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Vibiemme Machines - All - Neku /'s Review
Posted: February 4, 2003, 11:53am
review rating: 7.2
feedback: (1) comments | read | write
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.
Arrow Vibiemme Machines - All reviews have been viewed 149,001 times (updated hourly).

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 LeidŲ 7.66

Previous Review  
Ratings and Stats Overall Rating: 9.2
Product Reviewed: Vibiemme Domobar
Manufacturer: Vibiemme Quality: 10
Average Price: Varies Usability: 9
Price Paid: $620.00 Cost vs. Value 9
Where Bought: www.eembergen.nl Aesthetics 9
Owned for: 1 year Overall 9
Writer's Expertise: I love coffee Would Buy Again: Yes
Similar Items Owned: none
Bottom Line: Fabulous and beautiful machine, with the tried and tested E 61 gruppa.
Positive Product Points

One big plus for the Vibiemme is the retro design. It has the classic E61 grouphead, and it is one powerfull beast. It has a weight under the water tank to prevent you from wrecking the pump when you forget to fill the reservoir.

Negative Product Points

It's a bit of a hassle to fill the water tank, but no biggie. A more serious concern: it's an unforgiving machine (see further in this review).

Detailed Commentary

The Vibiemme Domobar is available in two versions: one with a single boiler, and a more expensive one (the "Domobar Super")with a heat exchanger that can also be plumbed in.  

Itís operated by a lever that has three positions: up, middle and down. The middle position doesnít do anything.

The Vibiemme has an E61 grouphead, and I think the praise of the E61 has been sung enough elsewhere on this site not to have sing it again. Do a search for ďE61Ē, read, be convinced. No complaints. I believe the high E61 grouphead is pre-infusion, which causes the eight seconds or so delay before the pour starts, but Iím not techie and I could be mistaken about this.

Positive Points Elaborated

One big plus for the Vibiemme is the retro-ish design. Itís what first attracted me to it. And itís not a Francis!Francis! sort of design: this machine is entirely functional. You have your pressure gauge, your lever, a steam/hot water wand and two buttons (hot water and steam) to make the steam wand deliver the correct goods. Form follows function here.

This machine is one powerfull beast! Coming from a Krups toy that used Nespresso pods, I was impressed with its ability to deliver me some 10 bar on the grounds.

The water tank rests on a sort of scale, so that it pump shuts itself off when thereís not enough water available. Chances of you ruining your pump and your machine through negligence are almost zero. Which, for me, is a big plus.

Negative points elaborated

Negative points are rather few, I believe.

In order to fill it, you have to lift the cup warmer, fill the reservoir, make sure the tubes are immersed and the tank is full enough. Itís a bit of a hassle, but then, the reservoir is large enough and most other machines operate the same way.

It's a high standard machine, but it does expect your standards to be on the same high level.

If you use old beans, you will need to grind finer to compensate, and you will still taste it in the cup.

You really need a decent grinder. I use a Rocky, but I feel I will fall victim to the Mazzer Mini upgrade fever in a year or so. I had some trouble with my Rocky in the beginning: it wouldn't grind fine enough. That caused my shots to run through too fast (something like 15-20 seconds). The problem is now solved, and the machine performs very admirably.

The machine will be harsh on stale beans (tastewise), but rather forgiving regarding the amount of grinds you use: it doesn't matter if you use a gram or two more or less coffee. Just use the standard espresso SOP and you'll be fine (on one condition: that your grinder is up to the task). This SOP, to be complete, would be:

  1. slightly overfill the PF basket with ground coffee
  2. level the grounds off with the back of your measuring spoon
  3. tamp (the standard Schomer 20 lb. tamp, you know the drill)
  4. sweep any left over grounds off the ridge of the basket (I guess this is to prevent them from sticking to and caramelizing into the gaskets)
  5. pull shot and enjoy

(I realize that this is a 180 degree turn on the review I wrote back when I was still experiencing trouble with my Rocky. I then stated that the VBM is an "unforgiving machine". I was wrong: as long as your grinder is up to the task, it will produce wonderful espresso.)

Buying Experience

I bought it at Van Eembergen (www.eembergen.nl) in Holland, but they donít sell over the internet. I'm not recommending this firm, after they let me down seriously when I experienced problems with my Rancilio Rocky (within first month of purchase!).

Three Month Followup

See updated review.

Previous Review  
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review rating: 7.2
Posted: February 4, 2003, 11:53am
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