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Fracino Cherub HX or just save the cash and grab a Silvia?
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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > Fracino Cherub...  
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Fake_snob
Senior Member
Fake_snob
Joined: 3 Jun 2011
Posts: 12
Location: Essex, UK
Expertise: I like coffee

Grinder: Mahlkonig Vario
Drip: Chemex (+Aeropress, French...
Posted Fri Jun 3, 2011, 9:44am
Subject: Fracino Cherub HX or just save the cash and grab a Silvia?
 

Almighty geeks, nerds and anoraks,

Hi there, I seek your guidance! I've been looking to set up for espresso over the last few months. Now I've obviously been overly aware of the Rancilio Silvia and, until now, have been fairly settled on it. I may still end up with one, depending largely on the advice of your fine selves.

I enjoy straight espresso for much of the time, but I'm always partial to a latte in the mornings, and have other household members who'll occasionally take the cappucino option. It is this desire for steam that has left me wondering whether the Silvia is the right choice. I don't want to get 6 months down the line and fall ill with upgrade-itis. My modest security salary needs be ravaged by an expensive espresso machine only once.  So, the obvious option when reading through these forums is to go for a HX machine. Now, I'm going to link you to the Fracino Cherub. As far as I'm aware, many of you will be unfamiliar with the brand or model, as they seem to cater to the commercial market in the UK. I've found a couple of reviews on European coffee forums, which generally praise the Fracino brand and the customer service behind it. What I am asking of you is to donate a couple of minutes of your time to check out the machine specifications in the following link, then answer this: With your knowledge and background, would you suggest it is the sensible option for someone in my situation to spend 435 (omg GBP!!!) on a Silvia, or 640 on the Fracino Cherub? The Silvia I could get next month, the Cherub I will have to save for another month. However, if its ultimately going to allow me to focus on just kicking out decent shots, without looking for the next tweek or mod for the Silvia (PID to name the obvious and expensive), then perhaps this is worth it.

Just as a side note, my budget really is stretched for the Cherub as it is - I cant really justify spending an extra couple of hundred quid on an Isomac or Expobar etc. I'm a simple security pawn. Also, there isn't much of a second hand market this side of the pond.

Now, without further ado, here is the Cherub:
Click Here (www.fracino.com)


Here is a video of it being used. I'm pretty sure from all my lurking here that the guy doesn't know much about what he's doing, and due to various reviews he will not be my chosen vendor, but it is the only video I can find of the cherub in action.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tugKZ22gQyQ



Also, just to save you the finger ache, I have been lurking in the darkness of this forum for a while now. You needn't mention the grinder. I was originally going for a Rocky, but since reading through here and a few other places, I now have a Mahlkonig Vario, which is currently being used for Chemex, french press and Aeropress. I believe this to be a perfectly reasonable espresso grinder from my research. Hopefully the fact that I have taken notice of your advice on grinder will mean you'll go easy on me for being a noob :P

Thank you in advance for your help, and thank you for your annonymous help so far.

Regards,
Tom
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Fake_snob
Senior Member
Fake_snob
Joined: 3 Jun 2011
Posts: 12
Location: Essex, UK
Expertise: I like coffee

Grinder: Mahlkonig Vario
Drip: Chemex (+Aeropress, French...
Posted Sat Jun 4, 2011, 3:03am
Subject: Re: Fracino Cherub HX or just save the cash and grab a Silvia?
 

Sorry for shamelessly bumping my own thread here, but I've also had my attention drawn to the Fracino Piccini, which is a dual boiler machine going for a similar price as the HX. As if this whole thing isn't confusing enough, I like the initial sound of dual boiler machines more than HX machines, though I understand its a topic of debate.

Which is easier for maintenance?
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JasonBrandtLewis
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JasonBrandtLewis
Joined: 9 Dec 2005
Posts: 6,368
Location: Berkeley, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Elektra T1 - La Valentina -...
Grinder: Mahlkönig K30 Vario -...
Vac Pot: Yama 5-cup
Drip: CCD, Chemex
Roaster: No, no, not another...
Posted Sat Jun 4, 2011, 9:50am
Subject: Re: Fracino Cherub HX or just save the cash and grab a Silvia?
 

Save for the HX.

 
A morning without coffee is sleep . . .
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Fake_snob
Senior Member
Fake_snob
Joined: 3 Jun 2011
Posts: 12
Location: Essex, UK
Expertise: I like coffee

Grinder: Mahlkonig Vario
Drip: Chemex (+Aeropress, French...
Posted Sat Jun 4, 2011, 11:28am
Subject: Re: Fracino Cherub HX or just save the cash and grab a Silvia?
 

Thanks for the opinion :)

The dual boiler is actually slightly cheaper from one vendor. I'm considering it may be more suited to me as well. I've read a few HX vs DB threads, both here and at HB, but its hard to pinpoint where I would be best off heading. Are you on the HX side of the debate then? It certainly seems that the Silvia would be a bit temporary now that I know the higher class machines are within stretching distance.

Thanks for the reply.
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__________
Senior Member


Joined: 12 Sep 2006
Posts: 883
Location: .
Expertise: Just starting

Espresso: Awaiting spare parts ;o(
Grinder: None
Vac Pot: None
Drip: None
Roaster: None
Posted Sat Jun 4, 2011, 11:43am
Subject: Re: Fracino Cherub HX or just save the cash and grab a Silvia?
 

I don't know how Fracino can do that double boiler for the price - 425 + vat I think I've read, although for some reason it isn't on their website yet.  

Probably it's to do with the / exchange rate being so poor at the moment, and almost all other machines being imported from euro-land (for however long that hangs together  ;o)

It's also a proper double boiler -  not thermoblock thingies like some others at much higher prices, and  built by a proper commercial machine company with a very good reputation and wide availability of parts and service engineers.

The boilers are perhaps a bit small for some peoples' ideal machine at 300ml/330ml for the brew and steam boilers respectively. (I think the Silvia is about that size too). They have fairly poerful heaters though - 1100w for both boilers, so should recover quickly.  Only just into production I think, so there won't be many users to give a view yet.

If I didn't already have a double boiler machine I think I'd be driving just up the road from here to their factory ;o)  

(I have no connection with them)

Forget the Silvia.  

Go for either an HX or a double boiler.
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Intrepid510
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Joined: 30 Dec 2010
Posts: 355
Location: California
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Sat Jun 4, 2011, 11:50am
Subject: Re: Fracino Cherub HX or just save the cash and grab a Silvia?
 

If you can go for it, you might as well save up for the better machine, especially with cost of the Silvia.

That said I am pretty happy with my Gaggia, but I also was able to buy it new for less than half the price of the Silvia. It just doesn't make sense to me to put that amount of money down and then to add a pid to it later on.

 
Less water, more grounds.
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Fake_snob
Senior Member
Fake_snob
Joined: 3 Jun 2011
Posts: 12
Location: Essex, UK
Expertise: I like coffee

Grinder: Mahlkonig Vario
Drip: Chemex (+Aeropress, French...
Posted Sat Jun 4, 2011, 12:08pm
Subject: Re: Fracino Cherub HX or just save the cash and grab a Silvia?
 

Ah wicked, thanks guys!

Keepitsimple, thanks for looking at the specifications - its these bits that I just don't really understand yet that I really needed help with. I was half expecting a "yeah its a DB but this, that and the other is wrong with it"! I'm comfortable with the way you've described it. I'm obviously not expecting a top of the range HX it DB machine for the money, but I want something that will last a bit.

I've emailed Fracino to ask what sort of aftersales support they offer for home use customers so will be interested with what they have to say. Fact is, if I can get a reasonable db our hx machine for just a but more than Silva then silvia must go.

Thanks for the advice guys, its appreciated. Puts up my budget a bit, but I don't want to faff about getting PID set up and thinking about upgrades in 6 months time.
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Bourne76
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Joined: 10 Apr 2011
Posts: 14
Location: Fife
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Sat Jun 4, 2011, 1:00pm
Subject: Re: Fracino Cherub HX or just save the cash and grab a Silvia?
 

I've been doing some research on both these machines as I'm also looking to buy a new machine, initially I was set on the Silvia however I have decided that my requirements need an HX machine.  The Cherub seems to vary in price from 620 to over 1k and will cost more if you want the stainless steel side panel as most prices quoted are for the black panels and you need to add an extra 30 - 100 to add the stainless steel option on.  It does look better in full stainless steel

Taking the price differences in to account I think I will order the cherub from Myespresso (no, I don't work for them) but with the black panels, extra 79 for stainless steel panels.


Fake_snob Said:

I've emailed Fracino to ask what sort of aftersales support they offer for home use customers so will be interested with what they have to say.

Posted June 4, 2011 link


Would be good to see what Fracino come back with
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Fake_snob
Senior Member
Fake_snob
Joined: 3 Jun 2011
Posts: 12
Location: Essex, UK
Expertise: I like coffee

Grinder: Mahlkonig Vario
Drip: Chemex (+Aeropress, French...
Posted Sat Jun 4, 2011, 2:15pm
Subject: Re: Fracino Cherub HX or just save the cash and grab a Silvia?
 

Personally I dont know whether the steel side panels are important to me, but I can understand why you would want to go all out and ensure personal satisfaction.

I'm lured in by the price at myespresso, but have read a few too many horror stories about them. I cant say to avoid them, because I have no expeirence with them, but it sounds like they're a risk, especially with warranty issues. When I was going for the Rancilio, I as going to order from Hasbean, as I have nothing but good things to say about them so far. Perhaps if you do order from myespresso you could let us know how it goes? To be fair to the guy, I've read as many good reviews of his site as bad ones.  

if Fracino get back in touch, I'll update here :) If they'll let me deal with them directly for warranty, then I'd go for myespresso without a doubt.
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Fake_snob
Senior Member
Fake_snob
Joined: 3 Jun 2011
Posts: 12
Location: Essex, UK
Expertise: I like coffee

Grinder: Mahlkonig Vario
Drip: Chemex (+Aeropress, French...
Posted Sun Jun 5, 2011, 12:10pm
Subject: Re: Fracino Cherub HX or just save the cash and grab a Silvia?
 

Well, John Cook has replied to my email today, and then to another this evening. Even on a Sunday :o

I need to start this message wth a bit of a disclaimer. As a new member, i dont want to come under suspicion of being linked to this company, so I need to point out that I am not endorsing the company  or its products at this point. Impressed as I am with the quick replies, I haven't dealt with the company yet, and want to point this out, because posting John's reply may be considered advertising. I'll also point out that I am removing parts of his reply with are directly concerned with my situation.

Johns first reply:

Hello Tom
Thank you very much for your email.I can give you every assurance that Fracino will continue to manufacture coffee machines for many years to come.
As a result if you require a full service on your coffee machine we can provide this on a return to factory basis.
The Cherub, as you quite rightly point out, has a heat exchanger and is far superior in level of performance from the Silvio. It also has a hot water spout so that can make a cup of tea as well.
We do have a new website www.fracino4u.com where we are specialising in selling machines for the Home.
I am jus about to put some special offers on there and you can purchase a Cherub for 525 plus carriage and VAT - a saving of 125 plus VAT over the recommended retail price..
I look forward to your reply.
Best regards
John Cook
Sales and Marketing Executive
Fracino

Upon receipt of this, I asked him to briefly sum up the pros of each machine to help me make my decision. Here is his second reply:

Hi Tom
Advantages of Piccino
Twin boiler system so you can froth milk and make coffee at the same time
Brass insulated boilers
Comes in a variety of colours
Group same size as our commercial machines so uses same filter holder
Brass group has 3 way solenoid valve
Makes up to 2 coffees at a time
Pressure gauge shows steam pressure
Brass steam valve with stainless steel steam tube
Quality build with stainless steel and zintec construction    

Advantages of Cherub
One 2.3 litre boiler with heat exchanger
Operates the same system as our commercial coffee machines
E61 group with same pressure switch and valves as commercial machines
Brass group and filter holders
Hot water tap for teas and hot chocolateSame size filter holders as commercial machines
Pressure gauge to show steam pressure
Quality built with stainless steel and zintec
Optional extras include all stainless model and coloured options

Advantages of buying both machines
UK built by Fracino who have been manufacturing coffee machines for 35 years
Confidence of servicing and spare parts in Birmingham for both machines
Both machines provided with manufacturers 12 month parts warranty
12 month labour warranty on both machines on a back to factory basis
All future servicing can be carried out by Fracino at their factory in Birmingham

I'll briefly point out that I have asked permission to quote his reply on these boards.

I'm impressed with the quick responses. I'm still having trouble deciding whether the DB or HX is best to go for. Honestly, I do find myself leaning towards the DB. It comes with an attached water filter I believe and I like the idea of having a seperate boiler for each job, and the steam temperature not affecting the brew temperature.

Hopefully this is of some interest to some of you, or anyone else searching for info on this machine. I'm very glad they're offering direct retail, as I like cutting out middle men!

Poor Silvia loses out this time I reckon. Lets hope its the right decision! If anyone has a view on whether the HX or DB would be best, please let me know. It would be regularly used for consecutive shots, milk based drinks in the morning, epsresso and Americano (for the mother) later on in the day.

My poor wallet is shivering in fear :s

Thanks for any help!
Tom
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