JasonBrandtLewis Senior Member Joined: 9 Dec 2005 Posts: 6,461 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 Thu Feb 27, 2014, 1:42pm Subject: Re: Best commercial single group machine
Rick, you clearly know SOME things about espresso machines, but . . . .
-- More HX machines are in commercial service around the world, including Italy, than DB's.
-- HX machines are very stable as long as they are in use -- meaning in a busy commercial (café-type) environment, they are quite stable indeed. In the type of non-café restaurant, be it a deli or fine dining establishment where the machine is only used occasionally, yes, you need to do a cooling flush. But temperature surfing (not a very good name for it, but it's the best one we have) is much easier to explain than to do. Train your bartender / waitstaff / barista to do it right, and it's like riding a bicycle.
-- I've not used a Scace on my Elektra T1 at home; I've used one on a friend's machine, and getting repeatable temperatures time after time is easy to do. That said, pulling multiple shots at home, the temperature does indeed remain very stable shot after shot.
-- DB's require a warming flush; HX's require a cooling flush. Like I said, different ways of skinning the same cat.
Posted Thu Feb 27, 2014, 3:38pm Subject: Re: Best commercial single group machine
Sub $3K, prosumer DBs aren't built to hold up to commercial volume. I'm not sure where the cut-off is, but it's probably somewhere around 20 shots per day. That's why they're prosumer, not commercial. If you're sure your volume won't exceed a prosumer's, you'd be foolish to buy more.
The least expensive, true-commercial, DB is the La Marzocco GS/3. The LM Linea is a tad more expensive, not quite as versatile or styled, but heavier built. Either way, you're looking at close to $6K. I don't know either machine that well, but based on what I've heard from people I trust, I'm guessing the LM would be a better choice for your situation.
A DB is not a super-auto, and is no guarantee of an acceptable shot. If you can't teach and trust an employee to temp a good HX, you can't teach and trust her to grind, dose and tamp either; and if that's the case, the problem is with the teacher/supervisor, not the employee.
There are three stand-out, single group, "volumetric," HX machines priced below $4K. The least expensive is the La Cimbali M21 DT/1 Junior Casa at $3K. The Elektra T1 and Nuova Simonelli Appia Volumetric are a bit more. All can keep up with fairly high volume, and all are much better built than any prosumer. If you think even the best prosumer class DB can keep up with one of these beauties for production or durability, you're sadly mistaken.
I have a Cimbali M21 Junior "Casa," it's an extremely stable and forgiving machine. I'm not sure that I'd go quite as far as Merle in terms of it being able to keep up with a really fast barista satisfying a heavy load -- but if he's wrong, it's not by much. I can't beat it, but I'm not that fast either.
GRINDER GRINDER GRINDER
The word "Mazzer" covers a lot of territory. FWIW, all of the HXs named, and both of the LMs are far more machine than a Mazzer SJ is grinder. If you're serious about getting the most out of whatever beans or blends you plan to use, you need a better grinder than the SJ.
Posted Thu Feb 27, 2014, 4:20pm Subject: Re: Best commercial single group machine
I'm not sure that I'd go quite as far as Merle in terms of it being able to keep up with a really fast barista satisfying a heavy load -- but if he's wrong, it's not by much. I can't beat it, but I'm not that fast either.
Posted Thu Feb 27, 2014, 5:02pm Subject: Re: Best commercial single group machine
My point was that if you have to work that fast, you might as well (or perhaps should) keep the 2-group Strada.
And a darn good point it was.
A PID can be used to replace the pressurestat on an HX.
While a PID on an HX is helpful with recovery, provides a tighter dead-band, and isn't subject to mechanical reliability issues, it doesn't effect the "water-dance/cooling-flush" routine of temping. The new version of the T1, has a PID instead of a p-stat and needs the same temping ritual as the previous model.
Jason was referring to the PID only in terms of temping.
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