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Date: 25 Apr 2007 14:28:14
From:
Subject: Home Machine Advice
Hello all, I was hoping to get some advice on purchasing a home
machine and grinder. I will be using the machine to make 2-3
americanos in the morning, my wife may use it for making tea, and on
occasion I make milk based drinks on the weekends or evenings. I have
budgeted around $1200-1500, and would like to get a machine and
grinder that would be expected to last 6-8 years with normal
maintenance. I have looked at the Silvia, Livia, and Isomac Venus,
and Lever. Any opinions on which might deliver the best consistent
shots, and be reliable? Thanks

Catarino





 
Date: 28 Apr 2007 15:28:03
From: megatec45
Subject: Re: Home Machine Advice
On Apr 28, 12:14 pm, catarino.fernan...@gmail.com wrote:
> On Apr 27, 11:38 am, Dave b <davebobbl...@gmail.com> wrote:
>
>
>
>
>
> > On Apr 27, 10:29 am, gscace <gregory.sc...@nist.gov> wrote:
>
> > > On Apr 27, 8:14 am, Dave b <davebobbl...@gmail.com> wrote:
>
> > > > Would it be
>
> > > > > reasonable to assume that with a good grinder like a Mazzer or Rocky
> > > > > that I could increase the quality of my shots on the FF X3, get a
> > > > > little more mileage out of it
>
> > > > Yes, you REALLY need a grinder.
>
> > > > It will permit truly fresh coffe and a great measure of control, as
> > > > grind affects a huge amount of the process.
>
> > > > dave
>
> > > Dave is right. The difference in espresso quality between your use of
> > > pre-ground coffee and grinding for each shot will be remarkable to
> > > you. Not only will the coffee be fresher, but you will be able to
> > > tailor the grind fineness correctly for you local environmental
> > > conditions and for your machine's proclivities. As for grinder
> > > selection, the Rocky is an OK choice. It produces quality grinds and
> > > will be a quantum leap up from your current situation. However, the
> > > cost is pretty close to $300.00 these days, the doser is pretty basic,
> > > and grind fineness is controlled by adjusting the upper grinding burr
> > > position in discreet steps. Stepless is better. Since you appear to
> > > be willing to spend some coin, and you already have gotten your
> > > espresso feet wet with the FF X3, I'd recommend that you buy the best
> > > damn grinder you can stomache paying for. You'll reap the rewards
> > > many times over and you'll be amazed by the influence that the grinder
> > > has on the finished product. Mazzer mini is a very good choice for
> > > someone in your situation. A Mazzer Super Jolly is bigger, won't fit
> > > on counters with overhanging cabinets, but grinds a double shot's
> > > worth of coffee in around 8 seconds, compared to 15 for the mini. The
> > > Cimbali Junior is excellent as well - on a par with the Super Jolly.
> > > The Junior's doser is very nice, and the Junior will fit under
> > > overhanging cabinets. It also grinds a double shot in 8 secs. You
> > > can find used Mazzer Super Jollys on ebay. Typically they have seen
> > > commercial duty in coffee shops, so they can be assumed to have been
> > > run hard. If you're not afraid of working on machinery you can get a
> > > pretty good deal buying used. They typically need new grinding burrs,
> > > and new hoppers / hopper covers. Mazzer parts are widely available.
> > > Cimbali burrs are easily found, but bean hoppers and lids may be
> > > harder to find.
>
> > > -Greg
>
> > totally agree with Greg. just one thing -- the Cimbali Jr. grinder is
> > great -- but noisy! I had to unload mine -- it was awakening the wife
> > in the AM!
>
> > now have a Mazzer mini -- great!
>
> > dave- Hide quoted text -
>
> > - Show quoted text -
>
> Thanks for all the info! What is the difference between a grinder
> which is ETL, and a grinder which is not ETL? Thanks again!- Hide quoted text -
>
> - Show quoted text -

ETL is the electrical standards certification. In most cases if you
are a commercial customer this certification is required
ETL certification insures that a manufacturer is utilizing quality
components for product safety, and ongoing inspections and site visits
by ETL insure that manufacturers do not deviate from those standards
of product safety. Ultimately, this insures you that internal
components are not changed (usually cost cutting) without the approval
of ETL.
I found these quotes at a couple of vendors sites.



 
Date: 28 Apr 2007 12:14:57
From:
Subject: Re: Home Machine Advice
On Apr 27, 11:38 am, Dave b <davebobbl...@gmail.com > wrote:
> On Apr 27, 10:29 am, gscace <gregory.sc...@nist.gov> wrote:
>
>
>
>
>
> > On Apr 27, 8:14 am, Dave b <davebobbl...@gmail.com> wrote:
>
> > > Would it be
>
> > > > reasonable to assume that with a good grinder like a Mazzer or Rocky
> > > > that I could increase the quality of my shots on the FF X3, get a
> > > > little more mileage out of it
>
> > > Yes, you REALLY need a grinder.
>
> > > It will permit truly fresh coffe and a great measure of control, as
> > > grind affects a huge amount of the process.
>
> > > dave
>
> > Dave is right. The difference in espresso quality between your use of
> > pre-ground coffee and grinding for each shot will be remarkable to
> > you. Not only will the coffee be fresher, but you will be able to
> > tailor the grind fineness correctly for you local environmental
> > conditions and for your machine's proclivities. As for grinder
> > selection, the Rocky is an OK choice. It produces quality grinds and
> > will be a quantum leap up from your current situation. However, the
> > cost is pretty close to $300.00 these days, the doser is pretty basic,
> > and grind fineness is controlled by adjusting the upper grinding burr
> > position in discreet steps. Stepless is better. Since you appear to
> > be willing to spend some coin, and you already have gotten your
> > espresso feet wet with the FF X3, I'd recommend that you buy the best
> > damn grinder you can stomache paying for. You'll reap the rewards
> > many times over and you'll be amazed by the influence that the grinder
> > has on the finished product. Mazzer mini is a very good choice for
> > someone in your situation. A Mazzer Super Jolly is bigger, won't fit
> > on counters with overhanging cabinets, but grinds a double shot's
> > worth of coffee in around 8 seconds, compared to 15 for the mini. The
> > Cimbali Junior is excellent as well - on a par with the Super Jolly.
> > The Junior's doser is very nice, and the Junior will fit under
> > overhanging cabinets. It also grinds a double shot in 8 secs. You
> > can find used Mazzer Super Jollys on ebay. Typically they have seen
> > commercial duty in coffee shops, so they can be assumed to have been
> > run hard. If you're not afraid of working on machinery you can get a
> > pretty good deal buying used. They typically need new grinding burrs,
> > and new hoppers / hopper covers. Mazzer parts are widely available.
> > Cimbali burrs are easily found, but bean hoppers and lids may be
> > harder to find.
>
> > -Greg
>
> totally agree with Greg. just one thing -- the Cimbali Jr. grinder is
> great -- but noisy! I had to unload mine -- it was awakening the wife
> in the AM!
>
> now have a Mazzer mini -- great!
>
> dave- Hide quoted text -
>
> - Show quoted text -


Thanks for all the info! What is the difference between a grinder
which is ETL, and a grinder which is not ETL? Thanks again!



 
Date: 27 Apr 2007 11:38:28
From: Dave b
Subject: Re: Home Machine Advice
On Apr 27, 10:29 am, gscace <gregory.sc...@nist.gov > wrote:
> On Apr 27, 8:14 am, Dave b <davebobbl...@gmail.com> wrote:
>
> > Would it be
>
> > > reasonable to assume that with a good grinder like a Mazzer or Rocky
> > > that I could increase the quality of my shots on the FF X3, get a
> > > little more mileage out of it
>
> > Yes, you REALLY need a grinder.
>
> > It will permit truly fresh coffe and a great measure of control, as
> > grind affects a huge amount of the process.
>
> > dave
>
> Dave is right. The difference in espresso quality between your use of
> pre-ground coffee and grinding for each shot will be remarkable to
> you. Not only will the coffee be fresher, but you will be able to
> tailor the grind fineness correctly for you local environmental
> conditions and for your machine's proclivities. As for grinder
> selection, the Rocky is an OK choice. It produces quality grinds and
> will be a quantum leap up from your current situation. However, the
> cost is pretty close to $300.00 these days, the doser is pretty basic,
> and grind fineness is controlled by adjusting the upper grinding burr
> position in discreet steps. Stepless is better. Since you appear to
> be willing to spend some coin, and you already have gotten your
> espresso feet wet with the FF X3, I'd recommend that you buy the best
> damn grinder you can stomache paying for. You'll reap the rewards
> many times over and you'll be amazed by the influence that the grinder
> has on the finished product. Mazzer mini is a very good choice for
> someone in your situation. A Mazzer Super Jolly is bigger, won't fit
> on counters with overhanging cabinets, but grinds a double shot's
> worth of coffee in around 8 seconds, compared to 15 for the mini. The
> Cimbali Junior is excellent as well - on a par with the Super Jolly.
> The Junior's doser is very nice, and the Junior will fit under
> overhanging cabinets. It also grinds a double shot in 8 secs. You
> can find used Mazzer Super Jollys on ebay. Typically they have seen
> commercial duty in coffee shops, so they can be assumed to have been
> run hard. If you're not afraid of working on machinery you can get a
> pretty good deal buying used. They typically need new grinding burrs,
> and new hoppers / hopper covers. Mazzer parts are widely available.
> Cimbali burrs are easily found, but bean hoppers and lids may be
> harder to find.
>
> -Greg

totally agree with Greg. just one thing -- the Cimbali Jr. grinder is
great -- but noisy! I had to unload mine -- it was awakening the wife
in the AM!

now have a Mazzer mini -- great!

dave



 
Date: 27 Apr 2007 11:10:14
From: gscace
Subject: Re: Home Machine Advice
On Apr 27, 12:13 am, catarino.fernan...@gmail.com wrote:
> Thanks for all of the suggestions! I currently am using a fairly new
> FF X3 with beans that I get ground from a local roaster in San Diego.
> With this I can usually finesse out shots that are pretty good (to
> me), although most of the time it seems like the pucks are still
> pretty wet right after I am done pulling them. Would it be
> reasonable to assume that with a good grinder like a Mazzer or Rocky
> that I could increase the quality of my shots on the FF X3, get a
> little more mileage out of it and upgrade to an shiny HX further down
> the line? Thanks again!



It's your lucky day. Go to this link and see that you can get a
Cimbali Jr. grinder for 450.00 by mentioning the appropriate
information.

http://www.home-barista.com/forums/hb-second-anniversary-celebration-t3797-20.html

That's a helluva deal.

-Greg



 
Date: 27 Apr 2007 07:29:15
From: gscace
Subject: Re: Home Machine Advice
On Apr 27, 8:14 am, Dave b <davebobbl...@gmail.com > wrote:
> Would it be
>
> > reasonable to assume that with a good grinder like a Mazzer or Rocky
> > that I could increase the quality of my shots on the FF X3, get a
> > little more mileage out of it
>
> Yes, you REALLY need a grinder.
>
> It will permit truly fresh coffe and a great measure of control, as
> grind affects a huge amount of the process.
>
> dave

Dave is right. The difference in espresso quality between your use of
pre-ground coffee and grinding for each shot will be remarkable to
you. Not only will the coffee be fresher, but you will be able to
tailor the grind fineness correctly for you local environmental
conditions and for your machine's proclivities. As for grinder
selection, the Rocky is an OK choice. It produces quality grinds and
will be a quantum leap up from your current situation. However, the
cost is pretty close to $300.00 these days, the doser is pretty basic,
and grind fineness is controlled by adjusting the upper grinding burr
position in discreet steps. Stepless is better. Since you appear to
be willing to spend some coin, and you already have gotten your
espresso feet wet with the FF X3, I'd recommend that you buy the best
damn grinder you can stomache paying for. You'll reap the rewards
many times over and you'll be amazed by the influence that the grinder
has on the finished product. Mazzer mini is a very good choice for
someone in your situation. A Mazzer Super Jolly is bigger, won't fit
on counters with overhanging cabinets, but grinds a double shot's
worth of coffee in around 8 seconds, compared to 15 for the mini. The
Cimbali Junior is excellent as well - on a par with the Super Jolly.
The Junior's doser is very nice, and the Junior will fit under
overhanging cabinets. It also grinds a double shot in 8 secs. You
can find used Mazzer Super Jollys on ebay. Typically they have seen
commercial duty in coffee shops, so they can be assumed to have been
run hard. If you're not afraid of working on machinery you can get a
pretty good deal buying used. They typically need new grinding burrs,
and new hoppers / hopper covers. Mazzer parts are widely available.
Cimbali burrs are easily found, but bean hoppers and lids may be
harder to find.

-Greg



 
Date: 27 Apr 2007 05:14:29
From: Dave b
Subject: Re: Home Machine Advice
Would it be
> reasonable to assume that with a good grinder like a Mazzer or Rocky
> that I could increase the quality of my shots on the FF X3, get a
> little more mileage out of it


Yes, you REALLY need a grinder.

It will permit truly fresh coffe and a great measure of control, as
grind affects a huge amount of the process.


dave



 
Date: 26 Apr 2007 21:13:43
From:
Subject: Re: Home Machine Advice

Thanks for all of the suggestions! I currently am using a fairly new
FF X3 with beans that I get ground from a local roaster in San Diego.
With this I can usually finesse out shots that are pretty good (to
me), although most of the time it seems like the pucks are still
pretty wet right after I am done pulling them. Would it be
reasonable to assume that with a good grinder like a Mazzer or Rocky
that I could increase the quality of my shots on the FF X3, get a
little more mileage out of it and upgrade to an shiny HX further down
the line? Thanks again!



 
Date: 26 Apr 2007 18:10:47
From: gscace
Subject: Re: Home Machine Advice
On Apr 26, 2:36 pm, "Robert Harmon" <r_h_har...@Zhotmail.com > wrote:
> Howdy Greg!
> For someone making americanos & hot tea the HX machines are not a good
> recommendation. The boiler water tends to get pretty nasty even for steam &
> is almost toxic when used for tea, hot chocolate, & americanos. It'd be nice
> if the manufacturers built in a handy way to drain the machines so this
> witches brew could be flushed. I suggest using the HX machine to pull your
> shot & heat the water separately using another method.
> --
> Robert (Gig 'em!) Harmonwww.tinyurl.com/mb4uj- My coffee pageswww.tinyurl.com/2tnv87- Guidelines for newbies.www.tinyurl.com/37gwfr- I may have stuff available for sale here.
>


I respectfully disagree. The issue of skanky water is one of operator
cleanliness and maintenance. Provided that the boiler is clean and
there is no scale to begin with there's no reason for water to get
skanky if one uses appropriately conditioned water and changes it out
periodically. I presume that water in a small boiler is pretty easy
to change out thru the hot water wand, particularly if the use pattern
includes making lots of americanos. I certainly had no troubles with
water quality when I had an Astra (almost 5 liter boiler volume).
Alternatively one can use the steam wand to heat tap water.

-Greg



 
Date: 26 Apr 2007 11:44:56
From: gscace
Subject: Re: Home Machine Advice
On Apr 25, 5:28 pm, catarino.fernan...@gmail.com wrote:
> Hello all, I was hoping to get some advice on purchasing a home
> machine and grinder. I will be using the machine to make 2-3
> americanos in the morning, my wife may use it for making tea, and on
> occasion I make milk based drinks on the weekends or evenings. I have
> budgeted around $1200-1500, and would like to get a machine and
> grinder that would be expected to last 6-8 years with normal
> maintenance. I have looked at the Silvia, Livia, and Isomac Venus,
> and Lever. Any opinions on which might deliver the best consistent
> shots, and be reliable? Thanks
>
> Catarino

Sounds to me like you're a candidate for a package deal from one of
the online retailers. Since you indicate that you want to make
Americanos I'm thinking that the Silvia or Venus is not for you
because the hot water required for americanos upsets the temperature
applecart pretty dramatically. I don't think the Livia is as good a
machine for you as a small heat exchanger machine with an e-61 style
group. There are lots of them out there and the field is pretty
competitive. A vibe pump is fine - no need to buy a rotary pump
machine.

An example of such a machine in your price range is here:

http://www.chriscoffee.com/products/home/espresso/anita

Also check for stuff at first line equipment. They are good guys.
Here's a link to another machine at tht top of your range (not a whole
lot of wiggle room for grinder):
http://www.1st-line.com/machines/home_mod/fiorenzato/bricoletta_tank_lever.htm#BricLT

The e-61 style group in these machines is pretty forgiving. This type
of machines makes very good espresso, has good steaming power for
making those milk drinks, and can supply hot water for tea and
americanos. The bricoletta should steam milk better than the Anita
since it has a larger boiler than the Anita and a bigger heating
element. One important thing to consider in your machine choice is
that steaming milk is a real pain in the yass with a non-heat
exchanger, single boiler machine like the Silvia or the Venus. With
the Silvia or Venus you will to wait for the boiler temperature to
increase to very high temperature before you can steam milk. This
takes a couple of minutes and gets real time-consuming when you want
to show off your barista skills at your next dinner party. If you
want to make subsequent espressos you will have to cool everything
back down. Cooling down to the correct temperature is actually quite
tricky because while the boiler temperature may come down to a known
value, the group temperature will be overly hot for a while. It's
much better to go the heat exchanger route, so that you can steam and
brew at the same time.

I haven't mentioned grinders yet, but I will do so now. You have
budgeted enough money for a very nice setup. Get a good grinder right
off the bat!!! Resist the temptation to chintz out on the grinder. A
poor grinder that can't produce a consistent grind makes the whole
setup lousy, regardless of your espresso machine choice. With a very
good grinder you can make shockingly good espresso with almost any
espresso machine that has a pump delivering the hot water to the
group. So negotiate with whoever to get the best grinder you can get
your mitts on. I have had very good experiences with the Mazzers.
You can't screw up with one of those, and they will hold their resale
value very well should you get upgrade fever in the future. I like
Mazzer grinders because they are bulletproof commercial gear. They
are very high quality machines with easy adjustability. The adjusting
incrememts are as small as you can make em, compared to grinders whose
adjustments are in discreet steps. Stepped adjustment is a pain in
the yass. Eventually you're gonna want to adjust in a smaller
increment than the steps allow. Mazzer grinders last forever. They
run very quietly. They're just nice. I'm guessing you might be able
to finagle the Anita and the Mazzer mini for 1500 bux and you would be
in very good shape indeed.

-Greg Scace



  
Date: 26 Apr 2007 19:36:01
From: Robert Harmon
Subject: Re: Home Machine Advice
Howdy Greg!
For someone making americanos & hot tea the HX machines are not a good
recommendation. The boiler water tends to get pretty nasty even for steam &
is almost toxic when used for tea, hot chocolate, & americanos. It'd be nice
if the manufacturers built in a handy way to drain the machines so this
witches brew could be flushed. I suggest using the HX machine to pull your
shot & heat the water separately using another method.
--
Robert (Gig 'em!) Harmon
www.tinyurl.com/mb4uj - My coffee pages
www.tinyurl.com/2tnv87 - Guidelines for newbies.
www.tinyurl.com/37gwfr - I may have stuff available for sale here.

"gscace" <gregory.scace@nist.gov > wrote in message
news:1177613096.439321.157150@o40g2000prh.googlegroups.com...
>
> Sounds to me like you're a candidate for a package deal from one of
> the online retailers. Since you indicate that you want to make
> Americanos I'm thinking that the Silvia or Venus is not for you
> because the hot water required for americanos upsets the temperature
> applecart pretty dramatically. I don't think the Livia is as good a
> machine for you as a small heat exchanger machine with an e-61 style
> group. There are lots of them out there and the field is pretty
> competitive. A vibe pump is fine - no need to buy a rotary pump
> machine.
>
> An example of such a machine in your price range is here:
>
> http://www.chriscoffee.com/products/home/espresso/anita
>
> Also check for stuff at first line equipment. They are good guys.
> Here's a link to another machine at tht top of your range (not a whole
> lot of wiggle room for grinder):
> http://www.1st-line.com/machines/home_mod/fiorenzato/bricoletta_tank_lever.htm#BricLT
>
> The e-61 style group in these machines is pretty forgiving. This type
> of machines makes very good espresso, has good steaming power for
> making those milk drinks, and can supply hot water for tea and
> americanos. The bricoletta should steam milk better than the Anita
> since it has a larger boiler than the Anita and a bigger heating
> element. One important thing to consider in your machine choice is
> that steaming milk is a real pain in the yass with a non-heat
> exchanger, single boiler machine like the Silvia or the Venus. With
> the Silvia or Venus you will to wait for the boiler temperature to
> increase to very high temperature before you can steam milk. This
> takes a couple of minutes and gets real time-consuming when you want
> to show off your barista skills at your next dinner party. If you
> want to make subsequent espressos you will have to cool everything
> back down. Cooling down to the correct temperature is actually quite
> tricky because while the boiler temperature may come down to a known
> value, the group temperature will be overly hot for a while. It's
> much better to go the heat exchanger route, so that you can steam and
> brew at the same time.
>
> I haven't mentioned grinders yet, but I will do so now. You have
> budgeted enough money for a very nice setup. Get a good grinder right
> off the bat!!! Resist the temptation to chintz out on the grinder. A
> poor grinder that can't produce a consistent grind makes the whole
> setup lousy, regardless of your espresso machine choice. With a very
> good grinder you can make shockingly good espresso with almost any
> espresso machine that has a pump delivering the hot water to the
> group. So negotiate with whoever to get the best grinder you can get
> your mitts on. I have had very good experiences with the Mazzers.
> You can't screw up with one of those, and they will hold their resale
> value very well should you get upgrade fever in the future. I like
> Mazzer grinders because they are bulletproof commercial gear. They
> are very high quality machines with easy adjustability. The adjusting
> incrememts are as small as you can make em, compared to grinders whose
> adjustments are in discreet steps. Stepped adjustment is a pain in
> the yass. Eventually you're gonna want to adjust in a smaller
> increment than the steps allow. Mazzer grinders last forever. They
> run very quietly. They're just nice. I'm guessing you might be able
> to finagle the Anita and the Mazzer mini for 1500 bux and you would be
> in very good shape indeed.
>
> -Greg Scace
>




 
Date: 26 Apr 2007 07:36:16
From: Dave b
Subject: Re: Home Machine Advice
On Apr 25, 5:28 pm, catarino.fernan...@gmail.com wrote:
> Hello all, I was hoping to get some advice on purchasing a home
> machine and grinder. I will be using the machine to make 2-3
> americanos in the morning, my wife may use it for making tea, and on
> occasion I make milk based drinks on the weekends or evenings. I have
> budgeted around $1200-1500, and would like to get a machine and
> grinder that would be expected to last 6-8 years with normal
> maintenance. I have looked at the Silvia, Livia, and Isomac Venus,
> and Lever. Any opinions on which might deliver the best consistent
> shots, and be reliable? Thanks
>
> Catarino

easy!

http://tinyurl.com/28xyo9

dave



 
Date: 26 Apr 2007 05:02:48
From: Dave b
Subject: Re: Home Machine Advice
On Apr 25, 5:28 pm, catarino.fernan...@gmail.com wrote:
> Hello all, I was hoping to get some advice on purchasing a home
> machine and grinder. I will be using the machine to make 2-3
> americanos in the morning, my wife may use it for making tea, and on
> occasion I make milk based drinks on the weekends or evenings. I have
> budgeted around $1200-1500, and would like to get a machine and
> grinder that would be expected to last 6-8 years with normal
> maintenance. I have looked at the Silvia, Livia, and Isomac Venus,
> and Lever. Any opinions on which might deliver the best consistent
> shots, and be reliable? Thanks
>
> Catarino

easy.
and way under budget:

http://tinyurl.com/28o57u

Dave
www.hitechespresso.com



 
Date: 26 Apr 2007 02:48:03
From: LF
Subject: Re: Home Machine Advice
On Apr 25, 5:28 pm, catarino.fernan...@gmail.com wrote:
> Hello all, I was hoping to get some advice on purchasing a home
> machine and grinder.

See:
<http://www.coffeegeek.com/opinions/markprince/12-18-2006 >
for one well thought out point of view.

Larry