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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > Upgrade from...  
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sorvieto
Senior Member


Joined: 5 Dec 2006
Posts: 12
Location: Marlboro, New Jersey
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Rancilio Silvia PID
Grinder: Baratza Vario W
Posted Wed Apr 2, 2014, 12:20pm
Subject: Upgrade from Silvia w/PID & Rocky
 

I'm looking to upgrade from Silvia w/PID & Rocky (I've had this setup since 2006.)  My budget is around $2000 and I would like to keep the foot print close to the same.  2 to 3 doubles a day and only steam milk for guests. I'm looking for suggestions on what's new.
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OliveOil
Senior Member
OliveOil
Joined: 20 Jan 2008
Posts: 65
Location: WI
Expertise: Just starting

Espresso: NS Oscar
Grinder: Vario-W
Drip: Breville YouBrew
Posted Wed Apr 2, 2014, 1:38pm
Subject: Re: Upgrade from Silvia w/PID & Rocky
 

I'd definitely upgrade your grinder, maybe to a Vario.  No help on the espresso machine, though.  I'm not sure what fits in with the remainder of your budget.
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toyman
Senior Member


Joined: 30 Oct 2012
Posts: 50
Location: PA
Expertise: Just starting

Espresso: Expobar Office Lever Plus,...
Grinder: Baratza Preciso
Drip: Cuisinart
Posted Thu Apr 3, 2014, 4:12am
Subject: Re: Upgrade from Silvia w/PID & Rocky
 

I just upgraded from a Gaggia Classic to an Expobar Office Lever Plus.  Lots of features (Plumbable, boiler & brew pressure gauges, E61 Group, Large reservoir & boilers, etc) in a great price range. (I paid under $1,200 for the machine and bottomless PF from WLL)  You should be able to get the Plus and Vario of your choice for under your $2k budget.  If you wanted to put it all into a big machine upgrade you could go to the Brewtus IV (double boiler/PID) for around $2k, and extend your budget the cost of the new/refurbed Vario?  I'm very pleased with my Plus, although I've only had it a few weeks.  I'll be upgrading my Preciso in the near future to help my journey along.  Good Luck!
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sorvieto
Senior Member


Joined: 5 Dec 2006
Posts: 12
Location: Marlboro, New Jersey
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Rancilio Silvia PID
Grinder: Baratza Vario W
Posted Thu Apr 3, 2014, 12:00pm
Subject: Re: Upgrade from Silvia w/PID & Rocky
 

Thanks for the suggestions. I just checked out Baratza Vario W and I like all the good reviews and the size. The Expobar Brewtus IV looks really nice. Now that you have me upping my budget, how does the Brewtus compare to a Vibiemme Domobar or Pasquini Livia G4?
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calblacksmith
Moderator
calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,950
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 Apr 3, 2014, 12:49pm
Subject: Re: Upgrade from Silvia w/PID & Rocky
 

I would consider seriously upgrading the grinder above the Vario, spend in the ballpark of $600 to $800 for the grinder, you WILL notice the difference as you mainly drink straight shots. I know you want new but grinders at this level are VERY stout and it is VERY rare that they need much more than burrs, a normal thing that needs changing from time to time. For a machine to fill your needs you do not need a DB or HX, a PID SBDU is all that you need for great shots. The complication comes in when people add in milk drinks on a session by session basis. For every once in a while, steaming, a SBDU is fine.

A machine like the Alexia may be your perfect machine, do spend the coin to add the PID though, for a SBDU and straight shots it is mandatory.
http://www.chriscoffee.com/Quickmill-Alexia-p/970.htm

Look at this buyers remorse item, a much better deal if you do not mind a nearly new but returned item from a quality seller. It is a commercial rated machine with all the certs NSF, ETL and UL.
Click Here (www.chriscoffee.com)

IN the BST forum we have a K6
http://coffeegeek.com/forums/members/buysell/662729

A Super Jolly for $385 shipped. For build quality alone, I would (and did)take it any day of the week above the Vario, it IS bigger though!
http://coffeegeek.com/forums/members/buysell/663816

 
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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boar_d_laze
Senior Member


Joined: 21 Nov 2006
Posts: 1,396
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 Thu Apr 3, 2014, 2:16pm
Subject: Re: Upgrade from Silvia w/PID & Rocky
 

Hi Steve,

You've got a few good options in your price range.  The sticking point as I see it is less "quality in the cup" or even user friendliness so much as your requirement for a small footprint.  

The suggestion that you choose your grinder first is a good one -- but you really don't have that much of a range in machines -- basically you're looking at more than $1,000 and less than $1,500; partly because that's what makes sense within your budget, and partly because when you spend more you're getting into full-size machines.  

GRINDER GRINDER GRINDER
The Vario grinds well above its burr size and is a lot of bang for the buck.  Like the Breville it's very plasticky.  Like Breville, Baratza's service and support is exemplary.  From what I understand, Varios have a fairly high failure and return rate, including +3% for the burr support arms alone; but that may have changed.  

If the Vario is "good" "in the cup" (which it is), it's "very good" or perhaps "excellent" in use.

But "good" is not "very good" and there is a next level of grinder which you can afford.  The Mazzer Super Jolly is the most popular in a class which also includes the Ceado E7 and Quamar M80.  

The SJ is very good in the cup, and if it's not as user friendly as the Vario it's built like a tank.  There are a few grinders in the same class, but they're either less expensive and not as nice (e.g., Quamar M80, $450), or are nicer and cost more (for instance, Ceado E7, $800).    

Everybody and his aunt sells the Mazzer SJ for $680 new, and everybody and his aunt discounts $50 for Easter.  If you buy as part of a grinder/machine package, I'm sure you can get a better discount.  The sticking points with the SJ are two.  One, it's not small.  Two, Mazzer's got a very screwy production schedule; SJs are pretty much sold out in North America, and you'll probably have to wait until June to take delivery.    

And speaking of "no stock," I'm having a wonderful time with my Ceado E92 grinder, am very high on the brand, and urge you to consider the E7 Timer ($850 on sale) very seriously.  I've never used one -- but, as I said I love my E92 and the E7 got a great review on HB in a comparison with the SJ and M80.    

Whatever you buy, unless it already has one -- like the Vario or E7 Timer -- or you're planning on "single-dosing" with a scale, you're probably going to want a dosing timer, so add $100 for an Auber to the price.

Machine
Whether you want to go to an HX instead of a DBPID from a PID Silvia is another question.  I'm an HX guy, so my advice is "don't worry about it," but lots of people feel different.  It's more style than substance, and if you're more comfortable with one thing than another, go with whatever makes you feel best.

BDBs are very friendly machines, with up to date engineering, an incredible feature set, and great ergonomics.  They are about as easy to use as good espresso machines get (which means, they still demand judgment and technique on your part).  The new models can be descaled by the user, and are built to be more user-serviceable in general than the older 920.  

On the other hand, while they use most of the same components as the European built machines, they're built in consumer-appliance grade lightweight boxes, with a lot of plastic, including some of the plumbing.  

There are zillions of 920s out there; so far after a couple of months of teething, they've held up very well; and Breville support and service has been exemplary.  

There are lots of people worried about longevity and quality, and -- now that the subject is broached -- I'm sure you'll hear from them.  However, considering how usable the machine is, how few failures compared to how many sales, and Breville's commitment, I'd take the risk -- but I'm not you.

Otherwise the Expobar Lever has got the right bells and whistles, and is more compact than the BDB.  I think a couple of the Bezzeras fit your bill (and budget) as well, but I haven't used any of them.  An Expobar or Bezzera + Vario would definitely fit on your counter.  

Brinigng It Home
If I were buying a $2K combination for one of my kids, with twin first-priorities of user friendliness and "best shot possible," it would be the BDB 920XL + Ceado E7 Timer.  I'm pretty sure that if you couldn't get WLL to do better than $2K on the package, they'd at least get within a few bucks.  

So... in addition to the other suggestions, those are a few more.  Lots to think about.  Enjoy the selection process and good luck.

Rich
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CMIN
Senior Member


Joined: 14 Jun 2012
Posts: 1,454
Location: South FL
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Crossland CC1
Grinder: Baratza Preciso
Posted Thu Apr 3, 2014, 2:56pm
Subject: Re: Upgrade from Silvia w/PID & Rocky
 

calblacksmith Said:

I would consider seriously upgrading the grinder above the Vario, spend in the ballpark of $600 to $800 for the grinder, you WILL notice the difference as you mainly drink straight shots.

Posted April 3, 2014 link

Gotta disagree there, I had a SJ and Vario next to each other with the same beans and there was 0 difference in the cup and both were noticeably better than the Mazzer Mini, some owners of the K6 have said the same thing when they used a Vario. No clue about the others in the class though like the Ceado though. You will notice the build quality difference, but not in the cup ;)
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frcn
Senior Member
frcn
Joined: 23 Dec 2001
Posts: 3,437
Location: Northern California
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Vibiemme Domobar Double
Grinder: Mazzer Kony, Baratza...
Vac Pot: Hario, 2 Cory pots, 1 Cory...
Drip: Behmor Brazen, Bunn A10 mod...
Roaster: computer controlled Hottop,...
Posted Thu Apr 3, 2014, 3:28pm
Subject: Re: Upgrade from Silvia w/PID & Rocky
 

Get the grinder first, even if it means waiting a year for the espresso machine.
My first recommendation is for a large-burr conical grinder.
My second recommendation is for a conical grinder.
why-
See my explanation over on HB.com HERE.

 
Visit My Website
www.EspressoMyEspresso.com
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boar_d_laze
Senior Member


Joined: 21 Nov 2006
Posts: 1,396
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 Thu Apr 3, 2014, 9:06pm
Subject: Re: Upgrade from Silvia w/PID & Rocky
 

frcn Said:

Get the grinder first, even if it means waiting a year for the espresso machine.

Posted April 3, 2014 link

Agreed.

My first recommendation is for a large-burr conical grinder.

+1.  With the caveat that all but a couple of the motor-driven conicals are very expensive -- probably more than the OP wants to spend.  The bargains, such as they are, are the Firoenzato Doge Conico, and the Compak K10 PB.  The Doge has some use issues, which disqualify it for me.  The Compak is a great grinder (although not my favorite), and is all over the net for $1500 -- which means a "street price" of around $1400.  

If you ask me if big conicals are worth the price, I'll say "yes."  After months of grinder testing (not to mention buying), I'm an even stronger Titan conical than I was last fall.  But I'm not the OP, neither is Randy and those grinders are a lot of money.  

There's an alternative to motor driven grinders.  Hand cranked grinders like the HG One and Pharos are both huge bargains -- each in their own ways.  I wish I'd mentioned the HG One when I was doing my rundown.

Choosing between putting together the best possible system over time, or putting together a very good system NOW is a threshold issue which can only be resolved the person making the decision.    
 

why-  See my explanation over on HB.com HERE.

Maybe, but it's a speculative explanation for a difference which a lot of people can't taste; and there's no consensus.  Which is not to say it's wrong.  Just unproven.  

BTW, Randy -- just between you and me -- my objection to the way the "trust me, I'm an engineer" guys were explaining how the "distance" between the burrs varied was the use of ambiguous terms like "distance" instead of precise ones like "minimum gap;" and the failure to set limits.  

If anyone had written that as long as the burrs are overlapping (i.e., the inner burr inside the outer burr), movement along the burrs' shared vertical axis alters the minimum gap between them as a function of the cosine of the conic angle, I would have dropped my objections, because it's... y'know... true.  It's also true that when the burrs aren't overlapping -- for instance when they're ten feet apart -- that trig doesn't enter into the calculation of "distance."

But that's math for you.  

However, I don't go to H-B to teach high-school math; it's not worth arguing with people who think they know everything; and it's not like it makes you many friends, either.

Thanks for letting me get it off my chest.  Or, should I say "sorry" for inflicting it on you?  Either way...      

Rich
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calblacksmith
Moderator
calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,950
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 Fri Apr 4, 2014, 4:46am
Subject: Re: Upgrade from Silvia w/PID & Rocky
 

CMIN Said:

Gotta disagree there, I had a SJ and Vario next to each other with the same beans and there was 0 difference in the cup and both were noticeably better than the Mazzer Mini, some owners of the K6 have said the same thing when they used a Vario. No clue about the others in the class though like the Ceado though. You will notice the build quality difference, but not in the cup ;)

Posted April 3, 2014 link

Between the two, the SJ has better build quality, hands down.
My point was that the OP will see a difference with a grinder upgrade, not advising one over the other except for build quality.

See the difference in build quality YES, in the cup, not sure, I have not used a Vario but others I trust who have used them say they are OK. I have used lots of SJs over the years, they all were good grinders, and needed nothing but a coat of paint if really thrashed and a set of burrs. A vario after similar usage, (guessing here) would be in the trash pile long ago.
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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