Buyer's Guide to the Quick Mill Vetrano - Page 9

Behind the scenes of the site's upcoming equipment reviews.
whallmark

#81: Post by whallmark »

Hello,

I purchased one of the first 30 machines. I received it the first week of December. I have been thoroughly enjoying it while my espressos and caps have been steadily improving. The setup of the machine was very easy. I set mine up near the fridge where my old Pavoni used to reside. I just tapped into the fridge water supply. I am too far from the sink so I just use the drip tray without the drain.
With the Italian roast I get from a local shop, I have good results when I use about an 11 second flush after the water dance stops and then pull the shot 25-35 seconds later. However, I am having trouble figuring out how much to flush when I am pulling a second shot. When the machine is hot, the water dance lasts about 11-12 seconds. When I have used the 11 second flush when there is a shorter water dance the shot is sour. Any suggestions on timing?

Wes

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HB
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#82: Post by HB »

whallmark wrote:When the machine is hot, the water dance lasts about 11-12 seconds. When I have used the 11 second flush when there is a shorter water dance the shot is sour. Any suggestions on timing?
Depends on how soon after the last extraction finished and your pressurestat setting. Jim's $10 Method for Temperature Tuning an HX Machine describes the HX dynamics in "party mode." The original evaluation Vetrano that I tested has been replaced by one from the next shipment, but as I recall, it needed about 1m30s of recovery time between shots (no flush, 1.1 bar). The newer one seems to recover slightly faster, though that could be my imagination (first use was this morning; I'll begin reporting again as my "real" job allows).

If you're pulling slower than flat out (~1m30s) but faster than allowing it to return to near idle (~5 minutes), the flush is around an ounce or two. My preference is to choose one or the other -- party mode or slow mode -- not bounce back-and-forth between them. Guessing at the proper in-between flush amount can lead to off temperatures unless you're really Zen with the machine.

PS: Abe's Fine Tuning Brew Temperature on a Heat Exchanger Machine - A Workable Solution provides flush charts for any idle interval that could be adapted to your espresso machine. And Bob offers his own advice specific to the Andreja Premium later in the same thread:
BobY wrote:
  1. If the machine has been idle for a while, flush 6 oz.
  2. After three minutes, flush 2 oz.
  3. Wait 40 seconds and pull the shot.
That's it!
Me, I prefer the Zen approach.
Dan Kehn

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HB
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#83: Post by HB »

Apologies for the long delay, my daytime job has been keeping me busy, including late nights this week. The Vetrano from the second batch arrived last week and we've been getting reacquainted. The changes are subtle:
  • Nice custom dual gauge with sensible recommended pressure ranges for the boiler and pump (pictured earlier)
  • Drip tray drains from the bottom (good!) and easily slides out, whether plumbed or not (very good!); drains effectively.
  • Water inlet is now on the bottom, near the back right corner.
  • To accommodate the inlet tubing's 90 degree bend, the legs are a little taller. The extra clearance allows for better wiping the countertop around the machine (the Vetrano is located next to two grinders, all in a mere 30" width; lots of coffee grounds)
As I mentioned earlier, the Vetrano is in most practical ways the same machine as the Andreja Premium, which I evaluated back in October 2004, so there hasn't been any surprises. The shell is a simple U-shaped wraparound like the Anita and of course the Vetrano has a whisper-quiet rotary pump (rotary pumps are much quieter than vibratory pumps, but the Vetrano is very quiet as rotary pump espresso machines go). To keep things interesting during an evaluation, I like to investigate topics related to the writeup, but not motivated by the particular machine per se. That's what prompted the thread Pressure profiles, preinfusion and the forgiveness factor. The comparison of the pressure profiles for a vibratory and rotary pump are reproduced below:

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Anita (vibratory) and Vetrano (rotary)

At the same time I was trying out the Weiss Distribution, discussed in Convex tamper and NSEW technique. Pros may eschew this technique, but John Weiss' (RapidCoffee) and my own experience support the assertion that the extra stir action does enhance the evenness of an extraction, especially for grinders that tend to clump. I bet newbies who are still working on their distribution technique will also see better results with this "cheat."

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Tracing circles in search of better distribution (link)

While the difference in extraction quality with or without the Weiss Distribution may be minor with a forgiving E61, the difference is likely more stark for demanding machines, which reminds me of Ken Fox's point in the conclusion of The Impact of Preinfusion on the Taste of Espresso Shots:
Ken Fox wrote:If you have a rotary pump driven machine and it does not preinfuse the grounds, the modification I have done is fairly easy and cheap to do. The result of doing this modification should be greater tolerance to grind settings, easier switching between coffees, with less sink shots resulting. This is to say that with preinfusion added a non-preinfusing rotary machine begins to more and more resemble the way that a vibe pump driven machine operates. For ease of operation and less hassle, I'd suggest just installing the delay timer in your non-preinfusing rotary machine, without a need for an on-off switch.
His comment prompted me to work the last couple days trying to answer the question: Is a rotary E61 less forgiving than its vibratory pump equipped cousin? No doubt the difference, if it exists, is very small. I strived for hyper-even extractions in the attempt to demonstrate to myself that the difference was either noteworthy or negligible. After days of the most even pours I've ever managed, I'm still undecided. Perhaps this is a good group test for EspressoFest (Anita / vibe versus Vetrano / rotary), most even extraction wins?

On the brew temperature front, I've been refining the flush particulars documented in the Andreja Premium writeup. With a small stack of data and lots of water dance observation, it's humbling that Bob Yellin's three-step "keep it simple, stupid" instructions mentioned in my prior post are tough to beat. The first shot tends to run hot and a few fake cycles seems to help. Of course Chris Tacy's "garbage shot" approach works too, however I cringe when intentionally throwing sink shots only to warm up the group. I suppose one could rationalize the first tossed shot as a grinder adjustment - and lately I've been tossing a lot out as part of the Macap writeup - but the coffee miser in me winces every time.

A page or two back, Teme mentioned using "cheater" tips on the Andreja Premium, which shares the same steam wands as the Vetrano. The adapter below allows one to use the common 10mm female steam tips:

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Despite the problems reported in New Andreja owner with microfoam problem, my preference is still the stock setup. Trying several low-volume tips, I found them indeed easier, but the microfoam was invariably airer. The dreaded "cottonball" formed in the milk if I didn't swirl and thunk constantly, which was unnecessary for the chromy milk surface I frothed with the stock tip. That said, an adapter and low-volume steam tip are small outlays, and it's nice to have the option. New owners may wish to give them a try, though I would be surprised if the pair didn't become semi-permanent drawer residents in a couple months' time.

If you would like hands-on time with the Vetrano as well as some other machines from past reviews, plan to attend EspressoFest 2006. In addition to Counter Culture Coffee's training equipment (La Marzocco 3-group Linea, Astoria Gloria), Bob Barraza has graciously agreed to loan us his Elektra A3. It hasn't arrived yet, but I have it on good authority that Versalab will loan us their famed M3 grinder. HB's "special ops" Team headed by Lino Verna and Sean Lennon also promise a few surprises (shhhh-h! The code word is Flux Capacitor... I would say more, but then they would be obligated to kill me :-o).
Dan Kehn

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HB
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#84: Post by HB »

Dan Kehn

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HB
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#85: Post by HB »

With the SCAA conference and EspressoFest 2006 becoming a fading memory, it's time to put this Bench writeup into the history books too. Originally I secretly planned on staging a side-by-side Anita (vibe pump) versus Vetrano (rotary pump) as part of this writeup, but Jim and Ken's The Impact of Preinfusion on the Taste of Espresso Shots treatment of the topic already shamed anything I could attempt. Instead my interests turned to refining the Guide's espresso performance instructions based on the data from Eric's E61 thermocouple adapter.

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Temperature within the valve chamber exit (blue) versus thermofilter (red) - great for predicting the correct flush

The article How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love HXs documents the water dance / rebound technique for HX temperature management, which delivers reproducible brew temperatures within ~1.5F. The added feedback from the E61 adapter greatly simplifies the technique and improves the reproducibility by another notch, albeit a small one for the HX Love reader who's put in a few week's practice. I bet it won't be long before pre-packaged setups are commonly sold by high-end home espresso vendors, giving them ammunition in the HX versus dedicated brew boiler debates.

High tech toys aside, my final thoughts on the Vetrano are much the same as the Andreja Premium with which it shares many components: It's solidly built, easy to use, and makes mighty fine espressos. The added bonus over the Andreja Premium, of course, is the whisper-quiet rotary pump and driptray that converts to plumbed-in with minimum hassle. Chris' Coffee Service has Quickmill's ear and they've addressed the nigglers that would irritate increasingly discriminating home baristas (some of that feedback originated from this report, but a lot of it came from the owner, Chris Nachtrieb, and early buyers of the first production run).

Starting tomorrow I'll work on the Vetrano writeup based on some of the content from the Andreja Premium article, taking into account the two machines' differences as well as improvements in my testing equipment. If there are other topics you would like to see addressed in the Buyer's Guide, please let me know.
Dan Kehn

espressoquest

#86: Post by espressoquest »

A Vetrano question for you, Dan or Vetrano/Andreja/Anita owners in general. What is your steady-state boiler pressure when you are steaming? Mine hovers around .6 bar with the steam full on. How does this compare to other machines in this class?

I'm having a bit of a problem getting consistent microfoam right now, but I'm pretty sure that it is an operator problem...I mean, the Vetrano steams like crazy compared to the old Saeco I previously had with it's tiny little boiler.

Ok - more than one question - I am wondering how having a higher pressurestat setting will improve your steaming performance. As I understand it, the steaming boiler pressure is determined by the relationship between element output and steam tip size. As long as the element is on, doesn't the boiler pressure end up the same while steaming, even if it starts at a higher value (IE at 1.3 instead of 1.1 bar)? Or, does the hotter water in the boiler at higher Pstat settings give additional steam power at the same steaming boiler pressure - in my case, 0.6 bar? I have brought the Pstat settings down a bit from the factory range of 1.2-1.4 bar, to 1.05-1.25 - and my steady state steam pressure doesn't seem to have changed much at all.

Thanks

Doug

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HB
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#87: Post by HB »

espressoquest wrote:What is your steady-state boiler pressure when you are steaming? Mine hovers around .6 bar with the steam full on. How does this compare to other machines in this class?
That sounds about right, though you would already be done steaming for single and reasonable double volumes before it reached that point (6-9 ounces). Bob offered good advice in New Andreja owner with microfoam that applies to the Vetrano.
I am wondering how having a higher pressurestat setting will improve your steaming performance... does the hotter water in the boiler at higher Pstat settings give additional steam power at the same steaming boiler pressure - in my case, 0.6 bar?
No, the steady state pressure will be the same since it's gated by the wattage of the heating element.

I'm not an audiophile, though I think there's a good analogy: Turning up the stereo's volume control increases your perception of the bass notes to a degree, but adding additional woofers increases the "power" of the bass. The same is true for steaming: Increasing the steam pressure adds initial "ommph" to the first few seconds, but it's not the same as having a bigger boiler from which to draw reserve energy. The boiler size and wattage of the semi-commercial machines like the Andreja / Vetrano are well balanced. Most new owners think they have too much steaming capacity.

It's all relative I suppose. I admit liking the big boiler machines, even if they're major overkill (like the teenager behind me in traffic with enough bass to shake my car's windows!).
Dan Kehn

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#88: Post by HB »

The Buyer's Guide to the Quick Mill Vetrano is online. Comments, corrections and follow-up questions to the article are welcome in Article Feedback.

I would like to thank Steve Robinson for his valuable contributions to the taste evaluations. John Weiss' peer review comments were helpful and succinct. Finally, special thanks are due Sean Lennon for his expert knowledge and loan of the "Wizard's Kit", which made studies like those documented in Pressure profiles, preinfusion and the forgiveness factor possible.
Dan Kehn

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olypdd

#89: Post by olypdd »

I finally decided to register on this site after enjoying all the informative posts and discussions. Dan Kehn's eval of the Vetrano was of great interest to me as I had the not so dreaded upgrade-itus taking hold in recent months. I have both an Elektra lever and an Isomac Venus. The Venus gets the daily use and worked well after I upgraded the steam stat and adjusted the opv to brew at 9.5 bar. But I hate the water tank thing. I found myself forgetting to check it and running it dry on a shot. I used it for 3+ years and may sell the thing. It's a great starter machine, one of the best in my opinion.

So back to Dan's first eval of the Vetrano. I recently purchased a Vetrano from Chris Coffee, who I have done business with previously, and heartily recommend him because of his providing premium customer service. The machine I purchased is apparently the one Dan first evaluated and which he depicts in his discussion of the first run Vetrano eval (according to Mary at Chris Coffee) I plumbed it in and it primed right up. I have pulled some great shots right off the bat. I included the water filter, and plan to add the pressure regulator, even though it doesn't seem to be an issue except a minor movement in the gauge with water usage around the house. ( I used to be a plumber and love the john guest stuff ) I noticed that Chris threw in the drain connection and hose. Not sure I will use it but I might try it some time.

I thought that if Dan played with it, it's probably been tweaked to where it should be and it seems to be performing in the sweet spots I would have set it to.

Did I mention the rotary pump? Do I need to? The dang thing is mighty stealthy and my wife didn't even know I had pulled a shot for her latte the first time I made her one.

It's funny, but some of the same antics HX owners have to engage in the purged excessively heated brew water, I was doing with my Venus. It's an entirely different machine, and a different "thing" going on, as I was purging until the heating element kicked on and brewed a few seconds after it kicked off. So the HX regimen seems to come very naturally to me. I am very interested in the discussions about the probe and adaptor Eric has come up with, and I think this might revolutionize the HX experience to the extent that shot consistency and shot profiles are possible (different brew temps for different tastes/coffee blends).

I noticed that when I made my own naked portafilter (that's right, I used a dang hack saw and file by hand and I said I used to be a plumber), that there was some channeling with the Venus. With the Vetrano, and thanks apparently to pre-infusion, I have observed extremely even extraction.

The steaming performance of the Vetrano is well.....stellar! The first time I steamed, it was not pretty. I was surprised because I am pretty good at this. The second time and since, I have finessed the milk beautifully with the Vetrano's stock rounded two hole tip. (which I like alot). It steams to temp alot faster than the Venus, but the Elektra...hmm, it's pretty fast too.

Anyway, when Mary told me the differences between the new Vetranos and the one I purchased, I couldn't find any reason not to go for the discounted machine. Especially since its equipped with the Sirai stat. I also don't mind the original gauge, as I am pretty good at reading the original one depicted in Dan's post. (I like the new one too)

I plan to use a timer, but after reading all the techy talk on surge suppressors, I can't see why I should bother with one. By the way, I left my Venus on all the time and never had a problem. I have been leaving the Vetrano on, but I figure I might as well save $$ on my power bill.

So thanks to Dan for the break in. It still looks, feels, and smells new, so I know you treated it with care. Thanks again to Chris Coffee for providing great service as usual.

Rich
The truth shall set you free....or perhaps not.

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olypdd

#90: Post by olypdd »

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From a barista's vantage point.

Here is another...
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.... you know you want one of these.

And the ol Venus...which I should sell....
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I happened to have an 8mm brew gasket so the ol lion of italy locks into the brew head just skippy-

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I also have the hacksawed rancilio job...yes I did it with a hacksaw myself...no motors, no electricity...just brute force and finesse coming together. I have a heck of a time tamping in the naked portafilter, and see some channeling as a result. <sigh> but I have had some even extraction moments. I am hoping to find a steady way to situate the thing so I can have consistent even extraction with it.


Rich
The truth shall set you free....or perhaps not.