Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Sign in to follow this  
carswell

Ultimate home espresso machine

Recommended Posts

It's beginning to seem like a trend: self-styled "ultimate" home espresso machines custom designed for leading coffee equipment retailers. For example, Chris' Coffee Service's Andreja Premium and Whole Latte Love's Brewtus. The latest entry appears to be 1st Line's Project E1, with a pretty impressive list of specs once you get past the hype. Any word/thoughts on this machine? (I like the built-in PID and have often wondered why Rancilio doesn't offer a Silvia with one.)


Edited by carswell (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I hadn't looked at the Excobar stuff lately - didn't know they were doing a model with built-in PID. I'm surprised it took this long for these models to show up, considering the amount of buzz the DIY-PID mods have received. Temperature controllers are pretty much a commodity item in the process control business.

The Brewtus looks really nice. Double boilers, E61 group head, built in PID....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
It's beginning to seem like a trend: self-styled "ultimate" home espresso machines custom designed for leading coffee equipment retailers. For example, Chris' Coffee Service's Andreja Premium and Whole Latte Love's Brewtus. The latest entry appears to be 1st Line's Project E1, with a pretty impressive list of specs once you get past the hype. Any word/thoughts on this machine? (I like the built-in PID and have often wondered why Rancilio doesn't offer a Silvia with one.)

If they added a built in PID to the Silvia the price would rise comparable tothe cost of an HX machine!


"My rule of life prescribed as an absolutely sacred rite smoking cigars and also the drinking of alcohol before, after and if need be during all meals and in the intervals between them." ~Winston Churchill

Morels- God's gift to the unworthy human species

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
If they added a built in PID to the Silvia the price would rise comparable tothe cost of an HX machine!

Yeahbut a number of geeks are doing it already. Some even void their warranty by not waiting a year before making the mod. And anyway if Rancilio made a PIDed Silvia, economies of scale would apply, keeping the cost low. Look at the math: these days you can get a Silvia for around US$400, right? And what does a PID and accoutrements go for? $200? So, assuming the economies cover the cost of labour required to install the PID, we're talking $600 max for a PIDed Silvia, and probably more like $500-$550. There aren't many HX machines at that price point. In fact, are there any? The Expobar Pulsar, which for a while was known as the least expensive HX machine, goes for $700 at WWL. For someone who makes a lot of caps and lats, it's probably worth the premium. But I'd bet the hardcore espresso geek (already a significant percentage of Silvia's customer base) would choose the more stable and easily controlled temperature of a PIDed Silvia over a non-PIDed, non-E61ed Expobar.


Edited by carswell (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

PIDs are (IMHO) over-rated and over-hyped as a generalized solution to all problems espresso.

Adding a PID controller to a cheap machine is rarely a ideal solution and adding a PID to a HX machine makes little sense to be honest. A far better solution for temp management on an HX machine would be a real-time, accurate digital display of grouphead brew temp.

As for the "ultimate" home machine - by early next year we'll finally have two contenders. The first is the 110v Synesso single group. The latter is the soon-to-be-release La Marzocco home machine. Either would be a "last machine I'll ever own" option.

This is, sadly, not true of the machines listed here - all of which have significant weaknesses.

Finally, the E61 group is nice but is also over-hyped as a solution.


Edited by malachi (log)

fanatic...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Adding a PID controller to a cheap machine is rarely a ideal solution

Maybe not in the overall scheme of things. But for an espresso lover with $600 to spend on a machine, it's a different story.

As for the "ultimate" home machine - by early next year we'll finally have two contenders. The first is the 110v Synesso single group. The latter is the soon-to-be-release La Marzocco home machine.

Care to quote an estimated price on those? I have a vague memory of reading $2.5-3K for the Marzocco, i.e. Fantasyland. Can a machine be the "ultimate" if only 0.5% of those who covet it can afford it? And if the answer is yes, wouldn't the true ultimate machine be a two-group FB70 or Linea?


Edited by carswell (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Care to quote an estimated price on those? I have a vague memory of reading $2.5-3K for the Marzocco, i.e. Fantasyland. Can it be a machine be the "ultimate" if only 0.5% of those who covet it can afford it? And if the answer is yes, wouldn't the true ultimate machine be a two-group FB70 or Linea?

The La Marzocco looks like it'll cost around US$4,500. I think you may be mistaken on the number of people who can afford it. They aren't trying to sell to the existing E61HX/Silvia part of the population, they are targeting the people who already own commercial equipment and are using it at home and the people who are spending $100k+ remodeling their kitchen where another $4,500 won't make any difference anyway.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I think you may be mistaken on the number of people who can afford it.  They aren't trying to sell to the existing E61HX/Silvia part of the population, they are targeting the people who already own commercial equipment and are using it at home and the people who are spending $100k+ remodeling their kitchen where another $4,500 won't make any difference anyway.

Bof. In the first place, why are you taking what was obviously a rhetorical question so literally? Second, I wasn't referring to the number of people who are able or likely to lay down $5K for a home espresso machine but rather the percentage of home espresso enthusiasts (including the Silvia/E61 crowd) who would covet such a machine and be able to afford it. Quite different groups.

That said, thanks for the price quote.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I think you may be mistaken on the number of people who can afford it.  They aren't trying to sell to the existing E61HX/Silvia part of the population, they are targeting the people who already own commercial equipment and are using it at home and the people who are spending $100k+ remodeling their kitchen where another $4,500 won't make any difference anyway.

Bof. In the first place, why are you taking what was obviously a rhetorical question so literally? Second, I wasn't referring to the number of people who are able or likely to lay down $5K for a home espresso machine but rather the percentage of home espresso enthusiasts (including the Silvia/E61 crowd) who would covet such a machine and be able to afford it. Quite different groups.

That said, thanks for the price quote.

First, because I am a moron :smile:. Second, you're welcome. Third, does anyone actually talk like this?

I'd seriously consider a $4,500 machine if it really is the end-all be-all espresso machine. My Isomac makes great drinks but isn't as consistent as I'd like it to be and it doesn't do a very good job of steaming and brewing at the same time. I'd like it to be able to steam faster, hold its temp better, and be able to drain directly as I've overflown the drip tray more times than I'd like to admit.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow, $ 4500 for a one group La Marz. I wonder if I could actually taste the difference between something made on that machine vs. my Pasquini Livia. Given that I already have a Rocky grinder and home-roast my own espresso, I wonder if a machine upgrade to that level of cost would really make a discernable difference in the end product.


Regards,

Michael Lloyd

Mill Creek, Washington USA

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

malachi said:

Finally, the E61 group is nice but is also over-hyped as a solution.

Agreed but when it comes to a $1,000 machine for home use it's tough to find a better solution. Sure... fully saturated stainless steel brew groups of a massive build size and heft weight... dual boilers with a preheat system for the brew boiler... PID and digital temp control / readout for the brew boiler... these are great things but the $1,000 - $1,500 price point is still a magic number.

There is a critical mass (and growing) of folks who can and will justify spending that much on an espresso machine. But their budgets and or perception of the value proposition simply won't create a large enough number to justify multiple entries in the $4,000 - $6,000 home machine market. Synesso and La Marzocco will not only be able to sell the high end $100K home kitchen crowd - they already have a significant potential market of boutique bakeries, quality driven small cafe's etc. that are ideal targets for the new 110V machines. And those smaller commercial customers are likely to be more inclined to buy a commercial oriented machine that has a proven field support system in place.

MGLloyd said:

Wow, $ 4500 for a one group La Marz. I wonder if I could actually taste the difference between something made on that machine vs. my Pasquini Livia. Given that I already have a Rocky grinder and home-roast my own espresso, I wonder if a machine upgrade to that level of cost would really make a discernible difference in the end product.

Yes I think you could taste the difference - at least most of the time. One of the things you're buying at that level is far greater temp stability during the shot pulling process and also the ability to "dial in" a temp once you know which brewing temp delivers best results for the bean or blend you're using.

In short: consistency is the big value. I use a Super Jolly grinder at home with my Isomac Tea E61 machine. I drain off 4 - 8 oz of water before pulling a shot to cool down the brew water (time based on how long the brewhead has been heating without shots being pulled). In general my shots are very good but the La Marzocco I work on in the shop delivers better results with the same beans - even though it's not PID'd or modified in any way and is used with an auto grinder/tamper (Swift).

But my pockets aren't deep at this point in my life. As much as I'd love to have a Synesso or LM 1 group at home it will be awhile before that happens (I do have a 4 group LM in my dark and dreary basement but it's not worth firing up a 220V four group machine on a Saturday or Sunday morning to pull two shots)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
In general my shots are very good but the La Marzocco I work on in the shop delivers better results with the same beans - even though it's not PID'd or modified in any way and is used with an auto grinder/tamper (Swift).

That is a very interesting data point, Owen, particularly since the same person (you) is pulling the shots, thus reducing the variables.


Regards,

Michael Lloyd

Mill Creek, Washington USA

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Wow, $ 4500 for a one group La Marz.  I wonder if I could actually taste the difference between something made on that machine vs. my Pasquini Livia.  Given that I already have a Rocky grinder and home-roast my own espresso, I wonder if a machine upgrade to that level of cost would really make a discernable difference in the end product.

Honestly... for almost all baristas (home or pro) the best bang for the buck is training. There are very few baristas who are truly limited by their espresso machine.


fanatic...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The Brewtus looks really nice. Double boilers, E61 group head, built in PID....

Just a quick point - I don't think the Brewtus has a built-in PID - the 'digital temperature control' isn't, I understand, the same as a PID.

(Of course, I append my usual disclaimer in life - I may be wrong).

Bainesy


Sheffield, where I changed,

And ate an awful pie

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You're right, Bainesy, they don't specifically say that it's a PID controller, just "digital". Given how slowly temperatures change inside the boiler, a simple on/off control should be fine. A true PID would be overkill. There's a slightly more detailed look at the Brewtus on the Wholelattelove site.

There are two reviews of the Brewtus on Coffeegeek. One reviewer says she bought it a year ago, so it's been around longer than I thought.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Given how slowly temperatures change inside the boiler, a simple on/off control should be fine. A true PID would be overkill.

I may be mistaken (always a distinct possibility!) but I think temperatures in a small single boiler machine fluctuate a bit more than you think. But the more pertinent issue is the brewhead temperature - not the boiler temperature. Like most of the other E61 style machines in the $1K to $2K range, the Brewtus is an HX (heat exchanger) design. The copper feed tube that supplies heated water to the brewhead actually gets heated by the ambient heat of the boiler water that surrounds it. The boiler is running at over 212 F - hot enough to generate pressure for steam.

If an HX machine sits at idle during warmup period or between shots (more than 8 - 10 minutes) the water in the feed tube supplying the brewhead eventually becomes warmer than the optimal 200 - 205 range that typically delivers best results for espresso.

If one bleeds off some of this standing hot water by drawing water through an empty portafilter for a short duration before pulling the shot, incoming cold or room temp water from the plumbed line or reservoir is mixed with standing hot water in the tube. The actual brewhead/brewing temperature will drop to the appropriate range when enough hot water has been flushed.

Common wisdom is that 4 - 6 oz of water is enough to flush to lower the temperature enough on this class of HX machine. But now that more home users are checking temperatures with a Espresso Thermofilter Temperature Device the picture is changing slightly. I've seen anecdotal evidence to indicate that the flush needs to be closer to 8 oz rather than 4 oz in order to achieve proper temperature.

It IS true that the boiler temperature doesn't vary much on the HX machines unless you're drawing lots of hot water off the hot water spout (e.g. to make tea). But with non HX machines like the Silvia the brew water comes from the same boiler that creates steam pressure. This calls for a different set of tricks to achieve proper brew temp and thus... a PID is very helpful because it regulates temp for brewing purposes.

But I agree that PID is a waste on home HX machines. Is the digital temp control on Brewtus just a readout or does it actually change the temp of the water coming into the brewhead when one adjusts the control?

By the way... get yourself a spare portafilter assembly, a prior generation Fluke digital thermometer on ebay for $30 - $35, a K style thermocouple lead, a good drill and some JB weld... it's pretty easy to build one of the Thermofilter devices yourself for well under $100.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Brewtus in not an HX machine but rather a dual boiler machine.

On the Brewtus a PID would be an upgrade though, with the E61 group, it would perhaps be less significant than you'd think. Would be different with a saturated group.

Replicating the Scace Thermofilter at all, much less for under $100, is pretty much impossible. Creating a device that measures brew temp with some sort of accuracy... that's possible. But the Scace is a very different animal.


fanatic...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The Brewtus in not an HX machine but rather a dual boiler machine.

On the Brewtus a PID would be an upgrade though, with the E61 group, it would perhaps be less significant than you'd think. Would be different with a saturated group.

Ahhhh....  a dual group...  that does change things

Replicating the Scace Thermofilter at all, much less for under $100, is pretty much impossible. Creating a device that measures brew temp with some sort of accuracy... that's possible. But the Scace is a very different animal.

I see your point but does the integrated flow controller of the Scace provide enough accuracy to truly and replicate exactly what one will see in a production environment or is it a better choice because it's consistent when moved form one machien to the next?

For purposes of this discussion, in this context, my point of interest is the advanced home user who will be using a consistent tamp style and pressure and working on the same machine all the time.

Let's assume that a home-made device is used consisting of a bottomless PF and a thermocouple (bead probe) that is positioned atop the tamped puck... and a Fluke thermometer is attached.

In your opinion will this give accurate enough readings to be of value? I refer to the type of device that Schomer illustrated in one of the articles that has been widely circulated.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For the past 5 years I've used the Schomer methodology.

In one day of using the Scace I discovered just how:

a - inaccurate, and

b - not reproducable

it was.

Schomer method is far superior to the styrofoam cup method.

But Scace is far superior to it.


fanatic...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Wow, $ 4500 for a one group La Marz.  I wonder if I could actually taste the difference between something made on that machine vs. my Pasquini Livia.  Given that I already have a Rocky grinder and home-roast my own espresso, I wonder if a machine upgrade to that level of cost would really make a discernable difference in the end product.

Honestly... for almost all baristas (home or pro) the best bang for the buck is training. There are very few baristas who are truly limited by their espresso machine.

I agree in principle but do you have any specific reccomendations?

Ken

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I agree in principle but do you have any specific reccomendations?

David Schomer's class at Caffe Vivace in Seattle. I think Bellisimo in Portland also offers some barista training but I know very little about their program - malachi might be able to weigh in with some perspective on that - he's in that neck of the woods.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

AFAIK the class does not travel. But why not use that as a good excuse to visit Seattle and check out the great coffee scene, food and scenery?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

  • Similar Content

    • By catdaddy
      Mrs catdaddy has been good this year and I'm considering buying a Rancilio Silvia as a Christmas present. I know this machine gets a lot of love here, especially when outfitted with a PID. After reading many posts I'm just wondering if there is anything new (since 2013 say) I should know about  the Rancilio or other great machine on the market?
       
      Also any tips about use and/or essential other tools.....like a good knock box. We've got a great grinder already.
    • By Fernwood
      Anyone familiar with this little joint in the Village?  I assume some Brazilian roots because of items like pao de queijo and brigadeiros on the menu.  I would love to know about the coffee in the latte my husband brought me--such a bright flavor, not at all like typical espresso of my experience.  At home in CT we have access to a pretty great local roaster with quite a range of coffees.  I wish I knew about the coffee in that O Cafe latte so I could try for something similar from Willoughby's.  
    • By alacarte
      I recently took a trip to Northern Italy, and was delighted to find that the cappuccino everywhere was just wonderful, without exception. Smooth, flavorful, aromatic perfect crema, strong but not too strong.
      Aside from the obvious answer (duh, Italians created cappuccino ), what makes Italian capp so fantastic, and how do I duplicate the effect here?
      I'm wondering if it's the water, the way the coffee is ground or stored, the machines used....I'm baffled.
      Also noticed that the serving size tended to be smaller than what I'm used to -- i.e. a small teacupful vs. a brimming mug or Starbucks supersize. Not sure why that is either.
      Grazie mille for any insight on this!
    • By thecuriousone
      Hi everybody-
      Where can I find a recipe for mit schlage? I would like to make some coffee drinks for the holidays and top them with it. I havent been able to find anything other than a basic whipped cream recipe. Thanks for all of your help.
    • By Kasia
      INSTEAD OF COFFEE? - MORNING GREEN COCKTAIL
       
      After waking up, most of us head towards the kitchen for the most welcome morning drink. Coffee opens our eyes, gets us up and motivates us to act. Today I would like to offer you a healthy alternative to daily morning coffee. I don't want to turn you off coffee completely. After all, it has an excellent aroma and fantastic flavor. There isn't anything more relaxing during a busy day than a coffee break with friends.

      In spite of the weather outside, change your kitchen for a while and try something new. My green cocktail is also an excellent way to wake up and restore energy. Add to it a pinch of curcuma powder, which brings comfort and acts as a buffer against autumn depression.

      Ingredients (for 2 people):
      200ml of green tea
      4 new kale leaves
      1 green cucumber
      half an avocado
      1 pear
      1 banana
      pinch of salt
      pinch of curcuma

      Peel the avocado, pear and banana. Remove the core from the pear. Blend every ingredient very thoroughly. If the drink is too thick, add some green tea. Drink at once.

      Enjoy your drink!
       
       

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...