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When do you need a commercial machine (fun with math)
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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > When do you need...  
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boar_d_laze
Senior Member


Joined: 21 Nov 2006
Posts: 1,102
Location: Monrovia, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: La Cimbali M21 DT/1 Junior...
Grinder: Ceado E92; "Bunnzilla"
Vac Pot: Royal Coffee Maker
Drip: Chemex + Kone; Espro Press
Roaster: USRC Sample Roaster
Posted Sun Dec 8, 2013, 3:29pm
Subject: Re: When do you need a commercial machine (fun with math)
 

Well, I was wrong about "duty cycle," which I realized almost as soon as I posted.  

"Duty cycle" does refer to how often a machine can perform a given task per unit time -- and hold up to the repetition.  That is, "ruggedness" is included in the concept.  For instance, one copier which copies 20pp/min may have a duty cycle of 3,000 copiers/month, while another which operates at the same speed may have a duty cycle of 15,000 copies/month.  There's probably some more precise and well-agreed upon definition -- but I think that captures it.  

Getting back to the OP's original question...  We need a more precise definition of what he means by "a commercial machine."

I consider my M21 "Casa" a true commercial, but -- like any single group -- the actual production capacity is limited more by its work-flow dynamics than anything else.   Things that make it different from machines which I consider to be "high end prosumer, but not true commercial" include the quality of the group, how easy it is to keep temp during a log series of shot, the quality of the internal lay-out, the amount of space inside the box (making it easy to repair), plumb-in design, etc., etc.  

To the extent that one quality stands out (to me) with HXs, it's temp repeatability, characteristic of what Dan Kehn calls an "agnostic" machine; but a great many DBs which are barely "prosumer" are at least that stable.  

So, wotthehell wotthehell?  I can't put my finger on where to draw the line and would like to read some other thoughts.  

As far as I know there is no good espresso machine which does not require at least some pre-shot flushing.  DBs with good group stabilization require a smaller warming flush than HXs require for cooling, but -- at least so far -- good technique includes running some water through the group before pulling a shot.  

Opinions differ, but I don't consider the "water dance" to be much of an onus, especially since it not only allows me to temp accurately and quickly but to shape the "temperature hump" as well.  To be fair, temping and shaping my old Livia 90 (also an HX, but a "dragon") was considerably less rewarding than temping the M21 which is far more accurate, stable and repeatable.

Fortunately, no prosumer quality or better espresso machine requires "temperature surfing."  That's an artifact of non-PID SBDUs, and one of many reasons they're obsolete.

BDL
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fredk01
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Joined: 20 Feb 2012
Posts: 136
Location: Canada
Expertise: Just starting

Espresso: Saeco Aroma
Grinder: OE Pharos
Posted Mon Dec 9, 2013, 4:03pm
Subject: Re: When do you need a commercial machine (fun with math)
 

boar_d_laze Said:

Well, I was wrong about "duty cycle," which I realized almost as soon as I posted.

Posted December 8, 2013 link

I suspect duty cycle can be used in several different contexts.  

...Getting back to the OP's original question...  We need a more precise definition of what he means by "a commercial machine."

I'm thinking of machines like the Oscar (which is billed as semi commercial)  and beyond that have larger boilers and are meant to pull shots in a commercial environment.  When I did some basic math based on a commercial machine's duty cycle, :-) I found that the gap between what a commercial or, I suspect, even semi commercial machine can produce in a year and what a heavy use enthusiast can produce in a year was eye popping large.  4,000 pulls is a lot in our world, but its not even a drop in the bucket in the commercial world.

My first thought was: "Do we really need a machine that can pull 18,000 shots a year?"  That was followed by: "can a BDB really not handle 4,000 shots a year?"  That seems like a huge gap to me.

I do understand that as soon as you want to pull a larger number of shots in a row quickly, the required duty cycle for the equipment rises, even if the total volume over a longer period is still not that high.

By the way, these are just my caffeine deprived, uninformed musings put forth for your consideration.  ;-)
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boar_d_laze
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Joined: 21 Nov 2006
Posts: 1,102
Location: Monrovia, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: La Cimbali M21 DT/1 Junior...
Grinder: Ceado E92; "Bunnzilla"
Vac Pot: Royal Coffee Maker
Drip: Chemex + Kone; Espro Press
Roaster: USRC Sample Roaster
Posted Mon Dec 9, 2013, 6:30pm
Subject: Re: When do you need a commercial machine (fun with math)
 

fredk01 Said:

My first thought was: "Do we really need a machine that can pull 18,000 shots a year?"

Posted December 9, 2013 link

 
No.  But that's not the point in buying a commercial machine for residential use.  FWIW, I'm pretty sure I remember the thread which started your shot, and remember thinking at the time that the OP -- who thought she might be pulling as many as 12 "shots" a day -- was frightened away from what seemed one of the few best machines for her budget, purposes and other circumstances in favor of some contributors' favorites.  

That was followed by: "can a BDB really not handle 4,000 shots a year?"

Whether or not it can or can't you're unlikely to get a straight answer here.  At least not one you can separate from the noise.

I understand your question as seeking an answer based in sound statistical analysis.  

My guess is that a BDB can easily take 10 or 12 pulls a day for a few years in stride on the basis that the moving parts such as pump, valves, etc., come from the same general parts bin which most Italian manufacturers use for their mid-level prosumers.  But that's my guess, and my reasoning; it's not a statistical projection based on enough data points to assert one.  

However, referring to a few people who bought BDBs and remained unhappy despite (gasp!) several replacements (clutch those pearls) is not soundly based statistical analysis either.

I'm not sure if you can get a meaningful answer anywhere, because I'm not sure if the information is public.  You might try writing to Breville and asking if the 900 (or 920) is appropriate for light commercial use.  At a guess, there are hundreds -- if not thousands -- of BDBs worldwide doing just that.  

BDL
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fredk01
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Joined: 20 Feb 2012
Posts: 136
Location: Canada
Expertise: Just starting

Espresso: Saeco Aroma
Grinder: OE Pharos
Posted Mon Dec 9, 2013, 6:59pm
Subject: Re: When do you need a commercial machine (fun with math)
 

That's the thread that got me thinking, but really, its not about the BDB.  What if you take someone who pulls 3 shots 3 times a day.  It could be milk drinks or not.  Change the machine to a Silvano.  Its got a rep as being well built.  Can it not handle that use case for many years ( more than two or three) and produce good espresso?  Again, its not about that machine per se, but about a class of machine (I think??).
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GVDub
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Joined: 25 Jan 2008
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Espresso: Londinium I, Arrarex...
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Posted Tue Dec 10, 2013, 8:50am
Subject: Re: When do you need a commercial machine (fun with math)
 

I've never been inside any of the Quick Mill machines, so I can't speak specifically to the Silvano, but I think that a lot of what you're paying for with commercial machines, beyond the ability to perform consistently, day after day, at what seems to the home user to be mind-boggling volume, is easy serviceability and maintenance. The cases are big because the interior components are laid out to be easier to work on than in the typical counter-sized case, and laid out to accommodate the kind of 24/7 running environment you're likely to encounter in commercial use. You put the controller and electronics in a place where they'll be less affected by the heat and humidity. You use an external pump so the single moving part that's under the highest stress doesn't necessitate pulling the case apart when it needs service or replacement.

There aren't huge differences between an NS Mac 2000 and my Ellimatic or an Oscar, for example. Groupheads are pretty similar, as is the hydraulic design. But the Mac is designed for constant use in a pub or small coffee house, where the Ellimatic and Oscar were more for catering applications where they're carried around and used for relatively short stretches in environments were plumbing and high-amperage electricity may not be readily accessible. And the Mac is a lot easier to work on than either of the light commercial, reservoir-based machines.

When you come down to it, nobody _needs_ a commercial espresso machine for personal use. In a larger sense, nobody _needs_ an espresso machine of any sort—after all, you won't die without one. It's all a question of _wanting_, which means a question of taste, and as some Roman guy said a long time ago, in matters of taste, there can be no disputation (De gustibus non est disputandum for those who like it in the original).
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calblacksmith
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calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,672
Location: Riverside, Ca, U.S.A.
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: ECM Vene. A1, La Cimbali M32
Grinder: Azkoyen Capriccio, Major
Vac Pot: 40s era Silex
Drip: Msl. Com. brewers
Roaster: gave it a try, decided no
Posted Tue Dec 10, 2013, 10:26am
Subject: Re: When do you need a commercial machine (fun with math)
 

boar_d_laze Said:

Whether or not it can or can't you're unlikely to get a straight answer here.  At least not one you can separate from the noise.

Posted December 9, 2013 link

I am going to take a wild guess that at least in part, the "noise" comment is directed my way. I am perhaps the most diligent in pointing out the down side.

Just as some may post here and feel that the BDB is a wonderful machine, others do not feel the same way. My opinion is based on watching and waiting and seeing what the issues with it have been. Just as there are many first time owners who have had great luck and sing the praises of their treasure, there has been a number of machine failures too.

My money is a bit hard to come by and I suspect that most here will fall into the same camp. Is it noise to at least warn a prospective buyer what the track record has been? I am sure that there are a lot of YUGO owners who paid full retail price and would have been thankful for at least a heads up about what they were buying.

If someone wishes to continue and buy after knowing "the rest of the story" then my best wishes go with them, I hold no ill will toward them or the machine. I can rest easy knowing that I did my part to inform them. I feel that they are adults and can make choices for themselves.

Further, I have no regrets and until the BDB proves otherwise (at this time, it is going to take a LOT of proof) I will continue to point out the down side of that machine and the history of the manufacturer.

If that is "noise" then let it be so.

How can someone make a true decision on anything without knowing all of the information?  We do not agree about everything here, all points of view are welcome as long as it is kept civil and people are not attacked. We owe it to the readers to give all the information. A high percentage of the reviews on places like Amazon dot com are from Fan boys and low information buyers who base their glowing reviews on two weeks of ownership, I would like to think we are better than that and can provide better information, that includes the good and the bad.

 
In real life, my name is
Wayne P.
Anything I post is personal opinion and is only worth as much as anyone else's personal opinion. YMMV!

Feed the newbs, starve the trolls and above all enjoy what you drink!
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boar_d_laze
Senior Member


Joined: 21 Nov 2006
Posts: 1,102
Location: Monrovia, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: La Cimbali M21 DT/1 Junior...
Grinder: Ceado E92; "Bunnzilla"
Vac Pot: Royal Coffee Maker
Drip: Chemex + Kone; Espro Press
Roaster: USRC Sample Roaster
Posted Wed Dec 11, 2013, 8:27am
Subject: Re: When do you need a commercial machine (fun with math)
 

Wayne (Calblacksmith),

You are one of the several important (in that you post frequently, cogently and write well) CGers who warns against the BDB whenever it comes up as a prospective purchase.  The criticism insofar as it refers to how long the BDB is likely to last or it's capability in terms of more than one or two daily shots is "noise" in that we (we means me too) don't have the right kind of knowledge base to make those sorts of assertions with confidence.

If we did, we'd talk about error bars, confidence levels, standard deviations and so on.  

In some ways internet forums in particular and the internet in general is a very poor source for developing sound conclusions.  The anecdotes we get tend to come from a population which self-selects the very enthusiastic and very disappointed, and leaves out those who occupy the (broad?) middle ground.  

For whatever it's worth, I don't necessarily disagree with your conclusions about the BDB despite my different conclusions (which are no stronger nor weaker than yours, and just as much "noise") and certainly believe that you should go on posting them.

Since we're more or less neighbors and share the same passions for espresso, Cimbali, and helping folks with the hows and whys of espresso, I think we should meet over a few shots and talk about ways to better do that.  

BDL
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calblacksmith
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calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,672
Location: Riverside, Ca, U.S.A.
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: ECM Vene. A1, La Cimbali M32
Grinder: Azkoyen Capriccio, Major
Vac Pot: 40s era Silex
Drip: Msl. Com. brewers
Roaster: gave it a try, decided no
Posted Wed Dec 11, 2013, 10:22am
Subject: Re: When do you need a commercial machine (fun with math)
 

That is an excellent idea, one that I was going to bring up myself, I welcome the chance to get together. Christmas schedules can be a tough time for this but I do want to do it :D

I think we are closer than it may appear in our views, I also agree about the definition of "noise" you said here, I have no idea how long or how many shots it will work, that is not my point. There are many who have one and have had no issues at all, it is serving them very well. I was supposed to be on the "road show" in which a machine was purchased then shipped at the reviewers own cost to the next person on "the list". Sadly it never got to me and honestly I don't know if it ever got to anyone at all. The CC1 did make the rounds though and it was used in person by several members who did then review it. OH, well! That is life then we move on.

The machine has a lot of promise and would make a great better than starter SBDU  but not as expensive as a serious prosumer machine, one that might last a user for several years and longer. The roll out was marred by several issues and hopefully the next issue will be better. Only time will tell.

 
In real life, my name is
Wayne P.
Anything I post is personal opinion and is only worth as much as anyone else's personal opinion. YMMV!

Feed the newbs, starve the trolls and above all enjoy what you drink!
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