Ron walked through the door with two big boxes last night. My Bezerra BZ02A and assorted espresso toys that my brother Jonathan shipped to me from California, finally arrived. My SM Rocky, which also stopped over at my brother's house in LA, has not yet made it. Jonathan sent the bills, and, unfortunately, the Bezerra instruction manual, separately, too. It won't be espresso time here until everything arrives. I'm also eagerly awaiting a big bag of Donkey Blend. I figure that I will be practising like mad, once everything is here, and starting with SM's great decaf espresso blend might let me do this without launching myself into outer space on a caffeine high. There is only one decent espresso shop in town, and I have spent some time at the chief barista's feet learning as much as I could about tamping and various other espresso related things. He sent me home with a little bag of ground coffee to help me dial in the Rocky. I blogged the new arrival http://taming.motime.com)--witha picture. I really struggled as I decided what espresso maker to buy. I had a budget to keep in mind, and ultimately it came down to a Sylvia, which I know I would have then spent some extra $$ to trick out with a PID, or the Bezerra. I got a good deal on the Bezzera, so the money ended up being about the same. I think I made the right decision, though only time will tell. On various places on the net, folk say that my machine is a reduced chrome version of the Livia 90 semi-automatic. I'm not sure that is true, but it should be a very good entry level hx machine, and at about 50% of the cost of a Livia, it seemed like the right machine for me. Vicki
What a beautiful Coffee Station - I like your machine! Brett On 2/6/07, Vicki Smith wrote: <Snip> -- Cheers, Bretthttp://homeroast.freeservers.com
Thanks, Brett. I'm not sure that the espresso machine will stay there. My brewed coffee shtuff is all downstairs, in a small kitchenette off our family room, where we spend most of our free time. If I can make room there, the Bezerra may move there. I really need the counter space in the upstairs kitchen. With espresso upstairs, and coffee downstairs, I would probably keep my old coffee grinder (a solis maestro). If I find that the Rocky makes a noticeable improvement in my coffee, I will want all my gear on one floor. vicki Brett Mason wrote: <Snip>
With my Cory grinder down, the family is using Rocky for both espresso and drip. They made drip in my Clarity with Rocky set to 12. Son (16) didn't realize 40 is a better number for drip. Chewy, but still fresh and tasty! I made another drip pot, right, and mixed the two for a big-mouthed morning cup. Our coffee is on the midle floor - the den downstairs is by the little kids' rooms, so no kitchenette. Oh, why are there food and crumbs downstairs if there's no kitchen? Alas, boys...... Brett On 2/6/07, Vicki Smith wrote: <Snip> -- Cheers, Bretthttp://homeroast.freeservers.com
Hi Vicki- Just got my Rocky doserless last week--you'll love it. I too want to get an espresso set-up this year, but my sights keep shifting. What criteria did you use in order to settle on the Bezerra? My sister bought a top-of-the-line double-boiler set up a couple of years ago (this was back before I had a clue about coffee) and she hated it. Said it was too much work, inconsistent, a pain to clean, etc. So, she gave it away and bought a super auto, which she loves and uses all the time. So, I think to myself, is ease of use a good thing or do I shoot for something a bit more complicated but able to deliver an incredible shot? Would I know the difference? Would I get sick of fiddling with it and not use it as much? Why would I want a super- auto with a grinder when I just bought a SM Rocky grinder? These and many other questions have me wondering which direction to head in. Right now, I know I can't afford a double boiler set up. I don't need a built in grinder, but would like something that would give me some degree of consistency in my shots. I will be using it for both straight espresso and milk drinks. I'm not all that bright so a highly technical machine might not be the best fit. I guess what I'm asking is what were your top criteria when making your decision? And, how did you go about gathering the info? I try to take all the great tips/advice on this list and make use of all the experience out there, but I'm still feeling a bit conflicted (about the machine, and nothing else)! Rich M On Feb 6, 2007, at 9:07 AM, Vicki Smith wrote: <Snip>
Hi Rich, I did a whole lot of reading about various types of machines and the pros and cons associated with each. I also knew that I would have about $1000 US to spend, exclusive of taxes and duty, and that I needed to get both the espresso machine and the grinder for that price. I knew that I was not up for a plumbed in machine--not with my current kitchen setup, and not with the quality of water that comes out of our taps, I also didn't want a combination grinder/machine. If one goes before the other, it's just sad, very sad. I also didn't want to lose both the grinder and the espresso maker if one of them needed to go into the shop for repair. Last fall, I inherited a Silvia, but my son fell in love with it, so it never made the trip to Canada. Thinking I was going to get the Silvia, I spent a long time thinking about temperature control and the whole PID issue with that kind of machine. The $499 for a Silvia and then about $200 for a PID installation, which I couldn't do myself, was doable, but then I felt like I needed to look at other machine in the $700 price range, before I took the plunge. I don't mind--in fact I actually enjoy--the kind of fiddling associated with a semi-automatic. The skill set needed seemed achievable, and I like being able to control various aspects of the process. I also wanted to have enough oomph for steaming milk drinks. I wanted something attractive, but I didn't need to have all stainless steel for it to meet my aesthetic requirements. My kitchen of the future will probably have black appliances, and the Bezzera will look good with them. It would also look good in an all stainless setting, if I end up changing my mind about that. I wanted the machine to have a solid feel and good components. Although I bought this in the states, there is a shop two hours from here that repairs them, should my machine need something in the future. Parts are easy to get. That too was important to me. The machine has a good reputation, and although there aren't a whole lot of Bezerra users writing about their machines, I also wasn't seeing folks complaining about them. I talked to the barista who is helping me, and he liked the machine. I also wrote about it to a few members of the list, and they thought it was a good solid machine that would suit me well and was capable of making fine espresso. At that price point, a hair under $700, I don't think I could have done better. vicki Rich M wrote: <Snip>
On 2/6/07, Rich M wrote: <Snip> Rich, One clue to the answers to your question might be how much you enjoy fiddling around with the coffee you make now. Do you enjoy experimenting with grind and other variables? If so, I would think there is a pretty good chance that you will enjoy doing similar things with espresso. Brian
Hi Rich, My Rocky Doserless sits on the counter empty. I set the grind for my next brew, and then measure quantity of beans into the hopper. Next I fill the basket or portafilter, process, and brew. Now that I have a quick easurement method nailed down, and rocky settings established, it goes really easy. My espresso machine is semi-auto, so it meters the water according to my adjustments. Maybe that can help. Your results may vary, and you'll need to work to establish your measures, limits, and methods... Brett On 2/6/07, Rich M wrote: <Snip> -- Cheers, Bretthttp://homeroast.freeservers.com
--Apple-Mail-1--784123004 Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit Content-Type: text/plain; charset -ASCII; delsp=yes; format=flowed I do enjoy the tinkering and fine-tuning that goes into the roasting process. However, I do most of that work at my firehouse. When it comes to the actual brewing, which is done at home, I feel like I'd be spending a lot of time in the pursuit of coffee nirvana. Not a bad way to blow some time, granted, but my schedule often doesn't give me that luxury. I guess the bottom line for me is, "does the brew that comes out of a super auto differ greatly in taste from that of other, less automated machines?" Rich M On Feb 6, 2007, at 2:59 PM, Brian Kamnetz wrote: <Snip> --Apple-Mail-1--784123004 Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable Content-Type: text/html; charset O-8859-1 I do enjoy the tinkering and = fine-tuning that goes into the roasting process. However, I do most of = that work at my firehouse. When it comes to the actual brewing, which is = done at home, I feel like I'd be spending a lot of time in the pursuit = of coffee nirvana. Not a bad way to blow some time, granted, but my = schedule often doesn't give me that luxury. I guess the bottom line for = me is, "does the brew that comes out of a super auto differ greatly in = taste from that of other, less automated machines?"
Thanks Brett- So what you're saying is that even the non super-autos can be simplified by sticking to a routine. I totally understand that. I make french press java everyday, and people are amazed that I "go through all that trouble." In reality, it doesn't take much time at all since I have my measurements and timing down to a science. During the downtime, I just fill in with tasks such as taking the dog out, etc. Mind if I ask what type of machine you have? Happy with it? Thanks again for the input. Rich M On Feb 6, 2007, at 3:00 PM, Brett Mason wrote: <Snip>
Rich, Rich M wrote: <Snip> YES. Takes a little time to get the process of pulling shots, that meet your taste, down pat......then it becomes a virtually automatic pleasant ritual. Mike (just plain)
My machine is a 1991 UNIC Diva - HX machine. Has a 6 litre boiler, is plumbed into my espresso station, and is lately having some fits while trying to pump espresso. I am working with a support service to figure out the issue, probably a blown circuit board or a clogged valve... Has a keypad for single dose, double dose, triple dose and manual. There are potentiometers inside to enable the adjustment for how much water. Rotary pump inside. There are other adjusments for pressure and for water temperature too. There's a hot water spout and a steam spout. The boiler is football sized (for reference). I bought this used and am getting better about assembly / disassembly. I also have a couple UNIC Phoenix machines in the garage - vibe pump driven. These are project cars - oops - espresso machines. But when I get in the garage, I open the door and take the old 928 for a drive, so the machines are in "future project" mode... Regards, Brett On 2/6/07, Rich M wrote: <Snip> -- Cheers, Bretthttp://homeroast.freeservers.com
And I am happy with it. Working on the "very" part - we'll see once I get past current flaky problem.... Brett On 2/6/07, Brett Mason wrote: <Snip> -- Cheers, Bretthttp://homeroast.freeservers.com
This is a multi-part message in MIME format. Not only that. With the right equipment your shots will be better than = the shots gotten from the automated machines. Your shots will be more = like a stew made from scratch as opposed to a stew you leave all day to = cook in a crock pot.