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Dual Boiler Machines Under $3,500 vs. High-end HX Machines
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emradguy
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Posted Mon Aug 26, 2013, 10:22am
Subject: Re: Dual Boiler Machines Under $3,500 vs. High-end HX Machines
 

CarloM Said:

So it sounds like it completely depends on your workflow.

Posted August 26, 2013 link

Exactly!

CarloM Said:

I guess if you like to change beans on the fly, frequently, from drink to drink, then the HX system does sound like it's for you.

Posted August 26, 2013 link

Exactly!

CarloM Said:

But I think it's misleading to imply that you can't easily change beans or temperatures on a DB.

Posted August 26, 2013 link

It is easy, but...the issue is that it can't be done for back to back shots.  After you access and change the PID programming, you have to wait around for the temp to restabilize at the new setting.  

CarloM Said:

If you're the kind who keeps multiple beans around and one cup may be Black Cat, the next cup Redbird, and the third cup Handsome, and you've memorized how long a cooling flush should be for each, then yes an HX makes it easier.

Posted August 26, 2013 link

I agree on this point.

CarloM Said:

But if you're like me, and you change beans but tend to go through the pound first before switching beans (i.e. I'll buy a pound of Black Cat, then when it's out maybe a pound of Handsome, etc.) then a DB isn't particularly problematic.

Posted August 26, 2013 link

I agree on this point as well.

 
.
Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
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jonr
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Joined: 25 Jun 2013
Posts: 304
Location: Americas
Expertise: I love coffee
Posted Mon Aug 26, 2013, 8:19pm
Subject: Re: Dual Boiler Machines Under $3,500 vs. High-end HX Machines
 

NobbyR Said:

A PID on an HX machine, although it's viable, doesn't make much sense, because you can only regualte the temperature of the steam boiler with it, but not influence brewing temperature directly.

Posted August 26, 2013 link

Consistency of the boiler temp is important even if the effect is indirect.  But you can get by without PID because a pressure stat works pretty well.

It would take some unusual use patterns for me to prefer a HX machine.
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Twood
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Joined: 24 Aug 2013
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Location: Orange County, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Posted Mon Aug 26, 2013, 9:58pm
Subject: Re: Dual Boiler Machines Under $3,500 vs. High-end HX Machines
 

This is the first I have heard of an L1...  After looking it up, it sure seems to be built like a tank.  Anyone here used the machine, or owned one?  

As for the DB/HX discussion, I appreciate all of the feedback.  Seems like it's really a personal preference and that the HX isn't sacrificing much.  This whole L1 thing has thrown me for a bit of a loop and is going to require some more digging...
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NobbyR
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Posted Mon Aug 26, 2013, 11:55pm
Subject: Re: Dual Boiler Machines Under $3,500 vs. High-end HX Machines
 

CMIN Said:

(...), like say you want to use Blackcat as an example and want to try any temp from 195-205, you can adjust the temp on the go by just varying the cooling flush by like a second at a time or so one shot after another after another as fast as you can prep (...)

Posted August 26, 2013 link

And different brewing temperatures can bring out different aromas. That's what I meant by experimenting.

 
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calblacksmith
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Posted Tue Aug 27, 2013, 5:52am
Subject: Re: Dual Boiler Machines Under $3,500 vs. High-end HX Machines
 

jonr Said:

Consistency of the boiler temp is important even if the effect is indirect.  But you can get by without PID because a pressure stat works pretty well.

It would take some unusual use patterns for me to prefer a HX machine.

Posted August 26, 2013 link

Yes it is important but in the real world, a Pstat will maintain a boiler temp within about + or - 2 deg F. This is more than stable enough to be near as enough, no temp flux in the boiler. On a HX machine, a PID is eye candy, it makes no real difference to anything as the Heat Exchanger is not directly affected.

Your personal preference is just that a preference. No one can say you are right or wrong, because they are not you. A preference is just that a preference.

Outstanding shots can be had with either design of the machine, one is not better nor worse, just different and which different you want to work with is a preference.

The DB is more expensive BECAUSE of the additional parts require to BE a double boiler, the higher price is not an indicator that it is BETTER than a HX, the higher price only says it costs more.

YMMV !

 
In real life, my name is
Wayne P.
Anything I post is personal opinion and is only worth as much as anyone else's personal opinion. YMMV!

Feed the newbs, starve the trolls and above all enjoy what you drink!
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1stline
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Posted Tue Aug 27, 2013, 7:36am
Subject: Re: Dual Boiler Machines Under $3,500 vs. High-end HX Machines
 

NobbyR Said:

A PID on an HX machine, although it's viable, doesn't make much sense, because you can only regualte the temperature of the steam boiler with it, but not influence brewing temperature directly.....

Posted August 26, 2013 link

Just an fyi... The PID on an HX machine gets rid of the pressurstat which can become troublesome with limescale build up. If a machine had a larger Sirai pressurstat, it would remove the pressurstat's clicking sound. The PID also makes it easier to adjust the steam pressure of the boiler, which does indirectly affect the temperature of the brewing temperature. Although not directly as correctly mentioned, the temperature is still changed as the water passing through the heat exchanger is flash heated from the hot water and/or steam in the boiler.

 
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TurtlesAllTheWayDown
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Posted Tue Aug 27, 2013, 8:13am
Subject: Re: Dual Boiler Machines Under $3,500 vs. High-end HX Machines
 

NobbyR Said:

...Most commercial machines, however, are still HX, which I believe must be for good reasons. The more sophisticated a contraption is, the more things can actually break down, and as modern cars have demonstrated, electronics can be pretty fickle.

Posted August 26, 2013 link

Is it true that most commercial machines are HX?  I feel like I see more machines with a dedicated boiler for each grouphead.  Maybe every shop I go to uses La Marzocco or something.
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CarloM
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Posted Tue Aug 27, 2013, 8:25am
Subject: Re: Dual Boiler Machines Under $3,500 vs. High-end HX Machines
 

TurtlesAllTheWayDown Said:

Is it true that most commercial machines are HX?  I feel like I see more machines with a dedicated boiler for each grouphead.  Maybe every shop I go to uses La Marzocco or something.

Posted August 27, 2013 link

Ditto. Been to six Intelligentsias (LA and Chicago), Coffee Tomo, two Cafe Luxxes, Portola Coffee Lab, Espresso Profeta, and numerous other espresso- and coffee-houses in LA and they're all using LM or Synesso multiple group head machines, and if you look at LM's and Synesso's site, they all have dedicated brew boilers per group head, and a dedicated steam boiler(s).

Now maybe in large US metropolitan areas where coffee has taken off the finer shops have all moved to these new(er) multiple-boiler machines, and I see NobbyR is in Germany, so he may very well be accurately reporting what he sees in his local shops. Having never been to Germany I can't tell you what the situation is there. But in Southern California, Chicago and New York I can tell you the shops I've been to all use the multi-grouphead independent boiler per head machine with dedicated steam boiler(s).
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Coffeenoobie
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Posted Tue Aug 27, 2013, 8:51am
Subject: Re: Dual Boiler Machines Under $3,500 vs. High-end HX Machines
 

I believe most coffee shops have an HX.  I believe most high end coffee shops have the LM or Synesso and there are much fewer of them.  HX is cheaper and there are lots of them around.  Also many small coffee shops don't know how to make as good espresso with their HX as I do with mine.

There are a few members here that have gotten the L1.  One of them let me and another coffeegeek (that was a lever head) come to his house and play with his new L1.  It was great and it only cemented that is what I want.  He sold his GS/3 after buying and using the L1.

There are a few reasons I want an L1.

  1. Only a few places have made espresso I could drink straight without sugar. I would like to own a machine that reaches that goal.  One lever shop and 2 with LM. (both in Portland, OR and close to 2 hours from my house)
  2. The cost of a pressure profiling machine is really high with a lot of electronics.  I really believe in essences they are trying to replicate the taste of lever with electronics.  I know you can do more with those, but I am like you and will use one type of coffee for a while then another type.  I love the lock and load with the L1.  No fuss no muss.
  3. L1 price I could one day afford to spend and is less trouble to maintain and less to break down.  I can't ever see me owning a LM or Synesso or GS/3 speedster because of costs. (not just to buy but to maintain)

 
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CarloM
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Posted Tue Aug 27, 2013, 9:04am
Subject: Re: Dual Boiler Machines Under $3,500 vs. High-end HX Machines
 

Coffeenoobie Said:

I believe most coffee shops have an HX.  I believe most high end coffee shops have the LM or Synesso and there are much fewer of them.  HX is cheaper and there are lots of them around.  Also many small coffee shops don't know how to make as good espresso with their HX as I do with mine.

Posted August 27, 2013 link

So here's what I don't get, and this is where my limited exposure to the U.S. comes into play. In the three cities I'm familiar with (LA, NYC, Chi), there are generally two types of "coffee shops". High-end coffee shops who use multi-grouphead dedicated boiler machines. And chains (Starbucks, Peet's, Coffee Bean). And the chains either use the same type of multi-grouphead machines (the Peets and Coffee Bean near me do) or they use superautomatics (Starbucks).

When we talk about what gear is important, I would hope we're talking about what the high-end shops are using, not what the chains are using.

I am unfamiliar with most other types of coffeeshops - I'm assuming you must mean a mom-n-pop shop of some kind. Those don't really last long in major metropolitan areas like L.A. where you either are part of a chain, or you're a high-end shop trading in high quality drinks. I don't really see many shops in my areas of familiarity where espresso is the focus (and that's an important distinction: where espresso drinks are the focus) that use HX machines.

If you're talking about mom-n-pop shops, or restaurants that also make espresso drinks, using HX machines, well I can't disagree with you there. But I think that's because for these shops, where "good enough is good enough" then HX absolutely makes financial sense. And most of them probably are not temp surfing and profiling. They're doing it for financial reasons.

But for shops where the lifeblood and focus is high quality espresso based drinks, it mostly the multi-grouphead dedicated boiler model, at least in the areas I've familiar with.
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