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Espresso: Espresso Machines
which espresso maker to buy without grinder
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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > which espresso...  
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qualin
Senior Member
qualin
Joined: 30 Jun 2012
Posts: 662
Location: Calgary, AB
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Izzo Alex Duetto 3
Grinder: Mazzer Mini Elect. Type A
Vac Pot: Looking to buy
Drip: Manual
Roaster: Considering?
Posted Tue Oct 16, 2012, 7:09pm
Subject: Re: which espresso maker to buy without grinder
 

JasonBrandtLewis Said:

EVERY full-auto/volumetric dosing machine can ALWAYS be operated exactly like a semi-auto.

Posted October 15, 2012 link

I wouldn't disagree with you on that. I guess I didn't make myself clear enough and I apologize for that.

I guess what I should have mentioned was that with a semi-auto machine, it is either on or it is off. The operator needs to keep their hand on the lever (Figuratively speaking) for the duration of the shot.
An automatic affords the luxury of having the machine stop the shot for you, that is the convenience I meant to convey. :-) So yeah, you start the shot, walk to the fridge, go get milk, take too long
and suddenly you don't have your drip tray filling up with espresso and a ruined shot. :-)

JasonBrandtLewis Said:

I probably stop 60+ percent of my shots manually, just as if my machines were semi-autos

Posted October 15, 2012 link

Please excuse my newbieness, but wouldn't it make more sense to adjust your dose to something smaller, then just manually add more water as you needed it?

JasonBrandtLewis Said:

Safety and convenience.

Posted October 15, 2012 link

Agreed. Especially the latter part. A lot of the times I've seen professional baristas making drinks, they don't even bother looking for blonding, they just push the button, get the volume they want and that's it.
Unfortunately, they don't end up making shots which are all that great, but that's for a whole other thread.

JasonBrandtLewis Said:

To the OP:  I would definitely buy your machine in Canada.

Posted October 15, 2012 link

Another vendor you could try as well who is based out of BC is ECM Espresso Coffee Machines Co. (Not related to the actual ECM brand.) They sell the Oscar. Their La Scala machines might be a bit outside of your price range.

One of the things that my local espresso equipment vendors love to emphasize to me is that if you buy local, you can get service local, instead of having to ship it back and forth if there are severe issues with the machine that can't be fixed.

 
Garbage In, Garbage Out, for every step of the process. From Beans to grinder, grounds to machine, coffee to cup.
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JasonBrandtLewis
Senior Member
JasonBrandtLewis
Joined: 9 Dec 2005
Posts: 6,410
Location: Berkeley, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Elektra T1 - La Valentina -...
Grinder: Mahlkönig K30 Vario -...
Vac Pot: Yama 5-cup
Drip: CCD, Chemex
Roaster: No, no, not another...
Posted Tue Oct 16, 2012, 10:05pm
Subject: Re: which espresso maker to buy without grinder
 

qualin Said:

Please excuse my newbieness, but wouldn't it make more sense to adjust your dose to something smaller, then just manually add more water as you needed it?

Posted October 16, 2012 link

In a word, "No."

What you are not taking into account is that shots should not be timed IF the goal is the very finest espresso shot possible.  The timing will change as the beans age.  The timing will change with different beans. The timing will change with the weather . . . in other words, for all sorts of reasons.  

I find that it is much better to stop the shot on blonding.  

It isn't all that difficult to re-program the machine, but when I originally programmed my seven button Elektra T1, I set them as follows:
  1. one ounce espresso normale (single shot);
  2. short cleaning spritz;
  3. moderate cooling flush;
  4. two ounce doppio espresso (double shot);
  5. slightly longer "spritz";
  6. long cooling flush; and,
  7. ON/OFF (non-programmable).

The "problem," Bud, that you seem to see is one that I do not.  First of all, I like a "normal" 2 oz. shot in milk drinks, and both my wife and daughters don't drink straight espresso.  I generally have one latte in the morning, and the rest of the time, I drink doppio ristrettos.  I could reprogram the "regular" buttons (#1 and #4) to be shorter (i.e.: less volume), but then I'd have to reprogram #2 and #5 to be "normale" and it STILL would not make the very best espresso unless I stop the shot(s) on blonding . . . which I do now anyway!

The whole "nonsense" of x grams for y seconds as gospel is just that:  nonsense!  It is NOT gospel, but rather a guideline -- a very good one, in fact.  It is a place to start.  The Italian "ideal" -- as described by the Istituto Nazionale Espresso Italiano is 14 grams (+/- 0.5 grams) of coffee in 25 seconds (+/- 2.5 seconds), yielding 50ml (+/- 2.5ml) of liquid called "espresso."  Most North Americans "updose" -- as much as 18 grams.  I've found my "sweet spot" is between 15.0-15.5 grams.  Where your "sweet spot" may lie is up to you to discover -- after all, you don't have my taste buds in your mouth; you have your own.  And what they think is "great" may not agree with what I think is great.  

This is precisely why there is more than one coffee roaster in the world, and why each roaster produces more than one offering.  Some people here in the States swear by Intelligentsia, but I'm not a great fan.  Others love Blue Bottle, or Klatch, or Counter Culture, or . . . hell, some people even love *$!  (Go figure!)  I prefer Red Bird and Verve, Caffe Fresco, and Vivace.  But that's my taste.

C'est la vie . . .

JasonBrandtLewis: T1_S_D1_Auto.jpg
(Click for larger image)

 
A morning without coffee is sleep . . .
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qualin
Senior Member
qualin
Joined: 30 Jun 2012
Posts: 662
Location: Calgary, AB
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Izzo Alex Duetto 3
Grinder: Mazzer Mini Elect. Type A
Vac Pot: Looking to buy
Drip: Manual
Roaster: Considering?
Posted Tue Oct 16, 2012, 10:38pm
Subject: Re: which espresso maker to buy without grinder
 

JasonBrandtLewis Said:

What you are not taking into account is that shots should not be timed IF the goal is the very finest espresso shot possible.

Posted October 16, 2012 link

At first when I was getting into this hobby, I was always under the impression that you made a shot not by blonding but by volume and time.. Which is why I initially thought that volumetric machines were the begin and end all
of convenience. It's very clear that it is a function of very many variables.. and I'll learn all of those eventually as I get more experience. As we've discussed it, I think that's pretty much made up my mind then that volumetric is a
"nice to have" but not really necessary, at least from my point of view. That makes choosing my next machine easier. Thanks!

JasonBrandtLewis Said:

First of all, I like a "normal" 2 oz. shot in milk drinks

Posted October 16, 2012 link

So do I.. I like to make myself a short latte in the mornings, bordering on a Macchiato.. I just use less milk, so I get a stronger coffee flavour. I have yet to pull a Ristretto.

JasonBrandtLewis Said:

Some people here in the States swear by Intelligentsia, but I'm not a great fan.

Posted October 16, 2012 link

You should try Phil and Sebastian's blend.. It's amazing.

 
Garbage In, Garbage Out, for every step of the process. From Beans to grinder, grounds to machine, coffee to cup.
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JasonBrandtLewis
Senior Member
JasonBrandtLewis
Joined: 9 Dec 2005
Posts: 6,410
Location: Berkeley, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Elektra T1 - La Valentina -...
Grinder: Mahlkönig K30 Vario -...
Vac Pot: Yama 5-cup
Drip: CCD, Chemex
Roaster: No, no, not another...
Posted Tue Oct 16, 2012, 11:37pm
Subject: Re: which espresso maker to buy without grinder
 

qualin Said:

I think that's pretty much made up my mind then that volumetric is a "nice to have" but not really necessary.

Posted October 16, 2012 link

Absolutely.  It comes in quite handy when you have a busy, hectic life, but is never a necessity . . .

That said, unless I go to a lever -- well, I have a lever machine -- unless I switch to a lever as my primary machine, I cannot imagine getting a machine that isn't volumetric.  In other words, it's a convenience that I choose to have.

The one time where I honestly think it IS a necessity is in a café -- especially one either on a college campus or staffed by college students.  High rates-of-turnover makes a volumetric (full-auto) machine an attractive "backstop" to overwhelmed employees.  The more the employee knows, the better he or she gets, the more likely the barista is to stop shots manually.  

Were I to open a café, I'd get a volumetric machine . . . unless I were opening a so-called "third wave" café and/or an artisan roaster-and-café.  In that case, I'd probably get multi-lever Mirage Idracompresso (which I posted earlier) or a Bosco Sorrento (pictured below).  Thankfully, I'll never have to make that decision.

JasonBrandtLewis: Bosco-Sorrento-lever-espresso-machine.jpg

 
A morning without coffee is sleep . . .
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NobbyR
Senior Member
NobbyR
Joined: 10 Jul 2011
Posts: 2,050
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 Tue Oct 16, 2012, 11:58pm
Subject: Re: which espresso maker to buy without grinder
 

JasonBrandtLewis Said:

... The whole "nonsense" of x grams for y seconds as gospel is just that:  nonsense!  It is NOT gospel, but rather a guideline -- a very good one, in fact.  It is a place to start.  The Italian "ideal" -- as described by the Istituto Nazionale Espresso Italiano is 14 grams (+/- 0.5 grams) of coffee in 25 seconds (+/- 2.5 seconds), yielding 50ml (+/- 2.5ml) of liquid called "espresso."  Most North Americans "updose" -- as much as 18 grams.  I've found my "sweet spot" is between 15.0-15.5 grams.  Where your "sweet spot" may lie is up to you to discover -- after all, you don't have my taste buds in your mouth; you have your own.  And what they think is "great" may not agree with what I think is great ...

Posted October 16, 2012 link

I do like to quote the rather technical INEI standarts as a starting point, because they can give you a pretty good general idea of what espresso should be like, and you need to start somewhere. I consider those standarts to be something like the minimum requirements. But in the end, as Jason said, what really counts is that you personally like the taste in your cup.

 
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"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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