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Espresso Machine Review

  • New Upgrade to the Vibiemme Double Domobar Espresso Machine

    Posted on August 14, 2014 by Venia Coffee Roasters | Keith

    Vibiemme has made a few nice changes to their Double Domobar espresso machine, now called the V4.0.  Most of the changes involve power management, making the machine more efficient and more effective at running on 15 amp circuits.



    New Vibiemme Double Domobar Version 4.0 home espresso maker


    To do this, the first change involved the removal of the traditional pressurestat that controlled the steam boiler pressure (and thus temperature) and added a PID temperature controller (PID stands for Proportional, Integral, Derivative...essentially a computer controlled temperature controller that "intelligently" controls the heating element).  PID control had already been introduced to the brew boiler in previous generations.

    Thanks to an innovative method of controlling the percentage of power to the heating elements, Vibiemme’s Power Management Control System (PMCS) automatically regulates variable power to each heating element. The total amperage draw of the machine will never go over 15 amps using 110-120 volts.  Using this PMCS, only up to 15 amps are required (no 20 amp circuit needs to be added to your kitchen) without any additional switches or internal adjustments.


    Vibiemme PID Detail


    Other changes include insulation added to both copper brew and steam boilers to minimize energy loss and a redesigned drip tray cover that reduces splash-back from the brew-group's 3-way pressure release valve, and now the Over Pressure Valve (OPV) drains into the drip tray, not the water reservoir.

    Add these changes to the already excellent features of the Double Domobar, and this is and excellent choice for any espresso enthusiast looking for a top of the line espresso maker.

    This post was posted in Espresso Machine Review, News and was tagged with New Product, Double Domobar, Home Espresso Machine, E61 Espresso Machine, Vibiemme Espresso

  • A Visit With Slayer Espresso

    Posted on March 18, 2014 by Venia Coffee Roasters | Keith

    Georgetown Neighborhood, Seattle, WA.  I had the pleasure of taking a tour of Slayer Espresso's amazing digs down inside the Original Rainier Brewery building.  I think the only thing cooler than the building are the people that occupy it.  Slayer Espresso among them.

    I have long been a fan of the the technology developed by Slayer and their unique approach to espresso extraction that makes their machines different from every other machine on the market, specifically flow-rate profiling.

    Slayer Espresso Machine Venia Coffee Roasters

    A 3-group version 3 Slayer in the early stages of production.  Each machine is custom built per customer's specification.  Each machine has a boiler for each brew group, a separate steam boiler, and an additional boiler that preheats all water used in the machine.  While designed for temperature stability, a bonus of this pre-heat boiler is much of the scale that comes out of water is delivered here, adding to life of the other boilers.


    Slayer Espresso Machine Venia Coffee Roasters


    Needle valves, solenoids and other parts awaiting installation.



    Slayer Espresso Machine Venia Coffee Roasters


    Boilers await installation.



    Slayer Espresso Machine Venia Coffee Roasters


    A 3-group in a beautiful flat black.



    Slayer Espresso Machine Venia Coffee Roasters


    Slayer Espresso Machine Venia Coffee Roasters Single Group Prototype


    The long awaited single group Slayer.  While one of two prototypes in this photo, production of these is under way.



    Slayer Espresso Machine Venia Coffee Roasters Single Group Prototype


    Inside the top cover is a straight forward user interface.



    Slayer Espresso Factory


    The blue knobs adjust the needle valve, thus the flow rate in the first stage of extraction.



    Slayer Espresso_20140314_0982


    Electrical workbench.



    Venia Coffee Slayer Espresso Machine


    Pulled..and drank... lots of our espressos in short order.  Didn't sleep well that night.



    Jason Prefontaine Slayer Espresso | A Man and His Machine | Venia Coffee


    Jason Prefontaine, the founder of Slayer.  A man and his machine is a beautiful thing.


    Slayer Espresso Square Peg Espresso Venia Coffee

    Venia Coffee will be pulling shots with Slayer at the SCAA Event this upcoming April here in Seattle.  If you are in town, we would love to show off some of our awesome coffees on these great machines.


    Slayer Espresso Factory Old Rainier Brewery

    This post was posted in Uncategorized, Espresso Machine Review, News and was tagged with Slayer Espresso, Commercial Espresso Machines

  • La Spaziale S1 Dream Dual Boiler Espresso Machine

    Posted on January 24, 2014 by Venia Coffee Roasters | Keith

    We are excited to add to our line-up the La Spaziale S1 Dream espresso machine.  This is the next generation of the exceptional Vivaldi line of espresso machines.  The easy to use touch-pad controls a plethora of new options including shot volume, brew temperature, pre-infusion, and name a few.


    S1_Dream_La-Spaziale-Dual-Boiler-Espresso-MachineThe S1 Dream is available in two colors, a metallic flecked black and a sparkled Ferrari red.  Beautiful!


    S1_Dream_La-Spaziale-Dual-Boiler-Espresso-Control-PanelThe biggest upgrade from the Vivaldi II to the Dream S1 is the digital control panel that allows for a large degree of manipulation over shot and brew perimeters.



    Just like its younger brother, the S1 Dream is a dual boiler, rotary pump espresso machine.  We are always ready to answer your questions, so give us a call today!


    This post was posted in Espresso Machine Review, News and was tagged with New Product, espresso makers, La Spaziale, La Spaziale Dream S1, Pump Espresso Machine

  • Izzo Alex Duetto III | Sneak Peek

    Posted on October 30, 2012 by Venia Coffee Roasters | Keith

    Great news for espresso aficionados, Izzo is about to release the next revision of their acclaimed Duetto espresso machine, the Izzo Alex Duetto 3.0.

    We are still learning what changes have been made and at this point it mostly seems to be a cosmetic upgrade.  The reality is that under the hood, the Duetto II leaves little room for improvement.  A majority of the nit-picky gripes of the Duetto II center around the fit and finish of the body, and while hardly a deal breaker for most, the Duetto III has brought a level of refinement appropriate to a machine of this caliber.

    The Duetto V2 has a single wrap around body panel which is has been replaced with three individually formed panels.  They are more reminiscent of the beautiful bodywork on the Quick Mill Andreja Premium.  Also, cup tray rails have been made standard which allow easier tray removal and access to the water reservoir.

    The only notable inside change that we currently are aware of is the repositioning of the expansion valve discharge.  The Duetto II has a notch in the drip tray to accommodate, but the Duetto III does not.  The repositioning allows the notch to be removed from the drip tray which allows greater capacity.

    The question on everyone's mind is price.  We don't know yet but will let you know when we do.  Looks like the first shipment will be landing mid November and will have more to share when it does.

    At first look, the Duetto III seems like a nice refinement of an already fantastic home espresso machine.

    This post was posted in Espresso Machine Review, News and was tagged with New Product, espresso makers, Izzo Alex Duetto III, Duetto V3, Home Espresso Machine, E61 Espresso Machine

  • New Lower Price | Vibiemme Double Domobar Home Espresso Machine

    Posted on June 5, 2012 by Venia Coffee Roasters | Keith

    Have exciting news to share today! Due to a growing demand and increased production, the long sought after Double Domobar espresso machine just received big price drop, giving it one of the most competitive home espresso machines on a price to performance ratio.
    Double Boiler Home Espresso Maker | Vibiemme Double Domobar

    New Pricing for the Vibiemme E61 Domobar Super Double Boiler:

    List Price: $2999

    Venia Coffee: $2295

    --> Go to product listing page here <--

    This post was posted in Espresso Machine Review, News and was tagged with home espresso, Vibiemme, Double Boiler, Double Domobar, New Price

  • New Coffee & Espresso Gear | SCAA Event Portland 2012 | Steampunk, Hey Cafe, Slayer Espresso

    Posted on May 7, 2012 by Venia Coffee Roasters | Keith

    Alpha Dominche Steampunk Coffee Brewer

    I didn't get to spend nearly as much time as I wanted on the exhibition show floor this year and admittedly missed perhaps the one machine I wanted to see the most, the Alpha Dominche Steampunk Coffee Brewer (I saw it sitting idle, however, just not in use).  I didn't even get to snap a photo of the Steampunk, so I am using the press release image below:

    Alpha Dominche Steampunk Coffee Brewer

    Immediately visible are the four brewing chambers, called crucibles, that are clearly designed to give a visual coffee brewing performance to the customer.  These brewing chambers are a combination of both a french-press and coffee siphon. Brewing parameters such as time, water temp, agitation, and steam aeration are programmable, and each program and can be recalled on any crucible. Contained within the beautifully designed body is a whopping 20 liter boiler.

    The Steampunk is designed to to automate what is important in the brew cycle while at the same time leaving as much of the process as possible in the hands of the skilled barista to bring out the beauty of each coffee.

    Last year a similar machine hit the market to much fanfare and applause, the Bunn Trifecta.  The Trifecta, while lacking the design and visual appeal of the Steampunk (but quite capable of brewing a knockout cup of coffee), has been slow in gaining traction into cafes.   The Steampunk's ability to brew in 4 crucibles at any given time might earn the it a steadfast position on your local coffee bar's counter. posted this discussion with Khristian Bombeck of Alpha Dominche from the SCAA Portland show floor.



    Word on the street is that the Steampunk will appear in Seattle and Portland cafes later this Summer.


    Hey Cafe Coffee Grinders

    Hey Cafe has been producing a coffee grinder, the HC-600, which seems un-ashamedly a Mazzer Super Jolly knock-off.  While in the Hey Cafe booth, the representative seemed to proudly make note of this.  While until the past few years most coffee grinders have been very close in design from a functional standpoint (and most patents have surely expired), the HC-600 treads dangerously close to the intellectual line.

    I was, however, pleased to see Hey Cafe's diversion from the knock-off market and their experimention with new grinder designs.  Most notably is the grind adjustment design on the new Titan Dispensing Grinder (not pleased on the aesthetics, however)

    Most grinders on the market adjust grind size by moving a stationary upper burr up and down by means of a rotating threaded collar.  The new approach here is to keep the upper burr fixed and use an adjustable bearing to raise and lower the motor shaft, thus changing grind adjustment (note the grind adjustment knob on the lower left of the body in the above pick, as apposed to the usual rotating collar design).


    Above is a photo of the motor, note the adjustment knob on the bottom (black knob on black background, sorry for the poor photo).

    Hey Cafe is also building a new home grinder that may hold some promise.  It looks to be a belt driven unit that dosing is controlled by digital key pad.  We will see if this hits the US market in the next year and if it is a worthy product for our lineup.

    The unit is still in the design & prototype phase and only the on/off function was currently programmed.  Here, the design is a bit nicer than some of their other products, but hope the production model is a bit more refined.


    Slayer Espresso

    While not new to the market, this was my first hands on experience with the Slayer Espresso Machine.  Let me say I was not in any way disappointed.

    Two Group Slayer Espresso Machine

    Speak about innovation in a market that seems to be filled with a race to re-create what the other guy is doing.  While the paddle handles may seem similar to a Synesso or La Marzocco MP Strada, the comparison ends there.  Instead of pursuing the pressure profiling market, the Slayer maintains constant pressure throughout the espresso Continue Reading

    This post was posted in Uncategorized, Review, Espresso Machine Review, Accessory Review, News and was tagged with New Product, #SCAA2012, Slayer Espress, Steampunk, Alpha Dominche, Hey Cafe, First Look

  • New Coffee & Espresso Gear | SCAA Event Portland 2012 | Unic Viper

    Posted on April 24, 2012 by Venia Coffee Roasters | Keith


    Stopped by the UNIC booth at SCAA Event Portland 2012 to check out the newest machine to be released into the pressure profiling market, the Stella di Caffé Viper.  As with the other Stella di Caffé models I have seen, they remind me of a Juke Box in a Route 66 soda shop.  Their computer/operating system offers intelligent boiler temperature management and a workflow similar to a smartphone.  But what sets the VIPER apart are the large handles on the top of the machine, reminiscent of a hot-rodded old La Pavoni lever.



    First Look:

    The Unic Viper uses air (which is compressible) in a chamber above the brew group and the handle to to control brew pressure.  Pulling the handle forward (to mid position) opens a valve and activates the pump.  Water flows into the brew-group compressing the air.  Pulling the handle all the way forward closes the valve and pressure slowly falls as water is forced through coffee in the portafilter.  The barista Continue Reading

    This post was posted in Review, Espresso Machine Review, News and was tagged with New Product, UNIC, Unic Viper, SCAA PORTLAND, #SCAA2012, Stella di Caffé, Pressure Profiling

  • Quick Mill Silvano Steam Capacity

    Posted on March 20, 2012 by Venia Coffee Roasters | Keith

    We have taken quite a few questions about the steaming capability of the Quick Mill Silvano.  The Silvano uses a Thermoblock to produce steam as apposed to a dual purpose boiler (like the Rancilio Silvia) or a dedicated steam boiler (like the Izzo Alex Duetto or Vibiemme Double Domobar).  The below video demonstrates the continuous steam capability of the thermoblock.

    An espresso machine like the Silvano that is equipped with a thermoblock is able to immediately switch between brewing espresso to steaming milk.  A thermoblock also uses less energy than a dedicated steam boiler as steam is made on demand (as opposed to continually keeping a steam boiler hot, even when not in use and the machine is powered on). Continue Reading

    This post was posted in Review, Espresso Machine Review and was tagged with Quickmill, Silvia, Quick Mill, Silvano, Thermoblock, Thermoblock Espresso Machine, Milk Frothing, Steaming Milk

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