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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > Need suggestions...  
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posulli88
Senior Member


Joined: 8 Apr 2014
Posts: 10
Location: Boston
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Sat May 17, 2014, 9:26am
Subject: Need suggestions on buying an HX machine
 

Hey everyone,

I am ready to take the next step in creating better espresso and milk based drinks, but need help dialing in machines that would suite my needs and budget.  Here are my answers to the basic questions:

-I make primarily milk based drinks (mostly lattes) I would make more espresso but my current machine is extremely limiting. But my main focus now is milk based.
-I make one to two lattes every a day so 14 drinks max a week.
-I would normally only make 1-2 drinks at a time for me an my fiance. But do occasionally have people over and would be making more but that is a rarity.
-I have just purchased a Baratza Vario grinder, so that is my grinder setup.
-I can not plumb in currently so I need a machine that is free standing
-I am definitely willing to buy used especially if I can get a better machine for the money
-I have all the accessories I would need to run the machine (ie. tamper, knock box, towels, etc) so we don't need to include those items into the budget.
-My budget is $800 (I know this is limiting which is why I am willing to buy used. I can probably push it to $1000 but would feel more comfortable at $800).
-Lastly for general looks, I love the look and feel of machines like the Quickmill Andreja. I know that machine is probably out of my budget but I think all stainless machines are beautiful. (obviously aesthetics are bottom of my priority list but it would be nice to have a nice looking machine).

Honestly I am overwhelmed by the options and any thoughts, opinions, and suggestions would be more than welcomed.  Thank you in advance for the help.
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boar_d_laze
Senior Member


Joined: 21 Nov 2006
Posts: 1,219
Location: Monrovia, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: La Cimbali M21 DT/1 Junior...
Grinder: Ceado E92; "Bunnzilla"
Vac Pot: Royal Coffee Maker
Drip: Chemex + Kone; Espro Press
Roaster: USRC Sample Roaster
Posted Sat May 17, 2014, 10:16am
Subject: Re: Need suggestions on buying an HX machine
 

The Crossland CC1 is a pretty good little hybrid and within your price range, but might not have enough steam capacity for you.  Ditto the Quick Mill Silvano which is at the extreme edge of your budget.    

I'm not an Oscar guy, in fact quite the opposite.  But your situation screams for one.  Sort of.  That is, the stock Oscar has some issues with overheating and a pump gone wild, but it can be civilized. If you're not afraid to do some simple DIY work, buy a used Oscar and do all three of the "Plindy" mods; i.e., adding the Musica gicleurs (necessity), an OPV (necessity) and a vacuum breaker valve (not necessary, but very nice to have because it allows you to put the Oscar on a timer).

(Note: Plindy is a CG member/contributor who's given an awful lot of great advice on the hows and whats.  You can find everything you need to know by searching the forums here.  If I'm not mistaken, there's also some good stuff on YouTube.)  

Otherwise, high-value, competent, compact HXs without much in the way of features, start at around $1200 (Bezzera and Expobar) and run up to around $1500 (Faema).   At $1300, the high-featured, double-boiler, Breville 920XL is a super performer, but we're getting well outside your budget.
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lparsons21
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Joined: 8 Jul 2006
Posts: 310
Location: Herrin, IL
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Izzo Alex
Grinder: Mazzer SJ, Ascaso i2,...
Roaster: Gene Cafe, Behmor,...
Posted Sat May 17, 2014, 3:49pm
Subject: Re: Need suggestions on buying an HX machine
 

While I've not seen the Beeville 920 on ebay, I have seen the just as excellent 900 as a factory refurb for around $600 on many occasions.  Worth considering IMO

 
Lloyd
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posulli88
Senior Member


Joined: 8 Apr 2014
Posts: 10
Location: Boston
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Sun May 18, 2014, 8:45am
Subject: Re: Need suggestions on buying an HX machine
 

Thanks for the help so far guys! I have started researching all of your suggested options so far. Im am sure I will have questions as I try to narrow down options.
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marosmith
Senior Member
marosmith
Joined: 15 Dec 2013
Posts: 86
Location: Lafayette, Oregon
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: NS Oscar, Silvia V2
Grinder: NS MCF, Baratza Encore
Posted Sun May 18, 2014, 9:49am
Subject: Re: Need suggestions on buying an HX machine
 

If you are located in the northwest follow craigslist and get a used oscar and do the mods. They are everywhere and you should be able to find one for around $500, I got mine for $350 in near perfect condition.
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posulli88
Senior Member


Joined: 8 Apr 2014
Posts: 10
Location: Boston
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Sun May 18, 2014, 11:35am
Subject: Re: Need suggestions on buying an HX machine
 

I live in the Cambridge, MA started looking for the OSCAR on craigslist with no success so far.  After looking through threads here to learn more about moding the oscar I am learning quite a bit. The mods do feel a little overwhelming however. Also have been looking at the Breville 900, definitely an intriguing machine.  At this point I am trying to learn as much as I can about the machines that have been mentioned in this thread so far.
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marosmith
Senior Member
marosmith
Joined: 15 Dec 2013
Posts: 86
Location: Lafayette, Oregon
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: NS Oscar, Silvia V2
Grinder: NS MCF, Baratza Encore
Posted Sun May 18, 2014, 4:12pm
Subject: Re: Need suggestions on buying an HX machine
 

My friend has the breville, you can get a refurb older model very cheap (around $700). The internals, boiler and steam are less than the oscar. The usability and temping is much better.
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OliveOil
Senior Member
OliveOil
Joined: 20 Jan 2008
Posts: 65
Location: WI
Expertise: Just starting

Espresso: NS Oscar
Grinder: Vario-W
Drip: Breville YouBrew
Posted Sun May 18, 2014, 6:49pm
Subject: Re: Need suggestions on buying an HX machine
 

I went with the Oscar/Vario-W combo and am having the mods done soon, along with having brew and boiler gages installed.  

I have to admit that I in no way understand when the water is the right temp to pull a shot.  I love the steam power, but really need to read up on the temperature bit.  Any mods for that?  Even if it just shows the temp without controlling it.
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CoffeeRon
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CoffeeRon
Joined: 26 Apr 2009
Posts: 749
Location: Tacoma Wa.
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Wega Lyra, Europiccola(still...
Grinder: Macap M7D, Pharos, Vario W,...
Vac Pot: Sunbeam CoffeeMaster
Drip: Melita BCM-4
Roaster: FR SR500,B-1600, SC/TO
Posted Sun May 18, 2014, 7:13pm
Subject: Re: Need suggestions on buying an HX machine
 

OliveOil Said:

I went with the Oscar/Vario-W combo and am having the mods done soon, along with having brew and boiler gages installed.  

I have to admit that I in no way understand when the water is the right temp to pull a shot.  I love the steam power, but really need to read up on the temperature bit.  Any mods for that?  Even if it just shows the temp without controlling it.

Posted May 18, 2014 link

I don't know if you can install an erics thermometer in your machine or not. But finally having one, I can in retrospect give you a tip. experiment with your flushes till you get a definite sour taste- this will tell you you're pulling too cool. On my machine this takes a good 60 sec. or so flush to accomplish- that is not the norm though, as far as I know, which is why I never really got it till I added the thermometer! (I've been wondering lately if my 10 yr old thermosyphon system needs some attention).

Anyways when you know it's too cool- it's definitely sour- you can shorten your flushes from there to find the sweet spot. There is plenty of other good info available to help you learn the routine. This is something I wished I'd tried a long time ago once I had the thermometer. Hope it helps a bit.

Sorry for the OT-

Ron
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posulli88
Senior Member


Joined: 8 Apr 2014
Posts: 10
Location: Boston
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Mon May 19, 2014, 7:10am
Subject: Re: Need suggestions on buying an HX machine
 

OliveOil Said:

I went with the Oscar/Vario-W combo and am having the mods done soon, along with having brew and boiler gages installed.  

I have to admit that I in no way understand when the water is the right temp to pull a shot.  I love the steam power, but really need to read up on the temperature bit.  Any mods for that?  Even if it just shows the temp without controlling it.

Posted May 18, 2014 link

When you say having the mods done to your oscar soon are you installing or having someone do it? If you are having someone do it have been quoted a price?

In regards to the Breville is the steam adequate to make microfoam for a drink or two? Obviously the Oscar is superior there but I have to imagine the Breville is able to produce decent steam.  I am currently using an old proteo grande thats been in my family for 20 years ( even then I can produce microfoam) but have to imagine it would be a drastic improvement. right?

Thanks for the info.
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