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davethebrewguy
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davethebrewguy
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Posted Wed Jun 16, 2010, 5:33pm
Subject: Re: Heat exchange machine temp control
 

boyscout Said:

He who kicks strongest often has weakest argument.

Posted June 16, 2010 link

I expected no less of you than another round of kicking. We have both claimed to be in "both camps" and we are not as far apart on some of this as you seem to think. I take issue with some of you comments because they are worded in a way that sounds as if you think that one type of machine has an advantage over the other yet you can't offer any support for your claims.
A comment like

getting consistent, highly-accurate temperature at a known level is undeniably easier on double-boilers.

is simply inaccurate. Yes, you push a button for your flush and I lift a lever, watch a display for 10 seconds and lower the lever. We both end up within a fraction of a degree of where we want to be and calling either one "undeniably easier" sounds like splitting hairs to me.
How bout this one'

Most DBs are automatics, so a simple tap on a button before turning away to tamp is all that's required for an automatic flush that is typically much faster - about 1/3 to 1/2 as long as a typical HX cooling flush - with no listening, no watching, no counting, no timing, unlike the HX flush.

We already covered the fact that HX machines are available in full auto versions, I don't recall making the claim that it should be used for the flush and I have never tried it myself. Truth is, I'm not a fan of full-auto machines. OTOH, you seem to have chosen to ignore the fact that most HX machines can be fitted with a simple group thermometer which eliminates the listening, the counting and the timing. Just watch a display until the temp is right, isn't that what you do to see when your temp adjustment has taken effect? Sounds like we are in agreement that there is no difference between HX and DBs in this respect.


If the brew water is at the right temperature, which it very quickly is, "the plumbing and the group" just need a quick warming flush with that water.  Unlike an HX machine, I don't have to wait for these to heat up if they are too cool.

You had a HX right? Was it ever too cool?

You and your cohort on this subject

My cohort? I do agree with Zin on a number of points when this topic comes up but there are also points on which I do not agree with him.

I even made good coffee on an HX myself!!

Congratulations? And thanks for making my point.



You have no idea what I know.  Another attempt at distracting from the meat of the debate?

True, I don't know what you do or don't know, but there was no "meat" in your debate, only a half (at best) truth, an incorrect assumption and a pointless comparison.



When I'm making coffee for ten people while also socializing and table-clearing and desserting - a frequent occurrence here - I do NOT want to be thinking about group temperature and flushing and warming and timing.  Been there, done that.  With the DB, it's a no-brainer

As above, I have know idea what you know or don't know. I do know that once you pull a shot or 2 on a HX machine, you can continue to pull shots at the same temp if you work at a certain pace. It's really not difficult to learn but your comments lead me to believe that you had some trouble with this. I'm not implying that you could not learn it if you wanted to (and it's OK of you had no desire to learn it) but your point seems to be that the DB is easier and/or faster in this respect and this is simply not true.

(yeah, go ahead, take the cheap shot!)

I'm not the one who posted

Yup, figgered we'd see you with your jack-boots on again.

Thanks for re-making my point.  Contrary to what Zin1953 seemed to be contending, there is not a major difference between the two classes of machine when doing typical temperature changes.

See? I told you that I don't agree with Zin on everything.
Obviously, we are in agreement that neither type of machine has an advantage over the other in this respect.

Again, you re-make my point.  Just as I said, your group is heated by conduction of temperature (from the water), it's big and heavy, and takes some time to change temperature.  A DB's brew water is directly and quickly brought to temperature by an electric heater, and can be flushed to quickly bring the much-smaller group to temperature.  Not much difference.  My point, again.
I guess we both get a point here. I had incorrectly thought that you were referring to heat being conducted through the "large piece of brass" from the boiler, not from the thermosyphon loop. You did not comment on my point that many DBs use this same group and that it may not be as well suited for a DB as it is for a HX.
The OP had a budget in mind. you mentioned that a DB would be a possibility within this budget. Could you name a few HX machines that have electrically heated groups that are within the OP's budget?


Of course.  But are you misdirecting again?  You're not claiming that you do your cooling flush with a pre-set volumetric button and no attention, are you Dave?  If you are, then your kitchen temperature and machine are a WHOLE lot more stable than mine were when I had my HX machine.  I proved with a Scace that my temperature was ALL over the map when I tried to flush just by timing the flush (I didn't have volumetric, but for flushing that's irrelevant.)

Perhaps I wasn't clear, I made no claim that a volumetric flush would be ideal. I would be surprised though if a 7 second or so volumetric flush wouldn't get me past the "hump" in my temp curve so that a quick manual flush would put me where I want to be.
I will concede that the DB machines are less hands-on in this respect if you go with a full-auto machine." Will you concede that those who have a lever operated DB get no benefit?



Good one, Dave, I did chuckle.  But you and your buddy seem unable to understand that not everyone here is just like you.

Glad you liked it.
Are you claiming that you are any different? I've stated that there are pros and cons to either type of machine and that my "wish list" contains both DB and HX machines. The way I see it you made a couple good points about DBs and also a couple false claims. Maybe those claims are even true at your house but other users (myself included) have not had the same experience. Some of us are "into it" enough to enjoy the process, is there something wrong with that? Maybe you think we should be "just like you?"

I don't have any problem with people loving their HX machines, why would I care about that?!  It's the Pavlovian charging that occurs after nearly ANY mild suggestion like mine earlier in this thread that, in some circumstances, a DB might be worth considering and might even be a better choice for some people who may not be true geeks like you.  That charging, usually led by Zin1953 and quickly followed by you, seems irrational, impolite, and probably confusing to newcomers.

Likewise, I never said that one shouldn't consider a DB, I just want them to have their facts straight when they make their decision. I don't really care what they buy but I'd like them to be happy with it.
I'm not sure why you feel that offering both sides of a discussion is irrational or impolite. I can see why you'd think that having more than one opinion to read might be confusing, next time I'll try to remember to get your permission before I come jack-booting in with an opinion of my own.

And absolutely NO part of my effort on this topic is related to convincing myself.  I'm completely thrilled with my DB choice.  I make great coffee with much better consistency than I did with my HX.  No doubt I might one day, with lots of practice and careful attention, have become pretty consistent with the HX but I just didn't want to spend the time and effort to do it.  My choice.  Tolerance of that, and recognition that there may be others like me, would be appreciated.

I'm glad you are happy with your machine, really. We'd be more likely to believe it though if you got off the "HX owners all have a secret lust for a DB, buy one now and save a step in the upgrade path" soapbox and recognized that there are at least 2 of us, maybe more, that enjoy the process as much as the coffee and are as happy with our machines as you are with yours.
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JasonBrandtLewis
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JasonBrandtLewis
Joined: 9 Dec 2005
Posts: 6,475
Location: Berkeley, CA
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Posted Wed Jun 16, 2010, 9:55pm
Subject: Re: Heat exchange machine temp control
 

boyscout Said:

Leighton, I owned a good HX machine before purchasing a DB machine.  Each class does have its "dedicated followers" and in the above post you've heard from coffeegeek's most ardent defender of HX machines.

Posted June 16, 2010 link

<bull$#!+>

boyscout Said:

People who own expensive HX machines perhaps have an understandable inclination to defend the older technology and the value of their machines, but I'll bet you can judge for yourself what is the "best advice in this thread" and don't need one of your would-be advisors to decide that for you.

Posted June 16, 2010 link

IF you believe that, then the same could be said for owners of expensive DB machines.  OTOH, I truly believe that each class has its advantages and its disadvantages, AND I further believe that the difference in the cup (which is, after all, where it counts -- we can agree on that, can't we?) is more dependent on the person behind the machine, rather than on the machine itself . . . presuming, of course, we are comparing machines of similar caliber (for example, comparing an Izzo Alex with an Izzo Alex Duetto II; or a 2 gr. Faema Jubilé with a 2 gr. La Marzocco Linea; etc.).

boyscout Said:

I especially hope that you don't take the advice that "the machine is just a hot water delivery device" too much to heart... it is particularly misleading.

Posted June 16, 2010 link

Well, let's just say that a) I was not the first to say this;  b) I am not the only one to say this; and c) I won't be the last to say this.

boyscout Said:

Under such a dismissive description, a Breville Cafe Roma ($200) or Rancilio Silvia ($700) and a La Marzocco GS/3 ($7,000) would be equivalent, a contention that many machine owners would likely dispute.

Posted June 16, 2010 link

Perhaps it's the difference in language, but this comment of yours indicates to me that you've missed the point here . . .

A DB machine's biggest asset is temperature control.  Its biggest drawback is the inability to change temperature.  While it may take less than a second to change the temperature setting, it takes longer than that for the machine to be thermally stable at the new temperature -- though going down in temp will take less time than going up.  This is not an issue if you use the same coffee (or, rather, change beans/blends infrequently).  But if you change beans often, and/or having trouble dialing in the coffee, it can be frustrating.

An HX machine's biggest asset is the ability to adjust temperature on the fly.  Its biggest drawback is the inability to walk up, pull a shot, and leave.  Rather, you need a cooling flush.  (OTOH, you may need a warming flush with a DB.)  But as I've said, describing how to temperature surf is more complicated than actually doing it.

"Stale water"?  That's BS and -- for the record, Mark -- I've never said anything about "stale water" other than to say it's a myth.

There are several DB machines I recommend highly.  There are several HX machines I recommend highly.  One is not better than the other by virtue of class-of-machine alone.  Personally, I'd rather have this machine than that one; but I'd rather have this than that.  In other words, it's machine-dependent, not class-dependent.  

BTW, personal opinion:  this is a very good machine, but I'd much rather have this one.  Then again, I'm extremely pleased with the machine I own, and the only machine(s) that I truly lust after are this one, and this one, but not one . . . go figure.

Cheers,
Jason

 
A morning without coffee is sleep . . .
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fnacer
Senior Member


Joined: 25 Feb 2007
Posts: 473
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Espresso: Salvatore E61, Vivaldi Mini...
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Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Tue Jun 22, 2010, 4:01pm
Subject: Re: Heat exchange machine temp control
 

JasonBrandtLewis Said:

An HX machine's biggest asset is the ability to adjust temperature on the fly.

Posted June 16, 2010 link

I wholeheartedly agree.

I keep telling my wife that the temperature fluctuation in our badly insulated old house is an asset. I like it when the air is cool. She prefers it when it's warm. So right after the heater comes on, she's happy. And once all the warm air has leaked out and the heater is getting ready to kick back in, I'm happy.

If the temperature was more stable, I'm sure we'd both be miserable or living in separate houses by now.
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Joel_B
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Joel_B
Joined: 9 Oct 2007
Posts: 1,826
Location: Pacific NW
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Astra Mega II
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Vac Pot: Yama 5 cup
Drip: nope, french press
Roaster: Behmor, WP, BBQ drum
Posted Tue Jun 22, 2010, 4:13pm
Subject: Re: Heat exchange machine temp control
 

fnacer Said:

I wholeheartedly agree.

I keep telling my wife that the temperature fluctuation in our badly insulated old house is an asset. I like it when the air is cool. She prefers it when it's warm. So right after the heater comes on, she's happy. And once all the warm air has leaked out and the heater is getting ready to kick back in, I'm happy.

If the temperature was more stable, I'm sure we'd both be miserable or living in separate houses by now.

Posted June 22, 2010 link

You'll have to help me, is this sarcasm?  Well I guess either way, what you describe has nothing to do with an HXs ability "to adjust temperature on the fly."  Your poorly insulated house acts more of a SB/DU boiler cycle.
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wideasleep1
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wideasleep1
Joined: 19 Feb 2005
Posts: 1,610
Location: Tiburon,Ca
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: VBMDoubleDomo
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Drip: AeroPresses FTW!
Roaster: IR1 and 2,SC/TO,Behmor
Posted Tue Jun 22, 2010, 11:27pm
Subject: Re: Heat exchange machine temp control
 

fnacer Said:

I wholeheartedly agree.

I keep telling my wife that the temperature fluctuation in our badly insulated old house is an asset. I like it when the air is cool. She prefers it when it's warm. So right after the heater comes on, she's happy. And once all the warm air has leaked out and the heater is getting ready to kick back in, I'm happy.

If the temperature was more stable, I'm sure we'd both be miserable or living in separate houses by now.

Posted June 22, 2010 link

Reminds me of my adjustment to automatic climate control (ACC) in my new car...I got in the car in SF at a foggy 51 degrees...set the ACC for 68, and was toasty warm by the time I hit the bridge....an hour later, I was in sweltering Sacramento where it was over 100...it was quite a shock to get out of the car, having never noticed a change in temperature. A PID is analogous to ACC...set it and forget it...if you want to fiddle, you still can, but it seems pointless to have to futz with the heater, then A/C during my entire, but brief trip. ;)
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fnacer
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Joined: 25 Feb 2007
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Posted Wed Jun 23, 2010, 4:49pm
Subject: Re: Heat exchange machine temp control
 

Joel_B Said:

is this sarcasm?

Posted June 22, 2010 link

Yes, sorry. I just couldn't resist.

But seriously though, few, if any, HX machines come equipped with a group head thermometer. And many HX machines do not have a hefty E-61 group head.

Given that, saying that on-the-fly temperature adjustment is an asset of HX machines may lead someone considering an HX-based machine to expect a degree of control over temperature that they will likely not be able to achieve.

Or am I missing something?
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JasonBrandtLewis
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JasonBrandtLewis
Joined: 9 Dec 2005
Posts: 6,475
Location: Berkeley, CA
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Posted Wed Jun 23, 2010, 7:44pm
Subject: Re: Heat exchange machine temp control
 

You're missing something.

 
A morning without coffee is sleep . . .
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Joel_B
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Joel_B
Joined: 9 Oct 2007
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Posted Wed Jun 23, 2010, 8:02pm
Subject: Re: Heat exchange machine temp control
 

fnacer Said:

Yes, sorry. I just couldn't resist.

Posted June 23, 2010 link

Oh, well I thought you were, but you were so convincing I had to ask.  But fair enough :)

fnacer Said:

Or am I missing something?

Posted June 23, 2010 link

I think you are.

fnacer Said:

But seriously though, few, if any, HX machines come equipped with a group head thermometer. And many HX machines do not have a hefty E-61 group head.

Posted June 23, 2010 link

I do have an E61 but I don't have a group thermometer.  The thermometer speeds the learning curve but doesn't make the impossible possible.  No thermometer will tell you how the cup tastes.  I've learned enough about my machine that I know how to create a low, and high brewing temp and everywhere inbetween.  I've also found it to be consistant.  I keep my routine the same only varying the rebound time.  I can reproduce the same shot consistantly with virtually every bean (HX DB SB/DU, there will always be a difficult coffee).  What are my exact low med high temps?  Couldn't tell you and can't say I overly care.  But what I can tell you is I know what the espresso tastes like and for many of the coffees I know what they taste like pulled by some of the best baristas as a comparison.  This wasn't an overnight discovery; lacking the thermometer it took some more trial and error, but I feel more than confident in my ability to exploit the best of my machine.

fnacer Said:

Given that, saying that on-the-fly temperature adjustment is an asset of HX machines may lead someone considering an HX-based machine to expect a degree of control over temperature that they will likely not be able to achieve.

Posted June 23, 2010 link

I'm not sure why you've come to that conclusion.  Do tell.
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wideasleep1
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wideasleep1
Joined: 19 Feb 2005
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Posted Wed Jun 23, 2010, 8:58pm
Subject: Re: Heat exchange machine temp control
 

Joel_B Said:

Oh, well I thought you were, but you were so convincing I had to ask.  But fair enough :)



I think you are.



I do have an E61 but I don't have a group thermometer.  The thermometer speeds the learning curve but doesn't make the impossible possible.  No thermometer will tell you how the cup tastes.  I've learned enough about my machine that I know how to create a low, and high brewing temp and everywhere inbetween.  I've also found it to be consistant.  I keep my routine the same only varying the rebound time.  I can reproduce the same shot consistantly with virtually every bean (HX DB SB/DU, there will always be a difficult coffee).  What are my exact low med high temps?  Couldn't tell you and can't say I overly care.  But what I can tell you is I know what the espresso tastes like and for many of the coffees I know what they taste like pulled by some of the best baristas as a comparison.  This wasn't an overnight discovery; lacking the thermometer it took some more trial and error, but I feel more than confident in my ability to exploit the best of my machine.



I'm not sure why you've come to that conclusion.  Do tell.

Posted June 23, 2010 link


I think the suggestion that it's 'instant and easy' to go from 202 to 191 (Vivace Dolce temp) and get a stable intrashot temp from the hot hunk of E61 brass would be a poor expectation from either HX or DB. I have a group thermostat on my VBMDD, and I too can do some 'on the fly' temp adjustments (a window of 5F is possible) while still maintaining a 1F intrashot variance, but anything greater than 5 degrees requires a 10 minute or more wait due to the brass chunk. I don't see how an HX can do a fully stable 5+ degree change instantly. While totally impractical, I can turn off the PID and dump a huge portion of boiler water rendering my boiler well below the group temp as it would occur similarly to an HX, and the E61 is STILL the gatekeeper. (Keep in mind we are also not actually measuring extraction temperature with grouphead thermos, we're measuring a moving column of water ahead of much of the brass). I think the main advantage of HX over DB is cost, which is narrowing thanks to the number of DB's built, consumer demand driving production.
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Joel_B
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Joel_B
Joined: 9 Oct 2007
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Posted Thu Jun 24, 2010, 5:13am
Subject: Re: Heat exchange machine temp control
 

wideasleep1 Said:

the E61 is STILL the gatekeeper. (Keep in mind we are also not actually measuring extraction temperature with grouphead thermos, we're measuring a moving column of water ahead of much of the brass).

Posted June 23, 2010 link

I am more than willing to admit that my tastebuds are wrong (what I'm using to determine the quality of the shot).  But my tastebuds tell me I can taste the difference based on when I pull the shot.  And as I stated I don't know the exact temps I'm getting and I may very well be pulling shots at the same temp.  I will probably rent a Scace if/when EPNW's rentals become available.  Until then, I'm going to follow what I think to be true until the evidence tells me otherwise.

wideasleep1 Said:

I have a group thermostat on my VBMDD, and I too can do some 'on the fly' temp adjustments (a window of 5F is possible) while still maintaining a 1F intrashot variance

Posted June 23, 2010 link

You've measured this?

wideasleep1 Said:

. While totally impractical, I can turn off the PID and dump a huge portion of boiler water rendering my boiler well below the group temp as it would occur similarly to an HX, and the E61 is STILL the gatekeeper.

Posted June 23, 2010 link

So you've done this?  Or is this speculation?  "well below the group temp" is subjective, but I'm not convinced, say 170deg water, will shoot up to 200deg from the group alone.

wideasleep1 Said:

I think the main advantage of HX over DB is cost, which is narrowing thanks to the number of DB's built, consumer demand driving production.

Posted June 23, 2010 link

I agree that it still is a good value.  That gap is closing, but there's still some decent entrly level HX machine in the $1K range.

Outside of speculation here, is there anyone who's actually measured the brewing temps with a Scace or other device?  Is the 5deg range all that can be expected?
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