Posted Thu Jan 10, 2013, 8:38am Subject: Re: High End Espresso Machines
Had same questions as you a number of years back. I spent months punching the "Consumer Review" button on this site as I began to learn individual machines. Honestly believe I read every single review in order to not make a mistake.
The only advice I've ever questioned was re the debate on lever versus pump driven machine. That is, get a pump machine first. Bull. In retrospect I would have gotten my lever Olympia Cremina immediately instead of going to a double boiler first. Could have saved $2000+ dollars. Now I use the Cremina for trips and my La Spaziale at home. Both are fabulous in their own way.
And take this to heart. A "high end" machine is completely a waste of time and money without a high end grinder. Would much rather have a high end grinder and mediocre espresso machine rather than vice versa if money is an object. My personal definition of a high end grinder? A burrset out of a very expensive commercial grinder.....eg., Orphan Espresso's Pharos Grinder which is manual. And since it doesn't have a motor, very affordable. The search is all great fun with a myriad of choices, good luck.
Hi, Michelle. I'm fine, thanks. Welcome to CoffeeGeek!
I need to know 2 things: 1) The names of high end espresso makers; 2) The retail stores or sites that sell to the US that carry these high end brands. The stores don't have to be in the US so long as they sell to the US.
Michelle, there are NOTHING simple about what you asked.
There are -- literally -- hundreds if not thousands of espresso machine manufacturers in Italy, Germany, the United States, China, and throughout the world. Most (but admittedly not all) make machines that encompass the entire spectrum from "home use" to "commercial use." Espresso machines run from $100 to well over $10,000. And if there are "hundreds if not thousands" of manufacturers, how many retailers do you think there are? And in the age of the internet, what percentage do you think might ship into and across the USA?
There are some questions that are SOOOOOOOOOOO BROAD AND ILL-DEFINED as to be impossible to answer meaningfully. SO, I can certainly understand why some may think that, at worst, this is a troll, and at best, this is a post by someone who has never heard of Google, Yahoo or Bing.
We ARE happy to help newcomers to this site. Honest. But they need to frame their thoughts and questions in a way that actual answers are possible. You want information that -- if printed -- would run to 100 pages!
If you could tell us more specifics about what you are looking for and why -- as opposed to trying to get others to compile a voluminous directory of retailers world-wide who sell in the United States -- we would be HAPPY to help . . .
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?
Again, the more specific you can be, the more helpful we can be in return.
As for defining "high-end" . . . what do YOU mean by "high-end"?
So, let's start at the beginning, OK?
ONE way to classify espresso machines is by their method/mechanism/capabilities for producing the shot.
-- Manual machines do not have a pump. They rely on the operator to force the water through the puck by use of a lever. With some machines, the lever is controlled manually by the operator -- like with the La Pavoni Europicola, or the Olympia Cremina. The operator lifts the lever up and pulls it down, pushing the water through the puck. With other machines, the lever may be spring-operated, like with the Elektra Micro Casa a Leva, the Bezzera B2006AL, or the Rancilio Class 6 LE models, in which the lever is controlled by a spring -- the operator pulls the lever down, and then a spring draws the lever back to the "up" position, moving the piston and forcing the water through the puck.
-- Semi-automatic machines have a pump to force the water through the puck, but the operator turns the pump on-and-off. Examples would include the machines like Gaggia Classic, the Faema Legend (the original E61 machine), or the Izzo Alex Duetto II -- which are, respectively, an SDBU, an HX, and a DB machine -- all in semi-automatic formats.
-- Full-automatic machines, also known as volumetric dosing machines, have a pump to force the water through the puck, like a semi-auto, but after a certain volume of water is dispensed (programed by the operator), the pump will shut itself off automatically. HOWEVER, the pump can also be shut off manually, just as with a semi-automatic. Examples would include the Bezzera BZ07sde, the Elektra Sixties T1, and the La Marzocco Linea AV models. Each of these , by the way, is also produced as a semi-automatic -- the Bezzera BZ07spm, the Elektra Sixties A3 (now discontinued, although plenty of other semi-autos are still made by Elektra), and the La Marzocco Linea EE models.
-- Super-automatic machines do everything for the user, who merely has to push a button, wait, and drink. These machines will grind the beans, tamp the puck, push the water through the grounds, froth the milk . . . everything. Examples include everything from a Gaggia Titanium, the Jura-Capresso Impressa S9, and the Faema X3 Prestige.
THEN you can classify machines by their boiler type (and please note, I am ignoring thermoblock units):
-- Open boiler machines are relatively rare, and date back many decades. These can heat the water for espresso, but cannot build up any pressure to steam milk. To the best of my knowledge, this are all manual lever machines, and include machines like the Arrarex Caravel and the FE-AR La Peppina.
-- Single Boiler Dual Use (SBDU) machines are the most popular machines for home use. These have one boiler and two thermostats; the boiler will either heat the water within to brewing temperature or to steaming temperature. The operator must wait for the boiler to move up/move down before continuing, i.e.: the machine can only brew or it can steam milk -- one or the other -- at a time. The best known example, at least here in the States, would be the Rancilio Silvia
-- Heat Exchanger (HX) machines also have one boiler, but it is permanently set to steaming temperature. Cool water, either from a built-in reservoir ("tank") or from a water line ("plumbed-in" or "direct connect"), is then flash heated to brew temp via the use of a heat exchanger. Examples would include machines like the Izzo Alex II, Quick Mill Anita, or the Vibiemme Domobar Super.
ALSO, machines can be classified by their components, if you will, and their target market.
-- Consumer machines are just that, designed for home use by the consumer.
-- Professional (or commercial) machines are designed for high-volume use in busy cafés, restaurants, etc. They use more robust parts than consumer models, able to withstand their heavy, constant usage.
-- "Prosumer" machines fill in the gap; they are actually low-volume commercial machines that can also by used in a home environment.
So you can have a commercial lever machine, or a consumer lever machine; a full-automatic HX prosumer model, as well as a full-auto HX commercial model, and so on and so on and so on . . . .
Posted Thu Jan 10, 2013, 9:30am Subject: Re: High End Espresso Machines
I also consider trolling to be going off-topic and detracting from the intended use of the forum. From Wikipedia's definition/description of the term, my understanding of it's meaning is much broader than yours...but if that's how you feel, sorry about that. I certainly didn't mean it in the inflammatory way (as you narrowly define it). The vagueness of you question made me very suspicious that you were not really looking for a machine for yourself, but rather were looking for leads to work on some business or other ulterior motive. I, personally, don't feel this site is for research into something like that...maybe others disagree. It actually bothers me considerably when people coming here expecting that from us. So, I mis-read your motives, well, sorry for that too.
Enjoy your time here!
. Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
Posted Thu Jan 10, 2013, 10:49am Subject: Re: High End Espresso Machines
Maybe some of the unease people are feeling has to do with what you're asking. Worst case scenario, the way the question is worded makes me think perhaps the person asking it isn't interested in buying a machine for themselves, but is looking to find these sellers so they can market something to them, perhaps, especially when that question is followed up with stating something just like that - that you aren't looking to buy "just yet" but need to contact these sellers. Maybe if we knew why, we would feel more willing to help. This site is normally about helping like-minded folks who love coffee and want to know more about it, or get into the equipment they need to produce excellent coffee and/or espresso. That's not really what you're asking.
So, why do you want to contact these sellers? Are you writing an article on high-end espresso machines? Do you have some innovative new marketing tool you want to share with them?
dennisthemenace Senior Member Joined: 5 Jun 2012 Posts: 13 Location: NW London Expertise: I love coffee
Espresso: Faema E61 Grinder: Mazzer Major
Posted Thu Jan 10, 2013, 12:12pm Subject: Re: High End Espresso Machines
Michelle, I believe you are being straight forward and aggressive with your question.... this might be where emradguy is coming from. It seems to me that you are wanting everyone else to do your leg work for you? If you search online and branch off into channels from your search results, I believe you will answer your own questions and gain a better feel for what you are looking for. This website is about folks that put a lot of heart and soul into their coffee. Even though I'm not an expert, you will find people here will answer your questions honestly and thoroughly.... Questions about details to gain knowledge so that person will have a better understanding. There isn't a bias opinion about manufactures or where to purchase. There are several if you just search online. If you have specific questions about certain machines, this is the place for you to find answers, but if you're wanting us to do your leg work, no respect to the other members, or don't have coffee heart and soul, then you might want to join another forum. just sayin' Topgun
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