Our Valued Sponsor
OpinionsConsumer ReviewsGuides and How TosCoffeeGeek ReviewsResourcesForums
Espresso: Espresso Machines
Upgrade to Dream T / Mini E - Completely Worth It
Stefano's Espresso Care
Repair - Parts - Sales
Factory Authorized &
Trained Technician
www.espressocare.com
 
Not Logged in: Log In to Postlog in
New Topics updated topics   New Posts new posts   Unanswered Posts new unanswered  
Search Discussion Board search   Discussion Board FAQ faq   Signup sign up  
Discussions > Espresso > Machines > Upgrade to Dream...  
view previous topic | view next topic | view all topics
showing page 2 of 10 first page | last page previous page | next page
Author Messages
Jmanespresso
Senior Member
Jmanespresso
Joined: 18 Jan 2009
Posts: 2,109
Location: Westchester NY
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Alex Duetto II
Grinder: Compak K10 - Vario
Vac Pot: Yama-SY5/SY8/TCA5
Drip: V60, Beehouse, CCD
Roaster: Hottop B
Posted Tue Apr 2, 2013, 2:50am
Subject: Re: Upgrade to Dream T / Mini E - Completely Worth It
 

CarloM

Ill run down answering each part of your post in order, best I can..

58mm vs 53mm- Yep, I too could find you numerous posts from both schools of thought on whether or not there is a difference between the two baskets/groupheads/machines.   There is NO DOUBT a difference in the overall shot.  Just look at the baskets..  The Vivaldi's, very deep.  Traditional 58mm Double basket, much shallower.  Now pack both of those baskets with equal doses.  Lets say 16grams, since thats what the Vivaldi likes.  While both baskets hold the 16gram puck with plenty of headroom, can you imagine the difference in the shape of the tamped puck?  Its deeper and narrower on the Vivaldi than it is on the 58mm.  The 58mm, is shallower, but wider.  Putting aside better vs worse, anyone who has made espresso with a double basket and a triple basket on the same machine, knows there is a clear and definite difference in the shot from both baskets.    Is one better or worse?  Taste wise, Im going to say they're different.  Thats all.  The Vivaldi has a lower range for dosing.. With the double basket, 14-16grams is pretty much where you will be dosing, regardless.  You can stuff up to 18grams in there, and I often did, but I was the Minority..  Im gonna say, prob 98% of Vivaldi owners run a 14-16gram dose.  And though there is now triple baskets available for the Vivaldi, they're more novelty than useful.

What the 58mm has over the 53mm, is flexibility.  There is a wide range of baskets you may want to play with, VST/Strada baskets, EPNW HQ baskets, Synesso Baskets, traditional faema E61s, original La Marzocco's..  I mean the list goes on(though, those are the main ones)..  Personally I don't like just one basket, or even one type of basket.  For example, lately Ive really been liking the EPNW HQ Ridgeless Triple(which is more like a big double than a triple), its been my go-to basket the past two weeks/4-5 coffees.  However, the EPNW HQ Ridged Triple?  Don't like it.  I use it to weigh out my beans.   And my old favorites, Synesso, are boss.  I am currently without my Synesso baskets, and am very sad about that fact.


See, I PREFER the flexibility and wide range of options the 58mm group offers.  When I use La Marzocco at a local cafe, I can go home and do my best to replicate the shot, because every variable, except the La Marzocco Saturated group vs. E61 group, is the same at my home.  When I read suggestions on how to pull a certain coffee from a Roaster, its same deal.  Majority of them are using Large Conicals and La Marzoccos.  It translates very well, though not EXACTLY, to my setup.

YES.  TO ME, the coffee tastes better and feels better from a 58mm basket and grouphead.

But let me VERY CLEAR on one undeniable fact
-Despite my preference for the 58mm grouphead and the things I see as benefits, I made GREAT coffee on the Vivaldi pretty much the entire time I owned it, AND selling it was a tough decision, that even though I currently don't regret, at the time I wondered if I had made a mistake giving it up.  



Beans- I mentioned usage pattern as a possible way to decide between the two machines, simply because they're pretty similar in capabilities.  With the less basket options the Vivaldi has, and the volumetric dosing, it might be ideal for the person who wants to find one coffee to use all the time.  Dial it in, and you're done.  Maybe make a slight adjustment towards the end of each week to account for age of the coffee, and call it a day.  You wont be adjusting temperatures or fooling with different doses and shot times, thats not what your interested in.  You want to find a coffee you like, and enjoy it.  End of story.  The Vivaldi will suit nicely.

No doubt so will the Duetto.  You wont have the convienence of volumetric dosing, and the slightly finer temperature scale won't matter if you're not changing coffee all the time.

Just to say..  With a dual boiler, its so easy to change temperature that it becomes a non issue as part of the dial in process.  It makes it a lot of fun to play with different blends and single origins.  Might be something you enjoy doing.


Steam Power-Both machines had beastly steam power.  In order from most to least(relatively), its goes like this..   Vivaldi/Dream>>Duetto>>Vivaldi Mini/Dream T
But really, they're all very close, and monstrous.  Now, a personal note.  The Vivaldi comes with pro-style stainless steel, non insulted steam arms.  The Duetto, comes with the no-burn insualted arm.  I do NOT like no-burn steam arms.  Some are better then others, and some are really good, and some are so terrrrrible its laughable.  But even the BEST insulated arm, will be inferior to the non-insulated version.  The steam is always wetter on a No-Burn arm, and when you're trying to take your microfoam from really good, to pro level molten chrome, its the little things that make all the difference.  The dryer the steam, the better the milk.
-Two things.  This is minutia.  All the machines are steaming beasts, and I can make lovely, super leafy rosetta milk with any of them.  And second, making the Duetto no-burn arm, a regular non-insulated arm takes 5 seconds, OR, buying a non-insulated arm costs about $50, with plenty of options.  You could even put the exact steam arm the Vivaldi has, on the Duetto if you wish.

*A note about steaming on 15amp.  With the Vivaldi, and the Duetto, in 15amp, the steam boiler cannot be heating while the brew boiler is heating.  And, since the heater comes on every time you open the steam valve, you need to make sure the brew boiler heater won't come on during steaming.  This is a trivial thing to ensure.  I was able to steam/brew at the same time on the Vivaldi, and I do on the Duetto as well.  What I do, is run a flush about midway through grinding, so that when Im ready to lock in, the brew heater has just clicked off.  Lock in the PF, place cup, purge steam wand, begin steaming, a couple second into steaming, start the shot, stop the milk, then stop the shot.  I can make back to back to back milk drinks following this routine, and Ill never get ahead of the machine going at a brisk, but comfortable pace.   In 20amp mode, you don't need to think, and you couldn't get ahead of the machine if you tried.


Build Quality-Both machines are extremely well put together.  The remaining issues of the Duetto II, were taken care of with the Duetto 3's upgrades, and now the Duetto 3 is just as solid as any of the Quickmills Chris sells(which, IMO, are just wonderful).  The outer shell is solid and well made.  The drip tray requires no special orientation, and the drip tray grate is the same as on the Vivaldi.  

The feel of using each machine is very different, but both are solid as a rock.  

Neither machine is the definition of user friendly when it comes to removing the side panels and accessing the internals.. but very few espresso machines are.  However, you're only going to open the machine once or twice when you get it, to adjust the brew pressure to where you want it, and then you won't be opening the machine for a while.  Both machines are small for what they are.  Both machines have two boilers, pump and motor, tubing and piping, wiring, electrical boards, brain boxes, and one even has a reservoir.  Both of them are smartly laid out, but they're definitely cramped inside compared to an HX or Single Boiler.  But like I said, once you get the brew pressure where you want it, you don't need to go inside to do anything.  As to certifications, The Vivaldi/Mini Vivaldi are fully NSF and UL certified.  The Vivaldi/Mini Vivaldi is a fully commercial machine and has the certifications to pass health and electrical code.  The Duetto doesn't have those commercial certifications.  Thats about the only difference, in my opinion, when it comes to commercial/prosumer between the two.  both of these machines are the top end of espresso gear that you can use in your kitchen, realistically.

As to the squeaky lever at Intelly... Like any E61, the lever will squeak if not taken care of/cleaned/used frequently.  Out of the box, the lever on my Duetto was smooth as butter.  As I use it, I can feel the change in movement from a freshly backflushed group, to one that needs backflushing.  You're literally moving a cam lobe and shifting two valves open or closed, so after you have backflushed, and before you run a seasoning shot, you make get a squeak as there is no oils coating the lobe.  However, a squeaky lever is not a quality of the Duetto.  



As you can see, both machines are very similar, and youd like be happy with either.  Ive told you I prefer the 58mm machines, so take that into account here... But for the simple fact that you couldn't go wrong with either, and both are great, since you've already invested in a 58mm tamper and some 58mm baskets, maybe the Duetto is the way to go for you.

 
Follow Your Bliss

Coffee makes your constantly overcome your prejudices and re-evaluate your own "received wisdoms" when it comes to judging cup flavors. -Tom Owen, SweetMarias
back to top
 View Profile Contact via AOL Instant Messenger Link to this post
CarloM
Senior Member


Joined: 1 Apr 2013
Posts: 330
Location: Los Angeles
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Vetrano V2B
Grinder: Mazzer Mini-E Type A, SJ...
Drip: Toddy
Posted Tue Apr 2, 2013, 9:22am
Subject: Re: Upgrade to Dream T / Mini E - Completely Worth It
 

Once again Jmanespresso, thank you for the very informative and extremely helpful advice and first-hand experience you've shared!

Darn, I was really about 70/30 in favor of the Spaz based on a testimony from a local espresso reseller and repair tech (who works with Chris Coffee) who really loves the internals of his Spaz over the Alex. But with your added input I'm squarely now in 50/50 mode, if not in favor of the Alex. You've allayed my fears re: the squeaky lever, I figured that was an anomaly based on what was clearly a neglected dusty display model. All I've ever used is a pushbutton so I had no idea what to expect from the lever.

I was not much of a tinkerer but I have to admit my experience with the VST compared to the original Rancilio basket got me very curious to experiment, because I can definitely say I prefer the 18g double shot out of that basket over the 15g of the original. If I'm going to spend over $2K on my next machine I'm going to experiment with different beans to try and get the best quality I can out of it, but I'd also like the machine to be stable enough so that once I dial in a grind and bean, it stays consistent (allowing for slight grinder adjustment as the bean ages).

It does sound like if I go with the Alex I'll want to swap out to the burn-me arm: how do you make the Duetto a no-burn arm in 5 seconds, if I may ask? I've never seen this done. Or if I buy the extra arm, is it a difficult user swap and does it invalidate the warranty? I could ask Chris Coffee at the time of purchase to see if they'll do it for me if that will keep the machine in warranty.

I will say the dual plumbable/reservoir mode of the Alex is a major plus, as I won't be living in apartments for the rest of my life and would some day like to have it run from a water line. But a major minus, right now, is that the water tank is in the back accessed from the top of the machine. Right now I have 19" cabinets which my Mazzer Mini E with short hopper just barely fits under, and I'm not sure I will be able to move a 72lbs machine regularly to remove and fill the reservoir. I know I can refill it without removing the reservoir, but I'll also need to clean it which will necessitate moving the beast fairly regularly. The reservoir out of the Dream T is front loading I believe. While everything you've described is now leaning me in the direction of the Alex, this one thing is potentially a deal breaker. I have to move my Silvia forward a few inches to remove the reservoir and the Alex is way deeper, I may not be able to do it comfortably. I'll measure my cabinets when I get home tonight.
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
Jmanespresso
Senior Member
Jmanespresso
Joined: 18 Jan 2009
Posts: 2,109
Location: Westchester NY
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Alex Duetto II
Grinder: Compak K10 - Vario
Vac Pot: Yama-SY5/SY8/TCA5
Drip: V60, Beehouse, CCD
Roaster: Hottop B
Posted Tue Apr 2, 2013, 9:48am
Subject: Re: Upgrade to Dream T / Mini E - Completely Worth It
 

Modifying the stock no-burn arm to a regular "burn-me" wand, in 5 seconds, entails simple taking the steam tip off, and with a pair of pliers, pulling the teflon tube out of the steam wand.  Done.

If you want to purchase a different steam arm, and you can use a wrench, you can change it yourself.  5 minutes top.  Chris Coffee will do it for you if you ask them too, but it wont void your warranty as far as I know.

Honestly, I would wait till you get the machine, see how you get on with the stock config, then make any changes you see fit.  You might be satisfied with the stock arm out of the box.

As for filling the reservoir..  Im currently running in tank mode, with the machine under cabinets.  I need to pull it out everytime to fill her up.
Solution-Add four small furniture sliders OR felt dots to the feet.  Machine is heavy ebough that it will stay put when locking in the portafilter and such, but can EASILY be slid out to fill up the machine.
Furniture Sliders.  These arent the EXACT ones I used, but this is what I used.  Go to your local home depot or whatever and select the right size for yoiur needs.  Really makes it so easy to move the machine, but like I said, the machine is heavy enough that under normal use, she'll stay put.

 
Follow Your Bliss

Coffee makes your constantly overcome your prejudices and re-evaluate your own "received wisdoms" when it comes to judging cup flavors. -Tom Owen, SweetMarias
back to top
 View Profile Contact via AOL Instant Messenger Link to this post
CarloM
Senior Member


Joined: 1 Apr 2013
Posts: 330
Location: Los Angeles
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Vetrano V2B
Grinder: Mazzer Mini-E Type A, SJ...
Drip: Toddy
Posted Tue Apr 2, 2013, 10:04am
Subject: Re: Upgrade to Dream T / Mini E - Completely Worth It
 

Furniture sliders - great idea! When I get home I just need to check that my countertop has enough room, given the added depth of the Alex, to be able to slide it forward and still get to the tank. Right now, in order for my Silvia tank to clear, it brings the Silvia about 3" from the front edge of the countertop. I'll have to see if I can find a measurement from the front most edge of the Duetto, to the back edge of the water tank to see if my countertop can accommodate that much movement.

I definitely get your advice about seeing how I feel about the no-burn arm first, but since I'm a cautious guy, if I go with the Alex and if CC isn't charging too much for the labor, I may just have them swap it out right there in the store so they can test it out to make sure there are no leaks, etc.
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
Mathfuzzy
Senior Member


Joined: 24 Mar 2013
Posts: 18
Location: SF Bay Area
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: La Spaziale Dream T
Grinder: Mazzer Mini E
Posted Wed Apr 3, 2013, 9:19am
Subject: Re: Upgrade to Dream T / Mini E - Completely Worth It
 

Hey Carlo - just to ring in on a couple of points with respect to my decision.

The front fill tank on the Spaz was one of the big criteria that shoved me in that direction.  And it turns out to be kind of great / convenient.  Even though my old Gaggia was relatively light, I thought it was a daily drag to have to slide it forward to fill the tank.

Looks are completely and obviously a matter of personal taste - but I like the way the Dream looks.

The final two things things that shoved me in the direction of the Dream were 1) similar positive feedback about the "guts" of the La Spaziale machines from someone who repairs / services machines and 2) discussion about the advantages of a saturated group head from the same person.

On the other hand, a great friend of mine has a Duetto II and he couldn't be happier with it.  Which made things all very confusing for me.  

At the end of my decision process, the front tank fill, props about build quality and integrated timer all pointed me to the Dream.

Now if I could just get that wifi enablement...
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
CarloM
Senior Member


Joined: 1 Apr 2013
Posts: 330
Location: Los Angeles
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Vetrano V2B
Grinder: Mazzer Mini-E Type A, SJ...
Drip: Toddy
Posted Wed Apr 3, 2013, 12:59pm
Subject: Re: Upgrade to Dream T / Mini E - Completely Worth It
 

Mathfuzzy - did you talk to Dave from hitechespresso about that? Just trying to see if we ended up talking to the same guy or if multiple people around the industry share this opinion.

Hadn't heard about the saturated group head, I'll have to do more research to figure out the benefits! Also less likely to burn unwitting passersby as the E61 gets hot I believe and the brew group on the Spaz is more protected/hidden under the machine, so someone is less likely to brush up against it.

And yeah, my cabinets and countertops are not playing too nice right now, and it's hard for me to get the measurements I need from online specs of the Duetto. If someone (Jmanespresso?) wouldn't mind measuring from the front of their Duetto to the back of the water tank, I can get a more accurate picture of whether or not I'll be able to even move the Duetto enough to get clearance to refill the water tank.

Looks are 50/50. I do like the look of stainless steel but I hear the Spaz plastic are very easy to clean. And some day I may consider (once my finances recover) paying Clive Coffee for the wood side panels and installing them myself!

Oh and thanks for bringing up the timer! It's funny when I want to hit snooze and sleep in another five minutes, I keep thinking "no, I have to get up and turn on the Silvia to heat it up...". I'd love a timer that I can set to turn it on every morning at the same time, so I can really put that snooze button to use! :D
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
Mathfuzzy
Senior Member


Joined: 24 Mar 2013
Posts: 18
Location: SF Bay Area
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: La Spaziale Dream T
Grinder: Mazzer Mini E
Posted Wed Apr 3, 2013, 3:20pm
Subject: Re: Upgrade to Dream T / Mini E - Completely Worth It
 

Hey Carlo - no, and I'm a little embarrassed to admit this, but I spoke to one of the tech's at Clive, who was fantastically helpful in both responding to a couple initial questions via email and in a follow-up phone conversation.  If I'd been more patient, I would have ordered from them, but realized (early March) that the quickest way to get a Dream would be directly through CCS.  PLUS, and yeah, this is a little embarrassing as well, Clive didn't have the accessories that I wanted / needed, so the "freebies" from them weren't valuable to me.

But big props to Clive for being knowledgeable and helpful and I'd recommend them as a vendor in a second, based on my experience.  Like you, I might be in the market for those wood panels.  Although, now that I've lived with the Dream for a week, I either don't mind or kind of like the stock side panels.

With respect to the timer - it's great that it's all built in / integrated with the Dream.  It's also possible to put the Duetto on a timer - my friend bought his whole setup from CCS and it works just fine.  It's a little clunky, but it beats walking out to the kitchen before stepping in to the shower.  And (you've probably already figured this out...but just in case) La Spaziale makes an add-on timer for the Vivaldi.

Here's a good entry at the Clive blog about saturated group head: Click Here (www.clivecoffee.com)

Good luck with the research / decision-making process.
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
IMAWriter
Senior Member
IMAWriter
Joined: 4 Jul 2002
Posts: 5,891
Location: Brentwood, TN
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Bezzera Strega
Grinder: Forte, OE Pharos,...
Vac Pot: Adcraft SS, Yama 8 cup
Drip: Brazen, Kalita, Chemex,...
Roaster: Behmor 1600+, CO/UFO combo
Posted Wed Apr 3, 2013, 4:00pm
Subject: Re: Upgrade to Dream T / Mini E - Completely Worth It
 

CarloM Said:

Thanks for the additional info! I will be using a bottomless pf (which I'll have to buy again, since my current one is 58mm, sigh) so cup clearance won't be an issue. I use the Intelligentsia 8oz latte cups which are also pretty short and wide.

Posted April 1, 2013 link

Y'all now using a La Spaz just sell your 58mm bottomless PF's here on our BST Forum. There is ALWAYS a market for them, as many, especially the Rancillio are universal.

 
Rob J (LMWDP #187)
My Music Production web site:
www.robertjason.com
back to top
 View Profile Visit website Link to this post
JPF
Senior Member


Joined: 3 Jun 2010
Posts: 223
Location: NJ
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Mini Vivaldi, Pre-millenium...
Grinder: Dosered SJ, Resurrected...
Vac Pot: Yama Siphon
Drip: Technivorm
Roaster: Behmor, Poppery I
Posted Thu Apr 4, 2013, 1:45am
Subject: Re: Upgrade to Dream T / Mini E - Completely Worth It
 

Mathfuzzy Said:

Also, learned that you pretty much have to allocate 30 minutes for the thing to warm up.  I tried to rush it yesterday after 15 or 20 minutes, and figured out that you just have to be patient and give it the full 1/2 hour.  Other than those couple of minor complaints, I'm a very happy camper.

Posted April 1, 2013 link

Mathfuzzy, not that you'd want to do it all the time, but Endo over on s1cafe did testing with a thermocouple and datalogger, and figured you can get it warmed up properly in 10 minutes if you need to.  Essentially, turn the machine on, and once it hits it's temperature setpoint, do a 2oz flush.  Wait for it restabilize, then repeat.  A total of 6 flushes gets you to the same grouphead temp as waiting 1 hour.

I've done it, and it seems to work fine.

John

 
Living the caffeinated life.
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
Mathfuzzy
Senior Member


Joined: 24 Mar 2013
Posts: 18
Location: SF Bay Area
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: La Spaziale Dream T
Grinder: Mazzer Mini E
Posted Thu Apr 4, 2013, 6:47am
Subject: Re: Upgrade to Dream T / Mini E - Completely Worth It
 

JPF Said:

Mathfuzzy, not that you'd want to do it all the time, but Endo over on s1cafe did testing with a thermocouple and datalogger, and figured you can get it warmed up properly in 10 minutes if you need to.  Essentially, turn the machine on, and once it hits it's temperature setpoint, do a 2oz flush.  Wait for it restabilize, then repeat.  A total of 6 flushes gets you to the same grouphead temp as waiting 1 hour.

I've done it, and it seems to work fine.

John

Posted April 4, 2013 link

Excellent information / great news.  Thanks John.

For the most part, i'm making coffee in the morning and it's on a timer and just fine.  But is especially helpful when I'm between conference calls, need a fix, and the machine isn't on.

Thanks for taking the time to post!

JD
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
showing page 2 of 10 first page | last page previous page | next page
view previous topic | view next topic | view all topics
Discussions > Espresso > Machines > Upgrade to Dream...  
New Topics updated topics   New Posts new posts   Unanswered Posts new unanswered     Search Discussion Board search   Discussion Board FAQ faq   Signup sign up  
Not Logged in: Log In to Postlog in
Discussions Quick Jump:
Symbols: New Posts= New Posts since your last visit      No New Posts= No New Posts since last visit     Go to most recent post= Newest post
Forum Rules:
No profanity, illegal acts or personal attacks will be tolerated in these discussion boards.
No commercial posting of any nature will be tolerated; only private sales by private individuals, in the "Buy and Sell" forum.
No SEO style postings will be tolerated. SEO related posts will result in immediate ban from CoffeeGeek.
No cross posting allowed - do not post your topic to more than one forum, nor repost a topic to the same forum.
Who Can Read The Forum? Anyone can read posts in these discussion boards.
Who Can Post New Topics? Any registered CoffeeGeek member can post new topics.
Who Can Post Replies? Any registered CoffeeGeek member can post replies.
Can Photos be posted? Anyone can post photos in their new topics or replies.
Who can change or delete posts? Any CoffeeGeek member can edit their own posts. Only moderators can delete posts.
Probationary Period: If you are a new signup for CoffeeGeek, you cannot promote, endorse, criticise or otherwise post an unsolicited endorsement for any company, product or service in your first five postings.
Green Unroasted Coffee
Free shipping. Save 15% on variety pack, use 'variety' at checkout
www.madbeanscoffee
Home | Opinions | Consumer Reviews | Guides & How Tos | CoffeeGeek Reviews | Resources | Forums | Contact Us
CoffeeGeek.com, CoffeeGeek, and Coffee Geek, along with all associated content & images are copyright ©2000-2014 by Mark Prince, all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated. Content, code, and images may not be reused without permission. Usage of this website signifies agreement with our Terms and Conditions. (0.473825931549)
Privacy Policy | Copyright Info | Terms and Conditions | CoffeeGeek Advertisers | RSS | Find us on Google+