So in the middle of relocating from Portland to SF... and in the middle of starting a new job... and in the middle of some triage on an old project... I still got some time to play with the new baby.
I have no photos yet (my cameras are packed already). Those will come later.
Some background on the Monster Mia as follows:
- Reservoir and vibe pump removed (now plumbed in with a nice Procon rotary pump)
- Modified to take a long thermoprobe into the boiler (and the requisite electronics including front mounted PID controller)
- Some tweaks and tricks to the internal plumbing
- All crazy work performed by the guys at Espresso Parts NW under the guidance of madman Terry Z.
The machine runs at a far lower boiler pressure than normal (of course). There is still sufficient pressure to steam (for example) two 5oz cappuccinos in succession. But it's not a machine for someone drinking long milk drinks.
It's pretty much a machine for me - and someone like me. I drink espresso, Valerie drinks macchiattos and the odd morning cappuccino.
So far I've worked with the Olympia Roasting Big Train espresso and Stumptown Hairbender.
First thoughts are that this is an easy machine to work with. VERY easy.
It's like working on a Mistral when making espresso in that you do a quick pulse flush and then just go. Temp is quite stable and predictable.
Because of the front mounted controller and the small boiler, changes in brew temp are very quick and easy.
Both espressos extracted beautifully. I've been swapping back and forth between an LM stock portafilter (with plating removed and a ridged double basket) and a crotchless (with either an LM ridged double or a triple basket).
In both cases I'm getting excellent mouthfeel and great clarity and reproduction of flavours. I've been running over to the Belmont Stumptown periodically to compare shots against the 5 group Mistral and I have to say this little machine is actually holding its own!!
Small amounts of milk in a small pitcher steam reasonably well. It's not the same as on a dual boiler machine. You can't apply as much energy to the milk before it starts to cook and as a result both sweetness and consistency are slightly impaired. I'm using one of the early EPNW dual hole tips on it.
I need to spend some time with the Scace to evaluate the offset from the display to the actual brew temp. I'm starting to think it might not be strictly linear.
It's in a box now heading to SF -- and I can't wait to unpack it.
I'm starting to call it "the poor man's GS3".
Photos and notes to come...