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A variety of questions!  (CC1, Vario, BDB, eBay, SCG, etc.!)
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branmuffin17
Senior Member
branmuffin17
Joined: 24 Sep 2013
Posts: 59
Location: Santa Ana, CA
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: La Spaziale Mini Vivaldi II
Grinder: Baratza Vario
Posted Wed Sep 25, 2013, 1:33pm
Subject: A variety of questions!  (CC1, Vario, BDB, eBay, SCG, etc.!)
 

See?  So many topics, I have no clue which forum to put it in!  ...  I apologize in advance, because I also tend to ramble.  I'll try to help things along by putting the biggest questions in bold.

Summary:  Wife and I are ready to bite the bullet.  We're ready to dive into the practice of creating and enjoying quality espresso.  NO MORE STARBUCKS!  That said, we're starting from scratch, and it has been my job to do the research and make the choices...which is weird, because she usually wears the pants.  Um.

Oh, and side note...as newbies, we know that it's going to take a lot of practice and a lot more reading until we're able to pull a "good" shot, let alone an excellent one.  Looking forward to learning!

Very little searching found me at the digital doorstep of Seattle Coffee Gear.  Have been doing a decent amount of reading on this forum, reading reviews of various products, watching Gail's reviews, etc.  Our original budget was in the general $1,000 range, give or take a few hundred.  Since it seemed like such a good deal and reviews have been generally great, I was ready to pull the trigger on the Crossland CC1/Baratza Vario combo...$1000 for the two combined is a great deal, right?  It's like getting the Vario for the price of the Preciso!  However, the Vario is currently out of stock, which has given me more time to research and second-guess myself.

Now I'm torn between the CC1 or going for the Breville Dual Boiler, although there is a big price difference (which sort of makes me cringe).  Normally I'm the one for more free-spending, but in this case, she's really pushing for the BDB.  I know both have the potential for great espresso, but the engineering and feature set on the BDB seem awesome.  If I go for the lower-priced CC1, it sounds like I might have to buy some add-ons that I might not have to for the BDB (e.g. pitcher, better portafilter, better tamper).  If you do respond to my post, I would love your opinion on these two machines.

Which brings me to...choosing a vendor.  On eBay, there are quite a few selling the BDB for about $200 less than standard retail...but I wonder about Breville's warranty, support, etc., when purchasing from there.  Is eBay a pretty big no-no for this type of thing?

Finally, the other accessories I'm looking to purchase include:  thermometer, knock box, bottomless portafilter w/ double basket (if I go CC1), tamper (if I go CC1), frothing pitcher (if I go CC1).  Does this cover the basics, or am I missing something?

And of course, any other comments are welcome and appreciated!  Thank you!!!
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Burner0000
Senior Member


Joined: 28 Jul 2011
Posts: 1,011
Location: Cambridge, Ontario Canada
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Rancilio Silvia, VFA Expres...
Grinder: Macap MX/VFA N1464/Kyocera...
Drip: Manual Drip, French Press
Roaster: Behmor 1600 / Sonofresco
Posted Wed Sep 25, 2013, 1:56pm
Subject: Re: A variety of questions!  (CC1, Vario, BDB, eBay, SCG, etc.!)
 

First of all SCG rocks! :D  IMHO the CC1 is the better bet. Your saving money and getting pretty much the same quality in espresso.  $1000 for the CC1+Vario is indeed a good bundle.  Other than the fact that the BDB is a "DB"  your getting the same bells and whistles in the CC1.  (PID, 3-way valve, good steam power, auto refill etc)  The boiler size on the CC1 is nice and big too for a single boiler so you won't have to worry about temp during your brew.  

As for accessories I think that's the fun part. Finding a cool looking tamper for your setup, the right size frothing pitcher for the amount of milk you will need to steam for the both of you at any given time.  Stick to SCG they are great. :)  You can get it all at once for a reasonable price.  If I didn't live in Canada I'd be buying everything from them.

PS:  I'm not saying anything bad about the BDB but I have been seeing a lot of them popping up used for sale. If you are leaning towards the BDB in the end I'd do a bit of research before pulling the trigger.. I know when they need to be descaled that the need to b sent to the manufacturer which isn't fun..
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CMIN
Senior Member


Joined: 14 Jun 2012
Posts: 1,217
Location: South FL
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Crossland CC1
Grinder: Baratza Preciso
Posted Wed Sep 25, 2013, 2:17pm
Subject: Re: A variety of questions!  (CC1, Vario, BDB, eBay, SCG, etc.!)
 

I know a few BDB owners personally and have nothing bad to say about the machine, some have used it for just over two years now and no probs. However if your budget is tight you'll still need to buy all the doo dads and extra stuff (CC1 comes with a plastic tamper that's actually pretty good and hefty for plastic but about a mm off for a tight fit with the basket imo, most other machines come with junk tampers, BDB comes with a decent one as well). Look up Precision Tamper on Ebay, you can't beat that guy for the money and his tampers spec tolerance is 2nd to none. You'll want the bottomless basket etc. So basically still a bunch of stuff you'd have to get whether you go CC1 or BDB.

Vario/CC1 combo is the best deal around for the money for an awesome entry into espresso, your getting a machine with a full PID interface that includes preinfusion, dwell, shot timer, temp etc, and the separate thermo for steaming. I'd find out when it'll be back in stock, but others carry it as well. ChrisCoffee has both and you can see if they'll price match the SCG deal. And yeh like mentioned above your getting the largest boiler in it's class, Silva is only like 12oz (nevermind overpriced and outdated vs others now), CC1 is 17oz.... that's huge for this class and price range, meaning it's quite temp stable and don't have to worry about Boiler/heater burn out like some others which though rare can happen if not paying attention.

And don't forget fresh roasted beans are a must with espresso (or coffee in general but espresso is way pickier on beans). My fiance was a Starbucks fiend untill I got my setup, now she calls it Charbucks like I do.

Cool thing with the CC1 you can always deal/ask for help with the retailer as well as chat with Bill Crossland himself for any questions etc.
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branmuffin17
Senior Member
branmuffin17
Joined: 24 Sep 2013
Posts: 59
Location: Santa Ana, CA
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: La Spaziale Mini Vivaldi II
Grinder: Baratza Vario
Posted Wed Sep 25, 2013, 5:48pm
Subject: Re: A variety of questions!  (CC1, Vario, BDB, eBay, SCG, etc.!)
 

Hi CMIN and Burner0000,

Thank you very much for the feedback!  Okay, I have an admission to make...I didn't mention that I actually posted a bid for a new BDB last night, and the auction is up tonight.  The price is great, but now I'm sort of hoping that I don't win...I have some minor concerns about the possibility of having to show Breville proof of purchase receipt being from an individual on eBay if something really goes wrong with the machine.

I think it's the bells and whistles that make the BDB a bit more attractive to me...auto turn on in the morning is probably the biggest for me.  I know this has nothing to do with the quality of a shot, but it's hard for me to wake up in the morning, and I've got a 2nd baby on the way!

In terms of coffee, I was planning on getting the Bonsai blend from SCG.

Sounds like I'll have to go with the accessories either way.  Thank you CMIN for the Precision Tamper suggestion, I'll definitely look into that.  Forgot to mention that I'll also be getting a gram scale.  Maybe a small tamping mat would be good too.

It's so neat, hearing that people like Mr. Crossland will field questions himself.  Sounds like he'll stand behind his product 100%!

Burner, do you think the sales on used BDBs might be because the Breville brand is such a layman/consumer standard (not meaning to insult anyone, as I currently fall in this category with essentially 0 experience), and the people buying these aren't often the types that are willing to put in the time and patience this type of machine needs?

Some more questions, more on process than equipment this time...looking for a good middle-of-the-road number with which to start, after which I can tinker.  I'm probably getting ahead of myself, and I'm guessing the machine instructions will have either average settings or instructions...

  1.  General setting for Vario?  I understand freshness of bean, type and oiliness of bean, etc., will all be variable...but just looking for a good place from which to start.
  2.  Weight for double shot:  18-19 grams sound about right?
  3.  Preinfusion:  4 seconds?  60% pressure?
  4.  Temperature:  200-202 degrees?  (I'm essentially at sea level)
  5.  Shot time:  24-25 seconds?

You people are awesome...what a great and helpful community!
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CMIN
Senior Member


Joined: 14 Jun 2012
Posts: 1,217
Location: South FL
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Crossland CC1
Grinder: Baratza Preciso
Posted Wed Sep 25, 2013, 6:12pm
Subject: Re: A variety of questions!  (CC1, Vario, BDB, eBay, SCG, etc.!)
 

Can buy an timer switch for the CC1, or any machine,  to turn them on at a set time.

Grinder settings - you can search but really each grinder is specific, what one uses won't be the same for another. There is a general range though if you search on here or Home-Barista for the Vario. Remember though it's also dose dependent, 14g will be completely different settings then 18g etc. I do 2 second preinfusion and 3-4 second dwell/wait on my CC1, I dose 16g usually but the double basket on the CC1 is larger then avg and can handle 18g easily. I usually keep my temp right around 201. Shot time you can start there and adjust, personally I go timed from 1st drip so after preinfusion and wait, 1st drips start around 7-8 seconds or so so I would stop it around the 30-35 second range on the timer for essentially 25-27 seconds of extraction (depends), some time from when pump turns on which to me just always causes blonding earlier and more of a gusher taste but to each their own (Redbird and quite a few others also give time from 1st drip parameters for their beans).

I wish I got the Vario, couldn't pass up the deal I snagged on the Preciso, and it's a fine grinder, but the Vario has 54mm ceramic flat burrs that flat out kick ass for taste and goes toe to toe with more expensive grinders.
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emradguy
Senior Member
emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 2,741
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 Sep 26, 2013, 8:09am
Subject: Re: A variety of questions!  (CC1, Vario, BDB, eBay, SCG, etc.!)
 

As usual, I agree with both Chris's (CMIN and Burner)...and pretty much echo what they said.

I'd like to especially add a huge second on getting a standard programmable light timer for a CC1, since you said that was the main reason you were about to choose the BDB over the CC1.

It would probably be good for you to step back and look at the standard questions posed in the sticky created by Coffeenoobie...(# and type of drinks you'll make in a session?  in a week?, will you be entertaining? what's your available power supply?, would you be able to plumb the machine?, what's your budget? do you have space constraints?).

In addition to SCG, you should look at www.chriscoffee.com, www.1st-line.com, www.wholelattelove.com, www.sweetmarias.com, and a few others.

I've bought all my scales from www.oldwillknottscales.com  They have good prices and carry a huge variety of styles and brands to choose from.  They seem to focus on customer service as well, although my only experiences have been placing orders and receiving my scales very quickly in perfect condition.  Anyhow, there are certainly other places to get them, including at least most, if not all, of the above retailers for coffee gear.

Since you have a second baby on the way (congratulations, btw) you can expect your coffee consumption to go up, at least a little bit.  We had our second last November and ours went up.  Remember that babies can pretty much sleep through anything.  I've made cappas with the baby sleeping in a stroller less than 10 feet away!

There's a great article you should read on basket prep and other important things...article 12, under how to, on www.espressomyespresso.com - Easy Guide To Better Espresso At Home.

 
.
Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
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branmuffin17
Senior Member
branmuffin17
Joined: 24 Sep 2013
Posts: 59
Location: Santa Ana, CA
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: La Spaziale Mini Vivaldi II
Grinder: Baratza Vario
Posted Fri Sep 27, 2013, 1:56am
Subject: Re: A variety of questions!  (CC1, Vario, BDB, eBay, SCG, etc.!)
 

Crap, I didn't see that sticky by Coffeenoobie...I have now read that post.  Thanks for the further feedback...I checked out all of the additional suggested sites (had been on chriscoffee.com before, but not the others).  Will look to get a scale from oldwillknott...thanks for the referral there!  And that guide was excellent reading!

General answers:

- # drinks:  maybe 30 drinks a week on average, (2 in morning and late afternoon/evening for wife and I), more of course when we have guests (not too often) as friends and family all like coffee...maybe 4-5 drinks at a time during these gatherings.
- kinds of drinks:  wife likes cappuccino, I tend to drink lattes but think I might convert to capps after tasting real espresso.  I do also like the occasional espresso.  We currently use french press for coffee, so likely will be looking at americanos once in a while.
- power supply:  basic 15 amp NA AC power
- plumb the machine (and water quality):  Will be using filtered water from our Samsung fridge...not a direct line.  If we choose BDB, it also has a filter in the tank, but if we go CC1, I'm still thinking that water is probably good enough (?).  Or are we losers because we don't have a reverse osmosis system?
- budget:  personally I had originally been looking at around $1,000-1,200 (CC1/Vario w/ accessories fits this general range, I think).  Since we won't be going to Starbucks after this, wife says if we spend even more, it still justifies the purchase over a period of a couple of years.  So...potentially prepared to spend upwards of, say, $2,000 now...?
- space constraints:  no, we're okay even if we choose the larger BDB.
- new or used:  I say new only because I'm worried about the machines breaking down and would have peace of mind having some kind of warranty coverage, just in case.  I definitely don't have skill in doing more complex repairs.  Overall I'd say I'd be totally open to used, if I knew the product was in great condition...but how would I even verify that unless it comes factory refurbished?  I do see someone in the for sale forum selling a barely used BDB plus accessories for $800...thoughts on that???

Okay, so I didn't push for the eBay bid on the BDB and lost, and it's probably a good thing.  Breville's warranty policy specifically states that proof of purchase from an authorized retailer is necessary.  If I choose the BDB, looks like full retail is the way to go.

And here's the thing...wife has been leaning on me for the BDB in comparison to the CC1, because she likes all of the extra features (extra programming capabilities, dual boiler functionality, huge water tank, less overall maintenance except for professional descaling, pressure gauge, etc.) and (of course) the looks.  I'm feeling a bit guilty because you've all been really helpful spending your time replying to me, and you're all suggesting the CC1...and other things like Crossland being small business compared to a corporate company like Breville.  If we choose the BDB (which is the way it's looking), please don't hold it against me!  =P

Oh, and as an FYI/sidenote, I read up on the BDB user manual, and as a starting point, it did provide average suggestions (e.g. 18 grams for double shot, general temp, general shot time).  What I did find quite different than what I've read from others (and the comment from CMIN about 2 second preinfusion), is that the BDB manual default preinfusion setting is like 10 seconds...how much does preinfusion really change the end product?
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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 Fri Sep 27, 2013, 6:58am
Subject: Re: A variety of questions!  (CC1, Vario, BDB, eBay, SCG, etc.!)
 

+1 on the CC1 in IMO best value in class. The shots are decent and plenty good enough for milk drinks.
+1 on www.chriscoffee.com, www.1st-line.com, www.wholelattelove.com, www.sweetmarieas.com.


For all but the OP: 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.

 
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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CMIN
Senior Member


Joined: 14 Jun 2012
Posts: 1,217
Location: South FL
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Crossland CC1
Grinder: Baratza Preciso
Posted Fri Sep 27, 2013, 8:01am
Subject: Re: A variety of questions!  (CC1, Vario, BDB, eBay, SCG, etc.!)
 

You can add a filter to any machine, Breville just includes one b/c they were odd about descaling and wanted to prolong it as long as possible (you could descale but voided warranty yourself, new model coming out their going to allow descaling at home, no difference just this time won't void warranty). I use filtered water from my fridge and descale 2-3 x a year but I live in South FL where we have hard water. Buddy descaled his BDB and others have, otherwise I don't see how its possible to go a couple years before doing so as the filters only do so much.

Big water tanks don't mean much to me unless your making like 15+ drinks a day lol, just think the large tanks have water sitting in them and after a few days you get that stale/smelly water. I keep mine filled about 3/4 and refill it to that level like every 2 days otherwise the water goes stale, friends do the same on their various machines. Just b/c it has a large tank you wouldn't want to fill it up and then use till it's close to empty and refilling. I remember going in a store just to see what they had and smelled one of the demo machines tanks, ughhh lol, like mildew smell.

Preinfusion doesn't really change taste or anything, more so help to make sure the shot is evenly extracted by letting the puck gently expand under a little water and pressure before hitting it full blast at 9 bars.

If your upping your budget to 2k, that opens you up to a whole new ball game of machines, -500 for the Vario, 1500 can get you a killer h/x but sounds like you may be more comfortable with a PID'd boiler machine which dual boilers as such are all over 2k (except the Breville) . With an h/X you can get Erics Thermometer to see your group water temp since h/X works a little different and you need a cooling flush which varies for each company and temp you want.
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emradguy
Senior Member
emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 2,741
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 Fri Sep 27, 2013, 9:13am
Subject: Re: A variety of questions!  (CC1, Vario, BDB, eBay, SCG, etc.!)
 

I use fridge filtered water too.  My fridge is a KitchenAid, it uses a Pur filter cartridge that just plugs in with a twist.  I tested my tap water and my fridge filtered water using a GH/KH test kit (bought it online from Aquacave).  It showed the fridge filter brings the hardness down into the recommended range for espresso, so I removed the in reservoir filter, which can cause it's own problems too (like preventing adequate low reservoir alarm triggering).  Of course, my machine allows me to do my own descales.  There's a great reading resource called Jim Schulman's Insanely Long Water FAQ.  You should definitely look into getting a similar kit to what I have (ie, don't rely on my test results as your tap water and filter may vary from what I have).  You can find them online or from local pet/aquarium supply shops.

As far as reverse osmosis goes, if you were to use it, you'd have to use a mineral adding "filter" afterwards, so that your machine will function properly to autofill the boiler.

Any machine requires maintenance, including backflushing to some degree, water flushes through the group, shower screen remove and soak, steam wand cleaning, descaling, etc....just like you have to clean you car's engine oil, transmission oil, brake fluid, fuel and air filters, etc.  If you don't take care of the things you own, they don't last as long or function as well as they could, be it a car, a vacuum cleaner, a grill, or an espresso machine.

No one will hate you if you end up buying a BDB, but given you're budget is now up a bit, you should really look into HX machines.  The flush is nothing.  Every machine needs flushing, HX gets a "cooling flush", most DBs get a "warming flush", and all machines get a group cleansing flush between shots.

oh, and don't forget the husband's mantra...happy wife = happy husband LOL!

 
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Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
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