HomeRoast Digest


Topic: espresso machine (180 msgs / 4393 lines)
1) From: Jeff Wikstrom
I've got maybe a slightly crazy question, but has anybody out there ever
attempted to build their own espresso machine?  Successes, failures, ideas?
Thanks

2) From: R.N.Kyle
After reading information on different machines in my price range, and =
hearing some good info from the list, and Mark Price leading me to a =
great buy on the Gusto. and Jim Schulman saying that Krups is =
discontinuing the model. I went for 59.99 and free shipping. James you =
and Jim are probably right about the Gaglia being the better of lower =
priced machines, but the Gusto had good reviews and the savings I can =
put toward a better grinder. Thanks to all
Ron Kyle
Anderson SC
rnkyle mailing listhttp://lists.sweetmarias.com/mailman/listinfo/homeroast

3) From: rick A jackson
I'm getting ready to purchase my first espresso machine. I would like something fully automatic.
Any suggestions on which machine would be a good choice for a first machine would be appreciated.
Rick
Get advanced SPAM filtering on Webmail or POP Mail ... Get Lycos Mail!http://login.mail.lycos.com/r/referral?aid'005

4) From: John Abbott
Fully Automatic = Solis Master 5000    Does everything except predict 
the winner in the next election (which seems to be a divine effort 
lately).   I bought mine from Tom about 2 years ago and have loved 
everything about it.
 .  http://www.sweetmarias.com/prod.solis-espresso.shtml     Scroll to 
the middle of the page.
rick A jackson wrote:
<Snip>

5) From: Julian Manders
I second the motion for purchasing the Solis Master 5000.  I've had mine for
about 2 months and love it.  Fully automatic: grinds, tamps, and dispenses
coffee with one button.  Daily maintenance is empty the spent grounds bin,
add more water, and maybe rinse out the spill tray.  Weekly maintenance is
remove a few parts and clean them.  Very versatile: it will dispense
anywhere from 1 - 9 oz coffee and will do double shots.  There's
approximately one minute delay between turning on the power switch and it
being ready to make the first cup.
The only part I find a little tedious is going into steam mode and back.
The steamer doubles as a hot water dispenser, so one must press a button to
superheat the water, wait 50 sec, purge water so that steam comes out.
Froth milk, then turn off steam mode, purge steam for 15 sec until water
comes out.
Overall, I am very pleased and almost look forward to morning so that I can
have it make coffee for me!  I also like how the coffee bean bin holds an
entire roasting batch from my Hottop.
Julian
<Snip>
something fully automatic.
<Snip>
machine would be appreciated.
<Snip>

6) From: Derek and Pat Savanella D.B.A. Heavenly Beans
Rick,
If you can wait a few days I'll let you know how the new Solis Palazzo works
out. Mine should arrive tomorrow or Tuesday.
Derek

7) From: Harry Hemstreet
<Snip>
something fully automatic.
Any suggestions on which machine would be a good choice for a first machine
would be appreciated.<
Rick,
I would second John's advice re the Solis Master 5000. Reasonable cost for a
very functional automatic machine. I've had mine since March 2003 and have
used it daily without a problem.
No fuss, and great espresso.
Harry

8) From: William Young II

This is probably a stupid question. But has any of you ever thought of making a espresso machine that has all the options on it? I know the cost of making one would be outrages but it was just a thought.

Will


Learn how to choose, serve, and enjoy wine at Wine @ MSN.

9) From: John Abbott
Will,
What would you consider "all the options" to include?   Cost for a home 
mechanic isn't the pacing factor, understanding the process completely 
might be.
William Young II wrote:
<Snip>

10) From: William Young II

True, Options meaning the thing you would want like, more or less water, piston or vane pump, electric or hand?

I know that I've opened myself up here to everything.

Will

>From: John Abbott >Reply-To: homeroast >To: homeroast >Subject: Re: +Espresso Machine >Date: Sun, 11 Jan 2004 11:17:22 -0600 > >Will, >What would you consider "all the options" to include?   Cost for a >home mechanic isn't the pacing factor, understanding the process >completely might be. > >William Young II wrote: > >>This is probably a stupid question. But has any of you ever thought >>of making a espresso machine that has all the options on it? I know >>the cost of making one would be outrages but it was just a thought. >> >>Will >> >> >>------------------------------------------------------------------------ >>Learn how to choose, serve, and enjoy wine at Wine @ MSN. >> >> homeroast mailing >>listhttp://lists.sweetmarias.com/mailman/listinfo/homeroastTo >>change your personal list settings, see >>http://www.sweetmarias.com/maillistinfo.html > > >homeroast mailing list >http://lists.sweetmarias.com/mailman/listinfo/homeroast >To change your personal list settings, see >http://www.sweetmarias.com/maillistinfo.html
There are now three new levels of MSN Hotmail Extra Storage! Learn more.

11) From: Gene Smith
Seems like the question that comes up in all areas of design: Why can't
'they' design a that does everything I want it to do.  The realm of
small boat design provides a concrete example.  What people want is a boat
that will perform well under oars, under sail, and with outboard power.  But
there are conflicting design requirements...so, you can have any combination
of two fromt the above list...but not all three.
An area of compromise in espresso machine design that may not be immediately
obvious is a requirement for simplicity.  There are those (myself included)
who greatly value a non-complicated design.  I don't think you will ever be
able to have one of the 'automatic' machines that does everything but kiss
you good morning able to make a claim to simplicity.
Still, it's an interesting question...  Having found several examples of
custom-made espresso machines on the internet - mostly in Europe - I
wonder...where does one go for the bits and pieces to build a machine from
scratch?
Gene Smith
riding the wild learning curve in Houston
<Snip>http://www.sweetmarias.com/maillistinfo.html<Snip>

12) From: Dan Bollinger
<Snip>
Three words for you.  Economy of Scale. You could build your dream machine from
scratch, but it will cost you 2 to 3 times as much.  What I did is much cheaper.
I got a damaged IM on ebay and then began modifying it.
Even if I'd bought an IM at full price I'd still be dollars ahead. High end
prosumer machines share many of the same components as commercial espresso
machines. Plus, they have open architecture making modification easy.
And, you forget the most obvious solution, buying a used commercial machine.
To me, there is no good reason to build your own unless you are going for some
outrageous aesthetic or are designing new espresso technology. And even so,
you'd be better off buying an espresso machine and scavenging it for parts
rather than buying repair parts off the shelf.
Dan

13) From: DJ Garcia
Hey Dan, by "open architecture" in pro-sumer espresso machines, do you
mean you can "open" it up and rip it's guts out? :-)
DJ
Who likes Open Architectures in software and hardware and about to sip a
mighty fine Kona Kowali cappuccino (Extra Fancy of course) ...

14) From: Dan Bollinger
Yes!  The parts are discrete and there is room to add new goodies. Standard
plumbing fittings help, too.  For instance, you can keep an item, or replace it
with industrial/commercial versions.
<Snip>http://www.sweetmarias.com/maillistinfo.html

15) From: Tom Starustka
I would like some feedback from the group for a beginner espresso machine.
I have been roasting my own beans now for a couple of years and throroughly
enjoy the coffee produced.  It's time to branch out.  Any suggestions?
Thanks,
Tom S

16) From: John Blumel
On Oct 31, 2004, at 6:08pm, Tom Starustka wrote:
<Snip>
I think that depends entirely on how much you are willing to spend and 
whether you already have an espresso suitable grinder or not. If you 
have to buy a grinder too, that will cut into your budget, unless you 
buy a superauto, in which case the grinder is built in. You should also 
take into account how vulnerable you are to upgrade fever.
I'd recommend checking out the consumer reviews on CoffeeGeek as a 
start to get an idea of what's out there in various price ranges.
John Blumel

17) From: Ron_L
On Sun, 31 Oct 2004 17:08:42 -0600, Tom Starustka
 wrote:
<Snip>
Hi Tom...  Can you please answer a couple of questions that will help
the group make recommendations?
1.  How much of your money do we get to spend? 
2.  Do you have a good grinder, or will you be buying one?
3.  How will you be using the machine (straight espresso, americanos,
milk drinks)
4.  How much do you like to tinker (i.e., would you prefer the
simplicity of a super auto, or are you willing to play around with a
machine like a Silvia or one of the Gaggias...
...ron

18) From: Edward Spiegel
At 5:08 PM -0600 10/31/04, Tom Starustka wrote:
<Snip>
Hi Tom,
What is the most that you are willing too spend? There are some machines in the $200 range that make very good espresso, but if you can spend even more you can get significantly better machines that will keep you happy for many many years. I have found that the Gaggia entry-level pump machines make very nice espresso and will last many years BUT if you can afford to spend more, you will probably find the expense well worth it in the long run.
As others have mentioned, what kind of grinder you have is as important as the espresso machine. The only under $100 grinder that people seem to agree is worth its salt is the Zass hand grinder. An electric grinder suitable for espresso will run at least $200 as well if you want one that will last (the Gaggia MDF and the Rancilio Rocky are probably the least expensive grinders that will give many many years of service as espresso grinders).
Best,
Edward

19) From: Pecan Jim Gundlach
Tom,
      This is a difficult question.  Before I'd answer, I'd like to know 
what kind of grinder you have.  Think of the espresso machine as an 
accessory to the grinder.
          Jim Gundlach
On Oct 31, 2004, at 5:08 PM, Tom Starustka wrote:
<Snip>

20) From: Les
RIGHT ON PECAN JIM!!!
Les
On Sun, 31 Oct 2004 17:41:17 -0600, Pecan Jim Gundlach
 wrote:
<Snip>

21) From: Ben Treichel
Tom Starustka wrote:
<Snip>
When I got started I had a Rocky & a krups Gusto. You can make a cheap 
pump machine do a reasonable job with a good grinder, but a bad grinder 
and a good machine is just a waste. IMHO, better machines make it easier 
to get consistent results; not nesesarily better.
P.S. Rocky, Zass, and two Faema Compacts now. (the Rockys still around)

22) From: HckneyElec
i am another newbie  larry
i have ordered the following equipment
bodum bistro french press
solis maestro plus grinder
presto poplite popcorn popper
hearthware i roast
and for espresso i found a used machine (10-15 years old) by krups for  
$132.50 on ebay
it is type 966 and supposedly a commercial quality product that they only  
built for a while
i am not sure if i can mention this legally on the site so please tell me  if 
i am screwing up
the ebay item number is available if i can post it on email to anybody  
interested just let me know
anyway
i also have ordered an assortment of beans from sweetr maries including the  
8pack variety
please let me know if i am on the right track with this equipment for good  
coffee and espresso
if i screwed up i need to know now
i am studying and listening so as to be ready to attempt a roast when  
equipment arrivesw this week
the roasting is what scares me the most
thanks in advance for any comments on my equipment purchased
larry

23) From: Les
Larry,
Welcome to the group!  First off why two roasters?  If it were me,
here is what I would do.  Return the Solis Maesto Plus and the I-Roast
and buy a Rocky.  Assuming the Krups is in good working over, give it
a real good cleaning before using it.  Everything else you have will
get you well down the road to espresso maddness!  The I-roast is a
good machine from what I have seen, but you can get good roasts from a
regular popper.  Check the archives.  The Solis will last about 6
months doing espresso.  The Rocky will give you years of service.
Les
On Sun, 31 Oct 2004 23:33:00 EST, hckneyelec  wrote:
<Snip>

24) From: HckneyElec
les
what is a rocky?
larry

25) From: HckneyElec
les
also
what is the proper way to clean a machine
any links i can go to?
thanks
for the info
i got the solis maestro because i heard so much about the need for a good  
grind for espresso and espresso is my main intent
if i can get by cheaper i prefer that but just want to have the right  
equipment
i got it at sweet maries and do not know how they feel about returns?
larry

26) From: Les
You can check out the Rocky on Tom's website athttp://www.sweetmarias.com/prod.electricmills.shtmlIt is the best grinder under $300.00 and for the price you paid for
the Solis and I roast you should have enough to buy one.  Personally I
like the Mazzer, but too many people I respect on this list have Rocky
grinders and are more than satisifed.
Cleaning begins with getting some caffex and running it through the
machine.  With luck your machine will come with instructions.  Some of
the Krups owners can give you more help than I can.
Les
On Mon, 1 Nov 2004 00:08:44 EST, hckneyelec  wrote:
<Snip>

27) From: miKe mcKoffee
I agree with Les. Since you're planning to use your grinder for espresso
(and other brewing methods), the Solis will not last long. It'll still grind
after 6 months or so yes, but the burrs will be worn and hence the grind
uneven with every increasing dust. This is what happened to mine and others
on the List had the same experience. The Maestro is a decent grinder for
coarser grinding, but it's burr carrier is too loose for fine grinding which
allows the upper & lower burrs to periodically touch and dull.
Kona Konnaisseur miKe mcKoffee
URL to Rosto mods, FrankenFormer, some recipes etc.http://mdmint.home.comcast.net/coffee/Rosto_mod.htm

28) From: HckneyElec
mike and les
thanks so much for the feedaback
i intend to return the solis maestro and possibly the iroast (still  
undecided about the iroast as i have never roasted and don't know that i am  capable 
of going straight to popcorn popper and then to the hgdb method.  i  am a 
contractor so i do have a heat gun and the pictorial onsweetmarie's should  help 
greatly if i get a good thermometer and amaybe a variac.)
again thanks and i am very anxious to get started
the krups i bought does not come with a manual so i still don't know how to  
clean it when it arrives  any help appreciated
i know us newbies must be a pain to you guys with 20 years of experience  and 
am even hesitant to send emails since i feel so ignorant but i do want and  
need your input and experience.
i don;t intend to make a career of this(though my personality drives me  into 
frantic episodes of whatever my new habit may be at the time, typical i  
assume to the most of you) but i do want to maximize the experience for my  effort 
and money
i like espresso/capp and my wife suzie likes coffee and latte
so i need to be able to do it all basically
thanks again and if you can help me let me know
larry

29) From: Ron_L
On Mon, 1 Nov 2004 08:40:31 EST, hckneyelec  wrote:
<Snip>
Welcome, Larry...  I've never used an i-Roast, but it sounds like a
nice roaster with lots of flexibility.  Don't be concerned about
starting with a popper right out of the chute. There are a lot of
different tricks and mods that people use with their poppers, but, in
most cases, you can get a very nice roast from an um-modded popper.  I
use two West Bend Popperys (the original) and they both roast just
fine without any changes.  Poppers do vary, so yours may not be the
same, but its worth a try.  I did open the bottom of my Popperys to
re-wire the main switch to control only the heater so I have more
control, but that's not really necessary.
Also, HG/DB is very easy to get started as well.  Your first couple of
roasts probably won't be as good as you'll be producing after some
practice, but they'll still be good roasts.  One recomendation that
you'll see on this list as well as on the other coffee-related web
sites is to take a batch of beans all the way to charcoal.  Pick some
inexpensive beans so you won't feel like you are wasting money, and
then roast them until they're black.  In doing this, you will be able
to see all of the roast stages.  Pay attention to the color of the
beans, the amount and smell of the smoke and the sounds of the cracks.
 You should be able to tell by color and smoke when the beans are
getting close to first crack.  First crack is typically fairly loud
and sounds like toothpicks snapping.  You can also tell when you are
getting close to second crack (more smoke and a different smell along
with bean color) with some experience.  Second crack is not as loud,
and sounds more like rice krispies.
Most of all, have fun!
...ron

30) From: HckneyElec
thanks ron
all input from you people is absorbed and appreciated
i am anxious to get started
larry

31) From: Brett Mason
1. 4oz of beans into popper
2. turn it on
3. watch it until it is French Roast (Black Shiny)
4. turn off
5. Pour the beans into a collander and stir with a wooden spoon to cool
Next Batch - 60 seconds less time.
You're now an expert!
Just like the rest of us.
Except Tom travels further!
Regards all,
Brett Mason
On Mon, 1 Nov 2004 09:23:19 EST, hckneyelec  wrote:
<Snip>
-- 
Regards,
Brett Mason
 HomeRoast
      __]_
   _(( )_  Please don't spill the coffee!

32) From: Ben Treichel
HckneyElec wrote:
<Snip>
Look herehttp://www.homeroaster.com/geekmod.htmland the rest of Ed's site.
Ben

33) From: HckneyElec
ben
thanks for the web site
if i still have questions on popcorn machines and using them for roasters  
after studying this article i am hopeless
thanks again  very very helpful
larry

34) From: Ben Treichel
HckneyElec wrote:
<Snip>
Thank you. I always figured a little understanding is a powerful tool.
Ben

35) From: Edward Spiegel
Hi,
You might find a page that I created helpful. It covers 'getting 
calibrated' with a new popper and some tips about controlling roasts 
with unmodified poppers. It can be found at:http://www.edwardspiegel.org/coffee/poppertips.phpBest,
Edward
At 10:59 AM -0500 11/01/04, HckneyElec wrote:
<Snip>

36) From: HckneyElec
edward
thanks for the website
you guys are all amazing sources of information
thanks again and i will keep you updated once i get my equipment and beans  
and try roasting
larry

37) From: Les
We were all newbies at one time.  I started before there were helps
like we have here!  Hey, if I can do it anyone can!
Les
On Mon, 1 Nov 2004 08:40:31 EST, hckneyelec  wrote:
<Snip>

38) From: HckneyElec
les
the krups espresso machine showed up today
looks in good order but i have not tried to clean or operate it
still aint got no beans or grinder?
anyway don't know what to do with the thing
the folks i bought it from told me to call them for a walk through but does  
no good wout coffee
as far a s cleaning---should i run a dry run or run a shot or two through  
with regular folgers or what?
how do you suggest i clean it and how thoroughly should i  dissassemble
thanks again
larry

39) From: Ben Treichel
HckneyElec wrote:
<Snip>
Get whole bean from the store, grind it to espresso and then practice. 
You won't want to waste your roasts.

40) From: HckneyElec
i got in a bodum electric vacuum coffee maker today
the video says to use medium grind and says to use one of their "scoops"  for 
a cup of coffee
problem is there isn't a scoop with it
anybody know how much coffee to use per cup?
also what grind should i use and if there is a preference as far as type of  
coffee and type of roast that would be of interest to me
i finally have got my fiance suzie thinking positively about this new  
adventure i am beginning here and she truly loves a good cup of coffee so i  think 
it important that i at least am able to impress here a little with this  simple 
little new gadget as the investments in both time, money and counterspace  
are accumulating
thanks
larry

41) From: Ben Treichel
HckneyElec wrote:
<Snip>
Welcome to the club!!
<Snip>
use 7 grams (1/4 oz) per 4 to 5 oz of water.

42) From: miKe mcKoffee
Have both 25oz & 50oz Bodum eVacs. I use similar water to grind ratio, 8gr
per 5oz. 40gr for full 25oz eVac, 80gr for full 50oz eVac. BTW, do a half
dozen empty cycles, all with cold water, and time them. Time from when all
the water is up North to when heater shuts off.  One of the "hits" on the
Bodum eVac can be short up North infusion time. Both mine were something
like 90sec. average. I put 1/4" self stick feet on the back to decrease
heater plate angle which increases up North time. (heater automatically
shuts off when plate about 1/3 dry) Now they're a bit over 2min. I use a
relatively fine grind, finer than normal drip, but much coarser than
espresso. 21 on my Rocky which has zero of -1. (Which is somewhat
meaningless unless you have a Rocky...)
Have fun and enjoy the journey!
Kona Konnaisseur miKe mcKoffee
URL to Rosto mods, FrankenFormer, some recipes etc.http://mdmint.home.comcast.net/coffee/Rosto_mod.htm

43) From: Les
Larry,
Did it come with the instructions?  Any Krups owners out there that
can give Larry a hand!  Never run it without water in the tank.  I
would fill it up with water and pull some blank shots.  You said you
want to do cappos, play with the steam wand.  How does it look?  Did
they send it nice and clean?  I like Tom's idea of getting a can of
Illy to learn from.  It will do two things for you. (1) You will get
an idea of how fine the grind needs to be and (2) you will realize how
great homeroast tastes!
Les
On Mon, 1 Nov 2004 20:46:23 EST, hckneyelec  wrote:
<Snip>

44) From: HckneyElec
LES
NO INSTRUCTIONS CAME WITH THE UNIT
THE PEOPLE I BOUGHT IT FROM SAY IT DOES REAL GOOD ON CREMA
THEY SAY IF I CALL THEM THEY WILL WALK ME THROUGH WHAT THEY KNOW, WHICH  
SEEMS CONSIDERABLE
THE UNIT IS CLEAN AND GASKET LOOKS GOOD
PLASTIC WATER RESERVOIR
VERY HEAVY MACHINE
I PLAN TO RUN SOME STOREBOUGHT THROUGH IT  THERE IS A COFFEE SHOP HERE  IN 
TOWN WHERE I CAN GET FRESH GROUND
THANKS FOR THE ADVICE AND HELP
LARRY

45) From: Les
Let the adventure begin!  Take them up on the walk through offer.
Les
On Tue, 2 Nov 2004 02:16:40 EST, hckneyelec  wrote:
<Snip>

46) From: Mike Chester
This is a multi-part message in MIME format.
Does anyone have any experience or opinion on the Solis SL-90?  I have a =
line on a refirb. one for a reasonable price.  I took everyone's advice =
and got a good grinder first.  My MDF is arriving tomorrow.  Other =
machines I am considering are the Sylvia (I can't seem to find refirbs. =
of them.  People must not return them) and the Gaggia Classic.  I blew a =
chance at a Sylvia last night on eBay.  There was a used Sylvia, Rocky, =
and base unit combo listed.  They had spelled Rancilio wrong and put it =
in an obscure category so it did not show up on a search. The only way I =
came across it was by a typing error.  Anyway, I watched it for 4 days =
and there weren't many bids.  Last night it ended.  I submitted what =
would have been the winning bid, but somehow the bid did not go through =
and it sold to someone else for $330.  I am consoling myself by the =
thought that it was used and may have been in rough condition, but I =
don't know that.  
Another Mike

47) From: mIke mcKoffee
WOW! A Silvia & Rocky combo sold for only $330?! Really sorry you didn't get
the score. That's a steal. Used and even if in rough condition that's a
steal. Gasket & screen for silvia, burr set for Rocky and back to like new
for less than $100
Personally I'd stay away for the SL-90 for a couple reasons. Lots of plastic
and non-standard size (and type) PF. IIRC Pecan Jim had a SL-90 before
getting his Silvia. Night and day in machine quality. 
You're right, I've seldom if ever seen a refurb or customer returned Silvia
for sale. Still seems to be the quality leader at that price point. And
(normally) if upgrade fever hits you they resell for almost retail. I'm
still very happy with my Silvia going on 4 years. Of course, adding PID and
auto-water fill really make her a joy!
miKe mcKoffee
URL to Rosto mods, FrankenFormer, some recipes etc:http://mdmint.home.comcast.net/coffee/Rosto_mod.htmUltimately the quest for Koffee Nirvana is a solitary path. To know I must
first not know. And in knowing know I know not. Each Personal enlightenment
found exploring the many divergent foot steps of Those who have gone before.
www.MDMProperties.net
	From: homeroast-admin
[mailto:homeroast-admin] On Behalf Of Mike Chester
	Sent: Wednesday, November 02, 2005 7:16 AM
		
	Does anyone have any experience or opinion on the Solis SL-90?  I
have a line on a refirb. one for a reasonable price.  I took everyone's
advice and got a good grinder first.  My MDF is arriving tomorrow.  Other
machines I am considering are the Sylvia (I can't seem to find refirbs. of
them.  People must not return them) and the Gaggia Classic.  I blew a chance
at a Sylvia last night on eBay.  There was a used Sylvia, Rocky, and base
unit combo listed.  They had spelled Rancilio wrong and put it in an obscure
category so it did not show up on a search. The only way I came across it
was by a typing error.  Anyway, I watched it for 4 days and there weren't
many bids.  Last night it ended.  I submitted what would have been the
winning bid, but somehow the bid did not go through and it sold to someone
else for $330.  I am consoling myself by the thought that it was used and
may have been in rough condition, but I don't know that.  
	 
	Another Mike

48) From: The Scarlet Wombat
I had an sl-90 for almost two years before I moved up to an Isomac 
Zaffiro.  The SL-90 is a perfectly good machine for what it does.  You will 
get good espresso from it and it has enough steam to make a cappie.  The 
upsides are that it is not terribly expensive and, if you like that 
feature, it has premeasured amounts, six of them, as I recall.  It is easy 
to use and does not take up huge amounts of counter space.
The downsides are that it uses a substandard size portafilter, 53 mm rather 
than 58 mm, it does not use a 3 way solonoid valve and it does tend to 
wander a bit from the best temperatures.
However, I got pretty good espresso from it on a consistant basis, so if 
you can get it for a good price and that is about your limit, go for it.
Dan

49) From:
"have any experience or opinion on the Solis SL-90"
With that caveat stated, yes. My opinion is:
I had a jaded eye looking at the ad copy for the SL-70, and then the SL-90,
but no experience.
My overwhelming past experience with different equipment with a similar
ancestry is that the original design is impressive.
"Let's build a prototype"
"It works. Put it in production!"
The inevitable minor design flaws are ignored and left for the end user to
overcome.
That's my experience- Wanna Play?
Not wanting to be the idiot fall guy in Ray's World, I thought I'd start on
the bottom rung of the Solis ladder. A $0.99 thrift store Maestro grinder-
not a fair piece for evaluation, but good for reverse-engineering the
design.
I got the missing hopper lid and knob from Baratza, but they wanted to sell
me a new motor instead of the blown thermal fuse strapped to the motor's
field winding.
I "repaired" the thermal fuse and the motor ran fine. Good brushes and
commutator.
The bottom line- the soft steel upper burr looked like it had been grinding
rocks. But of the new Maestro Plus and the additional burr set that I
bought, the old ones were best-looking.
Due to the pleasant but useless nature of talking with anybody at Baratza,
my only resource and Solis contact, ALL SOLIS IS OFF MY LIST.
There you have my opinion.
Cheers -RayO, aka Opa!

50) From: Sandy Andina
--Apple-Mail-44-191283109
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	charset-ASCII;
	delsp=yes;
	format=flowed
In the future, look for "Ranchilio," "Rancillio," or "Ransilio."  As  
to the SL-90, Mark Prince had a review of its semi-auto cousin SL-70  
(same machine w/o shot preset buttons). He liked the shot quality  
with the plain unpressurized PF, and the relatively short time  
between brewing and steaming; but did not like the quality of the  
foam with the froth aider and the difficulty of removing it from the  
steam wand.
On Nov 2, 2005, at 9:16 AM, Mike Chester wrote:
<Snip>
Sandy Andina
www.sandyandina.com
--Apple-Mail-44-191283109
Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable
Content-Type: text/html;
	charsetO-8859-1
In the future, look for =
"Ranchilio," "Rancillio," or "Ransilio." As to the SL-90, Mark Prince =
had a review of its semi-auto cousin SL-70 (same machine w/o shot preset =
buttons). He liked the shot quality with the plain unpressurized PF, and =
the relatively short time between brewing and steaming; but did not like =
the quality of the foam with the froth aider and the difficulty of =
removing it from the steam wand.
On Nov 2, 2005, at 9:16 =
AM, Mike Chester wrote:
Does anyone have any experience or opinion on the Solis SL-90?= I have a line on a refirb. one for a reasonable price. I took = everyone's advice and got a good grinder first. My MDF is arriving = tomorrow. Other machines I am considering are the Sylvia (I can't = seem to find refirbs. of them. People must not return them) and the = Gaggia Classic. I blew a chance at a Sylvia last night on eBay. = There was a used Sylvia, Rocky, and base unit combo listed. They had = spelled Rancilio wrong and put it in an obscure category so it did not = show up on a search. The only way I came across it was by a typing = error. Anyway, I watched it for 4 days and there weren't many bids. = Last night it ended. I submitted what would have been the winning = bid, but somehow the bid did not go through and it sold to someone else = for $330. I am consoling myself by the thought that it was used and = may have been in rough condition, but I don't know = that.Another = Mike
= Sandy Andinawww.sandyandina.com = = --Apple-Mail-44-191283109--

51) From: Chuck the Coffee-Geek
I have an SL-90, and I would recommend the SL-70 over it. The automatic 
features just get in the way. It will produce good crema if you get a 
real basket for the portafilter though.  Its a good starter machine, but 
I would suggest Sylvia over either of them. The 53mm portafilter is 
non-standard and annoying.  At least with a Sylvia you can buy the 
magical tripple shot basket!
-Chuck
Dreaming about an HX machine...
Mike Chester wrote:
<Snip>

52) From: Scot Murphy
On Nov 2, 2005, at 11:02 PM, Chuck the Coffee-Geek wrote:
<Snip>
Why is it annoying? Once you get a tamper that fits it, which is  
easy, as long as it fits in the machine it was designed for, it  
shouldn't be a problem.
Scot "owner of a 53mm Cappuccina" Murphy

53) From: Mike Chester
<Snip>
Thanks Chuck and all else who responded to my question.  I have decided that 
what I really want is a Sylvia and I should not settle for something else 
even if it means having to wait awhile before I get it.  When it arrives, I 
will try my new MDF grinder with my steam toy and see how much difference it 
will make.  It has to be an improvement.
On an unrelated note, I roasted three batches of coffee today including one 
of the Vietnamese UGH.  I am curious how it will compare with commercial 
roast.  I have a feeling that it will be better than  lot of the stuff that 
is out there.
Another Mike

54) From: Angelo
I, too, wonder about all the pronouncements about the "non-standard" 
description of a 53mm PF. I own two machines which have 53mm PF's (an 
Olympia Cremina and a La Cimbali MicroCasa), and at least one of them (the 
Cremina) makes a consistently better espresso than my Silvia...
<Snip>

55) From: tom ulmer
I want a 53mm Cremina...

56) From: Pecan Jim Gundlach
Another Mike,
       I don't think you will regret holding out for the Sylvia.
          Jim Gundlach
On Nov 3, 2005, at 12:28 AM, Mike Chester wrote:
<Snip>
"The espresso machine is an accessory to the grinder, not the other  
way around."

57) From: Chuck the Coffee-Geek
I'm just bitter because I wanted that tripple basket.  The good thing is 
I'll have to buy another Thortamper when I get my next machine. (I will 
soon have a collection going!)  Don't get me wrong, my SL-90 is a good 
machine and I don't regret buying it.  I just think the Sylvia is a 
better one.  One thing I really do like about it, it produces the most 
AMAZING microfoam!
-Chuck
Is that foam on my nose?
Scot Murphy wrote:
<Snip>

58) From:
A. Mike-
"my new MDF grinder with my steam toy"- You're on a roll, sir! The MDF is
going to leave you with No Excuses.
Just think- a steam toy is practically an inverted Moka pot, however, I did
have better results with the thrift store Moka pot- after I cut a new gaske=
t
out of closed-cell foam silicon(e?) the red stuff.
I knew I'd have a use for that stuff some day. I picked up all I could get
in bulk about 25 years ago- 4 sq ft or so, 9/64" thick. Gateway Electronics
had some priced crazy cheap. OEM surplus for a great price. Used some for
Corvair engine gaskets too...
Mmm- enjoying some screaming good Panama Cafe' de Eleta. Starting my second
1.5L for today. The fresh TechV brew after 12 hours' rest is an order of
magnitude better than this morning after I first introduced the beans to Ho=
t
in my FR.
Cheers -RayO, aka Opa!
Don't be afraid to take a big step if one is indicated. You can't cross a
chasm in two small jumps.
 David Lloyd George

59) From: Alchemist John
And that right there hits it on the head why non-58 mm PF can be 
annoying.  If you want to experiment, 58 mm seems to be where all the 
neat stuff is.
At 20:21 11/3/2005, you wrote:
<Snip>
John Nanci
AlChemist at large
Zen Roasting , Blending & Espresso pulling by Gestalthttp://www.chocolatealchemy.com/

60) From: Tim TenClay
Well....It finally happened.  The little pump machine by Mr. Coffee
that I've been pulling my espresso with for the past 4 years (and
believe it or not...gotten a pretty decent shot from) finally bit the
dust.
Praise Heaven, my wife doesn't like her latte's made with Mokka as
much and I think we may be starting the look for a new machine.
I'm looking for something...
   1) basic..nothing fancy.
   2) the less expensive the better
   3) does not need to be plumbed in (we don't own the house and I'm
not interested in plumbing -- although if it can draw from a 5 gall.
jug, that'd be fine)
   4) foams well enough that I can finally get a decent microfoam and
learn some latte art (my Mr. Coffee was a little testy when it came to
anything like that.)
   5) Doesn't have a "bean resevoir" or an automatic grinder
   6) Doesn't need a lot of cleaning -- we're talking 6-8 shots a
week. (give or take another 10-12 depending on the time of year, mood,
etc..)    :-)
Suggestions?
Thanks!
Grace and Peace,
  `tim
-- 
The content of this e-mail may be private or of confidential nature.
Do not forward without permission of the original author.
--
Rev. Tim TenClay, IAPC, NATA #253
Dunningville Reformed Church (www.dunningville.org)
Personal Blog:http://www.tenclay.org/blog

61) From: Brett Mason
Hi Tim,
My road to espresso went from a steam toy Braun, through a Saeco Classico,
through Silvia, aned now a UNIC HX machine which I really enjoy.
If I were to do it again, I would go to the Gaggia Espresso that Tom sells
as the first major step.  That might be all the step you need, and the price
is very reasonable...http://www.sweetmarias.com/prod.gaggia.shtmlRegards,
Brett
On 12/4/06, Tim TenClay  wrote:
<Snip>
-- 
Cheers,
Bretthttp://homeroast.freeservers.com

62) From:
Tim:
You can go to a zillions places and get a passable espresso machine for under 100 bucks.
I think buying aMiss Silva from Tom is most likely your best investment from the points you have made on your list.
warmest regards,
ginny
---- Tim TenClay  wrote: 
<Snip>

63) From:
Brett:
another great choice, does it froth well?
gin
---- Brett Mason  wrote: 
<Snip>

64) From: Tim TenClay
I have a Zass Knee Grinder -- I grind everything by hand right now and
plan on continuing it for now :-)
Grace and Peace,
  `tim
On 12/4/06, True, Dennis W. FC1 (CVN69)  wrote:
<Snip>
-- 
The content of this e-mail may be private or of confidential nature.
Do not forward without permission of the original author.
--
Rev. Tim TenClay, IAPC, NATA #253
Dunningville Reformed Church (www.dunningville.org)
Personal Blog:http://www.tenclay.org/blog

65) From: Sandy Andina
--Apple-Mail-49-120751560
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Content-Type: text/plain;
	charset-ASCII;
	delsp=yes;
	format=flowed
Silvia may be a bit more than twice the price of a Gaggia Espresso-- 
but you get a bigger boiler--BRASS, not aluminum--bigger and easier  
to remove & refill reservoir, 3-way valve, Sherman tank construction  
(with neater joinery and trim), a real steam wand (not that silly  
"froth aider") and a machine you can probably will to your heirs.
On Dec 4, 2006, at 10:26 AM, pchforever wrote:
<Snip>
Sandy
www.sandyandina.com
www.sass-music.com
--Apple-Mail-49-120751560
Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable
Content-Type: text/html;
	charsetO-8859-1
Silvia may be a bit more than =
twice the price of a Gaggia Espresso--but you get a bigger =
boiler--BRASS, not aluminum--bigger and easier to remove & refill =
reservoir, 3-way valve, Sherman tank construction (with neater joinery =
and trim), a real steam wand (not that silly "froth aider") and a =
machine you can probably will to your heirs.
On Dec 4, =
2006, at 10:26 AM, pchforever =
wrote:
Tim: You can = go to a zillions places and get a passable espresso machine for under = 100 bucks. I think buying aMiss Silva from Tom is most likely = your best investment from the points you have made on your = list. warmest regards, ginny---- Tim TenClay <teejtc> wrote: Well....It finally = happened. The little = pump machine by Mr. Coffeethat I've = been pulling my espresso with for the past 4 years (andbelieve it or not...gotten a pretty decent shot = from) finally bit thedust. Praise = Heaven, my wife doesn't like her latte's made with Mokka asmuch and I think we may be starting the look for a = new machine. I'm looking for something... = 1) basic..nothing fancy. 2) the less expensive the = better 3) does not need to be = plumbed in (we don't own the house and I'mnot = interested in plumbing -- although if it can draw from a 5 = gall.jug, that'd be fine) = 4) foams well enough that I can finally get a decent microfoam = andlearn some latte art (my Mr. = Coffee was a little testy when it came toanything = like that.) 5) Doesn't have a "bean = resevoir" or an automatic grinder 6) Doesn't need a lot of = cleaning -- we're talking 6-8 shots aweek. = (give or take another 10-12 depending on the time of year, = mood,etc..) :-) Thanks! Grace and Peace, = `tim --The = content of this e-mail may be private or of confidential = nature.Do not forward without = permission of the original author.--Rev. Tim TenClay, IAPC, NATA #253Dunningville Reformed Church (www.dunningville.org)Personal Blog: http://www.tenclay.org/blog=homeroast mailing listhttp://li=sts.sweetmarias.com/mailman/listinfo/homeroastTo change your personal list settings (digest = options, vacations, unsvbscribes) go to http://=sweetmarias.com/maillistinfo.html#personalsettings = homeroast mailing listhttp://li=sts.sweetmarias.com/mailman/listinfo/homeroastTo change your personal list settings (digest = options, vacations, unsvbscribes) go to http://=sweetmarias.com/maillistinfo.html#personalsettings = Sandywww.sass-music.com
= = --Apple-Mail-49-120751560--

66) From: True, Dennis W. FC1 (CVN69)
TIM,
	What kind of grinder do you have?  You will need to approach the
espresso art from 2 separate items.  No matter how goods the beans are,
how perfect the roast if you don't have a good grinder then no matter
how good the espresso maker you have you will never reach the potential
of your machine. (does this mean you have to spend a fortune on a
grinder today? NO) you can use a zass or bodum hand grinder to start if
budget is an issue. 
As for the machine that will fit your needs I am sure the list will
provide you with a plethora of options just please remember the
importance of your grind. And figure that in to your budget when
shopping for a new espresso machine.
Just my 2 cents worth.
Dennis
AKA
FC1(SW) Dennis W. True
CS/CS-5
USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69)
FPO AE 09532-2830
Man of many hats!
HG/DB and Z&D roasting in the Indian Ocean
 "On station and on point 151 and counting down..." 
"Direct support for troops on the ground is only a call away in support
of Operation Eagle!"
Well....It finally happened.  The little pump machine by Mr. Coffee that
I've been pulling my espresso with for the past 4 years (and believe it
or not...gotten a pretty decent shot from) finally bit the dust.
Praise Heaven, my wife doesn't like her latte's made with Mokka as much
and I think we may be starting the look for a new machine.
I'm looking for something...
   1) basic..nothing fancy.
   2) the less expensive the better
   3) does not need to be plumbed in (we don't own the house and I'm not
interested in plumbing -- although if it can draw from a 5 gall. jug,
that'd be fine)
   4) foams well enough that I can finally get a decent microfoam and
learn some latte art (my Mr. Coffee was a little testy when it came to
anything like that.)
   5) Doesn't have a "bean resevoir" or an automatic grinder
   6) Doesn't need a lot of cleaning -- we're talking 6-8 shots a week.
(give or take another 10-12 depending on the time of year, mood,
etc..)    :-)
Suggestions?
Thanks!
Grace and Peace,
  `tim

67) From: miKe mcKoffee
Given your criteria probably entry level Gaggia ~$200 range way to go.
Regardless the espresso machine be it $200 or $2000 will need a competent
grinder for decent espresso.
miKe 
<Snip>

68) From: robert pulido
what are the best espresso machine

69) From: miKe mcKoffee
This is a multi-part message in MIME format.http://www.coffeegeek.com/guides/howtobuyanespressomachine 
From: homeroast-admin
[mailto:homeroast-admin] On Behalf Of robert pulido
Sent: Friday, August 03, 2007 3:28 PM
To: homeroast
Subject: +espresso machine
what are the best espresso machine

70) From: Jack Rogers
Please, when posting off topic, include "OT" in the Subject.
Jack
On Fri, August 3, 2007 5:27 pm, robert pulido wrote:
<Snip>

71) From: Brett Mason
Espresso machine may be on topic....
On 8/6/07, Jack Rogers  wrote:
<Snip>
-- 
Cheers,
Bretthttp://homeroast.freeservers.com

72) From: miKe mcKoffee
Indeed don't be bringing espresso machines into coffee discussions! While
you're at it better quit talking about moka pots, press pots, vac pots,
manual pour overs, TV's (and lesser drip machines), Aeropress's... And don't
dare mention the importance grinders either! 
Pacific Northwest Gathering VIhttp://home.comcast.net/~mckona/PNWGVI.htmKona Kurmudgeon miKe mcKoffee
www.mcKonaKoffee.com
URL to Rosto mods, FrankenFormer, some recipes etc:http://www.mckoffee.com/Ultimately the quest for Koffee Nirvana is a solitary path. To know I must
first not know. And in knowing know I know not. Each Personal enlightenment
found exploring the many divergent foot steps of Those who have gone before.
Sweet Maria's List - Searchable Archiveshttp://themeyers.org/HomeRoast/
<Snip>

73) From: Brett Mason
Frankly, any topic other than ROASTING would be considered OFF-TOPIC.
No more of that brewing stuff.
Grinders are out.
Blends - that's not roasting.
Technically, roasters are not even roasting...
Here to help...
Brett
On 8/6/07, miKe mcKoffee  wrote:
<Snip>
-- 
Cheers,
Bretthttp://homeroast.freeservers.com

74) From: Kevin
Wait...If all that stuff is OT, then what the heck am I supposed to do with
SM's beans after they're roasted?  BTW, I had a Kenyan today (the one Tom
described as having fruit loop flavor) and it was out of this world!  Only
wish I had an espresso machine to serve it up as an Americano...

75) From: Floyd Lozano
I wasn't impressed by my Kenya roast.  I think I pooched it - flavors too
muted =(  maybe it will come alive on day 3.
On 8/6/07, Kevin  wrote:
<Snip>

76) From: Les
To answer the question!  $$$$$ = Power, stability, and reliability.  Second
there is always a learning curve.  Third, the best machine is one you will
use enough to get to know how to pull good shots with it. Fourth, if you
don't have a good grinder you won't pull good shots. Fifth go to
home-barista in read, read ,read.  Sixth if you have a specific question
about a machine, I am sure you will get some good feedback from the SM list.
Les
On 8/6/07, Floyd Lozano  wrote:
<Snip>

77) From:
robert:
the one's you have!!
ginny
---- robert pulido  wrote: 
<Snip>

78) From:
wholelattelove.com has a side by side comparison of tons of machines. also reader reviews- you get the real scoop, quirks, etc of each machine.
---- Les  wrote: 
<Snip>

79) From: Larry Williams
Hi All and a Merry Christmas
My wife bought me a Krups XP 4030 espresso machine for Christmas.  At 
first I thought will I use it enough to dedicate a space on the counter 
(we don't have much spare space at all).  She said lets keep it and give 
it a try.  I unpacked it and fired it up. 
It didn't take long for us to really appreciate the art and wonderful 
taste of the drink.  I know the Krups is the lower end, but for me it's 
fine and when it craps, I will certainly chose one of the units at SM.  
It is really a cool gift and I know we will enjoy drinking espresso.
Larry
-- 
No virus found in this outgoing message.
Checked by AVG Free Edition. 
Version: 7.5.516 / Virus Database: 269.17.12/1202 - Release Date: 12/29/2007 1:27 PM

80) From: Eddie Dove
Good for you, Larry!  Do enjoy!
Does your wife go by Santa too?
Eddie
-- 
Vita non est vivere sed valere vita est
Home Coffee Roasting Blog and Referencehttp://southcoastcoffeeroaster.blogspot.com/On Dec 29, 2007 6:36 PM, Larry Williams  wrote:
<Snip>

81) From: Mike Koenig
Hi Larry,
I have a similar (older model) machine for my office.  When I bring in
homeroast, it can do a decent shot.  The temperature can be a bit low,
but if you learn to "temperature surf" you can get close to where you
need it to be.  On my machine, I run some water until the heater comes
on, then pull my shot about 15 seconds after the heater shuts off.
If you are frothing milk,  take off that froth aid device, and get
your milk nice and cold.  It takes a little while to get the steam
going, and frothing can be a little slow, but I've gotten micro-foam
out of it with cold milk and some patience.
Enjoy!
--mike
(since Santa brought me an Aeropress,  the office espresso machine
might get used a little less)
On Dec 29, 2007 7:36 PM, Larry Williams  wrote:
<Snip>

82) From: Larry Williams
You bet!
Larry
Eddie Dove wrote:
<Snip>
-- 
No virus found in this outgoing message.
Checked by AVG Free Edition. 
Version: 7.5.516 / Virus Database: 269.17.12/1202 - Release Date: 12/29/2007 1:27 PM

83) From: Ken Schillinger
Good for you Larry,
Your machine looks to be an updated version of the Krups 964 that I have 
been using for maybe 12 to 15 years, and is still going strong.  I clean 
mine with a 1/2 C of white vinegar added to the water tank and run it 
through the steam wand and the portafilter. I then flush it well with clear 
water (maybe two tankfulls). This keeps the minerals cleaned out and reduces 
scale.
Enjoy your machine.
Ken.

84) From: Larry Williams
Ken
How often do you clean the machine?  Use it every day?  Or?
Thanks
Larry
Ken Schillinger wrote:
<Snip>
-- 
No virus found in this outgoing message.
Checked by AVG Free Edition. 
Version: 7.5.516 / Virus Database: 269.17.12/1202 - Release Date: 12/29/2007 1:27 PM

85) From: Ken Schillinger
To be honest Larry, I kinda go in spurts with the usage. When I am using it 
daily I clean it monthly. When I was looking around on the internet to find 
your machine, I found out that Krups sells their own brand of decaling 
agent. I doubt the vinegar can hurt the machine, and I don't know what the 
Krups compound is. Maybe another group member can elaborate for us. I hope 
you enjoy the same longevity with your machine as I have with mine. Not to 
say I couldn't use one of the new "Gee Whiz" machines:-)
Best Regards, Ken.

86) From: gin
Larry,
congrats, you will love that machine. 
ginny
---- Larry Williams  wrote: 
<Snip>

87) From: Loyd Blankenship
I used a Krups machine for a year or so until it died and was replaced
by my Silvia. We used it daily and had many a good drink from it --
enjoy!
Loyd
-- 
Make a small loan, Make a big difference - Kiva.org

88) From: Allon Stern
On Dec 30, 2007, at 7:21 AM, gin  wrote:
<Snip>
Fwiw, I've had two Krups thermoblock machines, and they've held up  
very well. I run the steam a bit to raise the temp of the block before  
brewing.
I still have my old original Espresso Novo in storage - it had started  
being a little flakey. I should haul it out and mess with it :-) The  
Novo 2000 that replaced it is still going strong, but I should  
probably replace the seals sometime.
-
allon

89) From: Larry Williams
Allon
Can you explain a bit more about raising the temp and the reason.  What 
is the best temp for espresso?
Larry
<Snip>
-- 
No virus found in this outgoing message.
Checked by AVG Free Edition. 
Version: 7.5.516 / Virus Database: 269.17.12/1202 - Release Date: 12/29/2007 1:27 PM

90) From: Michael Wascher
A friend had one, worked well for her for about 2 years. She asked for
advice when the steam nozzle stopped working, I asked how often she cleaned
it. Response: "Clean it?" This coming from somebody who scrubs all of her
floors quarterly, and scrubs the grout in her bathrooms monthly. I'm glad I
never drank her espresso.
But if a machine can survive 2 years of that abuse it must be a rugged
machine.
On Dec 30, 2007 10:27 AM, Allon Stern  wrote:
<Snip>
-- 
"When I was a boy I was told that anybody could become President. Now I'm
beginning to believe it." --Clarence Darrow

91) From: Jerry Procopio
Larry,
Welcome to the dark side!
Jerry
Larry Williams wrote:
<Snip>
begin:vcard
fn:JavaJerry
n:;JavaJerry
org;quoted-printable:JavaJerry's™ Custom Home Roasted Coffee Beans ;RK Drum roasting in Chesapeake, VA
email;internet:JavaJerry
title:HomeRoaster
tel;cell:757.373.3500
note;quoted-printable:JavaJerry's™ Custom Home Roasted Coffee Beans
=
	RK Drum roasting in Chesapeake, VA
x-mozilla-html:TRUE
urlhttp://members.cox.net/javajerry/javajerry.shtmlversion:2.1
end:vcard

92) From: Barry Luterman
Last time I was in Vegas I saw a T-shirt that said,"Come To The Dark Side We
Have Cookies" Unfortunately it had a picture of Darth Vader on it. Maybe we
could make something up like it for ourselves. If it wouldn't be against the
law.
On Dec 30, 2007 6:14 AM, Jerry Procopio  wrote:
<Snip>

93) From: John Despres
Since it's parody, it is not against the law. Parody is protected.
JD
Barry Luterman wrote:
<Snip>
-- 
John A C Despres
Hug your kidshttp://www.sceneitallproductions.com

94) From: Michael Wascher
*WELCOME TO*
*THE DARK SIDE*
[image: The image "http://sweetmarias.com/master5000studio.jpg"cannot be
displayed, because it contains errors.]
*WE HAVE BISCOTTI*
On Dec 30, 2007 11:19 AM, Barry Luterman  wrote:
<Snip>
-- 
"When I was a boy I was told that anybody could become President. Now I'm
beginning to believe it." --Clarence Darrow

95) From: Barry Luterman
I'd buy one of those. Maybe if we can get enough people together or Tom
would be interested in putting his logo on it and offering it at SM. MiKe
how would this look on your staff at your new coffee shop.
On Dec 30, 2007 6:32 AM, Michael Wascher  wrote:
<Snip>

96) From: Allon Stern
Top posting in spite of my preference, due to finger tapping on my  
mobile....
Anyway, optimal espresso temperature is in the 200 degree range. The  
thermoblock machine doesn't have a boiler - it pumps room temperature  
water through a heat exchanger in the form of a large thermal mass,  
the "block".
When calling for steam, it runs the temperature up so that it'll be  
hot enough to make steam on one part of the block, and directs the  
water only through that section. Running the steam boosts the  
temperature of the block, getting me closer, but not quite reaching,  
the ideal.
The problem with the thermoblock is that the temp doesn't remain  
constant - it starts out at the max, then declines during the pull as  
the heat is transferred from the block to the water faster than the  
heating element can supply it.
HTH
-
allon
On Dec 30, 2007, at 9:50 AM, Larry Williams  
 wrote:
<Snip>

97) From: Lynne
Ha - Michael, this is a great segway to a traditional offering I am going to
make...
Lynne
On Dec 30, 2007 11:32 AM, Michael Wascher  wrote:
<Snip>

98) From: Sandra Andina
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	format=flowed;
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A superauto? NEVER!
On Dec 30, 2007, at 10:45 AM, Barry Luterman wrote:
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Sandy Andina
www.myspace.com/sandyandina
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A superauto? =
NEVER!
On Dec 30, 2007, at 10:45 AM, Barry Luterman =
wrote:
I'd buy one of those. Maybe if we can get enough people = together or Tom would be interested in putting his logo on it and = offering it at SM. MiKe how would this look on your staff at your new = coffee shop. On Dec 30, 2007 6:32 AM, = Michael Wascher <wascher> wrote: = WELCOME TO THE DARK = SIDE WE HAVE = BISCOTTI = On Dec 30, 2007 11:19 AM, Barry Luterman = <lutermanb> wrote: Last time I was in Vegas = I saw a T-shirt that said,"Come To The Dark Side We Have Cookies" = Unfortunately it had a picture of Darth Vader on it. Maybe we could make = something up like it for ourselves. If it wouldn't be against the law. = On Dec 30, = 2007 6:14 AM, Jerry Procopio <CafeHombre> wrote: Larry, Welcome to = the dark side! Jerry = Larry Williams wrote: > Hi All and a Merry = Christmas > > My wife bought me a Krups XP 4030 espresso = machine for Christmas.  At > first I thought will I use it = enough to dedicate a space on the counter > (we don't have much = spare space at all).  She said lets keep it and give > it a = try.  I unpacked it and fired it up. > It didn't take long = for us to really appreciate the art and wonderful > taste of the = drink.  I know the Krups is the lower end, but for me it's > = fine and when it craps, I will certainly chose one of the units at = SM. > It is really a cool gift and I know we will enjoy drinking = espresso. > > = Larry > >
= -- "When I was a boy I was told = that anybody could become President. Now I'm beginning to believe it." = --Clarence Darrow = Sandy Andinawww.myspace.com/sandyandina = --Apple-Mail-9--453275425--

99) From: raymanowen
Espresso should be called the Delta Brew. My Capresso Lucks is about the
same as you describe. Happily, it has slowly [I'm slow, not the machine]
taught me a few things that I am incorporating in my design.
Traditional espresso brewers can not and do not brew at any exact
temperature or pressure. The confounded machines adhere like barnacles to
the laws of physics. When hot water flows through a homogeneous compacted
block of coffee grounds, pressure is developed due to the resistance to flow
of the porous ground coffee block or puck.
The pressure will be highest where the water enters the puck and zero at the
exit, with a decrease from end to end of the puck. In spite of your pressure
gauge, or manometer, you have no clue as to the brewing pressure at any
particular point, since it varies within the puck.
You only know the pressure ahead of the actual brewing location, not within
it. Temperature will have the same gradient, even if you pre-infuse. The
puck didn't become instantly and uniformly hot. Thermal and mechanical
energy was transferred at some finite rate.
"The thermoblock machine doesn't have a boiler - it pumps room temperature
water through a heat exchanger in the form of a large thermal mass, the
"block"
[All espresso machines use some form of heat exchanger (HX) to transfer
thermal energy from the coal fire to the pressurized water line.]
If the heat transfer medium is an aluminum casting containing both the
stainless steel water line and the electric heating element, it's a "Thermo
block," just like the electric fry pans. For steam, the thermostat is set a
few degrees higher and a valve reroutes the water- steam- to the wand
instead of the  group head.
If the heat transfer medium is water and the stainless steel pressurized
water line and the heat source are contained in a common volume with it,
it's a boiler.
When calling for steam, it runs the temperature up so that it'll be
hot enough to make steam on one part of the block, and directs the
water only through that section. Running the steam boosts the
temperature of the block, getting me closer, but not quite reaching,
the ideal.
The problem with the thermoblock is that the temp doesn't remain
constant - it starts out at the max, then declines during the pull as
the heat is transferred from the block to the water faster than the
heating element can supply it."
On Dec 30, 2007 10:08 AM, Allon Stern  wrote:
<Snip>
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100) From: raymanowen
segway segue segway segue segway segue segway segue segway segue segway
segue segway segue segway segue segway segue segway segue segway segue
segway segue segway segue
Anyone seen my wire handled espresso cup?
Fade to black -ro
On Dec 30, 2007 11:12 AM, Lynne  wrote:
<Snip>
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101) From: Larry Williams
Thanks.  The Krups "seems" to be doing a pretty good job with it's 
Thermo Block.  The appearance and taste of my espressos are pretty 
good.   Yesterday a met a roaster in Lodi CA, and he sold me his 
espresso blend.  It was great - better than my  roast which is done for 
drip at C+.  His was closer to FC+.  I will try some from SM soon.
Larry
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102) From: Mike Chester
Several people have recently inquired about buying a new espresso machine.  Here is a listing for a nice new one I found.  You would pretty much be exempt from upgrade fever with this one.http://tinyurl.com/376rryMike
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103) From: Treshell
<Snip>
I don't know about that, they seemed to have up graded to a French Press.
Tres
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104) From: Barry Luterman
They started the bidding at 8k. A brand new one can be obtianed from
espresso parts for 7500
On Fri, Feb 22, 2008 at 12:59 PM, Treshell  wrote:
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105) From: Dave
They say it will sell fast. I guess that's only if nobody searches and
finds that it sells for $7500.
-- 
Dave
Some days...
It's just not worth chewing through the leather straps
On Fri, Feb 22, 2008 at 2:43 PM, Mike Chester  wrote:
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106) From: Barry Luterman
Wait I just read espresso parts listing for 7500 is says to call them and
they will give you even abetter price.
On Fri, Feb 22, 2008 at 1:05 PM, Dave  wrote:
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107) From: Dennis & Marjorie True
SHURE IS PURDY!!!!!!!!!
Dennis
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108) From: Larry Selzler
I guess for $8000, it better be PURDY!!!
On Fri, Feb 22, 2008 at 5:20 PM, Dennis & Marjorie True
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109) From: Paul Helbert
Reckon if they get a bid they'll have it drop shipped from espresso parts?
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110) From: Brett Mason
Oscar... in Redhttp://cgi.ebay.com/NUOVA-SIMONELLI-RED-Oscar-Espresso-Machine-NEW_W0QQitemZ250215567812QQihZ015QQcategoryZ53187QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItemBrett
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111) From: Rich
For $8,200.00+ cost you would also need an umbrella for your nose.....
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112) From: Rich
If it sells then P.T. Barnum will have been validated..
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113) From: Dave
On Fri, Feb 22, 2008 at 3:45 PM, Brett Mason  wrote:
<Snip>
That would sure be pretty in my kitchen;-) Too bad I don't an extra
grand laying around.
-- 
Dave
Some days...
It's just not worth chewing through the leather straps
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114) From: Saundra ONeil
Fot that kind of $$$ i would definately want 2 group heads.  I'll take a new La Spaz S5 compact if anyone's giving one away. IIRC, i read there is an awful lot of plastic on that LM.
S
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115) From: miKe mcKoffee
You've obviously never been on the portafilter side of a GS3. Totally
different league than La Spaz.
Kona Kurmudgeon miKe mcKoffee
www.mcKonaKoffee.com
URL to Rosto mods, FrankenFormer, some recipes etc:http://www.mckoffee.com/Ultimately the quest for Koffee Nirvana is a solitary path. To know I must
first not know. And in knowing know I know not. Each Personal enlightenment
found exploring the many divergent foot steps of Those who have gone before.
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116) From: Saundra ONeil
Kris - you sure do seem to score at the thrift stores!  i will keep my eye out for one of those for my brother if he likes the coffee sampler i sent him.  i ended up gringing then vacuum sealing them in individual bags with strict storage instructions (ie: freeze immed upon receipt...take pkg out to defrost the night before, etc), but it was a PITA.  after all the suggestions i got here, incl yours, i've decided a whirrly is in his future. since it was MY idea for him to taste my homeroasts, it didn't seem right to ask hime to go buy a grinder.  i had thought those grinders threw off too much heat and my pre-grinding was preferable.  y'all set me straight.  thanks to everyone. this list really is THE BEST!
Saundra
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117) From: Bill
I use the Bodum whirly-blade for travelling... It's the same as Tom sells:http://www.sweetmarias.com/prod.electricmills.shtml#bodumCmillIt really is sufficiently powered.  I've used other mills and they are weak
and not heavy-duty enough.  I like the Bodum as a cheapo grinder.  I've
bought a few as presents for friends who IMNSHO need to step up their coffee
game...
bill
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118) From: Paul Helbert
That little Bodum grinder does best when filled up really full. Gets a
vortex going and produces a good enough grind to not clog a vacuum brewer's
glass filter. For smaller doses it does not grind very uniformly, but what
did I expect?
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119) From: Bill
I guess I'm always using it pretty full.  Yeah, the vortex is definitely
noted.  When travelling, I generally use 8-10 Tablespoons of beans (spoon
being easier to transport than scale!)bill
On Fri, Feb 22, 2008 at 8:35 PM, Paul Helbert 
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120) From: John and Emma
I know this has been discussed before. So it helped in my considerations
below. I am looking at adding an espresso machine to my arsenal. I have
never owned one nor ever pulled a shot in my life. This is the reason I
wanted to ask this question again.
What I would like is one machine that will last me. I don't want to buy
something now and outgrow it in 6 months and then buy something else. I have
been looking at in order of price:
1) Expobar Office Pulser
2) Expobar Office Leva
3) Rocket (ECM) Giotto Premium or Premium Plus
4) Quickmill Andreja Premium
or go crazy
5) Expobar Brewtus II (this just might be too expensive for me)
Or am I better off saving money and buying the Rancilio Silvia?
I know it will be discussed so, right now I own a Virtuoso grinder and find
it great for my Vac Pot, French Press, and Mocha Pot which are my only
present methods of brewing. I may buy a Rocky when I get an espresso machine
unless I can afford a Mazzer Mini. Or continue to use my Virtuoso until I
can afford the Mini. As everyone discusses the grinder is the most important
part of our gear. Right now I'm just trying to figure out what machine to
get.
Thanks for all your help in advance.
John H.
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121) From: Jim Gundlach
John,
     I have the Andreja Premium, it was an upgrde from the Silvia.  I  
bought my Silvia used for about half price so I paid about six times  
the Silvia price for the Andreja.  I consider it well worth it.   Will  
I get upgrade fever again, I haven't in the last two years, which is  
pretty good for me.  You are right on the grinder, i have a Mazzer  
Major.   Les's recent purchase of a new grinder after he dropped his  
Mazzer Major has so far only made me want to avoid moving my Major  
around.
      pecan jim
On Aug 31, 2008, at 11:18 PM, John and Emma wrote:
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122) From: Gary Foster
If you get a silvia (I have one and love it, can't imagine upgrading
anytime soon) make sure you budget in for a PID kit.  You will save
yourself a lot of heartache if you just PID it straight from the
start.
-- Gary F.
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123) From: Sandy Andina
Get the grinder first--the Virtuoso won't do a prosumer machine justice.
On Aug 31, 2008, at 11:48 PM, Gary Foster wrote:
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Sandy Andina
www.myspace.com/sandyandina
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124) From: raymanowen
"What I would like is one machine that will last me."
The answer is,  *Grinder First*.
For anyone wanting the best coffee, FRESH and CLEAN are the keys.
Go ahead and use filthy equipment, if that's your proclivity. Call it
seasoned if you will.
If seasoning were the goal, equipment fabricated from aluminum would be
adequate and save weight. After a few operations, it would be seasoned, at
which point it could have been made of just about anything that can stand
the Fahrenheit 451 max.
Then, you have to ask yourself, "Why change anything, since I can make
coffee right now?"
Do this: (How long have you had the Virtuoso?) Change the Burrs.
Smart Money would get a new set of burrs first.
Both burrs look like hard sintered iron parts. My experience with them is
about ten minutes.
That's what it took me to install them in my friend's Solis Maestro Plus
that was Pristine clean when he received it. It would be tougher to do if
the machine has never been cleaned.
If the new burrs greatly improve the taste of your current brewing methods,
you validated the necessity of grinding only with sharp burrs. If you do
much grinding, you can probably get six months' good espresso grinding from
the Virtuoso burrs.
(Some would say ZERO months' espresso use.)
Or you could skip the burr swap completely. Just post a Tradition Offering:
"1ea - Grinder, Virtuoso. Whiner to be chosen by random drawing from entries
submitted separately. Shipment will be fright collect; may need small parts,
per recipient's discretion."
When you've drawn the whiner, take the grinder to UPS or Fed Ex, let them
box it and insure it for $200.00  If you still have the box and styrofoam
liners, good. Still, have the shippers pack it. "Recipients unwilling to pay
S/H may take possession FOB my front door."
Rest assured that, any espresso trip you take will be for nought and a waste
of time, money, all the roasting efforts in the world and good green coffee
beans. If you obliterate the coffee in a toy grinder, your doom is sealed.
The grinder is insidious- its performance deteriorates the instant you start
using it.
"I am looking at adding an espresso machine to my arsenal.
I have never owned one nor ever pulled a shot in my life.
This is the reason I wanted to ask this question again."
"What I would like is one machine that will last me."
And then, you should start out actually asking a Question.
The answer again is,  *Grinder First*.
You have no use at all for anything in your list. All these machines are in
the $2000 range. Repeat: The Virtuoso could do well for maybe six months on
a set of burrs. At that point, I think its espresso utility would be
deteriorating faster than you were learning your $2K Big Bucks machine. The
huge sucking sound would be frustrating.
Let me get this straight- You're going to  a $2000 coffee pot with a
$200 grinder?
" 5) Expobar Brewtus II (this just might be too expensive for me)" But, if
you were given the Brewtus, would you still try to use a worn-out $200
grinder?
Here's a question: Why does Big Coffee never supply their coffee as Whole
Beans, when so many people like to grind their own, fresh?
A- Nobody has a grinder that could come close to matching their grind
quality and consistency. Their reputation, such as it is, would go straight
to Blazes, just like everybody's "Crush it Fresh" toy grinder. Even with a
$200 grinder and a $200 Technivorm, how often would John Q. replace the
burrs and debride the pot?
<<>> RayO.
On Sun, Aug 31, 2008 at 10:18 PM, John and Emma  wrote:
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125) From: Mike Koenig
John,
I've had a Silvia for the past 5 years, and I've now got a serious
case of upgradeitis.
Pricewise, the Expobar Office Pulser isn't that much more expensive
than a new Silvia, so if price is a concern, I'd probably recommend
the Expobar over the Silvia,  for a little more money, you are getting
an HX machine rather than a single boiler.
And I will give a firm second to the "Grinder First" statements given
by others.  You could buy yourself a La Marzocco GS/3 for $7,000 and
still be frustrated with trying to pull a decent shot if you don't
have a good grinder.  Get yourself a Mazzer Mini or Macap M4 (at a
minimum) first,  it will improve your drip coffee too,  then spring
for the espresso machine (or buy them both at once).
--mike
On Mon, Sep 1, 2008 at 12:18 AM, John and Emma  wrote:
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126) From: Morris Nelson
I have Sylia and Rocky with Moccamaster and Virtuoso. I make two 2x
Americano's in the morning and am pretty much set for the day.
Definitely a difference between Rocky and Virtuoso. Don't use Moccamaster
much. I make for myself only. I'm happy until I find something that makes me
happier.
Over here in Shanghai, there are espresso machines that cost more than cars.
Yes, cheap cars and expensive machines. Go figure.
Morris

127) From: Les
As much as I like my new Cimbali, I miss a lot of things about my
Mazzer Major.  The  Mini is OK for espresso, but I do like bigger
burrs.  I have used a Mini, and I don't like how small the burrs are.
I really like my new hybrid burrs.  It is like getting a double grind.
 The Cimbali, makes excellent espresso.  If I were you John, I would
get a Cimbali Max Hybrid, and an inexpensive Gaggia to learn espresso
on.  If you really like the Darkside, then you could upgrade.  No
matter what, you would have the last grinder you will ever need. With
that said, I have an Expobar and really like it.  However, I do feel
that the best espresso comes from a lever machine.  This was confirmed
by pulling shots with Alchemist John on his Gaggia Achille.  I much
prefer my Olympia Cremina.  You just get the most silky shots from a
lever.  So today, if I were talking to you face to face, I would go
with my above recommendation and then advise you to upgrade to a good
lever.
Les
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128) From: Coffee
I have a Rocky and an Andreja Premium.
I'm very happy with the Andreja Premium. And while the Rocky is good,  
I'm getting the upgrade bug.
I did get to pull a bunch of shots on pro equipment (Mazzer Robur and  
Compak grinders and a La Marzocco and Nuova Simonelli espresso  
machines) and I was amazed at how much better my shots were. I've  
tried to replicate that experience with my Rocky and Andreja Premium,  
but I've not been able to. So, of course, my first thought is that I  
need to upgrade the grinder...
-Peter
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129) From: michael brown
hey guys!i raised this same question probably about a week ago and the overwhelming response was to upgrade my grinder first.  so i did and guess what?  i bought the virtuoso! and the difference is amazing!  i'm still using my cheap "mr  coffee" espresso machine i bought at walmart forever ago.  i can only imagine what kind of shots i can pull with a machine that i can better control the temp and timing.  so i guess what my suggestion would be is to pick anyone of those and keep expierementing.  i read some articles on tamping and the importance of the grind and that opened up a whole new world for me.  i prolly pull 5 shots a day now but only drink 2-3 of them.  hell this is the first time i've got a crema! anywho i hope to keep up with the list better this week.  been a wild couple of weeks on my end with work and family health issues.  enjoy the labor day!
michael from b'ham alabama 
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130) From: miKe mcKoffee
If Rocky has fairly new burrs (like less than 50#, definitely less 75#)
stellar shots can be achieved. Don't take my word for it, see how Rocky did
head to head against the Mazzer Robur in the H-B Titan Grinder shoot-out.
But not as consistently as higher end grinders and the stepped grind
adjustment (approx' 5-6sec pull time per step double shot) makes compromise
tweaking often needed in dose and/or tamp. That said I still use a Rocky at
home almost 7 years now, primarily because of space constraints and having
limited funds. Twice bought and tried to shoehorn a Mazzer SJ in the small
counter space but just won't work. Do quite possibly see giving a Max Hybrid
a go.
When Miss Silvia was substantially cheaper (sub $300) she was a good choice
for a starter machine. Now up pushing $700 and more after adding PID not
such a good deal. Some (spelled most I know of) who start with a Silvia
later upgrade. Some sooner some later. Silvia stayed with us 3&1/2 years
before upgrading to a rotary HX Bricoletta. And now going on 3 years later
looking seriously at tne new Izzo Duetto. Looks like the prosumer DB feature
set I've been waiting for at way less than a GS3. Both for ease of temp
management for Debi but primarily justified for use light catering type
events, the water-tank/direct plumb switch over at the flick of a switch
sweet. Means don't have to use Flojet setup but can. Of course with the
small 1.8l steam boiler will mean limiting catering beverage menu to max
12oz milk drinks or they'll take forever! Not small steam boiler for home,
but small for commercial use. (Oh this also means there'll highly likely be
a direct plumb rotary Fiorenzato Bricoletta with insulated steam boiler,
tight .05bar deadband Barksdale pstat and Eric's E61 group digital
thermometer adapter for sale in the near future at a reasonable price:-)
'nother customer coming in so back to work...
Kona Konnaisseur miKe mcKoffeehttp://www.mckoffee.com/Ultimately the quest for Koffee Nirvana is a solitary path. To know I must">http://www.mcKonaKoffee.comURL to Rosto mods, FrankenFormer, some recipes etc:http://www.mckoffee.com/Ultimately the quest for Koffee Nirvana is a solitary path. To know I must
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found exploring the many divergent foot steps of Those who have gone before.
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131) From: Brian Kamnetz
On Mon, Sep 1, 2008 at 12:29 PM, miKe mcKoffee  wrote:
<Snip>
miKe,
I wish that 'nother customer walking through the door was me.... One
day God will smile and I will visit your shop.
Brian
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132) From: John and Emma
Thanks Ray,
This is why I mentioned that I would be upgrading my grinder. I knew I would
get people discussing the weakness of my grinder. My Virtuoso is about
4months old and works well for my present methods of brewing but when I do
get an Espresso machine I know I will upgrade my grinder. I really like the
Mazzer Mini but did a lot of reading last night and may also consider the
Macap M4 Stepless. I will probably keep my Virtuoso initially but if I ever
decide to get rid of it I will offer it as a Tradition.
John H.

133) From: Coffee
I agree that I've had some really good espresso from my Rocky/Andreja  
setup. But the pro equipment had a repeatability/consistency that I've  
found hard to match.
-Peter
On Sep 1, 2008, at 9:29 AM, miKe mcKoffee wrote:
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134) From: John and Emma
When you mention Lever machines the La Scala Butterfly Lever is about the
same price as the Andreja Premium. So if spending this much on a machine
would the Las Scala be the better of the two?
There is just so much I need to learn. Thanks everyone for your replies the
input is great. I have never liked reinventing the wheel. I have always
preferred learning from other peoples experiences.
John H.

135) From: Barry Luterman
Of course Grinder first .All the ones mentioned will do the trick. Get
the best one you can afford and you will be done except for
maintenance. Silvia even with PID will still lead to upgrade fever. If
you do not want to surf on a HX and intend making milk based drinks
You cant go wrong with a Brewtus.
On Mon, Sep 1, 2008 at 8:51 AM, John and Emma  wrote:
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136) From: Les
John,
When I am talking lever, I mean a true lever not a lever actuated
E-61.  Check out the Gaggia Acille.  If you are looking at an E-61,
the Andreja is tough to beat.  I have pulled some nice shots one one
of them.  I agree with Barry, the Expobar double boiler Brewtus is an
awesome machine.
Les
Les
On Mon, Sep 1, 2008 at 11:58 AM, Barry Luterman  wrote:
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137) From: Alchemist John
That is not the kind of lever that Les is talking about.  I have 
never really understood why those are termed levers.  I guess you 
'throw a lever' as opposed to pushing a button, but you are not 
pulling the shot with the lever.  It's just a lever switch.  It is 
probably a good machine, right there with the Bric lever that MM has, 
but this is the kind of thing Les is meaning.http://www.home-barista.com/gaggia-achille-buyers-guide.htmlAt 11:51 AM 9/1/2008, you wrote:
<Snip>
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AlChemist at large
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138) From: Bill
Les & Alchemist,
I admit that the dark side is starting to look attractive (still a few years
away tho!  Grinder is the first thing I need to worry about.)... I find a
lot of appeal in a lever machine... right up my alley to have to do
something by hand.  so 2 questions: 1. would you recommend to use a
"regular" machine first as an entry-level introduction to espresso?  and 2.
how steep is the learning curve with a lever?  I read that they can be
pretty darn obnoxious... thoughts?
thanks!
bill
On Mon, Sep 1, 2008 at 1:14 PM, Alchemist John wrote:
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139) From: Angelo
I have the same machine Les has (Olympia Cremina) as well as a 
Cimbali MicroCasa. I started with a Silvia - still use it. I don't 
think that it's more difficult to use a lever. I get many more 
"indications" from it than I do with the Silvia. The temp surfing is 
easier. I can "sense" when it is time to pull. I still can't get it 
as well with the Silvia (it's not PID'd).
The shot just seems more syrupy with the Cremina and, besides, the 
pull is less violent than with the pump... :-)
A.
The Cimbali is a spring-loaded machine and I like that least...
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140) From: Dean
There's also the QM Anita--sibling of the Andrea, little cheaper, E-61 
HX--also in the price range of these.
I've had mine for a bit over 3 years now--I also looked at Isomacs, 
Expobars, Rancilios, and Gaggias. 
This was an upgrade from my old machine--a Saeco combi. from $4.
I got a Mazzer Mini along with Anita.  Nice setup, very happy.
But I have seen the GS-3 and will upgrade when I win the Powerball.  Maybe.
As to the Virtuoso--I got one this summer to replace my "other" grinder 
(drip, vac, etc).
It may serve in a pinch--I've been impressed with the even grind, 
absence of fines, and the range, but it is a coarse adjustment--half a 
turn from Turkish to gravel, so a lot harder to fine-tune your pulls.
And to Sylvia--many think (and some have recommended here) that it needs 
PID control to work best--that takes away most of the initial price 
advantage.
Happy roasting!
Dean
John and Emma wrote:
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141) From: Les
I fired up my little SAMA lever machine this afternoon.  I have not
used this machine in a couple of years.  I was thinking about giving
it to my daughter and son-in-law.  This spring loaded lever pulled an
awesome silky shot.  I made Becky a Cappo, and then I pulled a double
(2 singles) for myself, a much better shot than I can get out of the
Expobar.  There is just something a lever brings to the show that a
pump machine seems to lack.  I am a confirmed lever machine guy for
home espresso.  I can't bang the shots out for a group, but for Becky
and myself, the Olympia and SAMA do a wonderful job.  If memory serves
me right, it was when Alchemist John borrowed my SAMA when his Gaggia
was down that he was converted to the lever.  The learning curve isn't
that difficult.  It is just a different method of making espresso.
The Pavoni has some interesting quarks, but I have pulled some awesome
shots on those machines as well.
Les
On Mon, Sep 1, 2008 at 3:23 PM, Dean  wrote:
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142) From: Coffee
Well we better get some gluons and stick those things back together...
On Sep 1, 2008, at 4:55 PM, Les wrote:
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143) From: miKe mcKoffee
I've played head to head with Anita versus my rotary lever Bric' a bit, with
the Bric' currently on sale about the same price. FWIW if you ever plan to
entertain the Anita can't come close to keeping shot pace with the Bric'.
And the Bric' is one of the few prosumer HX machines you can steam while
pulling the shot without temp dive do to it's 1900w power, which of course
does require 20A circuit.
Not saying the Quick Mills aren't decent machines, just not as robust
recovery wise when it comes to hammering 'em hard.  
Kona Konnaisseur miKe mcKoffeehttp://www.mckoffee.com/Ultimately the quest for Koffee Nirvana is a solitary path. To know I must">http://www.mcKonaKoffee.comURL to Rosto mods, FrankenFormer, some recipes etc:http://www.mckoffee.com/Ultimately the quest for Koffee Nirvana is a solitary path. To know I must
first not know. And in knowing know I know not. Each Personal enlightenment
found exploring the many divergent foot steps of Those who have gone before.
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144) From: Morris Nelson
Don't you love it when money is no object?
Morris

145) From: Alchemist John
Care to explain what you mean?  To the best of my knowledge, Mike set 
his goal, saved up quite a bit of money over time, and then found a 
killer deal on this Bric.
At 08:26 PM 9/1/2008, you wrote:
<Snip>
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146) From: Les
I would echo Alchemist John here.  We need to be careful when we
speak.  I was able to get my Mazzer Major for less than $50.00.  I
bought my Olympia before the prices went out of sight, it is a vintage
1970's model.  The SAMA came along as a good deal too.  I bought my
Expobar for a super price from a private party.    I spent a lot of
money on my roaster, but again I had been saving up for over 5 years
for something like it.  Having been in the hobby for 24 years now, I
feel like I should be able to enjoy a treat.  What I like most about
this hobby are the majority of the people I have met.  The PNWG
gatherings have been simply fun and educational.  I have never seen
anyone strutting around showing off their Stuff!  Mike McKoffee has
been a gracious host for all but one of the PNWG gatherings, opening
his home and pocket book to a group of friends and strangers.  Morris,
you should know of whom you speak before making such a remark.  Mike
has worked tirelessly for his money, and he is a guy that would help
you out in need to his own detriment.  I am getting a bit heated so I
am going to stop this post now.  Mike and Debi are some of the most
generous and gracious people I know.  When Mike shares from his
experience it is to help educate so others don't make the mistakes he
has made or seen made by others.  He doesn't want folks to waste their
hard earned money.
Les
On Mon, Sep 1, 2008 at 8:44 PM, Alchemist John
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147) From: miKe mcKoffee
Not to mention both the rotary Bric' I mentioned and QM Anita cost less than
all but ONE of this thread's original poster's list of possible espresso
machines. 
More like, don't you love it when some people don't have a clue what they're
talking about.
No offense Morris, but you really don't know what you're talking about.
Money no object? Last 10 months I've been working 60 to 75hr weeks, making
maybe $4 hour if I'm lucky. My employees ALL make more than twice what I do
for services rendered. I put my house on the line, literally, to go into
coffee as a business. And I'm not complaining, just stating the facts.
Building a business takes time and a hell of a lot of work and sacrifice.
Working a JOB, any job, is easy by comparison. 
Then again money IS indeed no object. If you want something bad enough
you'll figure out a plan, a way, if it's a high enough priority. In my case
risking loosing my house is part of the price.
miKe
PS Thanks Alchemist
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148) From: John and Emma
Well Les and John you've got me believing the way to go for me is the Max
Hybrid and the Achille. It will be some time till I get them but I always
like researching and planning ahead before I can afford my next purchase.
John H.

149) From: John and Emma
miKe you said it best. I too am self employed and right now can not afford
any of the items I am mentioning. I do know that an espresso maker and
grinder are the next items I want to purchase. Over many years I have found
that by researching what you want, printing photos of it and putting them on
the fridge you will end up getting them in the end. So I am at the stage of
trying to figure out what it is that I want. I have used this method for
almost everything. I have done this with both cars I own (an Infiniti and a
Miata), our bedroom suite, cameras, ski equipment etc, just to mention a
few. This also helps in working toward a goal and rewarding yourself, so if
I accomplish X I will get Y. Sometimes you are amazed at how you ended up
with the items on your fridge. They don't always happen the way you expect
them to.
miKe may I say congratulations for taking the hardest step in life and
putting it all on the line for something you believe in. I look forward to
the day we meet.
John H.

150) From: Alchemist John
I really adore the Achille.  It isn't a bang them out kind of 
machine, but that is only because you can't pull and steam at the 
same time.  Not for lack of power but because you need your hands to 
pull.  I did actually use it in a 'commercial' setting for a day 
pulling shots for a fair.  Kept up just fine.  As for learning 
curves, if you approach it with the thoughts that all the same rules 
really do apply (22-28 sec, 9 bar, etc) then it is NO different.  You 
have to develop some muscle memory and training but it is still an 
espresso machine producing espresso.
A point Les makes that Les is not meaning to make.  I note the wide 
array of machines that Les gets amazing shots out of.  The point here 
is that the person behind the machine makes all the difference.  No 
machine will make up for bad techniques, and almost any machine can 
be made to produce a good shot.  It all depends on the work you want 
to put out.
At 10:21 PM 9/1/2008, you wrote:
<Snip>
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AlChemist at large
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151) From: Bob Glasscock
I read that article on home-barista.com on the Achille and am truly blown
away by the simplicity of the machine. Buying an espresso machine hasn't
been on my immediate radar, but this sure piqued my interest. Some machines
just beg for synergy - like the Morgan +4 or the Vincent Black Shadow. I
think I'm going to put a picture on my fridge.
Bob Glasscock
I really adore the Achille.  It isn't a bang them out kind of 
machine, but that is only because you can't pull and steam at the 
same time.  Not for lack of power but because you need your hands to 
pull.  I did actually use it in a 'commercial' setting for a day 
pulling shots for a fair.  Kept up just fine.  As for learning 
curves, if you approach it with the thoughts that all the same rules 
really do apply (22-28 sec, 9 bar, etc) then it is NO different.  You 
have to develop some muscle memory and training but it is still an 
espresso machine producing espresso.
A point Les makes that Les is not meaning to make.  I note the wide 
array of machines that Les gets amazing shots out of.  The point here 
is that the person behind the machine makes all the difference.  No 
machine will make up for bad techniques, and almost any machine can 
be made to produce a good shot.  It all depends on the work you want 
to put out.
At 10:21 PM 9/1/2008, you wrote:
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152) From: Joseph Robertson
Right on post miKe. It is so nice to know I'm not alone in this very small
but passionate sub group,  wrote:
<Snip>
-- 
Ambassador for Specialty Coffee and pallet reform.
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153) From: Coffee Willard
I'm going to jump in here and ask for some help too. I'm in the same
position. I've been a coffee fan for years and years, but I'm just now able
to justify buying a "real" espresso machine. I've been homeroasting for
about a year and I'd like to further enjoy the coffee I roast.
I'm going to purchase a Rocky grinder, but I'm confused as to the espresso
machine. I started out looking at lower priced Gaggias, than at the Sylvia,
and now at an Expobar Pulsar. Does the espresso really taste hundreds of
dollars better if a more expensive machine is purchased or is a $300 - $400
machine plenty good enough?
In my reading of the various forums (forii?) I've seen over and over that a
HX machine is preferred. Since the Pulsar is the least expensive of the HX
machines will it still produce wonderful coffee? It's hard to compare and
decide without being able to touch and see the various machines in person.
Anyone have guidance for me?
Thanks,
Randy
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154) From: Gary Foster
A lot of people say "oh get an HX machine, go for the best of the best of
the best..." and then recommend a $5,000 machine/grinder combo.
I'm going to go out on a limb and say you don't need to spend that much to
get really good espresso.  There's absolutely *nothing* wrong with a
rocky/silvia combo (get the PID kit for the Silvia) and contrary to what a
lot of people claim, you may very  well use it for years and never choose to
"upgrade".
My Silvia/Rocky combo makes superb coffee.  It's a better combination than I
am a barista, that's for sure, and I'm nowhere near pushing the limits of
the machine with my meager skills.  I anticipate having it for a very long
time (it's already done two years of solid service for me with no end in
sight).
-- Gary F.
On 9/2/08 8:48 AM, "Coffee Willard"  wrote:
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155) From: Ira
At 08:48 AM 9/2/2008, you wrote:
<Snip>
More expensive machines tend to be more temperature stable which 
tends to make pulling better shots easier.  HX and dual boiler 
machines make it possible or almost possible to steam and pull shots 
at the same time. Any machine that can maintain the correct 
temperature and pressure for the required 20 to 40 seconds, can pull 
a good shot, more money commonly makes it easier to find that sweet spot.
Ira
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156) From: Les
Gary,
I am glad you are happy with your setup.  And you are correct, the
amount of money spent doesn't mean you automatically get better
espresso.  What you pay for is power and stability.  Espresso 101.
Unless you are buying hype, you are paying for power and stability.
My favorite story is when Alfred (now deceased) called me for some
help.  Since he didn't live that far from me, I went over to help him.
 Talk about primo setup: He had a Giotto, a Mazzer Mini, and a Hottop.
 His first shot was a dribble.  His second shot after showing him how
to adjust the grind wasn't tamped level and channeled all over the
place.  He had me do the third shot, and I earned the name, "Dr.
Crema."  After a couple of more tries I had Alfred dialed in.  If you
want to do milk drinks, I would highly recommend a HX machine.  If you
are going to PID a Silvia you are already spending more than a Expobar
that has a modified E-61 group head with a Heat Exchanger.  Having
owned a Silvia and her sister Anita, I must say they are well built
and have a lot of power.  They do lack stability compared to a E-61
grouphead, and the PID does help.  Really once you are above $1,000.00
there are many good choices out there.  However when all is said and
done, it is the person behind the machine that makes the difference.
The only factor that skill can not overcome is a poor grind, that is
why the grinder is so important.  There now you have my 2 cents worth.
Les
On 9/2/08, Gary Foster  wrote:
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157) From: miKe mcKoffee
<Snip>
For the most part I agree: grinder, beans and the hand more important than
the machine. However, some machines are not as capable as others and their
best can never equal another machines best. Silvia's best with or without a
brew boiler PID cannot equal the Bric' or the Linea or similar machine's
best shots. (Unless extreme modifications done to Sivlia like Andy S's)
As far as single boiler dual use machines like Miss Silvia go a PID can
actually make it LESS intra-shot stable. All the PID does is remove the
aspect of "surfing" the tstat deadband for the "start" of the shot. During
the shot the PID attempts to maintain boiler temp as colder water enters,
heating pulsed to attempt to not over-shoot target temp. Net effect brew
temp actually dives further during the shot than if heater full on. Work
around is to flip the steam switch just before hitting the brew switch. Also
the E61 does little for the additional intra-shot stability but rather group
temp at start of shot and preinfusion, it's preinfusion why it was patented.
Once a passively heated group like Sivlia's is up to temp it's about as
intra-shot stable. Unfortunately it takes 4 to 5 back to back shots to get
Sivlia's group fully up to temp! Shot one to shot 5 good 12f higher at the
group, same start of shot boiler temp. Doesn't matter if Silvia has been
turned on and idle 1/2 or 12 hours, group temp will be way low. Flushing
won't do it, boiler temp dives too fast, gotta be slow flow like during a
shot. This stuff isn't speculation but observed by many long time Silvia
users. Myself first strictly by shot behavior and taste and later confirmed
via Scace Thermofilter. If pulling a seris of shots just by shot 3 the shot
temp will be 4-5f higher! Hence some went with a 2nd PID for Silva that
controlled a group rope heater...intra-shot temp dive so added inlet water
pre-heat and other extreme mods. I had 2nd PID and rope heater in hand but
got the Bric' before getting it installed.
This does not mean a machine like Silvia isn't capable of good to very good
shots. However it takes a much longer learning curve, more work and
knowledge of what you're doing and her best shot is not the best it can be.
So if you can consistently get very good shots from Silvia higher end
machines will be a delight and a breeze.
Kona Konnaisseur miKe mcKoffeehttp://www.mckoffee.com/Ultimately the quest for Koffee Nirvana is a solitary path. To know I must">http://www.mcKonaKoffee.comURL to Rosto mods, FrankenFormer, some recipes etc:http://www.mckoffee.com/Ultimately the quest for Koffee Nirvana is a solitary path. To know I must
first not know. And in knowing know I know not. Each Personal enlightenment
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158) From: Gary Foster
I never meant to imply that Silvia is the be all and end all of espresso
production.  I did mean to say (and I still stand stolidly by my assertion)
that the Silvia can make excellent shots for significantly less of a $$$
investment.  Not everyone has the money to lay down for the higher end HX
machines and their needs are such that they can be very well serviced by the
Silvia.
I find that espresso machine snobbery is every bit as evident as homebrew
beer snobbery (which much to my chagrin I've fallen victim to more than
once), and although I have a $5,000 brew "sculpture" now with pumps,
temperature controllers, digital readouts, etc I made beer just as good (and
won just as many ribbons) when I was using a $10 homebuilt cooler for a mash
tun and boiling my wort on a turkey fryer.  I consider myself a very good
brewer and know the science and the art backwards and forwards and even now,
I have friends who can brew better beer in their hats on an off day than I
can using all my considerable skill, equipment and experience on my best
day.
The same applies for espresso... Once you get to a minimum level of
equipment (good grinder and a machine that's not a steam toy) 95% of the
results are between the portafilter handle and the kitchen.
I stand by my opinion that the Silvia is an *excellent* machine for people
who aren't loaded down with too much extra cash and are willing to work on
perfecting their techniques.  She can grace you with superb shots and even
the occasional semi-mythical "god" shot.  I'm only a fair-to-middling
barista and even I have learned to more often than not build myself a "wow"
americano or an "oh my" traditional cap with a pretty good level of
consistency.
-- Gary F.
On 9/3/08 9:19 AM, "miKe mcKoffee"  wrote:
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159) From: Seth Grandeau
Mike made the comment earlier in this thread that the Silvia was a great
machine for the money, back when it was only $300 or so, but now...
Is there a "best machine for the money" in the $250 - $500 range that will
allow good results?
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160) From: miKe mcKoffee
Gary, have you spent time pulling shots on a good intra-shot and inter-shot
temp stable machines? If no then while you're welcome to your opinion, yet
your opinion Silvia can pull to 95% shot quality of better machines is based
on thin air.
A stock or simply boiler PID'd Silva is not intra-shot stable, and is not
inter-shot stable for that matter until pulling a half dozen consecutive
shots. Based on 3 & 1/2 years with Silvia and numerous head to head machine
comparisons Silvia's best shots are not on par with higher end prosumer
machine's best shots. This isn't snobbery, shot quailty fact. And the
difference can be quite noticable.
And to quote myself from post you where replying to:
"This does not mean a machine like Silvia isn't capable of good to very good
shots. However it takes a much longer learning curve, more work and
knowledge of what you're doing and her best shot is not the best it can be.
So if you can consistently get very good shots from Silvia higher end
machines will be a delight and a breeze."
Kona Konnaisseur miKe mcKoffeehttp://www.mckoffee.com/Ultimately the quest for Koffee Nirvana is a solitary path. To know I must">http://www.mcKonaKoffee.comURL to Rosto mods, FrankenFormer, some recipes etc:http://www.mckoffee.com/Ultimately the quest for Koffee Nirvana is a solitary path. To know I must
first not know. And in knowing know I know not. Each Personal enlightenment
found exploring the many divergent foot steps of Those who have gone before.
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161) From: Barry Luterman
As a former Silvia PID owner and now a Brewtus owner I absolutely
agree with MiKe.
On Wed, Sep 3, 2008 at 9:51 AM, miKe mcKoffee  wrote:
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162) From: Gary Foster
I worked as a barista for 6 months at a very busy boutique coffee
shop.  I don't recall what the machine was (I wasn't as geeky about
coffee then as I am now and it was around 6 years ago) but yes I've
spent 6 months or so pulling shots on a commercial-class machine.
It's where I first learned 'spro (and never have, nor never will
consider myself an expert by any stretch of the imagination).
Yes it was far easier.  No, it wasn't worth spending twice the amount
for my home machine.  The exponential cost increase isn't worth (to
ME) the incremental increase.  If I had more money, my opinion might
be different.  The Silvia (especially if you pick up a well-cared for
used one) is at the perfect intersection point between "good enough
coffee" and "low enough price" to satisfy a LOT of people.
That's the point I'm trying to make here.
No offense intended, but you are a professional, running a coffee shop
every day.  Your opinion is biased because your requirements and
expectations are far higher than a normal "prosumer" :)  That's like
asking a race car driver what's the best commute car, or asking a
professional jumbo jet pilot what's a good hobby plane.  You're going
to get a "biased to the high end" of the scale response.
-- Gary F.
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163) From: Gary Foster
Oh and I'll also add that you misquoted me.  I never claimed that the
Silvia pulls better shots than 95% of the machines.  What I said
*exactly* was: "95% of the
results are between the portafilter handle and the kitchen."
That's a very far cry from the way you interpreted what I said.
-- Gary F.
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164) From: miKe mcKoffee
Wrong. My opinions are based on numerous years home experience and numerous
Gatherings with other serious home roasters and home espresso fiends with as
many as a dozen different "home" espresso machines of various levels pulling
at my house at once. I went "professional" a scant 10 months ago. I've been
a follower of the Dark Side at high quality level far longer. My experiences
with and opinions of Silvia and her capabilities were solidified long before
going professional. I found a great deal and upgraded to a home machine
rated by a very picky professional on par with a Linea in shot quality 2
years before going professional. (and then getting a 3grp Linea) BTW, I
NEVER claimed to be a "normal" prosumer. Quite the contrary. Indeed my
personal standards in coffee are undoubtedly far above "normal" and always
have been. I didn't start drinking coffee until age 30 after tasting fresh
roasted, fresh ground, fresh brewed for the first time in 1984. Coffee has
always been much more than a caffeine delivery system, always a culinary
Journey. Not everyone once thought Foulgers or Charbucks was "good" coffee,
I never did. "Life's too short to drink bad coffee", not just a "saying" in
my life more like a creed. I'll do without before drinking bad coffee,
period. 
Indeed the value of exceptional quality (in the cup) versus lower cost
varies person to person. Spend some time on home-barista.com and you'll find
there are quite a few very serious home baristas out here.
The cheapest Gaggia possible is a far better choice as a starter espresso
machine these days IMO. (still available sub $300 I believe) Unless finding
a very good deal on a used Silvia.
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165) From: Gary Foster
Whatever, Mike.  You win, I concede.  The Silvia is a POS suitable
only for braindead morons and obviously anyone would do better with a
Krups steam toy from their local garage sale.  Not worth wasting the
pixels spent on discussing it anymore, since you obviously seem intent
on viewing it as a black and white "it's bad for everyone" issue and I
seem intent on viewing it as shades of grey "it's an acceptable
machine for certain users".  You seem far more intent on "winning"
this discussion than I do so I'll drop the issue and let you have the
floor.
-- Gary F.
On Wed, Sep 3, 2008 at 1:41 PM, miKe mcKoffee  wrote:
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166) From: Tom Ulmer
I truly believe MiKe shed tears when parting with Silvia...

167) From: Jim Gundlach
And, it was largely in response to Mike's glowing reviews of his  
Silvia that led me to get mine many moons ago.  I had a very good  
couple of years with it and learned much.
        pecan jim
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168) From: Gary Foster
So why do I feel like I'm being beaten like a red-headed stepchild for
simply stating that I think the Silvia is a decent machine and a
perfectly acceptable answer for some people?  It's not like I said
it's the greatest thing since peanut butter or anything...
-- Gary F.
On Wed, Sep 3, 2008 at 3:11 PM, Jim Gundlach  wrote:
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169) From: Mike Koenig
As a current and long time Silvia owner..here's my $0.02 on this big
debate.  miKe may be a bit of a curmudgeon about it, but in general I
believe he's saying not so much that the Silvia is a horrible machine,
but that at today's prices it is not the value it used to be, and I
agree with him.
A number of years ago, before "prosumer" machines were as common as
they are now,  Silvia seemed to be the standard for the high end home
user that didnt' want to spend a big wad of money on the e61 machines
that were available, or a Livia 90.  It had it's quirks, but if you
learned how to deal with them (temp surf or PID) you could produce
good shots,  and you didn't have the aluminum boiler issues of the
Gaggias..
Now, looking at the prices of the Silvia (likely somewhat driven by
the dollar/euro exchange rate), it simply isn't the value that it used
to be, and would be worth it for anyone considering one to look at the
Expobar machines instead.
I produce "good" shots most of the time on my Silvia (PID'ed) far
better than I can find in coffee hell of NJ.  However I know that
there is a quality level that I can never reach (except on rare days,
when the stars line up)  with this machine (which I realize every time
I go into Cafe Grumpy in manhattan and taste shots from their
Synesso).  When I bought it (~5 years ago), it was only $500 and , I
wasn't willing to spend the extra $1000 or so I needed to spend to get
to a higher level machine.   That equation has changed now,  and I am
willing to plunk down the extra cash (which is why I have upgradeitis
right now).  I know I wont get Synesso quality,   but it will put me a
bit closer to the ever elusive "consistent god shot"
At the current $699 price for a new Silvia,  it certainly is worth
spending an extra $100 to get an HX, E61 expobar.
(miKe may be a curmudgeon, but I don't think he's an equipment snob,
on the list, he regularly defends the Rocky grinder against all the
higher end monstrosities)
--mike
On Wed, Sep 3, 2008 at 4:50 PM, Gary Foster  wrote:
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170) From: Gary Foster
Be that as it may (and it may simply be a pricepoint comparison) but I
bought mine before the big price jump... and I regularly see
well-cared for used machines going for sub $500 which I think is a
really good cutoff point.  I still stand by my assertion that once you
get to a certain level of equipment, upgrading the skill level of the
operator behind the portafilter can have a far larger impact than
throwing more cash at a bigger machine.  I hate to see people
intimidated into thinking they have to drop a metric crapton of cash
just to get to "starter level" for 'spro.  It's hard enough getting
people to accept that the grinder is more important than the espresso
machine as it is.
In my brewing group of friends we constantly tell people "buying
better equipment won't make you a better brewer".  Same with music,
spending 10 large on a guitar won't make me a musician, and my big
baby taylor is a perfectly good guitar for me until my skill level
outstrips it (which will be sometime in the summer of 2074 if I
estimate correctly).
-- Gary F
On Wed, Sep 3, 2008 at 3:36 PM, Mike Koenig  wrote:
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171) From: miKe mcKoffee
OTOH once your skill level reaches a certain point equipment can most
certainly make a difference. While a Senior in high school I was also 1st
chair clarinet at the local communtiy college concert band. I was attempting
to learn the opening solo glissando in Gershwins' Rhapsody in Blue but just
couldn't do it. One day while I struggled the Conductor, who happened to be
a woodwind specialist, ask for my clarinet so he could demonstrate the
technique. He couldn't do it with my clarinet either! My clarinet was
incapable of the advanced technique. I used one of his clarinets the rest of
the concert season no problems. So your analogy breaks down though in fact I
agree with the analogy. IF someone does not know the limitations of their
equipment they don't know what they don't know and any potential of better
equipment might yield is moot. If someone discovers the limitations of their
equipment yet do not want to go beyond the limitations of their equipment as
demonstrated that's fine and their choice. I was demonstrated the
limitations of my old clarinet and haven't picked it up since. I learned the
limitations of my long cherished Miss Silvia, let her go to a new home, and
moved on to expanded espresso horizons.
And for the record multiple times this thread I said Silvia was capable of
producing good to very good 'spro, never once said anything to the contrary.
Never said Silvia was a POS, seems some defensive Silvia owner said it. I'd
be loath to say such a thing, her "Family" relatives would get me...
I didn't go into this thread as an argument, rather stating facts and
observations from over the years.
Kona Kurmudgeon miKe mcKoffee
www.mcKonaKoffee.com
URL to Rosto mods, FrankenFormer, some recipes etc:http://www.mckoffee.com/Ultimately the quest for Koffee Nirvana is a solitary path. To know I must
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172) From: Seth Grandeau
"Now, looking at the prices of the Silvia (likely somewhat driven by
the dollar/euro exchange rate), it simply isn't the value that it used
to be, and would be worth it for anyone considering one to look at the
Expobar machines instead."
Wouldn't Expobar face the same dollar/euro exchange rate issues?
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173) From: Mike Koenig
I think they are made in Spain - might cost less to manufacture there..
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174) From: Les
What a debate!  Do you like the shot you are pulling?  Is it full of
flavor and not bitter?  Is it liquid silk as you sip it?  Does it have
nice crema?  Can you repeat the shot at least 75-80% of the time.  Do
you enjoy the machine?  It is fun to turn it on and make a fine
elixir?  Can you pull all the shots you want or are you taxing your
machine to the limit?  If the answer to all of these questions is a
yes, then you have a good espresso machine.  Like many have stated on
this thread, they bought a Silvia because of Mike McKoffee.  I bought
one too.  However, I had two people in the house that had to have
Cappos.  I really hated having to go back and forth with the steam
switch.  So, I went to a HX machine.  I have pulled shots on all kinds
of machines.  Personally, I like the shots from my lever machines more
than from any other machine.  The only pump machine that matches their
silkiness that I have used is a LM commercial machine.  Mike's Bric
comes close.  I am very impressed with the Gaggia Achille.  I was
impressed at Rudy's the first time I used an Achille.  Playing with
Alchemist John's Achille really won me over.  It is a HX lever that
uses a standard 58mm tamper.  It has its weaknesses, but it sure is a
fun machine and pulls awesome shots.
Les aka Dr. Crema
PS Gary, you are right it is the guy behind the machine that makes the
real difference.  I think Mike was saying much of the same, in that he
was giving empirical data to show that with some machines, it is
easier for the guy or gal behind the machine to pull a good shot.  I
have helped a half dozen or so Silvia owners dial in their machines,
and they are getting fine espresso.  I don't think they have upgrade
fever.
On Wed, Sep 3, 2008 at 7:41 PM, Mike Koenig  wrote:
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175) From: Robert Yoder
MiKe,
 =
The Clarinet and the Conductor is a Perfect Parable!  Thanks for giving it =
to us!
 =
robert > From: mcKona> To: homeroast=
m> Date: Wed, 3 Sep 2008 16:38:25 -0700> Subject: Re: [Homeroast] Espresso =
machine> > OTOH once your skill level reaches a certain point equipment can=
 most> certainly make a difference. While a Senior in high school I was als=
o 1st> chair clarinet at the local communtiy college concert band. I was at=
tempting> to learn the opening solo glissando in Gershwins' Rhapsody in Blu=
e but just> couldn't do it. One day while I struggled the Conductor, who ha=
ppened to be> a woodwind specialist, ask for my clarinet so he could demons=
trate the> technique. He couldn't do it with my clarinet either! My clarine=
t was> incapable of the advanced technique. I used one of his clarinets the=
 rest of> the concert season no problems. So your analogy breaks down thoug=
h in fact I> agree with the analogy. IF someone does not know the limitatio=
ns of their> equipment they don't know what they don't know and any potenti=
al of better> equipment might yield is moot. If someone discovers the limit=
ations of their> equipment yet do not want to go beyond the limitations of =
their equipment as> demonstrated that's fine and their choice. I was demons=
trated the> limitations of my old clarinet and haven't picked it up since. =
I learned the> limitations of my long cherished Miss Silvia, let her go to =
a new home, and> moved on to expanded espresso horizons.> > And for the rec=
ord multiple times this thread I said Silvia was capable of> producing good=
 to very good 'spro, never once said anything to the contrary.> Never said =
Silvia was a POS, seems some defensive Silvia owner said it. I'd> be loath =
to say such a thing, her "Family" relatives would get me...> > I didn't go =
into this thread as an argument, rather stating facts and> observations fro=
m over the years.> > Kona Kurmudgeon miKe mcKoffee> www.mcKonaKoffee.com> U=
RL to Rosto mods, FrankenFormer, some recipes etc:>http://www.mckoffee.com=/> > Ultimately the quest for Koffee Nirvana is a solitary path. To know I =
must> first not know. And in knowing know I know not. Each Personal enlight=
enment> found exploring the many divergent foot steps of Those who have gon=
e before.> > Pacific Northwest Gathering VII>http://home.comcast.net/~mcko=na/PNWGVII.htm> > Sweet Maria's List - Searchable Archives>http://themeyer=s.org/HomeRoast/ > > > >

176) From: Sandy Andina
I agree--my Silvia was $495 new (but the seller threw in $20 in eBay  
gift certificates, making it $475).  If it's up to $700, I'd spring  
for an Expobar too were I looking for my first "real" machine.
On Sep 3, 2008, at 5:36 PM, Mike Koenig wrote:
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Sandy Andina
www.myspace.com/sandyandina
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177) From: Sandy Andina
I used just a Silvia for six months and tend to agree with Gary--but the
difference when I switched to a Rocky grinder was dramatic.  The
reason to upgrade to an HX or dual boiler is the ability to brew and
steam in quantity and quick succession (but with an HX you still have
to wait up to a minute or--on an e61--pull a cooling flush to get
optimum pressure and temp).  The Silvia made much better shots and
microfoam than I ever got out of a Saeco, Krups or Capresso pumper. It
was the grinder that took the Silvia to the next level (and now that I
have a Mazzer Mini that can be steplessly adjusted, the difference is
even more dramatic--during the months after my Livia broke and I
bought an Andreja Prem./LaCora,  the Silvia/Mazzer did beautifully
albeit in smaller capacity).
Sandy Andina
www.myspace.com/sandyandina
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178) From: miKe mcKoffee
<Snip>
Not just easier from a usage standpoint, I 'was' also saying that some
machines are not as capable of the same quality shot as others. To believe a
relatively lower end prosumer machine like Miss Silvia is actually capable
of the same consistent high quality shots as a Synesso or La Marzocco or
Nuova Simonelli is kidding oneself regardless who's on the handle side of
the portafilter. Consistently decent, usually good, quite often very good,
occasionally exceptional shots yes but can never attain near the best shot
of the best machines. Silva's best shots are routine with the Bric' or Linea
and Silvia is not capable of matching either's best shots. Silvia just does
not have the shot temp stability I don't care how you surf her or if boiler
PID'd doesn't matter. Andy S has the only Silvia on Earth I know of that's
capable of matching the top machines and his list of modications is extreme
to say the least including boiler PID, group heater PID, boiler inlet water
pre-heater (via Krups thermoblock IIRC), variable pre-infusion, rotary pump.
Those are the mods I recall and there may well be others he did to bring her
to World Class shot capabiltiy. (IIRC he does no milk drinks so couldn't
care less about steaming.)
And in reality while the shot difference may be very real and even extreme
to some it may be minor or not perceived at all by others. Indeed some may
actually believe Silvia capable of matching shot quality with the likes of a
GS3, I know better from experience. Yet palates vary in what they can taste
so for some there may be little or no difference. But unless someone has the
opportunity to pull shots with the same coffee with the same grinder with
Silvia head to head with other machines there is little or no basis for
comparison. Which is usually the case. 
To be clear I am NOT advocating upgrading for the sake of upgrading. There
is nothing wrong with someone using Silvia to the end of their days, unless
and until they themselves discover Silvia's limitations and choose to take
espresso to the next level. Some will, some won't, so what.
Just as some get into home roasting primarily attempting to elevate quality
while others primarily to save money over buying pre-roasted. Both valid
paths with different priorities and goals.
Kona Konnaisseur miKe mcKoffeehttp://www.mckoffee.com/Ultimately the quest for Koffee Nirvana is a solitary path. To know I must">http://www.mcKonaKoffee.comURL to Rosto mods, FrankenFormer, some recipes etc:http://www.mckoffee.com/Ultimately the quest for Koffee Nirvana is a solitary path. To know I must
first not know. And in knowing know I know not. Each Personal enlightenment
found exploring the many divergent foot steps of Those who have gone before.
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179) From: Les
Well said, Mike.  What is sad is when you get a shot from a Synesso or
La Marzocco or Nuova Simonelli that tastes worse than one out of a
Krups or DeLongi.  One of the reasons I believe the lever (true lever
not E61) machines deliver such good shots is the temperature stability
that is inherent with the full column of water being pre-loaded into a
pre-heated cylinder immediately before pulling the shot.  Simple but
effective.  If I had the money, there would be a La Marzocco GS3
sitting on my counter.  I have had Mike McKoffee shots from a Silvia,
Bric and La Marzocco.  They were all excellent shots, but the one from
the La Marzocco was the sweetest and had the best mouth feel of all of
them.  Why?  It is simple, Power and Stability.  I doubt the La
Marzocco dropped a half a degree through the whole shot.  My guess is
the pressure was steady as a rock.  The good news is that us home
baristias are making some awesome espresso with great beans, good
roasters, grinders, and espresso machines.  Enjoy the journey.
Les
On 9/4/08, miKe mcKoffee  wrote:
<Snip>
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180) From: miKe mcKoffee
So sad but true. Got one of the worst dopios in a long time up the street a
couple weeks ago. (I won't name the place.) Stumptown Hairbender ground with
a Mazzer Major pulled on a Linea, pulled both too fast and over extracted,
terribly thin and sour. Great beans, great equipment, terrible barista.
Kona Konnaisseur miKe mcKoffeehttp://www.mckoffee.com/Ultimately the quest for Koffee Nirvana is a solitary path. To know I must">http://www.mcKonaKoffee.comURL to Rosto mods, FrankenFormer, some recipes etc:http://www.mckoffee.com/Ultimately the quest for Koffee Nirvana is a solitary path. To know I must
first not know. And in knowing know I know not. Each Personal enlightenment
found exploring the many divergent foot steps of Those who have gone before.
Pacific Northwest Gathering VIIhttp://themeyers.org/HomeRoast/">http://home.comcast.net/~mckona/PNWGVII.htmSweet Maria's List - Searchable Archiveshttp://themeyers.org/HomeRoast/
<Snip>
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