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LaSpaziale Dream T observations and questions
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Pantea
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Pantea
Joined: 11 Sep 2005
Posts: 37
Location: Denver
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: LaSpaziale Dream T; Breville...
Grinder: Baratza Vario & Preciso
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Posted Tue Dec 3, 2013, 1:14pm
Subject: LaSpaziale Dream T observations and questions
 

I've searched high and low and can find very little information on the newest batch of S1 Dream/Dream T models.  I just received mine from Chriscoffee and have noted the following so far:

  1.  The up arrow button on the LCD screen does not work.  At all.  It won't even make a beeping sound.  The down arrow works perfectly.  I tried and tried to scroll up, and finally hit upon a method that lets me scroll up about 15% of the time, which is far better than the 0% success rate of  touching the up arrow.  The two bars immediately above the down arrow beep when they're touched, but they don't do anything.  If I try to touch both those bars in an upward sweeping motion, about once out of 7 or 8 times I will be able to scroll up.  But it's time consuming, and an annoying crapshoot.  Shouldn't the up arrow just work the same way the down arrow does?  This annoyance renders the programmability of the LCD screen a liability rather than an asset.  Try adjusting the brew temp up without an up arrow.  Changing the clock/timer from 6 am to 7 am requires 11 moves instead of 1.

  2.  The spouts on both portafilters are unscrewed almost all the way out.  It's like they're being held in place by only one thread on the screw.  I cannot for the life of me screw them up any higher or tighter.  This leaves an unsightly and unfinished looking gap between the bottom of the portafilters and the spouts.  Also, it eats into much prized clearance between the spout and the cup underneath it.

  3.  The regular portafilters themselves do not fit into the group.  They don't twist into place.  I tried to muscle them in but the machine moved altogether while only allowing the most miserly micro-twist to the portafilter.  They'll still hold, but it feels like they're teetering on the edge of a cliff and might fall off at any moment.  The naked portafilter fits in perfectly with no issues.

  4.  I'm not sure how the temperature control is supposed to work, but it goes through about a 5 degree temp swing (including overshooting the set temp by 2 degrees) just sitting there.  The heft and build quality on the Dream makes my Breville DB look like a Fisher Price by comparison, but I never get even a one degree temp swing on the BDB.

  5.  The LaSpaziale Dream/Vivaldi has got to be the most unphotogenic of all espresso machines out there.  They photograph horribly.  Blah finish, somewhat diminutive, proportions, homely all around.  IRL, it is a most droolworthy machine.  I just had to hug it several times last night.  It's so cool and elegant that I'm going to take it off my kitchen countertop and display it on my kitchen island instead so it can be viewed and adored from all angles.  It's such a waste to hide that gorgeous back up against a backsplash.

  6.  It weighs a ton.  I think my PTSD wiped out my memory of it, because I have no idea how I managed to lift it out of the box and place it on the counter all by myself (hell no, I wasn't going to wait 3 WHOLE DAYS for His Dudeness to return from his business trip).


These are just my first night observations.  I will play with it more tonight, but would appreciate any thoughts on the oddities I've noted above.  I suppose #2 & #3 will garner some "wait for His Dudeness' elbow grease", but is it normal for a portafilter to resist twisting into the grouphead?  I never had this issue with my Isomac Zaffiro, RIP :(  or with the BDB or any other machine I've tried out before.

Finally some of you may want to advise that I also post these concerns on s1cafe.  Unfortunately, I can't get past the registration puzzle that requires clicking and dragging items between columns.  That click and drag feature does not work on my work computer (MS internet explorer) or on my iphone (safari), so I can't complete registration.
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CSME9
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CSME9
Joined: 26 Feb 2004
Posts: 287
Location: West Texas
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Bezzera Mitica Top, Spaz...
Grinder: Rancilio Rocky
Drip: Moka Pot
Roaster: BBQ Roaster
Posted Tue Dec 3, 2013, 1:54pm
Subject: Re: LaSpaziale Dream T observations and questions
 

I also had a few issues with Mini Vivaldi's, seems the last few batches have had some concerns. Make sure the baskets are firmly seated into the portafilter, there is not alot of clearance when you line up the handle to the brew group. The basket spring is very tight and baskets are hard to seat and take out, CCS sells a small diameter spring.  The arrows should scroll up, call the vendors tech support hopefully they can fix the arrow issue over the phone.  

If they cant get it right, ask for another machine that is fully checked to include accesories & bench tested before they ship it.
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Pantea
Senior Member
Pantea
Joined: 11 Sep 2005
Posts: 37
Location: Denver
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: LaSpaziale Dream T; Breville...
Grinder: Baratza Vario & Preciso
Drip: Bonavita
Posted Tue Dec 3, 2013, 4:40pm
Subject: Re: LaSpaziale Dream T observations and questions
 

Thanks Will.  I'll fiddle with the basket to make sure it's all the way in.  

The machine arrived with a note that it's been bench tested, though that also left the machine looking used and really dirty on the LCD screen (smears and long baked on water stains, fingerprints galore).  And yet the portafilters look not fully assembled, as though they gave up on screwing on the spouts the same way I did after a long struggle.  The problem is that they nevertheless packed up the portafilters and shipped them to me in that condition and now it's become my problem.  

I'm trying to test run with the machine for a while and make a list of issues before I call their tech support.   Right now my adoration for the machine is high, but my confidence in enjoying a smooth honeymoon period is low.  The mere thought of packing up this beast and shipping it back gives me shudders.
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CSME9
Senior Member
CSME9
Joined: 26 Feb 2004
Posts: 287
Location: West Texas
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Bezzera Mitica Top, Spaz...
Grinder: Rancilio Rocky
Drip: Moka Pot
Roaster: BBQ Roaster
Posted Thu Dec 12, 2013, 7:26pm
Subject: Re: LaSpaziale Dream T observations and questions
 

Pantea Said:

Thanks Will.  I'll fiddle with the basket to make sure it's all the way in.  

The machine arrived with a note that it's been bench tested, though that also left the machine looking used and really dirty on the LCD screen (smears and long baked on water stains, fingerprints galore).  And yet the portafilters look not fully assembled, as though they gave up on screwing on the spouts the same way I did after a long struggle.  The problem is that they nevertheless packed up the portafilters and shipped them to me in that condition and now it's become my problem.  

I'm trying to test run with the machine for a while and make a list of issues before I call their tech support.   Right now my adoration for the machine is high, but my confidence in enjoying a smooth honeymoon period is low.  The mere thought of packing up this beast and shipping it back gives me shudders.

Posted December 3, 2013 link

Pantea...any update on the machine issues ?
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Pantea
Senior Member
Pantea
Joined: 11 Sep 2005
Posts: 37
Location: Denver
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: LaSpaziale Dream T; Breville...
Grinder: Baratza Vario & Preciso
Drip: Bonavita
Posted Thu Dec 12, 2013, 8:58pm
Subject: Re: LaSpaziale Dream T observations and questions
 

CSME9 Said:

Pantea...any update on the machine issues ?

Posted December 12, 2013 link

A few updates. I discovered while wiping the dispersion screen that it was loose to the point of spinning like a top.  I tightened the bolt, and that seems to have helped with the portafilter fitting.

I spoke to Tim at Chriscoffee about the non-functional button on the LCD screen.  Apparently I was the second person that day he had spoken to about this same issue. Tim sent me a replacement face screen, and emailed me the most fabulous photo instructions on how to replace the screen. It was either try to replace it myself or ship the machine back to them, and I opted for the former.  I have not received it yet, so will update when it arrives and I've attempted the replacement.

Tim also indicated that he was sending me replacement portafilters with the spouts better screwed into place.  So far my problems have not yet been solved, but help is on the way and Tim's helpfulness has exceeded my expectations.
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CSME9
Senior Member
CSME9
Joined: 26 Feb 2004
Posts: 287
Location: West Texas
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Bezzera Mitica Top, Spaz...
Grinder: Rancilio Rocky
Drip: Moka Pot
Roaster: BBQ Roaster
Posted Thu Dec 12, 2013, 9:24pm
Subject: Re: LaSpaziale Dream T observations and questions
 

Pantea Said:

A few updates. I discovered while wiping the dispersion screen that it was loose to the point of spinning like a top.  I tightened the bolt, and that seems to have helped with the portafilter fitting.

I spoke to Tim at Chriscoffee about the non-functional button on the LCD screen.  Apparently I was the second person that day he had spoken to about this same issue. Tim sent me a replacement face screen, and emailed me the most fabulous photo instructions on how to replace the screen. It was either try to replace it myself or ship the machine back to them, and I opted for the former.  I have not received it yet, so will update when it arrives and I've attempted the replacement.

Tim also indicated that he was sending me replacement portafilters with the spouts better screwed into place.  So far my problems have not yet been solved, but help is on the way and Tim's helpfulness has exceeded my expectations.

Posted December 12, 2013 link

Glad to hear Tim at CCS is trying to make it right, I know of 5 recent machines that had issues-seems QC on the last batch before the factory closed for vacation was lacking.
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Pantea
Senior Member
Pantea
Joined: 11 Sep 2005
Posts: 37
Location: Denver
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: LaSpaziale Dream T; Breville...
Grinder: Baratza Vario & Preciso
Drip: Bonavita
Posted Thu Dec 12, 2013, 9:58pm
Subject: Re: LaSpaziale Dream T observations and questions
 

CSME9 Said:

Glad to hear Tim at CCS is trying to make it right, I know of 5 recent machines that had issues-seems QC on the last batch before the factory closed for vacation was lacking.

Posted December 12, 2013 link

Will, do you know what other problems showed up in this last batch?  I want to keep an eye out on those issues. One thing I've noticed is that there is a surprisingly large amount of water that comes out of the steam wand when I first purge the condensation. It's more than a few droplets.  Meanwhile, I have been unimpressed by my machine's microfoam production.  Cold milk in a pitcher chilled in the freezer comes to full temp in about 10 seconds with pretty flat results. I'm just not noticing the progidious dry steaming prowess the LaSpaziales are so famous for, but I don't know if it's just me.  My Breville DB made waaaaaaaay better microfoam, though it took much longer.
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CSME9
Senior Member
CSME9
Joined: 26 Feb 2004
Posts: 287
Location: West Texas
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Bezzera Mitica Top, Spaz...
Grinder: Rancilio Rocky
Drip: Moka Pot
Roaster: BBQ Roaster
Posted Sat Dec 14, 2013, 3:22pm
Subject: Re: LaSpaziale Dream T observations and questions
 

Pantea Said:

Will, do you know what other problems showed up in this last batch?  I want to keep an eye out on those issues. One thing I've noticed is that there is a surprisingly large amount of water that comes out of the steam wand when I first purge the condensation. It's more than a few droplets.  Meanwhile, I have been unimpressed by my machine's microfoam production.  Cold milk in a pitcher chilled in the freezer comes to full temp in about 10 seconds with pretty flat results. I'm just not noticing the progidious dry steaming prowess the LaSpaziales are so famous for, but I don't know if it's just me.  My Breville DB made waaaaaaaay better microfoam, though it took much longer.

Posted December 12, 2013 link

Pantea, My experience with the La Spaz machines regarding steaming was there quite a bit of water when purging the wand, needed a long purge to dry to steam. Frothing happens pretty quick 10-15 sec for 4 oz, was able to make microfoam if I buried the wand near the sides of the pitcher and kept it there but you have to act quick. With regards to QC issues, there was a problem with the wrong steel spring in the water tank valve assembly which would rust and break, missing rubber o rings where the tank nipple connects causing leaks, some machines shipped after it was discovered. Improved stainless steel springs were being swapped out before shipping to the customer but pieces of the steel spring or other metal shavings from casting made there way inside and caused leaking and solenoids to get jammed causing weird refill issues. Two boiler safety valve malfunctions, and loose copper fitting which caused water everywhere. Dented filter baskets with spouts barely screwed in.

Shouldn't have to play mechanic on $2,000 espresso machines.
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Pantea
Senior Member
Pantea
Joined: 11 Sep 2005
Posts: 37
Location: Denver
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: LaSpaziale Dream T; Breville...
Grinder: Baratza Vario & Preciso
Drip: Bonavita
Posted Sat Dec 14, 2013, 5:41pm
Subject: Re: LaSpaziale Dream T observations and questions
 

CSME9 Said:

Pantea, My experience with the La Spaz machines regarding steaming was there quite a bit of water when purging the wand, needed a long purge to dry to steam. Frothing happens pretty quick 10-15 sec for 4 oz, was able to make microfoam if I buried the wand near the sides of the pitcher and kept it there but you have to act quick. With regards to QC issues, there was a problem with the wrong steel spring in the water tank valve assembly which would rust and break, missing rubber o rings where the tank nipple connects causing leaks, some machines shipped after it was discovered. Improved stainless steel springs were being swapped out before shipping to the customer but pieces of the steel spring or other metal shavings from casting made there way inside and caused leaking and solenoids to get jammed causing weird refill issues. Two boiler safety valve malfunctions, and loose copper fitting which caused water everywhere. Dented filter baskets with spouts barely screwed in.

Shouldn't have to play mechanic on $2,000 espresso machines.

Posted December 14, 2013 link

I agree, especially when one has no mechanic's skills to beging with.  

Thanks for the microfoam tips.  I did a much longer purge today and it made a big difference.  

I've definitely experienced the dented filter baskets and dangling spouts. The replacement portafilters I received today show minimal improvement (3 threads showing instead of 4).

Another thing I've noticed is occasionally wobbly pressure during extraction.   A few times I've seen and heard a what appears to be a drop in pressure during a pull, as though its clicking to a lower power setting and then back up again.  I can see the flow slow down, at the same time that the pump sound lowers in pitch.  After about 2 or 3 seconds the flow rate and pump's sound kick back into full power. Next time I'm going to watch the brew pressure reading to see if it confirms a loss of pressure.
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CSME9
Senior Member
CSME9
Joined: 26 Feb 2004
Posts: 287
Location: West Texas
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Bezzera Mitica Top, Spaz...
Grinder: Rancilio Rocky
Drip: Moka Pot
Roaster: BBQ Roaster
Posted Sun Dec 29, 2013, 11:55am
Subject: Re: LaSpaziale Dream T observations and questions
 

Pantea Said:

I agree, especially when one has no mechanic's skills to beging with.  

Thanks for the microfoam tips.  I did a much longer purge today and it made a big difference.  

I've definitely experienced the dented filter baskets and dangling spouts. The replacement portafilters I received today show minimal improvement (3 threads showing instead of 4).

Another thing I've noticed is occasionally wobbly pressure during extraction.   A few times I've seen and heard a what appears to be a drop in pressure during a pull, as though its clicking to a lower power setting and then back up again.  I can see the flow slow down, at the same time that the pump sound lowers in pitch.  After about 2 or 3 seconds the flow rate and pump's sound kick back into full power. Next time I'm going to watch the brew pressure reading to see if it confirms a loss of pressure.

Posted December 14, 2013 link

Pantea, Did this issue get resolved ?
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