The thing is we need a good coffee machine for a coffee shop we will be opening soon and we've already decided on a good grinder. We've been looking at a La Marzocco GB5 and Nuova Simonellis. I want advice on which espresso machine to buy.

Views: 1199

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

I'm not Eric, but my descaler of choice is "condition your water properly before it hits the espresso machine".

Brady.  Yes, I believe we all now that, but we work in the real world and not every machine that comes to us for repair has had that care taken. Those customers do get an ear full of education before they leave with it however.  One of the reasons we have an account with Everpure. 

Brady said:

I'm not Eric, but my descaler of choice is "condition your water properly before it hits the espresso machine".

I used to use CLR, and it was very effective at removing scale, but it also had this terrible side effect of making the steam really wet when the machine was put back together.  I even tried to use baking powder to deactivate the acid when done but the boilers always seemed to produce wet steam.  CLR is great for brewer tanks, though, and tubing.  Just not boilers.  I think it's more effective than the citric-acid based stuff, like Scalekleen, which seems to need a lot of heat and time to work effectively.  Although it's not bad.  I've known people who have used muriatic acid and say that it does great but I have never used it myself.  I think it really depends on the chemical make up of the scale in question.  Not all scale is created equal...

Well... given the remainder of the discussion, I wasn't exactly taking that for granted. That doesn't change my answer though :)

For small descaling jobs like jets and valve bodies I do like Dezcale. Seems to be not quite up to the task for more heavily-scaled boilers though. White vinegar smell is hard to get out. Muriatic acid works well, but even with good ventilation and a respirator the fumes are really awful.

So yeah... my favorite descaler really is "don't scale in the first place".

Looking forward to hearing Eric's answer too.

Chad Kimm said:

Brady.  Yes, I believe we all now that, but we work in the real world and not every machine that comes to us for repair has had that care taken. Those customers do get an ear full of education before they leave with it however.  One of the reasons we have an account with Everpure. 

Brady said:

I'm not Eric, but my descaler of choice is "condition your water properly before it hits the espresso machine".

In my opinion, Brady's answer really is the best, and brings up an additional point:  I originally used the word filtration, which can be a little misleading. The terms water treatment or water conditioning would probably be more appropriate.

Simple filters are rarely all that's really needed.  At a minimum, the right combination of scale-inhibitors (or maybe softeners, although I've never been a fan) needs to be found, and quite often I prefer an RO system with an appropriate amount of post-RO blending to achieve the desired TDS.  The problem with more common filtration and conditioning systems is that they can't really remove dissolved solids, only particulates.  Some systems exchange one dissolved solid for another, letting you choose the lesser of two evils, but they still don't let you control your TDS.  An ideal solution needs to optimize overall TDS, total alkalinity, pH, and hardness.  This can be hard to get just right even with RO, but is especially hard with more limited systems.

As for de-scaling options, I've had some awfully bad luck a bunch of times and I really don't like de-scaling unless it's absolutely necessary.  I'm guessing my experiences are a little out of the norm, but don't really know for sure.  I've been sent out to de-scale machines on-site in a limited time frame numerous times and I've often run into trouble.  If there's too much scale buildup for the amount of de-scaler you use, it's possible to loosen things up just enough that you end up with lots of flakes and crumbs of scale floating around loose that get into valves, skinny pipes, etc. and shut the whole machine down completely (especially on super-autos), leading to major rebuild jobs.  I've also seen machines that had tiny pin-hole leaks which had sealed themselves shut with scale buildup in such a way that the de-scaling process would then re-open a long-forgotten leak.  Following all these bad experiences I eventually came to the conclusion that most reasonably cared-for machines don't need de-scaling, and that any machine that is so far gone that it does need de-scaling, needs a complete rebuild at that point.  No more appointments for a "quick" de-scaling on-site, meant to be in and out in a few hours.  It just never works for me the way I'm told it's supposed to!

Having said all that, once I've gotten a machine into the shop for a good, thorough re-build job and I need to de-scale parts, I've been quite happy with ScaleKleen.  I've used cheaper, industrial de-scaling stuff (may have been muriatic acid, but I'm not sure) that seemed to work all-right, but the instructions on dilution ratios were vague and it would sometimes eat into copper and brass more than I liked.  I don't have any experience yet with Dezcal so I can't comment on how it compares. 

As usual, I've written 5x what I planned to, but hopefully there's something worthwhile in all my rants!

Mike, Eric, Brady, Thank you all for the follow up comments.

Eric Schaefer said:.

In my opinion, Brady's answer really is the best, and brings up an additional point:  I originally used the word filtration, which can be a little misleading. The terms water treatment or water conditioning would probably be more appropriate.

Simple filters are rarely all that's really needed.  At a minimum, the right combination of scale-inhibitors (or maybe softeners, although I've never been a fan) needs to be found, and quite often I prefer an RO system with an appropriate amount of post-RO blending to achieve the desired TDS.  The problem with more common filtration and conditioning systems is that they can't really remove dissolved solids, only particulates.  Some systems exchange one dissolved solid for another, letting you choose the lesser of two evils, but they still don't let you control your TDS.  An ideal solution needs to optimize overall TDS, total alkalinity, pH, and hardness.  This can be hard to get just right even with RO, but is especially hard with more limited systems.

As for de-scaling options, I've had some awfully bad luck a bunch of times and I really don't like de-scaling unless it's absolutely necessary.  I'm guessing my experiences are a little out of the norm, but don't really know for sure.  I've been sent out to de-scale machines on-site in a limited time frame numerous times and I've often run into trouble.  If there's too much scale buildup for the amount of de-scaler you use, it's possible to loosen things up just enough that you end up with lots of flakes and crumbs of scale floating around loose that get into valves, skinny pipes, etc. and shut the whole machine down completely (especially on super-autos), leading to major rebuild jobs.  I've also seen machines that had tiny pin-hole leaks which had sealed themselves shut with scale buildup in such a way that the de-scaling process would then re-open a long-forgotten leak.  Following all these bad experiences I eventually came to the conclusion that most reasonably cared-for machines don't need de-scaling, and that any machine that is so far gone that it does need de-scaling, needs a complete rebuild at that point.  No more appointments for a "quick" de-scaling on-site, meant to be in and out in a few hours.  It just never works for me the way I'm told it's supposed to!

Having said all that, once I've gotten a machine into the shop for a good, thorough re-build job and I need to de-scale parts, I've been quite happy with ScaleKleen.  I've used cheaper, industrial de-scaling stuff (may have been muriatic acid, but I'm not sure) that seemed to work all-right, but the instructions on dilution ratios were vague and it would sometimes eat into copper and brass more than I liked.  I don't have any experience yet with Dezcal so I can't comment on how it compares. 

As usual, I've written 5x what I planned to, but hopefully there's something worthwhile in all my rants!

Reply to Discussion

RSS

Barista Exchange Partners

Barista Exchange Friends

Keep Barista Exchange Free

Are you enjoying Barista Exchange? Is it helping you promote your business and helping you network in this great industry? Donate today to keep it free to all members. Supporters can join the "Supporters Group" with a donation. Thanks!

Clicky Web Analytics

© 2021   Created by Matt Milletto.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service