RedVulcan Senior Member Joined: 3 Dec 2012 Posts: 1 Location: NZ Expertise: I love coffee
Posted Wed Dec 5, 2012, 2:27am Subject: Vibiemme Domobar Jr. or BFC/La Valentina?
Hi there, my wife and I are looking to upgrade from our current machine (Breville ESP8) to a good e61 machine which will give us 5~10 years of enjoyment. I had been considering a Rancilio Silvia but these seem to be a stepping stone for a lot of people so I figure why not leap straight to a good domestic e61 type. Our budget does not extend to an Isomac Tea III which is ~NZ$3K, so my choice looks to be between a Domobar Jr and a BFC Jr/La Valentina at around NZ$2300 ~$2600 respectively.
We both enjoy at least one espresso every day of the week and I like to make cappuccino for breakfast on the weekend.
From a technical point of view one of the main differences appears to be that the BFC has a rocker switch to control the pump and any valve arrangement whereas the VBM has a lever and cam actuated switch arrangement for same.
I spoke to a service agent in his store this weekend and his impression was that the BFC was more robust than the VBM because of this and cheaper to service. He also explained that the BFC has a spring loaded washer for the steam valve making it harder or impossible to over-tighten the valve when shutting off the steam. He also ventured that the location of a control circuit in the VBM was too close to the boiler and showed me what he claimed to be a heat damaged unit from a VBM. In fairness BFC is one of the brands he sells in his store (along with Isomac) so I'm not sure how much of this is friendly tech chat (I'm and electronics engineer) and how much of it is him wanting to steer me towards BFC.
I have read a lot of good things about both of these machines but have not yet found a critical comparison of the two. Any comparisons you could venture would be much appreciated.
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