The Experience and Service Centre is the only location in Asia, where one can try various genres of espresso machines to understand the difference between them.
The location is designed for information and educational purposes, for trying the machines and training. The form below is for requesting an appointment to understand more about the coffee machines. It is not for coffee sampling sessions or repairs.
Please make an appointment before coming.
You can find the available dates and time slots below.
The experimental room is strictly for testing machines and not for coffee sampling or purchasing coffee beans.
APPOINTMENT REQUEST FORM
Priority will be given to first-timers.
Please do not be more than 30 minutes late, or the appointment will be cancelled.
Please note that we don’t make sales at the Experience and Service Centre. The form below is for an appointment to learn more about the machines. It is not for coffee sampling sessions or technical repairs. Please let us know if you need to change the appointment date or timing; do not make multiple appointments.
You will be sent a confirmation email if the request form is successfully submitted.
If the appointment date is unavailable due to unforeseen reasons, we will send an email to remake another request.
Fine Coffee Company Experience and Service Centre
100 Pasir Panjang
#04-09 Singapore 118518
(By appointment only)
We are just 8 minutes walk away from Pasir Panjang or Labrador MRT.
This is what the building looks like. The car park and main lobby should be entered from the main road, do not turn into Pasir Panjang Road.
Here are some answers to FAQ.
To facilitate buyers who wish to understand more, here are some guides that can help you know more about our machines
Question: What is the easiest way to choose the machine?
We will suggest that you study all the features from the following page:
Choose the right espresso machine
Most important is to choose one of the three types of groupheads you prefer, then decide if you need it for heavy-duty usage.
Question: Which machine produces the best extraction?
From the three types of groupheads, BZ, E61 and Spring piston.
The best comes from the Spring Piston machines, that’s the Bezzera Strega. That’s possible from its inherent behaviour of pressure reduction during extraction. It cuts off coffee’s extreme bitterness and sourness and releases a broader bouquet of aromas.
Between E61 and BZ, they are pretty similar. Technically, BZ should edge better, as the grouphead has little space for coffee remnants to retain. These retained remnants can transfer the taste of stale or decaying coffee to your espresso.
Question: Which grouphead is more durable?
The Spring Pistons are the most durable, followed by BZ, and E61. This is quite clear-cut.
Spring pistons have very few components in the grouphead, and the parts can withstand much punishment. You can probably still find relic machines over 70 years old and still usable on eBay. E61s have about 25 loose parts in the grouphead that can be worn. The BZ is like a remastered version of the E61. It reduces the number of wearable parts to only five items. The BZ cut down the number of parts by introducing two mechanical components, which are pretty hardy.
To know more, please visit this page:
Choose the right espresso machine
Question: Is it necessary to go for a barista course before you know how to use these machines?
We don’t think it’s really necessary. You can try referring to the videos on Starter guide or visit us at the experimental room
Question: What can I learn in the Experimental room?
Our coffee specialists have more than a decade in the coffee field and are trained in both the coffee science and Italian style of espresso making. You will learn the basics of coffee, how to make an espresso and how to use the machines.
Simple milk frothing training will also be provided, but we do not teach latte art as that takes the user a lot of time and practises and should be better done privately.
What’s different with our specialists is they will teach the most practical way to make and perfect your espresso, using the Italian way without unnecessary steps.
Question: Are the machines hard to use?
As long as the grinder is calibrated correctly, it should not be difficult. We have trained countless domestic helpers and secretaries, and most agree that making an espresso or cleaning the machine is not as difficult as they initially assumed.
You can check the newbie guide for more information. We have ample information on our website to guide you.
The Bezzera Strega requires some strength for the user to pull down the lever. Thus it is not recommended for people with smaller builds and children.
Question: Which machine is the easiest to clean?
This perception that professional machines are hard to clean is not correct. Our Experimental & Service Room staff take no more than 5 minutes to clean four machines.
The only reason why automatic machines sound easy to clean is that they are not capable or designed to be able to do much cleaning. Rinsing with hot water is insufficient to remove most of the oil and remnants retained in the machine. For commercial automatic machines that can clean thoroughly, easily take 10 minutes to clean just the milk compartment properly. The milk frother is the dirtiest part of the machine that invites pests. Bezzera machines take less than 3 seconds to clean the milk wands.
If cleaning isn’t done well enough, the coffee oil will stick in the brew chamber, accumulate, turn rancid and goes to your next drink. Until the day comes when the oil, is so thick it blocks the valves, and things start to go wrong.
In most professional machines, you can do a cleaning step called backflushing. Backflushing is pressurizing the brew chamber with hot water for a more intense cleaning session. That should be less than a 1-minute job.
You can also sometimes flush it with grouphead detergent, which you can occasionally do. Only high-traffic commercial environments do this daily. This cut into the oil and lift them out of the surface. Doing all these greatly extends your machine’s life and gives you a much cleaner espresso.
Below is a video of backflushing with detergent. This is a little lengthier than the daily flushing with water.
Backflushing should NOT be done for lever machines like the Bezzera Strega, making it the easiest to clean machine. You can clean it up in seconds.
When you purchase an espresso machine from us, we will usually give you a set of cleaning agents. Follow the product’s videos on how to use them from our website.
Most important is to use a water softener to keep limescale from forming and clogging the system. This can cause some expensive damages. Limescale is the main culprit for most failures in any coffee machine. It is also essential to know that not all water filtration systems soften water. For more information regarding this, visit this: Water softening
Question: What should I look out for when using the machine?
It is always important to use softened water for espresso machines; else, it can cause massive damage over the long run, requiring expensive overhauls. Water from Singapore is not soft enough.
Refer to this article: Water softening
Always be careful of hot surfaces, steam and water.
If you are using the Bezzera Strega or any lever machines, always keep your head away from the direction where the lever can bounce back.
If there is no loaded portafilter with enough coffee of the right grind size to retain water in the brew chamber. There will be no water in the chamber to form a resistance to hold back the lever, and the lever will bounce back with tremendous force upon release. Thus the user has to hold the lever and slowly release the lever back to its original position. Please be particularly careful the first time you use it, or if you notice that coffee flows out very quickly from the portafilter as it means no water is retained in the chamber. Be careful not to pull the machine at the wrong angle and topple the machine falling on you.
Question: Can you recommend a suitable machine for an environment with higher traffic?
The best is to refer to this: Choose the right espresso machine
The Mitica TOP PID, BZ16 with a rotary pump or Strega TOP can handle the most demanding cases. They have more heavy-duty components or can directly connect to a water network.
Technically, they are the same commercial machines used in cafes, except being smaller. They are also simpler, with fewer wearable components or extensive electronics. If they can fail you, don’t expect anything else can be better.
Question: Why are Semi-Professional Espresso Machines more expensive?
The machines are usually at least 20 kg, mostly made of solid metal components, inside and outside. Assembling an espresso machine like this has to be done mostly by hand, and each machine easily takes a worker a few days to complete. All machines were individually tested before sending out.
The machines are the same commercial machines used in cafes but downsized to a countertop size. These smaller versions were only introduced in the last 20 years. It is far more challenging to assemble a small machine with tight space between the components than a large machine with ample space to work with. So despite the parts costing lesser, the cost of labour increases significantly. All machines were tested for at least 2 hours before being released for sale. Each Bezzera machine comes with a test certificate.
Consider that a commercial cafe machine with similar capabilities can easily cost four times more. Insiders deem these commercially rated smaller machines significantly underpriced since the labour is long and workmanship can be more challenging.
If cost is the issue, you should appreciate these heavy machines more. They retain a high value of worth, sought by both commercial and private users internationally. You will never lose every cent of what you paid. Instead, the cost of these machines always increases with time, like any luxury product, as they usually increase their prices at 3% per annum, in line with worldwide inflation rates due to the huge amount of metal and labour required.
Question: What’s the difference between machines sold at electro-marts with Semi-Professional Espresso Machines?
Bezzera espresso machines are commercial machines used in cafes but downsized to a smaller footprint. They are the only genre of espresso machines capable of producing true cafe-quality coffees.
Electro-mart machines usually extract at pressure or heat, which is not ideal for making espressos. They typically use flash heating systems, meaning the heat during extraction goes from low to high. This has a hugely detrimental effect eliminating most of the flavours. The flow is also too fast, usually at around four times the correct flow rate. This is known as under-extraction. It’s not an espresso. It’s closer to a long black but pulled shorter.
These diminish many of the coffee’s flavours and make all the coffee taste similar because the aromatic profiles are mostly burned or poorly extracted. They are very lightweight, as a vast portion of the components is made of plastic which is not as solid as professional machines, mainly made with solid metal.
Read this article to learn more about the different types of machines: The Expert’s Guide To Buying Coffee Machines
Question: Do I need a particular type of coffee beans to use these coffee machines?
You can use any roasted pure coffee beans that are not added with any other material or objects.
You can read this article to learn more: What is the difference between coffee bean vs roasted espresso bean?
Question: Do I need a coffee grinder, or can I use ready-made coffee powder?
No, you should only grind the coffee beans before you use them. As coffee in powdered form oxidises too quickly, there’s no way to tell if the grind size is correct. You are very unlikely to produce an espresso successfully.
You can read this article to learn more: Buying coffee in whole bean or in ground powder?