Yes... it's true.
I'm selling the infamous "Monster Mia".
It's not an easy decision - but I have the chance to purchase an incredible (dream) machine and I need capital to make it happen.
The Monster Mia has been a great experience for me - and along with the GS3 has convinced me that home espresso doesn't have to be a frustrating battle against arbitrary constraints (or require sacrificing white chickens).
For those of you who don't know the story behind this machine and haven't had the chance to either play with it or taste shots from it....
This machine started off its life as a stock Grimac Mia. It was, in fact, the machine I tested for the Home-Barista.com review. After testing was complete, it went back to Espresso Parts NW and I moved on. The Briccoletta followed it, and then the GS3. After the GS3, Terry Z suggested we take the Bricc and "mod" it into the "Monster Bricc". As those of you who read this blog know - this took a long time and resulted in an explosion in my place in Portland. In the end it was decided that the Bricc was a poor choice for the sort of aggressive modifications we were looking to do. The Espresso Parts NW boyz had already done a bunch of mods to the Mia by this time and were using it as their office machine. Terry suggested that this could become the "Monster" project base - and eventually it came to me.
When I first started using it I referred to it as a "poor man's GS3" for its combination of ease of use and suitability for espresso experimentation. Since then I've both discovered more great things about it as well as discovered some of the things that are not so great (as compared to the GS3 for example). It's a wonderful machine - and under normal circumstanced I'd never be letting it go.
Some details on the machine.
- Grimac Mia case/body
- Reservoir and vibe pump removed (replaced with a nice Procon rotary pump and plumbed in)
- 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 to enable better stability
- All crazy work performed by the guys at Espresso Parts NW under the guidance of madman Terry Z.
The machine is incredibly easy to use.
You basically set the brew temp (calculating temp offset from boiler to group), let it stabilize and then go.
To pull a shot, you don't have to go through any crazy flushing routines. I literally just do a quick "rinsing" flush (like I would on a commercial La Marzocco) to get any grounds off the screen and pull the shot.
Changing temp consists of pushing the button on the PID controller until you get the desired temp.
Inter-shot stability is very high.
Intra-shot profile shows a hybrid map (like a flattened version of the HX hump - with less hump and a similar ramp down).
The machine runs at a lower boiler pressure than normal (of course - and dependent upon brew temp). At brew temps above 200f it's fine to steam even for 12oz lattes. It's fine for capps down to around 198f. Below that it takes some nursing.
It's probably not the machine for someone who wants to make a lot of big milk drinks.
On the other hand - if you want to explore espresso and easily make straight shots and short milk drinks (no muss no fuss) it's a dream.
It really is an easy machine to work with. VERY easy.
I find that the espresso consistently has excellent mouthfeel and great clarity and reproduction of flavours. It holds its own against commercial machines in this area.
The machine will include a whole bunch of portafilters (old style rubber handled LM spouted, new style plastic handled LM bottomless, VBM for backflushing) and a whole bunch of baskets (LM OEM doubles, LM triple, Synesso triple, Faema double, Faema single, LM single, blanks).
If you're in the Bay Area... I'll throw in help with the set up and some training on using it.
You want a famous, easy to use and truly unique espresso machine?