I learned at some point (see my water thread) that chlorides may be related to some of these issues....but that doesn't change the fact that the machine made it as difficult as possible to actually repair.
DBs are too complicated for their own good unless it's tiny boilers, or a huge machine. Or a saturated group where the other boiler is really part of the group. Too many parts to break, too many parts to facilitate both boilers, and too little room to get adequate access to all those nested parts.
HX has its own issues but I'm starting to prefer HX to DB. I went to DB because I wanted to make life easier. Flushing, temp management takes effort and time, DB makes usage simple. But I didn't factor in that I wanted to simplify ownership not just usage. Maintenance is part of ownership. Shaving of 3 minutes of flushes each day sounds like the easy life, but when I add in 5 hours of slicing fingers, tearing cuticles, and pouring more obscenities than coffee out of my machine for maintenance, ownership is more difficult.
But...then there's the E61. I bought into E61 because a heavy brass mechanical device with a manual valve sounded more robust and less failure prone than an electromechanical valve to break. An E61 can live forever, right? But I didn't count on the dark side. Usage means chemical flushing. Chemical flushing means stripping the lubricant. Stripping the lubricant means taking apart the valve lever assembly every time I clean the machine, and repositioning the delicate gaskets, and seating the delicate cams into their spring seats as I grease the machine with a flashlight and a toothpick. Freaking toothpicks! The net result? I basically never do chemical cleanings. I backflush with water daily, I drop the screen an dispersion block and soak it periodically, but that's about it. I think, that's probably how the E61 was meant to be used originally. Next machine would be back to the electromechanical valve designed for this millennium.
Except....operating that little E61 lever never, ever, ever gets old.....
If only there was a machine with simple electrical and plumbing designs, with few parts to fail, few parts to fix, with easy accessibility to all of it, high reliability, with simple usage, and straight forward ease in cleaning and lubricating without damaging the machine or having to disassemble it every time you clean it, yet also had high reliability and a long heavy duty life. Wait, there is? Well, if only it made coffee as good, and was as fun to use as the little lever. You mean it makes better coffee and has an even bigger lever that's more fun to pull? ...and you mean it's a nearly century old design that came long before all those fancy machines that break themselves and are a pain to maintain? ...and on top of that, it's essentially volumetric for a double without a flowmeter or electronics board that can break at all....
All this modern technology, evolution of espresso, electronics, pumps, flow control, sensors, materials.......yet all it seems to do is make ownership harder and harder. It feels like the modern designs were the implementation of technology for the sake of technology, and tools designed to make operating the rush crowd of a cafe faster and more consistent, at the cost of ripping the machine itself apart do to it. And then because that's what the cafes had everyone assumed it was better overall rather than worse overall. Sure the lever can't pull back to back shots as fast, or maintain shot to shot temp stability with no turnover between shots as well as a Linea, and it can't maintain exact shot parameters no matter who's using the machine and what their process is the way a Aurelia can. But it seems like those special usage needs, at some point became the standard, and the actual performance and TCO, even in cafes, took a back seat.
Forget the shot quality and the "interacting with the pull" and all of that. I'm looking at buying a lever for the superior total ownership. From looking at it to using it to cleaning it, to maintaining it. And in addition to all that.....it still makes better coffee....
I do wonder if we're sitting on a lever revolution. The trends of coffee ebb and flow. HB & CG, 10 years ago, was all GS/3, all the time, more or less, or so it seemed. More computers, more betterness! Now the mainstream industry is all about computerization and touch screens, while HB seems to be the all-encompassing lever club now. Every major mfr now makes lever multi-groups again. Perhaps in the next decade we're really going back to the future on a more mainstream level.
(Of course, I'm going to rebuild the Duetto, too..... )
IamOiman wrote:I think a new type of espresso extraction can be developed from that: scared shotless!
I can't believe that's not already a name of a Counter Culture blend!