Excellent write-up on the Speedster, Mark. WOW! What an astonishing level of finish quality; the pics of yours are jaw-dropping. The Speedster rocks out here more than on van der Westen's own site. I'd certainly pay $1,500 over the list price of an LM GS/3 for one if I only had enough kitchen space as someone noted earlier (and wasn't getting a GS/3 at substantially less than list).
How badly do I really need my kitchen oven? I've got a real nice desk for paperwork not far from the kitchen. I believe I could overcome laziness for a Speedster.
Excellent work there, Mark both in word and photos. You are one great first-look-man. I could not agree with you more about the tight craftsmanship and solid design that matches italien conception of necessity of Beauty and Usefulness in anything,as well as its execution. I've had the honor and pleasure to meet with Kees in 2003 at his shop and realized immediately, upon standing in front of a tightly organized wall of brass and copper on one side and individual machines being built in the center and the hand-operated chain hoist at the end where the "done ones" got moved through a hole in the ceiling onto their parking spot on the next floor where a variety of his works also lived, that he is the real thing. He strikes me as the person always seeking beauty and his art consists of bent copper mended with the best available technology along with clean design and top use-fullness all sculptured into an espresso machine. And here is the Speedster. I was the lucky one to un-crate the first Speedster in the US and the first words out of my gaping mouth were," wow, it's like a Porsche and a Ferrari in one" So true. Many modifications have been made since our Nr. 11 was built, all for the better path. When Faema built their great machines they asked all the baristi in Napoli what they wanted/needed in a machine. Kees operates the same way-voila. In all of his machines the common theme is that the inside is just as beautiful as the outside except, maybe, more intriguing. To get a pressurized hook up for the Speedster I can recommend a simple and compared to the price of the machine very cheap solution. Get a 4 gallon reverse osmosis bladder tank, get a sure flow pump that shuts off at 60 psi pressure and you can suck the water out of any container you so feel inclined. It works great and runs at about 120 Americans. One last thing about the Speedster that struck me most after having followed the water-path is that, Kees achieved speed by a slow water-path in the sense that he lengthened and routed the path in such a fashion that a rather large amount of water has the same temperature and therefore allows the barista to brew as many shots as s(h)e can prepare. Magic through Logic. Mind over Matter. Thanks for your work, Mark. Tomas
Do what I did - double your line of credit... works better if you have a long, good history with a credit union than an actual bank :)
BTW, it's now 2/5ths mine, 3/5th's still the bank's. I did save up about $150-$200 a month for it over a year and a half, but that wouldn't cover half the purchase price, much less the addl' shipping, setup costs.
You should put in a request with border services to get a refund on the duty you paid bringing it in to the country. I keep reading your post about cost and the duty paid, but this is a commercial machine, and should be duty free.
davidhunternyc Senior Member Joined: 6 Sep 2009 Posts: 15 Location: New York Expertise: I love coffee
Posted Wed Oct 7, 2009, 10:42pm Subject: Speedster Espresso Machine
O.K., whenever anyone posts a comment about this machine, my mouth starts to salivate, and in all honesty, I get sick to my stomach. No, really, I do get sick to my stomach. This is no lie. Today is my birthday, and more than anything else, call it greed or what-have-you, I wish the Speedster were my birthday present. I do not have $7500 nor do I have $1000 to spend on this perfect piece of machinery. All I know is that I covet this and I want it (if both are possible, which I think they are surely not). Uggh, I am pressing my hands to the sides of my forehead just wishing manna from heaven or to be a Lotto winner. I just want the Speedster...
Beyond the aesthetics, beyond the technology, beyond the uniqueness, this is my favourite thing about the Speedster:
It just makes espresso happen.
As long as you dial in the coffee and grinder, the machine will not fail to make a great shot. The repeatability is awesome. Using the machine's built in preinfusion results in consistent back to back shots. I'm currently pairing the Speedster with a Baratza Vario, and the Speedster is stepping up - the Vario's dialed in and very repeatable, and the Speedster produces shot after shot of exceptional results.
- the near-neutral preinfusion time when using the manual preinfusion (ie 1st gear) is almost 7 seconds long - the water in the grouphead is around 5-10psi - almost negligible pressure.
- once the preinfusion chamber fills, the pressure goes to line pressure - in my case 30psi. Will hold at that as long as the city supplies the pressure.
- very fast climb to pump pressure. I actually noted that my real pressure at grouphead (139.5psi or 9.6bar) is actually higher than my gauge on the Speedster (reading 9.2bar) - not a huge deal, but it allowed me to make some modifications.
- dropping the machine back into 1st gear (from second) gives a slower decline from 139.5psi to 30psi than the climb up from 30 to 139.5 - but again, it will hold at that 30psi pressure until you drop the gear back to neutral. Interesting "finish off the brew" possibilities there I have only begun to explore
- when going straight into the built in preinfusion (going from neutral to 2nd gear on the Speedster) there's about a 3.5 second preinfusion at >10psi, then a very quick ramp up to full pressure.
And last but not least - I was VERY pleased to see in the vid that the Speedster's PID readout (fluctuating between 199.7 and 199.8) was either exactly equal to or 0.1F off the Fluke readings also visible - I was measuring from 15 seconds in. The Fluke doesn't vary once it gets to 199.7F; the Speedster PID was reading 199.8F, dropping occasionally to 199.7F. Sweeeeeeet.
By comparison, the GS/3, which is a standards-setting machine, varies by as much as 0.8F once the offset is calculated and programmed in.
Posted Sun Oct 25, 2009, 9:27pm Subject: Re: Speedster Espresso Machine
Slightly OT to follow, but you DID mention the Idrocompresso (lever) in the article..lol
I emailed Kees to inquire whether a single group lever from him was a possibility. I look forward to his response. This may be a viable alternative to those who want his craftsmanship, design and great espresso, and are willing to "work" a little bit to get it. Maybe for a bit less money. Enjoy YOUT machine, Mark.
BTW, I think it's very cool to encourage folks to your coffee/espresso kitchen/lab for a hands on. Really in the spirit, I must say.
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