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Date: 07 Aug 2007 00:30:06
From: ramboorider@gmail.com
Subject: What's up with Brewtus
I'm your fairly typical home barista - not as scientifically
interested as a lot of you folks, but interested enough to spend
enough time to get reasonably good with the equipment I have and half-
thinking about upgrading at some point. The equipment I have is the
basic Silvia (w/PID) and Rocky combo and, although I play around with
different coffees from time to time, I'm 90% into Black Cat because my
results are more consistently good with that than anything else I've
tried. It took me a few months to get really consistent with my
technique, but I'm pretty good now, if I say so myself. An occasional
great shot, lots of good ones, and bad ones only when I have a new
batch of coffee or a big change in the weather that I haven't adjusted
my grind to yet. Bottom line - I think I've gotten about as good with
this gear as I'm gonna get and it's usually pretty damn good. But I'm
always curious about what else is out there.

I may not upgrade - I don't do that many milk drinks and can handle
the demand with the Silvia most of the time. But the idea of a machine
that's gonna be both more consistent and forgiving than the Silvia is
intriguing. I wouldn't mind getting to the point where my baseline is
pretty close to the best shots I'm making now, which I think may be
possible with a better grinder and machine. While I may ultimately end
up with an HX machine and learn to get good at the cooling flush, I'm
real drawn to the home-market double boilers for the relative idiot-
proofness of them (the same reason I started off with a PID controlled
Silvia). The Vivaldi II is tempting, but it requires specialized
electric and plumbing and it takes up more room than I can comfortably
give it. And I already have an arsenal of tampers and portafilters and
baskets, etc in 58mm and am not excited to re-standardize at 53mm. So
I started reading about the Brewtus again, which I'd kind of dismissed
based on what seemed like general critical disdain, but the stuff I've
seen recently has been pretty damn positive. A buyer's guide review on
HB, some user reviews on CG, etc. And while the machine isn't
beautiful or perfect, it seems to fit the bill really well for a few
folks with what sound like the same needs/wants as me. The price slots
right in there with the high end HX machines too. Fits on the counter,
runs on standard electric, is a pourover (a downside to some, but an
upside to me).

But the reaction around here has never even reached the level of luke-
warm from what I can find. How come? What's up with that? Am I missing
something?

Also, if I do pull the trigger sometime, how much better of a grinder
would I need to get the most from that machine? Can the Rocky hang or
would a Macap or Mazza be notably better?

Just wondering,

-Ray





 
Date: 13 Aug 2007 14:00:35
From: J Beecham
Subject: Re: What's up with Brewtus
I feel compelled to comment since I just went through a similar
exercise. I have had a silvia for over five years and it has been
flawless. I have gone through several grinders and I am happy with my
macap. I was looking for an alternative to silvia for two reasons.

1. I wanted more consistency.
2. I wanted to make good coffee, but in less time and with less
intensive input. We have four small kids and there is just too much
going on in the morning, and not enough time.

I considered the alternatives and I purchased the Vivaldi S1. I was
hesitant to plumb it in, but is was SO EASY. It took less than ten
minutes. Drilling a hole in an obscure part of the kitchen counter
top was not nearly as painful as I thought it would be. Converting
over to a new tamper size was not hard either. It has taken a little
getting used to the new pf.

Making shots is now a breeze and takes much less time for me. After
playing around with the settings for temperature and water, it is easy
to pull consistent shots, one after another with little or not wait in
between. On top of that, I am using vivaldi in the 15 amp mode. It
works just fine.

The only snag is frothing milk. Going from silvia to vivaldi is like
going from a an old vw bug to a ferarri. What used to take 30-60
seconds on silvia takes about 10 seconds with vivaldi. It's like
trying to take a drink of water from a fire hydrant. You will have to
relearn to froth milk. I am getting better after experimenting with
different pitchers and technique and a lot of milk (the kids have been
having lots of hot chocolate lately). After only a week, I am not
consistent with the milk.

My wife if making me keep silvia for sentimental reasons, but I have
no regrets about upgrading.

Jerry













On Tue, 07 Aug 2007 00:30:06 -0000, "ramboorider@gmail.com"
<ramboorider@gmail.com > wrote:

>I'm your fairly typical home barista - not as scientifically
>interested as a lot of you folks, but interested enough to spend
>enough time to get reasonably good with the equipment I have and half-
>thinking about upgrading at some point. The equipment I have is the
>basic Silvia (w/PID) and Rocky combo and, although I play around with
>different coffees from time to time, I'm 90% into Black Cat because my
>results are more consistently good with that than anything else I've
>tried. It took me a few months to get really consistent with my
>technique, but I'm pretty good now, if I say so myself. An occasional
>great shot, lots of good ones, and bad ones only when I have a new
>batch of coffee or a big change in the weather that I haven't adjusted
>my grind to yet. Bottom line - I think I've gotten about as good with
>this gear as I'm gonna get and it's usually pretty damn good. But I'm
>always curious about what else is out there.
>
>I may not upgrade - I don't do that many milk drinks and can handle
>the demand with the Silvia most of the time. But the idea of a machine
>that's gonna be both more consistent and forgiving than the Silvia is
>intriguing. I wouldn't mind getting to the point where my baseline is
>pretty close to the best shots I'm making now, which I think may be
>possible with a better grinder and machine. While I may ultimately end
>up with an HX machine and learn to get good at the cooling flush, I'm
>real drawn to the home-market double boilers for the relative idiot-
>proofness of them (the same reason I started off with a PID controlled
>Silvia). The Vivaldi II is tempting, but it requires specialized
>electric and plumbing and it takes up more room than I can comfortably
>give it. And I already have an arsenal of tampers and portafilters and
>baskets, etc in 58mm and am not excited to re-standardize at 53mm. So
>I started reading about the Brewtus again, which I'd kind of dismissed
>based on what seemed like general critical disdain, but the stuff I've
>seen recently has been pretty damn positive. A buyer's guide review on
>HB, some user reviews on CG, etc. And while the machine isn't
>beautiful or perfect, it seems to fit the bill really well for a few
>folks with what sound like the same needs/wants as me. The price slots
>right in there with the high end HX machines too. Fits on the counter,
>runs on standard electric, is a pourover (a downside to some, but an
>upside to me).
>
>But the reaction around here has never even reached the level of luke-
>warm from what I can find. How come? What's up with that? Am I missing
>something?
>
>Also, if I do pull the trigger sometime, how much better of a grinder
>would I need to get the most from that machine? Can the Rocky hang or
>would a Macap or Mazza be notably better?
>
>Just wondering,
>
>-Ray


 
Date: 07 Aug 2007 13:46:42
From: Karl
Subject: Re: What's up with Brewtus
On Aug 7, 3:34 pm, lockjaw <davebo...@gmail.com > wrote:
> Wow what negative energy, Carl!! tsk!
>
> I did not even mention XXX in my posting. YOU did.
>
> I don't sell ANY double boiler machines, period!
> And if I did it would be the La Spaziale -- but why would I do that?
> It doesn't need any enhancements
>
> AS Dave said he only knows what he reads on YOUR group, Carl.
> Dave is just repeating things he has read on the your brutus group.
>
> + I agree with Gallt -- get an "M" grinder -- a MAJOR (no pun
> intended) step up from the rocky. and an M grinder is fairly
> "upgrade proof"
>
> Dave
>
> www.hitechespresso.com


Typical Daveb response - forgets which alias, of the many he has, he
is using. Doesn't really matter, since he is pretty easy to spot
regardless of what alias he uses.

Karl (with a K, at least I know my name) Rice



  
Date: 07 Aug 2007 18:15:41
From: daveb
Subject: Re: What's up with Brewtus
that is all you have to say, Karl?

dave b or lockjaw





 
Date: 07 Aug 2007 19:34:30
From: lockjaw
Subject: Re: What's up with Brewtus

Wow what negative energy, Carl!! tsk!

I did not even mention XXX in my posting. YOU did.

I don't sell ANY double boiler machines, period!
And if I did it would be the La Spaziale -- but why would I do that?
It doesn't need any enhancements

AS Dave said he only knows what he reads on YOUR group, Carl.
Dave is just repeating things he has read on the your brutus group.

+ I agree with Gallt -- get an "M" grinder -- a MAJOR (no pun
intended) step up from the rocky. and an M grinder is fairly
"upgrade proof"

Dave

www.hitechespresso.com





 
Date: 07 Aug 2007 10:04:17
From: ROO
Subject: Re: What's up with Brewtus
On Aug 7, 11:01 am, "ramboori...@gmail.com" <ramboori...@gmail.com >
wrote:
> On Aug 7, 10:16 am, Karl <karlmiltonr...@yahoo.com> wrote:
>
> > I've had no maintenance problems with Brewtus at all. None. The user
> > group is the first place I would go if I had a problem, since there
> > are some terrifically knowledgeable folks there and some great
> > resources. This probably skews the postings - you don't go there so
> > much to carry on about how much you love Brewtus, you go there if and
> > when you have a problem. Its not a very active group, which says
> > something,
> > Karl
>
> Thanks Karl. I dug a little deeper into the Brewtus group postings
> this morning and pretty much everyone on the group seems satisfied and
> would buy one again. And, as I noted, I didn't see any higher
> frequency of problems there than on user groups for some other
> machines. The kinds of things people complain about with any
> consistency aren't the kinds of things that tend to bother me much.
> Which is all pretty reassuring.
>
> I know Dave B and his affiliations - I bought my Silvia from him (and
> have been highly satisfied). One thing that I'm interested in is the
> possibility that Chris maybe working on a double boiler? Dave dropped
> a hint about something like that a couple of months ago (and,
> shockingly, was criticized for it!) and I saw a couple of mentions of
> something similar in my perusal of the Brewtus group. If he's working
> with Quickmill on something I'd surely be interested in seeing how
> that comes out and comparing the two. But my comfort level about
> moving up to a Brewtus, if I do decide to move up at all, is getting
> pretty high. It's not gonna happen real soon, though, so hopefully the
> double boiler market will get more competitive and better in the
> coming year or so?
>
> Time'll tell. Thanks for the input.
>
> -Ray

My Brewtus is boring. Nothing breaks. No surfing. No upgrade fever.
Espresso anytime,everytime,with an occasional God shot at random. Life
is good.



 
Date: 07 Aug 2007 15:01:20
From: ramboorider@gmail.com
Subject: Re: What's up with Brewtus
On Aug 7, 10:16 am, Karl <karlmiltonr...@yahoo.com > wrote:

> I've had no maintenance problems with Brewtus at all. None. The user
> group is the first place I would go if I had a problem, since there
> are some terrifically knowledgeable folks there and some great
> resources. This probably skews the postings - you don't go there so
> much to carry on about how much you love Brewtus, you go there if and
> when you have a problem. Its not a very active group, which says
> something,

> Karl

Thanks Karl. I dug a little deeper into the Brewtus group postings
this morning and pretty much everyone on the group seems satisfied and
would buy one again. And, as I noted, I didn't see any higher
frequency of problems there than on user groups for some other
machines. The kinds of things people complain about with any
consistency aren't the kinds of things that tend to bother me much.
Which is all pretty reassuring.

I know Dave B and his affiliations - I bought my Silvia from him (and
have been highly satisfied). One thing that I'm interested in is the
possibility that Chris maybe working on a double boiler? Dave dropped
a hint about something like that a couple of months ago (and,
shockingly, was criticized for it!) and I saw a couple of mentions of
something similar in my perusal of the Brewtus group. If he's working
with Quickmill on something I'd surely be interested in seeing how
that comes out and comparing the two. But my comfort level about
moving up to a Brewtus, if I do decide to move up at all, is getting
pretty high. It's not gonna happen real soon, though, so hopefully the
double boiler market will get more competitive and better in the
coming year or so?

Time'll tell. Thanks for the input.

-Ray



 
Date: 07 Aug 2007 07:25:39
From: shane
Subject: Re: What's up with Brewtus
On Aug 7, 6:23 am, "ramboori...@gmail.com" <ramboori...@gmail.com >
wrote:
> On Aug 6, 9:31 pm, Marshall <mrf...@ihatespamearthlink.net> wrote:
>
> > On Tue, 07 Aug 2007 00:30:06 -0000, "ramboori...@gmail.com"
>
> > <ramboori...@gmail.com> wrote:
> > >I may not upgrade - I don't do that many milk drinks and can handle
> > >the demand with the Silvia most of the time. But the idea of a machine
> > >that's gonna be both more consistent and forgiving than the Silvia is
> > >intriguing.
>
> > I think that pretty well describes one of Chris Coffee's PID'd
> > Alexias.
>
> > Marshall
>
> The Alexia looks pretty nice (a Silvia with an E-61 and pre-infusion!)
> but I do enough milk drinks that if I end up taking the plunge to
> upgrade, I'm quite sure it will either be an HX or a double boiler.
> Most days the single boiler is fine for a couple of milk drinks and a
> few shots, but when my kids are home from college and when we have
> family holidays here, I've pretty much worn myself out trying to keep
> up with demand.
>
> Maybe I'll do the grinder upgrade first - I've been satisfied with the
> Rocky doserless but would love to have a stepless like the Macap. And
> if it's better enough to taste the difference, all the more reason to
> move in stages. And, no the machine upgrade isn't inevitable by a long
> shot. But it's fun to think about and it COULD happen someday.
>
> Dave, I saw some of the initial reliability issues and I know WLL is
> no Chris's in terms of customer service. But when I've looked at user
> groups for other machines, they ALL seem to have enough niggling
> little problems that the user has to get to know the machine and get
> comfortable making small repairs. I saw plenty of Brewtus reviews
> where the owner has had it for a couple of years and maybe had to
> repair one or two small parts. The biggest complaints seem to be a
> drip tray cover that doesn't always fit cleanly and the noisy pump,
> which I could probably live with. I don't think anything I upgrade to
> is likely to be as bulletproof as a simple little Silvia, (which is
> one reason NOT to upgrade). Most of the Brewtus owners seem pretty
> damn happy with them overall though, from what I've seen. I'll keep
> following the user group though and see if I find more of a pattern.
>
> Thanks all,
>
> -Ray

I upgraded my grinder last year to a Mazzer Mini. I considered a
Macap, but I had wanted a Mazzer for a long time and I like the look
of the Mazzer better.
My espresso machine is a Starbuck Barista, the Mazzer grinder made a
huge difference. With good beans, I can pull shots on the lowly
Barista that are as good as any I have had anyplace. I don't make a
lot of milk drinks, so that is why the Barista is still ok for now.
I have been thinking about getting a larger machine, primarily for the
extra power if I have guests.
I think the grinder makes the biggest difference. Plus once you get a
good grinder, you will not have to upgrade it.

Shane




 
Date: 07 Aug 2007 07:16:36
From: Karl
Subject: Re: What's up with Brewtus
> I started reading about the Brewtus again, which I'd kind of dismissed
> based on what seemed like general critical disdain, but the stuff I've
> seen recently has been pretty damn positive.

Had my Brewtus II for a couple of years, upgrading from a pidded
Silvia. I love Silvia and still use her at a weekend home, but I found
Brewtus to be a significant upgrade. I only drink shots, my wife and
son drink Lattes. Brewtus is definitely more forgiving (Silvia chokes
much more easily), shots are more consistent, and for multiple shots
you don't need a pause between shots to maintain temperature. (I guess
on my pidded Silvia, the necessary pause isn't really that long -
about a minute or a little more - but it seems like a long time when
you're standing there waiting to hit the brew switch.) Pulling several
shots on Brewtus in a row may cause the brewhead temp to drop a
little, but not much, and it recovers quickly. I don't taste any
difference between the first and third shot other than that the third
shot has cooled off a bit. I've tried comparing the first and fourth,
but the temperature difference between the shot which has been cooling
off while I pulled three more prevented any meaningful comparison.
Consistency is the key to espresso - once you achieve it, it allows
you to adjust your variables one at a time to improve your shots. My
Brewtus is more consistent than my pidded Silvia.

If you make any milk drinks there is a definite advantage to Brewtus.
Even if you only steam 6 or 8 ounces, you can steam while you brew the
shot, which saves quite a bit of time, and the shot doesn't sit around
waiting for you to steam the milk. If you steam more than 6 or 8
ounces, Brewtus has a huge advantage. As you've probably noticed on
your pid's display, Silvia's temp, and, of course, her pressure, drop
drastically almost immediately when you begin steaming. By the time
you have steamed 6 or 8 ounces, poor Silvia is just out of steam. On
Brewtus, the nozzle seems to be sized to allow steam out at about the
rate that the boiler can produce it. Your first pitcher will take a
little longer than with Silvia, but Brewtus just keeps on steaming
without any noticeable pressure loss.

I've had no maintenance problems with Brewtus at all. None. The user
group is the first place I would go if I had a problem, since there
are some terrifically knowledgeable folks there and some great
resources. This probably skews the postings - you don't go there so
much to carry on about how much you love Brewtus, you go there if and
when you have a problem. Its not a very active group, which says
something,

Daveb regularly trashes the Brewtus, although at least in his response
to your question he now admits that he has no actual experience with
them. He is, or was, affiliated with Chris Coffee in a loose sort of
way, and gushes about the wonders of the machines he works on and how
bad all the others are. If I recall correctly, WLL once refused to
give him some sort of discount for ordering more than one Silvia at a
time (he pids them and sells them on eBay), and he has been trashing
WLL ever since. I would take what he says about Brewtus, WLL, or
anything else, for that matter, with several grains of salt. He's
mainly shilling for his business, and for Chris Coffee (which really
doesn't need it - they are a fine company).

That said, Daveb is an advocate for pidding Silvias, and other
machines. Pidding a Silvia is a major improvement. Temperature
stability is critical to espresso, and a pid gives it to you
effortlessly. Brewtus accomplishes outstanding temp stability through
its huge boilers and its heat exchanger, which preheats water going to
the brew boiler by running it through the steam boiler.

> Also, if I do pull the trigger sometime, how much better of a grinder
> would I need to get the most from that machine? Can the Rocky hang or
> would a Macap or Mazza be notably better?

I got a Mazza Mini when I got Brewtus. It seems to produce somewhat
less fines than my Rocky, but, in my opinion, Brewtus stands up pretty
well to the Mazza. If you don't upgrade from your Silvia, upgrading
your grinder should give you some improvement, especially less
choking. If you do upgrade Silvia, you'll also get an improvement, and
Rocky should do fine with your new machine.

Karl



 
Date: 07 Aug 2007 11:23:23
From: ramboorider@gmail.com
Subject: Re: What's up with Brewtus
On Aug 6, 9:31 pm, Marshall <mrf...@ihatespamearthlink.net > wrote:
> On Tue, 07 Aug 2007 00:30:06 -0000, "ramboori...@gmail.com"
>
> <ramboori...@gmail.com> wrote:
> >I may not upgrade - I don't do that many milk drinks and can handle
> >the demand with the Silvia most of the time. But the idea of a machine
> >that's gonna be both more consistent and forgiving than the Silvia is
> >intriguing.
>
> I think that pretty well describes one of Chris Coffee's PID'd
> Alexias.
>
> Marshall

The Alexia looks pretty nice (a Silvia with an E-61 and pre-infusion!)
but I do enough milk drinks that if I end up taking the plunge to
upgrade, I'm quite sure it will either be an HX or a double boiler.
Most days the single boiler is fine for a couple of milk drinks and a
few shots, but when my kids are home from college and when we have
family holidays here, I've pretty much worn myself out trying to keep
up with demand.

Maybe I'll do the grinder upgrade first - I've been satisfied with the
Rocky doserless but would love to have a stepless like the Macap. And
if it's better enough to taste the difference, all the more reason to
move in stages. And, no the machine upgrade isn't inevitable by a long
shot. But it's fun to think about and it COULD happen someday.

Dave, I saw some of the initial reliability issues and I know WLL is
no Chris's in terms of customer service. But when I've looked at user
groups for other machines, they ALL seem to have enough niggling
little problems that the user has to get to know the machine and get
comfortable making small repairs. I saw plenty of Brewtus reviews
where the owner has had it for a couple of years and maybe had to
repair one or two small parts. The biggest complaints seem to be a
drip tray cover that doesn't always fit cleanly and the noisy pump,
which I could probably live with. I don't think anything I upgrade to
is likely to be as bulletproof as a simple little Silvia, (which is
one reason NOT to upgrade). Most of the Brewtus owners seem pretty
damn happy with them overall though, from what I've seen. I'll keep
following the user group though and see if I find more of a pattern.

Thanks all,

-Ray




 
Date: 06 Aug 2007 19:07:31
From: jggall01
Subject: Re: What's up with Brewtus
On Aug 6, 8:30 pm, "ramboori...@gmail.com" <ramboori...@gmail.com >
wrote:

> Also, if I do pull the trigger sometime, how much better of a grinder
> would I need to get the most from that machine? Can the Rocky hang or
> would a Macap or Mazza be notably better?
>

By all means, do upgrade the grinder to one of The M's. If your
experience is comparable to mine, you will immediately notice an
improvement in your Silvia shots. It might even convince you to delay
the (inevitable now that it's been spoken of?) machine upgrade.

Jim



 
Date: 06 Aug 2007 21:30:23
From: daveb
Subject: Re: What's up with Brewtus
Hi, Ray.

No personal experience wit the brutus. LOTS of complaints of unreliability,
shoddy materials assembly -- and poor service. -- this from the google
brewtus group. that may be the cause of the lukewarm . . .

Vivaldi is a fine machine and will do just great on 15 amps. can also pull
from a jug under the counter.

P.S. black cat rocks!

Dave

www.hitechespresso.com



<ramboorider@gmail.com > wrote in message
news:1186446606.452628.281410@19g2000hsx.googlegroups.com...
> I'm your fairly typical home barista - not as scientifically
> interested as a lot of you folks, but interested enough to spend
> enough time to get reasonably good with the equipment I have and half-
> thinking about upgrading at some point. The equipment I have is the
> basic Silvia (w/PID) and Rocky combo and, although I play around with
> different coffees from time to time, I'm 90% into Black Cat because my
> results are more consistently good with that than anything else I've
> tried. It took me a few months to get really consistent with my
> technique, but I'm pretty good now, if I say so myself. An occasional
> great shot, lots of good ones, and bad ones only when I have a new
> batch of coffee or a big change in the weather that I haven't adjusted
> my grind to yet. Bottom line - I think I've gotten about as good with
> this gear as I'm gonna get and it's usually pretty damn good. But I'm
> always curious about what else is out there.
>
> I may not upgrade - I don't do that many milk drinks and can handle
> the demand with the Silvia most of the time. But the idea of a machine
> that's gonna be both more consistent and forgiving than the Silvia is
> intriguing. I wouldn't mind getting to the point where my baseline is
> pretty close to the best shots I'm making now, which I think may be
> possible with a better grinder and machine. While I may ultimately end
> up with an HX machine and learn to get good at the cooling flush, I'm
> real drawn to the home-market double boilers for the relative idiot-
> proofness of them (the same reason I started off with a PID controlled
> Silvia). The Vivaldi II is tempting, but it requires specialized
> electric and plumbing and it takes up more room than I can comfortably
> give it. And I already have an arsenal of tampers and portafilters and
> baskets, etc in 58mm and am not excited to re-standardize at 53mm. So
> I started reading about the Brewtus again, which I'd kind of dismissed
> based on what seemed like general critical disdain, but the stuff I've
> seen recently has been pretty damn positive. A buyer's guide review on
> HB, some user reviews on CG, etc. And while the machine isn't
> beautiful or perfect, it seems to fit the bill really well for a few
> folks with what sound like the same needs/wants as me. The price slots
> right in there with the high end HX machines too. Fits on the counter,
> runs on standard electric, is a pourover (a downside to some, but an
> upside to me).
>
> But the reaction around here has never even reached the level of luke-
> warm from what I can find. How come? What's up with that? Am I missing
> something?
>
> Also, if I do pull the trigger sometime, how much better of a grinder
> would I need to get the most from that machine? Can the Rocky hang or
> would a Macap or Mazza be notably better?
>
> Just wondering,
>
> -Ray
>




 
Date: 06 Aug 2007 18:31:50
From: Marshall
Subject: Re: What's up with Brewtus
On Tue, 07 Aug 2007 00:30:06 -0000, "ramboorider@gmail.com"
<ramboorider@gmail.com > wrote:

>I may not upgrade - I don't do that many milk drinks and can handle
>the demand with the Silvia most of the time. But the idea of a machine
>that's gonna be both more consistent and forgiving than the Silvia is
>intriguing.

I think that pretty well describes one of Chris Coffee's PID'd
Alexias.

Marshall