As I mentioned in my previous blog, I was very excited waiting for the arrival of new-to-me espresso machine. The little hint given was that it was an Italian-made E61 group box-shaped espresso machine. Well, I made a mistake and that’s not entirely true because it’s got a very sexy curve on its body. Not the boring boxy stainless box. (So what is it?reveal it already!! I can hear this from all the way from NC, *hint hint Eric*, hahahaha =p )
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Tadaaa! It’s a ECM Giotto! 1.8L nickel-plated boiler, swivel-steam arm and hot water wand. A shiny E61 grouphead made of 5lb heavy chrome-plated brass. Everything is so shiny and perfect. Though there’re some minor micro-scratches on the group head and drip tray, the overall condition has been better than I expected! There’s also a half-moon pressure gauge that adds to the overall mysterious but elegant feel of the Giotto. No wonder most of the espresso aficionados are so enchanted by these Italian Stainless boxes. It does have its charm!
Maybe some of you think that I am having an upgraditis for making this purchase, despite having the almost perfect Cremina. Actually, I can firmly deny that. :P I have no intention of replacing my Cremina with the E61 at all. The whole reason of my espresso was mainly to expose myself to different aspect of brewing coffee. Seeing almost 70% of the members in Home-barista and Coffeegeek have the so called E61 box, there must be something that is very alluring to it. My journey wouldn’t be complete without playing with one! And I am lucky that the espresso God had finally smiled on me, granting me a deal that is within my reach.
What’s my first impression of the machine? Well, it’s a hefty but very pretty beast, a 50lb beauty at that! And I thought my Mazzer Major was heavy. The mirror finish on the box is so captivating! The whole fit and finish of the machine is almost perfect, plus the finishing touch of the triangular curve at the side, I doubt anyone would dislike the machine.
So, I let the machine heat up for a good 45 minutes. This is important for the heavy group to get up to temperature too. Almost too long because I am used to Cremina’s quick heat up time and I am too impatient. Proceed to dialing in - The first grind was too fine. The second was close, but acceptable. The third one was just perfect! One thing I immediately noticed, is the appearance of the crema. It’s very foamy as compared to the fine crema I am used to. A sip to that shot confirms my speculation. But wow! It was amazing. The shot was very heavy-bodied and so buttery. Like melted cream literally! And the taste wasn’t bad, considering I am all over the place with the cooling flush temperature.
I finally can understand why so many are enchanted by this ancient but proven E61 grouphead. They don’t survive in the market for 51 years for nothing. Will I now change my mind to replace my Cremina? You bet, not! Haha. Albeit the very shiny elegant look, the machine is actually too heavy and big for my taste. It takes too long to heat up to stabilize and the flushing is tedious! I wonder why they have put such a petite drip tray on a HX machine like this. Two full cooling flushes will almost fill the tray up and the cooling flush takes about 10 seconds++ after a long idle time, not to forget they take a while to learn. Needless to say, I have to fill the water reservoir more often too. I did drop the pressure from 1.2-1.3 to 1.0-1.1. But it still takes a while to do the flushing.
Definitely, a plumbed in version will almost solve most of the water problem. An Eric’s thermometer will solve the guestimation in flushing too. Unfortunately, these two are not on my list. It has to do mostly with my budget on an unexpected expense and my graduation. =( If you have noticed, I am putting almost all my gears for sale in CG. Anyhow, let’s forget the sad thing. I am going to have fun with this Giotto and my Cremina until they’re sold. And definitely, I am going to blog here more often too to share my experience and have fun with you guys. So, that’s it about the mysterious E61 machine story. No more suspension. Disappointed? Surprised? Or jealous? Hahaha! Just kidding. Anyhow, enjoy the photos & video!
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