New Machine Time!

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New Machine Time!

Postby simonp » Tue Nov 11, 2014 12:48 pm

Well, I’ve been away from here for an embarrassingly long time again...

After 9 years with my Isomac Rituale I've decided it is time to seek a replacement. Not that the Rituale is on its last legs but it does get a lot of use and maybe something newer and more robust in due. Plus I would like to be able to plumb in the machine properly at some point and this is not really practical with the Rituale. Also I have a hankering for a rotary pump!

Within my budget I am pretty much looking at another E61 machine or possibly an S1 Vivaldi (though I am not a fan of the look of that one to be honest), but the big question is should I go for another heat exchanger machine or a dual boiler? In some ways I am tempted towards a dual boiler just because it is different to what I have, but that is not a particularly good reason for choosing...

I have been using one of Eric Svenson's E61 adapter with a digital thermometer for about 18 months to accurately get my required brew water temperature so I am happy that you can relatively easily recreate (and alter) brew temperature for different beans. However I do find that the process can still sometimes be tricky as my group idle temperature (prior to flushing) can vary by up to 5C which does change the temperature that you need to flush down to for recovery back to brew temp by the time you are ready to pull a shot. I don't know though whether this is just a quirk of the Isomac thermosyphon or common to E61 HX machines.

A dual boiler would have the advantage of more easily repeatable shot temperature and less process to get there but not so easy to change the brew temperature quickly as most (even with a PID) need 15 minutes or more to stabilise. I guess it depends if you brew several shots quickly at different temps to dial in a bean/blend or not. I do but not very often, Usually I will do it over a couple of days (not very scientifically controlled I know) as I don't do well drinking multiple shots in a row!

Primarily form a new machine I want:

More robust design & build
Temperature stability
Quieter (hence the rotary pump)
Prettier
Ease of getting spare parts
Easier maintenance e.g. boiler drains for easier descaling

As I live in a pretty hard water area that last one is quite am major one, the ease of descaling is paramount.

Anyone got any advice/experiences?

Simon
Profitec 700 dual boiler
Isomac Rituale
Mazzer Mini
Mahlkonig Vario
Chemex
Aeropress
2 Bodum press pots
Hottop updated to a B with Compuetr control
Imex roaster, dimmer mod on heater (under spare bed)
Rival popper, with split motor and dimmer mod on heater (retired)
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RE: New Machine Time!

Postby CakeBoy » Tue Nov 11, 2014 1:25 pm

Exciting and a big decision all at once Simon. We share your hard water too. I would be asking myself if I desired or required built in brew temperature control first and then create a short list of machines, both HX and dual boiler, before weighing up the pros and cons of the individual machines. It may be that during the process you make a definite decision about the HX or dual boiler, but if it remains borderline, the attributes of individual machines might be the thing you weigh up in the final instance.
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Re: RE: New Machine Time!

Postby simonp » Tue Nov 11, 2014 1:47 pm

CakeBoy wrote:I would be asking myself if I desired or required built in brew temperature control first and then create a short list of machines, both HX and dual boiler, before weighing up the pros and cons of the individual machines.

That is where my decision problems are. I just can't quite decide which is more important, the ability to change the brew temp on the fly on each shot or whether ease of repeatability would be more beneficial on everyday use, and I do use the machine everyday 2 to 6 shots a day.

I kind of have a shortlist in mind which has as much do do with UK availability as anything... Which is basically HX or dual boilers from Rocket, Quickmill, Izzo or Profitec.

Simon
Profitec 700 dual boiler
Isomac Rituale
Mazzer Mini
Mahlkonig Vario
Chemex
Aeropress
2 Bodum press pots
Hottop updated to a B with Compuetr control
Imex roaster, dimmer mod on heater (under spare bed)
Rival popper, with split motor and dimmer mod on heater (retired)
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Postby GreenBean » Tue Nov 11, 2014 4:38 pm

Hi Simon, it is good to see you here :D Choosing between HX or dual boiler and then which specific machine best suits your needs is such an individual decision that it is difficult to provide any meaningful advice.

I last went through the process almost six years ago and eventually decided on the Alex Duetto. I do not have hands on experience with other similar machines so I can not say that it is better than them or that it would suit you better. I can say, however, that I have not regretted the decision for one second and, if it was stolen tomorrow, I would not hesitate to replace it with another Duetto. I find it produces consistently good results with no effort on my part. I am blessed with living in a soft water area so have only had to descale the machine once in the last six years. The Duetto does not have drain plugs on the boilers but descaling it was a simple process that is well documented online and in the user manaul. I have had no maintenance problems but the machine is well designed and built and easy to work on.

Whatever you decide, I hope you enjoy researching the options available and making your decision and are entirely happy with your choice.
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Postby HughF » Thu Nov 13, 2014 1:54 pm

I am very fond of my original Mark I La Spaziale Vivaldi.
If you have any questions feel free to ask.

From your criteria :
More robust design & build
Temperature stability
Quieter (hence the rotary pump)
Prettier
Ease of getting spare parts
Easier maintenance e.g. boiler drains for easier descaling

I am not sure of the last three (I like its looks) as it has just been used a few times a week for cappuccinos over nearly 10 years. I had to have the pump replaced once, otherwise it has just needed grouphead gaskets and an exchange of the aqualung-size water softener two or three times. It is probably due a descale now even so.
I used Emtek Services to service it and they were good but I do not know if Gary would travel to Wiltshire from (I think) East of me in Hampshire or not.

You may have to duck down to see the gauges due to the hood over the grouphead but I wanted a shrouded, i.e. safer, grouphead with both of us being absent-minded or clumsy plus a dog and cats around.

Cheers,

Hugh
Grinders : Macap MXK conical for espresso, Mahlkoenig Vario for Chemex, Macap MC6 (spare when our office was closed) for cafetiere, Zassenhaus Knee Mill for cafetiere when working away from home.
La Spaziale Vivaldi S1 espresso machine. HotTop KN8828P roaster. Chemex manual drip for most brewed coffee plus cafetieres and eSantos.
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Postby CakeBoy » Fri Nov 14, 2014 3:15 am

Hugh, fantastic to see you :)
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Postby HughF » Fri Nov 14, 2014 4:55 am

Thank you very much, you too. Glad we are both still hanging in there and drinking the good stuff.

Cheers,

Hugh
Grinders : Macap MXK conical for espresso, Mahlkoenig Vario for Chemex, Macap MC6 (spare when our office was closed) for cafetiere, Zassenhaus Knee Mill for cafetiere when working away from home.
La Spaziale Vivaldi S1 espresso machine. HotTop KN8828P roaster. Chemex manual drip for most brewed coffee plus cafetieres and eSantos.
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Postby CakeBoy » Fri Nov 14, 2014 9:58 am

Absolutely Hugh :)
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Postby simonp » Fri Nov 14, 2014 2:53 pm

Hi Hugh,

Thanks for the input on the S1, I guess you've had it long enough to find most of its pluses and minuses.
I would be looking to do service and maintenance myself to be honest. After 9-odd years with the Rituale I know the inside of an espresso machine inside out and would have spent a small fortune on labour costs if I had not learned on the fly!
I do like the looks of the E61 based machines (and other exposed head machines) so I think I'm going to stick with that.

I think I have pretty much settled on a dual boiler E61 machine which pretty much gives me the following options:

Rocket R58
Izzo Alex Duetto III/IV
Quickmill Verona (Vetrano 2B plus some mods)
Profitec 700

Whilst the Profitec seems to be the least known of these it looks to be the best designed and built (at least from a mechanical point of view). I particularly like the sprung steam and water valves and the PID switching to a timer when you pull the brew lever is a nice bit of attention to detail too.
I think the PID that you have to detach or leave lying on the counter, plus the small drip-tray on the Rocket R58 has ruled that one out for me.

With any of these it may be an interesting explanation of cost to the missus unless I can find a phenomenal deal somewhere :(

Simon
Profitec 700 dual boiler
Isomac Rituale
Mazzer Mini
Mahlkonig Vario
Chemex
Aeropress
2 Bodum press pots
Hottop updated to a B with Compuetr control
Imex roaster, dimmer mod on heater (under spare bed)
Rival popper, with split motor and dimmer mod on heater (retired)
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Postby simonp » Tue Nov 18, 2014 3:25 pm

After some lengthy investigation and unhealthy amount of internet, forum and youtube trawling, the Profitec is still looking favourite. I'm off to have a look at that and a couple of other models at the weekend.

Ironically I've just got the Rituale working well again after sorting some issues with a leaking boiler boss (a bit of silver soldering sorted that) and pulling some great shots now. Still, time to move that on to a lighter user I think and possibly one with softer water!

Simon
Profitec 700 dual boiler
Isomac Rituale
Mazzer Mini
Mahlkonig Vario
Chemex
Aeropress
2 Bodum press pots
Hottop updated to a B with Compuetr control
Imex roaster, dimmer mod on heater (under spare bed)
Rival popper, with split motor and dimmer mod on heater (retired)
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Postby GreenBean » Wed Nov 19, 2014 8:58 am

The Profitec does look good 8) Please let us know your thoughts after viewing the various machines at the weekend.
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Izzo Alex Duetto | Gaggia XD 2 Group | Mazzer Super Jolly | La Cimbali Max | Solis 166 | Dalian 1 kg roaster | Hottop P | Hottop B | French Press (several) | Kettle modded, no really, added digital thermometer |
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Postby CakeBoy » Wed Nov 19, 2014 10:04 am

Yes, please do keep us updated Simon :)
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Postby simonp » Mon Nov 24, 2014 12:30 am

So, this is how it went:

The Verona was dismissed quite quickly as it didn't seem there was any certainty as to when more stock would be coming. Supposedly 3 weeks, but then that was also the case 2 weeks ago... I also wasn't so keen on the dual reading gauge.

The Izzo Duetto, not to offend anyone who has one, but I didn't really like it's looks in the flesh, the wide sides and very deep drip tray makes it look rather squat. It also had the nastiest looking cheap textured valve knobs possible! The new ones are apparently different, thankfully. I'm also not sure I could live with the rattly drip tray mesh. The build quality was also nowhere near the Profitec standard.

The Profitec 700 was the winner quite easily to me. The build standard seemed WAY higher, £100 cheaper than the Verona and only £100 more than the ex-demo Duetto. I must admit that I only ended up actually trying shots on the Profitec as using the machine sold it to me. So quiet, monster steaming capability, super smooth shots and as I said it just seems more carefully designed and put together.

So, I ended bringing the Profitec 700 home!

The people at Bella Bartista were super friendly and helpful allowing plenty of time for chatting and trying things. The stock of amchines, grinders accessories and spares is very impressive too. It was also a nice touch to get a free goody box with:
Espresso cup and saucer
Cappuccino cup and saucer
Shot glass
Stainless steel tamper
2 bags of coffee

It is very early days with only a few shots pulled, but so far so good.
Luckily being another E61 machine with a similar pump pressure setting even the first shot was fine with the grind I was using for the Rituale. I even managed good microfoam straight out with the monster 4-hole tip and a small pitcher! OK I did have to knock out some larger bubbles but overall much easier than I expected.

The thing I can't quite understand is how much better the shots are. With a similar E61 group I would have expected similar results to the Rituale, just more easy to be consistent. However I am finding the shots much smoother and more velvety/viscous with more flavour depth. Conventional wisdom says the rotary pump shouldn't give a difference in the cup so that won't explain it. I will say though that the start of the extraction seems more gentle with the rotary pump (the opposite of what I would expect), with the initial bloom across the filter basket (with a naked portafilter) much more even than with the Rituale. I did put it down to a wanting it to be the case, but the missus also commented unprompted so I think it is real.

I'll post more as I get used to the machine more. Just got to tidy up the Rituale ready for sale now. :D

Cheers,
Simon
Profitec 700 dual boiler
Isomac Rituale
Mazzer Mini
Mahlkonig Vario
Chemex
Aeropress
2 Bodum press pots
Hottop updated to a B with Compuetr control
Imex roaster, dimmer mod on heater (under spare bed)
Rival popper, with split motor and dimmer mod on heater (retired)
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Location: Wiltshire, UK

Postby GreenBean » Mon Nov 24, 2014 11:07 am

Well congratulations, Simon :D Thank you for your comparison of the various machines. The Profitec certainly looks impressive 8) I hope your enjoyment of it, and the coffee it produces, continues to grow as you get to know it better.
Image

Izzo Alex Duetto | Gaggia XD 2 Group | Mazzer Super Jolly | La Cimbali Max | Solis 166 | Dalian 1 kg roaster | Hottop P | Hottop B | French Press (several) | Kettle modded, no really, added digital thermometer |
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Postby CakeBoy » Tue Nov 25, 2014 11:04 am

It sounds great Simon. Lots of steam and a five hole tip can be an eye opener for sure. It's great to gear the shots are velcerpty and consistent. It sounds as though BB really looked after you. Good on them. Any chance of photos? :)
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Iberital L'Anna 1 Gp Hand-Fill | Wega Orion 2 Gp | Bezzera 1 Gp | Rancilio Audrey PID | Spidem Trevi
Iberital MC2 Timed | Macap M4 DS & MXA DS | Mazzer SJ | Starbucks Barista Grinder (Dualit E60/Solis 166)
Pinhalense 2x500g Gas Batch/Sample Roaster | Gene Cafe | IMEX CR-100
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