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About Blaven

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    Brewing Nicely

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  1. I don’t think anyone’s mentioned the old Yamaha TDM 800 (vastly underrated and a lot of fun)! Big torquey twin.
  2. I know the OP post has deviated somewhat from his original question, but I can’t resist posting this. I saw one in The Hague last spring. What a jewel.
  3. Have you contacted them to check? Which thermometer did you get, and are you pleased with it?
  4. I have exactly the same combination, and settled down very quickly to the HX machine. I had heard that DaveC UK had compiled and written a guide to the use of the machine for Bella Barista. This was a great help to further understanding it, over and above the manual. Mind you, I *did* buy the Mara from BB, and so, they did send me the supplement.
  5. After tens of thousands of miles on many different bikes I ended up on a Burgman. Amazingly good, and its configuration prevents you from riding like a hoon. Image problem, maybe, but all the rage in France.
  6. On our infrequent visits south of the border, we buy from Waitrose or Booths. M&S stopped the loose tea some years ago. We empty the shelves I’m afraid. Obviously available from many other sources, but quite happy with the above sources. The Champagne of teas! The thought of putting milk in tea is now anathema, and has been for many years.
  7. Have you tried weak (dark straw coloured) Darjeerling. 2 mins max brewing before pouring? Loose tea, not teabags! One heaped teaspoon in a pot for two. I can’t drink any other tea now. The Dutch are into mint tea in a big way. Served in a tall glass with a squeezy bottle of honey. Lovely!
  8. This, from Home-Barista.com “I've been reviewing a beta version of the machine for the last three months. The claims are mostly correct: This is a very basic, small boiler, HX, vibe pump E61 box with specs mostly identical to the base Mara. What's different are the controls. There is a PID in the steam boiler which switches between two set points, one at around 2 bar, one at 1 bar. The setpoint chosen depends on the the temperature of the water returning from the thermosyphon into the boiler. This approximates the group temperature, and since this is a massive E61 group, it is also close to the same as the shot temperature, whether the boiler is at 2 bar, 1 bar, or somewhere in between. The result is that you can make a no flush shot that goes as long as you like without worrying about temperature. But you aren't going to get a whole lot of precision either, roughly 90 to 92 at the low setting, 94 to 96 at the high, and 92 to 94 for the middle setting. This is about the same as you can get with Eric's group head thermometer and a flushing regime. Personally, I much preferred using this control to having to do it myself. But I've been spoiled with the Strega and Bianca, which are no fuss machines when it comes to managing temperature. The three position switch is an honest control, since the nature of group makes anything more precise than about a 2C range on shot temperature impossible. For instance, on dual boiler E61s, the precise adjustablilty of the brew boiler is to some extent an illusion, since the shot temperature will also vary up or down in a two degree envelope or so. A three position switch would work just as well on an E61 DB. On a historical note: Over the last fifty years, many companies have patented thermosyphon based active controls; and none, as far as I know, have made it into production. They've all been too finicky. Us hobbyists also have not come up with anything stable. What Lelit is doing, switching the boiler between a low and high setting based on the thermosyphon return, may sound really simple, but that is very good engineering in my book, a simple, stable solution to a fairly tricky controls problem. In addition, Lelit has tweaked the group jet and and expansion valves so that you can use very fine grinds on this machine without choking it. It isn't quite as versatile as having a needle valve kit installed, but it does get close. Note: I have not used the regular Mara, so I don't know if that has the same fine grind tweaks. I am instead comparing it to older E61 boxes I've used. Steaming is trippy, since you get close to commercial speed performance when the steam is up at 2 bar; and rockaby-baby-HX performance when it's down at 1 bar. There's also an initial warm up accelerator in the controls (similar to the Bianca), so if you catch it just right after start up, you'll see the steam up at 2.75 bar (!), and get a real rush on your cappa. (or a near heart attack the first time you see it, when you expect to get blown across room -- I'm sure the updated manual will clearly note this tweak) I don't know what the price premium is on this version of the HX, but in terms of stability and no fuss, it gets you to about the same place as a double boiler E61, in a fairly compact, counter space friendly package. I enjoyed using it. But people should note, this is not a "high tech" machine; it is a basic espresso machine that has been polished so it works like a simple tool, making no fuss shots. It's not a machine for people who want a lot of precise adjustments, or a lot of during-the-shot control.” Jim Schulman
  9. I took advice and went for a Lelit Mara. Again I took advice and rejected the PID version as being of little extra benefit. Once the cooling flush technique is mastered, it gives good coffee. It is extremely well made. I had the lid off it recently just for a check and I was impressed by the level of engineering. I like whistles and bells on a machine as much as anyone, but when you’re staggering about in the kitchen in the morning just wanting a great coffee, simplicity can be a great bonus. And in my opinion the price is excellent from Bella Barista. The new X model looks intriguing though.
  10. Hi Ajc. No, I don’t have any pics. I didn’t think to take any yesterday when I cleaned and packed it in it’s original box. Suffice it to say it is pretty flawless, and stock pictures taken from the Eureka website would be indistinguishable anyway. And my photographic skills are not the best! I’ve always liked the Matt black finish with the chrome. It looks classy. It’s a great grinder and would happily have kept it. Certainly gave me good espresso. I’m selling because my wife allowed me to buy a Niche grinder as an early Christmas present! Upgradeitis. I’m with my son in Chelford over the period you describe. If you wish, you could certainly check it out then. The only problem with that, is someone more local to me might wish to buy it before I travel as far south as Chelford.
  11. Bought new from Bella Barista in April this year. Matt Black with chrome top and chute. Pretty immaculate and carefully used for two shots a day, ( although not during May or September). Original box and packing. Handbook. Balance of guarantee until 04/04/21. Now cleaned and packed away. I live in Scottish Highlands. Sending largish parcels can be problematic and costly. I can arrange a meet in Inverness area. I am in Glasgow 2,3,4 December, and in Knutsford area over Christmas. Also Kendal (Natland) 20/21st.December. £290 no offers
  12. Don’t forget to unplug before you drive off!
  13. 40 Watts won’t break the bank. Cheaper than your livelihood being compromised by equipment malfunction. We have them in my wife’s wardrobe. Stops her shoe collection going mouldy!
  14. Can you run a cable out to the van from your home?
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