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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > Too many...  
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joatmon
Senior Member


Joined: 18 Sep 2004
Posts: 346
Location: Greer, SC
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Tue Oct 18, 2011, 1:23pm
Subject: Re: Too many choices!
 

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TheMadTamper
Senior Member


Joined: 2 Nov 2010
Posts: 1,246
Location: US
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Salvatore SES; Izzo Duetto...
Grinder: Compak K10 WBC, K8 Fresh,...
Drip: /Pod: Bunn MCP
Roaster: /Other: Blender - BlendTec...
Posted Tue Oct 18, 2011, 1:30pm
Subject: Re: Too many choices!
 

joatmon Said:

Mike,

Get the Bosco and team it with a K30.  Forget the naysayers.  If I had to start over, this is what I'd have.  Period.

No fuss, no regrets, no lust,

joat

Posted October 18, 2011 link

I take it the Doge didn't work out for you? :)
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dsblv
Senior Member


Joined: 2 Dec 2006
Posts: 191
Location: Bellevue, WA
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Rocket Giotto Evoluzione
Grinder: MACAP MC4
Posted Tue Oct 18, 2011, 2:43pm
Subject: Re: Too many choices!
 

calblacksmith Said:

Look inside young grasshopper. What you seek lies within, not with spending boat loads of money.

Posted October 18, 2011 link


Excellent insight.  You've been changing many variables and getting mixed results. The Giotto is one of the best HX machines out there.  Before changing machines, I would recommend eliminating the other issues and getting things stabilized.  Get roasted beans from a proven supplier and get to the point where you can brew some good espresso.  

Once you get everything working, then evaluate the Giotto on its own merits.  If you find you want to upgrade machines, then at least you'll be doing it for the right reason.  Otherwise, you'll probably waste your money and end up even more frustrated than you are now.
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docdvm
Senior Member


Joined: 15 Oct 2009
Posts: 83
Location: Ottawa Ontario
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Giotto, Cremina
Grinder: Baratza Vario, Versalab
Drip: Bunn VP-17
Roaster: HotTop
Posted Tue Oct 18, 2011, 5:04pm
Subject: Re: Too many choices!
 

So MadTamper if I read you correctly you are saying that the Mazzer Mini E type b is a grinder that cannot be up to par with the Giotto?
I do notice some clumping but really after my simple distribution and tamping technique the naked portafilter would suggest that the extraction is even. What can I do otherwise? I would love a mahlkonig K30! Looks great! Maybe I should pair the Bosco with the K30 and know that as far as levers I would not likely ever look any further. I do believe that the beans may be the issue. I roasted a bit longer with the last lb. of coffee and I am getting a kind of burnt woody flavour to the coffee. Maybe it is attempting to be dark chocolate but has a bit of bitterness so not as sweet as I would like. I will shorten the extraction time which I believe will remove some of the bitterness. We shall see.  I will try the guatamalan tonight. Will take a few shots to dial it in and then compare.

I would have thought that if the grinder were at fault that I would see an uneven extraction and channeling, No? When I bought the Mazzer reviews indicated that it was a decent grinder. Now opinions seem to have changed and people have jumped aboard the Baratza bus. I suppose that next year it will be something else. I

I was just thinking that even though the naked portafilter indicates that the shot looks nice , taste does not always confirm that. Is that due to the Giotto or maybe just the bean. I would think that my grind, distribution and tamp technique errors would have been revealed in the naked portafilter.

I am in no rush to buy anything right now but may be looking in the new year. I bought the Giotto used so and have used it for the past 2 years. The machine needed some work, a thorough descaling. The Gicleur was clogged so I disassembled it cleaned and replace the valve at the bottom of the mushroom. I replaced the pressurestat with a new Sirai as well as the Control box and Ilka pump. I do have a spare vacuum valve as well. The machine I believe works as well as when I bought it but before that I was having problems (Understandably)

I would not mind keeping it as a spare machine or giving it to my nephew who enjoys espresso also. I just thought that the Mazzer was a decent grinder for home use. I am not planning to do more than a few shots a day so why would I need a bigger grinder? Ten again , the same logic would ask why would I need a different espresso machine?
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docdvm
Senior Member


Joined: 15 Oct 2009
Posts: 83
Location: Ottawa Ontario
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Giotto, Cremina
Grinder: Baratza Vario, Versalab
Drip: Bunn VP-17
Roaster: HotTop
Posted Tue Oct 18, 2011, 5:47pm
Subject: Re: Too many choices!
 

Cleaned the grinder with Grindz , vacuumed it out and then loaded with the Guatamalan. Needs a little finer grind as flow seemed a bit too fast. Loads of Crema!! Just 3 days from roast but much better taste. Not as sharp as the Costa Rican. I believe that the Costa Rican bean or roast was just too difficult. With a milk drink you would never have noticed but with espresso , well, there is a noticeable sharpness that accentuates the taste either positive or distasteful. The Guatamalan is clearer and smoother and sweeter.

Again the question is would the other machines have handled the Costa Rican better. I understand that the La Marzocco some suggest would be able to save a bean like to Costa Rican but may not bring out the subtle flavors of some beans. Lever machine apparently are better suited to handle Single Origin beans so would they make a difference for me. I roast my own beans and drink only single origin coffee.

I believe that the Mazzer Mini E type B has 64 mm steel burrs. Is that not correct? So what would be the reason to upgrade?
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NobbyR
Senior Member
NobbyR
Joined: 10 Jul 2011
Posts: 2,040
Location: Germany
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Poccino Opus One, Ariete
Grinder: Eureka Mignon Istantaneo
Vac Pot: N/A
Drip: Melitta Linea Unica de Luxe
Roaster: N/A
Posted Wed Oct 19, 2011, 8:27am
Subject: Re: Too many choices!
 

docdvm Said:

...I believe that the Mazzer Mini E type B has 64 mm steel burrs. Is that not correct? So what would be the reason to upgrade?

Posted October 18, 2011 link

You're absolutely right about the Mazzer Mini E Model B having 64 mm flat steel burrs.

The reason for a grinder upgrade (e.g. to a Mahlkönig K30 Vario, a Macap M7D SL or Mazzer Kony E) would be that a better grinder would make a more noticable improvement and a bigger difference in the cup than any espresso machine upgrade could.

TheMadTamper Said:

...A common phrase around here is "grinder is more important than machine".  I like to point out that's only a half truth and prefer to correct it as "your coffee is only as good as your weakest link."  Whether your weakest link is your machine, your grinder, your beans, or your skill, that weak link determines the maximum quality your coffee can be if all other variables are perfect.   Right now, your Giotto is not your weakest link.  Either your grinder, skill, beans (home roasting skill?), or your skill (temp surfing/distribution), are your weak links...

Posted October 19, 2011 link

I agree.

docdvm Said:

...
Again the question is would the other machines have handled the Costa Rican better. I understand that the La Marzocco some suggest would be able to save a bean like to Costa Rican but may not bring out the subtle flavors of some beans. Lever machine apparently are better suited to handle Single Origin beans so would they make a difference for me. I roast my own beans and drink only single origin coffee...

Posted October 18, 2011 link

Now lever machines are a different story. Making caffè with such an espresso machine is a work of art, that I admire, because it takes a lot of practice to get the brewing pressure right (unless you have a spring lever). Here are some typical characteristics of lever machines:

  • there's usually no waiting for frothing milk, because the boiler is always on steaming temperature and pressure;
  • practically no parts are subject to regular wear, because they don't have a pump or magnetic valve;
  • they are quiet to operate, the grinder being the only thing making noise;
  • they have a unique design, which you have to like;
  • they are not suitable for heavy use, because the brewgroup tends to overheat after a few shots.

This temperature instability is what can make it difficult to pull shots of consistent quality. Each espresso tends to taste (at least a little) differently, and after a few shots it might get burnt and bitter. People who only brew a couple of shots each time they turn on the machine, who are willing to go through the pains of learning how to handle it, and who are looking for an eye-catcher will fare well with such a machine.

 
***
"This drink of the Satan is so delicious that it would be a shame to leave it to the infidels." (Pope Clement VIII on coffee, when he was urged to ban the beverage)
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TheMadTamper
Senior Member


Joined: 2 Nov 2010
Posts: 1,246
Location: US
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Salvatore SES; Izzo Duetto...
Grinder: Compak K10 WBC, K8 Fresh,...
Drip: /Pod: Bunn MCP
Roaster: /Other: Blender - BlendTec...
Posted Wed Oct 19, 2011, 8:29am
Subject: Re: Too many choices!
 

docdvm Said:

So MadTamper if I read you correctly you are saying that the Mazzer Mini E type b is a grinder that cannot be up to par with the Giotto?
I do notice some clumping but really after my simple distribution and tamping technique the naked portafilter would suggest that the extraction is even. What can I do otherwise? I would love a mahlkonig K30! Looks great! Maybe I should pair the Bosco with the K30 and know that as far as levers I would not likely ever look any further. I do believe that the beans may be the issue. I roasted a bit longer with the last lb. of coffee and I am getting a kind of burnt woody flavour to the coffee. Maybe it is attempting to be dark chocolate but has a bit of bitterness so not as sweet as I would like. I will shorten the extraction time which I believe will remove some of the bitterness. We shall see.  I will try the guatamalan tonight. Will take a few shots to dial it in and then compare.

I would have thought that if the grinder were at fault that I would see an uneven extraction and channeling, No? When I bought the Mazzer reviews indicated that it was a decent grinder. Now opinions seem to have changed and people have jumped aboard the Baratza bus. I suppose that next year it will be something else. I

Posted October 18, 2011 link

See my reply to your thread in the grinder forum for more info on the Mini suggestion.   It certainly is a decent grinder for home.  And the "upgrades" we're all talking about are full-scale commercial grinders.  Then again, so is the Pompeii, GS/3, and Bosco commercial equipment :) The Baratza Vario is a nice (plastic) home grinder with similar grind results to the SJ, which grinds better than the Mini.  But there's still better out there than that, which is the direction I was nudging you.  I'm not saying you NEED a new grinder, but that if you're looking for new equipment to improve your coffee, the grinder would be a far more worthwhile place to look than the machine.   The machine is already "excellent", the grinder is only "pretty decent."  

The Mini's build still has it all over the B.Vario, and I personally like more robust equipment than the Vario. You don't NEED to upgrade the grinder.  You just seem to want to upgrade SOMETHING....so the grinder would be the most useful one to upgrade when compared to the machine :)

Home roasting, fun as it may be, is not an ideal way to test hardware.  You're testing your roast skills as much as your gear.  That's why the prior suggestion was to try commercial blends.  You can sort out any gear issues you have that way, and thus know that any further issues must be in your beans or roasting technique, and you can stop worrying about your espresso gear! :)  It's a lot easier (and cheaper) to know your equipment produces expected results on a blend that is "guaranteed to work" in a predictable manner.  

I would not mind keeping it as a spare machine or giving it to my nephew who enjoys espresso also. I just thought that the Mazzer was a decent grinder for home use. I am not planning to do more than a few shots a day so why would I need a bigger grinder? Ten again , the same logic would ask why would I need a different espresso machine?

Bingo :)  You don't need better, the gear you have is very nice.  But if you're going to go through upgrade-itis, upgrade the most meaningful part that will give the most notable improvement.  The grinder can be noticeably improved.  The machine can only be subtlety improved or get more features or production capacity added.   A grinder upgrade WOULD improve your shots.  But you should be capable of producing good shots as-is.  If the shot isn't good....the brewing equipment is probably not the problem.  And the fact that you're getting visually good pours, indicates technique is likely not the main problem either...that leaves beans and roasting skill (a whole art unto itself.)

(I can see the new thread now "I want to upgrade to a commercial gas fired roaster because my roasts are tasting kind of burned.  I've heard Probat is good, any suggestions" ;) )


NobbyR Said:

You're absolutely right about the Mazzer Mini E Model B having 64 mm flat steel burrs.

The reason for a grinder upgrade (e.g. to a Mahlkönig K30 Vario, a Macap M7D SL or Mazzer Kony E) would be that a better grinder would make a more noticable improvement and a bigger difference in the cup than any espresso machine upgrade could.

Posted October 19, 2011 link

Right!  One misconception about the Mini E having the 64mm burrs (compared to the Mini-doser's 58mm burrs) is that many people believe that means it uses the same burrs as the Super Jolly.  It doesn't.  It's a different burr set that many have commented do not produce as nice a grind as the SJ.  So it sits somewhere between the original Mini and the SJ.  Visually, a comparison of the burrs show the SJ burrs to be much more aggressive than the Mini-E burrs.  This is likely due to the larger motor of the SJ being able to withstand the higher strain. (Or due to Mazzer deciding to segment the market to keep the SJ "above" the Mini for price purposes.  Either way, the machines are different.)

The Mini/Mini-E is still a staple cafe grinder for decaf and lesser used S.O.   It's robust, no question.
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NobbyR
Senior Member
NobbyR
Joined: 10 Jul 2011
Posts: 2,040
Location: Germany
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Poccino Opus One, Ariete
Grinder: Eureka Mignon Istantaneo
Vac Pot: N/A
Drip: Melitta Linea Unica de Luxe
Roaster: N/A
Posted Wed Oct 19, 2011, 8:45am
Subject: Re: Too many choices!
 

TheMadTamper Said:

...I'm not saying you NEED a new grinder, but that if you're looking for new equipment to improve your coffee, the grinder would be a far more worthwhile place to look than the machine. The machine is already "excellent", the grinder is only "pretty decent."  

The Mini's build still has it all over the B.Vario, and I personally like more robust equipment than the Vario. You don't NEED to upgrade the grinder.  You just seem to want to upgrade SOMETHING....so the grinder would be the most useful one to upgrade when compared to the machine :)...

Bingo :)  You don't need better, the gear you have is very nice.  But if you're going to go through upgrade-itis, upgrade the most meaningful part that will give the most notable improvement.  The grinder can be noticeably improved.  The machine can only be subtlety improved or get more features or production capacity added. A grinder upgrade WOULD improve your shots.  But you should be capable of producing good shots as-is.  If the shot isn't good....the brewing equipment is probably not the problem.  And the fact that you're getting visually good pours, indicates technique is likely not the main problem either...that leaves beans and roasting skill (a whole art unto itself.)...

Posted October 19, 2011 link

+1 !!!

 
***
"This drink of the Satan is so delicious that it would be a shame to leave it to the infidels." (Pope Clement VIII on coffee, when he was urged to ban the beverage)
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joatmon
Senior Member


Joined: 18 Sep 2004
Posts: 346
Location: Greer, SC
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Wed Oct 19, 2011, 9:33am
Subject: Re: Too many choices!
 

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docdvm
Senior Member


Joined: 15 Oct 2009
Posts: 83
Location: Ottawa Ontario
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Giotto, Cremina
Grinder: Baratza Vario, Versalab
Drip: Bunn VP-17
Roaster: HotTop
Posted Wed Oct 19, 2011, 9:45am
Subject: Re: Too many choices!
 

Well thank you very much for your replies. It is most helpful.
When roasting on my HotTop, and using a new bean every couple of pounds, you get a variety of roasts. This past Costa Rican I took a bit further thinking that it would give it a different taste for espresso. Well it certainly did! I was unable to get a good shot! With Guatamalan taken to where I normally do, just at the start of second crack with 4 minutes between first and second pours much better. Of course with a Bunn it makes no difference, really. Both are quite drinkable. The Guatamalan , in fact , even is acceptable with less than a perfect pour, a little squirt or 2 and uneven at the end of extraction. Still the espresso tasted OK, better than many I have had in coffee shops. The Costa Rican , on the other hand would have been terrible, a sink shot.

So although my technique is far from perfect I think, after reading your comments that 1. The bean has made the most difference (Roast and Bean) 2. The grinder should be my next upgrade. Which means that a Mahlkonig at $2000. 00 should be the next purchase 3. Then consider a spring lever for the next machine or just wait and save for a GS/3.

Sound reasonable? I would like to see what a spring lever like the Bosco,  Izzo, or Bezzera Strega would produce.

The Giotto is a good machine and after a thorough descale and repair works well, I think. I really do not know whether the pressure profile is OK as I would need a Scace device. The brew temp is measured with a thermometer in the group. BTW the Costa Rican liked the temp more around 202 degrees . Normally I bring the temp down a little lower to 200. Even the Guatamalan likes 202, so I have changed my flushing protocol. I do leave the Giotto on 24/7 now as I brew up to 3 times a day. Warming it up 3 times in a day makes no sense to me.

You are right that I have upgraditis. Now I just need to win a lottery.
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