Check-In: Ponte Vecchio Export

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bcrdukes
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#1: Post by bcrdukes »

Hi HB'ers,

Several years ago, I noticed the Ponte Vecchio making a splash on North American shores, and in particular, here on the forum.

I wanted to see if anyone took the plunge and purchased one, particularly the Export model, and if there is any updated/recent feedback and experience. It appears one can no longer find Ponte Vecchio in Canada anymore (or at least I cannot find.) 1st Line cannot ship to Canada, so that's a bust.

The real draw for me is the small foot print it takes, and what I assume is simplicity. I mainly drink only espresso, and rarely milk-based drinks, so this is perfect. Is this worth considering? Or am I better off with something like a La Pavoni/Elektra etc? I have a Cafelat Robot, and absolutely love it, and want to take this to the next level. Thanks in advance!

Regards,

Mike
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valoben

#2: Post by valoben »

I'm in a similar situation (Robot owner, interested in a Ponte Vecchio) and posted yesterday in the buying advice forum.

Ponte Vecchio seems to have recognized and changed a few known problems on the Lusso: more solid steam wand, overall finish seems to be better controlled, comes with a metal tamper that fits for example.

I can only hope they changed a few things in the Export model (heating element bolts prone to rust IIRC, drip tray, access to the pressure stat).
The old message from Orphanespresso on home-barista mentions a maintenance difficulty, in comparison to the Lusso which should be easier to service but with more electronic parts prone to break.

If you find anything on the Export please let me know
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spressomon
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#3: Post by spressomon »

Hi Mike,
In 2014 I purchased a new PV Export from Vanelli's in Roseville CA and put it to the test. It was very capable of producing delicious espresso and the steam power and its ability to easily produce 'lux micro-cell foam was superb(!). But the build quality was not very good. And the unit I had seemed to require frequent piston/bore cleaning; the piston is a bit of chore to R&R. And, silicone or similar piston seals were not available.

But it's form factor was small and light; I used it for camp/mobile use primarily. And, typical of direct boiler-to-group water feed, it required cool down for back-to-back shots otherwise brew water temp would rise and adversely impact espresso flavor.

All in all, using my sample as evidence, they are too expensive for what they are. If they were able to re-design the piston & group for easier servicing, tighten up the manufacturing tolerances/QC, include silicone or similar piston seals...they would sell.
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bcrdukes (original poster)
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#4: Post by bcrdukes (original poster) »

Thanks for chiming in, Dan! Appreciate you sharing your experience on your machine.

I am genuinely curious whether or not Ponte Vecchio has updated anything since you bought them. 1st Line's video even makes a disclaimer at the beginning of their 20'ish minute review, in saying that it is possible the manufacturer may make changes/improvements over time. I would expect that Ponte Vecchio has, but who knows for sure! :mrgreen:

I came across drgary's detailed review (thanks!) and his thread title summed it all up - "Easy to Use, Harder to Recommend" but his post was from 2015, which isn't too far off from when you bought yours in 2014.
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peacecup

#5: Post by peacecup »

We've been around on this a few times. We even did a Ponte Vecchio role call a while ago, and problems were less common than reputation suggests. Gary reviewed a defective machine, for example, so of course it was...defective. How common is that? Ask Gene Vanelli or Jim at 1rst line, who have handled 10s or 100s over time.

Anyway, my 2005 Export worked perfectly for years, changing the seals once every 2-3 years. The seals are lubricated mainly by water, so if the piston is not operated unitl the boiler is up to pressure, and the machine is not left on for many hours without being operated, the seals remain pliable for years. Availability of the piston removal tool has now made changing seals pretty easy anyway.

I currently use a Sama Export (at work) and a Sama Lusso at home, every day, 3-6 shots per day. I change the seals once a year max. Both machines are 30+ years old and still going strong. I expect the PV Export will do the same. Divide $1000 by 20 years (to be conservative). Not a terrible price to pare for great espresso? If one were worried about boiler bolts, it takes about 5 minutes to replace them with SS.

Are these machines for everyone? No, if you want perfect fit and finish (and basically the same espresso) buy a Cremina. Also, the PV has a small basket and short piston stroke, so 30-45 ml shots are the rule (baskets hold a max of 16 g). The Export will overheat with multiple shots in row, although not as fast as a Pavoni. The Lusso is a mini club machine, with a thermosyphon, and can pull several shots with minimum wait time between.

If you are satisfied with an entry-level lever for a while, the Export is a good choice. If you're probe to upgrade, skip it and go for the Cremina or one of the big boys. if you decide on a PV, buy through a reputable dealer who will stand behind it, and have them test it to be sure. Not so tough.
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bcrdukes (original poster)
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#6: Post by bcrdukes (original poster) »

Thanks, Jack for the detailed response and insight.

So I need to fess up - I put a deposit down on a brand new Cremina as I have been wanting one for 10+ years. There is finally a Canadian official dealer, so this was my chance to get one.

While not the same as the Cremina, the Ponte Vecchio would be a fun toy for me, and the cost of entry is low. The biggest issue for me is getting my hands on one; 1st Line Equipment won't sell outside of the US, so this is a far reach. :oops:
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mwynne

#7: Post by mwynne » replying to bcrdukes »

Who is the Canadian Cremina dealer? (He asks, shakily)
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bcrdukes (original poster)
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#8: Post by bcrdukes (original poster) » replying to mwynne »

Quality Coffee Systems in Burnaby, BC (Boundary Road.)

I worked with Fabian who is their sales director on the order. Next shipment from Switzerland for the Cremina and the Cremina SL is January/February 2021.
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mwynne

#9: Post by mwynne »

*sigh* I know I can't afford one, but that's only a short ferry ride form here...
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bcrdukes (original poster)
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#10: Post by bcrdukes (original poster) » replying to mwynne »

Shipping is included! :mrgreen:
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