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Discussions > Espresso > Lever Espresso > Feelings About...  
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SpaceTime
Senior Member


Joined: 9 Dec 2013
Posts: 271
Location: Virgo Cluster
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: 83 & 89 Cremina, 85 Coffex
Grinder: HG One, Pharos, LIDO
Drip: Freiling 33 & 44oz FP,...
Posted Mon Dec 16, 2013, 1:50pm
Subject: Re: Feelings About Cremina?
 

RAS Said:

Though the new ones are $3500, and that's a bit stiff, if I didn't have one, and really wanted a lever, I may look for stuff i could offload on eBay to fund the purchase. The new ones will outlast all of us - it would be the last machine you would EVER need. And during your time with it, be prepared for thousands of incredible shots (with the right coffee!).

Posted December 14, 2013 link

I have thought about getting a Cremina NEW instead of a DB machine... believe it or not!

The question I have - what is different about the new ones compared to the vintage ones everyone is trying to pick up? (me included).  Most EVERYTHING these days has been cheapened over time, and "they don't make them like they used to" is a phrase that carries more meaning now more than ever.

Are the new Creminas built every bit as good, or better, than the older ones?  What specifically has changed?  Anything been cheapened?  Anything been beefed up?  

I did notice a pressure gauge on the new ones.... ;-)

Thanks in advance... OP hope you don't mind the digression...


EDIT:  Is Cerini's the only place you can buy them new??
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OlyRick
Senior Member


Joined: 9 Dec 2011
Posts: 13
Location: Olympia, WA
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Elektra Super CAL, Olympia...
Grinder: LaCimbali Junior hybrid,...
Vac Pot: nope
Drip: Keurig
Posted Sat Dec 21, 2013, 4:42am
Subject: Re: Feelings About Cremina?
 

If you find it affordable to go ahead and get a new Cremina, I would say, "Go for it."  

I have been making my espressi at home for a couple of years now.  I started with a thermoblock machine (Starbucks cheapo) and got some success.  Then, I moved on to a Wega Mininova and got more success but lots of sink shots.  

What may be even more important is that I have purchased a few really great grinders (HGone and La Cimbali Junior with dual burs, also called hybrid flat and conical burs).  I have a Baratza preciso and a Macap MXT at the office.  Realized I like the flavors of the large burs but really, really hate the waste produced by the large machines.  So, at home I use the HGone and at the office, the La Cimbali Junior which I have modified to be doserless.  I have to stir my grounds in the basket but who cares.  I waste much, much less and I have much less to clean up.

After buying a Gaggia Factory (a La Pavoni Professional rebadged by Gaggia) I was completely hooked on lever espresso.  I went on to buy a 1988 Cremina and a couple of Elektra Micro casa a leva's.  

What you should know is that I almost always go back to the Cremina.  I have learned how to monitor and manage the temperature of the group head (lots of great information on these sites).  I get flavor that really rivals what the best coffee houses can do - and, I am very lucky to have several really great ones in a small to mid-sized city.  

So, I would advise you to skip my learning curve.  It has been fun, but look at the money I have spent.  I have recovered some of it by selling on c'slist and ebay.  But, you get the chance to profit from my loss.  

  1.  Buy the new Cremina.  If that is just too much cost wise, keep your eyes peeled for one from 1987 on.  They're quite easily rebuilt and ALMOST unbreakable (no asbestos).  
  2.  You will get nowhere even with a Cremina unless you get a really good grinder. HGone, Versalab, Mazzer.  Yes, they're expensive, but worth it.
  3.  Read these Forums.  You will learn a lot.
  4.  Spend the time to really learn about your machine(s)
  5.  Have fun!

Now, new vs old Cremina.  My understanding is that the new Cremina is truly excellent.  They may be even a bit more temperature stable and they do have pressure gauges.  I understand that the build quality is phenomenal just like the old ones.  

I do not have a new Cremina.  Just can't justify it when the old one works as well as it does.

Let us know what you decide.

Rick
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SpaceTime
Senior Member


Joined: 9 Dec 2013
Posts: 271
Location: Virgo Cluster
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: 83 & 89 Cremina, 85 Coffex
Grinder: HG One, Pharos, LIDO
Drip: Freiling 33 & 44oz FP,...
Posted Sat Dec 21, 2013, 8:39am
Subject: Re: Feelings About Cremina?
 

OlyRick Said:

Let us know what you decide.

Rick

Posted December 21, 2013 link

I decided I want your old one, and you should pick up a new one!  LOL

Seriously, thank you Rick for that detailed response.  My next machine is narrowed down to a few choices - either I am going DB route and getting a La Spaz Mini Vivaldi or Quick Mill V2B; or I am going the lever route and getting a La Pav Professional (only because price is right), a used Cremina which may need rebuild, or a new Cremina...  I have even kicked around an Elektra Leva, or --believe it or not-- a new Londinium.  The snag with the Londinium is, of course, support given they don't have much of a retail / distribution presence in the states.

Something about going lever appeals to me, I like the aspect of control, less mechanical parts to go wrong, etc.  (you know, the pro / con for the whole lever vs semi auto argument!)

Grinder - not an issue... and I get it.  I already own a Pharos - 68mm burrs, Titan grind quality, a little tenuous to get the grounds out of it!  I am at a minimum also getting a K3 (noticed you had one) but more likely an HGone or a Mazzer Mini or SJ.  I want an electric and a manual grinder - and if I do get the HG One I will be selling off the Pharos (maybe).

Anyway, I am going to take my time - I make a really nice FP coffee these days, and one thing I learned about home espresso set ups is don't rush into it - take your time and make sure it is right for you...

Cheers Rick.  Email me if you need a shipping address for your old Cremina ;-)
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farmroast
Senior Member
farmroast
Joined: 13 Jul 2006
Posts: 1,449
Location: Amherst MA.
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Strega,Cremina, MCAL...
Grinder: Majors, Dienes
Vac Pot: Hellem10
Drip: CCD, and more
Roaster: 1kg. DreamRoast
Posted Sat Dec 21, 2013, 9:03am
Subject: Re: Feelings About Cremina?
 

Started with my first Cremina in '06. It's an incredible  personal espresso machine. Small, simple design, durable, hands on feel, manual springless, manipulable profiling, adequate steaming, solid mid-range results. For years there was nothing that came close and attracted my interest until the release of the Bezzera Strega pump assisted pre-infusion spring lever. The pump assisted spring lever gives a different approach to profiling,  What I do like about the Strega over the Cremina is the capacity, 58mm baskets that offer a wider range of choice than is available in 49mm baskets with increased output potential also, water tap, p. gauge and seems to have a little wider profile range especially at the light/bright end. The Strega also has a group heater to speed up warm-up of the larger group. My purest love is still with my Cremina but my everyday use is now more with the Strega. The price of the pump assisted Strega is very reasonable and the build is pretty solid. It does have a some electronics that will be a concern in the future that the Cremina doesn't.  My initial concern was also around the noise of the pump, love the quiet of the Cremina. But with the pump just running to fill the boiler and during pre-infusion and off during the rest of the pull I've been ok with the noise.

 
Ed Bourgeois... LMWDP #167
please visit my blog
http://coffee-roasting.blogspot.com/
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SpaceTime
Senior Member


Joined: 9 Dec 2013
Posts: 271
Location: Virgo Cluster
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: 83 & 89 Cremina, 85 Coffex
Grinder: HG One, Pharos, LIDO
Drip: Freiling 33 & 44oz FP,...
Posted Sat Dec 21, 2013, 10:49am
Subject: Re: Feelings About Cremina?
 

farmroast Said:

Started with my first Cremina in '06. It's an incredible  personal espresso machine. Small, simple design, durable, hands on feel, manual springless, manipulable profiling, adequate steaming, solid mid-range results. For years there was nothing that came close and attracted my interest until the release of the Bezzera Strega pump assisted pre-infusion spring lever. The pump assisted spring lever gives a different approach to profiling,  What I do like about the Strega over the Cremina is the capacity, 58mm baskets that offer a wider range of choice than is available in 49mm baskets with increased output potential also, water tap, p. gauge and seems to have a little wider profile range especially at the light/bright end. The Strega also has a group heater to speed up warm-up of the larger group. My purest love is still with my Cremina but my everyday use is now more with the Strega. The price of the pump assisted Strega is very reasonable and the build is pretty solid. It does have a some electronics that will be a concern in the future that the Cremina doesn't.  My initial concern was also around the noise of the pump, love the quiet of the Cremina. But with the pump just running to fill the boiler and during pre-infusion and off during the rest of the pull I've been ok with the noise.

Posted December 21, 2013 link

Thank you for that... I have looked at the Strega off and on, it is good to hear another perspective! I am still weighing options and gathering data - so more is good!!

BTW, if you don't mind me asking without getting too far off topic - I noticed you did not mention where the MCAL fits into the pecking order / routine.  The MCAL is somewhat of an anomaly for me - trying to find data, user experience with it is tougher - and although 12 year old reviews like the one done by Mark Prince are an interesting read, there just is not enough user experiential data for me to get a guage....  Plus, what I do find / read is either hot or cold from users with their MCALs...
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farmroast
Senior Member
farmroast
Joined: 13 Jul 2006
Posts: 1,449
Location: Amherst MA.
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Strega,Cremina, MCAL...
Grinder: Majors, Dienes
Vac Pot: Hellem10
Drip: CCD, and more
Roaster: 1kg. DreamRoast
Posted Sat Dec 21, 2013, 11:20am
Subject: Re: Feelings About Cremina?
 

SpaceTime Said:

Thank you for that... I have looked at the Strega off and on, it is good to hear another perspective! I am still weighing options and gathering data - so more is good!!

BTW, if you don't mind me asking without getting too far off topic - I noticed you did not mention where the MCAL fits into the pecking order / routine.  The MCAL is somewhat of an anomaly for me - trying to find data, user experience with it is tougher - and although 12 year old reviews like the one done by Mark Prince are an interesting read, there just is not enough user experiential data for me to get a gauge....  Plus, what I do find / read is either hot or cold from users with their MCALs...

Posted December 21, 2013 link

I like the MCAL for light roast/bright clean shots. It's a nice compliment to the Cremina for a wider range of possibilities. The Strega does a pretty good job of covering the shot capabilities of both the Cremina and MCAL. The 3 specific machines I still have and use. Note: rarely pull darker roasts and tend to use med. and hard beans, not much into extra thick/heavy soft bean shots.

 
Ed Bourgeois... LMWDP #167
please visit my blog
http://coffee-roasting.blogspot.com/
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russel
Senior Member
russel
Joined: 12 Mar 2010
Posts: 447
Location: Los Angeles
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Conti Princess 2grp, GS/3...
Grinder: Super Caimanos x2, Forte BG,...
Drip: V60, Kalita Wave, Clever,...
Posted Sat Dec 21, 2013, 2:01pm
Subject: Re: Feelings About Cremina?
 

(

SpaceTime Said:

BTW, if you don't mind me asking without getting too far off topic - I noticed you did not mention where the MCAL fits into the pecking order / routine.  The MCAL is somewhat of an anomaly for me - trying to find data, user experience with it is tougher - and although 12 year old reviews like the one done by Mark Prince are an interesting read, there just is not enough user experiential data for me to get a guage....  Plus, what I do find / read is either hot or cold from users with their MCALs...

Posted December 21, 2013 link

Funny thing about domestic levers...there's actually a pretty wide variety of them, especially if once you start to dip into vintage gear.  I like my MCaL.  I'm not a huge spring lever person, but I'm happy keeping it around.  It's easy to find yourself owning several domestic levers because they aren't that expensive, are usually capable of making really nice espresso, and don't take up a huge amount of space.  I find myself continuously expanding and contracting my collection of levers (and pumps machines too).  Some of my thoughts on them:

  • The MCaL and Cremina are probably never leaving
  • The only machine that I no longer own and would buy again would be a Strega (and maybe a Maximatic)
  • If I were forced to own only one espresso machine (pump or lever), it would be a Cremina
  • I'm very happy having purchased a used Professional as my first real espresso machine
  • The custom wood work done by Dave over as HB (Click Here (www.home-barista.com)) is worth every penny and more

I dream of several machines:  A commecial scale manual lever (I don't think this exists), even better with a actively heated group. A Strega TOP built like more like a single group commercial machine instead of a prosummer machine.  A 1 group Strada EP (not a modded GS/3).  A Synesso 1 group and/or maybe a Slayer 1 group.  If not these, then I would rather have a Cremina; my '73 or a new one, don't really care which.
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SpaceTime
Senior Member


Joined: 9 Dec 2013
Posts: 271
Location: Virgo Cluster
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: 83 & 89 Cremina, 85 Coffex
Grinder: HG One, Pharos, LIDO
Drip: Freiling 33 & 44oz FP,...
Posted Sat Dec 21, 2013, 3:43pm
Subject: Re: Feelings About Cremina?
 

(

russel Said:

Funny thing about domestic levers...there's actually a pretty wide variety of them, especially if once you start to dip into vintage gear.  I like my MCaL.  I'm not a huge spring lever person, but I'm happy keeping it around.  It's easy to find yourself owning several domestic levers because they aren't that expensive, are usually capable of making really nice espresso, and don't take up a huge amount of space.  I find myself continuously expanding and contracting my collection of levers (and pumps machines too).  Some of my thoughts on them:

The MCaL and Cremina are probably never leaving
The only machine that I no longer own and would buy again would be a Strega (and maybe a Maximatic)
If I were forced to own only one espresso machine (pump or lever), it would be a Cremina
I'm very happy having purchased a used Professional as my first real espresso machine
The custom wood work done by Dave over as HB (Click Here (www.home-barista.com)) is worth every penny and more

I dream of several machines:  A commecial scale manual lever (I don't think this exists), even better with a actively heated group. A Strega TOP built like more like a single group commercial machine instead of a prosummer machine.  A 1 group Strada EP (not a modded GS/3).  A Synesso 1 group and/or maybe a Slayer 1 group.  If not these, then I would rather have a Cremina; my '73 or a new one, don't really care which.

Posted December 21, 2013 link

A couple of things I keyed on in your review - first, your point about owning one machine, and it being a Cremina... interesting, and I had the same thought.

Next, I kicked around buying a used Professional since it is not overly expensive - just to experience it.  There are very detailed reviews over at HB that conclude the Cremina and La Pavs actually produce similar tasting shots at the end of the day - it is more about the operator than the machine was their conclusion!

Finally, I have $50K in Woodworking equipment :-) anything Dave could do, I could do better!  LOL (isn't there a song that goes something like that?)

Cheers, and thank you for your thoughts, very insightful!

I am going offline for a few days - family in town for the holidays - lucky me! ;-)
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OlyRick
Senior Member


Joined: 9 Dec 2011
Posts: 13
Location: Olympia, WA
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Elektra Super CAL, Olympia...
Grinder: LaCimbali Junior hybrid,...
Vac Pot: nope
Drip: Keurig
Posted Fri Dec 27, 2013, 11:33pm
Subject: Re: Feelings About Cremina?
 

SpaceTime,

No, you cannot have my Cremina.  Sorry.  Just wanted to get that straight from the beginning.... :-)~

Have you made your decision?

I am currently playing with rebuilding several LPs (Professionals and Europiccolas) and one Mcal.  Its fun - I do like polishing metal.

Just some thoughts for you.

Cremina - Direct Lever - A TANK!  A joy to use.  I never get tired of looking at this tiny little engineering marvel.  Not so difficult to rebuild - see Doug Garret's videos, they're brilliant! (Orphanespresso.com) Negatives - cost, availability (used), some temperature issues which are completely controllable)

La Pavoni - Direct Lever - Professional (pressurestat and manometer - both needed for learning).  Pretty solid.  Simple.  Nothing wrong with this choice.

MCAL - Spring lever - You lose a lot of control.  Temperature control with the grouphead is problematic for me for some reason. (I have three right now.... I know, I have a problem...)

Strega - Here I just don't know enough - haven't used one.  I have to say that I am tempted.....  Well priced!  Concerns about longevity.  Who knows?

Warning - these things are addictive.  Once you get going....  

Good luck,

Rick
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z0mbie
Senior Member
z0mbie
Joined: 26 Sep 2013
Posts: 346
Location: Online
Expertise: I live coffee

Posted Sat Dec 28, 2013, 2:12am
Subject: Re: Feelings About Cremina?
 

OlyRick Said:

Warning - these things are addictive.  Once you get going....  

Posted December 27, 2013 link

Gee I wish somebody told me this!

Looking into getting a walk-up machine for the wife. Well,  that's the current excuse anyway ;)   Strega, L1, R58, LSV2, ... decisions decisions.  They say coffee can be highly addictive.. Now I really know what they meant.  As of two Creminas weren't enough!
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