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beginner pump machine
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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > beginner pump...  
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fox2000
Senior Member
fox2000
Joined: 18 May 2012
Posts: 46
Location: WA
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Isomac Millenium I
Grinder: Mazzer S.J. Auto & MDX
Posted Thu Jun 14, 2012, 2:55pm
Subject: Re: beginner pump machine
 

I haven't personally used this machine however going off of the reviews and video from SCG it is a stepped grinder that is capable of grinding course. The steps are supposed to be very close together which makes it great for espresso and there are almost an infinite amount of steps available. This seems like a great starter grinder especially if you need to use it for espresso and french press.
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pdlarry
Senior Member
pdlarry
Joined: 1 Jun 2012
Posts: 20
Location: Vancouver WA
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Saeco VV
Grinder: Baratza Encore
Vac Pot: Hoover
Drip: Braun
Roaster: Local
Posted Wed Jun 27, 2012, 3:09pm
Subject: Re: beginner pump machine
 

I ended up with a discounted Saeco VV and a Baratza Encore, right on  budget.

The Grinta was sold before I had a chance to go see it...

The Saeco is here, but the Encore is not. Oh, the torture.

Thank you all for helping me out!!
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fox2000
Senior Member
fox2000
Joined: 18 May 2012
Posts: 46
Location: WA
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Isomac Millenium I
Grinder: Mazzer S.J. Auto & MDX
Posted Wed Jun 27, 2012, 4:40pm
Subject: Re: beginner pump machine
 

Congrats on the new gear! A couple tips in case you don't know VV has a stock pressurized portafilter it doesn't produce the best shots if you haven't already make sure you get the nonpressurized version. The Encore will grind fine enough for a pressurized PF without any adjustment but when you get a nonpressurized PF you will probably need to calibrate it to the finest setting which is fairly easy and instructions are on baratzas website. Good luck!
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pdlarry
Senior Member
pdlarry
Joined: 1 Jun 2012
Posts: 20
Location: Vancouver WA
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Saeco VV
Grinder: Baratza Encore
Vac Pot: Hoover
Drip: Braun
Roaster: Local
Posted Thu Jun 28, 2012, 10:21am
Subject: Re: beginner pump machine
 

Yep, pressurized no more!

Picked up the Encore at a local roaster, where the guy took time to show me how to use it, clean the burrs, take things apart and put back correctly, and even threw in a bag of beans. Now, that's service.

By the way, while some have stated that the Encore does not grind fine enough for higher end machines, at a visit to another local shop, we managed to chock a GS3 with the Encore set at its finest, with normal dose and tamping...

Let the learning begin!!!
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emradguy
Senior Member
emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 2,953
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Duetto II; Twist v2
Grinder: M Major, Macap M4 x2, VDD...
Drip: Espro presses; Aeropress
Roaster: H-B "List of Favorites"
Posted Thu Jun 28, 2012, 11:50am
Subject: Re: beginner pump machine
 

I believe the criticism of the Encore is more that the variation in grind settings is not fine enough to microadjust the extraction, not that you can't get a grind fine enough to make espresso.  Overall, it's settings are about on par with a Rocky from what I can tell...and, in fact, the above is the same complaint some of us have about the Rocky.  However, it's a great place to start until you're ready to upgrade and/or can afford something better.  I used my Rocky for several years before upgrading, and was quite happy most of that time.

Having said all that...the Encore is a bargain compared to a Rocky!

 
.
Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
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pdlarry
Senior Member
pdlarry
Joined: 1 Jun 2012
Posts: 20
Location: Vancouver WA
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Saeco VV
Grinder: Baratza Encore
Vac Pot: Hoover
Drip: Braun
Roaster: Local
Posted Thu Jun 28, 2012, 3:01pm
Subject: Re: beginner pump machine
 

I see.

I just got my setup. I can't think about upgrading yet.  La la la la la....
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emradguy
Senior Member
emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 2,953
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Duetto II; Twist v2
Grinder: M Major, Macap M4 x2, VDD...
Drip: Espro presses; Aeropress
Roaster: H-B "List of Favorites"
Posted Thu Jun 28, 2012, 4:33pm
Subject: Re: beginner pump machine
 

I wouldn't worry about it right now.  Once you get your feet wet and get comfortable with it all, then you'll see to what extent you like/dislike the grinder.  Like I said, I had my Rocky for several years and was relatively happy with it.  Over time, you'll learn to adjust your dose to compensate for the times when the grind you really want falls between two settings.

 
.
Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
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fox2000
Senior Member
fox2000
Joined: 18 May 2012
Posts: 46
Location: WA
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Isomac Millenium I
Grinder: Mazzer S.J. Auto & MDX
Posted Thu Jun 28, 2012, 10:04pm
Subject: Re: beginner pump machine
 

Its always nice to hear about great service its so rare to find people that helpful.
I reread my earlier post about the Encore and realized it may have come across as saying it doesn't grind fine enough. I have also seen some other posts about the grind being inconsistent out of the box and not going fine enough. Just to clarify my experience with the Encore was good it's easy to use and adjust and very consistent. It deffinatly had to be calibrated to the finest position to grind fine enough for my Millenium. I probably could have continued to use it for years by adjusting dose and tamp however I only had 2 usable settings maybe 3 if I underdosed? I contacted Baratza directly to discuss possible solutions and the customer service rep was fantastic. He was honest and friendly, he basically said that once you get into HX machines the Encore just doesn't have enough settings but for entry level machines it will have several usable settings. He offered to give me full price on an exchange to a preciso new or refurb. I was amazed by the offer and honesty, this is why Baratza is so highly regarded for customer service. I believe the Encore will be a great grinder for your current machine and will possibly last you through a small upgrade unless you jump up to a HX or DB. IMO it is likely the negative user experiences with the Encore are due to it being new and having some kinks to work out rather than its actual abilities. That said I think you have chosen a great starter setup and will be happy with it for a long time :) I have heard of the Saeco machines lasting for a very long time with proper maintenance and owners being able to produce great shots. So upgraditis may hit but most likely won't be out of need. Let us know what you think when you finally get to test it.
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pdlarry
Senior Member
pdlarry
Joined: 1 Jun 2012
Posts: 20
Location: Vancouver WA
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Saeco VV
Grinder: Baratza Encore
Vac Pot: Hoover
Drip: Braun
Roaster: Local
Posted Fri Jun 29, 2012, 9:00am
Subject: Re: beginner pump machine
 

So far, so good!  My cappuccino is starting to taste like cappuccino!! (according to wifie, who said my cappuccino tasted like latte, and my latte tasted like coffee-flavored milk) I got the machine before the grinder, partly to experience first hand and to convince myself why the blade grinder does not cut it (pun intended). With the Encore it's night and day! I'm certainly nowhere near where I need to dial in between settings yet :) At the finest level sometimes little bricks will come out of the chute. I like the front button on the Encore

Now with the brand new Saeco VV just a week old, I'm already seeing some dripping from the steam wand as I'm pulling the shots. Is that normal? How long should I warm up the machine before using it? I've noticed that when the machine has been on longer, the dripping becomes less. I contacted SCG and they're offering to swap it out. Should I do it?
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fox2000
Senior Member
fox2000
Joined: 18 May 2012
Posts: 46
Location: WA
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Isomac Millenium I
Grinder: Mazzer S.J. Auto & MDX
Posted Fri Jun 29, 2012, 1:12pm
Subject: Re: beginner pump machine
 

With my Delonghi I would get dripping from the wand occasionally after I had it for a year or so. I know this is a fairly common thing with many machines but I'm not sure what it means hopefully someone who understands the machines better can help. I would probably take SCG up on the offer for peace of mind unless someone gives you an easy fix. As far as warm up time I have found giving it more time seems to create better shots. I haven't used a saeco but with my delonghi if I gave it 20 min it helped even though it was thermoblock I have no idea why :) with my millenium I usually give it 45-60 min but its a beast so it needs it. I would think the Saeco would be good with 20-30 min. Not enough warm up time can create less flavorful shots which may be why the latte tasted like flavored milk but the caps are good, something to try anyway. I know you can use appliance timers with many possibly all machines this may be worth looking into if you are rushed in the morning.
I'm glad you are having a good time so far it can be a lot of fun learning espresso my advice is to keep it simple technique wise and enjoy the journey. I made the mistake of troubleshooting my good shots in hopes of consistently great shots which ultimately made me less consistent and frustrated. After some helpful responses from members I realized I was making myself crazy and taking all the fun out of espresso. Now I'm getting better gradually and enjoying myself again, not to mention saving myself 10 min of prep time :)
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