If you step up to a plumbed in E61 machine, the Vetrano can take you to the next level of espresso obsession.
Positive Product Points
- Excellent, consistent espresso performance over a range of dose, grind, temperature - Very good steaming concurrent with pulling shots - Plumbed in with quiet powerful rotary pump - Well engineered product with customer support from someone who really understands it
Negative Product Points
- Drip tray could be deeper (come forward more under front of group)
After 10 years with my PID'd Silvia, I wanted to move up and I had to decide between an HX and a double boiler. In this price range cost was not a deciding factor for me. I wanted to try an E61, and I decided that HX was more in the spirit of the E61 design. I liked the idea of being able to control the temperature on the fly and making adjustments from one pull to the next and/or with different coffees. I also decided if I was spending for this kind of upgrade I would plumb-in. Once I was that far down the decision tree, the Vetrano was a no-brainer. It had a rotary motor, great reviews, good service reports, and it was sold by Chris Coffee. I had done business with them before (MACAP 4 grinder), so I was very comfortable with their advice and confident in their after delivery support.
I upgraded to a Sirai thermostat and added an Eric S grouphead thermometer, and they are included in the price above. I also ordered a water softening and filtration system. The only challenging part of the plumbing was drilling through my tile countertop. In fact it was no problem, but I was concerned about cracking the tile. The rest of the plumbing was very easy with the supplied kit and John Guest fittings.
I expected a long learning curve, but since I only changed espresso machine and not coffee or grinder, I was able to dial it in and get decent shots almost immediately. After a month or so experimenting with a coffee I knew well, I realized I could do much more with this machine than I could with the Silvia. It just seems like there is less noise in the system, and less variability of result. I can consistently see the difference in the cup of small changes in dose and small changes in grind. I found different recipes that worked well with a single coffee, and now that has let me branch out and find the best dose/grind/temperature with new coffees that I try. With the Silvia when I found a combination that seemed to work, I had to hold on for dear life and keep that recipe working. With the Vetrano, I can explore the features of different coffees and enjoy the same coffee in different ways.
I don't know how important the thermostat upgrade really is, but the grouphead thermometer is very useful and I would recommend it to anyone purchasing an E61. You definitely get a feel for your machine with time and can adjust the temperature up or down, but the thermometer makes it much easier to get it right the first time.
Chris Coffee folks were very helpful when I was making my decision and in particular, Mary was quite patient in answering my endless questions. The machine arrived promptly as scheduled and in good shape. I had a couple plumbing and installation questions which the service department answered. I had a very minor seepage out of the top of the group and they told me how to snug it up without scratching the chrome. I am very confident in their after sale support.
Three Month Followup
- I've actually had the machine for eight months now - Couldn't be happier with machine or with service from vendor; I wish I'd bought it years ago - Pstat adjustment and pump pressure adjustment are very easy using pointers from Chris Coffee - Grouphead thermometer battery replacement is straight forward (I leave it on 24/7 to avoid switch wear) - Machine is easy to keep clean - Plumbed in is fantastic and my first softener cartridge lasted 7.5 months even with "new toy" over use - A Tee above counter with a valve to machine and a valve toward the sink let me run a temporary line into the sink for draining and flushing during water softener/filter maintenance
One Year Followup
- Still very happy with Vetrano; no upgraditis - Other than gasket, screen, water system filter replacements, no maintenance issues - E61 easy to keep clean - I am glad I did not use drain option for drip tray; capacity is large, it needs regular rinse out and I am right next to my sink