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Buying advice for single group machine for gourmet coffee (GS3/ Rocket R58)
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FrenchCoffee
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Joined: 14 Jun 2013
Posts: 3
Location: France
Expertise: Professional

Posted Fri Jun 14, 2013, 10:08am
Subject: Buying advice for single group machine for gourmet coffee (GS3/ Rocket R58)
 

Hi,

So I've been looking around and am quite confused as to what machine to get, so maybe some of you guys can help. I'll give you a bit of background on myself and also what I'm looking for in a machine.

I work as a Barista in a third wave cafe that is predominantly coffee focused. We use a Marzocco FB/80 AV which has volumetric pouring, PID, dual boilers, etc. The way I have been trained to keep an eye on the general quality of coffee we make as the day progresses (apart from dialing in at the start and the odd taste test throughout the day) is the time it takes to run a shot, and if the shot runs too fast or slow we change the grind according.

I now have the opportunity to open a temporary cafe for 5 months each summer, and am looking for a machine that will let me make as good an espresso as I currently make with the FB/80, however I have a few restrictions, which are as follows: I want a smallish machine (single group) so that it is portable and easy to transport to the cafe each summer (about a 1000km drive). I also want dual tanks so the brew temp is not affected by the steamer. PID would be great. And then lastly, as I am used to it, I would like volumetric pouring to make it that bit easier to keep an eye on whats going on throughout the day.

I expect about 100 cups a day, nothing too extreme as the location is quite relaxed with medium footfall. However I know the local coffee is terrible so if I get a good reputation that could end up be a modest estimate.

The only machine that seems to have volumetric pouring, PID, dual boilers, etc is the Marzocco GS3, which comes in at about 4000. This is marketed as a pro home machine but really I reckon you could use it in a small temporary setup like mine, or am I wrong here? (forgot to add that I want to plum in whatever machine I get)
http://smallbatchcoffee.co.uk/la-marzocco/marzocco-gs3/

I also like the Rocket s58, which has dual boiler, PID, etc but lacks the volumetric pouring. On the plus side it does come in around the 2000 mark.
http://rocket-espresso.it/models/r58/

I also was taking a look at the Cimbali Junior DT1 which seems pretty solid.

So far I like the Marzocco GS3 the best, but if I could make as reliable and consistent a shot with the Rocket than Id buy that and save myself 2000.

Without volumetric metering, how exactly does the Barista keep track of the changes in quality from one espresso to another? Is it a case of manually measuring the output volume and then the timing with a stopwatch (in one cafe I say they weigh each cup and time it with a stopwatch) ? Or do most baristas who work with manual machines  and just dial in at the start of the day and then maybe again at mid day, and in the meantime just check the flow is smooth and the shots aren't running especially fast or slow and assume all is good?

In conclusion, I am really asking two questions here:
1) can you recommend a machine that would suit my needs
2) if this machine doesn't have volumetric pouring, is it possible to monitor my shots to the same level as with a machine with volumetric pouring, and if so, how?

Sorry for this being so long, I really appreciate any advise you have to give.

Oh and before you say, I know how important the grinder is, you can assume I will be getting pretty reputable one, just really concerned about the machine at the moment as its causing me the most bother.

Thanks.
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emradguy
Senior Member
emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 3,224
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Duetto II; Twist v2
Grinder: M Major, Macap M4, Pharos,...
Drip: Espro presses; Aeropress
Roaster: H-B "List of Favorites"
Posted Fri Jun 14, 2013, 10:41am
Subject: Re: Buying advice for single group machine for gourmet coffee (GS3/ Rocket R58)
 

Hard to give you a lengthy reply addressing all your issues at the moment, but in short for me...there are two machines I'd consider for my home if money were no object...the LM GS/3 and the KVdW Speedster. Either of those should be able to perform as well as you need, and give you work in a 3rd wave cafe, if you really know what you are doing, most of your questions needn't be answered.

 
.
Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
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Coffeenoobie
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Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 3,050
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Fri Jun 14, 2013, 10:49am
Subject: Re: Buying advice for single group machine for gourmet coffee (GS3/ Rocket R58)
 

I would add my personal favorite.

http://londiniumespresso.com/products/londinium-i

 
Coffeenoobie

Buying advice: GRINDER GRINDER GRINDER. Don't cheap out on the grinder.

My coffee treasure map...
Click Here (maps.google.com)

Oscar trick out: http://s156.photobucket.com/user/GandBteam/story/14231
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FrenchCoffee
Senior Member


Joined: 14 Jun 2013
Posts: 3
Location: France
Expertise: Professional

Posted Fri Jun 14, 2013, 4:35pm
Subject: Re: Buying advice for single group machine for gourmet coffee (GS3/ Rocket R58)
 

Thanks for the reply. To be honest , saying "give you work in a 3rd wave cafe, if you really know what you are doing, most of your questions needn't be answered" did not actually help much. I'm not trying to fool anyone, and dont really buy into coffee snobbery - I am just trying to learn to make a really excellent coffee to serve to customers and also myself. I am relatively new to being a Barista, and personally I don't think I have earned that title yet but its on my payslip! And the cafe I work in has an excellent reputation and is 'third wave' as people say.  I can make excellent coffee, and do good latte art, but there is still lots to learn and I have time before going into business myself so it's all ok. I asked the questions as obviously I don't know the answers, I can only speculate. I cant think of any other reason for asking the question other than not knowing the answer. I was trained a particular way, and in my cafe the foundation for checking that everything is working smoothly once you have dialed in is checking the timing it takes to reach the preset volume when extracting.

I have never done it another way, and seeing as though I don't have years of experience I just wanted to know how its done. The following is how I assume you would keep an eye on things on a machine that doesn't have volumetric pouring (or if you choose not to use it), maybe you can confirm or correct this?

To start id be using about 19 - 21g of ground coffee to run my espresso, I would of course weigh the ground coffee to be sure.  I'd weigh the espresso, minus the cup obviously, and be looking for it to be about 1.55 times the wight of the ground coffee. Id change the grind until I was able to get the ration I wanted in around 25 seconds of extraction.  Throughout the day I would run my shots all at around 25 second using a timer/stopwatch and keep an eye on two things, first that the flow is smooth, not too heavy and fast or slow and broken, and second I would check the shot size was not fluctuating, just a quick visual test again. Oh forgot to say that I assume brew temp is constant, and my temping is constant, and that I'm only running double shots.  I probably left something else out!

To go a step further, I guess you could be weighing each shot you pulled as I have seen done in 2 cafes in Berlin, and checking the output against the extraction time. But having talked to someone about this they said they had to give this up as they were going through too many electric scales a week what with them all getting wet no matter how careful they were.

So is this what you would I would have to be doing on the R58 to keep everything smooth? Seems like a lot more trouble than just getting a machine with a volumetric pour. I've seem some good cafe's don't opt for a machine with volumetric pour, is there a reason for this? I've heard that the dosing measures on some of these machines cant be trusted - that the fluctuate - and so the best way is to just do everything manually.

If I'm misguided about anything, or you have anything to ad please let me know. I'm very eager to learn and appreciate any help anyone can give.

Thanks
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Fred1
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Joined: 3 Sep 2004
Posts: 564
Location: Seattle
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: LaSpaziale S1 Mini Vivaldi...
Grinder: Mazzer Mini/NS MCF
Vac Pot: None
Drip: Chemex
Roaster: Hottop, FR+8
Posted Fri Jun 14, 2013, 4:45pm
Subject: Re: Buying advice for single group machine for gourmet coffee (GS3/ Rocket R58)
 

Go for the GS3.  Don't forget, you will need 2 grinders and a water filter system.

Good luck in your venture.

Fred
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emradguy
Senior Member
emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 3,224
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Duetto II; Twist v2
Grinder: M Major, Macap M4, Pharos,...
Drip: Espro presses; Aeropress
Roaster: H-B "List of Favorites"
Posted Fri Jun 14, 2013, 6:06pm
Subject: Re: Buying advice for single group machine for gourmet coffee (GS3/ Rocket R58)
 

FrenchCoffee Said:

To be honest , saying "give you work in a 3rd wave cafe, if you really know what you are doing, most of your questions needn't be answered" did not actually help much.

Posted June 14, 2013 link

Sorry Man,

I didn't mean that to sound the way it did.  I was kind of short on time, so maybe I shouldn't have said anything more.  What I meant was, that your experience as a pro barista in a 3rd wave cafe, gave me the impression that the other questions would sort themselves out as you started to work on the new gear on your own.  For instance, you seem to already have an idea when a shot is finished and how to adjust the dose and grind to make it happen about when you want it to.  That's a skill you really will need for volumetric dosing if you want to ignore the shot while you froth.

I don't have a volumetric machine.  I made that decision consciously because I wanted to be forced (can't think of a better word at the moment) to stop the shot manually.  This isn't a problem for me because I enjoy watching the extraction (I use a bottomless pf all the time).  I modify my grind setting in tiny increments based on shot time.  I use blonding and thinning as my end point.  I don't weigh my shots, but I do occasionally weigh my dry dose.  I don't run my timer on every shot either. Because of the way I work, I can't take full advantage of my machine's ability to run the shot while I froth, but that's ok with me, because if I did that, I wouldn't be able to watch the shot.  There's a wide variety in how people on CG operate, and you'll find some weigh the shots and some look for a particular volume, and some don't worry about it as long as it tastes good, some measure everything.  I think while one is learning their m.o. they ought to measure at least something, otherwise there's no guarantee of consistency, but once you're at a point where you do everything the same, the measurement serves only as a quality check, so as long as it checks out ok at the random times you do it, and the shots taste good, all is well.

The problem I see with a volumetric - at least a potential problem - is that the shots can over or under extract while they aren't being watched (since the machine will stop them when it's programmed to).  Therefore, your dose and grind setting have to be spot on all the time, unless you plan to watch every shot, and then...well, what's the benefit of the volumetric dosing?  In a busy cafe, it's probably the way to go though, since it'll allow you to output more drinks in a given time period.

I hope this is more helpful.

 
.
Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
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FrenchCoffee
Senior Member


Joined: 14 Jun 2013
Posts: 3
Location: France
Expertise: Professional

Posted Sat Jun 15, 2013, 12:21pm
Subject: Re: Buying advice for single group machine for gourmet coffee (GS3/ Rocket R58)
 

@ Fred1

Thanks for the message Fred. Why do you suggest I need two grinders? I was hoping to get away with one, which I think is possible unless I'm missing something. I wont be selling coffee beans so wont be grinding for customers, and also I'll only be pulling double shots, and either using the double shot or spreading it over two cups to get a single. I know this wastes a shot each time but it seems the only way to have high consistency with a single grinder and also that's what we do where I work, not that that means its a great idea but it only marginally reduces the profit on the drink. Also, we don't often throw away the extra shot as with the way the menu is laid out it makes more sense for the customer to get our 'dual taster deal' than just a single milk coffee, so you get an espresso and a milk coffee for 50c more than just a single shot milk coffee. People love this I have to say, as they get their milk coffee but also the espresso to let them really taste the wonderful beans we work with. I find that even non espresso drinkers end up getting this deal just to taste the 'naked' espresso, even if they don't plan on finishing it fully. It gets great feedback, and to most people the 50c is nothing.

@Emradguy,

Thanks for the reply, it was very insightful, and sorry if I read wrongly between the lines of your first mail. I think I'm like you, I'd like to run everything manually, even if I do get the volumetric machine as it will force me, as you said, to be more focused on everything else, as opposed to just pressing a button and coming back when the shot is ready.

It's definitely becoming more apparent that people have very contrasting and varying methods. Just visiting the different third wave shops in my city I can see they all monitor different things and have different styles. Its just hard to know which one will suit me best. I will have to experiment a lot but that will be exciting. What you described as your technique actually sounds great, and I will definitely be trying this.
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emradguy
Senior Member
emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 3,224
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Duetto II; Twist v2
Grinder: M Major, Macap M4, Pharos,...
Drip: Espro presses; Aeropress
Roaster: H-B "List of Favorites"
Posted Sat Jun 15, 2013, 5:53pm
Subject: Re: Buying advice for single group machine for gourmet coffee (GS3/ Rocket R58)
 

No worries man, I understood how my first reply sounded after i saw your response and then reread what I had written.

You're going to need one grinder for your regular blend. You will likely need a second grinder for decaf.

 
.
Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
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jwoodyu
Senior Member
jwoodyu
Joined: 31 Dec 2010
Posts: 857
Location: Michigan
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Allex Duetto II
Grinder: Mazzer Major
Posted Sat Jun 15, 2013, 6:16pm
Subject: Re: Buying advice for single group machine for gourmet coffee (GS3/ Rocket R58)
 

Personally I see no reason to stop at a GS3. Once you break out of the Duetto III / R58 price tier.  I don't see stopping until you get to Speedster or my dream machine the Hydra http://www.synesso.com/default.aspx?ID=8.

 
Yes i have a reason for leaving SCG off my list, yes it is my opinion, yes it is subjective as opinions are by definition, no don't start a flame war because you disagree.
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Fred1
Senior Member


Joined: 3 Sep 2004
Posts: 564
Location: Seattle
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: LaSpaziale S1 Mini Vivaldi...
Grinder: Mazzer Mini/NS MCF
Vac Pot: None
Drip: Chemex
Roaster: Hottop, FR+8
Posted Sun Jun 16, 2013, 7:15am
Subject: Re: Buying advice for single group machine for gourmet coffee (GS3/ Rocket R58)
 

One grinder for regular, one for decaf.

Fred
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