4 Best Vibiemme (VBM) Espresso Machines (2021 Reviews)
Vibiemme has long been a manufacturer of home and commercial espresso machines. Recently, their upgrades to their domestic models have brought them a lot more attention from enthusiastic homebrewers. Vibiemme is also known as VBM, so don’t let that confuse you.
In this article, we look at the entirety of their home line-up. We’ll talk about the pros and cons of each model, so you can choose the perfect option to meet your needs.
At A Glance:
The 4 Best Vibiemme Espresso Machines
Vibiemme produces both prosumer and commercial espresso machines. It joins the likes of La Spaziale, La Cimbali espresso makers, and Kees van der Westen espresso machines. As a result, they know a thing or two about building durable espresso machines. If you’re looking for a home model with the ability to pull perfect shots for decades, here are four great options.
|VBM Domobar Super Electronic||
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|VBM Domobar Super Digital||
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|VBM Domobar Junior Digital||
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|VBM Domobar Super Analogic||
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The Domobar Super is VBM’s top-of-the-line home espresso machine. It’s available in three versions. Of the three, the Super Electronic is the most impressive (and expensive) of the bunch.
It’s a dual-boiler espresso machine with independent PID temperature control for both boilers. If you’re a lover of specialty coffee beans, you’ll appreciate having this degree of control over your brew temperature. It’s equipped with a classic E61 group, an ideal choice according to Five Senses Coffee technician Graeme Burton (1).
The temperature stability, especially when combined with double boilers, is excellent for low volume use in a domestic setting.
For such a high-tech machine, it’s easy to operate. VBM Domoras is user-friendly, thanks to the crystal clear 3.5″ touchscreen display. The display provides access to all sorts of programmable options. For example, you can have it turn on and off on a schedule, and you can choose between ten different pressure profiles to truly optimize your brew.
However, what sets this model apart from others in the line-up is its electronic dosing. It is the only automatic espresso machine of the bunch. Program the volume you desire for a single, double, or long shot, and then brewing is as easy as pressing a button.
Do you like the sound of the Domobar Super Electronic but want to save a few hundred bucks? Then the Domobar Super Digital is the one for you. It’s essentially the same machine minus the electronic dosing. So yes, you’ll have to use a lever to start and stop the shot, but you get the exact same boilers, E61 group, touch screen and programmability.
Perhaps most impressive, given this model’s lower cost, is you get access to the same updated pressure profiling options. If you’ve been following the world of high-end espresso, you’ll know that pressure profiling (aka flow control) is all the rage among professional baristas like Fabrizio Sención (2).
Flow control allows you to target totally new extractions and discover the full complexity of the cup.
With the Domobar Super Digital, you can choose between ten programmed pressure profiles, each with seven different extraction stages.
The Domobar Junior Digital is Vibiemme’s entry-level home machine. As such, it’s both smaller and more affordable than the Domobar Super models, but it’s still no slouch in terms of quality. Indeed, it sports the same E61 brew group and multidirectional professional-grade steam wand as the more expensive options.
Junior Digital has a smaller single copper heat exchanger boiler, which makes it significantly less expensive.
While this still allows you to brew coffee and steam milk simultaneously, it provides less control over temperature accuracy because you can’t set your brew temperature directly.
The other significant difference between the Junior and the pricier options is the display. Instead of the large touchscreen display, this model relies on an OLED digital display. That said, the OLED display is quite attractive in its own right and indeed easy to use for brewing and programming.
The Domobar Super Analogic walks an excellent middle ground among all the models. It uses a heat exchanger boiler, which makes it notably less expensive than the other Super models. It is closer in price to the Junior.
However, when compared with Junior, it has several advantages. Its copper boiler is nearly twice as large, promising better steam pressure. It has a dual manometer for monitoring both brew pressure and boiler pressure. And it has a rotary rather than a vibratory pump, allowing it to be plumbed directly to a water line.
How to Choose the Right Vibiemme Espresso Machine
At a glance, the four Vibiemme machines look similar. They all share the same aesthetics and are close to the same size. But inside, each has a few defining characteristics that set it apart.
This buyer’s guide will walk you through what those characteristics mean for your coffee and brewing experience, so you’ll know exactly which model is right for your home.
Thoughts on Boilers
The top Vibiemme models have either a single heat exchanger boiler or dual boilers, both of which allow you to pull a shot and steam milk simultaneously. Both designs have pros and cons, so which one is objectively better will depend on your needs.
- Heat exchangers are less expensive and more compact. If you’ve worked with a heat exchanger system before, you’ll know they require cooling flushes to manage the temperature. Although there is a bit of a learning curve involved, many experienced users like how the flushes allow you to adjust the temperature more quickly.
- The main advantage of a dual boiler system is better control over brew temperature. This is especially true if your machine is equipped with a PID temperature control. You can set a specific temperature and trust that it will fluctuate only slightly from that set point. Another nice feature is that dual boilers typically give you the energy-saving option of turning the steam boiler off when not in use.
Rotary or Vibratory Pump?
Prosumer espresso machines are equipped with one of two pump types, either rotary or vibration.
Usually, rotary pumps are found in more expensive espresso machines. They are quieter and provide a more steady pressure. Rotary pumps are also more likely to come with the option to plumb in your espresso machine.
Vibratory pumps also have their advantages. With good engineering, their noise and vibrations can be effectively dampened.
They can produce the same pressure as rotary pumps while being less expensive and easier to repair. Some users even prefer their slower ramp up to maximum pressure.
Ease of Use
Often, more expensive models come with features that make them easier to use. So when deciding on a purchase, it makes sense to weigh your budget versus the time and effort you want to prepare your coffee.
Examples of more expensive features that might make your life easier on a Vibiemme espresso machine include electronic dosing, touch screen color displays, and programmable temperature control.
Vibiemme’s line-up of home machines may be small, but it’s very well thought out. No matter your budget or espresso brewing needs, there’s likely a model to fit the bill.
Our top pick is the Domobar Super Electronic. Along with being a high-end dual boiler with PID temperature control, it’s also VBM’s only automatic espresso machine, making it the easiest to prepare that perfect latte.
A prosumer espresso machine is designed for home use but includes many commercial components. The result is a higher caliber espresso maker that should last much longer than the typical kitchen appliance style. The name combines “professional” with “consumer.”
Like many of the best espresso machines, Vibiemmes are made in Milan, Italy (3). The company was founded there in 1976, and has remained headquartered there for 40 years, despite ongoing advancements and expansions.
An automatic espresso machine is one in which the timing of the espresso shot is automated. The barista does not need to monitor it and will instead stop after a pre-programmed time, volume, or mass, depending on the machine. The Domobar Super Electronic is the only automatic espresso machine in this article, whereas the rest are semi-automatic.
- Burton, G. (2011, January 11). The E61 Group Head: An Oldie but a Goodie. Retrieved from https://www.fivesenses.com.au/blog/the-e61-group-head-an-oldie-but-a-goodie/
- Grant, T. (2020, July 29). How Flow Control Affects Espresso Extraction. Retrieved from https://perfectdailygrind.com/2020/07/how-flow-profiling-impacts-espresso-coffee-extraction/
- Stamp, J. (2012, June 19). The Long History of the Espresso Machine. Retrieved from https://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/the-long-history-of-the-espresso-machine-126012814/