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Bond Girl

Fancy Coffee Systems

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Member Edsel said:

La Marzocco has a 110 V machine, the GS3, coming out soon (they showed it at the SCAA show). $4500 according to rumor - yikes! It's semi-auto (programmable dosing), but you still need to grind the coffee, fill the portafilter, tamp and load. Not rocket science, but still a bit tricky. There are auto-tamping devices that take the guesswork out of that aspect, but still there are variables to deal with.

I was fortunate to test drive a beta model GS3 back in January. Espresso PID control guru Andy Schecter of nearby Rochester had one on loan for testing and evaluation and invited me there top pull some shots. It still had a few minor bugs because it was a test machine - not a production model.

But it rocks! It produces phenomenal results with great consistency and although it's unassuming on the outside it's a brilliant design. It can easily be adapted to either directly plumbed or run from an internal user refillable resevoir. has a realtively easy to adjust brew temp control that's is rumored to be accurate to 1/10 of a degree and has the dual boiler design that has made La Marzocco justly famous.

The price does not surprise me nor does it dissuade me. I expect to see one appear in the ultra-secret Phaelon Coffee test lab before year's end. Seriously... this is a really good machine.

There will be a surprisingly large number of home users who buy the GS3 but there's an even bigger market of specialty bakeries, chocolatiers, bistro's and other commercial clients who need to produce perhaps 30 - 60 drinks per day and have limited space available.

And those of you who have not had the opportunity to taste several shots of espresso intentionally pulled at predictable temperatures ranging by only a 1/2 or 1 degree would be amazed at what a difference a single degree or less can make in flavor profile.

The pundits and guru's are already discussing pressure profiling now that consistent, highly granular and relatively stable temperature control is available.

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The price does not surprise me nor does it dissuade me.  I expect to see one appear in the ultra-secret Phaelon Coffee test lab before year's end. Seriously...  this is a really good machine.

Owen, you're getting a GS3??? I'll be over.

Ken

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Owen, you're getting a GS3??? I'll be over.

I haven't ordered one yet but plan to do so when the money is freed up and hope to have it before the year is out. Although I anticipate that there will be a waiting list and backorder situation.

I've heard mixed reports on the GB5 - a multi-group PID's / preheated water version of the FB70 (aka Linea withy a sexy body). Some say it rivals a Synesso but a larger group seem to indicate some notable shortcomings. The GS3, OTOH, is a new design from the ground up in most respects but does incorporate the famous "paddlewheel" grouphead (thus the GS designation).

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I think I want an apparatus that makes froth milk.  I own an espresso machine, not a capuccino maker, so I don't actually have anything that makes frothy milk. No tips that blows steam into my milk either.

What is the best way to do think, something advanced or old fashioned?

What you have is a lever style espresso machine - a traditional design intended for straight espresso only. There are many other great espresso machines available, the better "pro-sumer" models being in the category generically known as "E61 grouphead" design. This means they have a thermosyphon that circulates hot water inside the fairly massive brewing grouphead to maintain brewing temp in the right temperature range.

It's a good design and by drawing off about 6 to 10 oz of water before pulling a shot (assuming the machine has been idle for more than ten minutes) the average user can get fairly consistent brew temps and very good results - much easier than lever machines. And most of the models have the HX (heat exchanger) featuire - meaning the brew water is heated spearately form the bolier water that is used to produce steam. Thus one is able to steam milk immediately before, after or during the shot rather than waiting to get the boiler water lowered to the right temp for brewing after doign the milk steaming.

But you still have to grind, dose and tamp. I love it and don't mind the small bit of mess (easily cleaned up) but it's not for everyone.

There are stand-alone steamers on the market but the good ones are pricey and nearly as large as the E61 espresso machines. The Aerolatte, Froth au Lait and other such devices are good at what they do but are not a substitute.

Those products make frothed milk not microfoamed milk. Properly steamed/foamed milk for a traditional cappuccino will have a silky, velvety feel and texture with a nice sheen on the surface. Rather than having meringue-like peaks that are whipped up it has a pourable texture. It takes some practice and also the right equipment. It's next to impossible to do it well on espresso machines in the sub $500 range (the Rancilio Silvia at $495 being the exception).

If you want to seee milk that's foamed the wrong way go into any Starbucks and look at the layer of foam sitting on top of the steamed milk in their giant steamign pitchers. Now go to a place like 9th Street Espresso or head out to Williamsburg to Gimme or over to Greenpoint to Grumpy and order a cappuccino. You'll get latte art poured onthe surface of your drink and you'll also see milk texturing the way it's supposed to be done.

I'm not denying that the really frothy light foam piled on the surface of a milk based espresso is appealing to many people - I accept that it is. But if you want milk that melds and sort of folds into the espresso's crema in a way that creates superb mouthfeel and a textural beverage experience - you need properly foamed milk.

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With "all-in-one" devices and especially with high end "built-in's"  one can not assume that there's a correlation between drink quality and price.  I can make better espresso with a $200 machine and a $100 grinder and better cpffee with a $3 plastic filter cone and $20 grinder relative to what a shiny new Miele can produce.

This is true and good advice. I live in Switzerland where the Miele and Jura machines are in every office and most homes. Other than the one-touch feature I can't say the coffee is that great. I use the $3 plastic cone too and spend the balance on really fine quality coffee. For expresso, I have a Jura N50 and the use the "Ristretto" capsule and in my opinion it is much better than the automatic machines.

Having said all that, there is still no comparison to the coffee I get in Italy at the coffee bars for .80 cents a shot. They have ruined coffee at home for me.

By the way, is Nespresso widely available in the US?

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is Nespresso widely available in the US?

It's available but doesn't get discussed much. If it used pods other than Nespresso brand that might change but Keurig for K-styel cartridges and Senseo for pods seem to be the biggest pod style machiens at the moment.

There's also a sizable market for a variety of pods used by folks who have a pod insert in a standard sem-auto espresso machine. Illy has made a big marketing push for their pods and have partnered them up with Francis Francis mahcines at the lower to mid price range and the Pasquini Livia at the higher end.

Thomas Keller even uses Illy pods at Bouchon Bakery (both in NYC and CA) but the espresso is just as flat and uninteresting when his staff makes it as when anyone else does. :wacko:

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As I start to research my coffee system for my new kitchen, I notice that Dacor also makes a Coffee System similar to Miele's. Knowing in advance that I just want to choose between one of these two systems, which one is the better unit?


Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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As I start to research my coffee system for my new kitchen, I notice that Dacor also makes a Coffee System similar to Miele's.  Knowing in advance that I just want to choose between one of these two systems, which one is the better unit?

If you're determined to have a built-in I suggest checking to see if you can find out who actually makes it for dacor. I'm sure it's some other manufacturer's system with their badge on it.

Overall my feeling is that you'll get the same middling drink quality from the Miele or the Dacor - therefore I'd lean towards the one that will have the best warranty and/or best local support and service available.

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Support/service isn't an issue for either one. The place where I buy all my appliances is terrific and I just call them. The main difference I see with the Dacor is that it accepts either ground coffee or whole beans, while the Miele only accepts ground beans. but I've seen the Miele coffee system in use, but not the Dacor so I wondered if anyone had experience with it.


Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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