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Vibiemme Machines - All - Ann Phillips's Review
Posted: May 4, 2008, 8:56am
review rating: 7.8
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Vibiemme Machines - All
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Arrow The Vibiemme Machines - All has 20 Reviews
Arrow The Vibiemme Machines - All has been rated 8.94 overall by our member reviewers
Arrow This product has been in our review database since February 3, 2003.
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Quality Reviews
These are some of the best-written reviews for this product, as judged by our members.
Name Ranking
Wilco Bos 9.23
Felix L 8.00
Jill S. 8.00
Ann Phillips 7.75
Mats Leidö 7.66

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Ratings and Stats Overall Rating: 8.0
Product Reviewed: DoubleDomo Super
Manufacturer: Vibiemme Quality: 7
Average Price: Varies Usability: 9
Price Paid: $1,895.00 Cost vs. Value 9
Where Bought: EspressoCare Aesthetics 7
Owned for: 2 weeks Overall 8
Writer's Expertise: I love coffee Would Buy Again: Yes
Similar Items Owned: Anita
Bottom Line: Incredible Performance for a Reasonable Price!
Positive Product Points

HX ease of use and performance with temp control and validation!
Dedicated brew boiler w/o heat exchanger good match for vibe pump
Dedicated steam boiler makes great microfoam
Small footprint
Pourover conveniance
Comes up to operating temp very quickly

Negative Product Points

Inital US shipment has slightly too small steam boiler
Not the most cosmetically appealing product compared to other Italian manufacturers
Lots of vibration noise in case and cover (later machine with new frame may not have this problem)
Limited documentation as of this time

Detailed Commentary

I was one of the first 50 on the GS3 list, but backed out when the price got up to 7K.  4K+ was a lot to pay for an espresso machine for me, but I couldn't swallow 7k.  Now YMMV - and 7K for all the abilties of a GS3 might be ok for you, but I wanted another alternative to seek the following features:

Temp control - I like Asian coffees that like lower temps.  Cooling flushes are too much guesswork for me and a PID answers that need.
Better steaming - After using a commercial machine, I knew that there was more than the steam capability of the small HX machines I'd used.
Pourover - We are a two machine family and while my home machine could plumb in, my machine for out of town cannot because out of town housing is a rental
15 AMP - Again, I can set up a 20 AMP for home - but not for a rental.

So, with that said - yes, I got all those features.  And the smallish steam boiler issue will be addressed by VBM in the US.  As far as the rotary pump model goes, I like the idea - but I'm getting much better performance with the Ulka vibe pump and the dedicated boiler than I did with my HX machine.'s Ulka vibe pump.  

I use a  naked portafilter and make triples exclusively, so I've spent a lot of time over the last couple of weeks watching the underside of the filter basket making shots on the DoubleDomo.  As compared to my HX experience, I've had to fine the grind, be more exacting on my distribution and tamping - but my shots extract just beautifully, nicely and symetrically throughout the filter basket, nice and dark, progressing to striping in the cone, and producing a nice volume ristretto before they go blond.  And the espresso tastes like you'd expect, sweet and full with lots of nice flavors.  Yum!    The PID keeps temp super stable, which is wonderful.

Steaming took a refinement of technique as well.  Even with the about-to-be-upgraded boiler, we get to 77 degrees F very quickly, and then plunge to 140 F with a lot of motion in the milk, with the small volume of milk I make for single drinks.   Not to knock Anita - who certainly was a huge step up from my Saeco Aroma style machine - but steaming on the VBM is awesome!

However, I make tea on it as well - and you can really see that the boiler is teeny when making a mug of tea.  I'm looking forward to the upgrade.

I like the swively steam wand and hot water wand.  The valves have a nice touch - much nicer than Anita, but the steam wand/water wand are not "cool touch" like a lot of other high end machines.  

So what don't I like? - Well I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that in order to get good pricing and get one of the first machines, you pay for field testing to some degree.  My machine cost me 1895.00 - but the retail will be more, I am sure.  My machine suffered some shipping damage which was evident in broken parts, a jammed PID, a loose connection inside and some fit and finish issues.  I've mentioned the boiler issue - which only came up when I tried to steam more than 8 oz of milk at a time.  Also, the documentation is really lacking.  1st line has a really detailed manual online for the other VBM models and between that and all of the info sharing online, I figured out the pretty major difference between the temp the PID displays (boiler) and the temp that comes out of the brew head.  

I mentioned fit and finish before.  I will say that the Quickmill Anita body is is made of a heavier gauge stainless (and is noticeably heavier) and the gauges appear to be a little higher end - or are more cosmetically appealing (the plastic face of my VBM steam gauge comes off easily) The tray and lid fit nicer.  Anita didn't have the vibration issues that the VBM had - lots of rattle noise from the VBM till I went on a sound deadening excursion.    But - I like the VBM's steam nozzle, wand and valves much more.  I like water reservoir in the VBM better - it has a top, which keeps dust out of it unlike the open tank on Anita.  I like the weight operated microswitch as opposed to Anita's magnetic float switch in the tank, for the boiler fill feature.

Buying Experience

Kathleen and Stefano  (Espressocare) - who are THREE THOUSAND MILES AWAY FROM ME - made the whole process really wonderful.  Their customer service is just the best.  Why do I mention the 3000 miles?  Well, I could have ordered from a vendor on the same coast as I am,  in the same time zone, paid less for shipping, etc - but my previous experience with their customer service was disappointing.   I figure with a new machine to the market I'm going to be talking to customer service more than not.   And the folks at Espressocare are really commited to customer service.  Nuf said!!!

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review rating: 7.8
Posted: May 4, 2008, 8:56am
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