Vesuvius: shot profiling potentials and pitfalls

Need help with equipment usage or want to share your latest discovery?
User avatar
Compass Coffee

#1: Post by Compass Coffee »

While it's only been a month and a couple hundred shots I can say with extreme certainty the Vesuvius is capable of duplicating shots from about any machine I've encountered. Which can be good and bad because of the Vesuvius near limitless possibilities!

As Dan's latest post in his formal review demonstrated his chosen Vesuvius profile of 6 bar to 9 bar to 6 bar wasn't necessarily the best choice for that coffee for the majority of tasters. Personally for that type of light bright SO coffee the current profile of choice I've tweaked and developed so far is 10 sec 2 bar, 5s7b, 5s12b, 10s9b, 5s8b,5s7b,5s5b (with pump acceleration at 400). To me this balances great acidity in balance with sweetness and creaminess. FWIW this quite closely compares to shots from Gary's Conti Prestina. On the other hand a simple 3sec 5bar 25s9b quite closely replicates a standard E61. (same soft 400 pump accel'). Kick up pump acceleration up to max 700 and go straight 9bar full time and replicate an old Linea. Add 2 sec 3 bar the rest 9bar and similar to Linea with its 2sec pre-wetting 1sec pause then 9bar.
Mike McGinness, Head Bean (Owner/Roast Master)


#2: Post by Mrboots2u »

Re Dans shoot out
I would have expected that to get the best from the Vesvuvius you would have dialled that coffee in accordingly and used it to its strengths . i find it hard to see that the best was got from a pressure profiling machine using a lever profile and the same grind as a standard e61 db ..but there you go ...
If you want to make lever espresso use a lever..there are more exciting profiles that can be explored using the vesuvius ...

La Marzocco · Home: customized for espresso aficionados
Sponsored by La Marzocco · Home

#3: Post by F1 »

I wonder what company will make the next E-61 pressure profiling machine.


#4: Post by neutro »

Mrboots2u wrote: I would have expected that to get the best from the Vesvuvius you would have dialled that coffee in accordingly and used it to its strengths . i find it hard to see that the best was got from a pressure profiling machine using a lever profile and the same grind as a standard e61 db ..but there you go ...
If you want to make lever espresso use a lever..there are more exciting profiles that can be explored using the vesuvius ...
While I now own a Pro 700 and I admit I was relieved that what I consider the step-up machine is not wiping out my new purchase in terms of end result, I think you're right. On one hand, you want the test fair, so you have to keep variables as identical as possible. The Vesuvius could have been set to an E61 profile and produced basically the same shots right? That in itself is pretty interesting -- the shootout would likely have been a draw right there. Now if adjustments in grind would have been necessary to optimize for the Vesuvius, it should have been done.

The shootout also illustrates that have more variable to play with is a double-edged sword; and as I'm a newbie, more variables are kind of frightening. That being said, it's amazing that changing the pressure profile can alter taste so dramatically so clearly being able to play with profile is a huge advantage to the expert. I thought I had bought my espresso machine for the next 30 years but perhaps I'll have the urge try something else way before that :D


#5: Post by Mrboots2u » replying to neutro »

I would be using the vesuvius to a longer pre infusion ( 16-20 seconds ) and finer grind to extract a higher extraction yield and produce a sweeter more balanced cup.
That kind of grind put though a standard e61 profile, would choke that machine....we would still be waiting for the first shot to finish probably ..
You wouldn't bench a slayer against a e61 used the same grind for both .......
Im not trying to play one up man ship about machines , in the end it doesnt spoil the enjoyment of my machine , and people will make their own mind up if pressure profiling is a good thing or a another variable to muddy the waters.. imjust unclear why one grinder and same grind setting was used....doesnt play to what i , at least consider the strengths on the vesuvius to be ....
In the end taste is subjective , be it a blind taste testing or not . Some light mouthfeel , some light tart and bright , some sweet....not result of a grinder or machine is ever absolute , just a result and preference of that group of being testing it....

User avatar
Compass Coffee (original poster)

#6: Post by Compass Coffee (original poster) »

Dan said same grinder used not necessarily same grind setting. I wasn't there and am not Dan so can't say for sure one way or the other!

I definitely agree a strength of pressure profiling light SO coffees is longer preinfusion grinding finer more complete extraction. In fact I just changed my light SO profile first stage from 10sec 2bar to 15sec 2bar, rest of stages same for total 50sec shot time. 2nd grind adjustment nailed the shot and think maybe indeed a bit sweeter. (Pulling now @11 day rest peaking washed Ethiopia Yirga Cheffe Koke roasted light City 418f) Big difference in my profile versus yours is your max pressure of 8 bar. I use higher highest pressure to pronounce acidity more. I want all the brightness but in creamy sweet balance. My third stage 5sec 12 bar sounds high but with 400 pump acceleration really just barely touches 12 bar then drops to 9 bar stage, then 8 then 7 then 6 to finish...
Mike McGinness, Head Bean (Owner/Roast Master)


#7: Post by DaveC »

I'm also going to weigh in here with my 3 hapence worth as I have had the machine longer than anyone and with nearly 1 years experience on it and significant input to the development of the production machine, from the prototype I had first.

1. The point that it can emulate the profile of a standard E61 set to 9 bar or whatever, is of course true. so it's unlikely to be worse than a standard DB non profiling E61 and has a far more expensive and sophisticated mainboard (inc PID system)

2. I saw comments about the grind being the same, I don't know if that is the case in the test or not. What I do know is I can have a 40 second extraction with one of my slow ramp profiles and if I then set the machine to a standard E61 9 bar with E61 style preinfusion, the machine will choke instantly on the same grind. That factor alone MUST logically make a difference in taste.

3. With the Vesuvius you get more, much more...this can be unexpected to people who are not used to this. So if the coffee is roasted badly, or not such a good coffee, you will get more of the bad, along with the good. The muting of flavours from non profiling machines can help coffees here. I am not for one second suggesting that the test coffee was roasted badly, or not of excellent quality, I am sure it was. What I do know is that with the right profile and grind for that profile, your going to get much more from the coffee.....this may not be to everyone's taste, although it was interesting to note (i think I got this right), that the very experienced barista liked the coffee being very true to type. However, this may not suit everyone. I can only liken it to something like Cheese, some people like strong Cheddar, but Stilton is a step too far.

4. It takes more time than the test to get the best out of the machine...I'm still learning with it. So I'm not going to say the test was invalid, you cannot argue with blind tasting. It in fact emphasises that you can produce a bad shot if you don't set things right for that coffee. The very important point is, with a standard machine, if you don't like the taste it's giving you for a particular coffee, there is little beyond temperature that you can change. With the Vesuvius, there is so much more control.

5. I have been roasting for over 10 years now and used and reviewed over 50 espresso machines, helped design a few, including the Duetto. I have owned 4 dual boilers and still have 3 of them. None, make a shot as good as the Vesuvius can. My other machines are in the workshop unused and would only ever be bought into service again, if for any reason the Vesuvius develops a fault. I have been asked to review and test the ECM Profitec 700 and I am sure I will find it a very capable and well built DB machine....but it's simply going to be up there with the QM DB, Duetto DB, Rocket DB etc..apart from build quality differences, there's not much to set these standard, non profiling DB machines apart. All the talk of steel upper halves to the groups, bigger thermosyphon pipes etc.. make little real difference in shot quality. The only thing for me personally is the Copper, Brass Stainless issue for boilers. I can taste the copper, but not brass or stainless.

6. The last point and this is an important important I will put it in bold Cleaning is of paramount importance with the Vesuvius, more so than a standard machine. This is for a number of reasons. The preinfusion chamber is disabled, the pressure at the end of the shot is low as the pump cuts automatically unless you end the shot early and the clarity in the shot shows up any lack of cleaning. I drop the shower screen every 3 days and thoroughly clean it and the dispersion disk manually. In addition I backflush with a little puly cafe every week. I also clean water backflush after every group of shots. I have even moved to a rubber blanking disk in a double basket to increase the volume of water flushed. The portafilter is of course cleaned daily.

The production level will probably never be huge, so even if everyone wanted one, they couldn't be built fast enough, but it is a very nicely engineered thing inside. I hope that it does succeed, because the market and manufacturers need to be pushed, the bar needs to be raised...a long way. it's something I have always wanted to see on prosumer level kit, but with the price kept affordable. I am currently working on another machine, I don't know if it will see the light of day. If it does come to fruition, it's going to be years ahead of anything out there...not because of anything new, but because the mainstream manufacturers of prosumer machines give us relatively old tech and it's not hard to be 10 - 15 years ahead of them.

Cerini Coffee & Gifts: official US importer for Olympia Express
Sponsored by Cerini Coffee & Gifts

#8: Post by PaoloC »

Everybody know that In the lever machine you should use a different grinding coffee and different weight comparing with a standard machine otherwise the result could be not good as should be. Of course if you are able to change the pressure profiling you are able to shot a good coffee as a bad coffee, you should know the machine, make some tests and try different things with the same coffee before that you will love the shot. There are people that after different months are still exploring new settings and this is one of the advantages of non standard machine like the Vesuvius, playing with it, share with others opinion and settings and etc. If you buy a standard machine most of difference are in the style, fixtures, cleaning assembling, but if the project is valid (as all the machines should be) the result in the cup should be always the same. Of course if the Vesuvius perform more or less like La Marzocco and if in the end the Vesuvius not met the flavours of the tester probably something is not perfect as should be.


#9: Post by Mrboots2u »

As pointed out by others , while it is clear that the same grinder was used , it isn't clear from the commentary if different grind settings were used for each machine and the shots made or the same brew ratio , or if this was judged by volume, eyeballed or scales ......
I assumed that at a blind taste test the shots from each machine would be pulled back to back and close to each other in respect of time .
I dont know if the shots form each machine are the same brew ratio , grams out , extraction yield etc.....
Anyway assuming shots were drank same time ish .. lead me to the assumption that the grinder was not being dialled back and forth between machines and shots.. I could be wrong in this assumption , perhaps Dan could clarify.. If i am wrong then apologies all round ....
I know on internet forums people can get very defensive about the machines they own and it would seem that I am doing this also ...this was not my intention but merely to provoke a discussion re the results of the test , which are surprsing ....
I honestly dont care if person X prefers a coffee from one machine to would be a dull work if all opinion was the same ....I am intrigued by the process used in this test and the two machines have the potential to pull shots in radically different ways... hence my query on "were they treated the same "
Given the Strada and the Vesuvius were so close , would this mean that the 700 would knock out the Strada in a similar blind taste test the same coffee.....:) Thats a game of coffee machine top trumps for another day i Guess....


#10: Post by Mrboots2u »

Perhaps HB can tell us whether the same grind and dose was used for the two machines ?