VBM Domobar Super PID Dual Boiler Espresso Machine – V4
Since 2008, Vibiemme (VBM) has worked diligently with importers, distributors, and industry professionals to upgrade their dual boiler models. One goal was to build a DB that would not have any compromises at 15amp when compared to 20amp.
The latest version (4.0) now has both boilers, coffee and steam, fully insulated and PID managed. The drip tray cover’s new design has a hole to reduce ‘splatter’ from the 3 way valve extended below the grouphead. The former versions 3.5 and below had a pressurstat to control the steam boiler.
Steam Boiler Pre-Heat
Here is the kicker on other dual boilers. Especially those which preheat water through the steam boiler before entering the coffee boiler. This design is to reduce the temperature fluctuations in the coffee boiler. However, one issue occurs! The incoming water to the coffee boiler can be at a lower temperature when the steam boiler is off. Thus, with the same programmed PID settings, the coffee boiler may not react fast enough to maintain temperature. Since 2016, VBM’s solution was to implement a temperature management system. There are “2 heating elements” in the coffee boiler, a 600 watt and a 300 watt. When the steam boiler is on, the system only uses 1 element in the coffee boiler to maintain temperature. When the steam boiler is off, the system uses both heating elements.
Upgraded Safety Valve on Steam Boiler
Since 2016, all VBM dual boilers have an upgraded safety valve on the steam boiler. The safety valve opens up at 2 bar to prevent any excess steam out. This was to allow the programmed PID to elevate the steam boiler to a higher pressure to produce greater steam! In addition, the upgraded steam boiler can withstand higher steam pressure. Without the upgrade, the boiler walls would bow out, weakening the silver solder, and then creating leaks. You can program the steam boiler PID up to 1.5 bar pressure. Coupled with a large 1.9 copper boiler and a commercial grade steam pipe, the throughput and capacity are there for superior performance. The steam pipe is not a no-burn wand because no-burn wands have half the diameter of the throughput of a standard pipe.
In fact, look at our PID overview sheet. With the steam boiler set at 1.5, you can also program the F.05 setting (steam boiler offset) to have the steam pressure go past 2 bar! However, the steam boiler safety valve will start releasing steam at 2.0-2.2 bar. So, be careful when adjusting the steam boiler offset. This feature was inside machines with a manufacture date from 2016 and on!
- Copper, insulation – The boiler is copper which retains heat better than stainless steel. Typically copper boilers are more susceptible to limescale when you compare to stainless steel boilers. Therefore, we highly recommend using a water softener. The manufacturer wraps the boiler with insulation for maximum heat retention. This helps with temperature stability for the espresso extraction and also helps save energy.
- Pull a shot & steam milk at the same time – Steam is always readily available. Hence, there is no wait time going from coffee to steam mode. Works well if entertaining a small group of people.
- Optimal size copper boiler – 0.5-liter capacity. This smaller boiler size allows for quicker displacement of stale water. Larger coffee boilers for machines in this class have more difficulty. Boiler temperature is controlled by PID.
- Large capacity steam boiler – 1.9-liter capacity. Boiler and temperature controlled by PID.
- Three stage power switch – Allows you to operate the espresso machine with the coffee boiler only or both boilers simultaneously.
PID (Proportional, Integral, Derivative)
This allows you to manage temperature control of the coffee boiler and steam boiler. If you are not sure what PID is, here is an overview.
Small water reservoir (2.1 liters):
Allows approximately 20 double shots to be extracted without a refill. Refill can occur on the fly while the machine is operating. For those who believe the small boiler makes better coffee because of fresh water displacement, we have a smaller reservoir for the same reason.
PLUMB-ABLE Inbound water!!!
The machine can operate using a water tank/reservoir or direct plumbing to a water line. The machine comes with a stainless steel inlet cold water hose to plumb your machine into your water line. Contact us for water treatment options as well as requirements to connect!
Overpressure valve (OPV)
Opens when too much pump pressure exists. Excess water flows to the drip tray and not the water reservoir. This will allow operation of the direct water connection without having the reservoir fill with overflow water which can get moldy and require constant emptying and cleaning. Although the pump has an adjustment screw for regulation, the OPV is an additional feature to manage overflow that may occur by overpressure from the water company when the machine direct plumbed mode.
Plumbable Drip tray
Slides out easily to drain out or can be connected to a drain with changing of included adapter and attachment of included drain hose!
Only up to 15 amps required
Without the need for any additional switches or internal adjustments.
Commercial grade rotary vane pump
With the ability to make a direct water connection or use a water reservoir on the same machine with the movement of a lever under the machine. Includes stainless steel braided hose with 3/8″ male thread.
User programmed offset
The temperature regulation is at the coffee boiler, and the grouphead always has a lower temp. This feature allows the user to program this delta in temperature as every environment has a different offset.
Quality Characteristics and Specifications found VBM Style
True E-61 grouphead:
- True Faema E-61 – The original E-61 by Carlo Ernesto Valente who brought the design from Faema to VBM. More heavy duty than other E-61 groupheads on the market.
- Constantly heated – Hot water circulates from the heat exchanger through the grouphead and back to keep the grouphead and your portafilter nice and hot. As a result, the grouphead temperature constant and stable when you compare to other groupheads that have a built-in heating element.
- Pre-infusion – Lever next to the grouphead activates a microswitch which turns on the pump to pump water through the coffee grinds. Pulling the lever half way up will open the valve to allow water into the grouphead without activating the pump. Please note that true pre-infusion requires the direct water connection whereby the water pressure from the water line creates true pre-infusion.
Separate wands for steam and hot water:
- Multi-directional – Allows for more movement and flexibility. The wands connect to the valves on an angle to the side for even more flexibility. As a result, there is less risk of burning oneself from the exposed grouphead.
- 2-hole steam tip – Allows for a slow gradual build-up of microfoam.
- Rotational knobs – Allows for easier control of the intensity.
Separate pressure gauges:
- Steam (boiler) pressure gauge – Located on the left. Measures from 0 to 4 bar. Optimal pressure is between 0.8 and 1.1. Regulated by a Mater pressurstat.
- Brew (pump) pressure gauge – Located on the right. Measures from 0 to 16 bar. Optimal pressure is between 8 and 10. You can find the overpressure valve inside left near the vibration pump.
Separate indicator lights:
- Heating light – Located on the left side. Indicates when espresso machine is heating. Once fully heated, there is no need to pay attention to the heating light unless temperature surfing.
- Low water level light – Located in the middle. Indicates when the water level in tank/reservoir is low.
- Power indicator light – Located on the right side. This will indicate when the machine is on.
- Stainless steel – Polished to a mirror finish.
- Easily removable – First remove the top cover. Then remove the 6 screws (3 on each side) and the wrap-around body slides off.
Extremely large stainless steel drip tray
Can be easily removed for cleaning. Grate stays on machine when pulling out drip tray so that it is one step removal to empty.
GICAR branded electronic water level control
Reacts to a .02 C of temperature change in the coffee boiler.
Rotary vane pump and commercial grade motor
Quieter than a vibration pump, but it is more expensive to replace. Hence, descaling is important.
- Portafilters – Single spout portafilter and a dual spout portafilter. The neck has the VBM brand imprint, similar to the one on the grouphead.
- Filter baskets – 1-cup filter basket which holds approximately 7 grams. 2-cup filter basket which holds approximately 14 grams. Blind filter basket which you use for backflushing. 58 mm in diameter.
- Tamper – A cheap plastic tamper. Manufacturers will normally include a tamper like this to keep the overall selling price of the machine low. We recommend upgrading to a better tamper.
- Cleaning brush – A simple brush for cleaning the grouphead. Ergonomically designed with an angle for easier usage.
- Coffee scoop – A simple plastic scoop if you are using pre-ground coffee.
- Instruction manual – 3 separate manuals: a quick start guide, a detailed instruction manual, and a description of the machine components.
Would you like to review our other home espresso machines? Then take a look at our webpage!