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How important is a PID?
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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > How important is...  
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Lilyfil4
Senior Member


Joined: 18 Aug 2013
Posts: 21
Location: NJ
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: TBA
Grinder: Smart grinder breville
Vac Pot: Bodum
Drip: Chemex/able brewer
Roaster: Behmour
Posted Tue Sep 3, 2013, 12:10pm
Subject: How important is a PID?
 

I have been doing research on purchasing an espresso machine and have been thinking seriously about the rocket but it seems the only model with a PID is the dual boiler.  How important is a PID?  When I end up buying my espresso machine I want to get one I can play with and for the long haul.  I do roast all my own coffee and switch roasts, origins etc.  Do you folks have any advice on what I will be missing out on or I may regret not having a PID?  The only other thing about the PID on the rocket is it plugs in and is not truly part of the inner machine. Does anyone have this situation with their PID and if so how has it been working for you, is it a pain to have it hanging out on the counter?

Does anyone have any suggestions on other espresso machines that you recommend I look into?
Thanks!

Best,
LIz
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calblacksmith
Moderator
calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,949
Location: Riverside, Ca, U.S.A.
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: ECM Vene. A1, La Cimbali M32
Grinder: Azkoyen Capriccio, Major
Vac Pot: 40s era Silex
Drip: Msl. Com. brewers
Roaster: gave it a try, decided no
Posted Tue Sep 3, 2013, 1:05pm
Subject: Re: How important is a PID?
 

Hi a pid is only of value on dual boiler and single boiler dual use machines. On all but the db roket it is pretty much eye candy. It has some potential to be longer livespd than a psat Because the PID is electronic the pressure statt is mechanical.

Heat exchanger machines do not gain any benefit with the use of an electronic device. Which is better for you is a function of how you are going to use the machine. If you are going to make a lot of the exact same bean coffee, then perhaps a dual boiler is what you want because it maintains everything exactly all the time the same. A heat exchanger machine, will allow you to very the temp of your shot on the fly so if you like to change things up while you're working then a heat exchanger machine better fit.

 
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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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 Tue Sep 3, 2013, 1:17pm
Subject: Re: How important is a PID?
 

If you want to chanbe beans often as you mentioned then I would highly recomend a PID.  Using a PID for changing temperatures will be a lot easier then trying to nail down a consistant temp on an HX.  

Having owned both Giotto P (HX) with no PID and a GS3 (DB) with a PID I would naturally perfer the GS3.  But seriously, even if you didn't want to change the temp frequently a PID will likely give you more concistancy over a straight HX.
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frcn
Senior Member
frcn
Joined: 23 Dec 2001
Posts: 3,437
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 Sep 3, 2013, 2:19pm
Subject: Re: How important is a PID?
 

The real question is, "How important is temperature control?"
The answer is "It's critical!"

Question number two is, "What is the best way to achieve temperature control?"
The answer would fill a book. The problem is that there are lots of  machine designs and lots of barista methodology.

People talk about temperature change problems (or a better word might be "hassle") with a PID'd dual boiler, but I have found that small changes (like one or maybe two degrees F) are not a problem, and only become time consuming if you are doing them back to back, over and over in one session. Coffee A, then coffee B, then coffee A, etc.

With a HX machine,  a PID does allow external adjustability to what would normally be an internal adjustment (usually through an opening in the machine), they can be remotely located to make better use of internal space, and since they are solid state devices, will theoretically last longer than a pressurestat. The display also gives data that is more accurate than the pressure gauge on most machines.

Whatever machine you get, it becomes a matter of adjusting the machine and your style to match the machine. How well you can do that depends on your dedication, experience, sensitivity of taste buds, and your standards which define what an acceptable espresso is to you.

 
Visit My Website
www.EspressoMyEspresso.com
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calblacksmith
Moderator
calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,949
Location: Riverside, Ca, U.S.A.
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: ECM Vene. A1, La Cimbali M32
Grinder: Azkoyen Capriccio, Major
Vac Pot: 40s era Silex
Drip: Msl. Com. brewers
Roaster: gave it a try, decided no
Posted Wed Sep 4, 2013, 2:58am
Subject: Re: How important is a PID?
 

You can see there is a range of views.
I have been doing this for a while, I have used commercial, semi pro, and home machines, DB and H X and SBDU.  My  experience is that a PID is machine specific. sBDU and DB can and will show positive Improvement in temp control with a PID. A HX does not gain anything in the cup..... Which is where it counts most.

I will  agree that the possible longer life is a possibility with a PID vs a pstat,  but we are talking about years of service out of either control, my daily machine uses a commercial pressure stat and it is almost 10 years old, still on all its original parts so YMMV for sure.

I currently own thee commercial machines, two single groups and a two group, all HX without PID and all pull great shots. I have no plans to dump them for a DB. My "dream"machine Is  a DB but not because they are better, rather it is the pressure profiling abilities it offers but at about $8K , it won't be any time soon or ever in the foreseeable future, no it isn't a GS3, I feel it is a little nicer than that. When you get into this price range, "better" isn't true, it is features and looks, the quality is there in spades.

 
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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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 Wed Sep 4, 2013, 3:46am
Subject: Re: How important is a PID?
 

Slayer?
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calblacksmith
Moderator
calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,949
Location: Riverside, Ca, U.S.A.
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: ECM Vene. A1, La Cimbali M32
Grinder: Azkoyen Capriccio, Major
Vac Pot: 40s era Silex
Drip: Msl. Com. brewers
Roaster: gave it a try, decided no
Posted Wed Sep 4, 2013, 4:43am
Subject: Re: How important is a PID?
 

Hydra. I used one at their facility. It is an AWESOME machine.
http://www.synesso.com/default.aspx?ID=8

Slayer is a great machine too, I would not hesitate to own one of those either. Portola coffee, here in the southland has one. Fantastic control on that machine ;D

 
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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DavecUK
Senior Member


Joined: 21 Sep 2005
Posts: 1,462
Location: UK
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Wed Sep 4, 2013, 8:01am
Subject: Re: How important is a PID?
 

A PID is only of use on Single and dual boiler non HX machines. An HX machine with the standard PIDs currently on offer will usually perform worse when steaming, especially if the heating element or boiler is even slightly marginalised with respect to power/size. In the latter case, a pressurestat works better.
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MJW
Senior Member


Joined: 25 Jul 2012
Posts: 179
Location: Silicon Valley
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Wed Sep 4, 2013, 3:49pm
Subject: Re: How important is a PID?
 

I think FRCN nailed it.  The PID keeps the temperature right at the set point while idle, which allows you to walk up to the machine and pull the same shot anytime.  This makes the machine more transparent, consistent, and easy to use.

On a heat exchanger (HX) machine, the PID would control the steam boiler temp, and would not have a direct effect on brew temperature.  You still have to flush first and, depending on the recovery speed, time your pulls.

As Jim at 1stline has indicated, the advantage of a PID on an HX machine is just the extra reliability of the probe versus that of the mechanical pressurestat switch.

Liz if you're not already, you might consider warm up times.  Depending on how you plan to use the device, the time it takes to warm up from cold might be unimportant, or critical.  Some high end machines take 20 minutes to warm up.
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Lilyfil4
Senior Member


Joined: 18 Aug 2013
Posts: 21
Location: NJ
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: TBA
Grinder: Smart grinder breville
Vac Pot: Bodum
Drip: Chemex/able brewer
Roaster: Behmour
Posted Wed Sep 4, 2013, 5:22pm
Subject: Re: How important is a PID?
 

You all have given me a lot more information to research and think about. You are all awesome and so helpful, thank you!  All I can say is I can't wait to start actually making espresso not just researching it! Lol. It's all cool stuff for sure. :0) I am open to as much advise as you can send my way.

Best,
Liz
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