting the unit home and unpacking... I'm very underwhelmed by the quality of fittings and amount of plastic.

Both steam/water valve knobs were loose and on inspection they are thinly secured plastic - not commercial grade like my rocket.
The lever, it's not and even the nut fixing it all look cheap and feel cheap to me.

I also discovered the group is 1.5-2cm lower than my Giotto and my normal mugs cannot fit on the tray.

I will be speaking tomorrow to the seller before I pull shots or do anything and seeing this post thought I would seek input from yourself and other owners :).
What is your experience of the quality of these living with the machine?

_Ryan_

#3: Post by _Ryan_ »

mgrob wrote:HI :)

I am after feedback from owners on how this machine holds up with time and use given the plastic used on knobs, lever and such. Compared to my Giotto it seems... flimsy. I don't mind plastic or composites... but I do expect quality.
If the plastic on the knobs and levers is the same compound as the previous gen, it's rock solid after seven years on my domo.

User avatar
cafeIKE
Supporter ★

#4: Post by cafeIKE »

Knobs on 2 machines like new after 15 years.

I've made a few brews on the new Super Digital at a pal's over the past year and it seems pretty solid, albeit it a bit quirky in v1.
I had similar niggly issues with the original DB, but was able to enginnerr solutions.

There is new version out now which I intend to run through its paces.

It's expected with today's complex gear:
OLED TV needed a new PSU. It updates its software every few weeks. Ditto the surround system amp. Ditto oscilloscope, distortion analyzer software, etc. etc.

mgrob

#5: Post by mgrob »

Thanks Ike.

Yeah I hear you on the software side of products now (I'm an engineer by background) and that brings its own benefits and potential pitfalls.

I ended up returning the VBM as I just didn't like where some of the corners felt like they had been cut. By felt I mean in hands on operation not my emotions :P.

I couldn't run shots and return it so I just went with a gut response to "is it different or wrong" and "will I like using this and seeing it on my bench each day".

THe answer was a no, so back it went :( .

Build materials aside, I think the lack of space under the brew head is a problem.
Knowing from the outset I would need to fabricate a new drip tray to work with my current cups, scales etc was a factor yet I had a workable design I could have milled, polished and a laser cut top within about 10 min. Extra depth at the front and an extra few CM of space under the PF.

Capuchin Monk

#6: Post by Capuchin Monk »

There are specs available online. Return shipping and restocking fee would be significant loss. :shock: