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nathanm

Synesso Cyncra

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I'm considering getting a Synesso Cyncra espresso machine.

I talked to the founder and designer, Mark Barnett at Coffee Fest in Seattle recently. The machine is very impressive, and there are a number of rave reviews. Anybody here actually have one and have some direct experience with its pros and cons?


Nathan

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I have no first-hand experience with one, but I've heard only good things about the machine. Before I upgrade from my e61 HX machine I'm waiting for the residential LM machine that is supposed to be coming out next year..

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Exceptional machines.

Great to work on.

Some issues with the pre-infusion model on multi-group machines.

Otherwise, pretty damn perfect.

Basically, one of the top three options for a commercial machine (Synesso Cyncra, Marzocco Mistral, Marzocco GB5).


fanatic...

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Some issues with the pre-infusion model on multi-group machines.

Basically, one of the top three options for a commercial machine (Synesso Cyncra, Marzocco Mistral, Marzocco GB5).

What are the issues with pre-infusion? As I understand it there are three positions - off, preinfusion, on. You are supposed to turn to preinfusion first until a drop comes out, then on. Does this not work well, or???

The Synesso advocates here in Seattle say this is just leagues beyond the La Marzocco machines - not even in the same category at all. This include David Schomer and the people at Victrola.


Nathan

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Pre-infusion on the multi-group machines will only pre-infuse on one group at a time. In other words, if a shot is pulling on one group and you start another, the second will not pre-infuse. As a result, few who use the machine bother with pre-infusion (including Schomer's folks at Vivace).

The Synesso was worlds ahead of the FB70 and Linea machines.

The new Marzoccos (the new semi-auto GB5 and the just-announced Marzocco Mistral) are on par.


fanatic...

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You could wait for the new LM home unit but some of the best espresso purveyors in North America are using the Cyncra and rave about it. Last time I was in Seattle I had some shots at both Vivace locations and at the Vic. Spoke at length with a barista at Victrola about the machine and also with Tonx when I popped back to check out their roasting operation.

The Victrola folks, guys like Schomer.... guys like Nick Cho at Murky Coffee in VA.... are dead serious in their pursuit of espresso quality. It's been in the field for long enough that the bugs are worked out and the daily volume at the referenced shops that use it proves that it's a rugged piece of equipment. If and when I have a shop of my own I'll own a multi-group but if I enter the roasting business full time instead ( a distinct possibility in a few short years) I intend to acquire one for evaluating the characteristics of various beans, roast profiles and brew temps.

Don't get me wrong - I'm not knocking La Marzocco - I own a four group Linea and work on an FB70 nearly every day but the Synesso is a great machine.

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OK, here is a question for you expert baristas. Considering that I am going to use the Syncra at home, should I get a single group head or the dual?

This is mainly a space issue, or perhaps a cost issue - but not just the cost of the machine, but I might need a lot more modifications/work to make the larger machine fit in the space I want to put it. I am trying to figure out if I can fit the 2-group machine - maybe yes, maybe no.

Volume wise, this is at home so it is mostly very small volume. My guess is that 4-5 shots per day, so not exactly coffee shop volume.

Occaisonally I'll have a dozen people over for dinner, and if they want coffee after dinner I might have to pull 12 shots in a row. However, I am NOT an expert barista. I can grind, tamp and pull a shot, but I tend to do it one at a time. It is unclear to me whether I will really be able to get a rhythm going such that I could really use two group heads simultaneously anyway. I can do a decent job of pulling one shot at a time, but it will take a while for me to be confident enough to do them in parallel. I am sure with practice I could get there, but I may not have enough call for this to practice enough to really use it anyway.

A different reason to get two group heads is that sometimes I'll want decaf and sometimes regular (I'll have two grinders). One advantage of two group heads is that I could set each one to a different temperature to match the blend I will use for decaf or regular (either from Vivace or Victrola). I should ask them the temps they use to see how different they are.

Any comments??


Nathan

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Definitely the one group. You can easily change brew temps on the fly with the Cyncra. If you're using both decaf and regular - no big deal - just have a grinder for each.

The benefit of a two group would be more steam power (I'm assuming that it has a larger steam boiler) and the ability to set the two brew heads to different temperature for different bean types.

The benefits of being able to pull multiple shots in shot succession by having a two group machine would be beneficial in a light volume commercial environment but I doubt that it would buy you much at home.

I have an Isomac E61 style machine with a far smaller boiler and more limited output (in terms of shots per hour) than a one group commercial machine like the Cyncra. But I can still bang out six espresso's in fairly short order and even do up to six traditional cappa's quickly enough to suit my needs. Doing a dozen in a row would be beyond the capabilities of my gear but I think with the Cyncra it wouldn't be too difficult.

You could in theory have a second person grinding, tamping and brewing alongside you on a two group machine but unless you work together regularly and have established a good intuitive rythm it doesn't buy much of an increase in speed.

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One group - but the 220v one not the 110v.

You might want to also look at the LM home machine given your needs.


fanatic...

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One group - but the 220v one not the 110v.

You might want to also look at the LM home machine given your needs.

Both great points. 220V will heat faster and be more efficient (electrically speaking) than the 110V model.

And you're based in Seattle - you should be able to finagle a chance to see, touch, feel both machines in person once the LM home machine is ready for market. ESI does not sell direct to end users but you'll have several local vendors including Visions Espresso who should have it available.

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220v also has a hot water spout (110v does not). And recovery time is nearly non-existent.


fanatic...

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...but you'll have several local vendors including Visions Espresso who should have it available.

Last I heard (re: the LM GS3/Home Machine), they'll be sold only through ESI at first... maybe for the first year.

Love the Synesso. Highly recommended. SIX stars. :wink:

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I assume that ESI is Espresso Specialists International, correct?

Any clue when the LM home machine will be out? Any clue whether it will have any advantages over Synesso?

Presumably if it is a "home" machine then it would have a price advantage because very few people are crazy enough to buy something like a Synesso for their house (although apparently about 10 machines have been delivered to individuals so far).

I want to get two grinders (regular and decaf) to go with the Synesso. I want small capacity - both to fit under counters, and also because my volume is low. Mazzer Mini, Mazzer Mini Electronic and Macap have all be recommened to me. Obviously, I don't want to betray the quality of the Synesso machine with bad grinders. However the really big commercial grinders are mainly driven by being able to grind all day long.


Nathan

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It's not really a "home" machine and the price reflects that. It will probably be cheaper than a Synesso, if that helps.

It should be out this coming year - with luck Spring/Summer.

I would probably suggest skipping the Macap due to the stepped grinding. Stepless will give you better results. I would suggest adding the Cimbali Junior to your list of grinders.

If you want more information about the Marzocco GS3, there are ongoing discussions of it on both CoffeeGeek.com and Home Barista.


Edited by malachi (log)

fanatic...

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Malachi offers a good suggestion with the Cimbali Junior grinder. I haven't used one but have been told that it's a better grinder and about the same price as the doser style Mazzer Mini. Also - it's much cheaper than the mazzer Mini doserless.

The Cimbali is 17" tall - the Mini is 16.5" with the special shortened hopper or about 18" with the standard hopper.

There is a new Mazzer Mini "E" model that is not only doserless but allows you to set the dosage amount and then have the grinder automatically start, grind and stop when the portafilter is placed on or slid into the fork assembly under the doser spout.

I see tremendous benefit to the concept but have not had any practical experience as to the results. Best to check the Conumer Reviews section at Coffeegeek to gain perspective on that.

I use Super Jolly's at home because I got a deal on them but mine don't need to fit under a cabinet. And I don't mind using a doser - have developed a system for brushing, sweeping etc that allows me to grind by the shot with minimal mess.

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I would probably suggest skipping the Macap due to the stepped grinding. Stepless will give you better results. I would suggest adding the Cimbali Junior to your list of grinders.

If you want more information about the Marzocco GS3, there are ongoing discussions of it on both CoffeeGeek.com and Home Barista.

The other sites were very helpful.

Do you know how many watts the GS3 is? Is it 110V or 220V?

Is the pump contained inside the GS3? The Synesso pump is externally mounted, which is a bit of a pain for installation.

Are the dimensions of the GS3 machine available - I did not see them on the other site. It looks smaller than the 1 group Synesso.

It seems like it will be a tough choice between the Synesso and the GS3. One is probably a bit cheaper, but might not be out for 6 months. The other is available now... It is hard to say that I "need" it sooner because who "needs" a machine like this, but I do want to get one sooner.

Thanks for the tip on the Cimbali Junior grinder.


Nathan

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GS3 will be available in both 110 and 220.

GS3 pump is internal.

GS3 is smaller than the Synesso (dimensions not final yet).


fanatic...

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GS3 will be available in both 110 and 220.

GS3 pump is internal.

GS3 is smaller than the Synesso (dimensions not final yet).

Hmmm.... sounds very tempting. The internal pump is a real installation advantage. Nevertheless, I have been leaning towards the Synesso just because it is available now, and has been proven for a while in commercial settings... From what you said earlier, you don't think I could go wrong with a Synesso, right?


Nathan

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For home use either of these machines is theoretically overkill.

Personally... I would say it depends on your goals. The GS3 is probably going to be "easier" to use than the Synesso but the Synesso should be more "flexible" for a top barista.

It's like choosing between a Porsche C4S and a Ferrari Modena.


fanatic...

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For home use either of these machines is theoretically overkill.

Personally... I would say it depends on your goals. The GS3 is probably going to be "easier" to use than the Synesso but the Synesso should be more "flexible" for a top barista.

It's like choosing between a Porsche C4S and a Ferrari Modena.

Of course it is overkill, but my whole kitchen is overkill, so this fits in. Obsession with the best is like that. There are certainly cheaper and

easier ways to ingest caffeine - but not better ways!

The GS3 is an automatic machine, whereas the Synesso is manual - is that what you mean?

I am not an expert barista, but I was trained by David Schomer. To me, the only difference between the manual and automatic is deciding when to stop the pour, and to me that is not that hard to judge. In particular, if you get the grind or tamping wrong, you may be able to compensate by stopping the pour (if it comes out too fast, for example). So, an automatic machine does not seem to me to be much of an advantage.

Also, if I get a Synesso now I should have a lot of practice between now and the 6-9 months when the GS3 comes out. You have the great advantage of having a prototype NOW. If both machines were currently available, I think that I would go for the GS3 because I dont' have to separately install the pump, it looks smaller, and (I am guessing) would be $1000 (or so) cheaper.


Nathan

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My Synesso Cyncra was installed yesterday - 1 group, 220V.

So far it is working great and I am getting used to the machine - tweaking things to get it the way I want it.

I happened to notice an ongoing review of the machine on home-barista.com.


Nathan

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Thanks for the update Nathan. That's an excellent review you posted a link for. The differences seen in espresso when temps are adjusted even 1/2 a degree are remarkable. I'll be very curious to hear your take on how the blends you work with compare to what you experienced with them before either in a shop or at home (did you have an espresso machine at home before the Cyncra?).

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