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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > Need help...  
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Philmassaad
Senior Member


Joined: 3 Jun 2012
Posts: 18
Location: levis
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Rocket Cellini Premium plus
Grinder: Baratza Vario
Posted Tue Jun 5, 2012, 4:00am
Subject: Need help deciding on what machine to buy
 

Hey guys,

I know this is the kinda question you guys get all the time but seriously from a beginner's point of view I can understand why it is really hard deciding between certain machines. I am really confused of what I should be getting. I have done a lot of research on the subject but I come down to a point where I no longer know what I should do. At first I wanted to spend about 1000$ on a setup so I started looking at machines like: Lelit pl041em, Gaggia Classic, and finally the famous Miss Silvia.

Here are my options if I did decide to go with this setup:
1) Gaggia classic with Baratza Vario grinder (about 950$ CAD)
2) Rancillio Silvia with Baratza Vario grinder ( about 1100$ CAD)
3) Lelit pl041em with Lelit pl043 grinder   (about 800$ CAD)

Now you guys need to understand that I live in canada and all this stuff is a bit more expensive then in the US and a lot harder to find. Anyways the thing is, I really want to get a GREAT espresso shot out of my future investment. For the past year I have been drinking my coffee out of a Nespresso Latissima and it is no where as good as FRESH coffee. I really want something that I can blow my mind with for the next 10 years at least. So here is when it gets complicated for me. I have been reading A LOT over the past year on this website and I see a lot of people saying that if you buy a Silvia you basically need to invest on a PID one day or another for consistency and ease of use. The price of the PID is 250$ making the Silvia setup about 1300$. So I started telling myself that if I am going to spend that much money on a setup then MAYBE I should get a HX machine. THIS IS WHERE I REALLY NEED YOUR HELP :P . Is it really worth the investment in the long run for someone starting out with manual machines. Also it is important to note that this machine would be making about 2 coffees per day.

If I did go with a HX machine Ive been looking at the following setups on idrinkcoffee.com

Bezzera BZ07P (they currently have an open box for 150$ less) and a Baratza Vario About 1600$
Bezzera BZ07DE and Baratza Vario : About 1850$ THIS KIT has a deal  when you buy the Bezzera BZ07DE the Vario is 200$ instead
Quick mill Alexia with Baratza Vario about 1900$
Rocket Cellini Premium Plus with a K3 touch grinder 2100$ (I really think this is busting the budget tho)

Basically what I am asking is is it really worth spending twice the amount of money on a HX machine or will I be happy with a SB machine?
If I did go with a 1000$ setup what would be your suggestions? If I did buy a HX machine what would also be your suggestions?
I have to admit that I am battling between: Silvia vs Lelit; Silvia stock vs Bezzera BZ07 ; Bezzera BZ07 and Rocket Cellini Premium Plus

I think it is important to say that I drink mostly Milk based coffee because 1) Right now I feel the espresso out of my nespresso tastes bitter. 2) Me and my girlfriend enjoy lattes 3) I will rarely be making more the 2 coffees a day.


I really need and would appreciate your help because right now I really don't know what to do.
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MARIOBARBA
Senior Member
MARIOBARBA
Joined: 26 Sep 2011
Posts: 126
Location: MONTREAL CANADA
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Ascaso DUO Prof TRONIC
Grinder: Baratza Vario
Posted Tue Jun 5, 2012, 5:25am
Subject: Re: Need help deciding on what machine to buy
 

If you are making milk based drinks often, the wait for steam with an SBDU like the Silvia/Lelit/Gaggia gets old fast.  You may consider a hybrid machine like the Silvano or Ascaso Steel DUO, they usually aren't as expensive as the HX machines and have similar functionality (steam and pull a shot at the same time).

The Vario is a fine choice and probably as good as it gets for home grinders.

Good Luck
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TheSunInsideYou
Senior Member
TheSunInsideYou
Joined: 16 Feb 2012
Posts: 206
Location: NJ and NYC
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Breville BES900XL
Grinder: Laranzato HC-600, OE LIDO,...
Vac Pot: Yama 3
Drip: Hario V60, Chemex
Posted Tue Jun 5, 2012, 5:35am
Subject: Re: Need help deciding on what machine to buy
 

Why not consider the Breville Dual Boiler? It's new in the market, but has gotten some pretty sterling reviews, save the initial shipment's issues with the OPV. You can steam and pull shots at the same time, spectacular temp stability, and easily adjustable settings (including pre-infusion).

-Dave-
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calblacksmith
Moderator
calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,774
Location: Riverside, Ca, U.S.A.
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: ECM Vene. A1, La Cimbali M32
Grinder: Azkoyen Capriccio, Major
Vac Pot: 40s era Silex
Drip: Msl. Com. brewers
Roaster: gave it a try, decided no
Posted Tue Jun 5, 2012, 5:37am
Subject: Re: Need help deciding on what machine to buy
 

As above, it really depends on what you want to drink but with better machines, comes better components, larger boilers, better temp stability and more ease of use.

Have you read our how to buy an espresso machine FAQ? http://coffeegeek.com/guides/howtobuyanespressomachine

Sylvia is still a good machine but it is overpriced for what you get in return and when you add in a PID, the $/return value is not there for me and yes, I own a Sylvia in addition to many other machines, nearly all HX, just to tell you where I am coming from.

The BDB has taken a lot of peoples fancy but just be aware, it is a very new machine from a manufacturer who has a long history of poor quality. If you buy one, like any new product, you are taking a risk on future problems and for me personally, I would not buy one yet, I want to see how it holds up first. It is a consumer product (think wedding gift or toaster), not a semi commercial machine such as you are thinking about but many have taken the risk and they seem to be happy with them.

 
In real life, my name is
Wayne P.
Anything I post is personal opinion and is only worth as much as anyone else's personal opinion. YMMV!

Feed the newbs, starve the trolls and above all enjoy what you drink!
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Philmassaad
Senior Member


Joined: 3 Jun 2012
Posts: 18
Location: levis
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Rocket Cellini Premium plus
Grinder: Baratza Vario
Posted Tue Jun 5, 2012, 9:55am
Subject: Re: Need help deciding on what machine to buy
 

Honestly I have owned a breville cafe roma for 2 weeks about a year ago and I don't trust the quality of the machines. I also think I prefer buying a machine that has a  community behind it for help, or eventually if anything happens to the machine.

So I guess you guys are saying its worth spending the extra cash on a HX machine?! I dont mind that at all, which machine would you guys suggest. I have read the FAQ on the website but really with all the options available and me being a perfectionist I want to make sure I dont go back on my decision. This is a lot of money for an espresso machine and I want to make sure I do it right the first time and that my experience is excellent.

I appreciate all your help!

Phil

P.s. what do you guys think of Isomac machines?
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Philmassaad
Senior Member


Joined: 3 Jun 2012
Posts: 18
Location: levis
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Rocket Cellini Premium plus
Grinder: Baratza Vario
Posted Tue Jun 5, 2012, 9:56am
Subject: Re: Need help deciding on what machine to buy
 

MARIOBARBA Said:

If you are making milk based drinks often, the wait for steam with an SBDU like the Silvia/Lelit/Gaggia gets old fast.  You may consider a hybrid machine like the Silvano or Ascaso Steel DUO, they usually aren't as expensive as the HX machines and have similar functionality (steam and pull a shot at the same time).

The Vario is a fine choice and probably as good as it gets for home grinders.

Good Luck

Posted June 5, 2012 link

I would really prefer a HX machine, but I will look into it
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takeshi
Senior Member
takeshi
Joined: 12 Oct 2002
Posts: 976
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Alex Duetto 3.0
Grinder: Super Jolly
Roaster: Amaya Roasting
Posted Tue Jun 5, 2012, 11:40am
Subject: Re: Need help deciding on what machine to buy
 

Philmassaad Said:

Is it really worth the investment in the long run for someone starting out with manual machines.

Posted June 5, 2012 link

Philmassaad Said:

So I guess you guys are saying its worth spending the extra cash on a HX machine?!

Posted June 5, 2012 link

Worth is always highly subjective, regardless of topic.  For any "Is X worth it?" question you'll find those that say yes and those that say no.  It's never a question with a one-size-fits-all answer.  If you want feedback to help you answer that question then you need to clarify your criteria that would define the bounds of worth for you.  As stated above, if you intend to produce a lot of milk drinks the transition time from brewing to steaming with the SBDU's gets old very quickly.  If you only pull espresso then that's not really relevant to you.  Many find HX class machines easier to use and that they produce  more consistent results with them.

If you're looking to invest in the long run and stick with it then it can certainly be worth investing in a very good grinder and an HX class machine versus buying and upgrading.
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calblacksmith
Moderator
calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,774
Location: Riverside, Ca, U.S.A.
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: ECM Vene. A1, La Cimbali M32
Grinder: Azkoyen Capriccio, Major
Vac Pot: 40s era Silex
Drip: Msl. Com. brewers
Roaster: gave it a try, decided no
Posted Tue Jun 5, 2012, 1:19pm
Subject: Re: Need help deciding on what machine to buy
 

just to say it again, like Don said too, it depends on what you are going to drink and how often.

There is another help me buy a machine thread going on right now and their use is expected to be ~2 drinks a day and up to 6 people at a time on weekends. For that person, it really is worth it to upgrade right now to a higher volume machine. The shift between steaming milk and brewing espresso on a SBDU machine gets really annoying when you are making multiple drinks at a time, in the case above, the first person served out of the 6 will likely be ready for more before the whole group gets served for the first time!

For only two drinks a day, it really depends on how much money you have to spend, the machines available to you where you are, and if you really get into espresso or just do a little now and then. If you know yourself to be an upgrader most of the time, then you will be $ ahead to just "buy up" right now. If you pretty much keep with the same thing for a long time and you get the right machine to fit your needs, you might be happy with a SBDU.

Like Don said, there is no "right" or "one size fits all" here, it is up to you, your money, what you want to look at and how serious you get into espresso...... YMMV!

 
In real life, my name is
Wayne P.
Anything I post is personal opinion and is only worth as much as anyone else's personal opinion. YMMV!

Feed the newbs, starve the trolls and above all enjoy what you drink!
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clumeng
Senior Member


Joined: 19 Aug 2006
Posts: 351
Location: Ann Arbor
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Vivaldi II, 67 Cremina
Grinder: Vario, Maestro, Pharos
Vac Pot: Aeropress
Drip: Technivorm, Chemex
Posted Tue Jun 5, 2012, 1:41pm
Subject: Re: Need help deciding on what machine to buy
 

Philmassaad Said:

... for the next 10 years at least.

Posted June 5, 2012 link

Here is another perspective.  For the grinder it's hard to argue against the Vario - in its price range only other thing to consider is a used Mazzer SJ.  Pharos if you are willing to turn a crank.

Machine-wise the difference between SBDU and HX class machines over 10 years is minimal.  The reliable HX class machines are very well built in the $1500 range if you can save up.  

Now if part of you is unsure if you'll actually enjoy the process of making good espresso and going through the trouble, you can consider a used Silvia with PID (eBay has several it appears).  The Silvia is perfectly fine to learn on and I learned a lot just trying to get good stuff out of the machine.  The best part is that you should be able to resell it and recoup a good chunk of the costs.  I got a Silvia+PID new but was able to resell and recover 75% cost.  This up front learning helped me understand what exactly I was looking for for my next definitive jump up in class to a machine that will last 10 years and I decided on a DB.  

A lot of getting good coffee out of a machine is on the handle side of the portafilter.
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naimnut
Senior Member


Joined: 13 Jul 2011
Posts: 66
Location: Seattle area
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Expobar Brewtus II
Grinder: Baratza Vario
Drip: Braun Aeromaster
Posted Tue Jun 5, 2012, 2:24pm
Subject: Re: Need help deciding on what machine to buy
 

What I would do if i were in your position (and I was just there...)

I'd suggest your look for a used HX machine, like a Nuovo Simonelli Elli or Ellimatic or a used Bazzera. For about half the price of the machines you're looking at new you should be able to score a used Elli or Bazzera in good working condition. Then, as you've wisely suggested, invest in the Vario.

Either of these machines will greatly enhance your ability to consistently make shots that rival the best and steam tons and tons of milk. Plus you won't have to hassle with temperature surfing like you will on the Silvia.

BTW, I've seen Ellis that are probably about 20 years old perform very, very well. These things were built very rugged.

If you can afford a little more, an NS Oscar would be an excellent newer option.

But I greatly concur on your choice of the Vario. It will be the major factor in pulling excellent shots from any of the machines you are looking at.

One other consideration is that you could buy a second hand machine, use it for a year or two, then upgrade when the right opportunity comes along and not lose any money. It would make it easier to bear the cost of a more expensive machine by breaking it into two steps.
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