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Upgraditis Dilemna
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russel
Senior Member
russel
Joined: 12 Mar 2010
Posts: 435
Location: Los Angeles
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: 73' Cremina, '74 Club,...
Grinder: Super Caimanos x2, Forte BG,...
Drip: V60, Kalita Wave, Clever,...
Posted Sat Jul 27, 2013, 11:22am
Subject: Re: Upgraditis Dilemna
 

Angman Said:

I also have an Elektra lever that I haven't mastered or had time to master yet

Posted July 26, 2013 link

If you want to be drinking better coffee, you should take the time master your Elektra (MCaL I assume, vintage?).  I have a '96 and an '03.  They're quite different, but both can make excellent espresso in their own way and both are very good at spinning milk.  If you're looking to upgrade something, I would replace your Major with a K10 as it doesn't sound like you make much use of your Pharos.  The Compak doser is also much better than the Mazzer doser.

I still have a Cimbali Junior under my bench, I recently sold off my GS/3, Elektra Deliziosa, and I sold my Astra GAP a while ago.  I think a DB with a PID may improve your shot to shot consistency if you don't feel like you have a handle on controlling your HX temp, but I don't think that you'll see any actual shot improvement as a result of the small increase in temperature stability.  Also, big machines do take a long time to heat up to a point where all the metal is hot and the promised temperature stability is delivered.  

I'm of the opinion that shot quality comes mostly from a Barista's palate and experience.  Taking a class is a nice place to start.  If you really want to make better coffee you need to be making more coffee.  You have more than capable gear.  Spend your money on a lot of fresh beans that will challenge you abilities.  Make sure to buy enough so that you can explore the effects of up-dosing, down-dosing, low-temp, high-temp, and pressure modulation if you are using your lever.  Find some espresso drinkers with discerning palates and invite them over for some tasting.  

Make the time to master your lever machine; you're past the point (in terms of equipment quality) that you can get real improvement by throwing money at your espresso cup.
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ECM
Senior Member
ECM
Joined: 11 Oct 2003
Posts: 476
Location: Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Quick Mill Vetrano 2B
Grinder: Mazzer Robour E
Vac Pot: French Press
Drip: no
Roaster: Fresh Roast+8,  i-roast and...
Posted Sat Jul 27, 2013, 12:04pm
Subject: Re: Upgraditis Dilemna
 

Well said sir.  

Really I don't think it's necessary for you to buy pro gear to get pro shots.  The only thing I would consider in your position is to PID your machiene if possible.  That would give you more predictable shot quality.  Really, I think your gear ti top notch!

Moving to a full on comerical unit really doesn't make a lot of snece in the home environment.  As you are only making 1-3 drinks a ady.  The only other machiene I would recomend having owned one is the GS3 but again, that's not even on the table for you and I totally understand the financial issues in buying one of those.  

I wish others would chime in here.  

Rob
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Rhinoevans
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Joined: 21 Sep 2003
Posts: 178
Location: Las Vegas
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: La Spaziale S1, Starbucks...
Grinder: Rocky DL
Vac Pot: N/A
Drip: N/A
Roaster: N/A
Posted Sun Jul 28, 2013, 12:34am
Subject: Re: Upgraditis Dilemna
 

Not your equipment.  Others pull great espresso with a lot less capable hardware....so.., well, I think you get the idea.
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Angman
Senior Member
Angman
Joined: 8 Apr 2012
Posts: 231
Location: Vancouver BC
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Strega, MCal, Cimbali M20L
Grinder: K10 Fresh, HG One 83mm,...
Vac Pot: Nope
Drip: Technivorm, Hario Woodneck,...
Roaster: Hottop 8828P
Posted Tue Jul 30, 2013, 11:47am
Subject: Re: Upgraditis Dilemna
 

Thank you all for the replies.  And Yes russel I have an Mcal as well.  When is it considered Vintage?  I belive mine is as its an olde rmodel but still in great condition.  

I certainly understand that my problem lies mainly in my abilities as the equipment should be more than sufficient.  I was just looking for an excuse to perhaps gain some more consistency.  My problem is that i love equipment and I buy too much before I ever get the chance to master any one thing.  I do have too many "new" variables at a time such as learning how to use my Hottop roaster, new beans as well as the age of beans since I am the only coffee drinker in the household.  My wife drinks coffee but only flavored lattes from starbucks...

I'll stick to one bean that I recently bought direct from a farmer and roast using the same profile.  That should eliminate some variables.  I knew I should have bought the Compak Fresh last year when I saw it local for $1K used.

Ahh regrets....
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frcn
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frcn
Joined: 23 Dec 2001
Posts: 3,349
Location: Northern California
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Vibiemme Domobar Double
Grinder: Mazzer Kony, Baratza...
Vac Pot: Hario, 2 Cory pots, 1 Cory...
Drip: Behmor Brazen, Bunn A10 mod...
Roaster: computer controlled Hottop,...
Posted Tue Jul 30, 2013, 2:17pm
Subject: Re: Upgraditis Dilemna
 

Stop, take a step back, deep inhale, slow exhale....
  Now, I see you have a KN-8828P. That might be step one. Find a good local roaster, or one who shops, and try some other coffees. Without telemetry data from your roast it is difficult to say what you are producing. Maybe roast a batch and get it a talented home barista or pro to try to evaluate. While being deeply involved with Hottop (I wrote the owners manual as well as created their USA website) I have never liked the "P" model. Maybe it is just that my mind doesn't work that way, but I do not like the programming and its restrictions.

  The next thing to do is find a local home barista or pro, invite them over for some
A - Beer
B - BBQ
C - Homemade desserts
D - All of the above
And let them play with your setup. Have them bring some coffee. Have some of your own coffee handy. It is amazing what a SLIGHT change in dose, or grind, or brew temperature can do to change the taste of the espresso.

 
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Angman
Senior Member
Angman
Joined: 8 Apr 2012
Posts: 231
Location: Vancouver BC
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Strega, MCal, Cimbali M20L
Grinder: K10 Fresh, HG One 83mm,...
Vac Pot: Nope
Drip: Technivorm, Hario Woodneck,...
Roaster: Hottop 8828P
Posted Tue Jul 30, 2013, 3:57pm
Subject: Re: Upgraditis Dilemna
 

I would love to invite some true coffee aficionados over to make some great coffee.  Unfortunately everyone that I know uses starbucks as their benchmark.  Anyone interested can PM me.  Mark Prince? I know you're in Vancouver....

As for the Hottop I know the P model isnt the preferred model but its the one that I came across that was in great condition second hand locally. It's better than the FreshRoast8 t that I used before.
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frcn
Senior Member
frcn
Joined: 23 Dec 2001
Posts: 3,349
Location: Northern California
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Vibiemme Domobar Double
Grinder: Mazzer Kony, Baratza...
Vac Pot: Hario, 2 Cory pots, 1 Cory...
Drip: Behmor Brazen, Bunn A10 mod...
Roaster: computer controlled Hottop,...
Posted Tue Jul 30, 2013, 6:15pm
Subject: Re: Upgraditis Dilemna
 

Contact the folks at Espro. Maybe they know someone. If that doesn't work, just send me a two-way plane fare; first class of course!  ;-)

 
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