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Help is needed to decide my espresso machine and grinder!
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Discussions > Espresso > Q and A > Help is needed...  
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steven_meyer
Senior Member


Joined: 19 Jul 2003
Posts: 508
Location: San Bruno, ca
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Alex Duetto 3.0, ECM  Giotto...
Grinder: HG-One, Mahlkonig K-30 vario
Posted Tue Jan 29, 2013, 5:17am
Subject: Re: Help is needed to decide my espresso machine and grinder!
 

Congratulations. I have the exact combination you have. My only suggestion would be to purchase the small hopper for your K-30 if you already haven't.
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Coffeenoobie
Senior Member
Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 3,040
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Tue Jan 29, 2013, 10:11am
Subject: Re: Help is needed to decide my espresso machine and grinder!
 

Good luck with your set up and report back how it is going.

Redbird will get to you 3 days or so after roasting.  I let my bag age till day 5 or 6 before freezing most of it in 2-3 day bags.  I feel once it is frozen it sales faster than unfrozen and so I want to use it up in a short time.  I have a big chest freezer (not a frost free) and I have had 6 month coffee from it that was fine.  I have not gone over 6 months but 4+ has not been a problem.  I find I am ordering 5 lbs every 2 months.

 
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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emradguy
Senior Member
emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 3,181
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 Tue Jan 29, 2013, 11:16pm
Subject: Re: Help is needed to decide my espresso machine and grinder!
 

yes, this is turning into another "coffee storage" discussion, but I feel the need to chime in, given some of the advice so far.  Not that I'm necessarily "right", just that I have a different opinion than what's been posted in this thread.

My experience (from home brewing beer for many years) with jars that have fliptops and metal clips is they don't seal all that well after a while, and it's hard to tell when they begin to fail...until you taste the poorly stored product, which means you missed it.  I personally feel that mason jars will give you a much more reliable seal.  I also feel that one liter sized jars aren't small enough.  I have been using 4, 8, and 16 oz jars...depending on the bean/blend and how I intend to brew it. Since I drink mostly espresso and tend to do at least two doubles for myself every day, I use the larger ones for regular espresso blends (such as Red Bird).  I tend to use the 4 oz jars for beans I plan to bring to my office for presspot.  Red Bird beans arrive to me in Houston two days after roasting - like clockwork (assuming I order over the weekend or early Monday). If I order late Monday or early Tuesday, they tend to arrive three days post roast for some reason.  I've never ordered from Jeff between Wed and Fri.  Anyhow, when my shipment arrives, I split it into the jars, filling each to capacity, such that I may hear a crack when I tighten down the lid.  I leave the lids on very loosely for up to a day, then tighten them firmly and stick them in the freezer.  Well, I actually leave one jar out of the freezer, since I'll be using it within a couple of days (but I still tighten the lid).  I figure the loose fit allows CO2 from the degassing process to drive out the remainder of the air - who knows if that really happens, but I like to think so).  I suppose someone with a lab could fit a jar with a probe and figure it out, but I don't have the equipment or resources for that.  The night before I need more beans in my grinder, I take a jar from the freezer, so the beans are at room temp when I open the jars.  This prevents them from gathering condensation.  I have not noticed a difference between the "frozen" beans and those I've used without freezing.  For reference, I find the jars hold about 10-12g beans per ounce. So, if you're doing 18g doubles (for instance), you'll get almost 10 doubles from a 16oz jar.

There are numerous articles about freezing or not, and the discussion comes up with relative frequency, so there's plenty to read on the topic.  You'll have to make your own decision if and how to do so.

 
.
Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
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gearbolt
Senior Member
gearbolt
Joined: 9 Aug 2007
Posts: 39
Location: San Jose, CA
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Izzo Alex Duetto 3.0
Grinder: Mahlkonig K30 Vario
Vac Pot: Kona
Roaster: TBD
Posted Wed Jan 30, 2013, 12:08am
Subject: Re: Help is needed to decide my espresso machine and grinder!
 

Hi guys ,  ;)

I couldn't thank you enough.  Very thoughtful suggestions and tips from machine,
accessory, brewing tips to storage.  They definitely will help me dialing in my setups.

I got my order tracking info (total weight is 101 lb) and they will be delivered on 2/4. :(    Meanwhile, your posts are the ones that help me through the days.  Thanks again.

Cheers,
David
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gearbolt
Senior Member
gearbolt
Joined: 9 Aug 2007
Posts: 39
Location: San Jose, CA
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Izzo Alex Duetto 3.0
Grinder: Mahlkonig K30 Vario
Vac Pot: Kona
Roaster: TBD
Posted Tue Feb 5, 2013, 2:50am
Subject: Re: Help is needed to decide my espresso machine and grinder!
 

Hi all,

Progress update:

You won't believe it .....

Placed my order on 1/24 for machine, grinder, and some accessaries.  

Got the shipping notification and later the delivery date, 2/4.  Very happy and everything
went as planned.   Submitted vacation request for the whole week of 2/4.  Also ordered
5LBs Redbird Espresso.

On 1/31, received my Redbird beans roasted on 1|29.  Put beans into different jars and
placed in freezer on different dates with labels.  Thanks to Jeff for the extra chocolates
which I told my wife to enjoy when we make the espresso shots from our own machine.
Couldn't wait any longer. ......

Practice tamping with 30LB force.   Wife couldn't find the barhroom scale.   ;)
Reading posts after posts regarding how to make espresso shots and steaming milk.
Reviewing manuals of Duetto and K30 Vario.
Is today 2/4 yet?  

Today is 2/4, I received my shipment.  I had purchased a tamper, tamper stand, milk pitcher,
maintainnance kit, buttomless PF, and a knockbox.  However, all of these are nothing compared
to my shinning new toy.  The Alex Duetto 3.0 is a very good looking machine with solid build.
I almost lose my two arms when tried to put it on the counter.  Took me little time to take out
the shell and reconnect the tube inside.  I am eager to set it up for my first real espresso shot
after all my preparing and years of drinking shots from my superauto.  Ask the wife to wash the
reservior for me and tell my dog not to lick the  group head  (She is  a beagle and spoiled by me
and  the wife).   Fill the rank with water from the water softner and R.O. and let it fill the broiler
and heat up for a good 45 minutes.  OK, great, everything goes so well.   Let's grind some beans.

Hey, wait a minute.  Where is the Malhkonig K30 Vario with short hopper?  My dog usually brings
stuffs she like back to her place.  So I checked it out but couldn't find the grinder.  Mmmm......
Man, they did not ship my grinder.   Don't understand why there is no info or notification about
dropping the grinder shipment.  Well, for sure there will be some yelling over the phone tomorrow.
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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 Tue Feb 5, 2013, 6:02am
Subject: Re: Help is needed to decide my espresso machine and grinder!
 

Call Mary i am sure they will make it right.

 
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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gearbolt
Senior Member
gearbolt
Joined: 9 Aug 2007
Posts: 39
Location: San Jose, CA
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Izzo Alex Duetto 3.0
Grinder: Mahlkonig K30 Vario
Vac Pot: Kona
Roaster: TBD
Posted Sun Feb 10, 2013, 11:10pm
Subject: Re: Help is needed to decide my espresso machine and grinder!
 

Hi all,

Finally got the grinder Malhkonig K30 Vario.  It was a real torture for me during the past couple of days.
I have a great machine but no proper espresso grinder for 4 days.

After couple days of using a cheap grinder with Alex Duetto, I was convinced that that grinder should be
retired to the garbage bin.   So I was so excited when I finally got the K30 Vario.   There was NO comparison.  
The K30 grinds were so much fluffy (way fluffy) that I couldn't believe the difference and no static at all.  
I was concerned the dorserless might make a mess on my counter.  To my surprise, it didn't and the grind
time was very fast and silent and it was very easy to change the grind fineness.  The interface is easy to
work with (two buttons, one single and one double) and the programming is simple (you do need to read
the manual which I did from cover to cover many times already).  I like the feature that you can stop the grind
and resume the unfinished amount (time) later or you can just easily cancel the current run.  The quality
of the grinder is great although it is nothing stronger like SJ.  Mine is short hopper shipped separately and the quality of the hopper itself is mediocre and arrived damaged (Malhkonig will ship a new one once they have in stock.  A long story on this one).  But overall, I am very much satisfied with the grinder.  I am glad to
go for this one.    

The Alex Duetto 3.0 is ....  shinning and in good quality although I don't like the design of the drip tray which
is really a 2nd class design.  To me the tray improvement over the Duetto 2.0 on the 3.0 is a failure.  The tray
is not fully rest on the frame so it moves and makes noise, like a table with 4 uneven length legs.  Annoying.
The temp of the steam and coffee broilers some time wonder more than 1 or 2 degree, ie, setting the brew
temp to 200F but it may go to 205F.   Don't know if this "deadband" is normal.  The machine is very quiet and
heat up fast although mine is 15mA setup.  I did not plumb and drain the Duetto although I have a
sink/faucet right next to it. The initial setup is very easy, including taking out the shell and reconnect the
internal tubing.  Follow the instruction to fill the boilers and no issue at all.

I use the Redbird espresso beans and Jeff responded and shipped fast, including some chocolates with the
beans.  Thanks.  I made my first espresso shot and it was on the under-extract side since I didn't know the
proper grinder setting and I got 2 oz in 15 sec using the double PF with approximate 16g beans.  It was
sourer and not good but the whole room smelled so good.  Later I did not weight my dose and let the grinder
timer setting guide me for the proper dose.   I think I have already gone through 1.5LBs.  Today I think I am
really closing in, with about 16.5g (Later I co-related the timer and weight again) and fine tune the grind
(close to the index 3) and get the syrup-like liquid flowing out the of Duetto.  It is about 1.8 oz in 27.5 sec
starting from the first drip.  I tasted the shot and there was absolutely no sourness.   I made a capp with it
and it was the most delicious capp I made.  It is definitely much better than my super-atuo.  Actually, I want
to say that It should be better than the capp I got from Starbucks but my milk frothing is not good at all (so
minus that).  Anyway, I was in heaven at that moment.  I am really heavily caffeinated these couple of days.
:)

The attached are my current setup up:

gearbolt: Machine_Espresso-1.jpg
(Click for larger image)
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gearbolt
Senior Member
gearbolt
Joined: 9 Aug 2007
Posts: 39
Location: San Jose, CA
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Izzo Alex Duetto 3.0
Grinder: Mahlkonig K30 Vario
Vac Pot: Kona
Roaster: TBD
Posted Sun Feb 10, 2013, 11:11pm
Subject: Re: Help is needed to decide my espresso machine and grinder!
 

It seems I can only upload one picture at a time.  Here is another shot.

gearbolt: Machine_Espresso-1-2.jpg
(Click for larger image)
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qualin
Senior Member
qualin
Joined: 30 Jun 2012
Posts: 662
Location: Calgary, AB
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Izzo Alex Duetto 3
Grinder: Mazzer Mini Elect. Type A
Vac Pot: Looking to buy
Drip: Manual
Roaster: Considering?
Posted Sun Feb 10, 2013, 11:43pm
Subject: Re: Help is needed to decide my espresso machine and grinder!
 

gearbolt Said:

I don't like the design of the drip tray which is really a 2nd class design.

Posted February 10, 2013 link

I didn't really notice it being an issue. I like how deep it is and how much water it can hold. I like how they changed the top of the tray
to a proper grille so I don't have to remove the top when I want to drain the tray.

gearbolt Said:

The tray is not fully rest on the frame so it moves and makes noise,

Posted February 10, 2013 link

I don't have that problem. Are you sure that each side of the rails are even? Mine is on pretty solid and doesn't move.

gearbolt Said:

The temp of the steam and coffee broilers some time wonder more than 1 or 2 degree,

Posted February 10, 2013 link

This is normal. This is the way how the PID works. It is normal for it to deviate a few degrees off of your desired temperature briefly.
PID's work on the idea of "error". As the machine as been left on for longer, the errors will become less and it will be more stable.
I've noticed that while my machine is heating up, it jumps all over the place. (By as much as 5 F) After about 30 minutes, its very rock solid
and only deviates about 1-2 F off of set temperature.

gearbolt Said:

The machine is very quiet and heat up fast although mine is 15mA setup.

Posted February 10, 2013 link

That's why I bought it. :) Although, let it warm up at least 30 minutes before you use it. I've noticed that the brew boiler warms up so fast,
it can read the proper brewing temperature, but the E61 group is still cool/lukewarm to the touch. The machine isn't ready until it has spent
at least 30 minutes warming up.. and the E61 group should be hot to the touch.

gearbolt Said:

I did not plumb and drain the Duetto although I have a sink/faucet right next to it.

Posted February 10, 2013 link

This is another reason why I bought it. I eventually plan on doing that, as I have a separate water softener canister I can use.

gearbolt Said:

it was on the under-extract side since I didn't know the proper grinder setting

Posted February 10, 2013 link

Took me about four shots to get my grinder dialed in. The key trick is, adjust grind first so you are "Within" the range you want,
then adjust dose second.. start out with 14 gram doses and work your way up from there.

gearbolt Said:

Later I did not weight my dose and let the grinder timer setting guide me for the proper dose.

Posted February 10, 2013 link

Even the most expensive grinders are inconsistent. My Mazzer can be off as much as 1 gram with the same grind time. That really
can affect your shot considerably. Weigh your input dose and weigh your output too.

I make it a point to weigh my output as well as my input, so that I have a better idea of what to expect.

Good luck.. Nice set up. :-)

 
Garbage In, Garbage Out, for every step of the process. From Beans to grinder, grounds to machine, coffee to cup.
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JasonBrandtLewis
Senior Member
JasonBrandtLewis
Joined: 9 Dec 2005
Posts: 6,437
Location: Berkeley, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Elektra T1 - La Valentina -...
Grinder: Mahlkönig K30 Vario -...
Vac Pot: Yama 5-cup
Drip: CCD, Chemex
Roaster: No, no, not another...
Posted Mon Feb 11, 2013, 8:21am
Subject: Re: Help is needed to decide my espresso machine and grinder!
 

gearbolt Said:

Finally got the grinder Malhkonig K30 Vario . . . Later I did not weight my dose and let the grinder timer setting guide me for the proper dose.

Posted February 10, 2013 link

FWIW, I find this is a very consistent grinder -- I only weigh my doses once every week or so, more as a "check" than anything else. It never varies by more than 0.05 grams.  

It's truly a joy to use.

JasonBrandtLewis: New Home Setup.jpg
(Click for larger image)

 
A morning without coffee is sleep . . .
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