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Thread: What machine in 1500-3000 range for an upgrade from stovetop

  1. #1
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    What machine in 1500-3000 range for an upgrade from stovetop

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    I am considering upgrading from my trusty Bialettis to a decent espresso machine in the 1.5k-3k range. Likely usage is for 1 or 2 people (mostly) and 2-4 coffees am, and decaf (fresh ground beans obs) in the evening.
    I already have a Macap M2D that will do for time being (I understand some here are passionate about continuous grind control, but I am not that sophisticated ...yet).
    I have read about Rockets, Bezzera, ECM, Profitec and loads of others and I am a little overwhelmed! Jet-black have a bewildering range, then there are second hand units - false economy? PID? heat exchanger? dual boiler? Lots to think about. Some advice to guide me through this maze would be greatly appreciated.

    The machine will sit on a somewhat crowded bench top, so Appartamento slimness prolly good.

    I've probably not given anything like enough info except betraying my neophyte credentials - and no I dont want a fully automatic even though I might be a candidate for one!! :-) thanks in advance!
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  2. #2
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    If you have the time, drop in to see Charlie and take a few for a Ďtest driveí. There will some features that you either like or donít and the only way to find out is to try them out. You canít really go wrong with the $ and the brands listed above, itís probably more about personal preference. Good luck!
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  3. #3
    Senior Member Stan's Avatar
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    Basically any machine in the price range you have set will provide a great coffee. It is the ease of use and looks that will be the deal maker. Have a look and play(if you can) it will make the decision easier.
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by MontyParsons View Post
    I am considering upgrading from my trusty Bialettis to a decent espresso machine in the 1.5k-3k range. Likely usage is for 1 or 2 people (mostly) and 2-4 coffees am, and decaf (fresh ground beans obs) in the evening.
    I already have a Macap M2D that will do for time being (I understand some here are passionate about continuous grind control, but I am not that sophisticated ...yet).
    I have read about Rockets, Bezzera, ECM, Profitec and loads of others and I am a little overwhelmed! Jet-black have a bewildering range, then there are second hand units - false economy? PID? heat exchanger? dual boiler? Lots to think about. Some advice to guide me through this maze would be greatly appreciated.

    The machine will sit on a somewhat crowded bench top, so Appartamento slimness prolly good.

    I've probably not given anything like enough info except betraying my neophyte credentials - and no I dont want a fully automatic even though I might be a candidate for one!! :-) thanks in advance!
    Just my 2 cents, but If you venture into the realm of prosumer level heat exchanger or double boiler machines, the law of diminishing returns will set in fairly quickly when it comes to quality in the cup. A double boiler machine with PID control of the brew boiler is useful to dial in a specific and steady temperature of the brew water, in order to try and hit the sweet spot for this or that specific coffee. If you arenít quite as picky or prefer cappuccinos /lattes / flat whites as your main sort of drink, taste effects from temperature offsets are mellowed out and a HX machine controlled by a basic pressurestat will do the job just as well. Any upgrade from that point would be related to build quality, fit/finish, esthetics and afditional features. Also at one point the quality of the grinder will be the limiting factor, but the Macap M2D is a decent start.
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  5. #5
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    good suggestion @Stu76.. popped into to see Charlie today, and walked away with a Lelit Mara PL62S, a complete kit of accessories and a training course in a few weeks! Lovely looking machine, and spent the afternoon calibrating my M2M! Happy so far, and impressed that Charlie could have directed me to much more expensive machines but didn't #integrity
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  6. #6
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    Can you give a brief little spill on why you chose the lelit over the machines you initially looked at? I am in a similar position to you with look to buy an upgrade
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  7. #7
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    Hi Chris3, I followed Stu76's suggestion and went to inspect the machines at Jetblackespresso where I met the owner Charlie. He took me through a range of machines, and patiently explained all of the jargon - who knew that E61 had something to do with an eclipse (not me!).... I was inclined toward the Rocket Appartamento because I had read a lot of good things on this site about the Rocket brand.... however, space is a premium at my place, and although the Rocket is no giant, the Lelit Mara was significantly thinner (though I think a tad taller)... I was told the resale is strong on both machines... other things I liked included cool touch wands (though others at this price point may have had that) and the sprung valves on steam... I tried the coffee Charlie made with it, which of course was great.... it is a stunning looking machine (but then again so is the Rocket)... PID control was explained to me, and did not seem to be worthwhile on a heat exchanger, and I am not really sure I am likely to want to fiddle to that extent anyway. The E61 group head was (in my assumed ignorance) a decision based on aesthetics - it looks cool (despite the "caution hot" label :-) ). I gather the Lelit is a big seller for Charlie, for what it is worth.... on unpacking, the instructions were clear (and so where additional ones from jetblack), easy to set up, and heats up pretty quickly - maybe 15-20 mins??? Playing with it, I realised how critical the grinder is (as regulars on this site continually reiterate), experimenting with my MACAP-2D was interesting, aiming for 50ml of coffee from a 25 sec extraction... I really am now beginning to appreciate just how critical the grind is to the process... the other rather obvious beginners tip is to get some cheap (ie supermarket) coffee to "waste" on the learning process... So far I am really thrilled with the machine and have managed to get some (to me) great cups already, and I cant wait for my training course, where I will really learn how to get the best out of this machine...I am at the very beginning of this journey into the world of proper coffee but let me know if there is anything specific I have missed that might be helpful...

  8. #8
    Senior Member matth3wh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MontyParsons View Post
    good suggestion @Stu76.. popped into to see Charlie today, and walked away with a Lelit Mara PL62S, a complete kit of accessories and a training course in a few weeks!
    Hi MontyParsons
    Glad to hear youíre enjoying your new machine! Sounds like a good idea with the follow up training session after a few weeks. Get familiar with machine and then can check how youíre going at the training.

    Getting in to a good cleaning rhythm for the machine is a good thing to keep in mind. Cleaning the shower screen and flushing around after each session helps ensure you will have the best chance to get the best out of whatever beans youíre using.

    All the best with Mara
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  9. #9
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    good point @matth3wh re cleaning... I can't tell you how excited I am about that aspect of the process :-) ... I did note that there was a mention in the manual about not putting the unit in the dishwasher... one wonders sometimes whether such injunctions are the product of feverish lawyer's mind, or whether one of their customers actually tried this! What next? Does it blend? haha

  10. #10
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    Thanks for the answer. I think i need to start looking at a few machines!

  11. #11
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    'the other rather obvious beginners tip is to get some cheap (ie supermarket) coffee to "waste" on the learning process'

    Hi Monty,

    Congrats on your new purchase, I'm sure you'll be enjoying great coffee for years to come. I get the logic behind the above quote from you of saving some $ and good beans while you get the hang of the machine. However, it's unlikely you'll find too many supermarket beans that aren't well beyond their 'best' in freshness. Stale beans will behave much differently to fresh beans as far as what sort of grind is required and what your pour should look like. (They also won't give you that great taste you are after).

    If you have a shot glass you can measure your coffee pour and a timer, you should soon enough be able to get in the right ball park fo what grind to use. The training course is also an excellent idea!

    Again, enjoy that new bling
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  12. #12
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    who knew that E61 had something to do with an eclipse (not me!)
    And, here is the path of said eclipse that occurred on 15/02/1961...

    SE1961Feb15T.png
    (Courtesy of Wikipedia)

    Mal.
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  13. #13
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    thanks Steiny, I hadn't thought beyond monetary considerations, and what you point out re freshness, grind etc all make sense.. a bit like trying to train your wine palette on cask wine!
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  14. #14
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    that's brilliant Mal! Looks like the eclipse covered northern Italy... was the E61 designed near Milan per chance? Mind you I am still marvelling how an event about a blocking of the sun's rays inspires an invention related to flow....

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    Glad it's going well MP. See you in a couple of weeks,

    charlie
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  16. #16
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MontyParsons View Post
    was the E61 designed near Milan per chance?
    Yes mate, indeed it was...

    Mal.

  17. #17
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    did the course with Al yesterday at JetBlack.. was really instructive, learned a lot, and moved the skills along nicely...
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