What is the ultimate home machine? - Page 2

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malachi (original poster)

#11: Post by malachi (original poster) »

do I like surprises?
"Taste is the only morality." -- John Ruskin

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HB
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#12: Post by HB »

Heh heh... part of being a good barista is the willingness to experiment, right? So TerryZ and I thought it would be fun to have a professional like yourself see how the average home barista gets it going in the morning. Here's what we propose you wake up to for the next month instead of that Linea you mentioned earlier:

Image

(link to Grimac Mia)

You give it your best shot, write up an experience report, and then publish it on HB. How could you say no?
Dan Kehn

Espresso Vision: the perfect cup of coffee starts with understanding your roast
Sponsored by Espresso Vision
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malachi (original poster)

#13: Post by malachi (original poster) »

How the Other Half Lives indeed.

Actually... it looks like a nice machine from what I can tell from the materials. And I actually have worked on an HX machine at one time in the past.

If anyone wants to swing by Caffe Chris for a morning shot...

Grin.
"Taste is the only morality." -- John Ruskin

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shadowfax

#14: Post by shadowfax »

the other half, huh? more like the other half percent... to your .001%! how the other 99% lives, that would be a sad tale indeed!

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Teme

#15: Post by Teme »

So far, I've been lurking and this is my first post here.

I am a happy owner of an Andreja Premium, which I purchased thinking that I would not be getting an upgrade fever anytime soon.

Well, now I've seen that Chris is coming up with a PID'ed dual boiler E61 that controls the temp to within 1/10th of a degree?! If its going to be available to Europe in 220V as my current Andreja Premium, I think that it could be the be all end all machine for me...

I have not seen the looks but if they are ok, I'll start saving my pennies (or euro cents).

Br,
Teme

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HB
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#16: Post by HB »

Teme,

Welcome out of the shadows! Now I have to ask: Apart from the convenience factor (i.e., ability to dial in a particular temperature), why do you think this new offering would be any better than what you have today?

Here's why I ask...

One purpose of the "malachi prosumer experiment" is to document the strengths and weaknesses of home equipment in the view of a professional barista. Along the way I suspect he'll confirm the importance of the principle factors of espresso. For those lurkers who may have missed this regular debate, it begins with the naming of the four M's:

1. Miscela (blend)
2. Macinadosatore (grinder-doser)
3. Macchina espresso (espresso machine)

Oh yes, and the fourth M... Mano dell'operatore (hand of the operator). Where does it fit in? I firmly believe that to a large degree, a good barista can compensate for lesser equipment, so I would put it at the top of the list. Conversely, a poor barista can pull swill from the most expensive equipment available, as amply demonstrated in cafes all around the world. Better equipment is more consistent and predictable; reproducibility is the key to improving the quality of your shots.

In the next Buyer's Guide, I would like to offer some thoughts on the factors separating commercial equipment and prosumer equipment. I call them the 4 C's: Convenience, Consistency, Capacity, and Continuity. My thinking is that home consumers are hyped into a never ending upgrade cycle because they're convinced it's key to better shots, and yet the limiting factor is "on the handle side of the portafilter." Let's see if Chris agrees in his writeup.

PS: I noticed your blog has a "friends of HB" link. Thanks! :D
Dan Kehn

framey

#17: Post by framey »

HB said
Conversely, a poor barista can pull swill from the most expensive equipment available
I could be the opposing side of the Malachi review. Send me a high end commercial machine and I'll see if the theory holds true :D

Just calculating shipping costs ... :shock:

Maybe I can just review a high end, pro style group brush :roll:

CafelatStore: home of Cafelat products online
Sponsored by CafelatStore
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Teme

#18: Post by Teme »

HB wrote:Teme,

Welcome out of the shadows! Now I have to ask: Apart from the convenience factor (i.e., ability to dial in a particular temperature), why do you think this new offering would be any better than what you have today?
Thank you for the warm welcome, Dan.

I agree that the end product can only be as good as the weakest link in the chain. I am the first to admit that with my current set-up, the weakest link is on the handle side of the PF. Despite this, I am already happy with my espresso and having fun learning more and improving my skills. The way I justify my potential desire to upgrade:
  • 1) For someone with mediocre skills, a PID would help in achieving correct brew temps more consistently and subsequently help achieve good shots more consistently. I could have gone for a PID Silvia instead of my current Andreja, but at approximately 50% of the coffee we drink being cappas and latte's - I preferred a good HX vs the PID Silvia. With up and coming dual boiler PID'ed machine from Chris, I'd have the best of both worlds - I assume.

    2) While I have no doubt whatsoever that a good barista can prepare significantly better espresso than me with poorer equipment than mine, there still are limitations to what one can produce with lesser machines. Put a mediocre driver (that has at least an idea what he/she is doing) in a Ferrari and Michael Schumacher in a Yugo - who do you think will be faster on the track? I would not call my skills poor anymore (perhaps I amgetting close to being average) and as my skills continue improving over time and practice, that difference would narrow down - especially with a machine that makes it easier for me / is perhaps more forgiving.

    3) A dual boiler machine is easier to descale than a HX. This argument is not based on knowledge or experience but on my current understanding from what I have read.

    4) Rotary pump and plumbing in - I do not have the option of plumbing in my machine, but I hope to in the future. Also, the vibe pump on the Andreja is quite noisy (a common "problem" with vibe pumps) while with a rotary pump the new machine would be quieter and more durable.

    5) Then come the "softer" items. A "wow" factor is not what I am looking for, but it does not hurt either. The Andreja has it in spades so I doubt there would be much improvement in this area. Perceived quality in terms of lower noise and the added convenience (or perception thereof) would be my arguments. I can also admit that knowing that I own a quality piece of equipment adds its own "feelgood factor".
HB wrote:In the next Buyer's Guide, I would like to offer some thoughts on the factors separating commercial equipment and prosumer equipment. I call them the 4 C's: Convenience, Consistency, Capacity, and Continuity. My thinking is that home consumers are hyped into a never ending upgrade cycle because they're convinced it's key to better shots, and yet the limiting factor is "on the handle side of the portafilter." Let's see if Chris agrees in his writeup.
When I think home machines I think prosumer as I do not see myself in a situation where even my Andreja would have the capacity to handle all my (and my guests') needs.

I reiterate that I am very happy with the Andreja but I am tempted by the specs of the new machine. However, it might be my grinder that is the first one I will upgrade. The Rocky Doserless is good and fulfils my current needs. I will have an opportunity to compare it side by side to a friend's doserless Macap M4 soon to see if there is a real difference, or one we can taste, in the shot quality (we will be using the same beans and the same machine). If there is noticeable difference, I would be a Mazzer Mini E - its appears to be universally highly regarded.

So it seems that I may be a victim of the hype and in the beginning of the upgrade cycle...?
HB wrote:PS: I noticed your blog has a "friends of HB" link. Thanks! :D
No problem. I find HB an excellent and very informative site. The articles are great. The forum adds one more dimension to all this...

Br,
Teme

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malachi (original poster)

#19: Post by malachi (original poster) »

Upgrading your grinder makes complete and total sense.
No barista skill is going to overcome poor grind.

Honestly, if I were going to be setting up a home espresso rig and had to cut corners it would be on the machine not the grinder. I'd buy a Super Jolly and then I'd buy whatever machine I could afford with the remaining money.

Now... that being said, I speak from utter ignorance and the next few months of home equipment may well make me reconsider!!
"Taste is the only morality." -- John Ruskin

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NewEnglandCliff

#20: Post by NewEnglandCliff »

HB wrote:
In the next Buyer's Guide, I would like to offer some thoughts on the factors separating commercial equipment and prosumer equipment. I call them the 4 C's: Convenience, Consistency, Capacity, and Continuity.
You could make it 5 C's and add Cash.

Teme,

You could plumb your machine with a Flojet pump or equivalent. And how is it your friend has a doserless M4? Did he modify it himself?
Dolce Vita,

NEC