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Thread: Have prosumer machines up to $1.5k better build quality than Breville/Sunbeams?

  1. #1
    BLW
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    Prosumer machines (<$1.5k) vs Breville/Sunbeam: Way better build quality?

    Iím currently searching for a replacement for my EM7000 which broke after 3 years (I read some might last 8y). As I fortunately put extended warrenty on it, I received my money back, so I basically had a great machine for that time with no cost other than the insurance.

    Apart from the build quality, the EM7000 made pretty good shots with freshly ground beans (Smart grinder+mod) and the steam wand worked fine too after a few days/weeks getting used to it. The machine also heats up quickly and is pretty much fool proof in some regards: If you run out of water it alarms you and if left on all day, it goes into standby.

    I guess many others have been at this point choosing between another Sunbeam/Breville (+extended warrenty!!!) or entering the world of prosumer machines.
    • If you spend up to $1.5k, does the build quality improve a fair bit over a EM7000 (>$500) or BES920 (<$1k) with the machines lasting longer? I assume the shot/steam quality should be at least the same.
    • At what price point can you be more certain to make a long term investment (up to $1.5k, or above the $2-3k mark)?


    What Iím looking for:
    • My budget is as low as possible for a good machine ($500 is what I paid, $1k is approaching the limit, $1.5k has to last). 2nd hand is an option too if the build quality is made to last - I have no clue how to assess this though (no Sunbeam/Breville equivalent).
    • Easy to use: No chance for the boiler to burn out if you forget to flush it, add enough water to the tank or make sure thereís no leakage from the steam wand (you know if you have kids in the house).
    • Quick heat up time (< 10-20 mins). We drink 2 lattes in the morning rush and an occasional espresso in the afternoon. Add several milky drinks when visitors come around at short notice.


    Current searches point towards: HX (Oscar II) or double boiler (Lelit P60) machines seem to tick the boxes. The new Lelit Victoria single boiler looks quite nice too.

    Are Lelit or Nuova machines going strong after say 10 years (as opposed to the average 3-8 years of a Sunbeam/Breville)?
    What other machines would fit my requirements?

    Thank you very much for your experiences and any advice!
    Bernhard.
    Last edited by BLW; 2 Weeks Ago at 12:52 PM.

  2. #2
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    Once you start going away from the "appliance manufacturers" eg breville/Sunbeam etc and head toward the espresso manufacturer specialist you will notice a huge improvement in quality. Naturally that comes with a higher price tag.

    The biggest thing about keeping any machine running for a decade is maintenance. Keep on top of little things like cleaning, seals etc.

    Personally I wouldn't skip over 2nd hand machines. Most of the machines for sale here will be kept by like minded people who want to make sure it lasts.

    Also don't forget to factor in a grinder for the budget. It really is the most important piece of kit.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member LeroyC's Avatar
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    The two machines you mentioned are probably the only ones in your price range for a new machine as they both sit around that $1500 mark. Your Smart Grinder will do the job for now so at least you can just concentrate on a new machine, but you might find yourself wanting or needing to replace it at some point.
    Iíve seen inside a NS Musica and it was very neat and well put together with some nice features. Iím assuming the Oscar II isnít too far behind it in that regard. The Lelit is probably slightly more sturdy, but only someone that sells both (like Jetblack) will know for sure. And yeah they are definitely a step up from the Brevilles and Sunbeams, but $3k+ machines from the likes of ECM, Rocket and Bezzera are on a totally different level so you may want to keep your eyes open for a 2nd hand one. $1500 wonít buy you any of these that are only 2-3yrs old, but might get you something slightly older. And if you buy it on CS youíre more likely to get a machine thatís been well cared for (although thatís never guaranteed).
    Just a final note. Any level of machine can be killed in a short period of time without proper care and maintenance. So regardless of what you get make sure this part of ownership is on point.

  4. #4
    BLW
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    Thanks.

    As for maintenance, I do backflush (with and w/o chemicals) but rarely descale as we have an in-sink purifyer. Do you get your machines professionally serviced every so often?
    I'm good in taking things apart, but putting it back together...

  5. #5
    Rbn
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    I read somewhere on here of someone who had an in-sink purifyer who still got scale inside his machine.
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  6. #6
    Senior Member Barry O'Speedwagon's Avatar
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    Jetblack have a Bezerra BZ99 going for $1650. Pretty solid.

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    I have the same questions myself OP. The only difference is Iím still making do with my modified EM5900 and Gaggia MDF but they will probably give up the ghost soon (more likely the Sunbeam). I will be watching this thread keenly.

    Are NS Oscar (I) and Isomac Zaffiro Due poor contenders in terms of build quality/capability, I wonder? The Oscar can be had for 795 and the Zaffiro Due for about 1,570.
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  8. #8
    BLW
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    I saw the Oscar too, but just couldn't get used to the red colour after watching multiple youtube videos. Red is the only one I found for that price (795).

    The Isomac Zafiro is as far as I understand not a HX machine (boiler can run dry?) and takes around 40 mins to heat up.

    Barry, I saw the BZ99 too, but it doesn't appeal to me aesthetically. For me, the looks are part of the joy I got from making the coffee. I do like the BZ07 or BZ10 though.

    I was wondering how other E61s are heating up but didn't get much into that yet. That's the 2nd hand querry I'm still trying to figure out. If there were 2nd hand machines coming down to that prize, what could it be that meets my criteria?

    (Edit: Comments on Bezzera)
    Last edited by BLW; 2 Weeks Ago at 06:27 PM.
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  9. #9
    Senior Member Barry O'Speedwagon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BLW View Post
    I saw the Oscar too, but just couldn't get used to the red colour after watching multiple youtube videos. Red is the only one I found for that price (795).

    The Isomac Zafiro is as far as I understand not a HX machine (boiler can run dry?) and takes around 40 mins to heat up.

    Barry, I saw the BZ99 too, but it doesn't appeal to me aesthetically. For me, the looks are part of the joy I got from making the coffee. I do like the BZ07 or BZ10 though.

    I was wondering how other E61s are heating up but didn't get much into that yet. That's the 2nd hand querry I'm still trying to figure out. If there were 2nd hand machines coming down to that prize, what could it be that meets my criteria?

    (Edit: Comments on Bezzera)
    Which of your prices are you talking about?

    For $1500 for 2nd hand machine, there'd be a bunch of options from VBM/Diadema/Bezerra that would only be a couple of years old. Pick one that you can get serviced locally.

    Less than 20 minutes heating time is pushing it. My Diadema Reale can be made ready to go in 25 mins (or last time I used it it did), provided that you pull some water through the group once the boiler is up to pressure. But.....get a timer and the morning problem doesn't exist.

    If heat up time is super important, I'd stick to the Breville DB.
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  10. #10
    BLW
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barry O'Speedwagon View Post
    Which of your prices are you talking about?

    For $1500 for 2nd hand machine, there'd be a bunch of options from VBM/Diadema/Bezerra that would only be a couple of years old. Pick one that you can get serviced locally.

    Less than 20 minutes heating time is pushing it. My Diadema Reale can be made ready to go in 25 mins (or last time I used it it did), provided that you pull some water through the group once the boiler is up to pressure. But.....get a timer and the morning problem doesn't exist.

    If heat up time is super important, I'd stick to the Breville DB.
    The 2nd hand price was indeed the $1.5k.

    For a Diadema Reale, I could wait a bit longer for it to heat up. It looks absolutely stunning! However, it'd be more often than not that I won't get past turning it on and having to leave without having a coffee.

    I would also like to be able to make coffee for guests who arrive on short notice. With the Sunbeam, it took a bit over 10 minutes until I got the drinks ready. I doubt there will be many takers if they'd have to wait for 30-45 minutes.

    Funny that a <15 minute heat up time puts me back to Breville/Sunbeam, even when considering a $1500 2nd hand machine.

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    It is worth thinking about how coffee plays a part in your life. I've been through several prosumer and semi pro machines over the years and arrived back at Breville for a couple of reasons. eg I'm not the only one who makes coffee in the house. The hoard want to come in, turn the machine on and press a button. I found the odd little quirks in some of the other machines whilst all part of the fun for the enthusiast were lost on those not so interested. The heat up time was also a big thing and the fact the machine will turn itself on were big factors.

    As a machine theres just enough scope for me to play. Do I get the greatest coffee in the world, probably not. Do I get coffee that exceeds any local outlet, yes. Do I get earache, no! Like I say, just consider what you actually want the machine to do on a daily basis in your life.
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  12. #12
    BLW
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris View Post
    It is worth thinking about how coffee plays a part in your life. I've been through several prosumer and semi pro machines over the years and arrived back at Breville for a couple of reasons. eg I'm not the only one who makes coffee in the house. The hoard want to come in, turn the machine on and press a button. I found the odd little quirks in some of the other machines whilst all part of the fun for the enthusiast were lost on those not so interested. The heat up time was also a big thing and the fact the machine will turn itself on were big factors.

    As a machine theres just enough scope for me to play. Do I get the greatest coffee in the world, probably not. Do I get coffee that exceeds any local outlet, yes. Do I get earache, no! Like I say, just consider what you actually want the machine to do on a daily basis in your life.
    Those are very good points and it sounds like you are in a similar situation.

    It's great fun if you can play around with your hobby machine and see how your shots and milk steaming skills improve. However, if you have to factor others in - be it for operational or time reasons - the coffee machine should also be able to accomodate that for me. Take time to play around and set it all up on my own, but then get the drinks out on time when needed - and let your spouse with a lettle experience be able to use it too.

  13. #13
    Rbn
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris View Post
    It is worth thinking about how coffee plays a part in your life. I've been through several prosumer and semi pro machines over the years and arrived back at Breville for a couple of reasons. eg I'm not the only one who makes coffee in the house.
    Excellent point, while I am the only one who does it in our house, when son or daughter arrive they use it, as my machine is the same as theirs. EM6910.
    And your point about making better coffee than the local coffee shop, for sure!
    And if you want to play there is always the naked P/F Vst or similar baskets, and if you get those nailed, you sure will be better than many local cafes.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BLW View Post
    The 2nd hand price was indeed the $1.5k.

    For a Diadema Reale, I could wait a bit longer for it to heat up. It looks absolutely stunning! However, it'd be more often than not that I won't get past turning it on and having to leave without having a coffee.

    I would also like to be able to make coffee for guests who arrive on short notice. With the Sunbeam, it took a bit over 10 minutes until I got the drinks ready. I doubt there will be many takers if they'd have to wait for 30-45 minutes.

    Funny that a <15 minute heat up time puts me back to Breville/Sunbeam, even when considering a $1500 2nd hand machine.
    If you are worried about heat up times. Put it on a timer for well before you get up for work and keep it on for an hour or two longer than you would normally leave.
    I have done the same with my machine and set it to heat up at 5:30 and switch off at 9am. Then on the weekends 7am to about 1pm.

  15. #15
    Senior Member ozscott's Avatar
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    Bernard how handy are you and are you willing to so some low cost repair and tuning of a second hand machine?

    Cheers
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  16. #16
    BLW
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    Quote Originally Posted by ozscott View Post
    Bernard how handy are you and are you willing to so some low cost repair and tuning of a second hand machine?

    Cheers
    That's a good question. I have done some easy fixes around the house (change light fittings, tabs, build a swing set etc.), but have no experience with repairing an espresso machine or electrical equipment. I would probably not be able to identify the fault either. However, if it's a simple undo a few screws and wires (with good instructions), I should be fine. When it comes to complex circuits or addings something like a PID, I would have to bring it to my local workshop (which will cost a fair bit I guess).

    So, 2nd hand machines while costing less might end up dearer in the end. Therefore, I have no clue how to identify a 2nd hand bargain, unless it comes from a workshop with some 3 months warranty.

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