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Everything posted by DonRJ

  1. Well its been three or so happy years using my ex cafe mk 1 Rancilio Epoca but it has become rather tired and something has given up. I could have had the old girl refurbed but decided to have something new and shiny. So a road trip to Bella Batista was in order and a very pleasant experience it has been, lovely staff who were knowledgeable and gave me plenty of time to have a good look at the equipment on offer. The outcome was the purchase of an ECM Barista HX machine which I am delighted with, a little bit of grinder tweakery and the shots are coming out very nicely. I did get a five hole tip for the steam arm which I prefer over the standard two holer. BB also provided a goodie box including cups, saucers and a wee jug plus a few bags of their beans which I will dig into soon.
  2. I`m using the Espresso Parts HQ double basket which seems well made, works well and is a lot less than the VST ones. Got it purely because my Rancilio Epoca one had deformed slightly. TBH I think the VST baskets are well OTT on the price.
  3. What sort of budget are you considering? this could help us give some suggestions on equipment If you are prepared to get onto the espresso learning curve, the route Ron advises is the way to go. The budget would have to cover an espresso machine, grinder and decent tamper as well as a milk steaming jug. The end result will be more satisfying in terms of the quality of espresso and the skills you would develop. Don
  4. I`m with Vintage on this, just get the best grinder you can afford. Cannot comment on the K30 as never tried one.
  5. I think you might be struggling to find one that produces any form of crema other than the Bialetti Brikka which is of course aluminium. I assume you have an induction hob, all the stainless steel ones I have seen are just variations of the standard moka pot which don`t do anything resembling crema.
  6. DonRJ

    where to start

    The Gaggia Classic is probably the most commonly owned machine for forum members either now or as the machine that set them off on the espresso path.
  7. And now ready for delivery should be with you Thursday
  8. :coffee:The expensive hobby comment got me doing a rough calculation on the cost of coffee at home compared to drinking the same amount in a High Street coffee shop. My very rough calculation was that I would spend around £1900 more in the coffee shop than at home. That was 18 coffees a week for a year, less home drink making consumables and electrickery So clearly any espresso machine up to around Izzo Alex Duetto outlay is a money saving bargain:coffee: And yes that is very green,white and shiny kinda kitchen.
  9. Just to confirm,the Silvia is sold to CoffeeGeek
  10. Piccies for CoffeeGeek
  11. When I was contemplating my next (final he says) machine which was planned to be bought next summer as a retirement present having had to delay my retirement planned for this year, I had two paths in mind. One was the throw financial caution to the wind and buy something along the lines of an Izzo Alex Duetto or La Spaziale Vivaldi, the other was to go for something like a Fracino Cherub or Nuova Simonelli Oscar getting maximum machine for the least outlay. Needless to say, I got to roaming around the internet just in case a "bargain" came up that I could not resist. I nearly put offers in for a Heavenly, La Cimbali, Rocket, Iberital and an Expobar but always decided against it in the final analysis. Rather glad I did as I am smitten with the Epoca but it is great to see some of my possible choices being used and enjoyed by fellow Coffee Forum members and I`m sure with equal enthusiasm to my own for the lovely espresso that results.
  12. Good idea on the spacer, I have got to order a couple of spare seals as the one used was my last spare and will give it a go. I have cracked the steaming with a wee bit of practise, the huge increase in power took a bit of adjusting to.
  13. It was the engineering that struck a chord so to speak and if you check this link which I have just found, there is definite link. http://www.versalab.com/server/versadyn/players1.html Don
  14. That Versalab grinder is a bit wild, strangely reminds me of the engineering in a high end hifi turntable.
  15. Hmm, theres a theme developing here. Food - love to cook, do it every day and will turn my hand to anything except baking. Sadie is the baker in the house and way better at it than me. Wine, spirits and beer - love a really good Rioja and properly made hoppy beer. I do love a good single malt whisky, but only rarely treat myself nowadays. Cheese - yes that as well, I like too many to mention preferably squishy and smelly, especially with Doriano crackers or oatcakes
  16. Given that a fair few of us have gone moderately overboard on our espresso machine and / or grinders, I thought it would be interesting to run a thread about the equipment we have that fits the category. For me:- Rancilio Epoca ST1 - 3.9 litre boiler single group HX machine weighing in at a modest 28 kg with a footprint of 385mm x 565mm. Pros Great thermal stabilty, steam power, shot consistency, copious hot water for Americano`s and ahem, the washing up, easy access to boiler drain for maintenance, big and easy to empty drip tray. Cons - Its a bit big, the water reservoir is only 2 litres. Mazzer Royal grinder weighing in at 27 kg and 720mm height. Pros - Consistency of grind, easily tweaked grind setting, very little grind retention once you have the doser vanes adjusted. Cons It towers over everything in the kitchen including me,
  17. Update Have done a few shots this morning so very awake, shot consistency is outstanding and I am refining my cooling flush timing as I go. Microfoam now easy to produce as long as I don`t whack the steam knob fully open and it still takes less than 30 seconds to steam 600ml of milk. What I realised was that the enormous steaming power at full roar resulted in my milk thermometer not being able to keep up with the speed of the heating process, so it was under reading - I need a faster responding one. I was shutting steam off at a 70C on the dial and the milk was actually over 80c when the thermometer caught up.
  18. Give me a chance to at least try and look like I know what I`m doing first and then I will do a video, but bear in mind I have the cinematographic skills of Ed Wood.
  19. The beast has arrived courtesy of Sadie collecting it for me today. A bit of cleaning was required but not much and the boiler has been thoroughly flushed through. The grouphead seal was knackered but I had a spare for the Silvia which fits but is perhaps not as thick so will have to check online (nope, there seems to be only one size). First shot was a stinker but since then very good if not quite exceptional, milk steaming is stupidly rapid and i boiled the first go, I`m improving albeit slowly. Sadies comment once I deemed that I had produced a shot worthy of her consideration was that the flavour was "richer" than with the Silvia. Love the non compression valves and having a drip tray worthy of the name. Piccies Yes it is somewhat large and dwarfs little Silvia but not the mighty MAZZER.
  20. My much loved and carefully maintained Silvia is for sale, always used with filtered water and regularly descaled. New pump and group seal fitted this year and has a handy little thermometer mod (easily removed) which monitors boiler temp. Only selling due to an upgrade. Offers in the region of £225, postage / courier would be extra so collection preferred from North Lincolnshire with payment on collection. Don
  21. Second hand buy at a very good price and looks to be in excellent condition. I will no doubt do a blow by blow account of how I get on plus piccies once set up in the coffee corner or as Sadie says "half the kitchen, not just a corner"
  22. As you say Expo it is very similar spec to the S20 machines, I am looking forward to some serious steam power and really good thermal stability with this baby. Big boiler and a chunky group assembly, the machine weighs 28kg empty. The steam wand looks to be very similar to the Silvia but more holes in the tip and the water reservoir is exactly the same one as the Silvia, I will have to fill it twice just to prime the boiler
  23. My lady wife is off on a road trip tomorrow to collect one of these for me. A Rancilio Epoca tank model, that should keep the upgradeitis at bay, hopefully forever and my Mazzer Royal will not look so OTT anymore perhaps. Needless to say there will be a Rancilio Silvia up for sale on this very forum so open to sensible offers. Don
  24. The powder goes into a solution in the portafilter when you use it so it is a liquid that goes into the machine. A few flushes/ rinses and there is no residue. Bear in mind these powders have been specifically designed for espresso machine cleaning and have been in use for years all over the world because they work.
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