-PITA location for the water tank. Even though it's 60-70oz. I find myself refilling it every other day, give or take a day. Purging/priming the wand, scrubbing the shower screen, pre-warming use a LOT of water. -Steam arm is great but the little black rubber is a joke. I can't ask for much more at this price but I'm a big time steamer and I wish it were a non burn wand or it had a better grip. -The Solenoid is pretty intrusive. I know it's location was to make everything work together but I still think the solenoid and reservoir could have been done differently and better. -The stock portafilters are so-so. They're comfortable but they're hideous in my opinion. It's also a nonstandard threading so you could just switch the handles. The other compatible portafilters are far and few. I was given a portafilter with the same wing location but different thickness and it didn't fit. The 3/8" threading or whatever is standard so I was able to replace the spouts. The stock spouts are a joke. When you use it to warm up cups it sprays so far it actually gets on the counters. The new spouts (like that on a rocket) works so much better. I also have the bottomless which I find myself using just as often. -The steam knob can get slippery if it gets wet. I am a bit limited on space and so when I purge, if the knob gets wet it becomes difficult to grasp. It's also kinda cheap feeling. -The reservoir color can sometimes be difficult to see and tell the water level.
Would I buy the machine again? YES!
Pros: -PID -Good steam -Consistent -Small -Lots of top rack cup space -Multiple program settings -Support
To answer the original question, I think thermoblocks as far as this machine is concerned is definitely ready for prime time.
So you are an active user of the thermoblock and it has performed to expectation. The few other owners I've seen reviews from seem to agree.
I've only seen one post where someone had an issue with the thermoblock. It was just after purchase (so a manufacturing defect) and was taken care of promptly. At two years in the market, if there were serious design issues, they should have come out by now.
Seems like the only unanswered question is long term durability of the machine and that can only be answered over a longer term (go figure).
DeanOK Senior Member Joined: 24 Sep 2012 Posts: 161 Location: OK Expertise: Just starting
Espresso: Crossland CC1 Grinder: Vario W
Posted Sat Feb 23, 2013, 2:27pm Subject: Re: Are thermoblocks ready for prime time?
The CC1 makes excellent foamed milk if your into that.
I have never used a commercial prosumer machine, but my feeling is that the CC1 is a bit slow at steaming milk... this doesn't mean it doesn't do a great job, just seems to take a while. My ASSUMPTION is that the machines that have a dedicated boiler probably steam faster than the CC1. This may be an issue if you steam a lot of milk and your want to consider the time involved. Maybe someone that has first hand knowledge can comment on this.
The plastic grab on the CC1 steam wand has not been an issue for me, but you do have to pay attention when you reach for the steam wand.... it smarts when you grab the metal instead of the plastic grab.
As for the water reservoir, I hated it at first... but after a while you learn the trick to get it out and back in with minimum effort, even in a tight space. I do find it hard to see the water level though. I may try to find a way to add an LED light to shine into the tank when the warranty expires. I think this would be helpful because with the tank tucked in the back, you really cant see the water level very well particularly when sitting on a standard height kitchen cabinet and looking down on the machine.
If Bill makes sure you can buy parts and makes sure there is service after the purchase, I will be happy with the machine.
I have had a heck of a time getting consistent pulls. I have even bought a calibrated tamper and done everything I know to do to try and create repeatable results with little success. I don't think the machine is the reason, but sometimes I wish I had a pressure gauge just to be sure.
I have never had an issue with minerals so far. I have descaled once (couldn't tell any difference). I use municipal water that I run through double carbon and sediment filters. Supposed to remove 99% of chlorine and chemicals... but not sure that would have much affect on minerals.
Iluvdabean Senior Member Joined: 7 Mar 2005 Posts: 1,058 Location: California Expertise: I live coffee
Espresso: La Nuova Era Cuadra/Gaggia... Grinder: Baratza Preciso/K-A Pro... Drip: Capresso MT 500/Pour Over Roaster: Nesco 1010/Behmor 1600
Posted Sat Feb 23, 2013, 11:27pm Subject: Re: Are thermoblocks ready for prime time?
Note the exact word I used was, interesting which conotes neither approval or disapproval. I only wanted to bring it to peoples awareness, These people may be faced with the exact same issues Breville is in the BDB and that is build quality and sustained operation in terms of reliability. Although I think it stands a better chance than the BDB because some thinking went into it.
Oh man, that looks freaking awesome. An espresso machine with an SD card slot? Sign me up!
fredk01 Senior Member Joined: 20 Feb 2012 Posts: 116 Location: Canada Expertise: Just starting
Espresso: Saeco Aroma Grinder: OE Pharos
Posted Sun Feb 24, 2013, 10:04am Subject: Re: Are thermoblocks ready for prime time?
... I have had a heck of a time getting consistent pulls. I have even bought a calibrated tamper and done everything I know to do to try and create repeatable results with little success. I don't think the machine is the reason, but sometimes I wish I had a pressure gauge just to be sure. ...
This is exactly what has moved me to consider this machine. Pulling good shots is not easy. I picked up a second hand Saeco Aroma, struggled to pull descent shots and realized that there was a large temperature variance within the shot that I was working against from the get go. I want to start one step ahead not one step behind in learning to make good, then great espresso.
This machine is designed by a man with pretty good credentials. It appears to steam quite well. If offers excellent temperature stability: 10,000 Shots. It moves from dose to steam quite quickly. It does all this at a breakthrough price. It seems to have held up well so far.
Long term durability appears to be the only unknown.
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