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Best machine for specialty (or third wave) coffee!
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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > Best machine for...  
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JasonBrandtLewis
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JasonBrandtLewis
Joined: 9 Dec 2005
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Location: Berkeley, CA
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Posted Fri Sep 20, 2013, 7:33am
Subject: Re: Best machine for specialty (or third wave) coffee!
 

Tomate Said:

-A machine with it's own reservoir would be better

Posted September 19, 2013 link

NO café that I can think of has a pourover (reservoir) machine -- they are ALL plumbed-in.

Tomate Said:

The budget for the machine would be around 6,500 EURO

Posted September 19, 2013 link

And with that budget you can certainly afford a plumbed-in machine!

 
A morning without coffee is sleep . . .
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boar_d_laze
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Joined: 21 Nov 2006
Posts: 1,258
Location: Monrovia, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: La Cimbali M21 DT/1 Junior...
Grinder: Ceado E92; "Bunnzilla"
Vac Pot: Royal Coffee Maker
Drip: Chemex + Kone; Espro Press
Roaster: USRC Sample Roaster
Posted Fri Sep 20, 2013, 8:14am
Subject: Re: Best machine for specialty (or third wave) coffee!
 

  1. Why do you want to use a reservoir machine in a commercial setting?  The only advantages of reservoir and convertible machines are to residential users and/or to those who need portability.  Jamming a reservoir into an espresso machine uses space which could and should be put to better use.    

  2. The least expensive way to get flow and/or pressure control along with reasonable steaming, temp control, etc., will be with a modern, lever type machine such as an Izzo Pompeii, La Pavoni "Bar," Londinium II or III, Victoria Arduino Athena, or one of many others.  In addition, levers have a certain cachet.  However, they involve the most training and are slower than straight pump machines. I hesitate to give a specific recommendation because I don't really know levers that well, nor do I know the European or German markets.

  3.  The easiest type of machine to teach and best able to handle periods of high volume is a double boiler (DB) -- but unless you spend a lot of money you sacrifice flow and pressure control.  La Marzocco makes excellent, multi-group commercial DBs.  However some of the reasons for their massive popularity in the States include that they are well priced, well supported, and there's not much multi-group, double-boiler competition.  

  4.  Modern, heat exchanger (HX) machines don't give away much to DBs in terms of ease of use, temp stability, or ability to handle volume and are more "bang for the buck."   Everyone and his Italian aunt make good HXs, so there are lots of choices.  I particularly like Elektra, La Cimbali and Nuova Simonelli; but as I said there are tons of choices.  

  5.  Your choice of grinder will have more impact in the final "quality of the cup" than the choice of machine, as long as the machine is adequate for the purpose.  

  6.  It's very easy to over estimate the importance of machinery.  A good barista is far more important than equipment choice.  I can't begin to tell you how much bad coffee I've had which was made by the best machines.  There is no machine which will allow an employee with an untrained palate, or who is rushing, to make an adequate shot.  Not only do you have to find personable, motivated employees, you have to train them.  Instruction takes time (four or five days -- not four or five hours), costs money, and there is simply no way around it.  And finally,

  7.  If you not only  want to make a big deal about "third wave," and "hand crafting," but actually do "pressure profiling," a lever of some sort (straight, spring, or hybrid pump/lever) is the ONLY affordable way to go.  
    BDL

PS.  Allow me to correct a misconception.  While ECM headquarters are in Heidelberg, the machines are made in Milan from Italian parts.
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Happiest
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Grinder: Vario-W
Drip: Pour over/melitta bamboo
Posted Fri Sep 20, 2013, 8:18am
Subject: Re: Best machine for specialty (or third wave) coffee!
 

JasonBrandtLewis Said:

No.

Posted September 20, 2013 link

So what is the definition of 3rd wave?
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JasonBrandtLewis
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JasonBrandtLewis
Joined: 9 Dec 2005
Posts: 6,391
Location: Berkeley, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Elektra T1 - La Valentina -...
Grinder: Mahlkönig K30 Vario -...
Vac Pot: Yama 5-cup
Drip: CCD, Chemex
Roaster: No, no, not another...
Posted Fri Sep 20, 2013, 10:51am
Subject: Re: Best machine for specialty (or third wave) coffee!
 

Well, it's not like you'll find THE definition in the OED, but . . .

Happiest Said:

Isn't 3rd wave related to more labour intensive, old school delivery systems, usually siphon or pour over?

Posted September 20, 2013 link

"Third Wave" in general parlance has nothing to do with "labor intense" methods, or "old school delivery systems."  Indeed, there is little about pressure profiling that is "old school."  And it certainly includes espresso, and is not limited to siphon and/or pour over . . .

One way to describe it -- but it's only one way -- is from Wikipedia:

"Third Wave Coffee aspires to the highest form of culinary appreciation of coffee, so that one may appreciate subtleties of flavor, bean varietal, and growing region – similar to other complex culinary products such as wine, tea, and chocolate. Distinctive features of Third Wave Coffee include direct trade coffee, high-quality beans (see specialty coffee for scale), single-origin coffee (as opposed to blends), lighter roasts of the beans, and latte art. It also sometimes includes naked portafilters, and revivals of alternative methods of coffee preparation, such as vacuum coffee (sometimes called "siphon") and individual drip brew."

In the March 12, 2008 edition of the LA Weekly, the Pulitzer Prize winning food critic Jonathan Gold defined the third wave of coffee by saying:

"The first wave of American coffee culture was probably the 19th-century surge that put Folgers on every table, and the second was the proliferation, starting in the 1960s at Peet's and moving smartly through the Starbucks grande decaf latte, of espresso drinks and regionally labeled coffee. We are now in the third wave of coffee connoisseurship, where beans are sourced from farms instead of countries, roasting is about bringing out rather than incinerating the unique characteristics of each bean, and the flavor is clean and hard and pure."


 
A morning without coffee is sleep . . .
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Tomate
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Joined: 19 Sep 2013
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Posted Sat Sep 21, 2013, 7:20am
Subject: Re: Best machine for specialty (or third wave) coffee!
 

Thanks a lot guys, all very helpful.
Of course the better the barista is, the better the coffee, so yeap, i do have one of the best couple of baristas (in my opinion!) in Berlin to train us and yeap, already considered a big budget on that.
Anyways, thanks a lot and keep posting!
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boar_d_laze
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Joined: 21 Nov 2006
Posts: 1,258
Location: Monrovia, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: La Cimbali M21 DT/1 Junior...
Grinder: Ceado E92; "Bunnzilla"
Vac Pot: Royal Coffee Maker
Drip: Chemex + Kone; Espro Press
Roaster: USRC Sample Roaster
Posted Sat Sep 21, 2013, 8:02am
Subject: Re: Best machine for specialty (or third wave) coffee!
 

Tomate Said:

So yeap, i do have one of the best couple of baristas (in my opinion!) in Berlin to train us and yeap, already considered a big budget on that.

Posted September 21, 2013 link

That's great.  Ask the barista for machine recommendations and don't forget to get as much business advice as you possibly can as well.  Whether you buy lever or pump, get your training on the same type of machine.      

BDL
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Tomate
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Joined: 19 Sep 2013
Posts: 15
Location: berlin
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Sat Sep 21, 2013, 8:52am
Subject: Re: Best machine for specialty (or third wave) coffee!
 

I kind of 90% sure it will be pump, just because of the consistency of the coffee, i mean when you pull coffee fisically with your hands, and you have three to four baristas, then the coffee quality can vary a lot, but with pump you have less variation i would say, of course there are plenty of factors that will play a roll on making good repeatable coffee but i think lever adds one more factor to care about! Thanks anyways.
So by the way these guys use the Mirage from Kees Van Der Westen,  and it works awesome but you can't really control so much temeperaure and a couple of degrees (actually only one degree!) makes a LOT of diference!
Thanks for all the feedback, don't get tired! I'll let you know who everything goes!
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IMAWriter
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IMAWriter
Joined: 4 Jul 2002
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Espresso: Bezzera Strega
Grinder: Forte, OE Pharos,...
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Roaster: Behmor 1600, CO/UFO combo
Posted Sat Sep 21, 2013, 9:11am
Subject: Re: Best machine for specialty (or third wave) coffee!
 

Tomate Said:

I kind of 90% sure it will be pump, just because of the consistency of the coffee, i mean when you pull coffee fisically with your hands, and you have three to four baristas, then the coffee quality can vary a lot, but with pump you have less variation i would say, of course there are plenty of factors that will play a roll on making good repeatable coffee but i think lever adds one more factor to care about! Thanks anyways.
So by the way these guys use the Mirage from Kees Van Der Westen,  and it works awesome but you can't really control so much temeperaure and a couple of degrees (actually only one degree!) makes a LOT of diference!
Thanks for all the feedback, don't get tired! I'll let you know who everything goes!

Posted September 21, 2013 link

A Mirage is visually stunning (IMO) and has the pedigree of Kees behind it.
If somehow you could score a 2 group, as your baristi are familiar with it, why not go there?

 
Rob J (LMWDP #187)
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Tomate
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Joined: 19 Sep 2013
Posts: 15
Location: berlin
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Sat Sep 21, 2013, 5:57pm
Subject: Re: Best machine for specialty (or third wave) coffee!
 

Yeah, today we were talking again about machines and it looks like we might try to get a Mirage douplette! But still not 100% sure!
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boar_d_laze
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Joined: 21 Nov 2006
Posts: 1,258
Location: Monrovia, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: La Cimbali M21 DT/1 Junior...
Grinder: Ceado E92; "Bunnzilla"
Vac Pot: Royal Coffee Maker
Drip: Chemex + Kone; Espro Press
Roaster: USRC Sample Roaster
Posted Sat Sep 21, 2013, 9:05pm
Subject: Re: Best machine for specialty (or third wave) coffee!
 

Tomate Said:

I kind of 90% sure it will be pump, just because of the consistency of the coffee, i mean when you pull coffee fisically with your hands, and you have three to four baristas, then the coffee quality can vary a lot, but with pump you have less variation.  i would say, of course there are plenty of factors that will play a roll on making good repeatable coffee but i think lever adds one more factor to care about! Thanks anyways.

Posted September 21, 2013 link

Your welcome anyways.

You're overrating the problems involved with levers; the good ones are pretty consistent.  But no one was trying to sell you a lever.  You wrote that you wanted control over pressure:

As much control as possible (regarding time, T° and Pressure)

and unless you're willing to spend a lot of money -- which is something you also wrote that you did not want to do -- a lever is the only way to do it.  

Apparently you've changed your mind about controlling pressure.  That's fine by me.  I prefer straight pumps and think that aside from a few seconds of line pressure pre-infusion, the whole pressure-profiling thing is an overrated fad.  But you brought it up in your original post.  I apologize for paying attention.

It's also worth noting that:
  1. Controlling temperature is a part of every machine.  I think what you really want is a machine which will provide a reliable brew temperature with as little input as possible from you and your staff, and that's a hallmark of every good commercial machine;
  2. Time is controlled by grind, dose and water volume, or at least it should be; and while we're on the subject
  3. Thinking about machines is fun, but I can't overemphasize the importance of good grinders.  If you want to obsess about equipment, start with the grinders;
  4.  Your water supply is even more important; and finally
  5. Get a machine which looks as good or better from the customer's view point as the barista's.  

So by the way these guys use the Mirage from Kees Van Der Westen,  and it works awesome but you can't really control so much temeperaure and a couple of degrees (actually only one degree!) makes a LOT of diference!

You're telling us that the best baristas in Berlin like the Mirage, but that you don't think it's accurate enough for you.  Does that make sense to you?  Nor me either.  

A machine which can be set to deliver water in the correct range (once it's determined) without screwing around by the barista for every shot is a big advantage in a busy cafe setting.  There are a lot of machines which can do that, and the Mirage is certainly one of them.  Don't waste time and money trying to find a machine more accurate.  

The "best" temperature for any given coffee is actually a range of at least a couple of degrees C.  Typically a coffee with an ideal brewing temp of 97C will taste just as good anywhere between 96C and 98C.    If you think you can taste a 1C difference from the ideal, you've either got one palate in a billion or you're fooling yourself.  

The trick is determining that ideal brewing temperature.  Dialing in is entirely a matter of palate and not at all a matter of equipment.  It's probably wasted advice at this point, but it's a lot easier to do a good job of dialing in grind, dose, temp and volume with a couple of people than with just one.  Not only that, but it's something you want to do for every coffee you're serving at least once a day, and preferably twice.  Which, again highlights the importance of a staff with well-trained palates.  

BDL
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