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The ZP Machines "Nocturn" - New low-cost, high-promises machine
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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > The ZP Machines...  
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rimblas
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rimblas
Joined: 26 Jan 2012
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Location: Savage, MN
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Pasquini Livia 90 S
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Posted Wed Apr 11, 2012, 1:41pm
Subject: Re: The ZP Machines "Nocturn" - New low-cost, high-promises machine
 

frank828 Said:

im really hoping to have it by june.

Posted April 11, 2012 link

Me too!

I agree, their progress reports are pretty good and show they are handling it.

 
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Coffeenoobie
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Espresso: N S Oscar
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Posted Wed Apr 11, 2012, 1:51pm
Subject: Re: The ZP Machines "Nocturn" - New low-cost, high-promises machine
 

If they get it done, I can see this as a good machine for a small office. With an Espro calibrated tamper and a vario W almost anyone could make good espresso.

 
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sashaman
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Joined: 5 Jan 2012
Posts: 4
Location: Texas
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Wed Apr 11, 2012, 3:22pm
Subject: Re: The ZP Machines "Nocturn" - New low-cost, high-promises machine
 

Regarding the steaming capability, the machine uses the thermoblock for steaming. I think it's a misconception that thermoblocks are unable to produce good steaming power and microfoam. At my office there is a Breville Barista Express, and while the espresso quality is questionable, I can produce excellent, creamy microfoam on the thermoblock steamer - in fact, I think it's easier to produce microfoam on this machine than it is on my prosumer E61 heat exchanger at home. While it is not a fast steamer, for most home users this is probably a good thing, as it gives you more time to "correct" any big bubbles that you may get in the milk.
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SteveRhinehart
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SteveRhinehart
Joined: 27 Dec 2009
Posts: 855
Location: Syracuse, NY
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: 1970s La Pavoni Europiccola
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Posted Wed Apr 11, 2012, 4:39pm
Subject: Re: The ZP Machines "Nocturn" - New low-cost, high-promises machine
 

Craigo87 Said:

So the first article I read about this machine dated 12/11/2011, indicated a price point of $300. In page 2 of this thread, we saw that the price had risen to $350. Now at the KICKSTARTER website click here the price has once again risen another $50 to around $400. Given the specs, that's still not a bad price point, but I wonder what it'll actually retail for once it finally hits the market.

The other thing that struck me is the lack of talk about steaming. I like my cappas. So good, sustainable steam is a must for me. Their so-called "fully functional" prototype does not have a steam wand. Therefore it cannot have steam capabilities and by definition be fully functional. Sure, the computer generated units have what appears to be a steam wand, but I suspect that is actually a hot water dispenser; but it may become a hot water dispenser. They do talk about steam wands in the Update section (see update #21).

Posted April 11, 2012 link

The prototype does actually have a steam wand, but it wasn't the best performer when I used it. It was a bit slow, a bit short. Igor advised that there was something wonky about the prototype steaming process, involving pulsing the pump after about 15 seconds of steaming, to add more water. I'm not sure if that problem will be designed out, or what, but it's something to consider. They were also still in the process of selecting which wand they'd use on the final model, when I last talked with them (CoffeeFest), so the issues I experienced don't necessarily have a bearing on the product being delivered.

Craigo87 Said:

When I read about the type of boiler it uses, I was surprised to see that the ZP Nocturn will use exactly none. That's no boiler, zero, nada. How do they expect to create sustainable steam without a boiler chamber?

Posted April 11, 2012 link

As mentioned, there's a thermoblock instead of a boiler. Sortof the key feature actually, as they designed and built it from the ground up, with the intent of maintaining shot quality while lowering the price.
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Craigo87
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Joined: 30 Nov 2010
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Espresso: Rocket Giotto Evoluzione,...
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Posted Wed Apr 11, 2012, 11:23pm
Subject: Re: The ZP Machines "Nocturn" - New low-cost, high-promises machine
 

sashaman Said:

Regarding the steaming capability, the machine uses the thermoblock for steaming. I think it's a misconception that thermoblocks are unable to produce good steaming power and microfoam. At my office there is a Breville Barista Express, and while the espresso quality is questionable, I can produce excellent, creamy microfoam on the thermoblock steamer - in fact, I think it's easier to produce microfoam on this machine than it is on my prosumer E61 heat exchanger at home. While it is not a fast steamer, for most home users this is probably a good thing, as it gives you more time to "correct" any big bubbles that you may get in the milk.

Posted April 11, 2012 link

The thing about thermoblocks alone is they tend to hold their heat, the bigger the longer and don't change temperature very quickly. So if you want to brew espresso and steam milk, you're probably going to be waiting awhile for the temperature to adjust for one function over the other. Here's a pretty good video click here  on the Breville BES900XL that explains some of this. Another problem with aluminum is it corrodes. Some manufacturers deal with this by using stainless steel tubes or linings, but I noticed that the Nocturn will have aluminum directly in contact with the water. So over time you're also going to get some aluminum in your drink too and that thermoblock will eventually fail. But I'd be more concerned about consuming aluminum.
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frank828
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Posted Wed Apr 11, 2012, 11:34pm
Subject: Re: The ZP Machines "Nocturn" - New low-cost, high-promises machine
 

Craigo87 Said:

The thing about thermoblocks alone is they tend to hold their heat, the bigger the longer and don't change temperature very quickly. So if you want to brew espresso and steam milk, you're probably going to be waiting awhile for the temperature to adjust for one function over the other. Here's a pretty good video click here  on the Breville BES900XL that explains some of this. Another problem with aluminum is it corrodes. Some manufacturers deal with this by using stainless steel tubes or linings, but I noticed that the Nocturn will have aluminum directly in contact with the water. So over time you're also going to get some aluminum in your drink too and that thermoblock will eventually fail. But I'd be more concerned about consuming aluminum.

Posted April 11, 2012 link

here's the discussion regarding the thermoblock material choice.   http://zpmespresso.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=20&t=175
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finestcoffee
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Joined: 12 Apr 2012
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Location: United States
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Posted Thu Apr 12, 2012, 4:10am
Subject: Re: The ZP Machines "Nocturn" - New low-cost, high-promises machine
 

It does look exciting. I wonder what content they are considering for the thermoblock. The paragraphs look relatively little and I wonder about range.

 
kopi luwak (http://www.finestcoffee.co.uk)
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Craigo87
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Joined: 30 Nov 2010
Posts: 23
Location: Pacific Northwest
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Rocket Giotto Evoluzione,...
Grinder: Compak K3 Touch, Baratza...
Drip: Starbuck's Barista Aroma
Posted Thu Apr 12, 2012, 9:07am
Subject: Re: The ZP Machines "Nocturn" - New low-cost, high-promises machine
 

frank828 Said:

here's the discussion regarding the thermoblock material choice.   http://zpmespresso.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=20&t=175

Posted April 11, 2012 link

That is a discussion about aluminum with a focus on Alzheimer's. I'm not disputing the fact that aluminum makes a good thermoblock material. It does. But you must take precautions to successfully use it in an espresso machine environment.

I'm talking about galvanic corrosion. The issue of galvanic corrosion primarily has an impact on the performance and life of the machine. Furthermore the above discussion explores the notion of using copper as a barrier to the aluminum, even though nobody does that. Why? Because aluminum makes a great sacrificial metal when paired with copper, especially in water (see hot water tanks).  Putting aluminum in direct electrical contact with copper or brass will cause a galvanic corrosion problem and since aluminum will be the anode in that combo, the aluminum will fail at an accelerated rate. What manufacturers do use to mitigate this problem is a barrier of some sort, like teflon or stainless steel (used by Sunbeam and Breville). Bottom line is, well made thermoblocks do not have the aluminum in direct contact with hot, electrically conductive water in a mixed metal environment. Without proper barriers, that is a potential recipe for disaster. To understand this, read this wiki article on galvanic corrosion.

I reread the linked thread above and noticed that Janet did address copper/aluminum galvanic corrosion. Hopefully they aren't using any brass fittings. Brass has almost the same anodic index as copper. Breville and Gaggia also use food grade plastic. Here's the question you've got to ask yourself. Why do both Sunbeam and Breville protect their aluminum thermoblocks from direct contact with the water?

Another problem with thermoblock systems is the steam for frothing tends to be wet. Forget about micro-bubbled paint-like milk. Even the Sunbeam EM6900 which has a dedicated thermoblock for steaming couldn't overcome this problem. The new Breville machines have managed it however, so perhaps there is some hope on the steam front with PID control.

All I'm saying here is, don't expect the ZP Nocturn to last long unless the galvanic corrosion issue is properly addressed. Sure, it'll likely make it through the warranty period, but then the owner will be left holding the bill.  Look, I don't have a dog in this fight. I'm happy with my Rocket. But if I had an investment in the ZP Nocturn, if I was one of those investors, I'd push them to better address this potential problem.

Here's a good article link on the various types of home espresso systems; pros and cons.
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