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what are some good espresso machines
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TonyVan
Senior Member


Joined: 24 May 2010
Posts: 276
Location: Pacific Northwest
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: GS/3, La Pavoni
Grinder: Macap M7K, Rocky
Drip: Kone
Posted Sun Aug 19, 2012, 9:13pm
Subject: Re: what are some good espresso machines
 

Yep, just a shill gathering info for commercial purposes. Maybe not entirely dishonest or an outright troll, but kinda sad nonetheless: the good intentions of Nobbys and 'Newbies come to naught.  

Still, ain't no one here a fool!
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NickT
Senior Member


Joined: 20 Aug 2012
Posts: 10
Location: Boston
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Mon Aug 20, 2012, 9:14am
Subject: Re: what are some good espresso machines
 

OK, let me try to advance an actual discussion as a true novice looking for good buying information.  :)

Background: been drinking coffee my whole adult life, but had my eyes opened, wide, last year when I spent some extended time in Italy drinking lots of the real thing.  It's been hard going back to my Keurig at home (and spending WAY too much for K cups to boot.)  So, I'd like to start pulling shots at home; mainly Americanos, but lattes and cappuccinos on the weekends.  

I've been browsing enough to conclude that the usual sub-$1000 choices (Gaggia Classic, Rancilio Silvia) won't do it for me, mainly because I want to brew AND steam simultaneously.  And I find the variability in temperature and/or pressure stability in both machines a little disturbing (e.g., why don't these manufacturers build PID right into them?  A topic for another day.)  I'm sure that a lot of posters are up for the challenge, but I'm not sure I have the patience for making a Gaggia "work" consistently.

So, I've upped my budget to the $1000-$1800 range to get into HX or double boiler units (and I haven't neglected the importance of the grinder - eyeing the Baratza Preciso, or (dare to dream) the Vario-W.)  This is what's on my list (all tank machines, my 'favorites' are asterisked):

- Bezzera BZ02, BZ10 or Magica*
- ECM Germany Technika*
- Rocket Cellini (or the V2 version)* or Giotto
- La Spaziale Mini Vivaldi II*
- Quick Mill Silvano, Andreja Premium* or QM67

Now, I know that there are variations within this list (some have E61 groupheads, some not, etc.), and the style of these all vary.  For example, on paper I LOVE the Vivaldi, but it's certainly a different look than the Magica.

So, I'd love any first or second-hand thoughts on these machines, or my search.  Also, if anyone's compared the ECM Germany machines to the Rockets head-to-head, I'd love to know what y'all think.  I'm willing to sock away the pennies to save for my machine, but I really want to make it count.  Thanks!!
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Coffeenoobie
Senior Member
Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 3,030
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Mon Aug 20, 2012, 10:19am
Subject: Re: what are some good espresso machines
 

Good move to make your pennies count and researching before you buy.  Unless you are the type of person that will abandon a hobby in 6 months for something else, you are better off buying a machine you will not want to upgrade as soon as you figure out what you are doing.  From all my reading before I bought it seemed like as soon as you figured out what you were doing you wanted a better machine than most of the starter ones.  I read a ton of "I want to upgrade from X machine" threads and X was what I was considering buying.  

Your list seem fine to me.  I have not heard anything bad about any of them.  You grinder is the most important part of the set up and doesn't get the love and attention that people give the machines. I vote Vario W.  I really like my grinder. I like my machine also, but it is kinda plain.  But that made it a lot of bang for the buck when I bought it used.   If you have room for a commercial grinder go for it.  But if you don't have room like me the vario w has a nice foot print and I am very happy with the grinds.  I find it very consistent.  But I have only had it about 6 months.  It is not the heavy built like a tank that the commercial grinders are but really I don't want the waste of ground retention and mess of a commercial grinder and did not have room for anything larger than the Vario.  I have a 10x10 kitchen.  One day I hope to have my own coffee bar in my house but that is a long way off.

Someone else will pipe up with opinions on your machines.  And look at what people spent their own money on.  Also, if you are not afraid of used there is a buy/sell/trade section on this site and I would trust that most of the regulars treat their machines well.  Also, I bought mine off craigslist from a cafe that was not using it.  It needed work but I am ok with that.  I still think I got a good deal on it even with the work. A few months ago there was a used less than 6 months old speedster listed here.... I cried.  

Good luck.

 
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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NobbyR
Senior Member
NobbyR
Joined: 10 Jul 2011
Posts: 2,045
Location: Germany
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Poccino Opus One, Ariete
Grinder: Eureka Mignon Istantaneo
Vac Pot: N/A
Drip: Melitta Linea Unica de Luxe
Roaster: N/A
Posted Mon Aug 20, 2012, 10:48pm
Subject: Re: what are some good espresso machines
 

NickT Said:

... , I've upped my budget to the $1000-$1800 range ...

Posted August 20, 2012 link

Is that for the machine exclusively or does it include the grinder? Do you want a new machine or would you also consider buying a used or refurbished one?

 
***
"This drink of the Satan is so delicious that it would be a shame to leave it to the infidels." (Pope Clement VIII on coffee, when he was urged to ban the beverage)
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NickT
Senior Member


Joined: 20 Aug 2012
Posts: 10
Location: Boston
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Tue Aug 21, 2012, 3:01am
Subject: Re: what are some good espresso machines
 

Yes, that's for the machine only (I'll have the grinder covered separately.)  And I would like new, but I'm completely open to a properly serviced/maintained used or a refurb.  There seem to be a lot of nice ones out there...
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Tomcody
Senior Member
Tomcody
Joined: 4 Apr 2011
Posts: 45
Location: Georgia
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: La San Marco Practical 95E
Grinder: Mazzer Mini Timer
Drip: Arçelik 3200 Turkish Coffee...
Roaster: Air Popcorn Popper
Posted Tue Aug 21, 2012, 3:56am
Subject: Re: what are some good espresso machines
 

- Bezzera BZ02, BZ10 or Magica*
- ECM Germany Technika*
- Rocket Cellini (or the V2 version)* or Giotto
- La Spaziale Mini Vivaldi II*
- Quick Mill Silvano, Andreja Premium* or QM67

Little research on your list for you,

http://portland.craigslist.org/wsc/app/3207527923.html
http://buffalo.craigslist.org/app/3195624533.html

 
"Coffee should be black as hell, strong as death, and sweet as love."
"A cup of coffee commits one to fourty years of friendship."
- Turkish proverbs
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NobbyR
Senior Member
NobbyR
Joined: 10 Jul 2011
Posts: 2,045
Location: Germany
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Poccino Opus One, Ariete
Grinder: Eureka Mignon Istantaneo
Vac Pot: N/A
Drip: Melitta Linea Unica de Luxe
Roaster: N/A
Posted Tue Aug 21, 2012, 5:41am
Subject: Re: what are some good espresso machines
 

NickT Said:

Yes, that's for the machine only ...

Posted August 21, 2012 link

Well, I guess you'll find fans and opponents for all of the machines you mentioned. My personal favourite would be one of the Rocket Espressos (V2 that is). Since the Cellini and the Giotto are identical in construction exept for the casing, you could take the design you like better. Whatever machine you'll end up with, you should buy at a dealer that also offers servicing. Also, it's always good advice to take a live look at the machines on your shortlist. I know people who came to a shop with the absolute intention of buying a Cellini and left it with a Giotto. And vice versa.

As far as the grinder is concerned, you can never aim too high. The influence of the grinder on espresso quality is much higher than that of the machine.

 
***
"This drink of the Satan is so delicious that it would be a shame to leave it to the infidels." (Pope Clement VIII on coffee, when he was urged to ban the beverage)
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CMIN
Senior Member


Joined: 14 Jun 2012
Posts: 1,377
Location: South FL
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Crossland CC1
Grinder: Baratza Preciso
Posted Tue Aug 21, 2012, 5:50am
Subject: Re: what are some good espresso machines
 

NickT Said:

Yes, that's for the machine only (I'll have the grinder covered separately.)  And I would like new, but I'm completely open to a properly serviced/maintained used or a refurb.  There seem to be a lot of nice ones out there...

Posted August 21, 2012 link

Most of the companies like Seattle Coffee Gear, 1st Line, Chris Coffee etc all have sections for discounted machines. Usually called demo/refurb/return or whatever. If you search the buy sell trade section on this board you may even snag a killer deal.
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GVDub
Senior Member


Joined: 25 Jan 2008
Posts: 862
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Londinium I, Arrarex...
Grinder: Gaggia MD85, Dienes Mokka,...
Drip: Behmor Brazen, Abid Clever
Roaster: Behmor 1600+
Posted Tue Aug 21, 2012, 6:17am
Subject: Re: what are some good espresso machines
 

Nick - If you're in Boston, it would be well worth taking a day to hope on I-90 and  drive to Albany, NY, to spend some time at Chris Coffee Service checking out machines in his showroom. Most of what's on your list is there, and you might get a better feel for what's right for you.
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NickT
Senior Member


Joined: 20 Aug 2012
Posts: 10
Location: Boston
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Tue Aug 21, 2012, 7:09am
Subject: Re: what are some good espresso machines
 

Yeah, I'm afraid that I'm in for a drive to Albany, since there appear to be no real espresso machine dealers within a 90 mile radius of Boston, certainly none with Chris' selection.  Very well worth the trip, though.

On the grinder, I'm leaning towards a used Preciso, getting the hang of things, then adding the Esatto scale to "approximate" a Vario-W.  It seems to me that spending over $500 on a grinder (for me, at this time) is kind of cuckoo.  I'm sure the Mazzers et al are awesome, but I'd be happy pulling a consistent, tasty shot, and it seems I can do that with the Preciso and any of the machines I'm looking at.

At the Gaggia User Group, someone highly regarded the Cunill Tranqiulo Classic http://sovranastore.com/esgrin.html , which I've never heard of.  At $275 it's in my range, though - has anyone here checked this grinder out?
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