Seems they are finally allowed to post about it…I did an Engineering review for ECM, been using it for the last 2 or 3 months. A very enjoyable machine to use with interesting features. The video is sadly as interesting as watching paint dry, the same with the initial manual I have seen.
Here’s what you really need to know:
- Forget all those difficult remember functions, I have mine on a smart plug and so will you
- You will likely never use, or want to use it in HX mode with all the flushing etc..
- You will almost certainly use it in BC2 mode all the time
This is why I believe it’s a great machine, and this is nothing to do with the specifications)s you can read those yourself and we know ECM is a quality company.
- The machine has a smaller footprint than a dual boiler
- There is internal simplicity with only 1 boiler (albeit 2 temperature sensors (on in the HX loop and one in the main boiler. 1 heating element and none of the extra stuff that goes hand in hand with having 2 boilers.
- It’s really simple to use once you have it set up correctly
- It has a number of advantages over a dual boiler system (I will go into this later and you can decide if those advantages apply to you)
- The same or saves energy in comparison to dual boiler machines
- SCACE testing showed temps are good (with a little adjustment to the offset on my pre production version
Typically I go up to the machine (it’s set to the brew temp I like for my current roasts). I can change it if I want and the machine will show the new desired temp when it’s ready. I grind tamp and warm the cup (from the hot water tap) just before the shot, lock and load and pull the shot…no flushing required.
Excellent as I don’t have to worry that my dual boiler machine doesn’t have the steam boiler on.
Or I lock and load, then think, I want a latte…so I get out the latte cup, warm it with a little hot water…grab the milk from the fridge and when I pull the shot, tap the down button. As the shot is going, I can purge the want a little and by the time the shot has finished (or even before), I’m steaming.
If I walk away within 3 minutes the steam boost stops and everything goes back to normal. Or, I can press and hold the down button, screen goes black with a . then I press the down button again and steam mode is cancelled. This totally minimises overheat recovery time. If you also use a little hot water from the tap to rinse things off for clean up, recovery time back to brewing temps is massively reduced. You soon get into a nice esy routine, without giving it a second thought.
In a way it’s better than a dual boiler for most people…never thought I would be saying that. You have the energy saving, as warming up a big steam boiler takes a lot of energy, which then goes to waste. You have to wait 5-7 minutes for it to be ready for steaming. Sure you can say, well I have temperature stability, but you do with the ECM system. All the advantages of good brew temperature control with all the extra benefits.
I actually love using the ECM barista Max…a friend came over today and I did him and americano and decided I would have a latte, and when he saw how I used it, he said “yeah, I totally get it”.
BC2 is it’s strength and I have suggested that all Bella Barista machines come that way and not set up as HX by default.