ACS Vesuvius

(2 customer reviews)


  • Sold for $3200- but we may well have another one (owned by one of our techs and lightly used). Make contact if you would like to express interest.

The Vesuvius is a pressure profiling dual boiler gear pump driven machine produced by ACS.

This machine incorporates a choice of five different pressure profiled extractions are available via the touchpad PID interface. The user determines preinfusion time and then how extraction pressure will be managed during the shot.

The PID display shows real time temperature, pressure, water level and a host of other information. Whilst many manufacturers lock down their PIDs, this manufacturer encourages experimentation. A Vesuvius owners web forum welcomes all and is a treasure trove of great information.

Aspects you may wish to consider

Easy fill via hinged left side panelPlumb connection direct to inlet solenoid. Can initially be fiddly to install
All functions of machine controlled by touch padIt is a Ferrari! Service costs and some machine specific parts and repairs can be more expensive due to the specialised nature of the machine.
Incredible shot quality. An enthusiast's delight
Cool touch wands and excellent steam tip
Set 2 x on/off cycles for each day
Clean, minimalist design and superb finish and build quality

Vital Statistics
Boiler CapacitySteam 1.5L, Brew 0.8L (both stainless steel)
Fresh Water Tank2.7L (2.9L to brim)
Voltage230V 50Hz
Power consumptionBrew 800W, steam 1300W
Dimensions (W x D x H)approx 368 x 495 x 415 mm
WeightApprox 19kg

2 reviews for ACS Vesuvius

  1. Luca Costanzo

    Buying Experience

    Chris was my instructor for the TAFE prepare and serve espresso exam that I took many years ago, before he started Talk Coffee. We kept in touch over the years and he was the obvious choice for me to go to to buy my new home espresso machine. Here are some of the important milestones in my buying decision:
    -Chris let me bring my own coffees in and try them out on his machines a few times over several months.
    -Chris was very blunt with me about what he saw as the disadvantages of the Vesuvius compared with other machines in his range.
    -I pestered Chris with an unending stream of very technical questions, all of which Chris either had the answer to or which we were able to figure out whilst using the machines.
    -One of my technical issues was how fast or slow the pressure ramp up at the lowest brew pressure would be; I asked Chris if we could change the group gicleur to effect this; Chris was very happy to do that and dug up a set of different diameter gicleurs. (It turned out that I don’t really want a ridiculously slow rampup so we left it as is and that seems to have been the right decision.)
    -Chris bench tested the machine before delivery to me. As part of this, Chris used his Scace device to measure the brew temperature to check that the software offset is correct, so that the reading on the screen is actually pretty close to what you get using the Scace device. (The Scace device is the thing used to test machines for the world barista competition).
    -With one day’s notice before picking up the machine, I realised that it would be more convenient for me if the hot water and steam valves were switched to different sides of the machine. Chris and Rick modified the machine, including fabricating a new part, even though I gave them almost no notice.
    -The machine that I bought was a demo model, which Chris offered a very substantial discount on because it had a tiny ding in a structural component that could not be buffed out. I would pretty much struggle to point it out to you, so of course I snapped up the machine quickly.

    To be blunt, I find it hard to believe that you could buy a domestic espresso machine from someone with more knowledge or better service than Chris.

    Why I Bought It

    The Vesuvius is probably the best box of compromises for me at the moment. It might not be the best box of compromises for you.

    I have been making espresso for over 15 years and have seen Melbourne’s specialty coffee boom start and take off. I have developed some pretty specific tastes. Specifically, I like maximising the fruity and floral flavours that you get in really good washed coffees. I find that these flavours drop off pretty quickly at darker roast levels. Of course, lighter roast levels bring with them their own challenges – in particular managing acidity, which can quickly become overwhelming for most. I picked up an ek43 grinder and found that it is great with light roasts, but that the shots can start flowing quickly at the end, so I thought that a pressure profiling machine might be useful. I have also long thought that a fast pressure ramp up gets more clarity of flavour, but wanted to experiment given that some people are saying a long pressure rampup can allow the use of a finer grind to extract more flavour. I also routinely adjust brew temperature.

    My requirements are pretty specific, so they might be very different from yours.

    General Good Points

    -The left hand panel hinges open to allow you to fill the reservoir without needing to remove anything from the top of the machine. With most machines, you need to remove everything from the top.
    -The digital readout has an indication of how full the tank is. It isn’t all that accurate, but between that and the fact that the machine is programmed not to cut off shots with low water, it eliminates most of the surprises of empty tanks. I think once in three months I woke up to find the machine cold because it had turned itself on, filled the boilers and sucked up too much water. That’s pretty good.
    -The steam and hot water taps are levers. I much prefer flicking levers to spinning valves.
    -The drip tray cover is a wire cover. This means that water and gunk don’t pool on top of them. Most manufacturers trade off function for looks by having a drip tray that is basically a sheet of stainless with holes punched in it. Enjoy either wiping that down constantly or traipsing gunk through your house on the bottom of your cups.
    -The drip tray is almost a work of art, for a domestic machine. It slides in and out easily and is quite deep. You can probably comfortably have a litre or a litre and a half of water in the tray before you need to empty it. Some other domestic machines have something better called a drop tray.
    -The drip tray comes with everything that you need to plumb it out – there is a silicone hose in the box. This means that even if you don’t want to go to all the trouble of plumbing the machine in, it is still very easy to plumb it out.
    -The built in programming includes a seven day timer, so you can have the machine toasty and warm for your breakfast coffee.
    -Machine comes with a bottomless portafilter and spares (keep the blind filter in a spare, ready to go).
    -Gear pump is relatively quiet.
    -Brew temperatures and pressures can be changed easily from the control panel.

    General Bad Points

    -The touchscreen is small and requires multiple presses to get through a lot of the programming. The designers are espresso machine engineers, not UI engineers.
    -There is an expansion valve or something that exhausts into the drip tray. There is a hole punched into the drip tray for the valve to poke into. This means that the drip tray can overflow and spill out through the back of the machine through this hole. Because the hole is below the level of the machine, it is difficult to see how much room you have to go before an overflow. A lot of other machines have this valve spit out behind the e61 exhaust. I don’t know if the Vesuvius doesn’t do this because there isn’t room, but the drip tray would be a lot better if they did it.
    -The eco mode seems to switch the boilers off very quickly (it can be turned off).
    -Steaming is quite fast; I haven’t yet gotten to the glossy finish that I get on slower domestic machines (I’m sure that changing the steam boiler pressure or steam tip will probably resolve this easily).
    -Occasionally, lifting the lever doesn’t start brewing. This is solved by turning the machine off and on again.
    -I suspect that the e61 head heats up and changes brew temperature more slowly than a saturated group/boiler on group machine.
    -I think the stock wooden handles are pretty spectacularly ugly.
    -The machine is on the big side of e61 box type domestic machines; check that you have space for it.

    The Whole Pressure Profiling Thing

    So if you are reading this, what you probably want to know is how useful is the pressure profiling feature. My answer is somewhat. The most useful thing about it is probably that you can regulate the preinfusion time quite precisely and you can change the max brew pressure very easily. Both of these things can be done to some extent on other machines, but they usually require getting out tools and maybe even spare parts, so in practical terms people don’t do it.

    I currently think that preinfusion beyond what is required to saturate the puck evenly results in less clarity of flavour. It might result in greater body and more of a liquoricey type flavour, but it mutes the fruit and floral aromas that I seek, so I don’t like it. I started with a very short preinfusion time and added to it until I basically eliminated spritzers using the bottomless portafilter. Using the bottomless portafilter, I have moved the pressure profile so that the machine hits full brew pressure as the first drops come through the bottom of the basket. You could probably do this with a typical e61 machine by swapping different diameter gicleurs into the group head, but I have never heard of any home user seriously doing that and it would be pretty laborious compared with tapping a few buttons … you would probably have to do it over a few days because you would probably need the machine to cool down between switching gicleurs.

    I tried a maximum brew pressure of 12 bar and have settled on a lower maximum brew pressure at the moment. Lower brew pressures seem to make for a softer, less bitter, shot. Very high pressures seem to extract a lot of heavyness – in fact, sometimes you can see a slick of coffee oils on top.

    The ramp down towards the end of the shot seems to be a little less impactful than I thought. I think that in practical terms if the extraction accelerates a lot towards the end, you will stop the extraction fairly early anyway, so it’s not that big a deal. I guess a lower flow rate towards the end might help to tame a bit of acidity, but in practical terms it probably only gets you an extra few millilitres of espresso. I think that maybe increasing the main pressure phase by an extra few seconds on my profile below results in increased bitterness.

    All of the above is based on using light roasted coffee, an ek43 grinder and a 15g vst basket. Using those things, my go to profile at the moment is something like 3s2bar, 3s4.4bar, 8s7.6bar, 5s5.4bar, 5s4bar, the rest 2.4 bar. I imagine that this is very much dependent on the coffee, basket and grinder in that order.

    I have only been experimenting with pressure profiling for a few months, so I have no doubt that I have a lot more to learn.

    Would I buy it again?

    Probably. At the moment, my morning coffee is a double shot flat white using a filter roasted coffee. It has the clarity of flavour of a filter coffee as well as the richness of a flat white. This is a pretty remarkable result, which I think is pretty difficult to replicate with other equipment. Black drinks are equally flavoursome.

    No machine on the market, for any amount of money, really has everything that I want. Something like a linea mini or a GS3 modified to use a gear pump is probably the next best thing. I have no doubt that we will continue to see a lot more innovation over the next few years.

    Should you buy it?

    If you are prepared to put quite a lot of time into coffee, like experimenting with lots of different types of coffee, already have a very good grinder and are fairly methodical and disciplined, the Vesuvius is probably a great choice.

    If you simply want something that will give you good quality coffee and will be reliable, there probably isn’t a huge incentive to spend much more than buying a basic heat exchanger machine and a good grinder. The biggest influence on everything is the actual coffee that you use and you will probably find a roaster with a blend that suits your tastes and machine.

    I have no doubt that most people probably like espresso that is higher in body, and lower in acid than I like and probably prefer caramel, nut and roast flavours to fruit and floral flavours. I am not sure how good the Vesuvius will be for such people, but it might well be that where I appreciate the ability to shorten preinfusion times they will appreciate the ability to lengthen them.

  2. Ian

    I have had the Vesuvius for a week now, and cannot express how enamoured I am with it. It is sleek in design, classy and beautiful, and most importantly it routinely makes the greatest espresso you will EVER taste.

    On my first morning with it I poured 2 shots that were without a doubt some of the best I have ever had, and since then the coffee has only improved as the Vesuvius and I have become more familiar.

    Pressure profiling DOES make a difference in the cup, need to emphasise fruits, you can do it, want a thicker, creamier, more velvety body, you can do it. Prefer your shots more/less acidic, its all up to you. This machine is the future of espresso, and it is head and shoulders above anything else on the prosumer market (at least in my love struck opinion).

    The option of saving 5 profiles means you can come back and experiment where you left off, or choose to just have a lazy day and work with what you know produces something wonderful.

    I could not recommend the Vesuvius enough, it has quite honestly changed my previously conceived notions of what the limits of coffee could be.

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