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How important is a PID?
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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > How important is...  
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Lilyfil4
Senior Member


Joined: 18 Aug 2013
Posts: 21
Location: NJ
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: TBA
Grinder: Smart grinder breville
Vac Pot: Bodum
Drip: Chemex/able brewer
Roaster: Behmour
Posted Fri Sep 6, 2013, 12:51pm
Subject: Re: How important is a PID?
 

emradguy Said:

Hey Liz,

to do the highlighted quote text, click on the quoted icon in the right corner of the post you want to quote, then it'll be highlighted.  You can even delete text inside of it, as long as you leave the brackets with the quote number in front intact and the brackets with the x inside at the end intact.

Posted September 5, 2013 link

Thanks!  I got it right a few times but must have deleted the x.  I saw my mistake but it was too late.  Hope I do better making espresso.  ;O)
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Coffeenoobie
Senior Member
Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 3,030
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Fri Sep 6, 2013, 1:08pm
Subject: Re: How important is a PID?
 

I would not want a single boiler without a pid.  Part of the reason I did not even consider a single boiler when I started out I did not want to forced to mod it right away to add a pid.

I started with an HX, I still have said HX.  I have thought about adding a PID mostly to give me a group head temp read out. But really I am doing really well without it.

It was a bargain used, low volume commercial machine, big boiler, no burn case, cheap price but not cheaply made.  I can fix it myself, I can mod it and I have, and I feel I make very good espresso, much better than many shops.  PID would add another thing to break, but I still might day add one.

 
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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Lilyfil4
Senior Member


Joined: 18 Aug 2013
Posts: 21
Location: NJ
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: TBA
Grinder: Smart grinder breville
Vac Pot: Bodum
Drip: Chemex/able brewer
Roaster: Behmour
Posted Fri Sep 6, 2013, 1:10pm
Subject: Re: How important is a PID?
 

MJW Said:

An HX machine is constructed with the brew boiler inside the steam boiler.  If you want you can think of the brew water path as a tube that goes through the steam boiler.  The waters don't mix but the brew water gets heated up.

If the brew water sits long it will heat up to steam temperature, which is too hot.  If you pump water through the tube, then new cool water flows in and cools it down.  There is a happy medium where temp is right.  Wait, and the water will heat up.  Flush, and the water will cool down.

Under normal home use, a DB PID is going to be much faster and easier to use, than an HX machine.

Posted September 5, 2013 link

Please forgive me if I sound stupid, I have done my due diligence for months trying to understand this myself and very much appreciate all of your time and based on my own personal research I am really getting what you are all saying.  I have a further question based on the helpful info I have already received:

Now on an HX machine, if I wanted to lower the temp of the brew I would flush the water out the brew head a bit and that would lower it, and then I would brew, is that correct?  So on an HX machine there is a stable temp in the boiler which is to hot for espresso but good for steaming, so the tube of water that gets heated up as it passes thru the steam boiler if remained stagnant there for say 30 min is to hot for espresso, correct?  So after a flush the water is at what temp ball park?  I am guessing there is a standard 200 degrees or such.  So if your making successive shots and flushing the brew head each time the temp of the water should be the same each time?  

So if you wanted to pull a shot at a few degrees lower than the standard 200 degrees what would you do on an HX machine to make that happen?  

There is a 10% off sale going on so my day may be coming sooner than I thought, if I can make my final decision.  Really I don't want to spend the extra money for a DB if the HX will provide me the options that I want. So I am in the final stages of wrapping my brain around the differences.  

Thanks!
Best,
Liz
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MJW
Senior Member


Joined: 25 Jul 2012
Posts: 179
Location: Silicon Valley
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Fri Sep 6, 2013, 3:34pm
Subject: Re: How important is a PID?
 

Lilyfil4 Said:

Please forgive me if I sound stupid, I have done my due diligence for months trying to understand this myself and very much appreciate all of your time and based on my own personal research I am really getting what you are all saying.  I have a further question based on the helpful info I have already received:

Posted September 6, 2013 link

I'm sorry, I hope I didn't say something to make you feel that way.  To be honest I think this forum is not the warmest when it comes to helping folks.  Nothing we do reflects on you, though.

Lilyfil4 Said:

Now on an HX machine, if I wanted to lower the temp of the brew I would flush the water out the brew head a bit and that would lower it, and then I would brew, is that correct?  So on an HX machine there is a stable temp in the boiler which is to hot for espresso but good for steaming, so the tube of water that gets heated up as it passes thru the steam boiler if remained stagnant there for say 30 min is to hot for espresso, correct?  So after a flush the water is at what temp ball park?  I am guessing there is a standard 200 degrees or such.  So if your making successive shots and flushing the brew head each time the temp of the water should be the same each time?

Posted September 6, 2013 link

Yes your description is right.  The steam boiler remains at relatively high temperature, and the tube that runs through is the heat exchanger, taking heat from the boiler water and transferring it to the brew water.

After a flush your brew water will be close to 200*F.  The precise temperature you land at depends on how long you flush.

I'm pretty sure that pulling consecutive shots without a flush in between will work, if you time it right.  Check with someone who has more experience, whether this is practical.

Individual HX machines vary in design, some have faster "recovery" than others.

Lilyfil4 Said:

So if you wanted to pull a shot at a few degrees lower than the standard 200 degrees what would you do on an HX machine to make that happen?

Posted September 6, 2013 link

In that case one would flush a few seconds longer.

It may help to see some videos, I bet if you search "hx espresso" on Youtube you'll see many people working an HX machine.

Lilyfil4 Said:

There is a 10% off sale going on so my day may be coming sooner than I thought, if I can make my final decision.  Really I don't want to spend the extra money for a DB if the HX will provide me the options that I want. So I am in the final stages of wrapping my brain around the differences.  

Posted September 6, 2013 link

Makes sense to me!
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Lilyfil4
Senior Member


Joined: 18 Aug 2013
Posts: 21
Location: NJ
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: TBA
Grinder: Smart grinder breville
Vac Pot: Bodum
Drip: Chemex/able brewer
Roaster: Behmour
Posted Fri Sep 6, 2013, 7:04pm
Subject: Re: How important is a PID?
 

MJW Said:

I'm sorry, I hope I didn't say something to make you feel that way.  To be honest I think this forum is not the warmest when it comes to helping folks.  Nothing we do reflects on you, though.!

Posted September 6, 2013 link

No one made me feel stupid in any way, you all have been nothing but awesome. I just felt a bit stupid with so much clarification needed.  :0) I think I have my brain wrapped around it as much as I can with out actually having an espresso machine. I am a person who enjoys the "hunt" as much as the purchase. You have all helped me immensely to close the chapter on the hunt and I have ordered the rocket 58 db. 10% off, mamma is happy tonight! I am sure there are more questions coming. :0)

Best!
Liz
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Coffeenoobie
Senior Member
Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 3,030
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Fri Sep 6, 2013, 11:43pm
Subject: Re: How important is a PID?
 

Rocket DB is probably a really good machine.  Don't second guess yourself.  You will love it.

 
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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MJW
Senior Member


Joined: 25 Jul 2012
Posts: 179
Location: Silicon Valley
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Sat Sep 7, 2013, 1:43am
Subject: Re: How important is a PID?
 

I know what you mean about the hunt!  In case you like watching videos...  there's one video that Seattle Coffee Gear made on the R58, where they show the inside.  I think it's the comparison of the Rocket R58 and the GS/3.  They take apart both machines.

There is another interesting video about the E61 group head.  They get Bill Crossland (former La Marzocco engineer) to explain how it works.

I take it you are all set for a grinder?
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germantownrob
Senior Member
germantownrob
Joined: 2 Dec 2007
Posts: 2,152
Location: Philadelphia
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Duetto 3, A Dead Oscar
Grinder: Vario-W, Preciso w/Esatto,...
Drip: Brazen
Roaster: Diedrich IR-1, HT B
Posted Sat Sep 7, 2013, 6:21am
Subject: Re: How important is a PID?
 

I would like to beat on this horse for a minute.

I ended up with a DB machine by default when then DT1 HX I wanted was a couple moths back ordered. I was a die hard HX user and fan.

1st without proper calibration devices and/or a refined taste it is a shot in the dark to get temps correct on a HX, consistent temps maybe but you still have no idea what that temp is. With a $400+ Scace device one can figure out flushes to get exact temps, an Eric's thermometer can work but there is a lot of noise for fine tuning with them (still useful though). Once these temps are dialed in and you are confident with your flush routine picking a temp to brew at is easy.

Having a DB boiler does not guarantee that the temp displayed is the actual temp being brewed at, this also needs to be checked and calibrated to be exact. Changing temps on the fly with a DB take time for the 8lbs+ of brass to stabilize to the new temp, going down is easy with flushes but up even with flushes takes more time. For the most part all the beans and blends I roast brew between 198f and 202f, that is 5 choices of temp, I drink 5-8 tripples a day so I can experiment with temp to find the best in 1 day and really it only takes 3 tries at 198, 200, and 202f to know where I want to be. Most people won't even be able to tell if a coffee was brewed at +/- 1f.

Grind and Dose have far more impact on the final drink then a degree or two of temp.
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Lilyfil4
Senior Member


Joined: 18 Aug 2013
Posts: 21
Location: NJ
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: TBA
Grinder: Smart grinder breville
Vac Pot: Bodum
Drip: Chemex/able brewer
Roaster: Behmour
Posted Sun Sep 8, 2013, 7:58am
Subject: Re: How important is a PID?
 

germantownrob Said:

I would like to beat on this horse for a minute.

I ended up with a DB machine by default when then DT1 HX I wanted was a couple moths back ordered. I was a die hard HX user and fan.

1st without proper calibration devices and/or a refined taste it is a shot in the dark to get temps correct on a HX, consistent temps maybe but you still have no idea what that temp is. With a $400+ Scace device one can figure out flushes to get exact temps, an Eric's thermometer can work but there is a lot of noise for fine tuning with them (still useful though). Once these temps are dialed in and you are confident with your flush routine picking a temp to brew at is easy.

Having a DB boiler does not guarantee that the temp displayed is the actual temp being brewed at, this also needs to be checked and calibrated to be exact. Changing temps on the fly with a DB take time for the 8lbs+ of brass to stabilize to the new temp, going down is easy with flushes but up even with flushes takes more time. For the most part all the beans and blends I roast brew between 198f and 202f, that is 5 choices of temp, I drink 5-8 tripples a day so I can experiment with temp to find the best in 1 day and really it only takes 3 tries at 198, 200, and 202f to know where I want to be. Most people won't even be able to tell if a coffee was brewed at +/- 1f.

Grind and Dose have far more impact on the final drink then a degree or two of temp.

Posted September 7, 2013 link

Hey, no worries about beating a dead horse with me, I love to talk coffee.  I work at a sensory science company where we test a lot of coffee and even there I don't have any real coffee buddies to chat with in-depth.  I do have some professional tasters that I can give my roasted beans too for a flavor roast profile evaluation so that is cool. Anytime a new coffee project comes up I always ask if I can be lead on it, my boss knows...give the coffee projects to Liz.   I welcome the opportunity to hear others opinions and experiences, its all part of the fun for me.  

At my job I have had the opportunity to taste, test and use about 15 different super-automatic and pod machines as we test coffee for companies so I had a real good idea about those and how the espresso/Lattes they made tasted and wow...not good.  LOL  I can go into Williams and Sonoma and give the help a lesson on how all those machines work and the pros and cons.  Pods- easy no mess/ Con - expensive, so -so coffee.  I read in Roast Magazine that they figured the pods can cost up to $56.00 a pound for coffee, and that's older, ground coffee..expensive so - so to crappy tasting espresso.  In my opinion I feel for myself getting a machine and learning this stuff is the only way to go.

I understand what you are saying and it makes perfect sense to me now that I am getting my brain wrapped around how these machines work and their characteristics and mechanics.  I have  loved this whole thread and all the efforts to put it into words so clearly.  When my machine comes I will start a new thread and let you know how I am doing with it all.  I know some of my success will be because you all have helped me understand it a bit better.  :O)  I am very excited for the learning process to begin.  

I know a few folks recommended videos and I had already watched them but after I processed the info I received from you all I watched them again and learned and understood a lot more.  :O)  Let me tell you it's been all work( to make money for coffee beans and machines), espresso research, eat, and sleep over here.  My husband is so happy I finally ordered the machine after months of this. It was a heck of a lot easier when I bought a coffee roaster, pretty cut and dry compared to an espresso machine.  :O)  All I can say is "fun stuff!"

Thanks!
Best,
Liz
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jonr
Senior Member


Joined: 25 Jun 2013
Posts: 298
Location: Americas
Expertise: I like coffee
Posted Sun Sep 8, 2013, 8:46am
Subject: Re: How important is a PID?
 

germantownrob Said:

Changing temps on the fly with a DB take time for the 8lbs+ of brass to stabilize to the new temp,

Posted September 7, 2013 link

The thermal performance of brass is a consistent myth.  It may be non-intuitive, but changing the temperature of water takes more time and energy (see "specific heat").  But regarding time,  I agree.  Boilers (or more precisely, the water in them) take awhile to settle to a consistent temperature.
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