coffeestig Senior Member Joined: 25 Feb 2013 Posts: 60 Location: Charlotte Expertise: I love coffee
Espresso: Quick Mill QM67 Grinder: Mazzer Mini Electronic... Drip: French Press
Posted Mon Feb 25, 2013, 8:39am Subject: Espresso machine finalist
First let me say that I've been lurking for some time and have been wearing out the search engine on here. 5 years ago I bought a 150$ Breville machine that changed my coffee life. I thought it was amazing and wondered how it could get better... Then I upgraded to another Breville machine that was around 500 bucks... their best one at the time without a grinder and before the DB unit; I could not believe the difference. Being a big foodie, I normally just wait until I can afford what I think I'll never have a need to upgrade from - It's cheaper in the long run. My machine is okay and I know Breville is not loved here but I'm ready to go kind of big for my next machine. I've narrowed it down and this will sound petty but where I like to make my coffee would be impractical to tie in a water line and the machine will sit under a cabinet on my counter so front loading the water is appealing. If it matters... I use Illy or Lavazza or Pure intentions (a local roaster) beans. Mornings are mostly espresso or americanos and cappuccino/latte's for company or as delivery for alcohol.
Here are my 3 top choices:
La Spaziale Dream T Espresso Machine
La Spaziale Mini Vivaldi II Espresso Machine
Izzo Alex Duetto 3.0 Espresso Machine
The rotary pump seems like a differentiator. 53mm to 58mm seems to not matter. Either machine would be way better than what I have and I've even thought about just getting the Breville DB since my current and last machines have had no quality issues. If a friend didn't send me here I wouldn't have considered the La Spaziale or Izzo but I'm wanting to make this upgrade really worth it.
Are there any users here that have experience with the 3 of these? Thoughts? Recommendations? Ridicule?
No reason to ridicule you...not that anyone should, even if there was a reason. :)
There are two things that will give you huge improvments (as in, will change your life, again) without changing your machine (not that that upgrade isn't warranted too). First off, you need to get into fresh beans...as in, roasted within the last 2 weeks or so. Second, you may need to upgrade your grinder. It's hard to say that, since you haven't said what you have.
You've worn out the search engine, but haven't done one of the most basic things that we ask all the time when people pose this question.
Perhaps you've seen the standard set of questions (see recent posts by JasonBrandtLewis) in your exhaustive search of the forums? Please answer them in your next post.
Considering you've worn out the search engine, I would also guess you've seen the innumerable times people in your shoes have been asked what grinder they currently own. As I eluded to above, this is a very important question to answer.
You've stated you want a front loading reservoir machine, yet listed at least one (the Duetto) that loads on top in the back. I'll take a wild stab and guess you plan to put this partially under a cabinet. You can fill the reservoir via a beerbong (if you don't know what that is, it's a plastic funnel with a hose attached to it - similar to what one might use to put oil in their car engine). If there's room underneath for large plastic jugs, you could alternatively plumb in using a flojet from the supply and have a second one for drip tray runoff.
I own a Duetto II. I've had it almost 15 months. It's almost identical to the 3.0 from a functional standpoint. I have not been able to plumb mine, so I'm doing the beerbong thing to keep the reservoir full. It's a drag, but I wouldn't change machines unless I was getting something like a Speedster or a GS/3, or if I decided I wanted to do single dose side by side comparisons on a regular basis...yeah, it's that good in my opinion. being unable to plumb or not is not at all a petty consideration. In fact, those who have been able to plumb in anything say they would not ever go back, and I am pretty certain that I'd fall into that same boat, if I could ever get mine plumbed in. I've even considered changing locations of my espresso bar just so I can plumb it with 5 gallon bottles. Anyhow, I use mine in 15 amp mode. There's a nice thread started by GermantownRob that is almost an owner's thread, discussing some of the ups and downs of the Duetto at least in the eyes of him (D3.0), me (DII) and jwoodyu (DII).
The Dream T is pretty new (I think), or maybe it's just got a new version (?)...but there was a thread asking people about it a while back that didn't get many responses. I don't think you can go wrong with either the Vivaldi or the Duetto (unless you plan to do single dose varied shots in each session - which means you should be looking at HX machines). Also look at Rocket, Vibiemme and Salvatore as they all make similar quality DB machines.
Emrad, Thanks for the reply! Mazzer Mini Espresso Grinder is what I am using now; it was a major upgrade for me - there are definitely more expensive ones out there; is this one sufficient? For beans, The Pure Intentions beans that I get are always <48 hours old when I buy them and are roasted just a few miles from my home. Lavazza is for decaf since when I make that it's mostly after dinner and there are different libations included. The local cigar shop may be importing some beans soon from the Dominican Republic and if they roast them here I may switch.
I meant to answer these but will do so one at a time: 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.) Mornings - americano's cigar time - espresso entertaining - Latte's/cappaccino
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.) anywhere from 2 in the morning to 8 when entertaining. (which happens frequently)
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.) a lot... but will vary - durability will be very important.
4) Can you plumb a machine directly into the water supply, or do you want/need a pourover machine with its own reservoir? no and would like to have something relatively easy to fill from the front vs. the top since I like to have my coffee station in a location that has cabinets above it
5) Do you have a 20-amp circuit available, or only a (standard) 15-amp circuit? I want to maintain a 15 amp
6) What is your budget for a new machine? Does that also include a grinder? If not, what is your budget for a grinder? I'd like to stay in the 2000ish budget for just the machine.
great! sounds like you're looking at the right machines, based on your intended usage.
The Mazzer Mini is more than adequate, and can serve you a lifetime (unless you become afflicted with upgraditis), though you may have to change the burrs every 5-10 years or so (depending on usage), as they should be changed out after grinding about 400# of beans.
I have been quite happy with the beerbong approach to refiling my reservoir. I keep it in the cabinet above the machine, but have actualy considered drilling a hole in the bottom of the cabinet to make it more convenient. The Duestto requires one to remove the stainless machine top before the reservoir cover in order to refill the reservoir. I suggest getting the hand rail set (if not included), you decide on a Duetto.
This next part is just a simple explanation of what worked for me. You'll have to compare all the features and functions and figure out what will work best for you...
I decided on the Duetto for a couple of reasons. I wanted to buy from Chris' Coffee Service. I wanted ALL stainless steel (no plastic). I like the way it looks. It has all of the features I wanted, including but not limited to, reservoir or plumbed by flipping a lever, separate power switches for each boiler. Audible low reservoir alarm. Ability to run on a 15 amp circuit. Pre-configured group PID offset for boiler temp.
I've been happy with it's relatively low noise. I find the programming easy to access and change. It's got plenty of steam power, good recovery and good thermal stability. I find it easy to keep clean. I did not like the no-burn steam wand at all, and once I converted it to "burn-me" by pulling out the plastic tube and adding a rubber sleeve, I immediately loved it's steaming capability. I wish the drip tray were larger.
The S1 was always on my upgrade list and I really like the dream since it gave 1f adjustments and has a built in timer. When it was time for my upgrade the Duetto 3 is what I picked. Size does matter, at least for me and PF baskets, you get what you get with 53mm and all of my HQ and VST baskets would no longer have a use not to mention they are my favorite and not made for 53mm. If I was only going to use a tank then the dream T would have been my choice but I wanted a rotary pump and really I wanted to use a tank when needed but be plumbed in the rest of the time so Duetto won again. 15 amp is fine 90% of my use, the brew boiler can have top seat but when entertaining 20amp and both boiler getting power when they need is so nice, Duetto again. I am still filling my Duetto tank under the cabinets, it is a pita but thanks to help here I am beer bonging it myself for now.
If you know you will only be using the tank and you dont mind 53mm because of the large selection of 58mm tampers and baskets that you already have and love then I would look very hard at the Spaz mini, I like the Dream T for the added options but it does drive the cost up and it is a new product with posiable bugs still being worked out. It has a great reputation and a large following of happy customers.
If you own then you can maybe add something that will allow you more options. Can you tap into the ice tray line? I just use sound to fill the tank and rarely take the tank out. I just add water every morning as part of the prep. If I make more than 4 (not often for me most days) I might top off the tank again. Mostly when I am taking the Oscar out somewhere. He is portable. I rarely have to empty the drip tray as a catch most of my water to heat cups.
Buying advice: GRINDER GRINDER GRINDER. Don't cheap out on the grinder. My coffee treasure map... Click Here (maps.google.com)
My sink either but a great idea was passed onto me to just add a fitting and shut off and length of hose needed to get where you need to go, keep it wrapped up like a garden hose under the sink. Heck it could be run in the cabinets and come out next to the machine just like one at the sink, sorry brain is in slow mode, if doing this why not plumb in the machine, lol.
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