WBC standards don't reflect real world usage

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mteahan

#1: Post by mteahan »

The factories had a hell of a time working around the testing techniques for the WBC standards in Norway. None of the instruments actually reflected real world usage of the machine and the engineers were shaking their collective heads over what the WBC wanted.

The winner of the competition was NOT Marzocco. It was Brasilia. They were disqualified because they used a modified machine in the test. It also ran hot, but that was a no brainer cause the machine was stable as hell. It could have been a production machine though (virtually everything they do is custom to order). Second place went to Nuova Simonelli with their new Auralia (sp??) with the monster group. La Marzocco was chosen for reasons beyond what was yielded in the test results. I assume they finished third, but don't know--only that they didn't finish in the top two.

This info came straight from one of the placing finishers in the event.

Michael


Split from Temperature Stability . . . . from a Heat Exchanger by moderator...
Michael Teahan
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barry

#2: Post by barry »

mteahan wrote: This info came straight from one of the placing finishers in the event.

you might want to chat with the guy who actually did the number crunching.

mteahan

#3: Post by mteahan »

I would like to see published data, actually. Since I know the players personally and am familiar with the design of the machine Brasilia used to play in the competition, I am very curious indeed. Especially when the reaction of Roberto Pragil to the disqualification was illustrated, it clearly rang true.

When I heard from Terry Z about the results of the testing on the sly before the official results were released, it was clear that on the numbers, Nuova won. He couldn't come out officially, but said that a lot of people were going to be surprised. And he doesn't work for Simonelli, last I heard.

I have seen a lot of data on HX machines, lots of testing of machines on show floors, but real world data on these famous twin boiler machines seem a little thin. There is a presumption that they are the ultimate standard of design (the presumption I spoke of earlier) and little real world evidence to support the claim. Reports of static head temps on LM dropping 12 degrees on idle requiring large flushes to elevate, WBC requirements of a pre-flush when the factory LM manual says not to. . . the bottom line is that mis-information, by accident or intent, is pervasive. Most qualitative comparisons are anecdotal and not truly impartial. There has never been, to my recollection, a double blind test between a twin boiler machine and leading HX machine that has produced a clear win for the former. Buying decisions are complex and are rarely based upon clearly objective rational. To assume that the WBC decision was any different is perhaps a bit optimistic.

"There are things we know, things we don't know, things we know we don't know." The only true thing Rumsfeld ever said.

Michael
Michael Teahan
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barry

#4: Post by barry »

mteahan wrote:When I heard from Terry Z about the results of the testing on the sly before the official results were released, it was clear that on the numbers, Nuova won. He couldn't come out officially, but said that a lot of people were going to be surprised. And he doesn't work for Simonelli, last I heard.
i don't know what kind of confidentiality agreement greg has with the wbc, but i, too, had heard that NS did rather well. when the selection announcement was made, i specifically asked greg if LM scored the highest, and his to-the-point reply was, "yes." as greg did the analysis for the wbc, i'm pretty confident he would know who won the technical testing and who didn't. i don't know whether he'll be able to comment on this thread or not.

I have seen a lot of data on HX machines, lots of testing of machines on show floors, but real world data on these famous twin boiler machines seem a little thin.
i dunno. i've got some. greg has some. i'm sure LM has plenty. i had six years of experience with the NS, and i've got five years on the LM, and i'd take an LM over the NS any day of the week. no, of course the double boilers aren't perfect, but i find them a bit more manageable and predictable than the (non-thermosyphon) NS that we had. both of these designs prefer to be used, and neither of them likes to sit idle. that's not a big surprise. personally, i like the ability to manage the steam performance w/o influencing brew temperature, and i like to be able to manipulate brew temperature w/o worrying about losing steam capacity.

mteahan

#5: Post by mteahan »

All of the new Simonellis are or are moving to thermo-siphon HX designs, like the Faema and Brasilia. They also will incorporate static chamber based pre-infusion.

There was also some grumbling among the engineers that the shot times tested used the thermocouples did not appropriately reflect real world brewing times and usage. The sense was that the standard were tailored to the machine, not the other way around.

As far as the steam cycle goes, the key is 'enough'. 1.8 bar through a full size valve is not very different from 1.2 as the velocity through the tip yields similar results. If the element is capable of maintaining the desired setpoint while steaming, there is no problem. There is a bigger problem on a commercial three group dual boiler design with only 1600 watts (sometime 1800) trying to maintain temperature while dispensing 21 ounces a minute including pre-flush. In this case, HX machines would actually be MORE stable.

Again, let's see some data.

I am not saying that there were not good, viable reasons for the decision. Given the amount of money they were asking from sponsors to be 'official' machines, I can imagine that there were lots of reasons. Probably tens of thousands of them.

Kind of like when we provided a machine to Starbucks 15 years ago that would produce steam continuously for 45 minutes without losing pressure or affecting brew temp. Performance had nothing to do with the decision, and none of the companies in their 'testing' facility ever had a prayer.

Michael
Michael Teahan
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barry

#6: Post by barry »

mteahan wrote:All of the new Simonellis are or are moving to thermo-siphon HX designs, like the Faema and Brasilia. They also will incorporate static chamber based pre-infusion.
ours was a program V. iirc, the premier used a thermosyphon. i'd actually ordered a premier (couldn't afford the program), but they couldn't get one to me within the required time, so i ended up with a program at a premier price. i should have held out for the premier. ;)

There was also some grumbling among the engineers that the shot times tested used the thermocouples did not appropriately reflect real world brewing times and usage. The sense was that the standard were tailored to the machine, not the other way around.
we knew there would be grumbling.

we intentionally pushed the machines. of course the final series of shots is unrealistic from a real world perspective, but, as i've mentioned elsewhere, it was intended to show if the machines were truly capable or if they were barely managing to keep up at "normal" usage. the engineers shouldn't grumble about that; they should be proud to demonstrate that their machines are capable. would ferrari be satisfied with a car for the US market which could only go 75mph? the ability for a machine to overperform gives engineers stiffies. :D

mteahan

#7: Post by mteahan »

Which is why Pragil was so pissed. There he was, sportin' the biggest wood and he got DQ'd for the functional violation of taking Viagra.

Tough thing for an Italian.

Speaking of the limit; that machine we put together for Starbucks would out steam any machine on the planet and still sit on a 30 amp circuit. Did anyone care? No. We developed an automatic/traditional hybrid that would brew up to 5 blends of espresso at 720 shots per hour with disposable brewing groups that could be replaced in about 5 minutes without turning off the machine. Did anyone bite? No.

An espresso machine that delivered shots, hot foamed or flat milk from a bar gun. The world's fastest espresso machine. Any interest? No. The Conti Twin Star has had individually temp controlled brew and steam boilers with demand based watt allocation for over a year and a half, on the market no less. Any reviews or interest among the establishment? No. Brasilia had one 15 years ago.

The only hit was an automated machine using titanium conical mills that brewed 5 liters of espresso in 25 seconds. They went to iced coffee producers in Japan. Six PID'ed boilers and three 300 liter/hour pumps. Five years ago.

None of what we think is new, isn't; merely adapted and tweaked.

Engineers push the envelope all the time and are pretty good at kicking whatever ass they want. The frustration lies in the fact that when they do, nothing comes of it. The problem occurs when trying to build the machine the customer wants. It may not be the best machine, or the most durable or the most practical. It doesn't matter. It's what the customer thinks is important. Even if they are stupid; which is pretty common, but matters little.

The reason why flow rates are important is because the temperature profile is keyed to them. None complained that the test was too hard or too demanding. The word I heard was unrealistic from an extraction viewpoint. They already build machines that deliver 6k shots per day.

This isn't just in the coffee biz. I went skiing this weekend (first time in forever) and there were at least a dozen different shapes and sizes of skis. I'll wager everyone thought theirs was best.

And they probably all correct.

Michael
Michael Teahan
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Nick

#8: Post by Nick »

Michael,

Assuming you'll be in Charlotte for the SCAA Conference, I'd love to do a podcast with you about the stuff you talk about, along with some hands-on fact-finding. I continued to be intrigued by what you write; my experience and intuition tells me that you're incorrect in many of your statements, but the fact is, I have no real hands-on experience with the machines you're talking about. If that can be somehow arranged, and you're right (or wrong for that matter), it'd be something that people should know about.

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barry

#9: Post by barry »

mteahan wrote:An espresso machine that delivered shots, hot foamed or flat milk from a bar gun. The world's fastest espresso machine. Any interest? No. The Conti Twin Star has had individually temp controlled brew and steam boilers with demand based watt allocation for over a year and a half, on the market no less. Any reviews or interest among the establishment? No. Brasilia had one 15 years ago.

the right time and the right place have lots to do with it, too. the amiga easily outperformed macs or pcs, at half the price. oh well.


--barry "multitasking & color since 1988"

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another_jim
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#10: Post by another_jim »

barry wrote:the right time and the right place have lots to do with it, too. the amiga easily outperformed macs or pcs, at half the price. oh well.


--barry "multitasking & color since 1988"
I had one until the software ran out -- still my favorite computer by far. It ran all programs except hardcore number crunching faster with its 10 Mhz processor than my current pc with its 2 Ghz. That speaks of brilliant operating system design. It got killed because its market share was too small to keep software developers interested.

And not a word on my previous posts about how HX manufacturers were going to cry foul.