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Vibiemme Machines - All - John Rustrick's Review
Posted: March 25, 2007, 9:44pm
review rating: 5.3
feedback: (0) comments | read | write
Vibiemme Machines - All
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Arrow The Vibiemme Machines - All has 19 Reviews
Arrow The Vibiemme Machines - All has been rated 8.88 overall by our member reviewers
Arrow This product has been in our review database since February 3, 2003.
Arrow Vibiemme Machines - All reviews have been viewed 140,985 times (updated hourly).

Quality Reviews
These are some of the best-written reviews for this product, as judged by our members.
Name Ranking
Wilco Bos 9.23
Felix L 8.00
Jill S. 8.00
Ann Phillips 7.75
Mats Leidö 7.66

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Ratings and Stats Overall Rating: 8.6
Product Reviewed: Domobar Super Lever
Manufacturer: Vibiemme Quality: 9
Average Price: Varies Usability: 9
Price Paid: $1,625.00 Cost vs. Value 6
Where Bought: Columbus Coffee, Auckland Aesthetics 10
Owned for: 6 months Overall 9
Writer's Expertise: I love coffee Would Buy Again: Yes
Similar Items Owned: Rancilio Silvia
Bottom Line: The VBM Domobar Super has essentially ended any thoughts I have of upgrading any further. I've got the best money can buy - barring a full blown commercial machine that wouldn't make sense in the home.
Positive Product Points

This is a great machine, where do I start?

  • simultaneous steam and espresso.
  • large boiler - you cannot run out of steam, and strong strong steam pressue.
  • large tank, infrequent fill-ups.
  • heavy portafilter handle with 17g doubleshot basket.
Negative Product Points

Not many, but if you have to nit-pick:

  • Noisy... the pump really rattles the case!
  • E61 grouphead can get too hot, burning the first espresso shot after a long wait time. Best to do a cooling flush first.
  • steam is almost too strong for small amounts of milk - prefers to steam enough milk for 3-4cups instead of the odd solo cup.
Detailed Commentary

I got this machine from NZ - primarily because it was impossible to get in Singapore. And given 240V in Singapore, importing one from the states was a no-go. Decided on a chrome one for maximum kitchen presence. Everything about the machine feels solid - from it's 28kg weight, to the hefty single/double spout portafilters included.

Since it's a Super model, there a big boiler and heat exchanger allowing simultaneous steam and espresso brewing. There's also a handy separate hot water tap (for those long blacks, or the tea drinker in the party). There's also a low-water indicator that shut's down the boiler/pump to protect the machine from running dry - a great feature given that the tank is hidden (as most of these are). It's a manual lever too - more original looking.

Straight out of the box, this has demonstrated itself to be a great machine. I used to own a Silvia - and had grown used to the meticulous process to get a decent espresso. However, with the Domobar Super, I have become a little more slack as the machine is far more forgiving. Plus it's great not to have to wait for temps to move when having to make milk drinks.

I adjusted the espresso brewing approach with the Domobar Super. The machine seems to favour a slightly finer grind (~2 steps finer than for Silvia on the Rocky) with less tamping - just a firm press and polish (10-15lbs) as opposed to the 30lbs required to get something reasonable out of the Silvia. The pre-infusion feature of the E61 really does aid and simplify the process.

Steaming is now a breeze with the very powerful steam jet that you get. The twin hole tip makes things a lot easier than the single hole Silvia tip. Only danger is that there's so much steam, if you're working with small capacities of milk, you don't get a whole lot of time to work that foam.

My only real complaint about the machine is that the pump is noisy - both when filling the boiler (doesn't happen often), and brewing espresso. Part of this could be due to the fact that the pump is mounted close to the case - I've got a project to open her up and pad that down a bit to see whether things get better.

Buying Experience

Got this machine from Columbus Coffee, High Street, Auckland. The proprietor, Daryl, was a star and spent plenty of time educating me on the pro's and con's of the various options. Price was good for NZ/Aus rates and no more expensive than importing one from Italy. I'd recommend going to Daryl regardless of machine you intend to get - he'll make the buying experience much more enjoyable.

Three Month Followup

6 months of ownership and I am still loving this espresso machine. Summary points:

  • I've gotten over the need to do the occassional cooling flush if the machine has been sitting idle for too long.
  • It's so forgiving - grinds can be a little out, or tamp can be a little shoddy but you can still drink the result in the cup.
  • Spend too much time polishing the VBM with a soft cloth for that super-shiney look on the kitchen counter.
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review rating: 5.3
Posted: March 25, 2007, 9:44pm
feedback: (0) comments | read | write
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