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CoffeeAnon

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    Winchester, UK
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    Coffee making and...er, coffee
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    IT consultant

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  1. After extensive research I have just bought a Minima from David at BCC. I found him to be helpful and impartial with his advice. Machine was tested and delivered without a hitch. The delivery man from pallet network very kindly unloaded and unhitched the machine from the pallet when he saw the look on my wife’s face! Overall a very satisfactory experience. I’m reassured by David’s manner and his verbalised commitment that he’s in it for the long haul that in the event of a problem there will be an easy route to resolution. Very happy with machine and with seller!
  2. Well, I have to say I’m dead pleased. Initial impressions and what I like: 1. coffee taste! Picked out some really subtle notes that had me thinking I’d spent £3.50+ at some beardy barrista cafe. Wasn’t perfect (I almost certainly ground too fine) but it really beat by the country mile my old KitchenAid banger (the one with the Gaggia innards). This was exactly what I was looking for, just a great taste. And I know I can do even better. If I got to 7.5/10 today I’m fairly sure the machine, with more knowledge/experience on my side, will enhance my fairly basic technique and output in time. I did feel it was forgiving overall; or maybe I got lucky? 2. Milk steaming: @DavecUK wasn’t telling it wrong when he said how powerful the steam was. I’ve had to adapt my technique greatly; lovely texture, really shiny and sweet with a rich velvety mouth feel. My wife and I are very keen cap drinkers so this was a big win for us both. 3. Looks and footprint: personally, I think it is a thing of beauty. The steam wand, set at an angle, really looks very modern and complements the classic looking E61 group head well. It’s also not too big. We have an average sized kitchen and it doesn’t dominate at all. (On reflection, a Vesuvius would have been too big.) 4. build: it feels very well screwed together. The drip tray, a bug bear for certain forum members, seems fine and I get why if it was any thicker it’d probably rattle. (Instructions are very well written and easy to follow too.) 5. Simplicity: the whole ethos of ‘just deliver only the necessary set of features’ really shines through. Whilst I don’t deny that pressure profiling etc. would be a lot of fun, I don’t have sufficient time in my (working) day to really exploit the potential of a machine like the V. I see the virtue in just pulling a shot with everything working as it should such that I can focus on getting all the basics right and let the quality of the machine do the rest. Summary: Overall, my first day has been fantastic. I think waiting 2 years to see if I’d actually carry on with the habit/hobby was the right approach, given that even with a reasonable bit of experience behind me I still approached the machine with a certain amount of trepidation! I have a strong sense that this may well be all the machine I’ll need (along I can’t deny I may ‘want’ more somewhere along the way.) The forum really really helped. I also read and reread Dave Corbey’s reviews over and over. I made the right choice.
  3. A big thank you to everyone who helped me decide in my previous topic, '2nd hand Vesuvius vs Minima vs Lelit Elizabeth'. I went for a new Minima for all the good reasons (quality of build, quality of output, durability, simplicity) a number of you pointed out. In the end, I felt that the V, whilst an incredible machine, was just that bit too much in terms of cost and capability for where I am right now. I also think it's sometimes nice to have something to look forward to (I once bought a second hand but fantastic 4.2l V8 Merc coupe not long after I'd started driving as was young, free, single back then with a few quid burning a hole in the current account. Sold it 3 months later as it was just too much at the time!) @DavecUK especially grateful to you for your reviews, comments and advice. @BlackCatCoffee and thanks to David for offering an honest appraisal of the machine and also for the forum discount! Anyhow, I shall be posting about progress and what I learn along the way. Ta.
  4. I used the ‘lens hood mod’ which works amazingly well, where you place a plastic lid on top of the lens cover and push down quickly to are a bellows effect (the lid that came with the SJ works great; but a beer mat is fine too). Someone posted a video about this where it’s much easier to view than explain but I couldn’ t find the link. but @Banjomanwrote a good description about this mod: With the rubber lens hood mod, I don't find retention a problem at all. If you don't know what the rubber lens hood mod is - you put it in place of the hopper; then after grinding, put some kind of lid (I use a beer mat!) on the extended lens hood; then push down hard on the lenshood to collapse it quickly, thereby forcing air quickly through the grinder and out through the chute. This clears a lot of the retained grind. I find a retention of 0.1 to 0.2g is normal using this method. you can get a 58mm lens hood for about £6-8 on eBay it’s awesome!
  5. Vesuvius fast warm: Bella Barrista old web page for the V states that 'fast warm' was going to be shipped in retail machines. Is this the case? @DavecUK Would you happen to know what the warm up time is for the V?
  6. @StevebeeI just specced up the entry level Decent and it came out at £4.1k! That won’t be happening then for as long as I wish to remain (happily) married. @DavecUKthanks for clarifying the Vesuvius pump issue. Also, do you know why Bella Barista stopped selling the Vesuvius and Minima? The only retailer I could find selling the V was cafeboxshifta (Italia) and I know the forum members in the know recommend that one doesn’t purchase high end machines from such outfits.
  7. @MediumRoastSteamre: your Elizabeth- can you get shots that make you smile, the kind we used to get from fancy cafes produced by the ubiquitous bearded barista? The kind you never resent paying £3 for. The kind that makes the day start well. Sorry to get all poetic but that’s how the brown stuff can make me feel (my wife does laugh at me!!)
  8. Also, I saw something on another forum about how the Lelit Bianca could produce comparable shots to the Vesuvius but without the automation the V provides. Has anyone done a taste test side by side of these two machines?
  9. @Stevebeei did some more looking and found (I think) an answer to my question about the differences between early amd later Vesuvius machines: Early Production Adjustments The early production runs of Vesuvius machines had a few issues with them that were not abnormal to any first generation product. Some early machines originally shipped with an undersized plug, which caused a few electrical issues, and was addressed relatively quickly. The Vesuvius and some other high-end machines used a pump that wasn’t capable of maintaining pressure. This was a flaw of the pump manufacturer, not the machine, and has since been addressed. An updated version of the Vesuvius has been shipping for some time now, which includes those fixes, along with a few other improvements. This includes more robust vacuum breakers, an improved water detection sensor, and using metal tubing in place of PTFE tubing.‘ https://engineering-espresso.com/2019/03/31/hello-vesuvius/
  10. Hi SteveBee, yes I read the articles Rincewind kindly pointed me to. PaoloC himself (ACS Vesuvius designer) actually interjected on one of these discussions, which I thought was great. Do you have any knowledge about the differences between V1,2,3 versions of the Vesuvius?
  11. The warm up time of the Vesuvius puts me off a bit. We often have our coffee at different times. @DavecUK ‘s review of the Elizabeth mentioned how it costs very little to keep running all day, which is attractive. @MediumRoastSteamyou mentioned that the Vesuvius is by far the superior machine. Is that because of the profiling feature or, in a blind taste test, would it be obvious how much better it was when compared to the Minima and Elizabeth? This is at the heart of my original question: which is the blow you away machine if you remove all the bells and whistles? Fundamentally I want to pull the ‘God shot’ or get as close as I can! Reliability comes second on the list. Maintenance third.
  12. But the Liz is fine for 2 coffees in the same session even with that size of boiler? I don't mind refilling at all within a session....
  13. @simplymeWhat is the quality of the output from the Elizabeth? My primary objective was to understand if I could get (close to) top end taste from the Minima or the Elizabeth? (I understand that the Vesuvius will provide amazing coffee but probably needs a higher end grinder than the SJ I have...) Are you wowed by the stuff your Elizabeth produces?
  14. danielpugh - thanks to you and Dallah for your prompt responses. Re: SJ, I did the lens hood mod and it has worked a treat. I lose a little bit to retention but really not very much at all. Your advice to start simple suggests that the Minima is actually the machine to go with then? The Elizabeth has some electronic trickery, as I understand it, that supports preinfusion. The Minima is the simplest (?)DB E61 machine around at that price...? Also, whilst I've read loads on the forum about Vesuvius I've never been able to establish if the v1.0 Vesuvius (the version on sale right now in this forum) suffered from any early teething problems and if there are any significant reliability and functionality differences between V1, V2 - V3 machines. Does anyone have any more accurate knowledge on this subject?
  15. Hi everyone, Firstly I want to say how much I appreciate all the great advice and commentary in these forums. I’ve learnt so much and really enjoy reading them in the few moments I have to myself each day (3 kids; 3 rabbits; need to maintain a good work / wife balance, etc.) I bought a Mazzer SJ on the advice offered here last year and it really has made a significant difference! having taught myself to pull mostly ok / sometimes even quite good shots over the past 2 years using my KitchenAid-pseudo dual-boiler-Gaggia-guts-derived machine twinned with a Mazzer SJ, I’ve reached that moment every self-taught amateur barrista in these forums does when they honestly believe it’s not them but their tools that are holding them back. In short, I want to upgrade. I’ve read most of the posts about the above machines but wish to ask one simple question: given that I’m no pro which machine is most likely to provide reliably good shots of the kind that would equal the coffee you might get in a good, but not top tier, coffee shop? a bit more about me and our needs: 1. cappuccino drinkers primarily. 2. Typically make two double shot based milky drinks 3 X per day X 2 for me and my equally caffeine-keen wife (6 or so coffees per day). 3. don’t mind cleaning and maintenance at all. 4. will use Ashbeck bottled water. 5. Can stretch to £1400 ish top end (note that there is a Vesuvius on sale on this forum for £1500). 6. Just want the very best result I have the right to expect given my current abilities, but am willing to continually learn, study. 7. I like all roasts but am increasingly tending towards medium and light on account of the fact that my palette is improving and more subtle flavours are starting to reveal themselves. 8. Buy local roastery coffee @£30 odd per kilo (so not skimping!) 9. Intend to keep the Super Jolly as can’t afford to upgrade the grinder as well right now. 10. Prepared to invest in servicing etc but do want a proven reliable machine. 11. Want something that will grow with me. thoughts? thank you. Chris
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