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Help is needed to decide my espresso machine and grinder!
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Discussions > Espresso > Q and A > Help is needed...  
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jwoodyu
Senior Member
jwoodyu
Joined: 31 Dec 2010
Posts: 841
Location: Michigan
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Allex Duetto II
Grinder: Mazzer Major
Roaster: Poppery
Posted Tue Jan 22, 2013, 1:21pm
Subject: Re: Help is needed to decide my espresso machine and grinder!
 

Well the major is pretty big. Here is a picture of my setup in the shrine thread nearly to the bottom of this page. You will see it with the short hopper next to a Vario next to the Duetto it will give you some scale at least. If you have a cupboard overhead it could be a none starter. Shrine

 
Yes I put the BDB and CC1 in the same class, yes i have a reason for leaving SCG off my list, yes it is my opinion, yes it is subjective as opinions are by definition, no don't start a flame war because you disagree.
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gearbolt
Senior Member
gearbolt
Joined: 9 Aug 2007
Posts: 39
Location: San Jose, CA
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Izzo Alex Duetto 3.0
Grinder: Mahlkonig K30 Vario
Vac Pot: Kona
Roaster: TBD
Posted Tue Jan 22, 2013, 1:49pm
Subject: Re: Help is needed to decide my espresso machine and grinder!
 

jwoodyu Said:

Well the major is pretty big. Here is a picture of my setup in the shrine thread nearly to the bottom of this page. You will see it with the short hopper next to a Vario next to the Duetto it will give you some scale at least. If you have a cupboard overhead it could be a none starter. Shrine

Posted January 22, 2013 link


Thank you very much for the quick response and photo.  The Vario in there is very helpful for me to visualize the size of
my possible setup.  Much appreciate.
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gearbolt
Senior Member
gearbolt
Joined: 9 Aug 2007
Posts: 39
Location: San Jose, CA
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Izzo Alex Duetto 3.0
Grinder: Mahlkonig K30 Vario
Vac Pot: Kona
Roaster: TBD
Posted Thu Jan 24, 2013, 12:45pm
Subject: Re: Help is needed to decide my espresso machine and grinder!
 

Hi all,

Thank you all for the kind help and suggestions.  Much appreciated.  :)

I think I have made my mind to get the Alex Duetto 3.0 by Izzo and K30 by Mahlkönig.
I checked out some of the Rocket machines but still like the Duetto (ie. does not like the
wired/removable PID and features vs cost. Certainly, they are very fine looking machines)
and the Mazzer Major is just too big (and not elegant enough to suit my home decor.  
Sorry I know this is silly but that is the compromise I made for my wife).  I struggled for
some time and finally decided to have this setup.   My real original setup and budget was
Silvano by QM and Rocky doserless grinder.    Man, talk about changing of mind!!!  But it
is part of the journey.  :)

Again, thank you, the coffeegeek community.  I will post my setup photos after getting
dial in.   Hope it will happen soon.   :)

Regards,
David
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emradguy
Senior Member
emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 2,744
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Duetto II; Twist v2
Grinder: M Major, 2 Macap M4s, OE...
Drip: Espro presses; Aeropress
Roaster: H-B "List of Favorites"
Posted Thu Jan 24, 2013, 1:13pm
Subject: Re: Help is needed to decide my espresso machine and grinder!
 

Not silly at all. Aesthetic considerations are very real, especially when choosing between thing that are more than sufficient options for the task at hand. That setup should keep you happy for years to come.

 
.
Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
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NobbyR
Senior Member
NobbyR
Joined: 10 Jul 2011
Posts: 1,991
Location: Germany
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Poccino Opus One, Ariete
Grinder: Eureka Mignon Istantaneo
Vac Pot: N/A
Drip: Melitta Linea Unica de Luxe
Roaster: N/A
Posted Sun Jan 27, 2013, 3:30am
Subject: Re: Help is needed to decide my espresso machine and grinder!
 

gearbolt Said:

... K30 by Mahlkönig ...

Posted January 24, 2013 link

Be sure to get the K30 Vario with stepless adjustment.

 
***
"This drink of the Satan is so delicious that it would be a shame to leave it to the infidels." (Pope Clement VIII on coffee, when he was urged to ban the beverage)
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gearbolt
Senior Member
gearbolt
Joined: 9 Aug 2007
Posts: 39
Location: San Jose, CA
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Izzo Alex Duetto 3.0
Grinder: Mahlkonig K30 Vario
Vac Pot: Kona
Roaster: TBD
Posted Sun Jan 27, 2013, 11:01am
Subject: Re: Help is needed to decide my espresso machine and grinder!
 

NobbyR Said:

Be sure to get the K30 Vario with stepless adjustment.

Posted January 27, 2013 link

Thanks for the reminder.  Yes, it is K30 Vario (stepless).  

Now the unbearable waiting......
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JasonBrandtLewis
Senior Member
JasonBrandtLewis
Joined: 9 Dec 2005
Posts: 6,278
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 Mon Jan 28, 2013, 8:19am
Subject: Re: Help is needed to decide my espresso machine and grinder!
 

FWIW, I love my Mahlkönig K30 Vario (stepless) . . .

 
A morning without coffee is sleep . . .
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jwoodyu
Senior Member
jwoodyu
Joined: 31 Dec 2010
Posts: 841
Location: Michigan
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Allex Duetto II
Grinder: Mazzer Major
Roaster: Poppery
Posted Mon Jan 28, 2013, 8:42am
Subject: Re: Help is needed to decide my espresso machine and grinder!
 

It is most certainly not silly and you will not be sorry with a K30 and Duetto. I keep my open all the time for a deal on a K30 Vario or K8 Fresh for comparison to my major and suspect i would be as perfectly with happy with any one as the other. Excellent choice please post a followup on your results :0)

 
Yes I put the BDB and CC1 in the same class, yes i have a reason for leaving SCG off my list, yes it is my opinion, yes it is subjective as opinions are by definition, no don't start a flame war because you disagree.
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gearbolt
Senior Member
gearbolt
Joined: 9 Aug 2007
Posts: 39
Location: San Jose, CA
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Izzo Alex Duetto 3.0
Grinder: Mahlkonig K30 Vario
Vac Pot: Kona
Roaster: TBD
Posted Mon Jan 28, 2013, 2:21pm
Subject: Re: Help is needed to decide my espresso machine and grinder!
 

Hi all,

Progress Report:

  • I placed my order last week and the Duetto 3 shipment arrived @ Chris Coffee on last Friday.  I also ordered the bottomless PF
       and some other things such tamper, tamper stand, and so on.

Question:  do you think I need to have the 3rd party insert baskets?

  • I ordered 5 LB Redbird Espresso and try to use it to get familiar with the grinder and machine.   I think the coffee beans will
       arrive first and let them breath a bit.  I plan to follow the 60% brew ratio found in the community posts: 18g grinds to brew 30g
       in 30 sec as the guide line.

  • I had been studied the manual for Duetto 3 and K30 Vario so I should know what knobs to turn and switches to flip.

  • I almost can't bear my super-auto espresso shots anymore.  :)

  • Anything else?  

Cheers,
David
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qualin
Senior Member
qualin
Joined: 30 Jun 2012
Posts: 646
Location: Calgary, AB
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Izzo Alex Duetto 3
Grinder: Mazzer Mini Elect. Type A
Vac Pot: Looking to buy
Drip: Manual
Roaster: Considering?
Posted Tue Jan 29, 2013, 2:43am
Subject: Re: Help is needed to decide my espresso machine and grinder!
 

I'm going to apologize in advance for the information dump, but using my Duetto and Mazzer, here's what I've learned so far.......

gearbolt Said:

I also ordered the bottomless PF and some other things such tamper, tamper stand, and so on.

Posted January 28, 2013 link

Buying a scale which can measure up to 1 kg and to 0.1 g resolution would help immensely, as well as a digital kitchen timer. Buying a cheap knockbox beats whacking a
portafilter on the edge of your garbage can and potentially damaging it. (Not sure whether the garbage can or the portafilter basket would be damaged.) Also, perhaps
one of those Ikea sugar dispensers, steaming pitchers, steaming thermometer and lots of very fine terry cloths for cleaning.

Some advice, with the bottomless portafilter, make sure that you can lock it in to at least the 7 o'clock position. If you buy the wrong portafilter, you won't be able to lock
it in very far (8 o'clock position or more) and the damn thing will "Blow off" the brew group and leave a mess everywhere. Happened to me, had to exchange mine.

gearbolt Said:

Question:  do you think I need to have the 3rd party insert baskets?

Posted January 28, 2013 link

I don't think so. Although, I do think that buying a triple basket would help when you want to dose more than 17 grams. The baskets which come with the portafilters
that come with the Duetto are "Good enough" for now, although I probably wouldn't bother with the single for a while.

gearbolt Said:

I ordered 5 LB Redbird Espresso and try to use it to get familiar with the grinder and machine.

Posted January 28, 2013 link

I don't have any personal experience with that blend, but 5 lbs is a good start. What I'd recommend you do is get yourself some clip lid jars, something like this:
http://www.drinkstuff.com/products/product.asp?ID=11069 (Not endorsing this vendor, just using them as an example.)
The idea is you want to buy storage containers which are air tight. You want to make sure that you fill all of the containers up as much as possible so that there is very little air in there.

A 1 liter jar will hold approximately about 500 grams of coffee. I recommend using this size because it's easier to "compartmentalize" your coffee into weekly usage.

Put as much of that coffee away in the freezer as you can! Put about a weeks worth of coffee into the hopper in your grinder. If you don't know, start out with about 250 grams and
work your way up to 500 grams. 4 shots a day will last you roughly about 7 days, depending on the number of sink shots, grind retention, waste, etc.

Some of the purists only measure out exactly what they want to grind, put that in the hopper and grind it. That's up to you. Personally, I never experienced my coffee staling in the hopper,
unless it was coffee which was pre-packaged and didn't have a roast date. (I bought 1 lb of store coffee in desperation, holy crap it staled fast! Don't do that.)

BTW, Before I forget, do not put coffee in the refrigerator, just the freezer only. If you refrigerate it, the coffee will pick up smells from everything and it is pointless anyway, because it will
still go stale, just as if you had left it out on the counter.

When you put coffee from the freezer in your grinders hopper, do not grind it for at least six hours. Give it time to defrost! What I find works for me is to "Overlap" and when it looks like
I have roughly around 1-2 shots left in the grinder, I just dump in another jar of coffee into the hopper. That prevents "popcorning" and keeps the grinder consistent by putting weight on
the beans sitting against the burrs.

Frozen coffee can sit in the freezer for up to 4 months before it will start going stale. You can push that, but you know your beans are going stale by an off-smell or lack of crema or worse,
you simply can't get a decent shot at all no matter how fine you grind.

From the roast date, the coffee should be used up no earlier than 7 days from that date and no later than 14 days from that date. If the package says, "Best Before" and doesn't have a roast
date, unless you plan on making drip coffee with it, don't use it for espresso. The problem is, these coffees go stale very quickly and unless you are having an espresso party or something
and you are going to use it all up within a few short days, there's no point in wasting your money buying these packages.

gearbolt Said:

I think the coffee beans will arrive first and let them breath a bit.

Posted January 28, 2013 link

Not necessary. It is my own personal experience that a good roaster won't put beans on sale until they've aged at least a week.

gearbolt Said:

I plan to follow the 60% brew ratio found in the community posts: 18g grinds to brew 30g in 30 sec as the guide line.

Posted January 28, 2013 link

Before I go any further, I should just mention that the best people to talk to when you buy coffee from a roaster is the professional barista behind the counter who is
working through those beans themselves. A good barista has already had enough time to futz around with the parameters which they think makes for an ideal shot.

However, like anything, the tastes of the barista behind the counter are completely subjective, so what works for the barista may not work for you personally. In all honesty,
if a barista tells me, "Start with 19 grams in, extract to 32 beverage grams out on 25 seconds." .. that's my starting guideline and I work from there.

There isn't any rule or law that says that you must put espresso blends through your machine, I've tried other coffees which are not espresso blends and they make for
an excellent tasting cup of coffee, but sometimes I've had to stray away from the conventional Italian guidelines to get a decent cup of coffee out of the machine.

Make sure that you deliberately over extract one cup and under extract another, taste the difference and then adjust from those ideal numbers what tastes good to you!

Since every coffee is a little different. Some coffees taste better if they're slightly over-extracted, others, with a slight under-extraction. When you are making milk drinks,
especially large ones, a slight over-extraction will really bring out the taste in the coffee.

The key thing to look for is the "Rats Tails" coming out of the portafilter. You know you are "In the zone" when you see that. I wouldn't bother using a bottomless
portafilter until you are making some great tasting drinks. Then you can play around a bit later. :)

Another bit of advice when it comes to dialing in:

  1. First, adjust your grinder somewhere where you "think" it might be good and start with a median dose to start, something around 15-ish grams. Make a note of the extraction time and output.
  2. You can generally tell by your extraction wether or not it is going to be nasty. Do you get a gusher, a dripper or the rats tails?
  3. If you get a dripper even with a low 13 gram dosage, this is good.. Do a major tweak on the grind setting and use a coarser grind.
  4. If you get a gusher even with a high 19 gram dosage, this sucks, do a major tweak on the grind setting and use a finer grind.
  5. If you are "Kinda Sorta" there and are getting 10-15 second extractions or 30-35 second extractions, adjust dosage until you get to where you want to be.
  6. After that, lets say that you are getting 17.6 grams in, 31 grams out on 25 seconds, do SMALL grinder adjustments if your final desired dosage is to be lower or higher.
  7. TASTE TASTE TASTE!!!!! Even if the numbers are good and the coffee tastes sour, extract more. If the coffee tastes burnt, extract less!
  8. Don't adjust temperature unless someone recommends it for a particular blend of coffee. 200 F is good for most coffees.

I cannot stress enough, every coffee is different... What works for one coffee may be totally wrong for another!

 
Garbage In, Garbage Out, for every step of the process. From Beans to grinder, grounds to machine, coffee to cup.
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