What's the difference between the Slayer paddle and La Marzocco paddle?

My understanding is that there is only one difference. With the Slayer you can set the actual
preinfusion pressure by taking the top off the machine and turning a small valve that is next to that group heads brew boiler. With the La Marzocco, the preinfusion pressure is preset by your water main pressure. It should be possible to put a pressure regulator on the mains pressure to achieve the same result with the La Marzocco. Not only that but the regulator could be easily accessible without having to take the top off the machine.

Has anyone have any experience  with these paddle groups? 

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If you are talking about using one group at a time, what you've said it technically correct. However, remember that the 3 group paddle LM currently has only one pump. That pump is either on or off, so there's no way to get line-level water on one group if you are running the pump for another group.

Make sense?
Actually, the La Marzocco is available with separate boilers and pumps. Sorry, I should have been more verbose.
Also, I believe that Slayer does not recommend using more then one group head at the same time.
I was surprised to hear this myself..

Brady said:
If you are talking about using one group at a time, what you've said it technically correct. However, remember that the 3 group paddle LM currently has only one pump. That pump is either on or off, so there's no way to get line-level water on one group if you are running the pump for another group.
Make sense?
So, yes, in that case, you'd get what you are looking for.

The other thing is that you'd have to adjust your pump pressure AND your line pressure... since adjustment to line pressure will affect the full-pressure as well.

Might as well wait for the new one with the profiling pump if you are going that route?
Ricky- yes, I think that Slayer does create this impression but I have not seen it officially indicated on their website or any of the demonstration videos that the Slayer has full pressure profiling. The videos seem to indicate a process where the brasita pulls a shot at a preset preinfusion level and then moves to full pressure, then backs it down to preinfusion level again. Ie. 3 bar to 9 bar and back to 3 bar.
So to change your preinfusion from 3 bar to say 4 bar you have to stop service, take all the cups off the top of your machine and remove the top, hook up your Scace device and readjust your preinfusion pressure.
I haven't seen any example where someone has said "Ok, now I'm preinfusing this shot at 5 bars and brewing at 7bars"
So I really question if the Slayer is has just 2 pressure stages or where the variability occurs in the stages.

Ricky Sutton said:
It was my understanding that the purpose of the paddle on a Slayer is to manually control brew pressure, not just pre-infusion pressure. You can manually control your pressure profile, whereas on the Marzocco or Synesso the closest you can get is programmable pressure profiles.
Honestly the Hydra makes more sense to me. I can't imagine trying to perfectly duplicate the exact motions of controlling my pressure while say, steaming a pitcher of milk. But it makes perfect sense to develop a profile then program it to repeat itself every time. Changes on the fly wouldn't be that difficult. Anyone have a chance to pull shots on a Slayer? What was your experience?
I had a chance to try out the Slayer at the factory. It only had the two steps. The espresso was very intersting, though. It seemed to have more "headroom", for lack of a better term. It was very good. The shot would pre-infuse for 20 secs and by the time you were done you'd have a 56-60 second shot that was really fantastic. I haven't tried the Marzocco pressure profiling machine yet though. I would be interested to see if the taste profile is the same.
I have no experience on the LM paddles, but a fair amount with the Slayer as we are installing one in the new shop. It is currently installed in the roasting facility for training purposes.
Wes (and Mike) is correct about the adjusting of the "pre-brew" pressure under the cup tray. It can be done during service, providing the cup tray is removed. The Scace2 isn't necessary; however, as the manometers (one for each group) are real-time and accurate for reading the pressure above the basket. This also allows a more "real-world" measurement as you are using coffee and not an outlet that is meant to mimic the friction caused by coffee (e.g. the Scace2).
Wes (and Mike) is also correct in saying that it is NOT continuously variable pressure. You have 2 options: your chosen "pre-brew" pressure and your pump pressure. Starting the extraction at the pre-brew pressure, the common method is to wait for the bottom of the basket (bottomless PF) to become mostly saturated, then bumping up to pump pressure for just a couple seconds before returning to pre-brew.
I've been trying to get full basket saturation as the manometer slowly climbs to the pre-brew pressure. Ideally getting to the pre-brew immediately before bumping up to pump pressure. After extracting at pump pressure for a couple seconds, reducing to pre-brew causes a slow decline in pressure towards the end of the shot, typically stopping the extraction before falling all the way to pre-brew.
Regarding using both groups simultaneously, the needle valves used to adjust the pre-brew allow one group to run at full pressure while the other is at pre-brew. If there is water flowing from the group, the pump is on. This is my perception, anyway. I'll have to talk to Erik before confirming. Hope this helps.
The Strada comes with the ability to build and save profiles (I believe 4 profiles). When I worked with one (a while ago, before the space age Kees knock off body kit) I found it a little overwhelming, and I wasn't attempting to multitask, I was JUST pulling shots. Granted I played with it for all of about 20 minutes before I felt like I should move along (busy booth).

Haven't had experience with the Hydra.

The GS is pretty cool... limiting, though (as already mentioned) with the whole one pump deal (although you can get 'em all tricked out if you wish).

The Slayer was interesting, but (IMHO) not worth the hype. I can pull a shot with preinfusion like that on a 4EE. Load PF into far right. Far left switch, left-middle switch, right middle switch, far right switch (leave on), right middle off, left middle off, far left off. These steps happen at about the speed you most likely read this. Granted this obviously isn't practical in a busy cafe, I'm just throwing it out there that you can pull fancy Slayer shots on your old-school-$3,000-Craigslist-once-upon-a-time-Starbucks-now-all-PID'd-out Linea.

But you don't get them fancy X legs or snazzy wooden paddles... just boring ol' NSFs and rocker switches.
:o)

Pressure profiling is, in general, pretty freakin' sweet no matter what machine you're rolling with, though.

-bry
Bryan Wray said:
The Slayer was interesting, but (IMHO) not worth the hype. I can pull a shot with preinfusion like that on a 4EE. Load PF into far right. Far left switch, left-middle switch, right middle switch, far right switch (leave on), right middle off, left middle off, far left off. These steps happen at about the speed you most likely read this. Granted this obviously isn't practical in a busy cafe, I'm just throwing it out there that you can pull fancy Slayer shots on your old-school-$3,000-Craigslist-once-upon-a-time-Starbucks-now-all-PID'd-out Linea.

Considering the footprint of a 4-group Linea vs. a 2-group Slayer in addition to the impracticality of cycling all 4 groups in order to pull one shot...

For what it's worth, I don't think the Slayer is worth all the hype, either. It is a very nice machine that allows a level of flexibility with the coffee that no machine prior to its introduction affords. The low pressure brewing capability of the machine is what impressed me the most when I first saw it at the studio. Take 7-8 grams of espresso-grind coffee, no tamp, turn on the pre-brew, and let it brew for a minute and a half or so and you have ~6 oz of coffee that will rival any other filter brewing method for clarity, body, and flavor. Try that with line pressure preinfusion.

Bryan Wray also said:
But you don't get them fancy X legs or snazzy wooden paddles... just boring ol' NSFs and rocker switches.
:o)

Much of the hype seems to have been centered on these items alone.

Bryan Wray then said:
Pressure profiling is, in general, pretty freakin' sweet no matter what machine you're rolling with, though.

-bry

Agreed!
Ray said:
Bryan Wray said:
The Slayer was interesting, but (IMHO) not worth the hype. I can pull a shot with preinfusion like that on a 4EE. Load PF into far right. Far left switch, left-middle switch, right middle switch, far right switch (leave on), right middle off, left middle off, far left off. These steps happen at about the speed you most likely read this. Granted this obviously isn't practical in a busy cafe, I'm just throwing it out there that you can pull fancy Slayer shots on your old-school-$3,000-Craigslist-once-upon-a-time-Starbucks-now-all-PID'd-out Linea.

Considering the footprint of a 4-group Linea vs. a 2-group Slayer in addition to the impracticality of cycling all 4 groups in order to pull one shot...

Well yeah... but if the open sign isn't on yet and you just happen to have a 4EE on the bar... ;)

-bry
Bryan Wray said:
Well yeah... but if the open sign isn't on yet and you just happen to have a 4EE on the bar... ;)

-bry

Time to play!
u can order any la marzocco with separate boilers and separate pumps with one group paddle, next one can be semiauto...
i was lucky to work on strada and its just fun fun fun....
on other hand, i was not lucky enough to olay with slayer or synesso...
I've been trying to get a final and definitive answer to this question for a very long time and finally just recently got what I was looking for. I've had the opportunity to work on both a paddle group Linea and Synesso Hydra (thanks to Les and the fellas as the Espresso Guild in Cincy) and finally saw the Slayer in action in NYC and got to talk about it with Tom from Visions Espresso who did an internship with Slayer.

The paddles on the Hydra and Linea work the same way by introducing line pressure at the first position and full pump pressure at the second so, unless you install a pressure regulator between the line and your machine, you're at the mercy of your municipal water system (here in Louisville, it's 5 - 6 bars). The main noticeable difference for me was in the feel of each paddle. The Linea is fairly stiff and swings about 160 degrees between off and full, whereas the Synesso paddle moves a grand total of about 2 inches very easily. It took me a while to get used to the Synesso paddle and not accidentally missing position 1. Once I did, though, it was a lot easier to work milk and shots simultaneously as opposed to the Linea paddle which requires a lot more movement. Also, the dual pumps on the Hydra allow you to preinfuse and brew on both groups at the same time but, as was pointed out earlier, you can order the Marzocco any way you like.

The Slayer differs because of the method of preinfusion. Same 3 positions but instead of introducing line pressure, the pump in engaged at both position 2 and 3. The lower pressure is accomplished with a severely restricted line at position 2. When you move the paddle on a Slayer, you're lining up the port to the head with either the restricted line (at position 2) or the full line (at position 3). Because the line is so restricted, it allows for a much more gentle preinfusion and slower ramp up or down from full pressure as opposed to the comparatively violent changes in the Synesso and Marzocco because of the higher flow rate to the coffee.

This is my current, most informed understanding, anyway. Please feel free to correct anything you think I missed. :)

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