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Thread: My quest for the perfect espresso machine

  1. #1
    Junior Member lottacooties's Avatar
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    My quest for the perfect espresso machine

    Had some good news today, my Seaco Incanto deluxe is DOA,

    Forgive me in advance if this forum is incorrect to post this query. First timer!

    I have been hunting for the perfect espresso machine for over 30 years.

    I finally thought I had almost attained Nirvana when I bought my Seaco Incanto deluxe, but, it never achieved that silky smooth finish that was delivered at a fine restaurant or professional espresso vendor. Little knowing, it was my technique that was crap.

    Unfortunately, the day before a quasi professional Barista training course, my Saeco was pronounced dead on arrival! So I never found out if it was the machine or the operator!

    During my course, my barista trainer was astounded by my "chops" and thought I had professional experience; even though the majority of my 'pulling power' was mostly via a fully auto machine; plus an intensive few days at a very good friends weddings' preparations, providing multiple 'cappuccinos' out of an old Gaggia, with acclaim from all customers. They were either being kind, or had no knowledge of what coffee should taste like, because I'm sure that at least 50% (or maybe less) of the beverages would've been akin to swill!

    Anyhow, after my Saecos' demise and barista course, I have been blown away by currently using a borrowed ancient Baby Gaggia. Better quality brews than the Saeco fully auto, far better milk and reasonable shots with passable crema (don't mock me, using ALDI pre-ground coffee and the occasional excellent really good shot from a local roasters 'Colombian Dark' stock).

    Now that I actually have a concept of how to froth milk and what a shot should look like, I have been astounded by both the Baby Gaggia's espresso shots, and microfoaming power. I do believe it is time for me to step up to a "prosumer' model.

    My front runners are:

    ISOMAC 'Tea"
    Vibiemme Domobar Junior HX
    Expobar Office Leva

    but from sexy looks alone my favorite is the:

    Unico Splendor

    Please, all you wise people at coffee snobs, should I lured by the Unico's siren calls?

    I reside closest to Melbourne VIC - where is the best Unico outlet? Of course, open to suggestions on a grinder to match.

    I know I have a lot to learn - but praise the coffee gods, I'm now in the right place to get the correct answers!
    Last edited by lottacooties; 29th August 2017 at 01:15 AM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Jono_Willmer's Avatar
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    My quest for the perfect espresso machine

    Can I recommend you visit one of the site sponsor's and try out the machines you listed.

    Is there a particular reason you are after a heat exchange machine?

    Whatever your budget, please factor in a decent amount for the grinder, there are many great grinders, but you need to take the time to pick one that suits your requirements best. Once again visit a few local shops and get a feel for their level of service, if they are helpful it may be worth spending your money there, as it's great to have honest advice and assistance when it comes time to service or repair your equipment.

    http://coffeesnobs.com.au/sponsors/

    Though this list does seem very old?
    Dimal, matth3wh and slipslopslap like this.

  3. #3
    Junior Member TampPolice's Avatar
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    +1 to what Jono_Willmer said.

    You can extract incredibly good espresso from all of your options and many others.
    The key is to find a good grinder to match. A good stepless burr grinder coupled with any of the machines you listed can produce exceptionally good espresso for years.

    I use a Mazzer Mini Electronic A and I am really happy with it.
    As a rough guide, I would suggest you reserve around 40% of the budget for the grinder.

    As for the espresso machine, if you haven't done so already, have a look at both the heat exchanger and the dual boiler machines before you make a decision. One is not better than the other but they operate differently.

  4. #4
    Site Sponsor SpiceBean's Avatar
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    Hi Lotta, Congrats on your search

    what the guys said already is good advice and regarding HX OR DB, the DB's are not really that great below $2000-$2500 machines. You can certainly get great HX machines at that price point but if you have a higher budget you will prob find DB machines provide great temp stability when coupled with a PID temp controller.

    Mike
    Last edited by SpiceBean; 2nd September 2017 at 08:48 AM.

  5. #5
    Junior Member lottacooties's Avatar
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    Thanks to all for your excellent advice!

    I have just become the "proud" owner of a Breville "Dynamic Duo" double boiler espresso machine package with a 'smart' conical burr grinder. Definitely not my first choice, but it was the result of a recent successful insurance claim due to some nefarious characters stealing some goods from my motor vehicle; so it really didn't cost me any coin. The machine comes highly recommended by Craig Simon. Australian Barista Champion who said 24.5 out of 25. Ridiculously good.! What's the best home coffee machine? | Newcastle Herald

    So far, machine exceeds all expectations in the few shots I've done in this short time (had to stop as I was overloading on caffeine). It is not as pretty as the Diadema Unico Splendor but still a good looking unit. I await with some trepidation the inevitable breakdowns and potential crappy customer service. But, who knows, I may be lucky and get a few years out of it - I have maxed out the optional replacement warranty from the retailer just in case, so should get 6 years out of it at no cost (possibly some angst if it does breakdown); but always remembering the ACCC is my friend! In the meantime, I'll save my pennies for the day the Breville craps out and get the Unico Splendor.

    Wish me luck - I'll keep you all informed!

    Great shots to all!

    Lotta Cooties
    matth3wh and SpiceBean like this.

  6. #6
    Junior Member TampPolice's Avatar
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    All the best!

    I have been using the dual boiler myself and I've been very satisfied with the quality of espresso out of this unit.
    The machine allows for more than enough tweakability to unlock hidden flavours from just about any kind of roast.

    The extra warranty should also help with resale down the track.

    Also leaves enough room to buy other toys with the leftover budget.
    You can get a naked portafilter for around $80 directly from Breville.

  7. #7
    Junior Member lottacooties's Avatar
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    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    Thanks TampPolice

    pleased to hear you are happy with your dual boiler. I am most impressed so far. Had to tweak the grinder a bit, but am now most satisfied with the machines output. A bit spooky, I just ordered a naked filter before I read your post.

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