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spookym

Minima v Bianca

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Hi all

I have had a Europiccola and Iberital Mc2 for years, but the kids are now starting to drink coffee and am looking for  something better for 3 or 4 cups (temp stability on the Europiccola an issue). Have ordered a Niche and am currently thinking about a Minima or Bianca. Other than profiling (which I could add later to the Minima) does the Bianca offer anything more?  Also am slightly nervous that my 'upgrade' from Europiccola wont end up feeling like one, so looking for reassurance from anyone who has been in a similar position!

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I hear you. I have a Niche and Europiccola! 🙌

Prior to that I had a full blown dual boiler setup: A Profitec P-700 and a Profitec T-64 grinder, and then a Kinu M68. 

So, as you can see, I downgraded to the Europiccola and Niche... Why? Well, I'm the sole coffee drinker in the house, so it was all an overkill for me. It's been about 2 years with the Europiccola, and it's been serving me well.

The problem is when there's more than two people drinking coffee, and, I'd say, even two people, in my opinion, can be a chore. When my parents visited last (they live abroad) it was hard work to get 3 lattes for breakfast every morning. In fact, it was painful. The group definitely overheated. It was absolutely not an issue what so ever with the Pro-700 back in the day, however. I could keep banging one coffee after the other, and, frankly, I could even steam the milk at the same time. It was all over in less than 8 minutes. I didn't have the Niche back then, but you can easily leave the Niche grinding the next dose into the cup while you make your coffee, providing you pre-weight everything. 

So, with the Niche Zero, no issues with that what so ever. 👌 - Great grinder.

Sadly, the same cannot be said about the Europiccola, in my experience. Don't get me wrong, it's a great machine. When I fancy a coffee, I turn it on, I wait 10 minutes and make my coffee. I turn it off and wait until I want to make another coffee. I'd say it's a great machine for one person to grab a coffee now and again when you fancy a coffee. It does not cope Well if you want to make coffees for a few people in one go and follow a routine. For that, you'd be better off with the machines you say, or, dare I say... Have you considered the Lelit MaraX?

Recently, I've been thinking of letting the Pavoni go. I keep looking at the Minima, the Lelit Elizabeth and the MaraX, and, quite frankly, I do miss the coffee my Profitec P700 used to make. But then again, that took 45 minutes to get up to temp, and required lubricating the cam lever every month or so, and it's only me drinking coffee.

So, answering your questions:

- Does the Bianca offer any more over the Minima, apart from profiling? Well, if you really want to, you can always add a Profiling kit to the Minima, it's not an issue what so ever. A few members here have done that. The Minima, as the name suggests, is a very "basic" dual boiler. You do get a lot for what you pay for, as long as you understand that the idea is to have the bare minimum. For instance, it's not as well refined, it has a vibe pump (instead of a rotary pump), and it doesn't have a full e61 group, as it's solenoid activated (which in turn requires less maintenance), and not mechanically operated. 

- Will that be an upgrade from the Europiccola? Very good question. Both machines have pros and cons (heat up time, temp stability, etc, etc), and you need to figure out what's the best machine for your current needs. If the rest of my family drank coffee, I would not have sold the Pro-700, no way! Will it feel like an upgrade? Yes, it will. Would there be times where you'd think you wished you had kept the Piccola and saved a lot of money? Absolutely. Would you miss the simplicity, hands on approach, hearing the coffee touching the cup with no noise from the pump? Oh yes, I think you will.

So, if I were you:

- Given your use case (i.e.: 3-4 coffees in a session), without a shadow of a doubt I'd get a better tool for the job, and that could be any of the machines mentioned above (not the Europiccola, of course!). I don't think you'll ever look back with regards to this scenario.

- Have you considered keeping the Pavoni, and use it sporadically? If you ever fancy the odd cup of coffee at a random time during the day, you could always fire the Pavoni up, wait 10 minutes and have a coffee. I do understand that this might not be a realistic option due to space or storage, or just the fact that you might use it so seldom that you might as well have sold it on to someone who would maintain it and make more use of it.

 

Hope this is helpful.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, spookym said:

Hi all

I have had a Europiccola and Iberital Mc2 for years, but the kids are now starting to drink coffee and am looking for  something better for 3 or 4 cups (temp stability on the Europiccola an issue). Have ordered a Niche and am currently thinking about a Minima or Bianca. Other than profiling (which I could add later to the Minima) does the Bianca offer anything more?  Also am slightly nervous that my 'upgrade' from Europiccola wont end up feeling like one, so looking for reassurance from anyone who has been in a similar position!

My coffee improved going from the Pavoni to an E61. The heat stability and reliability is really an upgrade but I think the full size baskets also make a difference. There are mods you can do the the Pavonis that make them more temperature stable, some more extreme than others. One I saw involved drilling a hole in the base and the group, blocking up the hole in the back of the group to the boiler and having a HX run from the bottom of the heating element up to the group so the water in the group cooled to the right temp (was saturated) and the boiler was hot enough to steam. Other more simple mods involve cutting a hole in the syphon tube at the back of the group and blocking the return holes. So there are mods worth checking out before buying a new machine but....

The Bianca has a rotary pump. Minima has a vibe pump. From BB the Minima + bianca paddle is about £400 less than the Bianca. At that price difference I think it's time to look at the design you prefer and what you'll find easier to use. Think about location of the water tank, filling of it, if noise from a vibe pump with bother you, the size of the machines, full e61 vs partial. There are probably a few other differences to consider too. The Bianca is probably objectively a better machine but personally I'd lean towards the Minima just because I can't be bothered to lubricate the lever after a backflush. Only negative for me is the damn vibe pump but mine is louder than production machines.

 

Edited by Rob1
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ACS Minima (Beta) with Bianca Paddle -- Reskinned Ceado E8, Niche Zero --- Gene Cafe CBR101 with Dimmer Mod and Bean Mass Probe

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I'd like to put forwards the suggestion of: Whatever you do, do NOT get rid of the Pavoni. Keep it. Some day the kids will find their way out of the house, and you can then bring it back into service for your own needs.

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Gear:

Gaggia Baby 2001, Gaggia Color 2007, Delonghi Dedica, Severin grinder, Marcfi badged Compak K6 2004

Sent from my grinder using smoke signals.

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Thanks for your replies!

Definately going to keep the Pavoni as I am sure it will be useful again at some future point, I love the simplicity and ease of maintenance.

14 hours ago, MediumRoastSteam said:

Have you considered the Lelit MaraX?

I did look at that, but am leaning towards dual boiler as it feels like it would fit my needs a little better... but not sure if i could really quantify why!

 

13 hours ago, Rob1 said:

I think it's time to look at the design you prefer and what you'll find easier to use

think that is a good point, guess its the little things in work flow differences that end up making a big difference.  Just been looking at the difference between full and partial e61and try to work out if it would make any difference for me. 

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Posted (edited)
31 minutes ago, spookym said:

think that is a good point, guess its the little things in work flow differences that end up making a big difference.  Just been looking at the difference between full and partial e61and try to work out if it would make any difference for me. 

The solenoid operated (partial) E61 doesn't have the preinfusion chamber, springs, cam and 3 valves, all of which need maintenance after backflushing with cleaner, are subject to wear and require periodic replacement. It also has a lever poking out the side, takes up space and every 3 or 4 years needs the spindle rubbers replaced or they can start to drip. The lack of a preinfusion chamber doesn't really make any difference with a vibration pump (with a rotary it helps). Pressure profiling E61 machines all have the preinfusion chamber disabled (I started that).

The reason manufacturers do not use them is market pressure and the fact that due to the solenoid operation the hole (usually there is an allen bolt there) on the front of the group is drilled at an angle (after casting) to meet up with the chambering for the solenoid. This means that any gauges on the group (starting to become ubiquitous on PP machines) would sit looking to the left. On a Lever E61 the hole is drilled straight as it only enters the cam chamber and is why PP machine manufacturers use them but disable the preinfusion chamber. The solenoid operated E61 also has less chambering for water during the shot (a good thing). The mass of the group is quite similar as hollow bits are exchanged for more solid bits  and all the vent stuff has a lot of space in it.

You can backflush (with cleaner) a solenoid operated E61 as often as you want, daily is not problem. The solenoid can, and does, easily outlast the pins, cams, spindle washers, valves in a lever E61. Changing it, depending on the implementation (Minima group) is as simple as replacing a bayonet lightbulb, it just twists and pulls out. I really like the solenoid operated E61 groups implemented on the right machines, all the advantages of the E61 and none of the disadvantages.

I asked ACS to get custom drilled groups (which is more expensive), so they could fit a gauge on it, allowing easy replacement if a gauge goes faulty, cleaner front panel and the ability to add pressure profiling in future. This is why the gauge on an ACS Minima sits pointing straight ahead.

I like solenoid operated E61 groups (on the right machines), mainly because I fully understand the engineering with both types of group. It leaves you more space, is easier to clean externally and internally and requires little maintenance apart from dropping the shower screen to clean behind it (probably only weekly because you can backflush with cleaner so often).

 

The right machines are:

  • Pressure profiling E61s (vibe or rotary)
  • Flow profiling E61s (vibe or rotary)
  • Standard Machines (vibe pump)

The wrong machines are: Standard Rotary pump machines, here a preinfusion chamber is helpful (until you add a flow profiling valve of course).

 

P.S. I also love gauges on groups, they never quiver, give simpler internals and less boiler connections and if they break can be replaced in minutes without even opening the machine. The majority of gauges on machine front panels are a PITA to replace and get straight.

 

P.P.S. The solenoid E61 is also not cheaper to implement, the solenoid cost makes up for the difference and as soon as you get them custom made with a straight hole (the last part of the hole), then they cost a little more.

 

Edited by DavecUK
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 My reviews at https://coffeeequipmentreviews.wordpress.com/ - Various Machines and grinders, Amazon Dalian 1kg Drum Roaster: YouTube channel at https://tinyurl.com/szhgxzl .......

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I think my dream machine would be a MaraX (MaraY?) with partial, solenoid operated e61.

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What is wrong with this site?

I have written a post here and submitted it 15 minutes ago to see that it is not here now. The same happened yesterday with another post.

How difficult is to run a website?

To whom should I address this issue?


Nothing succeeds as planned.

 

ACS Vesuvius, Nuova Simonelli Apia I 1 gr, San Remo 1 gr., Bezzera BZ35e, Fracino Heavenly, Saeco Via Veneto Combi de Luxe, Mythos Plus Nuova Simonelli, Anfim Super Lusso, Cunill Space, Gene Cafe

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What is wrong with this site?
I have written a post here and submitted it 15 minutes ago to see that it is not here now. The same happened yesterday with another post.
How difficult is to run a website?
To whom should I address this issue?
@Tait ^^^^^

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Just now, MediumRoastSteam said:

@Tait ^^^^^

Thanks!


Nothing succeeds as planned.

 

ACS Vesuvius, Nuova Simonelli Apia I 1 gr, San Remo 1 gr., Bezzera BZ35e, Fracino Heavenly, Saeco Via Veneto Combi de Luxe, Mythos Plus Nuova Simonelli, Anfim Super Lusso, Cunill Space, Gene Cafe

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10 hours ago, DavecUK said:

The solenoid operated (partial) E61 doesn't have the preinfusion chambe

Thanks a lot for the very thorough and useful information.  It has certainly stopped me worrying that i would be missing out on something by going for a partial e61

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