As I am on the brink of starting a new café I run into the question; which machine to choose.

I narrowed it down to three. Synesso, LM Linea or Kvdw. I could do with some do or don't arguments in this.

Details; the place is going to be in Rotterdam (Netherlands) So Kvdw is close, LM is available and depended upon as anywhere in he world but If I chose for Synesso than it would be the first one in this country. So, there you got it, my dilemma. I hope to hear some reactions especially from those who know them all.

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You could scratch all the above and bring in a Slayer:p


pair it with a Robur and I'll be buying a plane ticket lol;)
I know I am coming late into this discussion.

As far as I know, Synesso Cyncra, is not an "automatic" machine. It is "semi-automatic" in that the barista needs to activate the preinfusion, then activate the high pressure extraction and then turn off the extraction once the pour is complete. It thus requires the barista to watch the machine throughout the pour. As to whether that is an issue, only you can decide.

I know Mark is working on a fully automatic machine that will go thru the preinfusion, the extraction and the shut off automatically once the button is pressed. But the last time I talked to him, it was not on the market yet.
On the question of grinders...

The Anfim is a decent grinder, however, it has one major flaw: it is a stepped grinder. Meaning that the factory has predetermined the adjustment increments of that grinder. Years ago, when I got into the business, we want to move away from stepped grinders because invariably, you would find yourself in the situation where the setting you wanted was right between the factory determined steps.

Why the Anfim came to the minds of the so-called (and ridiculous) "third wave" was because of its' dosing chamber. Unlike the Mazzer line of grinders (which threw the coffee to the left as it came out of the doser), the Anfim dropped the coffee out of the hopper straight down. In a time when everyone was irritated with uneven dosing (and wanted to eliminate distribution for competitions), the Anfim suddenly became the 3W Darling - especially when paired with a timer to regulate the grind time.

Another aspect of the Anfim that just isn't terribly exciting is the burr set. They're flat. At a time when conical burr grinders are at an all-time low, it really doesn't make sense to waste money of a flat burred grinder. Of course, this presumes you believe that the conical burr set offers a superior quality grind.

The real moment of "I'm really struck dumbfounded by this reasoning" with the Anfim came about two years ago when a person closely involved with the distribution of the Anfim wrote what essentially could be termed as a "white paper" on why the stepped grind adjustment of the Anfim was "better" than infinite adjust grinders. Basically, it drilled down to the fact that you would use the timer to adjust the amount of coffee dosed to compensate for the stepped adjustments.

That said, the Anfim enjoys many proponents in our industry. James Hoffman and I have disagreed on the Anfim for quite some time.

The Mahlkonig K30 should be considered a viable option. That is, if the prototype model I used at the 2009 USBC is an indication of the current offering. The K30 is also a flat burr grinder and has undergone revisions since its' introduction that have changed it from stepped adjustment to infinite and the prototype seemed to eliminate the clumping issue that had plagued the grinder since its' introduction.

Many baristas today rave about the Mazzer Robur E with it's doserless hopper and timed grind. No doubt about it, the Mazzer E is a true performer. A battle tank of a grinder. Speed, accuracy and grind quality are all top-notch. The problem with this battle tank is that, well, it's about as heavy as a battle tank - and the price is scorchingly high.

For my money (and I did spend my own money on this one), I think the Compak K10 WBC is the grinder that pulls the balance of performance, accuracy and price. Conical burrs, not too heavy to move on the counter and at a very pocket-friendly price point. Add to that that the grinder works it hard on a daily basis and it's a winner. The downside to the Compak is the relatively brittle bean hopper. Whatever plastic they use, it's pretty thick and prone to chipping and cracking. Drop a Mazzer Major hopper on the floor and you expect it to bounce. Drop a Compak hopper on the floor and pray that it doesn't crack too bad while you start rummaging for the scotch tape or spare hopper.




Karl said:
Grinders; not sure yet. I am thinking of Anfim SC (modded with timer), Mazzer majors or Robur (g.o.d). Beside that I've had an offer concerning a Malkönig K30 Twin. Half a year old, for half the price but I am really not to sure about that one. Even though it is a very commonly used grinder here in the Netherlands.
Dr.J.J You do hit the nail where it should. It is indeed the Cyncra's downside that for consistency it should be handeled in a uniform way because of the preinfusion issue. In real life one could expect that they just give it a swing. Resulting in inconsistency at the least.

Jay, Wise words. The K30 I mentioned was used for half a year but has been on a shelf now for at least a year and I do not know if its a clumper. But that is in fact what worries me. Grind coarser and updose may be an answer I heard someone say. But Mmm..??. You have a point with the Compak it's value for money. (What is stalling the doserless version ?) A conical grinder has its advantages I agree. But they got definitely a different taste profile and I'm still not sure yet if the "cleaner" taste of the conical's is what I want from life. That is why I brought up the major on demand. It is fast and certainly not a bad choice.

Resumé I still don't know.
Karl - I definitely do not want to discount the Mazzer Major as I think it's an excellent grinder. In fact, while both of my coffee places utilize the Compak K10 WBC as the primary espresso grinder, each location has two Mazzer Majors for both decaf and "visiting" espresso blends.
First of all, you know you want to get a Synesso. ;) as someone who has worked on LM's for quite sometime, the mechanics on the Synesso is a breeze to learn. (Sometimes easier)

Second of all, don't rule out how important Conical Burr grinders are... The Conicals with the Synesso virtually rules out any equipment variables you even need to worry about. It is wonderful.
Jay Caragay said:
Karl - I definitely do not want to discount the Mazzer Major as I think it's an excellent grinder. In fact, while both of my coffee places utilize the Compak K10 WBC as the primary espresso grinder, each location has two Mazzer Majors for both decaf and "visiting" espresso blends.

Thanks for the reply Jay. (statistics) The doserless majors here in Europe are priced about $200 under the K10. If you like can you give us the pro's and con's between The K10 and the Majors? Are the majors you use with or without a doser?
I am GB5 all the way, they are the tank of spro machines. Dont get me wrong the hydra is a godsend to the well trained barista. It raises the bar for quality and is a whole bunch of fun especially if you are going to rotate a couple of espressos. But the first half trained barista is going to really show. The gb5 on the other hand has a lot less frills, but super solid steam and extraction are going to prevail.

Good luck with the shop, sounds like you have a little bit of room for playing around.

Cheers
Kvdw. If it were me I'd go for the Idrocompresso (since all the new pressure profiling buzz seems like a Rube Goldberg way to replicate a lever profile). But I've spent most of my time with LMs and Mirages, and the Mirage was the most forgiving to work on. Maybe not the best flavor clarity, but easier.
Nicholas; The lever machine is very nice indeed and it is on my mind regularly. For temperature stability i tend to think the Mirage would be a better choice though. (I go by there tomorrow by the way.)

And to Logan, On a La Marzocco one has less view on what is happening in the cup though. The steaming is great indeed.
I love Gaggia SA. I have used there machines for 30 years. Very few problems and great espresso.

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