Our Valued Sponsor
OpinionsConsumer ReviewsGuides and How TosCoffeeGeek ReviewsResourcesForums
Espresso: Espresso Machines
Single Boiler Machine?
Stefano's Espresso Care
Repair - Parts - Sales
Factory Authorized &
Trained Technician
www.espressocare.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 > Single Boiler...  
view previous topic | view next topic | view all topics
Author Messages
Guatemalan
Senior Member


Joined: 8 Mar 2014
Posts: 5
Location: St. Francisville, LA
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Sun Mar 9, 2014, 2:49pm
Subject: Single Boiler Machine?
 

Hi all...

Long time lurker, first time poster.  Before asking my question, I'd just like to say THANKS to ALL of you that contribute to this forum!  As much as I have to learn, I have learned SO MUCH over the last 2 years just listening to what many of you have had to say.

Now on to the matter at hand...

I am a coffee lover, originating in my days as a waiter in college.  I was trained on a La Marzocco, and after the first week, I think they were losing money on the amount of espresso that I was drinking on the clock. The good news (for them) was that I convinced most of my customers to give one of my caps a try.  :)

These days, I am stuck with a crappy Delonghi machine and blade grinder...and I am fed up! I started roasting a couple of years ago, but I quit after fighting the sub par quality limitations of my equipment.  I have just recently been motivated to dive into a real investment after spending way too much money at a new espresso bar over the last couple of months.

Here are my requirements:

Volume:  4-8 espresso shots a day.  The occasional latte...maybe once a week.  I want microfoam when I do have that milk drink though.
Budget: $1,000 for both espresso machine and grinder

My initial thoughts: Used equipment such as a Mazzer SJ and a single boiler unit...maybe a QM Alexis or Expobar Office Lever (other E61's to consider?). I think I'd like an E61 group if possible, but correct me if that's not really necessary.

Does this equipment fit my requirements?

Should I be able to get a a used E61 machine for $600-$700?
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
skydragondave
Senior Member


Joined: 18 Feb 2013
Posts: 167
Location: Ontario, Canada
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Commercial Only
Grinder: Commercial Only
Roaster: Has Garanti HG5
Posted Sun Mar 9, 2014, 8:00pm
Subject: Re: Single Boiler Machine?
 

Looking for a used machine that heavily discounted is a very risky business for anyone not trained as a professional machine technician. Prosumer machines at that price are likely to have serious mechanical/hydraulic/electrical problems that can only be properly and economically corrected with a very high degree of skill. Lowering your bar to a Mazzer MINI (and I have yet to see a convincing argument for why the MINI would be inadequate at home) will help, but your budget is still quite lean for a good prosumer setup; though given time, deals can be found. You are better off spending more front-end dollars on an open-box special than buying a unicorn miracle and then hiring a shop to do even simple repairs as only a few hours' work can kill any headway you may have made on the initial purchase.
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
boar_d_laze
Senior Member


Joined: 21 Nov 2006
Posts: 1,275
Location: Monrovia, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: La Cimbali M21 DT/1 Junior...
Grinder: Ceado E92; "Bunnzilla"
Vac Pot: Royal Coffee Maker
Drip: Chemex + Kone; Espro Press
Roaster: USRC Sample Roaster
Posted Sun Mar 9, 2014, 10:22pm
Subject: Re: Single Boiler Machine?
 

The Expobar Office Lever is not a "single boiler."  It is a compact, HX machine.  It's "in the cup," espresso performance is what you'd expect from an E61 HX; pretty darn good.  Boiler size is generous.  Recovery is reasonably fast, but nowhere near commercial quality.  

Temp stability is not great for an E-61, but certainly adequate. Steaming is not great, but certainly adequate (you might be able to improve it with a different tip, I don't know).  The machine is so narrow that ergonomics are compromised -- not great, but certainly adequate.   Build quality is typical Expobar, (wait for it) not-great but certainly adequate.  

The Quick Mill Alexia is an extremely well built, non-PID SBDU.  Because it's non-PID it can't be accurately temped -- which means you can't pull a good shot (no matter how good your technique) without a substantial amount of luck.  Steam performance is okay once the boiler is re-temped from "brew" to "steam," but that takes so long the espresso collapses in the meantime.  With a PID added, so that it can be temped, the Alexia is a decent shot maker; a good enough choice for someone who doesn't demand much production or intend to do much steaming.

The E-61 is a high-value group which -- either as a genuine Faema, or a licensed clone -- dominates the prosumer class.  In the $1100 - $2750 price range, it's easier to find machines with them than without them.  They do things some of the more old fashioned groups don't do (e.g., Bezzera BZ series, NS Oscar), (e.g., NS Oscar); but they aren't any better than modern, temp-stabilized groups with pre-infusion (e.g., Breville DB, CC1, and La Spaziale).  

Used is as you find it.

GRINDER GRINDER GRINDER

The best $1000 deal in espresso for new equipment is the CC1 + Vario combination advertised by SCG.  

Rich
back to top
 View Profile Visit website Link to this post
Guatemalan
Senior Member


Joined: 8 Mar 2014
Posts: 5
Location: St. Francisville, LA
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Mon Mar 10, 2014, 8:25am
Subject: Re: Single Boiler Machine?
 

skydragondave Said:

Looking for a used machine that heavily discounted is a very risky business for anyone not trained as a professional machine technician. Prosumer machines at that price are likely to have serious mechanical/hydraulic/electrical problems that can only be properly and economically corrected with a very high degree of skill. Lowering your bar to a Mazzer MINI (and I have yet to see a convincing argument for why the MINI would be inadequate at home) will help, but your budget is still quite lean for a good prosumer setup; though given time, deals can be found. You are better off spending more front-end dollars on an open-box special than buying a unicorn miracle and then hiring a shop to do even simple repairs as only a few hours' work can kill any headway you may have made on the initial purchase.

Posted March 9, 2014 link

Thanks for the insight, Dave.

I guess my thought on a used E61 SBDU was that they might depreciate more than 20-30% over a couple of years.  If they hold their value that well, it may help me justify the additional expense.

As far as the Mazzer mini vs. SJ - I'm not against a mini...I have just seen better prices on used SJ's over minis, probably due to the quantity in the market.
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
Guatemalan
Senior Member


Joined: 8 Mar 2014
Posts: 5
Location: St. Francisville, LA
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Mon Mar 10, 2014, 8:32am
Subject: Re: Single Boiler Machine?
 

boar_d_laze Said:

The Expobar Office Lever is not a "single boiler."  It is a compact, HX machine.  It's "in the cup," espresso performance is what you'd expect from an E61 HX; pretty darn good.  Boiler size is generous.  Recovery is reasonably fast, but nowhere near commercial quality.  

Temp stability is not great for an E-61, but certainly adequate. Steaming is not great, but certainly adequate (you might be able to improve it with a different tip, I don't know).  The machine is so narrow that ergonomics are compromised -- not great, but certainly adequate.   Build quality is typical Expobar, (wait for it) not-great but certainly adequate.  

The Quick Mill Alexia is an extremely well built, non-PID SBDU.  Because it's non-PID it can't be accurately temped -- which means you can't pull a good shot (no matter how good your technique) without a substantial amount of luck.  Steam performance is okay once the boiler is re-temped from "brew" to "steam," but that takes so long the espresso collapses in the meantime.  With a PID added, so that it can be temped, the Alexia is a decent shot maker; a good enough choice for someone who doesn't demand much production or intend to do much steaming.

The E-61 is a high-value group which -- either as a genuine Faema, or a licensed clone -- dominates the prosumer class.  In the $1100 - $2750 price range, it's easier to find machines with them than without them.  They do things some of the more old fashioned groups don't do (e.g., Bezzera BZ series, NS Oscar), (e.g., NS Oscar); but they aren't any better than modern, temp-stabilized groups with pre-infusion (e.g., Breville DB, CC1, and La Spaziale).  

Used is as you find it.

GRINDER GRINDER GRINDER

The best $1000 deal in espresso for new equipment is the CC1 + Vario combination advertised by SCG.  
be
Rich

Posted March 9, 2014 link

I hear your words about the grinder.  It's one of the reasons that I was looking at a Mazzer vs. the Vario.  They are built like a tank, while the Vario looks a bit cheap with the plastic.  My assumption is that the Mazzer would be the last grinder that I buy, whereas the Vario looks like it may not last more than 5-6 years.

Regarding the CC1 - I did some reading on the CC1, and many of the concerns mentioned were related to long term support.  I'm all about supporting small business, but I also want a machine that will be serviceable in more than 5 years.  Your suggestion does raise the additional requirement of a PID.  That should probably be on the list of 'must-have' features.
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
eastbaysanfranman
Senior Member
eastbaysanfranman
Joined: 29 Oct 2007
Posts: 186
Location: east bay area san francisco
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Nueva Simmoneli Oscar
Grinder: Rancilio Rocky doserless
Vac Pot: Hario
Drip: Technivorm/Chemex/Espro...
Roaster: Behmor
Posted Mon Mar 10, 2014, 8:55am
Subject: Re: Single Boiler Machine?
 

From what I've read the Vario grinds better than the Mazzer Mini and is on par with a Super Jolly, which you may want to consider. Also, if you get an HX you don't need a PID. I think it was Mr. Laze here who put it eloquently, it's like putting lipstick on a pig. It's nice to have in the first place to figure out what temp you are at so you can time your cooling flushes but after that, you just simply time the flushes. I found a well taken care of used Oscar for just over $500, it's very easy to pop the hood (four screws) and even though you're not steaming too often, it is a beast. I thought I would miss the hot water spigot but if I'm making an americano it's really no big deal to steam the water really quick.
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
Guatemalan
Senior Member


Joined: 8 Mar 2014
Posts: 5
Location: St. Francisville, LA
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Fri Mar 14, 2014, 6:44pm
Subject: Re: Single Boiler Machine?
 

So I pulled the trigger on the CC1 + Vario combo. After more research, including more info about Bill Crossland and his street cred, I now feel more comfortable with the support. I also read more on the Vario, and some blind tasting results on the HB forum. It competed well against the Super Jolly and the K4.  The internal plastic is GFRP, or glass fiber reinforced plastic. I interned at a industrial sales firm that sold GFRP walking grates to oil companies with offshore rigs to replace steel grates due to rusting from the salty air. A new Vario vs. the used SJ started sounding like a much better choice for me.

When I went to SCG's site, they also had a 10% discount code for the CC1, which also worked on the combo! $900 vs $1,150 retail...I'll take it. That extra Benjamin covered a new knockbox and tamper.

Guess I need to go dust off the roaster...

Thanks for the suggestion boar_d_laze!!!  

I'll post results once I get it running...after an excruciating week of anticipation. The brown Santa can't get it here fast enough.
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
view previous topic | view next topic | view all topics
Discussions > Espresso > Machines > Single Boiler...  
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.
Coffee Kids
Help folks who help folks in coffee producing nations.
coffeekids.org
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. (0.38818192482)
Privacy Policy | Copyright Info | Terms and Conditions | CoffeeGeek Advertisers | RSS | Find us on Google+