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Any espresso machine technicians out there? Or serious nerds?

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SeattleB

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Modding a machine sounds difficult. There is a lot of complex engineering in there plus high pressure steam. A tip o' the hat to those with the skills.

I have a Quick Mill Profiles. It's an e61, PID, double boiler, flow-profiling machine. Love it.
 

DentalChef

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Modding a machine sounds difficult. There is a lot of complex engineering in there plus high pressure steam. A tip o' the hat to those with the skills.

I have a Quick Mill Profiles. It's an e61, PID, double boiler, flow-profiling machine. Love it.
Quick mill make some cracking stuff. Definitely sounds like a machine for life, it doesn’t get much too better than that.
 

SeattleB

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It makes great espresso. I don't know if I'll have it for life, but I owned my last e61 machine for 15 years and then I recently sold it to a guy who is happily using it. I love how these machines last. People think high quality espresso machines are expensive. I think they're a very good deal compared to buying coffee at a cafe. The math makes it a no-brainer decision, especially with everyone at home during this crazy virus pandemic.
 

WPerry

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It makes great espresso. I don't know if I'll have it for life, but I owned my last e61 machine for 15 years and then I recently sold it to a guy who is happily using it. I love how these machines last. People think high quality espresso machines are expensive. I think they're a very good deal compared to buying coffee at a cafe. The math makes it a no-brainer decision, especially with everyone at home during this crazy virus pandemic.
I use that math all the time to justify the espresso machine and grinder. At this point, I've recouped all of my expenses and I'm making money with each latte! :p
 

Luftmensch

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I hope your time on HB pans out. I too have noticed that we have a lot less custom/one-off build threads happening this year. In 2019 and even before, there was a lot of activity there, discussing building machines. The LSM lever group was being used for many different custom builds. I don't know if it's because of CoVID or not, but yeah, this year has been kinda quiet.
I have lurked on several coffee forums in the past to help debug issues and learn. It has been valuable. They seem to be amicable places. I was hoping for more interaction on HB but didnt expect it. A new member asking a niche topic, "what is your favourite colour" type question - and possibly in the wrong sub-forum. I am lucky to have gotten some good-faith replies :)

Good luck and happy wrenching, whichever way you go!
Thank you for the good wishes. I appreciate that!



I just recently sold my home set up though as filter coffee is good enough for me and I want more knives lol.
Ha! Well... I can say I definitely only own one grinder and one coffee machine.... I guess thats why we are talking on KKF!!



People think high quality espresso machines are expensive. I think they're a very good deal compared to buying coffee at a cafe. The math makes it a no-brainer decision, especially with everyone at home during this crazy virus pandemic.
Definitely. I have been lucky enough to work from home - life without my machine would be less enjoyable!
 

MarcelNL

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there are a few threads on HB about home grown machines, I suspect you will get enough input once you have clarified some design parameters. I don;t think it's because you asked the favorite color but more akin to someone stating; I'm new to Japanese Knives, which one do I buy? It's not without reason this forum has the Question and Answer list in place to support that sort of advice.

I honestly do not think there is little response due to you being new, rather that you need to define a bit more what you are after. There is a wealth of information on HB and there are quite a few dedicated tinkerers with the sort of expertise you likely want, to the point where the 'guy behind' WDT started Decent whose DE1 IMO fits your ticket quite perfectly.
If you start a new thread once you have a bit more defined wish list and direction you should get more input.
 

Luftmensch

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😬

I have swung between saturated and E61 for a bit. if I go ahead, due to cost (less money risk) I am likely to do an E61 build. From all the reading I have done, it is not clear to me that the saturated group produces better results in the cup. From serious sounding people on various forums, it seems like temperature stability is less important than consistency. So if an E61 dips a couple of degrees towards the end of the shot... it doesn't matter so long as it does that all the time. You can compensate using other parameters. I might use the GS3 steam boiler though. Endless steaming is attractive.. albeit probably unnecessary.

@MarcelNL ... for a brief second I started thinking about an automatic lever 😎. Silly - it ruins the intimacy of the the lever and being attached to the process... but it might be silly enough to be a crazy sort of fun. It would be fairly easy to do control wise. Essentially attach a linear actuator to the lever arm and control the position/velocity of the actuator to adjust flow rate (repeatably). Doing it well would require more metal fabrication than I am capable of though...
 

MarcelNL

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haha, I have thought about a hydraulic controlled lever....anyhow, you DO know many levers already are automatic....a spring controls the flow rate pretty reliably unless your basket prep or grind are way off ;-)
 

Luftmensch

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haha, I have thought about a hydraulic controlled lever....anyhow, you DO know many levers already are automatic....a spring controls the flow rate pretty reliably unless your basket prep or grind are way off ;-)
Yeah! Definitely! Except springs are not as configurable/precise as a hydraulic piston or linear actuator would be... You could set those up to follow a precise profile, push a button and they'd follow a different one.

The La Marzocco Leva is pretty wild. I am not sure I am a fan of the aesthetic... but I do love how you can see the piston mechanism at work during extraction. Very cool.
 

rockbox

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People get too crazy with the advantage of a double boiler. The second boiler is for milk, so if your not into milk drinks, its a waste. If you are I to milk drinks, you really can't tastes the subtle notes of coffee. I have a Rocket Giotto HX with PiD and La spaziale S1 mini double boiler. I can make great drinks with both.

I may get a Decent someday just to play around with pressure profiling.
 

WildBoar

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^ oversimplification. Some of us like a more 'substantial' drink sometimes than just an espresso, and many of us have other people who live in our houses that have drink requests, plus pre-covid gathers often required pumping out 10-12 espressos and cappas back-to-back. It's nice to be able to keep them rolling versus telling the people standing there giddy with anticipation that they need to keep waiting a bit.
 

rockbox

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^ oversimplification. Some of us like a more 'substantial' drink sometimes than just an espresso, and many of us have other people who live in our houses that have drink requests, plus pre-covid gathers often required pumping out 10-12 espressos and cappas back-to-back. It's nice to be able to keep them rolling versus telling the people standing there giddy with anticipation that they need to keep waiting a bit.
My HX machine is faster than my double boiler.
 

Luftmensch

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People get too crazy with the advantage of a double boiler.
Depends what you mean by crazy... It is a fact that you cant independently vary the steam power and temperature on an HX machine. They are coupled - it is intrinsic to the design. There is zero doubt (in my experience) that HX is a very, very clever and functional compromise. I make great coffee every day in my almost 20-year old HX Giotto.

I have had extensive experience on multiple HX machines, one double boiler E61 and a substantial two-group Nuova Simonelli Aurelia (I think that was the one)... You can make drinkable coffees in all of them. But they offer difference work flows and capabilities. Dual boilers don't necessarily make a better drink but they are better at keeping up with demand. From a purist's point of view... dual boilers are also more temperature stable. They aught to be capable of producing a higher load of consistent coffees.

Australian coffee drinkers are biased towards milk drinks (at any time of day). If you have a group of friends over... you'll be wanting to make lots of flat whites or cappuccinos. You can either do that fast... or you can do that slow!



If you are I to milk drinks, you really can't tastes the subtle notes of coffee.
Milk changes the flavour profile and mouth feel. It is another parameter where you like what you like and there is no right or wrong. While I agree that milk can swamp the subtitles of beans... it doesn't have to eliminate all of them. It all depends on the bean and milk combination.

I like a medium bean and enjoy nutty/caramel/chocolate/salty flavours with milk. I agree that I haven't really experienced the fruitiness of a lighter roast in a milk drink... but then again... I dont like bright/tart/acid with milk either!
 

WPerry

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From a purist's point of view... dual boilers are also more temperature stable. They aught to be capable of producing a higher load of consistent coffees.
This is the primary reason behind my desire to upgrade. Yeah, I can temp surf on my HX, but I don't want to need to do that and it's still not as controllable.
 

rockbox

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This is the primary reason behind my desire to upgrade. Yeah, I can temp surf on my HX, but I don't want to need to do that and it's still not as controllable.


Double boiler machines are not inherently more stable. There is no temperature surfing with my Rocket HX with a PID since Rocket modifies their E61 grouphead to avoid overheating. BTW, with a double boiler, you actually have to do a warming flush if you have a standard E61 grouphead. Since the boiler temperature is not high enough to keep the grouphead warm enough. This is from the Eric's grouphead thermometer manual





There are two (at least for now) double-boiler E-61 machines and three heat exchanger
(hx) machines which require very little flushing. The double boiler machines are the
Alex Duetto and the Vibiemme Double Domobar; the hx machines are the Vibiemme
Domobar Super, and the entire line of Rocket Espresso machines. These two hx
machines are fitted with thermosyphon restrictors (2.80 to 3.00 mm) in the upper tubing
leading from the hx outlet to the group. These restrictors serve two purposes: one is to
slow the thermosyphon flow during normal machine idle conditions and the other is to
redistribute the portions of high temperature water admitted to the E-61 group during a
brew cycle.
[/URL]
 

rockbox

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But real espresso geeks don't talk machines, they talk about grinders. I have a Eureka Mignon Specialists and 5 Mazzer Majors. I will probably pick up a Niche Zero within the next few months.
 

WildBoar

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Well damn, I just saw these thread updates 2 minutes after I brewed an espresso for my wife and she took it downstairs. And i suck at latte art, so I never screw around with anything decorative in our cappas.
 

MarcelNL

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looking good there!

I can't be bothered with latte art, much more than a tiny fern is beyond me ;-)

The Urania has a 5 L boiler, I've never run out of steam or water serving groups (loong ago that WAS common) and once I need to refill it heats up real fast as all of the metal mass holds on to heat quite well.

grinders, YES!
 

rockbox

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looking good there!

I can't be bothered with latte art, much more than a tiny fern is beyond me ;-)

The Urania has a 5 L boiler, I've never run out of steam or water serving groups (loong ago that WAS common) and once I need to refill it heats up real fast as all of the metal mass holds on to heat quite well.

grinders, YES!
5L boiler? How long does that bad boy take to warm up?
 

WildBoar

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eh, I leave mine on 24/7. We use it too much during the day to turn it off. I used to use the timer function to turn it on in the morning, but it really turned into an annoying alarm clock.
 

AFKitchenknivesguy

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Just my opinion, but I think my doubler boiler is more temp stable than my HX. We are all entitled to our own opinion, and none of us (that I know of) are barista's and espresso machine engineers. I have business degrees, so my opinion doesn't mean much, my comments are only experience.
 

Luftmensch

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BTW, with a double boiler, you actually have to do a warming flush if you have a standard E61 grouphead
For sure... I believe even in the old saturated group heads you had to. Albeit for a different reason... In some of the original La Marzocco designs, the brew pathway exited the boiler, travelled on top of the boiler/group and dove back into the shower screen - or something like that? This meant the lines could hold several millilitres of colder water that needed to be flushed out (even though the group was at a stable temperature).


Still! I'd rather do a warming flush than a cooling flush... You can't warm the group to a temperature higher than the brew water! Cooling is more finicky.... the lower limit is more complex. It is a function of the boiler temperature, the flow rate and temperature of water entering the HX and the coil power. In the worst case (lower limit), a cooling flush could bring the group back down to ambient! Of course any machine worth a dime wouldnt be that dysfunctional. Point being... a cooling flush is less predictable!


One thing is for sure... a PID is better than a 'bang-bang' pressurestat (as in many entry/mid HX machines). As noted earlier.. that is fine for steam but rather crude for brew water.
 

MarcelNL

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There are many ways to skin the temp stability cat, brute mass, the good old mercury switch bellows system, a pressurestat, blowing off steam like as in the Faemina works too; they all have drawbacks.

A PID is surely the most advanced method, one drawback is that both the PID regulation may have a hiccup and the SSR's sometimes fail (especially whenn not properly cooled) so you need some additional failsafe measures to avoid a meltdown.
 
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WPerry

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Double boiler machines are not inherently more stable. There is no temperature surfing with my Rocket HX with a PID since Rocket modifies their E61 grouphead to avoid overheating. BTW, with a double boiler, you actually have to do a warming flush if you have a standard E61 grouphead. Since the boiler temperature is not high enough to keep the grouphead warm enough. This is from the Eric's grouphead thermometer manual

[/URL]
Double boilers aren't inherently more stable because a few of the dozens of HX machines on the market have been modified to be more stable than a typical HX? Cool.
 

rockbox

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Double boilers aren't inherently more stable because a few of the dozens of HX machines on the market have been modified to be more stable than a typical HX? Cool.
Read the quote from post. There are only 2 double boiler e61 machines on the market that doesn't require a warming flush.
 

WPerry

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Read the quote from post. There are only 2 double boiler e61 machines on the market that doesn't require a warming flush.
Ah, and because 3 > 2, that means HX means are inherently more stable - got it.
 

Lars

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I have never pulled a shot on any machine without flushing the group first. You guys are freaks.
 
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