Tuesday, October 24, 2006

jim p. to the rescue

after corresponding with jim p. of 1st-line about my silvia's little trouble, i was very heartened to receive an email from him offering me a demo of a vibiemme!

now this machine has been reviewed before. however, i find that discussions like this don't really address the practicalities of using a high-end machine of this type in a real home with a real family.

so i'm very excited to be able to look at a quality machine like this in a more reality-oriented way. "the girls' eye view," you might say. i am waaay less concerned with the quality of the rubber on the feet(!) than i am the quality of the coffee.

and also i am more concerned with how easy it is to use, clean and maintain! how do you backflush it? descale it?

set the temperature without destroying your nails or involving your husband's entire saturday afternoon? do i have to re-wire my kitchen or re-plumb my house for it? (those are non-starters, thank you very much.)

how it will interact with cats, non-coffeemaking husbands, and even consider children. all in a real home in a real kitchen where we also have to consider noise, space, and whether it clashes with the upscale fridge.

this is rather a departure for me, as regular readers know, since i usually focus on the coffee, especially beautiful single-origin coffees. but i have received quite a few requests recently to talk about espresso machines in a more pragmatic manner.

high-end espresso machines are often compared to stereo equipment, which i think is wrong. when you start thinking of them that way, it's over: i'm out.

that is, i don't think an elaborate temperature graph taken 5 times during each shot is going to be of much use to me. either the coffee tastes great, or it doesn't -- long-time readers know i'm an italian-spec girl, not a schomer-geek.

a quality espresso machine is fine kitchen equipment for the home; it is an appliance between a high-end stand mixer and a wolf stove. (actually the vibiemme costs almost as much as a 6-burner wolf!)

reviews should be about its authentic use in a home environment over time and not just gearhead "how big is the boiler?" chat, as if most people are going to notice a performance difference between say, a 1.9 liter boiler and a 1.7 liter one.

sheeesh. so after talking to jim, i hope to see the vibiemme sometime in the next week or so. get ready -- i'll be talking about it a lot!

my only concern is its size -- it is nearly 5 inches deeper than my carlos expobar. finding room on the kitchen counter will be the first challenge. . . .

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posted by fortune | 7:41 AM | top | link to this | email this: | links to this post | | 0 comments

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