dzeccola Senior Member Joined: 26 Jun 2012 Posts: 2 Location: New York City Expertise: I like coffee
Posted Wed Aug 29, 2012, 6:20pm Subject: Help me choose
I'm trying to choose between two machines and would appreciate input. The two machines in question are the breville dual boiler and expobar office lever plus.
I like to play and tweak, but I also want to get up at 4:30 am before a shift and pull some brew without thinking too hard about it. I want my family to be able to use it without they themselves becoming espresso geeks. I like the beautiful design and aesthetics of machines like the expobar. I just want great espresso, and for many years. Things like plumb ability are not deal breakers for me.
I can get them both for about the same price, which really is the upper limit of my budget. I'm open to other suggestions. Input would be greatly appreciated.
sn_85 Senior Member Joined: 1 Dec 2011 Posts: 131 Location: Fort Lauderdale, FL Expertise: I love coffee
Espresso: Quick Mill Andreja Premium Grinder: Baratza Vario
Posted Wed Aug 29, 2012, 8:46pm Subject: Re: Help me choose
Between those two I would choose the Breville Double Boiler (BDB). For a $1200 consumer level machine it packs more advanced features than any other machine. I think it has an integrated timer so that it will wake up whenever you program it to. The ability to set the preinfusion and brew temp should make it easy for anyone to use. Among the machines in the $1000 - $1500 bracket it's probably the easiet to use. From what I've read/watched steaming milk and getting microfoam should be easier than others albeit a little bit slower. They paid a lot of attention to little details that seem to make the machine easy and convenient to use, things that some of the other traditional brands ignore. Price, performance, features it can't be beat for $1200.
However, you knew that was coming, Breville has a poor track record here in the US. They've typically made low end, low performing machines that only looked nice in the kitchen. Build quality wise it's not going to be as sturdy as some of other stainless steel machines. Another issue is that you won't be able to service the machine yourself. They recommend that every 5 years you take the machine to a Breville service center to get the machine descaled. Something that you can do yourself on most other machines.
So it's really just a matter of reputation. You could go for a more traditional machine like the Rocket Cellini or Quick Mill Anita which aren't as technologically advanced but have held up over the test of time. Or you go with a technologically advanced machine with durability questions to be answered at a later time. Tough call. If I were to do it again I may have taken a gamble on the BDB especially with the 30% that William Sonoma was offering during Christmas. However, it was a very new machine at the time and there were some inital bugs with the OPV. Those have since been corrected and I haven't heard any other quality concerns since then. Really your call.
At any rate I don't recommend the Expobar. Just from some opinions on this forum, machines other than the Brewtus have a few durability concerns. You could probably snag a good deal on a Rocket Cellini Premium Plus or Quick Mill Anita.
calblacksmith Moderator Joined: 25 Nov 2007 Posts: 5,680 Location: Riverside, Ca, U.S.A. Expertise: I live coffee
Espresso: ECM Veneziano A1 Grinder: Many different commercial Vac Pot: 40s era Silex Drip: Milita, Bunn&Curtis... Roaster: Cast iron pan, gas burner
Posted Thu Aug 30, 2012, 5:38am Subject: Re: Help me choose
In most part, I agree with the above. For me PERSONALLY, I do not have any faith in the BDB for the long haul. Add to that the fact that I feel that a machine will never take the place of a skilled hand, my advice is against the BDB, but then that is a personal, for me point of view that may not match your feelings on the subject.
There are several people here who have a BDB and are happy with it yet, for me, they have made decisions of design that go against my view of being able to take care of your equipment. YMMV
I would rather see money spent on rock solid tech that will last for decades over a gadget laden consumer machine. I try to way out of my way to state that this is a personal decision and that you need to go with your best judgement here. Adding a timer to start the machine early in the AM or whenever you want it to start is a very inexpensive thing to do and I personally feel that this feature, built into a machine isn't a big deal.
A lot of which machine you will be happy with comes down to how you like to work and what your coffee drinking habits are. If you only use one coffee and very rarely change, a DB MIGHT be better for you as you can "set and forget" the temp. If you like to change coffee a lot then a HX may be a better choice as you can more easily change the temp on the fly. Neither machine is better than the other but one may be a better fit for any one person than the other and thus, this is a very personal decision that you must decide for yourself. One group of happy users, regardless of which ever machine they favor, may not be the right choice for you.
I favor HX machines for their ease of use, less complicated systems, their ability for the most part to run on a 15 amp circuit and, most importantly, they fit the way I like to work.
In real life, my name is Wayne P.
Feed the newbs, starve the trolls and above all enjoy what you drink!
NobbyR Senior Member Joined: 10 Jul 2011 Posts: 1,612 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 Fri Aug 31, 2012, 5:57am Subject: Re: Help me choose
I have no personal experience with the Nuova Era Cuadra II, but it seems like a solid HX machine with an E61 brew head that'll probably work fine. It's certainly capable of brewing great espresso. When it comes to prosumer espresso machines you can hardly go completely wrong.
Well, the problem is that 1) I had an Expobar Office, and returned it; and 2) while many are happy with the "BDB," I a) still don't trust them, and b) it's built in such a way that you can't "tweak" the way you want . . . or rather, I wouldn't be able to "tweak" it . . . .
Of the machines mentioned, I'd look most seriously at the Rocket.
That said, can we get specific?
Standard Questions: 1) What kind of drinks do you like/want to make? (This will tell us what you need in terms of a machine's capabilities.) 2) How many drinks, on average, do you see yourself needing to make at ay one time? (This will tell us what you need in terms of a machine's ability to work continuously.) 3) How many drinks, on average, do you see yourself making in any given week? (This will tell us what you need in terms of a machine's durability.) 4) Can you plumb a machine directly into the water supply, or do you want/need a pourover machine with its own reservoir? 5) Do you have a 20-amp circuit available, or only a (standard) 15-amp circuit? 6) What is your budget for a new machine? Does that also include a grinder? If not, what is your budget for a grinder?
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