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Izzo Alex II HX on Sale or Mini Vivaldi II?
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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > Izzo Alex II HX...  
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SSgt93
Senior Member


Joined: 7 Apr 2013
Posts: 56
Location: USA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: La Spaziale Mini Vivaldi II
Grinder: Baratza Vario
Posted Sun May 19, 2013, 10:04pm
Subject: Re: Izzo Alex II HX on Sale or Mini Vivaldi II?
 

germantownrob Said:

If you add on the timer and the preinfusion chamber to the Mini it becomes a $2300 machine.

Posted May 18, 2013 link

Only if you 'add to cart' and don't call for a better deal. You are high by a few hundred and I even got the pre-infusion installed for few by simply asking.
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calblacksmith
Moderator
calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,734
Location: Riverside, Ca, U.S.A.
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: ECM Vene. A1, La Cimbali M32
Grinder: Azkoyen Capriccio, Major
Vac Pot: 40s era Silex
Drip: Msl. Com. brewers
Roaster: gave it a try, decided no
Posted Mon May 20, 2013, 3:13am
Subject: Re: Izzo Alex II HX on Sale or Mini Vivaldi II?
 

Please do not take this the wrong way, you have said as much yourself, you are in a state of info overload. It happens to the best of us.

Part of the reason that you get so many different views is that people like what they have. If you did not like it, you would not advise anyone else to buy the same machine. If you have not used others then it is harder to recommend them.

It may be time to back away from all the choices, take a deep breath and let it out slowly.

Make a list of the top 5 features you want, list them in order of what is important to you then look for a machine that meets those requirements. If more than one machine meets them then I give the same advice I gave at the start of the thread, buy the one you like the looks of the most.

Remember when you are reading reviews, you will get a whole lot higher of a percentage of people with problems posting than you will get of happy owners. If you are happy with your equipment, you use it every day and go merrily down your lives road. If you have a problem, it gets under your skin and you want to tell the world about it, thus of people in two camps, you will see a higher percentage of unhappy owners than you will see of happy ones.

Good vendors stand behind the products and want you to be happy, tell your friends and have your friends buy from them also, they will take care of you. Any product can have a "lemon" but for the most part, you will not get bad advice here, we are not Amazon . com, where someone has their first machine for 5 hours and posts a glowing review. We live with our gear, day after day, know the inns and outs and would not steer anyone wrong on purpose.

To review.
Make a list of features.
Set a price limit.
Shop to the above two items and in a tie, buy the one you like the looks of best.

This goes for grinders also and though what you have will be able to just work for espresso, the biggest change in flavor improvement comes from a grinder. It is hard to believe this I know, I did not either until it happened for me and there are scores of members here who will tell you the same thing, the grinder makes the biggest difference in the quality of your espressol

From a personal point of view, if you have $2000 in your budget, be looking at $500 grinders and $1500 machines. For grinders, $500 is about the sweet spot where more money buys smaller  steps in improvement of the brew.

Information overload is a common thing and you are square in the middle of it. Take a step back and regroup to get a more clear picture.

Like all posts on every board, the above is a personal point of view and YMMV!

OH, btw, you are starting to get into deep weeds with teck info. Yes there are 3 different ways to regulate a shot and I do not take issue with the above "ranking". My personal machine is the middle method and I am very happy with it. This is a kind of thing you might look at when you have thousands of straight shots under your belt and you are not happy anymore or you just have an itch to try something different. There are differences to be sure but they are very small in the cup a true GEEK difference and frankly, at your stage, differences you will not be able to see any difference in. To use the car as an example, the kind of water measuring system on an espresso machine is similar to what is the tip of the spark plug made from, yes when getting the max performance it make a difference but in day to day life, it does not matter. These are some of the kinds of info you are agonizing over.

Just another personal opinion, take it for what it is worth, YMMV!

 
In real life, my name is
Wayne P.
Anything I post is personal opinion and is only worth as much as anyone else's personal opinion. YMMV!

Feed the newbs, starve the trolls and above all enjoy what you drink!
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germantownrob
Senior Member
germantownrob
Joined: 2 Dec 2007
Posts: 2,150
Location: Philadelphia
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Duetto 3, A Dead Oscar
Grinder: Vario-W, Preciso w/Esatto,...
Drip: Brazen
Roaster: Diedrich IR-1, HT B
Posted Mon May 20, 2013, 3:57am
Subject: Re: Izzo Alex II HX on Sale or Mini Vivaldi II?
 

SSgt93 Said:

Only if you 'add to cart' and don't call for a better deal. You are high by a few hundred and I even got the pre-infusion installed for few by simply asking.

Posted May 19, 2013 link

Very true, but when just discussing machines and window shopping I find it much easier to talk about sticker prices then the $? Deal a vendor will make with an individual.
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emradguy
Senior Member
emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 3,066
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Duetto II; Twist v2
Grinder: M Major, Macap M4 x2, VDD...
Drip: Espro presses; Aeropress
Roaster: H-B "List of Favorites"
Posted Mon May 20, 2013, 7:18am
Subject: Re: Izzo Alex II HX on Sale or Mini Vivaldi II?
 

calblacksmith Said:

Make a list of the top 5 features you want, list them in order of what is important to you then look for a machine that meets those requirements. If more than one machine meets them then I give the same advice I gave at the start of the thread, buy the one you like the looks of the most.

Posted May 20, 2013 link

I think this may be the best advice you've gotten so far in this thread.  Maybe because that's how I made my decision, but I'd like to think it's really how it should be done (even if I hadn't done it this way).  Once you make that list, you will likely find that only a few machines meet our criteria.  I have to say, I looked and looked at machines for well over a year before deciding what I wanted to upgrade to from my Silvia.  So, yeah, I love my machine and think I made a great choice, but then...I put a lot into it.  I don't think I've ever considered any other purchase as carefully...except maybe my house.  I think this is one of the other reasons you'll find a lot of the geeks here are really happy with their choices.  Those who aren't probably didn't research nearly as carefully before buying.  As Wayne implied, you seem to have gathered enough info to step back and try to sort it out. I think you're at the point where you're subconsciously looking for a board consensus on your decision (maybe that's not really true?), which I'm afraid will never happen, for all the reasons previously stated.

I also know there are things we talk about that others new to the board, or more appropriately, new to the espresso world are shaking their head at in wonder about how anyone can think that microdetail is that important.  If you dive deep enough into this hobby/habit/addiction/obsession you look back and realize you're now one of those crazies you were shaking your head at (at least in some respects).  This is one of the reasons I agree you have to step back and look at what you've learned/gathered so far to sort out what is important to you.

calblacksmith Said:

This goes for grinders also and though what you have will be able to just work for espresso, the biggest change in flavor improvement comes from a grinder. It is hard to believe this I know, I did not either until it happened for me and there are scores of members here who will tell you the same thing, the grinder makes the biggest difference in the quality of your espressol

From a personal point of view, if you have $2000 in your budget, be looking at $500 grinders and $1500 machines. For grinders, $500 is about the sweet spot where more money buys smaller  steps in improvement of the brew.

Posted May 20, 2013 link

I agree here too...and though they have less features to consider, it's probably more important that the grinder operates the way you want it too.  For instance, if it doesn't grind to weight, and you want it to, you'll be very unhappy with it....and just as important, if you are willing to spend $500 and up, you'll be happy with the quality of the grind quality no matter your choice.  And, yeah...I thought everyone was crazy here too, until I saw it myself!  Now I've done both grinder and machine upgrades, and I have to say, the grinder upgrade improved my shots more, while the machine upgrade made everything more efficient and consistent.

calblacksmith Said:

OH, btw, you are starting to get into deep weeds with tech info.... There are differences to be sure but they are very small in the cup a true GEEK difference and frankly, at your stage, differences you will not be able to see any difference in.

Posted May 20, 2013 link

I think I addressed my view on this above...but to add one more thing.  It's impossible to know for sure, which of the crazy geek microdetails is going to be important to you in the future.  I think this is one of the reasons that some long time geeks end up changing their gear.

.

 
.
Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
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JaniceAnn
Senior Member


Joined: 15 May 2013
Posts: 185
Location: Virginia
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Mon May 20, 2013, 7:18am
Subject: Re: Izzo Alex II HX on Sale or Mini Vivaldi II?
 

germantownrob:

Would you mind if I asked where you bought your machine?

I was looking at the Vario and Silvano a little while back and I wouldn't get any discount according to the quoted price.  It may be that I am not
spending enough to where I would be offered a discount, which is likely.

Do you recommend adding the preinfusion chamber if I were to go with the Mini Vivaldi?

Could I use a simpler timer with it or does it require the dedicated timer?  I am not sure I need the timer so
I might not get that with the thing that I could always add it later, I assume.
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JaniceAnn
Senior Member


Joined: 15 May 2013
Posts: 185
Location: Virginia
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Mon May 20, 2013, 7:35am
Subject: Re: Izzo Alex II HX on Sale or Mini Vivaldi II?
 

calblacksmith:

I totally agree with you that I have huge information overload.

The machine that I really love is out of my price range and much more machine than I need.  I really don't know why it calls to me but it isn't just the looks.  A lot of the stainless machines with the E61 brew head look
much like each other.  I like the internal set up, the rotary pump, the double wall case, the stainless steel frame and the fact that it can be used with the tank or plumbed in.  It is the Alex Duetto III.

I like the Mini Vivaldi for volumetric buttons and front access water tank which would be easier for me to fill as I am not going to be able to plumb the machine right now.  

Of course, an HX machine would be fine too, just with a higher learning curve on the flush to cool.  I would probably add the brew head thermometer which probably isn't necessary but I think it might help me to get the temperature right at first.

I am spending way more time researching an espresso machine than I did my electric dryer or refrigerator and the suggestion to list the top 5 features is a very good idea.  That is just about what I did with the
dryer and refrigerator.

As far as regulating a shot, I agree that is getting a too advanced for me as a beginner,  I have so much to learn in making consistently good shots and I know it is going to take time and practice.  A lot of both, I am sure.

Thank you for your advice which I find very helpful and well thought out.
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emradguy
Senior Member
emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 3,066
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Duetto II; Twist v2
Grinder: M Major, Macap M4 x2, VDD...
Drip: Espro presses; Aeropress
Roaster: H-B "List of Favorites"
Posted Mon May 20, 2013, 7:39am
Subject: Re: Izzo Alex II HX on Sale or Mini Vivaldi II?
 

(As you know, I'm not Rob but...

You can pick up household appliance timers at any time from lots of places - something programmable like you use for lamps to provide "security" when you're not home.  

You should consider getting a small surge protector as well, just in case.  I bought my surge protector from Chris'.  It's a Belkin model (Click Here (www.chriscoffee.com)) that plugs into the outlet, then the timer (which I already had picked up from Home Depot or Lowe's years before) plugs into that, and then the machine plugs into the timer.  (My machine comes on at 5:30am, M-F, and goes off at 10am, and I can bypass the timer anytime by pressing a manual control button.  I have a longer pre-programmed on time setting for weekends.)

1st-line carries a similar surge protector made by Panamax (http://www.1st-line.com/store/pc/Power-Protection-c207.htm). The unit provides better power protection than the Belkin, and also offers current noise filtering. In case you don't know, Panamax is a well-known, highly reputable company specializing in power protection, electrical noise filtering and the like.  For instance, the unit I have for my home theater system cost me about $300 and comes with a $5 mil equipment warranty (guaranteeing your stuff won't get fried even in a lighting strike). Not to digress, but rather, to illustrate the quality of their stuff.  However, the orientation of the plug and outlet on it, makes it difficult to use it with a timer.

Because of 1) the timer setup difficulties with the Panamax, 2) the higher cost of the Panamax, and 3) the lifetime warranty included with the Belkin unit, I think it's a better choice.

 
.
Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
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JaniceAnn
Senior Member


Joined: 15 May 2013
Posts: 185
Location: Virginia
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Mon May 20, 2013, 7:45am
Subject: Re: Izzo Alex II HX on Sale or Mini Vivaldi II?
 

emradguy:

You own the machine that is my favorite, or the earlier version, as my favorite machine, though out of my price range, is the Alex Duetto III.

I am not sure if my grinder, Breville Smart Grinder, grinds by weight or time.  For instance, if I am making drip coffee,  I have the grinder dial set for 7 cups with one tick on the less side.  It always produces
8 1/2 scoops of coffee or a very tiny amount more.  I am not sure what method it uses to achieve this though.

I would guess that weight would be more precise than time?

I do like that on both Varios, one you have dialed in the grind and amount you can program it in so that, with the push of a button, you get that amount.  That would be much easier for my husband
when he first gets up and is still half asleep.  I would guess I would have to tweek it as the beans age a bit.

Thanks for the reminder that I need a surge protector.  We have the battery backup/surge protect on my husband's desk top computer and on mine and they are well worth the price.
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emradguy
Senior Member
emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 3,066
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Duetto II; Twist v2
Grinder: M Major, Macap M4 x2, VDD...
Drip: Espro presses; Aeropress
Roaster: H-B "List of Favorites"
Posted Mon May 20, 2013, 7:56am
Subject: Re: Izzo Alex II HX on Sale or Mini Vivaldi II?
 

JaniceAnn Said:

I am not sure if my grinder, Breville Smart Grinder, grinds by weight or time.  For instance, if I am making drip coffee,  I have the grinder dial set for 7 cups with one tick on the less side.  It always produces
8 1/2 scoops of coffee or a very tiny amount more.  I am not sure what method it uses to achieve this though.

Posted May 20, 2013 link

I suspect it's time. If it were weight, you'd be selecting how many grams you want. I've done shot prep long enough that I only weigh my grounds every month or so...and it's always nearly spot on when I do.  It comes from doing it the same way every shot.  To weigh them, I tare the basket on a free standing scale, then do my normal shot prep, then weigh the filled basket (if only I could remember exactly what my basket weighs or, even better, what my filled basket weighs, I could eliminate the tare - lol). Something like the Vario-W eliminates the need to manually weigh your shots/baskets, but after you become highly consistent, may not need that anyways - it all depends on you.

JaniceAnn Said:

I would guess that weight would be more precise than time?

Posted May 20, 2013 link

Without a doubt!

JaniceAnn Said:

Thanks for the reminder that I need a surge protector.  We have the battery backup/surge protect on my husbands desk top and on mine and they are well worth the price.

Posted May 20, 2013 link

You're quite welcome.  Also, I was editing my post above as you were typing yours, so you may want to reread it.

 
.
Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
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germantownrob
Senior Member
germantownrob
Joined: 2 Dec 2007
Posts: 2,150
Location: Philadelphia
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Duetto 3, A Dead Oscar
Grinder: Vario-W, Preciso w/Esatto,...
Drip: Brazen
Roaster: Diedrich IR-1, HT B
Posted Mon May 20, 2013, 8:08am
Subject: Re: Izzo Alex II HX on Sale or Mini Vivaldi II?
 

JaniceAnn Said:

germantownrob:

Would you mind if I asked where you bought your machine?

I was looking at the Vario and Silvano a little while back and I wouldn't get any discount according to the quoted price.  It may be that I am not
spending enough to where I would be offered a discount, which is likely.

Do you recommend adding the preinfusion chamber if I were to go with the Mini Vivaldi?

Could I use a simpler timer with it or does it require the dedicated timer?  I am not sure I need the timer so
I might not get that with the thing that I could always add it later, I assume.

Posted May 20, 2013 link

I buy my stuff from Chris' but any of the recommended vendors are good. My experience with Chris' has more to do with the tech support I have received from Jason there over the years. Sales are over in a minute but tech keeps you going for years after the purchase.

To get the best price from any vendor requires a phone call with a serious intention to buy, I never even ask any more since Mary just offers them to me however she always knows that she is making a sale with in ten minutes of taking my call.

I am no expert on the S1 but it was high on my list, I just had to many 58mm baskets and tampers to consider it that strongly. If you have not looked at the S1 cafe site you should. http://www.s1cafe.com/

I don't put a lot into preinfusion but that being said it is inexpensive enough to add, this way you won't be bothered with the thought of " should I have added it?". The timer for the S1 as far as I know must be purchased, this is something you may find a better answer to at S1 cafe. The S1 dream tank does not need the timer added on and therefore is the same price as the Mini if getting the timer.
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