16 June 2008
A boiler, or other heating system like a thermal block, in conjunction with the pump are the most important of your coffee machine
. So what are the differences? First let me explain what the various types of boiler materials are.
- Aluminum Boilers (like those found in most Gaggia and in some Espressione), are usually less expensive and normally have good corrosion resistance.
- Stainless Steel Boilers (like those found in Saeco and Capresso) have good heat retention properties and are resistant to corrosion.
- Copper / Brass (brass is an alloy made up of copper and zinc) boilers (like those found in Rancilio and Pasquini), being the most noble of the three metals, are the best of all at resisting corrosion. That is why most potable water runs through copper lines. Their heat retention properties are good.
So which is the best type of metal for a boiler? The answer depends on many factors, not just the material per se. It seems that many folks are scared off by aluminum boiler machines, in particular. The thought is that this type of boiler is very susceptible to water corrosion. Is this thought well-founded, or are other metals just as susceptible to corrosion? In order to understand corrosion susceptibility, you need to recognize the necessary conditions for water corrosion: oxygen, water, metal, and some sort of catalyst.
The catalyst is the important bit here. It breaks the shield that is the oxide layer between the metal and the ambient water. Under normal conditions, pure water sitting in aluminum, brass, or stainless steel reservoirs may not corrode the reservoir for a very long time. However, if you introduce certain particles or chemicals, the protective layer that exists between the water and the surface of the boiler could become abraded in some area. This local abrasion will eventually give way to a general abrasion, and you wind up with a pitted out boiler.
So, just filter out the large particles? Unfortunately, it is not that easy. Some of the most mischievous bodies in your water are microscopic. Chloride, the second most common chemical found in nature (outside of water), is often used to treat water so that it is potable. Chloride can wreak havoc on an espresso maker boiler by plaguing it with local corrosion, as described above. So either filter your water or clean and descale your machine regularly! And preferably both.
Aside from direct local abrasion by a foreign body, temperature can also affect corrosive activity. Obviously, we want the boiler to get very hot, so there is not much we can do about this one. But if your machine was not designed to remain on for long periods of time, TURN IT OFF! You may be adding more life to your boiler.
The final cause of corrosion I will discuss is galvanic corrosion. In this type of corrosion, your espresso machine becomes a battery. This can happen when there are two distinct metals which contact one and the same body of water at the same time. But not just any water, water with electrolytes. One of the metals acts as the positive end of the battery, the other as the negative end. And that positive end begins corroding rapidly, much faster than it normally would, while the negative end’s corrosion rate slows considerably. So no worries so long as your water lacks electrolytes, right? Right. But it doesn’t, or at least most tap water isn’t lacking electrolytes. Two common Electrolytes are chloride, as stated above the most common chemical used to treat drinking water, and calcium, America’s number one contributor to water hardness.
Not all dissimilar metals will be susceptible to galvanic corrosion. So long as the metals have similar nobility, or atomic stability, there will be no problem. Since most of us don’t have an ordered list of noble metals, here are some basic combinations to avoid: Aluminum/Chrome, Aluminum/Brass, Aluminum/Copper, Stainless Steels/Copper, Stainless Steels/Brass, and Aluminum/Stainless Steel.
In conclusion, there are three common metals used in espresso machine boiler construction. Some folks are worried about aluminum boilers, but with proper maintenance and preventative measures (like using filtered water and/or frequently descaling the machine), galvanic and abrasive corrosion can be prevented or significantly slowed.
**This article was originally posted on our customer service forum, which this blog is intended to replace.**
18 June 2008
There is a way to reset one of the thermostats on the boiler of the Rancilio Miss Silvia
. We do not, however, recommend that anyone other than an authorized Silvia repair technician perform this operation. That having been said, such a technician would:
1. Unplug the machine.
2. Remove the top plate.
3. Notice that there are three thermostats, two on the top and one on the side of the boiler. Locate the thermostat on the side of the boiler; notice that there is a red button on the top of this thermostat. Press this button. You may not hear a click, or any other sort of indication that anything has happened.
>See the picture here: http://www.jlhufford.com/images/ranciliotherm.gif
for a look at the thermostat in question.
4. Replace the top plate.
5. Plug in the machine and fire it up.
The machine needs to be reset when the boiler overheats. The boiler overheats usually only if there is a power surge or if the water runs out of the reservoir. To prevent the heating element from burning out, the thermostat kills power to the element. Keep your eyes peeled for any whitish residue in the water that comes out of the group head. This is an indication that the heating element may have been damaged, and the boiler may need to be replaced.
PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE don't run your machine out of water! This, along with sediment and coffee oil build up are the primary reasons we get many machines in for repair.
**This article was originally posted on our customer service forum, which this blog is intended to replace.**
20 June 2008
"Which machine should I buy", with regard to Capresso super-automatics
, is a common question that we get at JL Hufford. Let us focus on two machines specifically, the Jura Capresso Impressa E8
and the Jura Capresso Impressa F7
The F7 and E8 both use the finest super-automatic brewing technology, have a separate bypass doser (which allows you to enter pre-ground coffee directly into the machine, bypassing whatever beans are in the bean hopper), have digital displays, have a single heating system, have the ability to grind up to 16 grams of coffee per brew, and can brew up to 16 ounces of espresso coffee
per brew. This last part addresses one of the most common questions. Both machines can make "crema coffee", or coffee that is produced under high pressure that has a crema (burnt-caramel colored colloid of sugars that appears on the top of your coffee drink). High-pressure brewed coffee extracts less of the bitter oils you get in drip brewed coffee. Crema coffee is not the same as espresso, as crema coffee is generally brewed on a coarser grind than espresso. Both crema coffee and espresso can be made with a good dark and medium espresso blend, like JL Hufford's espresso blend
, although some folks still prefer a darker roast for espresso drinks. These, in addition to many other features of the Impressa series from Jura-Capresso, are some of the most significant characteristics of both machines. So why is the F7 more expensive than the E8?UNLIKE THE E8, THE F7:
- has temperature control. You can select between hot and extra hot. However, on its hottest setting the F7 will brew at an average of 182 degrees. The E8 will also brew at an average of 182 degrees on its only temperature setting. So, if you like to leave your coffee sit a few minutes so it doesn't scald your tongue, the F7 has a setting for you, otherwise max temps are identical
- has a die-cast metallic spout, whereas the E8's spout is almost entirely plastic. The theory off the incorporation of metal is two-fold: first, metal is more robust so as a movable part it will be sturdier and second, metal in the brew head means that the brew head will retain more heat, thus stay hotter for subsequent brews. As discussed above, however, the max temperature at spout is roughly the same.
- has an entirely stainless thermal block, as opposed to the E8's stainless lined aluminum thermal block. This difference is not all that significant, as the heat retention properties of each is good. And since the aluminum in the E8 never comes into contact with the water, there are no additional corrosion concerns.
- has a 10-digit digital display, whereas the E8's is an 8-digit.
- has an illuminated brewing area so you can easily see exactly what sort of crema you are getting in your cup.
- has an automatic on setting, so that you can program what time your machine comes on.
**This article was originally posted on our customer service forum, which this blog is intended to replace.**
23 June 2008
Jura Capresso Impressa superautomatics
are, without a doubt, the most impressive super automatics designed for home use. We at JL Hufford frequently get questions about the differences between the S series and the F series (or, as we call them--for less confusion in pronunciation--Sam and Frank (that's S for Sam, F for Frank)).
The differences can be divided into essential and incidental.
ESSENTIAL DIFFERENCES include:
1. Number of heating systems
. Sam has two heating systems, whereas Frank has one. Frank's 1450 Watt thermal block is fine for most home operations, initially taking a minimum of 50 seconds to heat up. Also ideal for any home application, Sam's two thermal blocks take a combined initial minimum heat up time of 90 seconds. One of Sam's thermal blocks is dedicated solely to the heating of water used in steaming/hot water dispensing. The other heating element is independently dedicated to the heating of water used to brew an espresso shot. Although each block is independent of one another, it is not possible to both steam and brew simultaneously. The one place you might notice Frank's lack of another heating element is in the time it takes between ending a coffee brew cycle and starting a frothing cycle. That is, it takes 15-20 sec to heat up the water in its one thermal block.
2. Brew Temp.
Sam brews at a hotter temp than Frank. Exactly what temp? That's a difficult question to answer, as we base all of our lab "brew temps" on the temperature at the spout. We do this because this is still quite informative (not to mention easier for us to measure!), and because the temperature of the coffee when it hits your cup will significantly affect the life of the crema. That's because the temperature of the water in the heating system may be significantly more than the temperature in the coffee delivery system. For instance, a semi automatic machine with an E61 heated group head will be able to brew your espresso at 198 degrees easily, and you may be able to get espresso out of the spout as hot. However, when your heating system is located in one area of the machine and has a tortuous path to travel to the coffee spout (all the way not being heated), you may be looking at 175-180 degrees out the spout. Bottom line, our tested average: Sam 190 degrees (spout), Frank 182 degrees (spout).
3. Touch Screen.
Frank has the ability to be programmed through and have its drink sizes accessed with its touch screen, whereas Sam requires that you press buttons. Not a big deal? Well, it's one of the reasons you are paying as much for a Frank as you are a Sam, so if you don't care, take a closer look at Sam.
4. Metal vs. Plastic.
Sam, like most of its ancestors and likely most of its predecessors, has virtually no metal in its exterior -- only the spout tips are stainless steel. Frank has a die cast metal spout and a metal-plated exterior (3 mil metallic plating is trimmed into strips and sets into the front of the machine). It's a nice touch for those of us who have been waiting eagerly for a machine with metal in it. The die-cast metal spout is designed to add durability and theoretically more metal means more mass that has good heat retention properties. Actually, the S delivers hotter coffee on its hottest setting.
INCIDENTAL DIFFERENCES include:
1. Heating Platform.
Sam has one, Frank doesn't. Like most mainly plastic machines (except the Nuova Simonelli Oscar
) the heating platform is mediocre. Do yourself a favor and steam or run hot water inside the cup.
Aside from having metal in its exterior, Frank also has a longer digital display on top and only comes in black with chrome(ish) accents. Whereas Sam comes in three different color schemes: bronze(ish) metal(lic), platinum(ish) metal(lic) and black and silver(ish). Repeat: ALMOST NO METAL IN SAM'S EXTERIOR. Also, Sam is about 2 lbs heavier than Frank, is 3 inches wider and 1 inch less long.
3. Thermal Block Material
. Frank's thermoblock is made entirely of stainless steel, whereas each of Sam's is made of aluminum with a stainless lining. What does stainless lining mean? That means that you get all of the heating properties of aluminum yet the water doesn't come into contact directly with aluminum, no corrosion, no aluminum-y taste.
The long and, more importantly, short: Frank can't and Sam can if
what you mean by ristretto is one half ounce of espresso. Frank can only be programmed to brew 1-16 oz of espresso, whereas Sam's number of different espresso volumes is theoretically incrementally infinite. You program Sam's water amount by pushing a button, getting water to come out, then pushing the button again when you see exactly enough water in the cup. Voila, programmed. Make sure to boost the coffee amount to max, and the grind setting to its finest but only change the grind setting while the grinder is running
, of course. Incidentally, it has been our experience that Sam will produce coffee amounts a bit more erratically at this 1/2 ounce setting.5. Programmability.
Sam has some extra programmability features, like amount of ground coffee per programmed drink (17 settings), and infinitely many incremental water amounts for each programmed drink (up to 16 oz).6. Water Tank.
Sam holds up to 96 ounces of water, whereas Frank holds up to 64 ounces.7. Hot Water and Steam.
Sam has a third spout, right next to the dual coffee spout, for water. Frank dispenses hot water out of its steam wand. With regard to steaming/frothing cycles, Frank can be programmed to froth for a preset amount of time (3-60 seconds). Want to steam longer (and you’ll want to), just press the steam button again. Sam does that plus it allows you to use its permanent steam option and press a button once to start steaming, again to quit. 8. Spout Height.
Sam can move its brew head/spout assembly 2 to 5-1/2”, whereas Frank’s spout’s range of motion is restricted from 3” to 4-1/2” (that’s because the entire head moves up and down when you adjust the spout, and in Frank, if that towering head goes up any higher than it is set up to, you would not be able to access the touch screen because the head would be in the way).
That’s it for the most salient essential and incidental differences. For a quick checklist of all similarities and differences, check out our comparison engine on either product detail page and select a Frank and a Sam and compare.
**This article was originally posted on our customer service forum, which this blog is intended to replace**
27 June 2008
I've recently purchased the Saeco Odea Go. Well, I guess it was Christmas so I've had it for about six months. It quit working the other day and I was beside myself. The machine has put out excellent coffee time and again for my guests and me. I would say I average 5-6 cups of coffee a day from this machine. (I'm going to see someone about my addiction)
Since the machine had been doing so well under such intense performance expectations you can be sure that I was intrigued by its sudden departure from working status. Upon checking my user manual I realized that I didn't have much more information than I began with so I began to problem solve. I checked everything I could and double checked. I was seconds away from calling technical support when I decided to pull the brew group out and see what I could find.
It didn't look too dirty but I decided that cleaning it couldn't help. I didn't pull out the toothbrush or anything, I just simply ran the unit under water until I couldn't see and more coffee grinds. I stuck the brew group back in and voila, I was back in business.
I was more than pleased that Technical Service was not needed and I was able to cure my machine's illness myself. So, if you have a super auto and it quits working, do a little bit of problem solving, you might be able to save yourself some time and fix it. Email me with questions.
7 July 2008
"Where, oh where, are you tonight?
Why did you leave me here all alone?
I searched the world over and thought I found true love.
You met another and PTHHP! you was gone."
Does that bring back any memories? I thought of it when I was pondering where exactly the different coffees of the world come from. I found a map on Wikipedia to show you.
r = robusta
m = both robusta and arabica
a = arabica
9 October 2009
I have been using this machine in our sales office to make my morning start-up cup of coffee, caramel macchiato, or iced coffee drink for several weeks and wanted to share my opinion. I really like its ease of use. Even though it isn't digital, using the two dials to set the amount of ounces and strength is straight-forward. And that makes it extremely easy to change from the other people in the office using it. Especially the guy that maxes out the strength setting every time.
Now that the weather here in Indiana is turning cold, I've used the milk wand for both hot water dispensing to make hot chocolate and to froth milk for a caramel macchiato. A lot of our customers look for a machine that can make milk foam well. I used a 16 oz. milk pitcher and the amount of milk foam was exceptional. This was produced without any effort. So much I even poured some off to get to the steamed milk.
Overall, I think this coffee maker is pretty cool because it is easy to use and makes great coffee or espresso and milk froth. Hopefully it can stick around our office a little bit longer.
6 August 2010
New Xelsis Espresso machine from Saeco
Our new Xelsis machine is a top of the line espresso machine offering some great features. From the top of the machine to the bottom our customers are provided with the highest quality of specifications in fully automatic espresso machines.
One major feature which is attractive to consumers is the multi-function and multi-user ability. This allows for six different individual users to create six personalized, one-touch berverages on their profile. Not only that, but this touch interface provides a wide, easy-to-read display which allows one-touch functionality and intuitive handling. The usabilty becomes even easier with the Xelsis milk carafe which automatically froths milk into your cup.
The Saeco brewing system allows you to customize your drink as it allows you to choose the strength and consistency of your coffee by the turning of a dial.
With all of these features and many more, the Xelsis from Saeco is arguably one of the highest quality fully automatic one-touch espresso machines available through JL Hufford.
Click here to view specifics and make your purchase today!
27 June 2011
Are you searching for the Saeco Odea Giro Redesign? You will be looking for a while, because it has been upgraded and replaced with the Saeco Odea Giro Plus Cappuccino! What are the differences you ask? You will still get the great design and ease of use, along with the improvements. The first thing you will notice is the color difference. The Redesign was grey where the Plus Cappuccino is a silver or titanium color! This will work perfect for those with white or stainless steel appliances! You are also getting an upgrade in the performance pressure. The Redesign had a 7-8 bar pressure where the Plus has a 8-9 bar pressure. You will also have five grinder settings with the Plus! That is an upgrade over the 3 with the Redesign. Another small difference is that they switched from using the Aqua Prima filter with the Redesign to the Intenza filter for the Plus.You will also notice a shorter wait time between brewing and frothing. You had to wait 15 seconds for the Redesign, now it is only 10 seconds! If you are not great at frothing milk, the Plus has this problem covered for you! It has a frothing mechanism called Cappuccinatore which will siphon milk from a cup or a thermal milk container and froth it for you right into your cup! No more playing around with the pannarello wand in the morning!
26 July 2011
A Certified Pre-Brewed
item is one that has been refurbished to factory settings.While technicians fix the major problem as to why the unit needs to be refurbished, they will also clean the unit and replace anything else needs to be replaced. Machines are guaranteed to work like new and are a fraction of the regular price. You may be worrying about if there will be a warranty and the answer is Yes. Jura Capresso machines offer a 1 year warranty that includes shipping to and from Jura. The Rancilio units will offer you either a 6 month warranty or a year depending on if you are looking at a coffee grinder or a Silvia. These are great units to consider, especially if you are shopping for a unit with a small budget.
1 September 2011
Did you recently purchase an espresso machine? Are you not starting to notice that you missed several key items in your purchase like descaling solution and cleaner? The Espresso Machine Starter Kit has everything that you will need to maintain your espresso machine. You will receive Urnex Dezcal, Urnex Cafiza, a 58mm blank portafilter basket, a group head brush and two shot glasses. If you ever need to buy more of the Cafiza or the Dezcal, we do sell them individually. The Dezcal is available in a box of 4, 7oz bag or a 1 liter liquid solution. The Cafiza is available in a 20 oz bottle, 32 individual cleaning tabs or 200 cleaning tabs.
15 September 2011
28 September 2011
If you are interested in an expresso machine that can do it all, the Delonghi 5400 is what you should get. The 5400 will grind, tamp, brew, and even clean itself in under a minute! For grinding, it has 13 different adjustments for fineness. The heating system has two water heating systems which you will definitely notice helps speed up the cycle time. The simple controls that are programmable make it so quick and easy to use in comparison to other machines. This machine can remember your favorite milk-based or expresso drinks. Think about how much time you'll save avoiding having to reset your machine every time you use it. Also, when you are in a hurry the 5400 has an energy-saving auto shut-off. One of the best features is the cleaning process, because you want your machine to be in its best shape. The brew group is removable so you can rinse it and the 5400 will alert you when the boiler needs to be descaled. Descaling isn't hard at all since all you have to do is add the solution and push a button.