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Help / Perspective on First Espresso Machine
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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > Help /...  
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agbasher
Senior Member


Joined: 20 Nov 2007
Posts: 1
Location: Minneapolis
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Wed Nov 28, 2007, 9:02pm
Subject: Help / Perspective on First Espresso Machine
 

Brand new to these forums and looking for help.

I want to buy a machine and have been researching for several months now (I have learned a ton thanks to you folks) and am at a fork in the road: Anita or Silvia.

I have never owned an espresso machine really, nor have much experience using one (I took a class two weeks ago and used both a Silvia and Pasquini, it was loads of fun). What I do have experience with, however, is consuming vast quantities (e.g. thousands of $$ per year) of capps/lattes/straight shots. My wife calls caffeine my "meds".

That said, would it be better for me to get a Silvia to learn the craft first, and upgrade to the Anita later on?

I would rather avoid the upgrade-itas that seems so prevalent on these forums and just get a machine that I will be happy with for some time.

Another worry, though, is the complexity of cleaning/using an HX machine like the Anita.

Any expert perspective would be appreciated.

Grazie!
agbasher
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alsterling
Senior Member
alsterling
Joined: 28 Dec 2005
Posts: 682
Location: Dana Point, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: La Spaziale S1 (Had Expo)
Grinder: Macap M4 & Gaggia MDF
Vac Pot: Not yet...
Drip: Capresso MT-500 & Melitta...
Roaster: Hottop Digital
Posted Wed Nov 28, 2007, 9:34pm
Subject: Re: Help / Perspective on First Espresso Machine
 

Ashley.....

If money is no object, I'm sure any of the experienced forum members would certainly say get the Anita. Of course, there are other machines out there, but even without owning the Anita, yet knowing it's an HX machine.....and the Silvia is a single boiler, there really isn't any dilema here. As for cleanup, the amount of time needed to keep the Anita clean will be equal to any other machine, including the Silvia. Backflushing an espresso machine takes only minutes, and is certainly not an issue to be concerned about. My first serious machine was the Expobar Pulsar Office, also a true HX (heat exchanger) machine. I didn't "learn" on the Silvia, although it's a fine machine. You might as well train on a machine that represents what thousands of other baristas are using around the world; the Anita having the E-61 brew group and being a heat exchanger design. It can't hurt!?

If you want to be concerned about anything.......than remember to invest in water conditioning and filtering. That is critical. Even if you have a reservoir machine, you'll want to either buy your water or condition it to a "parts per million" that will give you optimal taste and minimal mineral buildup in the machine. But then, I could lecture you on using only fresh coffee and a zillion other things. I've yet to have to de-calcify my equipment, as I run a three stage filtering system, which includes a water-softener cartridge.

Bottom line, the quicker you get trained in specialty coffee, the more you'll appreciate the equipment. I would heartily recommend sticking with Chris Coffee on the Anita, and reminding them that you're just starting. They're one of the better vendors for home based espresso. You're probably way beyond all that as you did say you've been researching this for several months.

My first setup is below.......the Expobar, an MDF grinder..........and a bagel with cream cheese.

Good luck, Al in SoCal

alsterling: expo n bagle.jpg
(Click for larger image)

 
Member No.12047 - SCAA
http://www.baristaexchange.com/profile/AlSterling
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solidpuck
Senior Member


Joined: 24 Nov 2007
Posts: 67
Location: Colorado
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Via Venezia
Grinder: Rancilio Rocky
Drip: Bunn
Roaster: Colorado Coffee Merchants
Posted Thu Nov 29, 2007, 7:05pm
Subject: Re: Help / Perspective on First Espresso Machine
 

You get what you pay for. I have learned that lesson too many times. I think you will be very frustrated very quickly with doing what is called "temperature surfing" on the Silvia. I have read  scores of posts on this very topic of consternation among Silvia owners. Not to knock the machine - it is a solid performer and almost an icon of home espresso fanatics such as ourselves. But I would imagine after a few months of frustration, you would probably do what many Silvia owners have done and get a PID kit installed. Cha-ching -- another $150 - $300 depending on if you do it yourself or you have a pro fit it for you. This brings the cost now close to that of the Anita!!

If you look at the Anita, on the other hand, with the temperature stabilizing and WORLD RENOWNED E61 group head, along with the superior HX system that allows one to pull a shot and steam at the same time, the choice I would think becomes obvious. Finally, in favour of the Anita again, if you ever plan on serving rapid drinks to more than just 2 people, the Anita can handle it while the Silvia I don't think can fire out rapid drinks in succession.

If I had the cash, the Anita is precisely the kind of machine I would get as it actually has pretty good "bang for the buck".....the next step up would be a dual boiler machine and you're looking at several hundreds more AT LEAST for that. Then it becomes slightly harder to justify the amount spent to get a decent cup of espresso at home.

Hope this helps - from a humble Saeco Via Venezia owner who couldn't afford a Siliva OR the Anita!!! But at least I had the knowledge to have enough left in my budget for a Rancilio Rocky!


Cheers,

SolidPuck
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fifthgen
Senior Member


Joined: 23 Dec 2006
Posts: 577
Location: Eastern MA
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Isomac Zaffiro, Astoria CKX
Grinder: Maz. Major, Casadio, Isomac...
Drip: Capresso st600 chemex,
Roaster: Karma Coffee, Black Cat...
Posted Thu Nov 29, 2007, 8:30pm
Subject: Re: Help / Perspective on First Espresso Machine
 

cheap pid kits on ebay, you can get it yoursel for $80. My used cal 32 pid sold for $25 shipped.  I got two top quality ssr's ar 50 and 90 amps for $14 total.

You don't need to be a rocket scientist to do this but you do need to be able to used common tools and have some experience with electricity.

 
Good coffee to you and your guests
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faaparasite
Senior Member


Joined: 19 Jun 2003
Posts: 290
Location: Dallas Metroplex
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Bezzera BZ99
Grinder: Mazzer Super Jolly
Drip: Technivorm
Posted Fri Nov 30, 2007, 12:01am
Subject: Re: Help / Perspective on First Espresso Machine
 

alsterling Said:

If you want to be concerned about anything.......than remember to invest in water conditioning and filtering. That is critical. Even if you have a reservoir machine, you'll want to either buy your water or condition it to a "parts per million" that will give you optimal taste and minimal mineral buildup in the machine. But then, I could lecture you on using only fresh coffee and a zillion other things. I've yet to have to de-calcify my equipment, as I run a three stage filtering system, which includes a water-softener cartridge.

Posted November 28, 2007 link

It's actually pretty difficult to filter minerals out.  You need either a pretty sophisticated inline filter that would need to be replaced often, or some type of mineral replacement system like the cartridges you use.

Even at that, there's such a thing as too little minerals which can result in bad taste and poor extraction.

The optimum amount of minerals for taste and extraction will result in scale buildup eventually.  IMO the best approach is to use water that's as close to the optimum as you can get and descale on a regular basis.  On a pourover, even descaling a HX machine is a very simple thing to do.
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solidpuck
Senior Member


Joined: 24 Nov 2007
Posts: 67
Location: Colorado
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Via Venezia
Grinder: Rancilio Rocky
Drip: Bunn
Roaster: Colorado Coffee Merchants
Posted Fri Nov 30, 2007, 1:25pm
Subject: Re: Help / Perspective on First Espresso Machine
 

Not to confuse things further, but have you ever seen the Expobar Office? It is a no-nonsense machine with a generic E-61 grouphead and HX system for $799.00 brand new!

If you don't mind the rather spartan look to it and the fact that it is a generic E-61 grouphead [but with all the features of the E-61] this may end up being the machine you're looking for. It received strong reviews from other CoffeeGeeks in this forum. I know if I was looking for a machine, I'd want folks to give me more ideas, and this is one.


Cheers,

SolidPuck
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