Post By CoffeeB
Post By BLW
Post By JetBlack_Espresso
Upgrade Time - Single boiler capacity? Lelit Combi? Other options?
Hello, my name is Brendan and I have been thinking about coffee machines for two days straight. Please help!
I am leaning towards the Lelit Combi, it has a few features that are appealing and the wife likes the look of it.
- Quick warm up time
- Neat and tidy package with grinder built in
- Support and accessories
- Right price range
I am a little concerned over the steaming capacity of the 250ml boiler and was wondering how practical it would be to make four milk based drinks on a semi regular basis.
Normally coffee is just for the two of us but we regularly have guests over, but rarely more than 2 at a time other than special occasions. However we are expecting our first child early next year and I feel coffee might play a slightly larger role in our life and we might have a few more visitors for a while. I would like to knock out four drinks fairly quickly as I think it will be fairly common need.
I have read a fair few of the threads from this forum and the heat up time to steam from brewing temperature seems fairly quick, 30-40 seconds.
Now this is where it gets a little bit tricky for me.
What is the best procedure with a small single boiler to make drinks quickly and effectively? Pull the shots first and then steam the milk. The video from Jetblack espresso makes it appear that steaming milk for four drinks would be very possible, but I don't want to be running the boiler dry. Would it be wiser to steam milk for two and then draw cool water in to the boiler and pull another two shots and then steam again? Is the cool down time relatively quick as well or would this whole process get too frustrating leaving me with regret not just buying a dual boiler or heat exchange machine?
Would a machine like the VBM Domobar Piccolo with its 750ml boiler be a better choice as it would have a greater capacity to make four drinks or will it require longer warm up and cool down times and be slower overall?
- It is significantly more expensive + would require a separate grinder
- It is still 1200 watts so heating the extra water would just take longer between brew and steam time?
- Pro: E61 Group head Con: requires longer warm up time
- Honestly probably appears to be the smart option. Auto refill feature makes it easy to use and advertises great steaming capacity.
- Significantly more expensive + would require a separate grinder
- Aesthetically I don't like it for some reason and neither does the wife
Wait for second hand dual boiler / HX ... anyone looking to upgrade?
Sorry for the long post. Your help and opinions will be greatly appreciated!
Thanks in advance.
To be honest, with your first born in the house, fiddling with a single boiler that doesn’t auto refill is probably the last thing you’d want to do.
You never mentioned what equipment you’re upgrading from though. If a pourover is not appalling to you, may I suggest the Behmor Brazen for those early mornings (or sleepless night) and an espresso machine you are comfortable with for when you have a little more time to spare...
I’m sure others will chime in regarding the espresso machine itself as it has been discussed quite a few times lately.
Empty you might be right about life with a newborn. I was hoping to get used to life with a single boiler and purging and refilling the boiler without too much fuss, but i'm probably underestimating the future chaos.
I'm coming from an old Breville thermoblock unit I received as a hand me down and a sunbeam grinder that looks a little bit like a handheld food processor.
Works surprisingly well as a combo but has some limitations.
Thanks for the detailed photos SPA50. I still prefer the look of the dimensions of the Combi as well as the polished stainless steel, however I think the Kate is more suitable for the job. I'm sure you will love it.
I was in a similar situation recently and ended up buying the cheapest, best built HX machine I could afford and liked the looks of (Bezzera BZ10). Price was a big issue and I wanted to go for as low with a certain convenience and quality.
My first pick was the Lelit dual boiler to not run into the steam/brew problems. (EDIT: See Charlie's note. Comment applies to most/some (?) single boilers). However, it still didn't come with auto-fill, which was a problem for me with young kids around. Sometimes, I didn't get past turning my old machine (Sunbeam EM7000) on and that was it. Having something that can run dry and burn out when not flushed wasn't something I wanted to settle for.
Another thing that I can't say anything about is temperature control. Most single boiler machines don't have a PID which means the brew temp can fluctuate by 10C (?). Some argue that flushing/waiting routines will get you your good coffee. Others in the end install a PID later that controls the temp well, but it's another $300+? I don't know how much difference in taste the temp makes with those machines, but from reading here from a dedicated connoisseur crowd it seems to be something that can be tasted by most.
The Lelit (Victoria) Kate does auto-fill your boiler and has a PID + an incorporated grinder. I'm not sure how good this grinder is and am on a Breville SmartGrinder which I'm happy with. Others argue you should spend more on the grinder than on the machine, but for "normal users" I think a grinder between $200-$700 should be more than enough (like the Lelit in the Kate). So I guess it's also about if you're super passionate about getting the most out of your beans.
That was my journey so far into the world of upgraded equipment.
Last edited by BLW; 31st October 2017 at 11:15 AM.
All Lelit dual boilers auto fill.
Originally Posted by BLW
how long does the Victoria take to come down from steaming temp to brew temp?
Originally Posted by JetBlack_Espresso
About 30 seconds. It auto fills the boiler when you exit steam mode.