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Upgrading Espresso Machine
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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > Upgrading...  
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Kat1001
Senior Member


Joined: 3 Oct 2012
Posts: 4
Location: California
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Wed Oct 3, 2012, 9:08pm
Subject: Upgrading Espresso Machine
 

Hi all,

Upgrading our espresso machine and would like advice on what you think is best. Unfortunately, there isn't a shop close enough to us to go test out all the different options, so I'd love input if you've had experience with certain machines. Here's what we're looking for-

>Number of drinks per day: 4-6
>Types of drinks: Latte and Americano
>Budget for machine: $1000+/- (WITH additional money going towards a good grinder)
>We love coffee but just don't have the time to fiddle with machines to get the right temp,etc. As much fun as it sounds, we have kids and simply don't have the time :-/ We don't mind messing a bit and we like to steam our own milk, use fresh beans and a grinder, etc but it basically needs to just work and be somewhat low maintenance.
>Needs to warm up fairly quickly (read 15 minutes or less). We like our coffee as soon as we wake up in the morning. Don't want to wait 30 minutes for a machine.
>I want it to be kind of pretty, but we're definitely more into function than looks.

I've done a lot of research. Man, I love the look of the prosumer EX machines such as the Rocket Cellini, Expobar Office Lever, etc. They're just sexy. But it maybe seems like the wrong choice for us given the long start-up time. Recently started looking at the Silvana by Quick Mill. So opinion time- based on our needs, what would you recommend? Thanks in advance
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qualin
Senior Member
qualin
Joined: 30 Jun 2012
Posts: 646
Location: Calgary, AB
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Izzo Alex Duetto 3
Grinder: Mazzer Mini Elect. Type A
Vac Pot: Looking to buy
Drip: Manual
Roaster: Considering?
Posted Thu Oct 4, 2012, 12:44am
Subject: Re: Upgrading Espresso Machine
 

Kat1001 Said:

Hi all,

>Number of drinks per day: 4-6
>Types of drinks: Latte and Americano
>Budget for machine: $1000+/- (WITH additional money going towards a good grinder)
>Needs to warm up fairly quickly (read 15 minutes or less). We like our coffee as soon as we wake up in the morning. Don't want to wait 30 minutes for a machine.
>I want it to be kind of pretty, but we're definitely more into function than looks.

Posted October 3, 2012 link

The Lelit PL4TEM and the Lelit PL53 will cost you about $949.95 together. The former is a Single Boiler Dual Use machine. The number of drinks you are asking for may be a little heavy
for this kind of machine, but it will do the trick and stay within your budget. The reason why I suggested this, is because Single Boiler Dual Use machines are designed to warm up fairly quickly
because they have a small boiler.

In my case, my own SBDU, a Rancilio Silvia, (Which is a direct competitor to the Lelit machines) has a 350 ml boiler.. and is ready to pull a shot in about 15 minutes from the time I turn it on.
The Silvia is a good machine in its own right, but the Lelit does offer better value for money and has much more precise temperature control than the Silvia does. I bought my Silvia lightly used
so I think I got my moneys worth.

The big problem with SBDU machines is that you do have to wait on them if you want to make milk based drinks. However, if you are making Americanos or straight shots, it's not a problem.

Any other type of espresso machine on the market (ie. Heat Exchanging or Dual Boiler) takes at least 30 minutes to warm up, depending on the boiler size. This is just a fact of life. The way
people get around this is by using an appliance timer. However, please keep in mind that many espresso machines are not designed to be used with one!

If you are willing to spend a bit more, you could consider something like a Bezzera BZ09 and a Baratza Preciso. That will put you somewhere around $1200. The BZ09 is a heat exchanging
machine, but is a much more capable machine than a SBDU and would be a much more suitable choice if you can stretch your budget a bit. It has a 500 ml boiler so I would think it would
warm up fairly quickly, but probably would still take at least 15-20 minutes to warm up.

I don't know if you can put the Bezzera on an appliance timer, since I'm not sure if it has a vacuum breaker. If it doesn't, the machine won't warm up properly until you open the steam valve.
You would have to ask your dealer if you could have one installed post-sale.

If you think you can bump that budget up to roughly $1400, consider a Breville Dual Boiler and the Baratza Preciso. The Breville actually has a built in timer so it can turn on before you wake up
and it doesn't have the issues which other machines have with appliance timers. As well, it's got good value for the money and has small boilers so it should warm up quick. A machine like that
would not only be very capable of your requirements, but it looks good and is fairly easy to use.

Good luck!

 
Garbage In, Garbage Out, for every step of the process. From Beans to grinder, grounds to machine, coffee to cup.
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qualin
Senior Member
qualin
Joined: 30 Jun 2012
Posts: 646
Location: Calgary, AB
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Izzo Alex Duetto 3
Grinder: Mazzer Mini Elect. Type A
Vac Pot: Looking to buy
Drip: Manual
Roaster: Considering?
Posted Thu Oct 4, 2012, 12:54am
Subject: Re: Upgrading Espresso Machine
 

I just thought I'd also mention, just to break up my posts...

The Silvano by Quick Mill is an interesting compromise. It is a single boiler machine with a Thermoblock to create steam, so you
don't have to wait for the boiler to heat up or cool down for milk drinks, like you would with an SBDU.

The big drawback to thermoblocks is that they do not take well to hard water. The problem is that scale builds up on the inside
of the thermoblock over time and acts as an insulator, which eventually causes the thermoblock to overheat and burn out.

If you are using soft water with the machine, it isn't a problem.

The steam generator in LG washing machines works on this same principle and fails due to the exact same reason.

Personally, if you want a machine which will last and be relatively low maintenance, I would personally opt for a machine
which lacks a thermoblock, however, this is my own personal opinion.

There are some members on this forum who have these machines and love them. It's not a bad recommendation, but when you
consider that the Bezzera BZ09 is roughly $100 less, I don't see the point of buying a Silvano unless counter space is at a premium.

Of course, that is also my own personal opinion.. I'm sure other members of this board would disagree with me. :-)

 
Garbage In, Garbage Out, for every step of the process. From Beans to grinder, grounds to machine, coffee to cup.
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Kat1001
Senior Member


Joined: 3 Oct 2012
Posts: 4
Location: California
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Thu Oct 4, 2012, 1:42am
Subject: Re: Upgrading Espresso Machine
 

I think I phrased what our budget is poorly- I apologize. We have allotted $1000+/- budget for the machine and we have money over and above that $1000 that we're going to put into a grinder. So for machine our budget is around $1000-ish.
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chex
Senior Member
chex
Joined: 27 Mar 2008
Posts: 62
Location: Fairview TX
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Q M Silvano, Gaggia Espresso
Grinder: 2xMazzer SJs, Major, WW2 era...
Drip: Hario pourover, presses,...
Roaster: Behmor, stovetop...
Posted Thu Oct 4, 2012, 2:17am
Subject: Re: Upgrading Espresso Machine
 

How about a Silvia paired with a Baratza Vario grinder? If it's slightly out of your price point, you can get a factory refurb Vario directly from Baratza.com from time to time. Another good grinder option would be a used Mazzer Super Jolly either from the forums or craigslist. The most important thing about your espresso setup is the grinder. When i started out years ago, I bought the Kitchen-Aid Proline burr grinder thinking it would be perfect for espresso. Unfortunately it was extremely inconsistant with espresso, and the detents for adjustment were way too diverse to get shots timed right. Since it was an expensive grinder, at the time i blamed my gaggia for the poor shot quality, but soon after picking up a used Mazzer from CL I immediately realized what was at fault. Quite simply, a espresso machine just pumps hot 195-205 degree water into a basket. The basket has holes that are extremely small and requires precise uniform consistancy in order to produce properly extracted espresso.
So instead of asking what espresso machine you should get, you should ask what grinder you should get, followed by what you can get after getting the grinder.
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chex
Senior Member
chex
Joined: 27 Mar 2008
Posts: 62
Location: Fairview TX
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Q M Silvano, Gaggia Espresso
Grinder: 2xMazzer SJs, Major, WW2 era...
Drip: Hario pourover, presses,...
Roaster: Behmor, stovetop...
Posted Thu Oct 4, 2012, 2:32am
Subject: Re: Upgrading Espresso Machine
 

As for the Quick Mill Silvano, I just got mine in July, and absolutely love it! It's quite easy to use and maintain. The steam function on newer revisions means it's able to steam extremely well. I haven't touched Wayne's HX machine in a while, but I do notice the steam is extremely dry on the silvano. All good! :) Inside, all components are standard and easy to service Gicar PID, E-61 group gasket, resetable high limits, Gicar Solid State Relays, and Ulka Vibe pumps. This made me feel much safer with the machine. Everything inside except the thermoblock are standard components. Thus, in the event of part failure, I should have no problems finding replacement parts. That's one thing i really dislike about the Breville. I intend on keeping my machine for many years; it's important to be able to fix it yourself. The Breville is all proprietary non serviceable components, so if you do run into mechanical failure years down the road, you are at Breville's mercy. As for timer switch; Home Depot or Harbor Freight sells em; problem solved. ;)
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NobbyR
Senior Member
NobbyR
Joined: 10 Jul 2011
Posts: 1,991
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 Thu Oct 4, 2012, 4:20am
Subject: Re: Upgrading Espresso Machine
 

Kat1001 Said:

... Needs to warm up fairly quickly (read 15 minutes or less). We like our coffee as soon as we wake up in the morning. Don't want to wait 30 minutes for a machine ...

Posted October 3, 2012 link

You might as well take that out of consideration, because by using a time switch your machine will be ready to go when you are.

 
***
"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: 1,213
Location: South FL
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Crossland CC1
Grinder: Baratza Preciso
Posted Thu Oct 4, 2012, 6:04am
Subject: Re: Upgrading Espresso Machine
 

Pretty much all machines needs at least 40-60 minutes to be "fully" warmed up, not just boiler warm up, but all other parts/internals, that way pulling a shot the water has little/no heat loss. The Silvia boiler warms up in 15min but not the rest of the machine, I even let my CC1 usually warm up with PF locked in for at least 45 min to where the PF is hot as well. I'd forget the the Silvia though if I were you since your already pressed for time and you'd need to learn temp surfing on it (unless you get a PID which is kinda pointless new as by then you may as well get into entry H/X) and the long wait between switching to from steam to brew etc.

You can always get a timer to turn the machine on earlier. Like said an H/X or dual boiler will work, except for the Breville the other dual boilers are priced way higher, the Silvano is a single boiler & thermoblock design with a seperate pump for it letting you brew/steam at same time. My CC1 is setup the same way except for no extra pump for steaming but it switches and recovers quite faster then the Silvia and no worry of boiler burning.

You could get the Baratza Preciso which is around 250 or so shipped on refurb from Baratza, or you can find sellers for around 300 new. And maybe up the budget a bit to fit a machine that will allow you stable and fast recovery since like you said your pressed for time.
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Burner0000
Senior Member


Joined: 28 Jul 2011
Posts: 1,010
Location: Cambridge, Ontario Canada
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Rancilio Silvia, VFA Expres...
Grinder: Macap MX/VFA N1464/Kyocera...
Drip: Manual Drip, French Press
Roaster: Behmor 1600 / Sonofresco
Posted Thu Oct 4, 2012, 6:28am
Subject: Re: Upgrading Espresso Machine
 

Reading what your looking for it sounds like a super automatic machine is within your price range.  If you want a machine that doesn't need all the manual tweaks and will produce a good cup the mid end consumer machines run around 700-1000 and have a built in grinder.  I have no hands on because I prefer manual labour :P but I always check them out.
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CMIN
Senior Member


Joined: 14 Jun 2012
Posts: 1,213
Location: South FL
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Crossland CC1
Grinder: Baratza Preciso
Posted Thu Oct 4, 2012, 6:33am
Subject: Re: Upgrading Espresso Machine
 

Burner0000 Said:

Reading what your looking for it sounds like a super automatic machine is within your price range.  If you want a machine that doesn't need all the manual tweaks and will produce a good cup the mid end consumer machines run around 700-1000 and have a built in grinder.  I have no hands on because I prefer manual labour :P but I always check them out.

Posted October 4, 2012 link

Don't produce a good cup, maybe a "mehhh" cup at best ;) . Their grinders aren't capable, internals and build have no temp stability, most don't even get to the right temp to brew. But it is convenient and quick if you don't mind a "mehhh" version of coffee vs same beans and a good grinder/machine. Buddy has a Jura C5 or 9 can't remember, the difference in taste of that machine vs my setup that was cheaper is insane, completely night and day difference better with my setup winning by far lol.
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