This is Elektra's neat looking home HX machine, run basically out of the box with no changes to anything. And the test reveals an interesting factoid about espresso machine design:HB wrote:This thread started as a "initial impression", but based on reader interest and 1st-line agreement to sponsor a Buyer's Guide, Jim has agreed to add the necessary details for a stand-alone article. It will be published in mid-October.
-- The machine ran at around 93C for the 10 and 5 minute test
-- On the first 2 minute interval it rose to 100.
-- Thereafter, it ran at "champion stability," unfortunately at 101C.
By commercial standards this is a wimpy machine, 2 liter boiler filled with about 1.4 liters of water, a light group bolted to the boiler top, an L-shaped HX, and a measly 800 watt heater. What was happening is that the HX design is fine for heating the water on the fly, and once the group overheats, the faster one pulls shots, the hotter it gets.
When we did the home routine, pulling a few shots at a time, with long intervals between the the shot groups, and the usual cooling flush till the bubbling stops, the shot temperatures (tasted, not measured) were fine. But the machine is not set up for commercial use. Interestingly, it doesn't "run out of gas," instead it stabilizes at way too hot. Obviously, I could drop the pstat, let the HX scale bit, or do some HX tuning trick, and get it tuned for commercial use. But out of the box, it gets too hot, not too cool.
There are two morals:
1. the sequence of 10 second idle interval shots in the WBC test doesn't stress the thermal capacity of any commercial machine in the least.
2. Espresso machines are "set up" to transfer the more than available heat to the group and espresso water with different shot making rates in mind. The WBC test is going to reward the most flexible rate machines rather than the ones most stable within a limited range.
Final note: if you want to get real handy, real fast, on a pourover machine with a small drip tray; run the WBC test. You get to practice the required moves at slow speed first, then get dialed in as the pace quickens.