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 purpose, for trying the machines and training. Service and sessions are free, an appointment must be made in advance before coming and priority will be given to first-time visitors. For those who urgently need to purchase a machine, we do keep some machines at the location but not all models are available.
Before booking an appointment, here are some answers to FAQ.
Question: What is the easiest way to choose the machine?
It’s quite easy to find a suitable 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 the extreme bitterness and sourness in coffee, and releases a wider bouquet of aromas.
Between E61 and BZ, they are quite similar. Technically, BZ should edge better in our opinion, 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 most durable should be the Spring Pistons, followed by BZ then E61. This is quite clear-cut.
Spring pistons have very few components in the grouphead and the parts can withstand a lot of punishment, you can probably still find relic machines that are 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 5 items. The BZ cut down the number of parts by introducing two mechanical components, these two components are quite 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
Question: Are the machines hard to use?
As long as the grinder was calibrated properly, it should not be difficult. You can check the newbie guide for more information. We have ample information on our website to guide you.
For the Bezzera Strega, it requires some strength for the user to pull down the lever. Thus it is not recommended for people with smaller build and children.
Question: Which machine is the easiest to clean?
This perception that professional machines are hard to clean is not correct. Here in the Experimental & Service Room, our staff take no longer than 5 minutes to clean 4 different machines.
The only reason why automatic machines sound easy to clean is that they are not designed to be able to do much cleaning. Rinsing with just hot water is not sufficient to remove most of the oil and remnants retained in the machine. For commercial automatic machines that can really clean thoroughly, they easily take 10 minutes for rinsing just the milk compartment. Bezzera machines take less than 3 seconds to clean the milk wands.
If cleaning isn’t done well enough, the coffee oil will simply stick around, 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 call backflushing. Backflushing is basically pressurizing the brew chamber with hot water for a more intense cleaning session. That should be a less than 1-minute job.
You can also sometimes flush it with grouphead detergent, this cut into the oil and lift them out of the machine. Doing all these extend the life of your machine by a lot, 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.
For lever machines like the Bezzera Strega, backflushing should NOT be done and that makes it the easiest to clean machine. You can clean it up in seconds. When you purchase an espresso machine from us, we will normally give you a set of cleaning agent. Follow the product’s videos on how to use them from our website.
What’s 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 important 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 damages 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 during the first time you use, or if you notice that coffee is flowing 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 us a suitable machine for an environment with higher traffic?
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 are with components that are more heavy-duty or can connect to a water network directly.
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, and most of them are 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 tested before sending out.
The machines are basically 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 that has tight space between the components, compare to a large machine that has 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 4 times more. These commercially rated smaller machines are actually deemed by insiders to be extremely underpriced since the labour is long and workmanship can be more challenging.
If cost is the issue, then the more you should appreciate these heavy machines. 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 products, 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 basically 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. This diminishes a lot of the flavours in the coffee and make all the coffee taste similarly bad. They are very lightweight, as a huge portion of the components is made of plastic which is not as solid as professional machines which are mainly made with solid metal.
APPOINTMENT REQUEST FORM
We understand that travelling to the Experience and Service Centre may be a hassle and not necessary, particularly for our overseas customers.
Clients can request drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will reply as soon as possible.
Priority will be given to first-timers.
Please do not be more than 30 minutes late else the appointment will be cancelled.
As time slots are limited and not all days or timing are available. Please input more options for available dates and timing to allow us to easier slot you in.
Please note that we don’t do sales at the Experience and Service Centre.
You will be redirected to a confirmation page if the request form is successfully submitted.
Visitors are to abide by existing Covid19 regulations that could be adjusted by the relevant authorities.
If you are sick in the past 7 days before the appointment, with possible exposure, or serving a quarantine notice.
Please inform us to reschedule the appointment.
No sales on accessories are made on-site; please make orders online.
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 how the building looks like. Carpark and main lobby should be entered from the main road, do not turn into Pasir Panjang Road.