I use this at my shop. I bought it used on craigslist for 2,000.00. Works like a champ and doses perfectly. Easy to adjust dosage. One problem for me though. I'm not sure if its because my used machine is slightly broken or if it's the way they manufactured it, but I'm a total perfectionist when it comes to pulling shots. My problem is that the shots don't pour out consistently.
I did an in depth research on the LM Swft. The manufacture mentions that it does not tamp the coffee grinds 30 or 40lbs, but from what i remember, 8lbs. They mentioned that when they first built it, they set the auto-tamp to 30 lbs but the shots would not come out and that it chokes the espresso machine. They lowered the auto-tamp pressure until it would come out with the correct grind settings. They they researched why 8lbs was the magic number and concluded that when the LM Swift auto-doses, it compacts the coffee bed pretty well.
I had a theory on why my shots were not coming out consistent and off by about .02-.04 ounces. I figured that the coffee bed isn't completely solid which would cause the shots to come out inconsistent. To test my theory, i manually tamped the coffee bed with about 10lbs of pressure...no difference. I then tamped the coffee bed with 20-30 lbs of pressure and guess what? My shots started to pour very consistent. Either my machine's auto-tamp is slightly off or it's how they manufactured it. None-the-less, good machine but very expensive if bought brand new
Thanks Jimmy wonderful insight!
Ive used this grinder and would not recommend it. The auto tamp thing sucks, its an impeller, and spins the coffee outward. It seems to never be a consistent bed. Lots of channeling.
I'm a technician, I've worked on them several times. When there are dialed in they are really pretty good. I've always been impressed with them. They were made to complete with the super autos that now inhabit a certain large coffee retailer. One thing I would recommend, change out the ceramic burrs for Steel. Or get some Ti burrs from Ditting. The ceramic burrs do not tolerate any foreign objects. And they are expensive to replace.
Oh wait, but I'm not an owner.
We can be specific here...
As I understand it, for quite a while Starbucks used Lineas and traditional grinders (Mazzer?). At some point they decided that their baristas were not performing their jobs consistently enough. The Swift was built to solve this problem - by taking the barista out of the equation. All the operator needs to do is load a portafilter, push a button, and lock the PF in when the grinder stops. So easy that anyone can be a barista, right? As Scott mentioned, they instead chose to buy superautomatics.
Why choose a Swift? It and a traditional espresso machine are a good alternative to a superautomatic... so if you are leaning that way already, this might be an option to consider.
However... It is more expensive to purchase and maintain. It is also more difficult to adjust. Add that it only works properly with La Marzocco portafilters.
Given the current crop of outstanding, accurate, and easy to use electronic dosing grinders like the Mythos, K10 Fresh, and Mazzer E, there are few reasons to choose a Swift. Training a barista to tamp correctly is quite easy. If you are that concerned about consistency, tampers like the Macap or Espro clicker are viable choices.
My 2 cents? Buy a good dosing grinder and train your staff.
I used to use the Swift for take-away white coffees (flat whites, lattes, cappuccinos) because it was actually quite consistent under high volume, and didn't require much thought. We found we needed to do quite slow pours for it though - 35 seconds or even slightly higher. The knob changes the grind and, as a result, the dose too, however to actually change the dose properly you had to pull the cover off the front of the machine and use an Allen Key. It could take some fiddling and sometimes a good half hour or more to get it to pour just how you want it to. Also to get a proper result from a knob adjustment we found we would need to discard one full portafilter because of grinds left in the shute from the previous setting.
We used the Mazzer Robur for black coffees (long black, espresso), short coffees (macchiatos, piccolos) and all have-ins because it gave us much finer control over the result. On a cup-by-cup basis we could adjust the grind and the dose very easily.
The Swift was great for anything with milk in it over 8oz, but compared to the Robur it was rubbish. However, for us, speed was very important as we were doing around 500 coffees between 8am and 11:30am and the bulk of that trade was take-away, so it was a trade-off we were willing to make.
Then the Robur E came and we got rid of the swift!
The Swift makes things easier, but if you want excellence you should opt for a Robur E. We were regarded by many as one of the best cafes in Sydney, but that had nothing to do with the Swift.