This week…

This week The Bean Vagrant will probably be…

*Ridiculously excited as great things which were on the horizon come increasingly into view..!*

But he will also be…

*Racked with uncertainty about the potential consequences of a possible transfer from 58’s to 53’s..!*

Therefore, I’m currently pondering, and trying to learn more about the subjects of: Cake depths and diameters; surface areas; channeling; alterations in distribution techniques; possibly ceasing distribution; migrating fines; burr types; in-puck extraction and flow rates, etc…

I’ve heard some theories that suggest 53’s offer more consistent pours; that they’re meant to be less prone to channeling, distribution inconsistencies, and tamping errors. But do they actually taste better than carefully prepared 58’s, or are they just more foolproof? I’m concerned that there might be factors (including, but by no means limited to, a greater potential for updosing) that could result in carefully prepared 58’s tasting superior to 53’s…

Currently (not mentioning the temperature instability), terrible screens, diabolical water debit, zero flow restriction and pre-infusion, etc, invariably causes even the most mollycoddled pucks to be blasted into smithereens, resulting in awful channeling, and pours which are very gushy towards the end. Yet I’m intrigued by the deliciously heavy, silky, syrupy richness that is so often hinted-at in successful shots from our 58’s when well prepared, and dosed at about 17-19g, and I wonder if this might be something 58’s particularly lend themselves to…

Given the stature of the options on the table, any transfer (be it to 58’s OR 53’s) would be incredible, regardless. It would signify a vast improvement in espresso preparation, and would grant entry into a whole different spectrum of quality, and degrees of subtlety. Moreover, I’m sure there’s actually no definitive answer as to which of the two diameters might be best, but looking into it further should be informative anyway. These topics may be easier to access afterwards, but hey, it gives me something to fret about! I wonder if manufacturers might ever move to 55.5’s as a compromise..?!


ducale puck                    ducale pucks2

baskets2                    baskets1

4 Responses to “This week…”

  1. blackmountainscoffee Says:

    Some people think that a LaSpaziale will make better coffee than a LaMazzocco and others think that the LaMazzocco will make better coffee than a LaSpaziale. Yes the 53mm offers more consistency due to the fact that the smaller surface area cuts down tamping issues as well as less channelling, but it may be a factor that the coffee tasted out of a 57/58mm head may be better because they packed out the handle with more coffee. Something that cannot be replicated with a narrower portafilter. Packed with the same amount of coffee, I have found that the 53mm offers a better, more rounded flavour.
    If you had a top 3 list of your machines, believe it or not it will probably not be the coffee making attributes that should make the buying decision. The differences in the top 3 will probably be very minimal. However, you have to consider the business end. Availability of parts and engineers. Down time (how quickly can it be fixed etc) and reliability.
    Simply put, do you want a machine to make great coffee and have great reliabilty and an engineer close to hand with a plethora of parts available anywhere or do you want a machine that makes great coffee and problems with after sales care? Whoever you buy the machine from, ensure the after sales care is there with it. More importantly, ensure that the after sales care is there even if you take your machine supplier out of the equation.

  2. caffeinefixxxer Says:


    The La Spaziale once was an odd machine…… then I worked on La Spaziale a bit more…..then a bit more!

    This is what I found out:

    La Spaziale offers not only a great shot.
    (A great shot is what is needed of course and La Spaziale is up there lurking in the top of the great shotters list of espresso machines. It may be third best. It may be second best. Some folk concider it to be first best but that is not the point)
    The point is that La Spaziale makes perfect business sence and not at the expence of bad coffee.

    By business sence I have to be duely diligent and concider: Functionality, Staff, Consistancy, Cost, Parts Cost, Down Time and Availability and short/long term support.

    When these things are given attention you cant go wrong. And that is not at the expense of the most triumphant shot.

    If you are going for 57, 58mm handles mind you, I wouldnt beat around the bush, I be down Hoffmans and returning home with a Senesso in my pocket.

    From the Mountains………the Black Mountains!!!!!

  3. thebeanvagrant Says:


    Support is crucial too, as you say, and I’ve been making equiries into this from the off – but your comments are a valuable reminder to ensure I confirm this with any mahine we choose. The options we’re looking at appear to have the back-up, but I’ll be sure check.
    But, if I’m confident the support’s covered, my coffee-head then starts wondering back to the brewing/taste details – like this issue of basket diameters! If being able to updose can perhaps make espresso taste even better, I’m all for it.
    Combined with a constant monitering of staff skills, I think shot consistency shouldn’t be too much of a problem with a good machine, regardless of basket size. The added consistency offered with 53’s is appealing too, but it’s nice to have the option to dose higher if desired. I think with most 53’s you can reduce the depth of the blocks above the screens to achieve this to an extent, but from what I’ve heard, you can only updose so far, before you risk an overextracted shot due to the shape of the cake…

    When you say “Packed with the same amount of coffee, I have found that the 53mm…“, what amount of coffee did you mean? The same as a 58? What kind of doses do you think you usually use?

    Haha – yeah – a Synesso would be sweet! …Don’t know what the support would be like in Cardiff though!

    Cheers guys.

  4. blackmountainscoffee Says:

    Sorry, I just meant that that would be the only way you could see like for like results with each machine. The dose is down to the individual sweet spot of the coffee.
    Anyway, I’ll shut up now. Nice problem you get there though.

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