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Solis Master 5000 Digital - MYR's Review
Posted: December 14, 2000, 3:27am
review rating: 8.3
feedback: (0) comments | read | write
Solis Master 5000 Digital
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Arrow The Solis Master 5000 Digital has 9 Reviews
Arrow The Solis Master 5000 Digital has been rated 8.13 overall by our member reviewers
Arrow This product has been in our review database since November 30, 2001.
Arrow Solis Master 5000 Digital reviews have been viewed 39,307 times (updated hourly).

Quality Reviews
These are some of the best-written reviews for this product, as judged by our members.
Name Ranking
Myr 8.50
Craig Shields 8.50
MYR 8.33
Alex S 7.33
Michael Douma 4.66

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Ratings and Stats Overall Rating: 6.4
Manufacturer: Solis Quality: 6
Average Price: $850.00 Usability: 10
Price Paid: $0.00 Cost vs. Value 4
Where Bought: Aesthetics 6
Owned for: 1 year Overall 6
Writer's Expertise: Aficionado Would Buy Again: n/a
Similar Items Owned: Not entered
Bottom Line: Buy this machine if you plan to brew exclusively, 5-6 oz. cafe crema, without any regard for the coffee dose size or cup consistency.  Forget espresso
Positive Product Points

Easy clean-up (due to super-automatic design)
Removable brew unit
Very good cafe crema (5oz "regular" coffee)
Nice design (cosmetic)

Negative Product Points

(1) Doser adjustment is a joke--fluctates wildly from min to max.(design problem)
(2) No bypass doser for samples of different test coffees, decaf, etc.
(3) Marginal (at best) espresso shots.  (stick w/ the Rancilio for those)
(4) Quite alot of coffee grounds stick (by static electricity) to the top of the coffee chute in the brew unit, and worsens as more coffees are brewed, unless the top chute of the brew unit is dusted off daily (it‘s made of plastic, which doesn‘t help the static problem).  
(5) First coffee brewed after overnight non-use is often weak and dilute.
(6) Frother attachment is absolutely necessary (but did not ship w/ our unit), as the steam wand nozzle is far too large in diameter to be useful for anything but hot water.

Detailed Commentary

Cost: $1025.00
Major problem with this machine: doser mechanism fluctuates wildly from 6.0 to 9.0 grams; every cup is a surprise.  Wait for this problem to be fixed before buying.  Aside from that, easy to use and easy to clean are this machine‘s best features, along with very good cafe crema--the 5-6 oz pressure-extracted "regular" coffee.  But if a good, consistent espresso shot is your goal, I would not recommend this machine.  None of the espresso shots attempted with this machine were palatable.  Stick with the Rancilio Sylvia for that purpose.  I can‘t attest to any milk steaming features of this machine, by default.  The unit I received was supposed to ship w/ the optional frothing attachment, but none was sent and after a year, still no response.  I just skip the steamed milk completely, by default.  

The lack of bypass doser for pre-ground coffee is a big negative, particularly if one is interested in cupping coffee samples prior to making purchasing decisions.  As-is, 3-4 cups of regular coffee must be "run-through" in order to even begin tasting the new coffee of interest.  

After overnight non-use, the first cup of the day is invariably bad tasting, possibly due to the residual coffee leftover in the grinder, in combination with too low water temperature (due to heat transfer to cold pump lines, etc., for 1st cup of the day).   I usually dump this 1st cup of the day. Spent grounds of this 1st cup are often too water logged, and stick to the top end of the filter press, affecting all subsequent cups.  I rinse off or carefully clean this off before brewing each cup--a major hassle, but necessary if you want a good, consistent cup of coffee.

Use coffees roasted medium-dark, avoiding extremes.  Too light roasts often result in an overly acidic cup, while very dark roasts (are often burned organic matter anyway) produce cups with tons of grit and little flavor.  If the doser worked properly, this problem might be remedied somewhat, but it‘s unclear.  The problem seems to worsen as more cups are brewed:  more grit, less consistent cup, etc.  Stick with medium-dark ("Full City" roast) for best results.    

Grind settings of 10, plus or minus 2, work best for medium-dark roasted coffee.  Any extremes, viz., settings of 2 to 6 (very fine), or 14-16 (coarse) result in overextracted or underextracted cups.  

Buying Experience

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review rating: 8.3
Posted: December 14, 2000, 3:27am
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