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Need Help Finding First (Last) Serious Semi Auto Espresso Machine
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PamelaF
Senior Member


Joined: 1 May 2012
Posts: 8
Location: Jupiter, FL
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Izzo Alex Duetto II
Grinder: Mahlkonig K30 Vario
Posted Tue May 15, 2012, 1:21pm
Subject: Re: Need Help Finding First (Last) Serious Semi Auto Espresso Machine
 

JasonBrandtLewis Said:

Between the Izzo Alex Duetto II and the Vibiemme "DD," it's probably six of one, half-a-dozen of the other.  I'd probably go for the Izzo . . . that said, bear in mind that I've had great customer service from BOTH Chris' Coffee and 1st-Line -- so I don't think you'd go wrong with either vendor.  Don't hesitate to call either vendor and ask them questions!

Posted May 9, 2012 link

I called both vendors.   1st Line did a phenomenal job answering my questions.   The Vibiemme DD manual is a wonderful resource for not only the DD but how double boilers work in general.  

My conversation with Chris' wasn't quite as enlightening due to the sales person's lack of technical knowledge.  I am emailing Chris directly and will hopefully be speaking with him soon.  I'm leaning toward the Duetto 2 as the "pros" outweigh the "pros" on the DD, IMHO.

Can someone please talk me out of the Mahlkonig K30 Vario?  The Barratza Vario-W is what I should get..but it seems quite noisy and slow in comparison.  

Cheers,
Pamela
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Coffeenoobie
Senior Member
Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 3,036
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Tue May 15, 2012, 1:29pm
Subject: Re: Need Help Finding First (Last) Serious Semi Auto Espresso Machine
 

Well, I have not used the K30 but I can tell you about my vario W, it doesn't seem slow for home use to me even over this weekend when I was making shots for a good sized family.  And I really don't find it noisy at all compared to home blade grinders and I just hit the button and start my other prep.  I like the grounds weighed right into my basket and I like the size on my counter.  I use a yogurt funnel and stainless steel condiment cup that I stick to the scale with a 3M Command adhesive strip. (the kind that puts hooks on walls you can take off without marking the wall) I put the basket in the cup and the funnel in the basket.  Stir, tamp and go.  I really like that over timed dosing.

 
Coffeenoobie

Buying advice: GRINDER GRINDER GRINDER. Don't cheap out on the grinder.

My coffee treasure map...
Click Here (maps.google.com)

Oscar trick out: http://s156.photobucket.com/user/GandBteam/story/14231
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JasonBrandtLewis
Senior Member
JasonBrandtLewis
Joined: 9 Dec 2005
Posts: 6,416
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 Tue May 15, 2012, 4:06pm
Subject: Re: Need Help Finding First (Last) Serious Semi Auto Espresso Machine
 

PamelaF Said:

Can someone please talk me out of the Mahlkonig K30 Vario?  The Barratza Vario-W is what I should get..but it seems quite noisy and slow in comparison.

Posted May 15, 2012 link

I own both the Mahlkönig K30 Vario and the Baratza Vario ("regular," not the "W").  

Mahlkönig K30 Vario:  extremely fast, grinding 18 grams in 3.9 seconds, 14-15 grams in 3.3; extremely quiet, quiets grinder I've ever owned; doses directly into the portafilter; espresso-only grinder.

Baratza Vario:  very fast, grinding 15 grams in 12.5 seconds; very quiet, compared to many low-end burr grinders and all blade (whirly-gig) grinders; does directly into the portafilter, or into a container ("W" into container only); grinds for all sorts of coffee preparation, from espresso to prover and press; costs much less.

Pamela, one final point:  the Mahlkönig K30 Vario is also 3x more than the Baratza; although I prefer my Mahlkönig, and would buy it again, it isn't 3x better . . .

Cheers,
Jason

 
A morning without coffee is sleep . . .
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ShotPull
Senior Member


Joined: 29 Nov 2010
Posts: 24
Location: Northern Colorado
Expertise: I live coffee

Posted Tue May 15, 2012, 5:28pm
Subject: Re: Need Help Finding First (Last) Serious Semi Auto Espresso Machine
 

Pamela . . . it's easy to get sucked into a $$$ vortex and end up with a $6k machine and a $1.2k grinder.  Take a step back!

As others have said, the Vario is really the best bang for the buck.  You get an $850 grind for $450.  I upgraded from the $150 Vario and noticed a massive improvement.  I didn't understand what the big deal about a grinder was until I looked at both grinds under a magnifying glass.  The cheaper one had the size I selected, and every size BELOW it.  The Vario had the size I selected consistently . . no "confectioners sugar" sized particles to make it bitter.

As for the machine, why don't you have the Expobar Brewtus on your short list?  Even if you don't buy mine, you should consider it.  I'm only selling it because the wife finds it doesn't fit in with her "dream kitchen decor."  Otherwise, it's perfect.  Mine requires plumbing though but works great on a 15 amp outlet.  It's a III R but has the brew boiler shutoff feature just like the IV R (R is for rotary pump - definitely something you want).

Enjoy the site and welcome!
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PamelaF
Senior Member


Joined: 1 May 2012
Posts: 8
Location: Jupiter, FL
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Izzo Alex Duetto II
Grinder: Mahlkonig K30 Vario
Posted Wed May 23, 2012, 8:37pm
Subject: Re: Need Help Finding First (Last) Serious Semi Auto Espresso Machine
 

ShotPull Said:

Pamela . . . it's easy to get sucked into a $$$ vortex and end up with a $6k machine and a $1.2k grinder.  Take a step back!

Posted May 15, 2012 link


alas, I have fallen in...can't..get...up...

Placed order today for the Duetto II and Mahlkonig K30 Vario from CCS.  Chris and staff answered my questions and spent lots of time on the phone with me.   I should be seeing the equipment at my door in 3 or 4 days.  Many thanks to everyone who lent advice.  Now, on to finding coffee...and a new thread!
Pamela
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emradguy
Senior Member
emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 3,163
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Duetto II; Twist v2
Grinder: M Major, Macap M4, Pharos,...
Drip: Espro presses; Aeropress
Roaster: H-B "List of Favorites"
Posted Thu May 24, 2012, 8:56am
Subject: Re: Need Help Finding First (Last) Serious Semi Auto Espresso Machine
 

Pamela,

Do yourself a favor and buy a 10mm rubber sleeve from espressoparts (or someone else if you prefer).  When it comes, take your wand off the Duetto and pull the plastic tube out and ditch it in a drawer somewhere (you may need a pair of small needle nose pliers).  Put the rubber sleeve on the outside of the wand, and then reinstall it.  This should take you about 10 minutes.  There are a couple of recent threads regarding the marked increase in steam power and quality (will be much drier).  I'm still trying to figure out if I prefer the stock 2-hole steam tip or the 4 hole one CCS puts on for you.

 
.
Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
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Coffeenoobie
Senior Member
Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 3,036
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Thu May 24, 2012, 2:04pm
Subject: Re: Need Help Finding First (Last) Serious Semi Auto Espresso Machine
 

Good luck! I am sure your espresso will be great in no time.

 
Coffeenoobie

Buying advice: GRINDER GRINDER GRINDER. Don't cheap out on the grinder.

My coffee treasure map...
Click Here (maps.google.com)

Oscar trick out: http://s156.photobucket.com/user/GandBteam/story/14231
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MikeReilly
Senior Member


Joined: 28 Oct 2007
Posts: 307
Location: Vancouver Island
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Cimbali Junior Gaggia...
Grinder: Pharos CC45 Mazzer Mini
Drip: Cuisinart
Roaster: Behmor, I-Roast 2, Popper
Posted Sun May 27, 2012, 9:02pm
Subject: Re: Need Help Finding First (Last) Serious Semi Auto Espresso Machine
 

It sounds like you are doing your homework.  If it were me, I'd go with a cheaper machine and more expensive grinder (unless  you don't mind a 30 second hand grind with the OE Pharos - which is going to be my next espresso upgrade!)  The Double Domo would be a very good machine.  So would pretty much any solid DB machine or mid-high end HX machine.  The Elektra Jason suggested is one of the most beautiful machines ever made.  The Junior D1, however, is a tank.  It's built like one and looks a bit like one.  They will go forever.  I have a 15+ year old Junior and it's still going strong.  It's designed to make more espressos in an hour than a pro barista can make without assistance.  Given a choice between the two, I'd go Elektra (beatiful machine, and on the inside it's built very well).

For a higher end electric grinder, it's hard to go wrong with the Mahlkonig already mentioned.  Of course, you could go with the Compak K10, which is also an amazing grinder, or the Robur (a monster but probably the best) or any of a number of titan class grinders.  Mazzer Major or other large flat burr grinders are also a great choice.

Overall, I'm jealous of your budget and situation.  I'm sure you will be very happy once you make up your mind and pull the trigger.  Just be aware that the "mano" part of the 4 M's of espresso making is the part that can't be bought, just earned through hard work and perseverance.  And of course, all the coffee geeks are here to answer your questions once you get going.
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PamelaF
Senior Member


Joined: 1 May 2012
Posts: 8
Location: Jupiter, FL
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Izzo Alex Duetto II
Grinder: Mahlkonig K30 Vario
Posted Mon May 28, 2012, 10:36am
Subject: Re: Need Help Finding First (Last) Serious Semi Auto Espresso Machine
 

emradguy Said:

Pamela,

Do yourself a favor and buy a 10mm rubber sleeve from espressoparts (or someone else if you prefer).  When it comes, take your wand off the Duetto and pull the plastic tube out and ditch it in a drawer somewhere (you may need a pair of small needle nose pliers).  Put the rubber sleeve on the outside of the wand, and then reinstall it.  This should take you about 10 minutes.  There are a couple of recent threads regarding the marked increase in steam power and quality (will be much drier).  I'm still trying to figure out if I prefer the stock 2-hole steam tip or the 4 hole one CCS puts on for you.

Posted May 24, 2012 link

Thanks for this!  I did see some threads indicating steaming problems with the Duetto's no-burn wand, and I'm going to order that rubber sleeve.    


MikeReilly Said:

It sounds like you are doing your homework.  If it were me, I'd go with a cheaper machine and more expensive grinder

Posted May 27, 2012 link

My only prior "knowledge" about choosing an espresso machine was that 19 bars of pressure were needed (that's what you are told when you go to a retail store to buy one).  I knew nothing - and don't really know all that much - about what goes into making great espresso until hitting this forum (and Home-Barista).   Funny thing, the more I learn, the deeper I want to dig.   The bug has bitten!  I highly encourage fellow newbies to immerse yourself in these forums, read through user manuals, and speak with owners of companies offering the machines being considered.
 

MikeReilly Said:

The Elektra Jason suggested is one of the most beautiful machines ever made.  The Junior D1, however, is a tank.  It's built like one and looks a bit like one.  They will go forever.  I have a 15+ year old Junior and it's still going strong.  It's designed to make more espressos in an hour than a pro barista can make without assistance.  Given a choice between the two, I'd go Elektra (beatiful machine, and on the inside it's built very well).

Posted May 27, 2012 link

Agreed.  IMHO, the Elektra T1 appears to be a step up from the IAD2, and more than I need (and much more expensive).  Actually, the Elektra MC "Elektra Micro Casa a Leva"  makes my heart go thumpety thump!  Maybe after the kids are in college and I have some time to build some upper body strength, I will revisit the levers.

MikeReilly Said:

For a higher end electric grinder, it's hard to go wrong with the Mahlkonig

Posted May 27, 2012 link

Thank goodness, as it has already arrived!  They were out of the short hopper, so they shipped the big hopper until the short one comes in - its huge!  

MikeReilly Said:

Just be aware that the "mano" part of the 4 M's of espresso making is the part that can't be bought, just earned through hard work and perseverance.  And of course, all the coffee geeks are here to answer your questions once you get going.

Posted May 27, 2012 link

Barring any machine flaw, it should be fairly simple to point fingers at the source of any sink shots.   So, I am going to be patient with myself.  First,  I am going to buy some practice beans (don't forget, I am coming from a Nespresso machine, so I am really green here).   After some practice with my bottomless PF, I'm going to keep on practicing.  Once my technique is reasonable,  I am thinking of starting with some Red Bird and Deep Cello samples.  Sweet Maria's Liquid Amber sounds great too...who knows, maybe I'll roast my own!  I'm getting ahead of myself...and thread drifting...

I'm having way too much fun with this, and I haven't even gotten my machine yet.
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Coffeenoobie
Senior Member
Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 3,036
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Mon May 28, 2012, 11:32am
Subject: Re: Need Help Finding First (Last) Serious Semi Auto Espresso Machine
 

I am glad you are having fun.  I did not even drink coffee before this and got sucked into these sites and wanted to learn to make good espresso.  I really want to play with a lever after seeing the strega.  And I am also jealous of your budget and situation!

Be sure to check out beans from local people that might not be so well known.  Firstly, you can taste it there then bring it home to see what you can do with the same bean. (I found that really helpful) Secondly, you can blow through a 12oz or pound pretty fast getting stuff dialed in sometimes so it is good to have a local source when learning or back up for shipped.  (the coffee usage has defiantly gone up in this household) Thirdly, you might uncover some hidden gem in your area. As long as they post the roasted on date rather than sell by date you should be fine.

And I really like Sweet Maria's Liquid Amber, almost enough to make myself want to roast just to have that one all the time. (I think they only roast it around the first of the month and I found it froze well for a couple of weeks that it took me to go through it. I split it about 1/4 of a lb ziploc vacuum bags and pull the air out with the plastic pump thing and put in my deep freezer.  There are only 2 of us and I don't like pulling espresso before work so it is more a weekend/evening thing at least till I get Mr Oscar on a timer)  And try Counter Culture they are closer to you and I really liked Rustica and Tuscano.  My husband, surprisingly liked Apollo.  They have a 3 pack coffee deal.

 
Coffeenoobie

Buying advice: GRINDER GRINDER GRINDER. Don't cheap out on the grinder.

My coffee treasure map...
Click Here (maps.google.com)

Oscar trick out: http://s156.photobucket.com/user/GandBteam/story/14231
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