Posted Sat Jan 11, 2014, 12:33pm Subject: Would I regret giving up an E61?
I have a 7-year old Vetrano, the first model. It has served me well, but I just moved from a large house I owned into a small apartment I rent. That model of the Vetrano can only be plumbed in, something that's not possible in my new home due to layout/not being able to drill holes in my landlord's counters or cabinets. I've looked into running the machine off an external water supply, but a five gallon jug on the counter is not going to fly with the wife (or me, really), and I don't have enough floor space to set up a cart to hide the jug. I've resigned myself to the fact that I have to buy a new machine with an internal reservoir (and try to sell my Vetrano).
Now, an excuse to upgrade is not the worst thing in the world. I've been coveting a dual boiler machine for a while. While I'm able to manage the HX water dance, I don't really enjoy it. I want consistency and predictability. I'm ready to dial in a temperature and then get it. After doing some research, I'm pretty well settled on two options: Quick Mill Silvano ($995) or Quick Mill Vetrano 2B ($2295). If I were convinced that the new Vetrano was the best fit for me, I might be able to stretch my budget to make it work. But $995 is a lot more appealing, financially. Since I make about 70/30 cappuccinos and straight shots, 1-2 a day, never back to back, only for myself, it seems like I fall right into the Silvano's sweet spot: I don't make big gulp lattes, I don't entertain, I don't make Americanos.
That said, I wonder - will I miss having an E61? How will my espresso life be different without it? Under what conditions might I decide the price difference is worth it to me?
Posted Sat Jan 11, 2014, 1:49pm Subject: Re: Would I regret giving up an E61?
Jon's a smart guy and his reasoning will be interesting.
In my experience, which probably isn't as wide, varied nor as well considered as Jon's, the E-61 (including the quality clone population) is a good group for DBs for the same reasons it's good for HXs. Right size, plenty of mass, "thermosiphonic action," good temp stability, lots of accessories, all the good OEM stuff fits, etc., etc.
Beyond that, there only a few other choices in the DB range which fit pricewise between the consumer Breville and professional La Marzocco. Offhand, all I can think of is the LaSpaz.
Bostonbuzz Senior Member Joined: 30 Apr 2010 Posts: 21 Location: Boston Expertise: I love coffee
Posted Sat Jan 11, 2014, 2:20pm Subject: Re: Would I regret giving up an E61?
The silvano has everything you need.
- It's smaller - It's simpler - It has a PID - It is thermally stable with fewer flushes (I still have a flush chart for the E-61 DB on my shelf, although it's an order of magnitude simpler than the old HX)
Only 2 problems:
- Not the best steamer - Doesn't have an E-61 group (ONLY a problem for looks. I.e. it looks like you're not serious because it appears to be a silvia class machine, which it is not)
Really, everyone who isn't very much into milk should have a silvano over any HX machine. I would love to get one and pop a dimmer switch on it (or a small gear pump and electronic control) for a neat little package.
To answer your questions: No you won't miss your E61, you will learn to pour shots you like with any machine you buy. (quality/price/etc of a new machine being about the same) Why would your spro be different? After the learing process of a new setup?... What you will miss in the process of learning is the volumetric pump IMO with the Sylvano but it does have everything else that fit the bill for you. So why pay more than twice the price?...
(Click for larger image)
Enjoy your coffees with Respect :^) =============== BGA0531
I used an Anita I purchased new from Chris when he first brought them to the US. Was very happy with it. Sold it after 3 years; planned to upgrade to a Della Corte Mini dual boiler machine. That never happened due to difficulty in procuring one. I am currently using a Salvatore HX that does not have the E61 and I don't miss it at all. Rather, the Salvatore uses an Astoria group that employs a thermo syphon circuit from the HX to keep it up to temperature. The espressos made by the Anita and Salvatore are qualitatively similar, both produce espresso that is very good.
So does the 2B. So does the GB/5. So does a tweaked Gaggia Classic.
It is thermally stable with fewer flushes.
Fewer flushes than what? What do you mean by "thermally stable?" How are you measuring thermal stability? Have you really measured the Silvano AND the 2B? Really?
I still have a flush chart for the E-61 DB on my shelf, although it's an order of magnitude simpler than the old HX.
You either have a technique or equipment problem. The first flush of the morning, should be a medium length flush (gets the thermosiphonic action going in the head's reservoir, and lowers the group temperature), wait, short warming flush. After that, short warming shot before every flush. That's it.
If you're worried about repetitive stress injuries from too much flushing, the short flush you do to clear schmutz from the last shot off the screen can do double duty as your warming shot.
If your E-61 DB requires more it's an equipment problem.
If you had trouble getting consistent temps from your old HX, take comfort. Other people do not.
Only 2 problems: - Not the best steamer.
Better than an SBDU, but I'd still consider anything as slow as the Silvano unacceptably slow for making regular milk drinks. Milk "cheeses" if it's steamed too slowly, and if you've ever used a slow steamer, you've smelled it as it happened. Some people don't mind, others do.
- Doesn't have an E-61 group (ONLY a problem for looks. I.e. it looks like you're not serious because it appears to be a silvia class machine, which it is not)
False. That's not just my opinion, it's Quick Mill's as well. They makes a lot of machines, and every prosumer, whether HX or DB, has an E-61 (clone) group. The Silvano also lacks a hot water tap.
Really, everyone who isn't very much into milk should have a silvano over any HX machine.
You may not get what you pay for as often as you should, but you very seldom get what you don't pay for
The Silvano is a good-value, entry-level, hybrid, dual-pump, small-footprint machine. Its construction is a step up from the lesser priced, more technologically advanced CC-1, and also better than the couple of HXs in its price range. But it IS entry-level. Irrespective of its marginal steam performance, much better machines can be had for... well... much more.
There are many good HXs, priced $1500 - $2800, reservoir or convertible, which do a better pull than the Silvano, made by a number of manufacturers including Bezzera, ECM, Elektra, Giotto, Izzo, Quick Mill and Rocket. There are also a few reservoir or convertible levers in the same price range which do a much better job at straight shots AND steaming than the Silvano. And that's enough about machine types the OP doesn't want.
Since greymalkin wants a PID controlled brew boiler AND a small footprint, good coffee, and good steaming, the 2B looks like it checks all the boxes. Is it better than the Silvano? Yes, quite a bit better. Is it enough better to justify the additional $1200. It's not my money, so it's not my call either.
I know this is going to get Wayne going, but if I were looking for a PID controlled machine on the cheap, I'd choose between CC-1 and BDB, and skip Silvano altogether. Although it's a nice hybrid, I don't think it brings enough to the party to make it worth the extra money compared to the CC-1; nor enough savings to make up for its lesser performance and user-friendliness relative to the BDB.
The 2B would be at or very near the top of my list for a small footprint, high-end prosumer DB.
GRINDER GRINDER GRINDER. Vario + Silvano is a nice combination. Something better than a Vario should feed a 2B though.
Posted Sat Jan 11, 2014, 7:46pm Subject: Re: Would I regret giving up an E61?
The Mazzer Mini is well built machine and lovely too. It isn't as convenient to use as a Vario and the grinds are clumpier. I'd call them a push.
If you're going to go with a Silvano class espresso machine, the Mini would be a good companion.
A much better espresso machine is capable of revealing more nuance and separation than the Mini's grinds can deliver. I've read posts from a lot of guys combine 2Bs with Compak K-10s, visited a few, and pulled coffee from their setups. Is any grinder too good for the 2B? Probably not.
If you drink nothing but SO espresso, you might want to think about one of the big flat grinders. They're less expensive than Titan conicals in the same bodies -- and do an equally good (if somewhat different) job on SOs. If you drink a lot of blends, conicals do better separation. Or, at least that's the current dogma. Mazzer Major, Compak K8, Ceado E37s, etc., etc. And of course, the SJ remains evergreen.
After doing a lot of grinder research and shopping over the past few weeks, nothing jumped out at me as a compelling value. 15 days ago I would have said Quamar T48 and Fiorenzato Doge Conico -- but I learned about convenience issues which will keep them from taking over the world.
Really good grinders means really big grinders. If you need something compact and elegant, the Baratza Forte and Mazzer Mini E with SJ burrs may be about as good as it gets. If you can live with inconvenient maintenance, I've got a Cimbali Jr. Max-Hybrid + Gralab 450 in excellent shape, for sale.
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