Our Valued Sponsor
OpinionsConsumer ReviewsGuides and How TosCoffeeGeek ReviewsResourcesForums
Espresso: Espresso Machines
Another "Help With Machine Selection" Thread
Cafe Espresso Machines
Video reviews, nationwide installation, leasing options... Nuova Simonelli, Rancilio, La Marzocco.
www.seattlecoffeegear.com
 
Not Logged in: Log In to Postlog in
New Topics updated topics   New Posts new posts   Unanswered Posts new unanswered  
Search Discussion Board search   Discussion Board FAQ faq   Signup sign up  
Discussions > Espresso > Machines > Another "Help...  
view previous topic | view next topic | view all topics
Author Messages
brward5
Senior Member


Joined: 10 Dec 2013
Posts: 2
Location: Washington, DC
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Mon Dec 16, 2013, 1:18pm
Subject: Another "Help With Machine Selection" Thread
 

Hello all. I know you get a lot of these but am hoping you can help! I have been reading for a while, so let me provide some background and then I'll answer the "Standard" questions.

I currently have a DeLonghi EC702 and have been using this for about 2 years. Something is not working right with it anymore and I'm interested in upgrading to a real machine. I've been "into" drip coffee for a while and trying different roasts and blends from various roasters but am just starting to experiment with espresso. I have a Cuisinart burr grinder (which I understand isn't great but has to be better than pre-ground, right? Which I will be upgrading based on this purchase - noted below). My first investigation was initially into a BDB but after reading the reasoned logic against the BDB, I began looking for other options. It's a lot of money so I definitely want to go in eyes wide open.

This lead me to the NS Oscar. While not being pretty, it seems to have great reviews though there seem to be some knocks on it at the price point of $1k (it seems people liked it a lot better at $700). I have read about SDBU, HX, and DB models and am generally interested in going HX. I don't think I'd be happy with SDBU as I do generally prefer milk drinks.

The Oscar definitely remains on my list and the other 2 options on my list are actually used machines. 1 is the Cimballi Junior S1 in the FS forum. I live in DC and could easily go pick this machine up. It's been completely restored according to the poster and is a pour over model which does make it attractive. The other is a Rocket Cellini Premium Plus from Chris Coffee "Buyer's Remorse" section. I have seen that Chris is well respected in the community and didn't know if anyone had specific experience with his Buyer's Remorse products.

I do like what I've read about the forgiving nature of the E61 group head on the Rocket. My primary concerns are just around buying used equipment generally and whether I'd be getting myself in over my head with either of these machines as opposed to the Oscar. Also, would either of these machines require a much better grinder than the Vario?

Answers to "Standard" questions from the sticky:

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.)
Mostly Lattes though I'm interested in developing my palate more and also doing some "straight" espresso.

2)  How many drinks, on average, do you see yourself needing to make at any one time? (This will tell us what you need in terms of a machine's ability to work continuously.)
Generally 2 to no more than 4 at a time. In the event of having people over and entertaining, it could be more but that's a more rare occurrance.

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.)
Usually 6-10 per week since I am really only home Friday - Sunday right now. Though definitely expect down the road (years in the future) to be at home more and for this count to increase.

4)  Can you plumb a machine directly into the water supply, or do you want/need a pour over machine with its own reservoir?
I could plumb but would get a lot of dirty looks so prefer pour over. I have an RO system to make water that I will be filling from.

5)  Do you have a 20-amp circuit available, or only a (standard) 15-amp circuit?
I have 15A available. I could run a 20A but again, the dirty looks would start :)

6)  What is your budget for a new machine?  Does that also include a grinder?  If not, what is your budget for a grinder?
Budget is about $1500 including grinder. I have basically selected a Vario but if anyone thinks that's not a good idea, I'm open to suggestions.

7)  Are you willing to buy used or do you need new equipment? Do you or family member have the skills to repair used equipment?
I have decent skills for repairing and am open to buying used. But would definitely want it to be in good shape and work for a while after I buy it. I'm not looking for a restoration project. I'm more apt to repair functional issues like a bad sensor, pump, etc as opposed to cosmetic issues like scratches, frame painting/repair, etc.

8)  Do you have the essential accessories (decent tamper, knockbox, the works), otherwise budget about $100 for these.
I've budgeted for these separately.

Thanks to all for indulging me and helping me start on this journey!
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
emradguy
Senior Member
emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 2,744
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Duetto II; Twist v2
Grinder: M Major, 2 Macap M4s, OE...
Drip: Espro presses; Aeropress
Roaster: H-B "List of Favorites"
Posted Mon Dec 16, 2013, 11:44pm
Subject: Re: Another "Help With Machine Selection" Thread
 

First off...welcome to CG!

Chris' isn't go into sell you anything that needs to be repaired. If the Rocket in the buyers remorse section needed fixing, they've already done it. I can't say that about anything in the BST forum, but that doesn't mean the Cimbali you looked at isn't in great shape. If it is...you can't go wrong with either machine.

Regarding your RO water, you'll need to get a cartridge to add in some minerals because the boiler auto fill requires an ion gradient to work properly. Plus, minerals actually make water taste better when in the right quantities.

I've read many many posts boasting kudos to the Vario. For me, there's too much plastic, but...well...that's me. If you're cool with the plastic then it's a great choice.

 
.
Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
calblacksmith
Moderator
calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,479
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 Tue Dec 17, 2013, 6:41am
Subject: Re: Another "Help With Machine Selection" Thread
 

Hi and welcome.
There is no way I am going to try to talk you out of a HX, it is MY favored machine style!
I second everything above, including the plastic on the grinder. Varrrio owners overwhelmingly love them and say the grind quality is good. As a starter grinder it seems to be a good value.

When you (anyone) is looking at prosumer and above machines, you WILL notice the improvements a good grinder can make.

Any machine will have a learning curve so being "over your head" should not be a problem.

 
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!
back to top
 View Profile Visit website Link to this post
SStones
Senior Member
SStones
Joined: 24 Nov 2012
Posts: 452
Location: Canada
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Giga 5, ECM Giotto, Rocket...
Grinder: Anfim Milano-Best
Vac Pot: No  :(
Drip: Some $30 thing from Walmart
Roaster: I buy pre-roasted.
Posted Wed Dec 18, 2013, 5:42am
Subject: Re: Another "Help With Machine Selection" Thread
 

Stick with the Vario for a while.
You're already used to it and you're very comfortable with it. That will be a good comfort as you get used to the new machine. It will make learning the new machine much easier, since you know the grinder well.

As for the machine, any of your three considerations would be a good choice and most likely be the "Forever" machine you stick with.
I can't give you any advice there except to wish you luck.
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
brward5
Senior Member


Joined: 10 Dec 2013
Posts: 2
Location: Washington, DC
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Wed Dec 18, 2013, 2:41pm
Subject: Re: Another "Help With Machine Selection" Thread
 

Awesome, thanks for the help. To be clear, I don't have the Vario but that's what I've been looking at based on a lot of positive reviews for the quality:price ratio. If there are other recommendations, I'm open to them.

Considering the used La Cimbali machine, I have found that it was once used in a commercial environment but now has been cleaned and the pump replaced, frame was stripped and painted. What other key elements of the machine should I ensure are in good working order? Are there any concerns about the age of this type of machine (about 15 years old) that I should be worried about? Should I expect it to last another 20 years with minimal issues (maybe replacing the pump again)?
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
calblacksmith
Moderator
calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,479
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 Thu Dec 19, 2013, 7:04am
Subject: Re: Another "Help With Machine Selection" Thread
 

Any used machine be it a car, a computer, espresso machine or whatever, has a buyer assumed risk. I would not hold anything against a used in commercial service machine, few parts are "cycle dependent" meaning that they should be replaced after X number of shots. Things like group head gaskets etc, should be replaced as needed and is considered normal service. Things like Descaling are also normal service items.

After that parts can fail or not ever pretty much at random. If you are a bit handy, replacing parts should not be a big deal.

The Vario is   a good starter espresso grinder. One day if you stay with espresso, you will likely want to upgrade.

Fresh beans and a good grind are top of the list for espresso, don't cut corners there!

 
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!
back to top
 View Profile Visit website Link to this post
view previous topic | view next topic | view all topics
Discussions > Espresso > Machines > Another "Help...  
New Topics updated topics   New Posts new posts   Unanswered Posts new unanswered     Search Discussion Board search   Discussion Board FAQ faq   Signup sign up  
Not Logged in: Log In to Postlog in
Discussions Quick Jump:
Symbols: New Posts= New Posts since your last visit      No New Posts= No New Posts since last visit     Go to most recent post= Newest post
Forum Rules:
No profanity, illegal acts or personal attacks will be tolerated in these discussion boards.
No commercial posting of any nature will be tolerated; only private sales by private individuals, in the "Buy and Sell" forum.
No SEO style postings will be tolerated. SEO related posts will result in immediate ban from CoffeeGeek.
No cross posting allowed - do not post your topic to more than one forum, nor repost a topic to the same forum.
Who Can Read The Forum? Anyone can read posts in these discussion boards.
Who Can Post New Topics? Any registered CoffeeGeek member can post new topics.
Who Can Post Replies? Any registered CoffeeGeek member can post replies.
Can Photos be posted? Anyone can post photos in their new topics or replies.
Who can change or delete posts? Any CoffeeGeek member can edit their own posts. Only moderators can delete posts.
Probationary Period: If you are a new signup for CoffeeGeek, you cannot promote, endorse, criticise or otherwise post an unsolicited endorsement for any company, product or service in your first five postings.
Italian Coffee
Italian coffee beans, grinds and pods from Kimbo, LavAzza, Miscela d'Oro & Bristot. Qty. discounts!
www.espressozone.com
Home | Opinions | Consumer Reviews | Guides & How Tos | CoffeeGeek Reviews | Resources | Forums | Contact Us
CoffeeGeek.com, CoffeeGeek, and Coffee Geek, along with all associated content & images are copyright ©2000-2014 by Mark Prince, all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated. Content, code, and images may not be reused without permission. Usage of this website signifies agreement with our Terms and Conditions. (0.315747022629)
Privacy Policy | Copyright Info | Terms and Conditions | CoffeeGeek Advertisers | RSS | Find us on Google+