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Thread: Lever options around the $3K mark

  1. #1
    Senior Member WhatEverBeansNecessary's Avatar
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    Lever options around the $3K mark

    Hi Everyone,

    This post does pop up from time to time, but I feel enough has changed in the scene since last posted.

    I have a 'unique' opportunity where my wife has granted me a conditional approval to purchase a new machine around the $3k mark.
    Conditional that must meet both our criteria:
    • Can't be plumbed in
    • Must be a lever style
    • Must be simple enough to use (I honestly tried to get her to use the La Pavoni and she struggled with the 'quirks' they have)
    • Must look good
    • $3.5k MAX budget, prefferably around the $3 mark


    Unfortunately this will knock out a few options including the Profitec Pro 800 and Izzo Leva (unless I can find a second hand, but considering they are new-ish the chances are slim)

    Options I have looked at either new or second hand so far
    • Bezzera Strega new ($3K) or second hand ($2K ish)
    • Fracino Retro 1 group (haven't seen any second hand) ($3.5K)
    • Londinium ($3.5K)


    What other options do i have?

    Out of the 3 so far, what could you recommend?

  2. #2
    Site Sponsor Casa Espresso's Avatar
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    Hello,

    We have experience with the Strega, it certainly seems to fit your brief.

    One other benefit of the Strega is that you will get local support and warranty through the Australian importer and dealer network.

    There was a fair bit of discussion with the Londinium, about some early issues, but I believe they have been addressed now

    If you are in Melbourne we have a Strega leva on the demo bench. You are more then welcome to come in and have a test drive

    Regards

    Antony
    Casa Espresso
    www.casaespresso.com.au
    Last edited by Casa Espresso; 20th September 2017 at 04:02 PM.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member WhatEverBeansNecessary's Avatar
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    Thanks Antony,

    I may well take you up on the offer next time I am in Mexico (I lam in SA unfortunately).

    The Strega has been on the wish list for a little while as it certainly fits the bill in many ways. We don't tend to do more than a couple of shots at a time, but on the odd occasion we will do 5/6 coffees in a hit if we are entertaining. How do you think the Strega handles the overheating doing shot after shot?

  4. #4
    Site Sponsor Casa Espresso's Avatar
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    The Strega will easily handle 5 or 6 coffees in a row. We also sell the La Pavoni so understand the issues with the Pavoni overheating after 3 or 4 shots. The Strega is a very different beast.

    A heat exchanger with the group head isolated from the boiler (not directly bolted on like the Pavoni), 58mm group head that is also actively heated.

    We have a PID option on the Strega that we have developed and had some great results

    .http://coffeesnobs.com.au/brewing-eq...ra-strega.html

    Cheers

    Antony
    www.casaespresso.com.au

  5. #5
    Senior Member matth3wh's Avatar
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    Congratulations!

    I'd be sending some roses and jumping up and down for the Strega PID.

    I'd like to know what discussion/woo'ing/Jedi mind tricks lead to the "conditional approval" to spend $3k to $3.5k on lever machine.

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    I'm in a similar boat and have been eyeing off the Londinium R. Ticks all your boxes and for around $3400 delivered (free shipping at the moment and includes bottomless PF, distribution tool & tamper) seems like a good deal. I'm aware of the goings on when Andy got one of the first Luxe models but, from what I've read, all those issues have been sorted now. I nearly bought one from a fellow CSer recently but missed out due to poor timing but both the previous owner and purchaser seemed very happy with the machine.

    Having said that, I've not used any lever machine so take my thoughts with a very large dose of salt!

  7. #7
    Site Sponsor Casa Espresso's Avatar
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    Just be aware that the pricing to Australia will always be plus GST which you will need to pay when it lands here.

    Also, depending on how it is classified there may very well be duty payable at 5%

    Antony
    www.casaespresso.com.au
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  8. #8
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    Ah good point, Antony. I had completely forgotten about GST and duty. D'oh!

  9. #9
    Site Sponsor Casa Espresso's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RavenMad View Post
    Ah good point, Antony. I had completely forgotten about GST and duty. D'oh!
    Yes makes it closer to 4K..

    You would get a Strega with PID for that.... mmmmm....
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  10. #10
    Senior Member WhatEverBeansNecessary's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by matth3wh View Post
    Congratulations!

    I'd be sending some roses and jumping up and down for the Strega PID.

    I'd like to know what discussion/woo'ing/Jedi mind tricks lead to the "conditional approval" to spend $3k to $3.5k on lever machine.

    Well it's a long story... Basically my wife just completed a contract and happened to get a sweet little finishing bonus (much of which was taken by the tax man and other eventualities). She just got offered a second contract or potentially a full time job (congrats to her) with the same company. HOWEVER she has been getting her daily java from the canteen at work (don't judge her - the pavoni was too complicated/needed the patience to learn) for $2 a pop and quality was okay, not bad all things considered. Then the canteen got taken over and coffees went from $2 to $4. So some quick maths suggests that making them at home would save some money, hence the conditional jedi mind trick to get a new machine!
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  11. #11
    Senior Member WhatEverBeansNecessary's Avatar
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    So what would be your thoughts on Londinium vs Strega PID?

  12. #12
    Site Sponsor Casa Espresso's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WhatEverBeansNecessary View Post
    Well it's a long story... Basically my wife just completed a contract and happened to get a sweet little finishing bonus (much of which was taken by the tax man and other eventualities). She just got offered a second contract or potentially a full time job (congrats to her) with the same company. HOWEVER she has been getting her daily java from the canteen at work (don't judge her - the pavoni was too complicated/needed the patience to learn) for $2 a pop and quality was okay, not bad all things considered. Then the canteen got taken over and coffees went from $2 to $4. So some quick maths suggests that making them at home would save some money, hence the conditional jedi mind trick to get a new machine!
    Love your sales technique, my wife uses a similar approach with me sometimes.

    She often comes home from a big day of shopping for clothes with the opening line of "darling I saved you over $500 today".... neglecting the point that she spent $2000 on clothes that were "on sale"....

    The ultimate Jedi mind trick

    Cheers

    Antony
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  13. #13
    Senior Member WhatEverBeansNecessary's Avatar
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    What ever gets the job done (and a new machine).

    In all honesty, it was her idea BUT I speculated on what a machine would cost and the ease of use a number of times.
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  14. #14
    Super Moderator Javaphile's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WhatEverBeansNecessary View Post
    Thanks Antony,

    I may well take you up on the offer next time I am in Mexico (I lam in SA unfortunately).
    Casa Espresso is located in Australia.

    149 Martin St,
    Brighton
    VIC 3186
    Ph: +61 (03) 9530 8992
    Not Mexico.


    Java "http://www.casaespresso.com.au/" phile
    Toys! I must have new toys!!!

  15. #15
    Senior Member level3ninja's Avatar
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    We call Victoria 'Mexico' here is NSW because it's "south of the border", I assume WEBN is either formerly from NSW or the slang has spread.
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  16. #16
    Senior Member matth3wh's Avatar
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    Lever options around the $3K mark

    I love that line of thinking. Keep reminding her that it was her idea in subtle and not so subtle ways.
    :-)

    I definitely like your suggestion to save $2 a cup by making it at home 🤣.

    And when we say $3k for a machine if we really mean closer to $4k then it just means you take a little longer for the machine to pay for itself in savings 🤣

    I know I shouldn't ask but am curious to know about how new lever machine is going to over come some of the learning issues of the la pavoni? Or is it just the La Pav need to cool/purge pressure/refill boiler type things that were problematic?

    RE Strega... There's a nice thread on CS re: Domesticated witch / Strega. And there's a very compelling Jim Schulman youtube video - Strega Who Should Buy - which is using the stock Strega. User = HBsJim has 3 videos to watch on it.
    Last edited by matth3wh; 20th September 2017 at 08:37 PM.
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  17. #17
    Senior Member Lukemc's Avatar
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    Ive owned both and to be honest Id go back to the Strega over the London machine. Nothing against it but the Strega was my favourite. Especially once the PID was fitted but even before hand. Love the tactile feel of a lever machine

  18. #18
    Senior Member WhatEverBeansNecessary's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by level3ninja View Post
    We call Victoria 'Mexico' here is NSW because it's "south of the border", I assume WEBN is either formerly from NSW or the slang has spread.
    Well born Queenslander. So that makes NSW Mexico and Victoria Gutemala to me
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  19. #19
    Senior Member WhatEverBeansNecessary's Avatar
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    The Pavoni problematic as you say, temp surfing and it requires the patience + a dozen or more shots to start getting into the realm of okay.

    Great machine. But not for everyone.

  20. #20
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    I've owned both the Londinium I and Londinium R and have been thrilled with both.

    Fit and finish is great, particularly with the wooden handles. Both machines were extremely reliable, but one of the aspects I love is that you can self service pretty much any issue you're likely to have with the machine and Reiss will jump on FaceTime or Skype to help you out with the process.

    I used to live in a remote area, so servicing and repairs were a pain - I had to travel about 150km to take my machine at the time to a service centre.

    Since getting a Londinium I've serviced the machine myself and repaired any minor bits that have gone wrong.

    Bear in mind, as my signature says, I build and maintain the Londinium website, so they're a client of mine. I'm not paid to market them, and I sought them out as clients because I liked their approach - I'm not spruiking them because they're a client; they're a client because I genuinely love the product.

    So take my comments here with a grain of salt.

    Also - the funnel and distribution tool that come with the machine make one hell of a difference. I'd recommend them even if you get a different machine.

  21. #21
    Senior Member WhatEverBeansNecessary's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kbrookes View Post
    I've owned both the Londinium I and Londinium R and have been thrilled with both.

    Fit and finish is great, particularly with the wooden handles. Both machines were extremely reliable, but one of the aspects I love is that you can self service pretty much any issue you're likely to have with the machine and Reiss will jump on FaceTime or Skype to help you out with the process.

    I used to live in a remote area, so servicing and repairs were a pain - I had to travel about 150km to take my machine at the time to a service centre.

    Since getting a Londinium I've serviced the machine myself and repaired any minor bits that have gone wrong.

    Bear in mind, as my signature says, I build and maintain the Londinium website, so they're a client of mine. I'm not paid to market them, and I sought them out as clients because I liked their approach - I'm not spruiking them because they're a client; they're a client because I genuinely love the product.

    So take my comments here with a grain of salt.

    Also - the funnel and distribution tool that come with the machine make one hell of a difference. I'd recommend them even if you get a different machine.
    Good to hear the Londinium gets great reviews all round. How big do you find the footprint on the kitchen bench? Real estate is a bit of a premium in our household, but for the right machine anything is negotiable.

  22. #22
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    Hi whatever,
    Interesting thread and nice dilemma to have! I certainly wouldn't rush in
    I have an Izzo Leva which I love and would buy again tomorrow . I noted that some were selling new for $4K earlier this year.
    Perhaps look around for an ex demo machine or wait and see if one comes up 2nd hand before you buy?
    Good luck with choice
    Dave

  23. #23
    Senior Member WhatEverBeansNecessary's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr_Dave View Post
    Hi whatever,
    Interesting thread and nice dilemma to have! I certainly wouldn't rush in
    I have an Izzo Leva which I love and would buy again tomorrow . I noted that some were selling new for $4K earlier this year.
    Perhaps look around for an ex demo machine or wait and see if one comes up 2nd hand before you buy?
    Good luck with choice
    Dave
    An Izzo or profitec pro 800 would be the dream. I think if I could either machine in the $3.5-$4K space I wouldn't hesitate to buy. But you are right waiting and seeing what pops up in the near future is a good idea. I have the luxury of some time (unless the other half changes her mind :/)

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by WhatEverBeansNecessary View Post
    Good to hear the Londinium gets great reviews all round. How big do you find the footprint on the kitchen bench? Real estate is a bit of a premium in our household, but for the right machine anything is negotiable.
    Any decent lever has a big footprint, Cremina notwithstanding. It's comparable to the others you're looking at.

    The grinder makes a difference, I have an E10 on the bench which is the real overkill. I'm going to step down to an E5 most likely.



    That's in the current place.

    Previous kitchen was much smaller:


  25. #25
    Senior Member WhatEverBeansNecessary's Avatar
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    It's actually a lot smaller than I thought, admittedly I have never seen one in the flesh and I don't think it's overstated in the foot print.

    Do you leave it on for hours at a time (probably with a timer or similar?)

    One drawback of the Pavoni is that you have to heat it up when you want it, rather than having it on a timer from say 7am to 1pm everyday.

  26. #26
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    It takes a lot to heat up a machine, not a lot to keep it at temp - if I'm home I'll leave it on all day.

    I have it on a timer so it's ready for me in the morning, but you can also simply give it a good solid flush of about 300ml of water through the group once the boiler is at temp to Kickstart the thermosiphon. Once the boiler recovers after that, you're good to go.

  27. #27
    Senior Member WhatEverBeansNecessary's Avatar
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    Nice, no problems with overheating? I don't imagine many cafes are using them and doing shot after shot, but I assume 6 or so coffees one after another are no problem?

  28. #28
    Site Sponsor Casa Espresso's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WhatEverBeansNecessary View Post
    An Izzo or profitec pro 800 would be the dream. I think if I could either machine in the $3.5-$4K space I wouldn't hesitate to buy. But you are right waiting and seeing what pops up in the near future is a good idea. I have the luxury of some time (unless the other half changes her mind :/)
    Remember the Izzo requires plumbing in, no separate tank, so it might not suit your brief.

  29. #29
    Senior Member WhatEverBeansNecessary's Avatar
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    That's a good point Antony. Unfortunately at this stage the plumb in is a no go

    But the Strega, Profitec and Londinium all have reservoirs/tanks you can refill. Not sure about the fracino however. Have read conflicting reports that needs to be plumbed or not.

  30. #30
    Site Sponsor Casa Espresso's Avatar
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    For what it is worth there is a very attractive sale through our eBay store up until 10pm tonight 18% off listed prices as part of their 18th birthday. Would apply to the Stregas we have listed . Details in our sponsor section
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  31. #31
    Senior Member matth3wh's Avatar
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    Lever options around the $3K mark

    Hi Antony. Sounded like a very good deal. If there's any chance of a 19th birthday special next year I'll get saving.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Casa Espresso View Post
    Remember the Izzo requires plumbing in, no separate tank, so it might not suit your brief.
    Hi Anthony,
    I may be incorrect however can't they work off a flowjet rather than being plumbed to mains?
    Cheers
    Dave

  33. #33
    Site Sponsor Casa Espresso's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr_Dave View Post
    Hi Anthony,
    I may be incorrect however can't they work off a flowjet rather than being plumbed to mains?
    Cheers
    Dave
    Hi Dave

    You are absolutely correct, the Alex will run off a flow jet system.

    I think the OP was looking for a stand alone unit with a built in water tank, however if it is just a matter of access to mains water then the flowjet option will open up his machine options


    Regards

    Antony
    www.casaespresso.com.au

  34. #34
    Senior Member WhatEverBeansNecessary's Avatar
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    Antony is correct, probably looking for a stand alone (unfortunately still renting at the moment otherwise I would be plumbing in). Flo jet is an option, but it's probably a bit cumbersome to have stored next to the machine and not as clean.

  35. #35
    Senior Member chokkidog's Avatar
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    Alex leva, hands down.
    Even with my new addition of a Kees Speedster, the Izzo, with its LSM lever group is not going anywhere... other than moving from the kitchen to the roastery!
    It is simply too good to sell. With the Flojet option you can run it no matter your housing circumstance. It's a machine for life.
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  36. #36
    Senior Member WhatEverBeansNecessary's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chokkidog View Post
    Alex leva, hands down.
    Even with my new addition of a Kees Speedster, the Izzo, with its LSM lever group is not going anywhere... other than moving from the kitchen to the roastery!
    It is simply too good to sell. With the Flojet option you can run it no matter your housing circumstance. It's a machine for life.
    Nice. Probably a bit high on the budget scale unfortunately though
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  37. #37
    Senior Member Koffee_Kosmo's Avatar
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    I own the very first Bezzera Strega that was sent out to Australia for evaluation
    That was around 2010
    This Strega machine has performed its’s duties without issue since
    In that time it’s only needed a group head seal but that’s just normal service

    Wont be upgrading anytime soon

    My advise - Go get one ☝️

    KK
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  38. #38
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    Why not keep your eye out for a 2nd hand Cremina? Easy to use and get predictable shots, small footprint, not plumbed and built like a tank. Also much quieter than the Strega.

  39. #39
    Senior Member WhatEverBeansNecessary's Avatar
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    Does the cremina suffer for the same overheating issues?

    Other than that second hand ones don't pop up all that often

  40. #40
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    I’ve had my Londinium for over 4 years, apart from changing the piston seals every year or so the only issues I’ve had are a Vibe pump replaced under warranty due to a broken internal spring and the P-Stat. The P-Stat was only replaced as it stuck once and was the older 20 Amp model. The updated 30 Amp model is more robust.
    About 6 month ago I plumbed the machine and converted it to cold feed so coffee wise its now equivalent to the Londinium R.
    It’s a very easy machine to work on and parts if required are readily available from Reiss in NZ or through their regular store in the UK.
    Reiss is incredibly helpful if required even for purchasers of older second hand machines.
    It pairs very nicely with the Kafatek Flat.
    Last edited by greg-g; 22nd September 2017 at 07:53 PM. Reason: spelling

  41. #41
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    I can't help notice the occasional talk about LP's, if you want something small, with a lever and tank, how about the Ponte vecchio's? They are piston driven and mine doesn't suffer any over heating and I've done about 8 coffees in one hit. Just a pain with one group head
    Mine is an export and impossible to find locally, but there was the lusso being sold locally at one stage. I wanted the strega originally but my wife wouldn't lease me any of the bench space in her kitchen .

    Hopefully later I will upgrade to the strega or better in the future, but for the meantime I'm more than happy
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  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by WhatEverBeansNecessary View Post
    Does the cremina suffer for the same overheating issues?

    Other than that second hand ones don't pop up all that often
    I guess so but not as bad as a La Pavoni, you could probably get 3-4 stable shots out of it then you have to start running the PF under cold water and locking it in for a few minutes which is not practical. Its never been a great problem for me because I only drink one shot at a time, and when I entertain say 6 people, they aren't usually coffee snobs and drink with milk so a couple of burnt-ish shots aren't noticeable.

  43. #43
    Senior Member WhatEverBeansNecessary's Avatar
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    Hi Everyone,

    Follow up from last weeks hot topic, I have decided to go for the Profitec Pro 800 over the Londinium.
    Got a really good price for it from local supplier in Adelaide for an ex demo machine.

    From what I can see there are some minor differences in the machines but the Profitec came out on top (but really only just).

    Hopefully pick it up this afternoon.

    Thanks everyone who gave their two cents!
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  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by WhatEverBeansNecessary View Post
    Hi Everyone,

    Follow up from last weeks hot topic, I have decided to go for the Profitec Pro 800 over the Londinium.
    Got a really good price for it from local supplier in Adelaide for an ex demo machine.

    From what I can see there are some minor differences in the machines but the Profitec came out on top (but really only just).

    Hopefully pick it up this afternoon.

    Thanks everyone who gave their two cents!
    Expect that that is an excellent choice, well done!

  45. #45
    Senior Member WhatEverBeansNecessary's Avatar
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    Pudding (as in proof is in the...)IMG_20170925_182612_296 (1).jpg
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  46. #46
    338
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    WBN time to upgrade the power switch to something fancy and stainless to match

  47. #47
    Member 3rutu5's Avatar
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    Looks great, I believe I'm suffering some lever envy now

  48. #48
    Senior Member WhatEverBeansNecessary's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 338 View Post
    WBN time to upgrade the power switch to something fancy and stainless to match
    I never considered but now my upgradeitis won't be cured until I have all the stainless things!

    Poured my first couple of shots last night and this morning. Any tips would be appreciated!

    Thanks to everyone who got involved last week I am (and more importantly the wife) are totally happy.

  49. #49
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Posts
    16
    I have been using my La Pavoni for the last 8 years almost everyday and it is still working fine.

    Can't say that it is better than all commercial machines but it is compact and inexpensive by far!

    samuellaw178 and Arcade like this.

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