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Thread: Looking to purchase first HX machine

  1. #1
    Junior Member tonymtber's Avatar
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    Looking to purchase first HX machine

    Hi all.
    Been stalking and researching on here for a while and have decided on buying a HX machine. I'm currently using a Delonghi Ilona pump machine (don't laugh) but have found over the past 18 months that ive outgrown it have have truly become a coffee snob.

    I have a decent conical burr grinder and usually make around 3 lattes a day. Would like to get my wife to do a training course so she can use the new machine to....currently she either gets me to make the coffee.

    So I've narrowed it down to the following:
    Simonelli Oscar 2 or Expobar Office control or Lelit Mara Pl62.

    Oscar 2 is the cheapest at around $1400 followed by the Expobar at $1800 and the Lelit at $2400.

    Both the Oscar and Lelit are at 1400w whereas the Expobar is 2000w.

    Size and other features are all very similar other than the Expobar which has programmable buttons (something that my wife might find advantageous).

    It seems that the Expobar is really a commercial machine in a small package but im wondering if it's really overkill for home use or is it going to be better for life. Also I have read that it takes a while to heat up which could be an issue as I probably wouldn't leave it on all day. I'm not sure what the others are like in this respect.

    So please hit me with your comments, advise or other recommendations.

    Cheers
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  2. #2
    TC
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    Hi Tony,

    Of your options, I'd actually suggest the VBM Domobar Junior. Way superior build that that of the Oscar and Expobar and much better bang for buck than the Lelit. FWIW, my opinion is that the internal build quality is better as well.

    Chris

  3. #3
    Site Sponsor K_Bean_Coffee's Avatar
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    Hi Tony.
    The Oscar is an entry level (& entry quality) HX. The Expobar Leva is a built like a tank and will last many years but it's mid-quality.
    The Mara is a great machine. It costs more than the other 2 but you can see where the extra $ have gone. ie, full stainless steel body, sprung valves and PID. It's first class quality inside and out. I don't sell the Domo Junior but I do know that it's a great machine at it's price point. Generally, you get what you pay for.
    As always, find a local sponsor and try some out.
    See buyers guides from K Bean Coffee, Talk Coffee and Di Bartoli as well. They're all very useful.
    Cheers, and best of luck with your first HX. Paul
    Dimal and TC like this.

  4. #4
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    Hi

    I started with an appliance from an Australian manufacturer that I learnt with and have just upgraded to a hx.

    Ended up getting the Lelit pl62 mara for a number of reasons.
    1. It's quite small and doesn't look too big in our small kitchen.
    2. I hadn't heard anything bad about it and user reviews were good.
    3. It comes with a high quality tamper.
    4. The authorised warranty agent is around the corner from me should I need them. (Perth)
    5. It does have a little electronics including the PID boiler control and smarter water level sensing than most traditional hx machines.
    6. It looks fantastic.

    Overall, I am very happy with my purchase.

  5. #5
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    I recently purchased VBM Jnr from Coffee Aroma. Couldn't be easier or happier
    mtooler and tonymtber like this.

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    I was in a similar position and found a good quality used Expobar Office Control.

    Very industrious and much better than my old Breville Barista Express. Hot water is instantaneous, strong and hot; steam is a twin-hole tipped wand, and lots of it; espresso is generally very good and I find, incredibly forgiving compared to the Breville if things don't go to plan while I'm learning my new workflow.

    Lattes are a world apart as a result of being able to add milk much sooner, even though I was really proud of what I could achieve with the Breville.

    I was actually considering a dual boiler with PID from Lelit, brand new. But couldn't resist the Office Control for the price.

    I roast my own beans and the Office has really shown me up here. Used to prefer a darker roast but now I think I'll do medium to dark. Can actually taste the dark roast 'charcoal' which is interesting!

    I have a Macap M4D which I've had to turn finer to suit the new machine. All in a day's work for the Macap though, a fantastic grinder.

    Very happy with my setup. The downside to the Office Control is no pressure gauge - was hoping for a machine with one. But so far so good.

    Also, found a way to enable pre infusion. With the switch off, hold the single short espresso button (far left) and turn the switch on. That button and the short double button will light up. Turn the machine off and on again, and pre-infusion is enabled. Repeat this process holding the single long button to disable it (how it came). Too much caffeine today to actually see if pre infusion makes a difference, will try tomorrow.
    K_Bean_Coffee likes this.

  7. #7
    Site Sponsor K_Bean_Coffee's Avatar
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    Looking to purchase first HX machine

    Quote Originally Posted by toorakwa View Post
    Ended up getting the Lelit pl62 mara for a number of reasons......
    Great choice. I'm a huge fan of the Mara
    Last edited by K_Bean_Coffee; 13th January 2017 at 08:26 AM.

  8. #8
    Site Sponsor Casa Espresso's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=K_Bean_Coffee;596132]Hi Tony.
    The Oscar is an entry level (& entry quality) HX.

    I think the OP is referring to the Oscar II. This is a very different model to the Oscar in both looks and features.

    There are none in Australia yet so I don't think anyone can give a true opinion on its build quality or finish.

    Our first stock is arriving in 10 days. We will have them in our Melbourne show room for viewing.

    I will post some photos and info in another thread.

    At $1450 RRP I think they will do well in the entry level HX market

    Cheers

    Antony
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  9. #9
    Site Sponsor K_Bean_Coffee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Casa Espresso View Post
    At $1450 RRP I think they will do well in the entry level HX market
    Agreed Antony. That's a really great price point for an HX machine.
    Cheers, Paul

  10. #10
    Senior Member readeral's Avatar
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    Damn that Oscar getting the Musica Makeover! Looks swish (and super minimalist).

  11. #11
    Site Sponsor Casa Espresso's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by readeral View Post
    Damn that Oscar getting the Musica Makeover! Looks swish (and super minimalist).
    Yes half way between the Oscar and the Musica, going to be a winner I think
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Quote Originally Posted by Casa Espresso View Post
    Yes half way between the Oscar and the Musica, going to be a winner I think
    Either this or the Lelit Diana were going to be my 'new' choices until I found a great deal on my Expobar, which is in outstanding condition.

    The original Oscar was already appealing enough at it's price point despite some issues but having seen the II demoed on Seattle Coffee Gear and looking more like a Musica I was very impressed. Had no idea it was making its way to Oz so soon.

    Great value at that price point. If marketed correctly you could steal away some of the BDB crowd looking for an affordable HX.

  13. #13
    Site Sponsor Di_Bartoli's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TC View Post
    Hi Tony,

    Of your options, I'd actually suggest the VBM Domobar Junior. Way superior build that that of the Oscar and Expobar and much better bang for buck than the Lelit. FWIW, my opinion is that the internal build quality is better as well.

    Chris
    Totally agree. I'd also be looking at the Isomac Tea for looks, built quality, e61 and value for money.
    K_Bean_Coffee likes this.

  14. #14
    Site Sponsor K_Bean_Coffee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Di_Bartoli View Post
    Totally agree. I'd also be looking at the Isomac Tea for looks, built quality, e61 and value for money.
    +1 for that. Isomac tea is great value - at a similar price to an Expobar Leva.

  15. #15
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    Thinking of following the standard course of upgrade from a Breville Dual Boiler to an HX machine, particularly the VBM Domobar Junior. Any comments from anyone who's done the same? Are you happy with the change?

  16. #16
    Member alexm1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jaya View Post
    Thinking of following the standard course of upgrade from a Breville Dual Boiler to an HX machine, particularly the VBM Domobar Junior. Any comments from anyone who's done the same? Are you happy with the change?
    Jaya, I went from a sunbeam 6910 & sunbeam grinder to a vbm junior & a compak k3 touch 7 months ago, delighted with my new setup and coffee is far far better.

  17. #17
    Site Sponsor K_Bean_Coffee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jaya View Post
    Thinking of following the standard course of upgrade from a Breville Dual Boiler to an HX machine, particularly the VBM Domobar Junior. Any comments from anyone who's done the same? Are you happy with the change?
    Hi Jaya,
    I don't sell the VBM but I hear good things about it. I would call it a mid range compact HX machine, a step above entry level compact HX machines like the Expobar Leva and Isomac tea.
    I would suggest looking a the Lelit Mara PL62S - That's one I do sell
    Cheers, Paul

  18. #18
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    Thanks alex and Kbean, appreciate the opinions.

    Kbean, in terms of the Lelits, what is your opinion on the Mara v Diana v2? They're obviously a different machine type but at similar price points.

    I'm not one to fiddle too much with temperatures, but do understand the advantage of the Diana in terms of heat up time.

  19. #19
    Site Sponsor K_Bean_Coffee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jaya View Post
    ....Kbean, in terms of the Lelits, what is your opinion on the Mara v Diana v2? They're obviously a different machine type but at similar price points.....
    Hi Jaya, my personal choice would be the Mara by a long long way.
    The Mara has an E61 head - magnificent 1961 design -and it's still around for good reason. It's thermally stable due to the theromsyphon, and also, allows pressure on the puck to build up slowly instead of just smashing it at 9 bar.
    Plus it's a work of art.
    Others may have different views but to me it's a simple choice.
    Call me any time for a chat.
    Cheers, Paul

    0416528339
    www.kbean.com.au

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