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Best commercial single group machine
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calblacksmith
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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 Thu Feb 27, 2014, 7:14pm
Subject: Re: Best commercial single group machine
 

onthego Said:

A PID can be used to replace the pressurestat on an HX.

Posted February 27, 2014 link

While that is true, when it comes to temping the shot, it is worthless, a PID can be more durable than a pressurestst and it is more quiet, repeat after Jason, A PID I WORTHLESS ON A HX MACHINE, it controls the steam boiler temp but it has no connection to the brew system and does nothing to control brew temp and is the job of the Batista with either a HX or DB to get the correct temp,

Let's say it again, a PID is worthless on a HX machine. .... For control of brew temp.

 
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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JasonBrandtLewis
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JasonBrandtLewis
Joined: 9 Dec 2005
Posts: 6,469
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 Feb 28, 2014, 6:41am
Subject: Re: Best commercial single group machine
 

boar_d_laze Said:

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.

Posted February 27, 2014 link

 

Agreed, Rich.  Thanks for the (better) elaboration -- which I should have made originally.

 
A morning without coffee is sleep . . .
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onthego
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onthego
Joined: 3 Jul 2005
Posts: 231
Location: Anchorage, AK
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Salvatore One Black, Silvia...
Grinder: Macap M4 Stepless, Rocky DL,...
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Posted Fri Feb 28, 2014, 9:49am
Subject: Re: Best commercial single group machine
 

calblacksmith Said:

Let's say it again, a PID is worthless on a HX machine. .... For control of brew temp.

Posted February 27, 2014 link

These sorts of rants add no value at all to the discussion.  While some readers might be able to read between the lines and determine the correct contextual orientation in a given discussion, not everyone has the background and knowledge to do so . This web site has visitors with widely varying experience.  Some are just getting started and looking for information.  Broad generalized statements like Jason's original post which he felt the need to repeat in a second post and you two times more provide no useful information that might help in gaining an understanding the pros and cons of the various machine designs available today.  Several manufacturers of HX espresso makers have replaced pressurestats with electronic temperature regulating devices for some of the reasons stated here.  One advantage not mentioned  is it allows a user to easily adjust the  boiler temperature without the need to remove the case which is necessary with most pressurestat regulated HX machines.   That capability might be useful in that it would allow the user to set the boiler temperature for the intended use on a given day.  

I don't know whether or not a PID would be helpful in controlling brew temps on an HX machine. I don't have any experience one way or the other.  It might be dependent on the design of the machine.  Some machines might benefit more than others, some not at all.  I am not familiar with any studies regarding this.  If you know of any and could provide me with a link to the information it would be most appreciated.

Ed
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Iluvdabean
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Iluvdabean
Joined: 7 Mar 2005
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Location: Kentucky
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Espresso: La Nuova Era Cuadra/Gaggia...
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Posted Fri Feb 28, 2014, 10:04am
Subject: Re: Best commercial single group machine
 

I find facts helpful,so when a fact is stated such as,a PID on an HX machine is worthless I appreciate it. I dont consider it a rant
I consider it a way to avoid an illogical redundancy.
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JasonBrandtLewis
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JasonBrandtLewis
Joined: 9 Dec 2005
Posts: 6,469
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 Feb 28, 2014, 10:45am
Subject: Re: Best commercial single group machine
 

onthego Said:

I don't know whether or not a PID would be helpful in controlling brew temps on an HX machine.   I am not familiar with any studies regarding this.  If you know of any and could provide me with a link to the information it would be most appreciated.

Posted February 28, 2014 link


Ed, it's not like we make this $#|+ up, you know.  On the other hand, to be fair, it's not like there are double-blind scientific tests on the topic, either . . .

I would recommend that you check out the following, many of which include temperature graphs, profiles, and/or personal experience, from people far wiser than I.  A PID is more robust and should last longer than a pressurestat, and while the adjustability of the boiler temperature via PID is often tighter than with a pressurestat, the bottom line is that it depends upon the pressurestat (i.e.: some have a tighter deadband that others).  However . . .

Then, there is this from Randy Glass:

frcn Said:

The PID would control the temperature of the boiler water in a HX machine. But the water in the HX is indirectly heated by the boiler water, and the group s located remotely from the boiler (particularly win regards to thermosyphon machines), the benefit of the PID in a HX machine is minimal. It would give more precise stability of the water in the boiler which may or may not translate to better control of brew temp, at least at the beginning of the extraction, but the benefit there would be minimal, and controlled to a great extent by the machine's design and engineering. Te major benefit is the elimination of the arcing contacts of the pressurestat, but that can be done by adding an SSR between the pressurestat and the heating element anyway.

The difference in operation is that the pressurestat has a range of operation heating for a period until the pressure rises to a predetermined point, then when the element is de-energized, cooling through the dead band to repeat again. A PID can hold a given, preset pressure, and thus temperature. But again, the benefit at the coffee is minimal if not questionable.

And, technically, HX machines usually have a pressurestat and not a thermostat (See THIS article).

Posted January 3, 2012 link

Or this quote from the OP on HX Heaven or 1 Boiler from HB:  

cafeIKE on Tue Apr 15, 2008 5:17 pm

About 18 months ago I added a PID to my Vibiemme Domobar Super .  It's great. I can pull shots without any flushing.

As there's never a free lunch, steaming capability is non-existant at 0.5bar and its a PITA to run the PID set point up and down like a YoYo.

To solve the problem, I added a small 12v DC power supply controlled by the pStat.  The 12v connects to one side of a SPDT toggle switch and the PID output to the other.  The common terminal connects to the SSR input.  When I need steam, I just flip the switch and the boiler quickly runs up to 1.3bar, providing ample steam. At a recent dinner party, I was able to make 3 lattes and a cappa, all doubles, in under 6 minutes.  When I'm done steaming, just flip the switch back and the boiler idles at perfect shot pulling temperature.

Now, I might be wrong, but it certainly sound to me as if he has effectively turned his HX into an SBDU if he has to keep flipping a switch back-and-forth . . .

In the 6-7 years I've owned my HX, I confess that I've had to replace the pressurestat once on a commercial machine that is fairly heavy use for being in a HOME environment -- say 8-10 drinks weekdays, more on weekends.  If I had the machine PID'd, I wouldn't have had to do that; were my machine burning through pressurestats, I'd get a PID and stop replacing pressurestats.  But once in 6 or 7 years, I can live with that.  

I would never buy an SBDU or an DB without it being PID'd, but my shots are very stable, very repeatable (as measuring water temperature at the brewhead), and I have no desire, no need, to PID my HX -- which would be of dubious benefit anyway.

 
A morning without coffee is sleep . . .
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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 Fri Feb 28, 2014, 12:25pm
Subject: Re: Best commercial single group machine
 

ED,
As Jason said, for a SBDU or DB there is no better way to go than with a PID but due to the indirect nature of the brew system of a HX machine,

FOR THE PURPOSE OF CONTROLLING BREW TEMP, A PID IS WORTHLESS ON A HX MACHINE.

There are reasons to do it, longer potential life of the parts, silent operation (that is until I heard, or rather did NOT hear the Pstat on a La Cimbali of their own design, you nearly need a stethoscope to hear it) adjustment of boiler temp (a very dubious need to be sure) even to make the deadband of the pressure stat smaller (if you understand the way a HX works, deadband argument is picking fly poop out of the pepper).

It is not a rant, it is a statement of fact. It is true for all HX machines, regardless of make, model or manufacturer.

 
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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boar_d_laze
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Joined: 21 Nov 2006
Posts: 1,397
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 Feb 28, 2014, 12:26pm
Subject: Re: Best commercial single group machine
 

We can bridge the gap between the PID/p-stat thread drift and RickSFO's concerns by looking at the experiences Jason, Wayne and I share with our true commercial HXs.  

That is, we have very stable groups, no trouble temping our shots and no desire for PID or other electronic temp control.  

If I were in Rick's position, I wouldn't consider any machine without pre-infusion, because it takes at least some pressure off barista technique.  I'd also stick with "automatics," more because automatic shutoff is a fail-safe in a busy commercial environment than for the consistency it brings.  Not that consistency is a draw back, it's just a little further down my list than disaster.  

When I suggested some true commercial, sub $4K, automatic HXs with pre-infusion, I should have mentioned the Astoria Divina 1, along with the Elektra T1, La Cimbali M21 Casa, and Nuova Simonelli Appia Volumetric.  

Finally,

GRINDER GRINDER GRINDER

The SJ is very good, but it's far from excellent.  Keep it for decaf and get a Compak K-10PB and an Auber timer, or a Ceado E92.  

Rich
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RickSFO
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Joined: 30 Dec 2012
Posts: 8
Location: San Francisco
Expertise: Professional

Posted Sat Mar 1, 2014, 1:11pm
Subject: Re: Best commercial single group machine
 

JasonBrandtLewis Said:

You miss the point:  a) it's easier to DO than to explain; and -- repeat after me -- a PID is useless on an HX.

Posted February 27, 2014 link

I get the point. Training my staff to do a cooling flush and temperature surf is easier said than done. We're a restaurant, and don't always have a dedicated barista on staff so the servers often make their own drinks.
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boar_d_laze
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Joined: 21 Nov 2006
Posts: 1,397
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 Mar 1, 2014, 5:05pm
Subject: Re: Best commercial single group machine
 

RickSFO Said:

I get the point. Training my staff to do a cooling flush and temperature surf is easier said than done. We're a restaurant, and don't always have a dedicated barista on staff so the servers often make their own drinks.

Posted March 1, 2014 link

Pardon me for being blunt.  I don't mean to challenge or be impolite, just -- hopefully -- to wake you up.  

Forget the automatic espresso machine.  What you want is a super-automatic.  Consistently barely adequate is light years better than consistently awful.

If you can't teach and trust staff to temp, how can you teach and trust them to grind, dose, distribute, tamp, pull, steam and clean?  What you're talking about is one more place with a sludge coated group and a steam wand caked with cheese where no one who knows better will ever order espresso.  

What kind of barista skills do you have yourself? If you have any, you know there's more to making espresso than pressing a button; that it's ALL about the training. If you think there's an automatic DB on the planet which will compensate for an untrained staff, you're sadly mistaken.

Rich
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JasonBrandtLewis
Senior Member
JasonBrandtLewis
Joined: 9 Dec 2005
Posts: 6,469
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 Sat Mar 1, 2014, 5:34pm
Subject: Re: Best commercial single group machine
 

Rick, PLEASE do not think we're ganging up on you.  We aren't.  ALL of the comments above are provided in the spirit of making (and serving) great espresso.

You and I are across the Bay from each other.  Let me tell you that it's my own personal policy never to order espresso in restaurants for precisely the reason that you state:

RickSFO Said:

Training my staff to do a cooling flush and temperature surf is easier said than done. We're a restaurant, and don't always have a dedicated barista on staff so the servers often make their own drinks.

Posted March 1, 2014 link

The exceptions are those locations where the bartender is the one making the espresso.  Presumably he or she does have the training, and at least I'll try it.  When it's the entire staff responsible for each making their own drinks, I pass.  I'd rather drink mediocre BREWED coffee than bad espresso.  

That said, BDL (Rich) is right.  If you insist upon having espresso in your restaurant, I'd put our money in a super-automatic.  Inconsistency is a restaurant's worst enemy.  If your meal -- be it a burger, a steak, a plate of housemade pasta, or a Dungeness crab salad -- is delicious on your first visit, you'll be back; if it sucks on your second, you won't.  All I'm saying is that the super auto is at least consistent.

And it makes no difference whether it's a high-end restaurant like Quince, Gary Danko, or Masa's; a hip, small place like Flour + Water, Central Kitchen, or St. Vincent; or an old-time place in North Beach . . . let alone a deli or a pizza parlor or . . . whatever.

 
A morning without coffee is sleep . . .
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