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One Month With Brewtus
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BarryC
Senior Member


Joined: 1 Mar 2005
Posts: 18
Location: Seattle
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Expobar Brewtus
Grinder: Mazzer Mini
Roaster: Alpenroast
Posted Sat Mar 19, 2005, 2:07pm
Subject: One Month With Brewtus
 

Hello. This is my first post here... Some folks may remember me from 4-5 years ago from alt.coffee. I was an early Silvia user and LM double basket advocate...

After years with Silvia and Rocky I made the jump to the Brewtus; then after one week I got the Mazzer Mini. I think I'm good for a while ;-)

I've been following all of the Brewtus threads here and I'm very impressed with the engineering level thoroughness of some of the users. My slant is a little less mechanical, and more into espresso making technique and subjective appreciation of espresso. I really enjoy being a user of the machine without having to build it.

What I don't like about Brewtus: This is the short list! I don't like when it shuts off suddenly because the water level dropped down below the trigger point. I guess this is a necessary evil, but it seems to happen when there are still a few inches of water in the tank. Probably the set point is easily adjustable but the water level will still always get there! I just fill it up every day...

What I like about Brewtus: Lots. Compared to Silvia, this is a dream machine. The auto refill of the boilers seems like such an obvious thing! Two boilers make for great fun making drinks - no hassle at all with brewing and then steaming, and then brewing again, etc. Steaming is such a breeze. It's so easy to make microfoam in any consistency, pourable, stiff, in between...

The best part of course is the coffee. The temp control is great for different blends (my Silvia wasn't PID'ed). Others here are covering the bases on measurements... The taste and mouthfeel are beyond all my espresso making experience. On a good day I get a complex range of flavors from a slight cocoa taste combined with subtle fruit and an absolute explosion of sensation on the tongue. This is really what keeps me making espresso!

Since I live in the Seattle area I've been picking up fresh beans at Vivace and using mostly Dolce so as to eliminate variables while learning the machine and improving my technique. I've kind of learned my espresso technique by the Schomer method. Mostly I drink very short Americanos - a double ristretto of Dolce with about 3 oz of hot water. I use the LM double basket.

The Mazzer was a step up from Rocky for me. Totally subjective, but I seem to get better extraction. Simply put - a deeper level of taste complexity. Thanks to an old thread here, I use a stainless canning funnel for a hopper. There are several that I have found, one made by "Endurance" has a very smooth finish and fits almost perfectly in the Mini's throat. I found a lid from a travel cup that fits perfectly in the narrow part of the funnel (and even has a little handle type thing to pick it up by) to keep the beans from flying. I grind one cup at a time, and brush out the remains before the next shot.

Elimination of temp variables (relatively speaking) has allowed me to focus on technique. I have completely changed my distribution and packing method. After endless frustration with shots turning pale too soon, I studied Schomer's 2004 packing update method. I had never pushed the grounds around with my fingers so much. Now I kind of pre-pack and distribute with my finger (palm down) and then tamp. Finally I am getting control over the pour, with far less paling and channeling.

For me, the weak point in my technique was the distribution.

So as you can see, I'm a happy camper with Brewtus. Other things I like: the hot water and steam knobs and valves. Very tactile and fun to use. The enormous drip tray - how did I ever get along without this? I have set my temp display offset to -6. This is where Todd is setting them now. Early ones were set at -7 and mine was shipped at -5. Very unscientific, but with this offset, Dolce tastes best (to me) at 95, which corresponds to Schomer's well published claims about his blend. Purely folly, I know, since all that matters is corresponding a setting to taste!

Barry
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Abe_Carmeli
Senior Member
Abe_Carmeli
Joined: 16 Mar 2004
Posts: 284
Location: New York
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Expobar Brewtus modified...
Grinder: Versalab M3
Vac Pot: Bodum French Press
Drip: Technovorm
Roaster: HotTop
Posted Sat Mar 19, 2005, 4:08pm
Subject: Re: One Month With Brewtus
 

BarryC Said:

What I don't like about Brewtus: This is the short list! I don't like when it shuts off suddenly because the water level dropped down below the trigger point. I guess this is a necessary evil, but it seems to happen when there are still a few inches of water in the tank. Probably the set point is easily adjustable but the water level will still always get there! I just fill it up every day...

Posted March 19, 2005 link

Barry,

Congrats on your new purchase. About the tank level auto shutdown, perhaps a nice addition there should be some kind of a beep when the tank approaches low levels, so that we will be able to refill it without interruption.  But having the machine shut off while there is still 1/2 inch of water in the tank is not a bad thing.  The tank bottom collects sediments over time, which you would not want to see ending up in your boiler, or in your coffee.

, I studied Schomer's 2004 packing update method.



What's the difference between that updated method and the method he presents in his video?

Abe
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BarryC
Senior Member


Joined: 1 Mar 2005
Posts: 18
Location: Seattle
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Expobar Brewtus
Grinder: Mazzer Mini
Roaster: Alpenroast
Posted Sat Mar 19, 2005, 4:51pm
Subject: Re: One Month With Brewtus
 

Abe_Carmeli Said:

But having the machine shut off while there is still 1/2 inch of water in the tank is not a bad thing.  The tank bottom collects sediments over time, which you would not want to see ending up in your boiler, or in your coffee.

Posted March 19, 2005 link


An excellent point! My shutoff seems to occur when there's about 2" left in the tank. I'll check it more carefully next time it gets low.


What's the difference between that updated method and the method he presents in his video?


I haven't seen the video :-(  All of my Schomer info has come from his online papers, and watching his crew work at Vivace. My take on the updated method was the greater use of the fingers to compress the grinds in X patterns before tamping. This helps make the distribution and density more uniform, and evens out lumps, balls, etc. This somewhat lessens the role of tamping in creating an even pack. What's the video show?

Barry
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Abe_Carmeli
Senior Member
Abe_Carmeli
Joined: 16 Mar 2004
Posts: 284
Location: New York
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Expobar Brewtus modified...
Grinder: Versalab M3
Vac Pot: Bodum French Press
Drip: Technovorm
Roaster: HotTop
Posted Sat Mar 19, 2005, 5:27pm
Subject: Re: One Month With Brewtus
 

I checked that paper and you were right about the difference even without seeing the video. He changed the distribution technique.  I'm going to give it a go tomorrow and see how much of a difference it makes.

Abe
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LennonCS
Senior Member


Joined: 27 Jan 2005
Posts: 101
Location: Davisburg, Michigan
Expertise: I live coffee

Posted Sat Mar 19, 2005, 7:32pm
Subject: Re: One Month With Brewtus
 

BarryC,

Welcome to the group!
great choice in machine.



WRT to leveling the PF;
I would just be happy with fingers that reached the other side of the PF!  :-)
I inherited stubby fingers...oh well.


Sean
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kdkrone
Senior Member


Joined: 27 Nov 2004
Posts: 151
Location: California
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Expobar Brewtus; Olympia...
Grinder: Rancilio Rocky
Posted Sat Mar 19, 2005, 7:39pm
Subject: Re: One Month With Brewtus
 

welcome!

Thanks for your post.  As most here know, I am about to pop for one and appreciate your input.  I suspect there will be quite a users sub-group for the Brewtus  ('da Brewte)

Ken K
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Abe_Carmeli
Senior Member
Abe_Carmeli
Joined: 16 Mar 2004
Posts: 284
Location: New York
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Expobar Brewtus modified...
Grinder: Versalab M3
Vac Pot: Bodum French Press
Drip: Technovorm
Roaster: HotTop
Posted Sat Mar 19, 2005, 8:20pm
Subject: Re: One Month With Brewtus
 

kdkrone Said:

welcome!

Thanks for your post.  As most here know, I am about to pop for one and appreciate your input.  I suspect there will be quite a users sub-group for the Brewtus  ('da Brewte)

Ken K

Posted March 19, 2005 link

Ken,

If you are about to place your order I suggest that you ask Todd for the following:

1) Ulka Pump with a metal (not plastic) aerator
2) Brew Pressure set to 8 bars - (it is actually 9 as tested by Todd)
3) Have the machine tested for a week by Todd leaving it on non stop, and using it.
4) Have them run backsplash shots through it at different times and make sure the pump does not omit any choking screeching sound when doing so.
5) have it fitted with the new Expobar drip tray.

We already have a Brewtus user group set and you are welcome to join. Email me if you are interested, acarmeli@sagasys.com. Barry and any other Brewtus owners, you are all welcome to join in.

Abe
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GaryH
Senior Member
GaryH
Joined: 24 Oct 2003
Posts: 2,530
Location: San Jose California
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Isomac Zaffiro
Grinder: Macap M4 Doserless
Vac Pot: none
Drip: yes
Roaster: none
Posted Sun Mar 20, 2005, 12:18am
Subject: Re: One Month With Brewtus
 

BarryC Said:

Since I live in the Seattle area I've been picking up fresh beans at Vivace and using mostly Dolce. So as you can see, I'm a happy camper with Brewtus.  Dolce tastes best (to me) at 95, which corresponds to Schomer's well published claims about his blend. Purely folly, I know, since all that matters is corresponding a setting to taste!

Posted March 19, 2005 link

So how do your Brewtus/Mazzer Mini Dolce shots compare to those you get at Vivace?
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BarryC
Senior Member


Joined: 1 Mar 2005
Posts: 18
Location: Seattle
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Expobar Brewtus
Grinder: Mazzer Mini
Roaster: Alpenroast
Posted Sun Mar 20, 2005, 2:33am
Subject: Re: One Month With Brewtus
 

GaryH Said:

So how do your Brewtus/Mazzer Mini Dolce shots compare to those you get at Vivace?

Posted March 20, 2005 link


Heh ;-) Good question. Vivace's shots always look fantastic. But some days are better than others. I've had some disappointing cups there, but that is relative to my high expectations. Generally their shots are quite good, and I like the place. To compare? Out of many many shots at home vs far fewer cups at Vivace, I have had my best experience in my kitchen. It's hardly a fair comparison because I have all the time to practice... The people at Vivace are skilled and very nice. Dan, their roast-master, is a wonderful guy. When they used to roast in the shop he would let me come in and hang out while he worked. He was always very free in sharing his expertise. Now they roast off-site so I don't see him. And... now with Brewtus around I usually just get beans when I go there...

It's worth noting that practically anytime you go to Vivace there is a line.

Barry
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craigdamico
Senior Member
craigdamico
Joined: 27 Sep 2004
Posts: 275
Location: Houston, TX
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: PID-Expobar Pulser w/ Brew...
Grinder: Fiorenzato T-80 Doserless...
Vac Pot: Yama Siphon TCA-5D
Drip: "only in my nightmares"
Roaster: 2 Popcorn Poppers
Posted Sun Mar 20, 2005, 7:16am
Subject: Re: One Month With Brewtus
 

BarryC Said:

Hello. This is my first post here...

I've been following all of the Brewtus threads here and I'm very impressed with the engineering level thoroughness of some of the users.

Barry

Posted March 19, 2005 link

Barry,

From what I have read, I am also impressed by the way you reference things.

What is your engineering background ( if any... ) ?

Craig
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