Some more info for you here Judy.... http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1222913634/0#12
Im new here, and need to get a new machine after our Breville Cafe Roma died after nearly 3 years. I would like to upgrade to something better, but am a bit worried about the short warranties given on expensive machines (eg. only 1 year on the Silvia).
Id like to try a machine with a boiler rather than a thermoblock this time, so have been thinking of a Gaggia or an Ikon. At $350, the Ikon is attractive as its only $100 more or so than the Cafe Roma Stainless that we had.
Ive read all about people replacing the pressurized baskets in it, so I would do that too. Are you people who have bought Ikons generally happy with your choice, considering the reasonable cost of the machine? I would be really annoyed if I bought an expensive machine, only to have it die after a couple of years.
Some more info for you here Judy.... http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1222913634/0#12
If you keep an eye on the catalogues you can pick them up for $249 (or sometimes $299 with a grinder) from Target, Myer, etc. Put the money you have saved into an extended warranty - be mindful though that the terms of the extended warranty often arent as good as the manufacturers warranty so read the fine print.
I bought my Ikon ~3 months ago and am really happy. Paid $250 + $40 for an extra year warranty. It makes about two cups of coffee a day on average. I figure if it lasts me two years Ive easily saved more than I would normally spend on buying coffee from cafes. In fact, you break even after about 4 months.
Sorry cant vouch for its durability - I dont think theyve been around for a very long time so probably wont be anyone whos had one for more than a year.
Just keep in mind that the reason the cheap department store machines need longer warranties is because they break. You need only look at the Sunbeam 69xx series for example.
The Silvia is sold with a 12 month parts and labour warranty and CSers here will verify that they very rarely fail.
Happy shopping ;)
Ive had my Ikon since May 2007 and havent had a problem with it yet. I usually draw 2-3 shots per day so its had a fair amount of use. I would say that for the low price you can pick them up for at the moment they are probably the best value for money around. I bought mine for $350 when they just came out but if you shop around now you can easily find them for a lot less than that and if your grind and tamp is good they produce a really nice shot. I cant really speak for a Gaggia because Ive never used one but I am very happy with the Ikon (and will continue to be until the Silvia fund reaches its goal).
Ive had my Ikon for just over a year & so far, I havent had any problems. *The Ikon is capable of consistently producing fantastic tasting shots, but you need to have a few basic things right:
1) *A good quality grinder. (This made the single biggest improvement in my shots)
2) *An un-pressurised filter basket.
3) *A good quality tamper.
4) *Freshly roasted beans. (roasted within a few days)
5) *Repeatable technique when grinding, dosing & tamping. (Should produce a pour of anywhere from 20 to 30 seconds)
I hope this helps!;) *Enjoy the journey!;D
Thanks for all your replies. Im more confused than ever now. It seems that the more research I do, the harder it is to decide what machine to get.
Judy, I agree with all of the comments above so wont say too much more. Ive had my Ikon for 10 months it produces 3 shots a day and hasnt given me any issues at all (knock on wood).
Just to add more weight to the Ikon, if you live in Sydney or Melbourne, the Breville seconds outlets sell the Ikon at $129.00 standard price. Nearly all of their machines are brand new, just without packaging. The machine and all its bits are in a plactic bag.... instead of a box., and it still comes with the 12 month warranty.
Like I said, had mine for 10 months and all is great. It may not produce the greatest shot in the world, but at that price, plus the Breville Bar Italia unpressurised basket for $9 (Breville seconds outlet) and a 52mm tamper $20 (cant remember where I got it), freshly ground beans from a good grinder.... you really cant complain.
Best of luck.
Im still undecided. Do you know if theres a Breville seconds outlet in Brisbane? At that price I wouldnt be risking much and could give it a try. So far Ive only seen it at $350, which is quite a lot. At that price, I keep thinking I might as well spend a bit more and go upmarket. but even the Silvia seems to not be perfect, and its only guaranteed for 1 year, same as the cheaper machines.
Sorry Judy, no Breville seconds outlet in Brisbane. I was thinking the same as you 10 months ago... spend $250-$400 on a "cheap" machine or $500-$800+ for something better (but how much better??).
I never had to answer the question, I just couldnt ignore the value of the Ikon at $129. Unfortunately Ive never owned, or used any of the $500+ machines, so Ill have to leave you in the hands of the other members here who can speak for their value for money and life expectancy.
Im happy with my Ikon, and would buy it again if/when this one breaks. Im the only coffee drinker in the house and too much self indulgence is not a good thing :).
Best of luck with your decision.
Can anyone name the outlet stores where these sorts of machines are sold? I live in Adelaide and want a Breville 800es or a BES800 but everywhere seems to be too expensive. I am also considering the EM6910 but also price is an issue.
I already have a good grinder.
Welcome to Coffee Snobs Matt.
What grinder do you have?
Can I take up TGs comment...and throw this in the mix. I started with and still have a little Sunbeam Ristretto. Its not sexy. Its black plastic with a stainless lid on the drip tray. Its look simple and functional with a small footprint. It has a nice little boiler (not thermoblock) and steams like a little bandit. You can pick them up for about $90 from memory. Its PF is the small one. I have a feeling that its possible to get non pressurised baskets for them...do a search on this site if interested. If you could get that machine, and the baskets, and put the rest towards a good grinder thats the way I would go if I were on smaller end budget for a first set up. Just a thought.
...ohh and if you can afford a good machine and a good grinder then go the Silvia and dont worry about the 12 months. *Built to last like little tanks but look after them and dont let the boiler get low on water.
I recommend the Breville Factory Outlet - should only be about $150-200 there :)
Again, I dont think Im qualified to give advice on the machine itself, but I noticed someone is selling theirs on the Hardware for Sale page.
Hi There, Its me again!
In the end I bought a Rancillio Rocky grinder and have been using my sons Cafe Roma. Coffees arent as good as from a good cafe, but are much better with freshly ground coffee than pre-ground.
Son is soon moving out and taking his Cafe Roma with him, so now I really have to make a decision. After lots of research, Id love to buy a $2000 - $3000 machine but fear my husband would never talk to me again if I did. Besides, Id have to sell some shares to buy one, and with the share market down at the moment I dont want to do that.
A Breville seconds outlet has just opened in Brisbane - I can get another Roma for $99 or an Ikon for $179. I didnt ask the prices of any other models, but I guess I could get any Breville at a discount price.
So, should I buy an Ikon, or just stick with the Roma again? Some people seem to think the Ikon is ok and a step up from the Roma. Is it worth the extra $80?
Id definitely opt for the Ikon if its within your budget. It is a much more capable machine and much more thermally stable that the Roma. If you then decide to grab a couple of standard baskets for the Ikon, it will repay you many fold (so long as you stick with high quality, freshly roasted coffee and only ground immediately before brewing). One of my sons used to have the Roma and now has an Ikon (using standard baskets) and the quality of coffee being produced is like chalk and cheese. Having a decent grinder is absolutely essential of course and the Rocky certainly fits that bill.
All the best Judy, :)
Does anyone know if an Ikon from the Breville factory oulet should be ok? The cheapest I can get it from a normal shop is $300. I have also been looking at the Sunbeam EM6910 for $522 (best price Ive found). I dont know if Sunbeam have a factory oulet in Brisbane where I could get it cheaper.
Im still umming and ahhing. Id like to try the Ikon, but it does seem to have a downside with no solenoid valve, and what about temperature surfing - do you have trouble getting it to the right temperature like the Silvia?
OK, Im replying to myself. :( I took the risk and got an Ikon from the new Breville factory outlet in Tingalpa and Ive ordered a Krups unpressurized double basket. Ive made one cup of coffee with the pressurized double basket and it tastes good. The coffee also poured out a lot more slowly than with the Cafe Roma, which is good as it always came out too fast no matter what I did.
Because its a boiler machine it is going to take me a while to get used to though - the priming isnt something I had to do with the Roma. Does this have to be done every time its switched on in the morning? The instruction book doesnt really make that clear.
Good one Judy.... [smiley=thumbsup.gif]
Priming the Boiler is essentially a safety measure that is well worth your while to build into your normal routine. After "steaming" water in the Boiler has been depleted and if you continued on without Priming the Boiler, there would be a risk of running the water level too low, expose the heating element and risk burning it out.
Its an easy thing to do and when made part of your normal coffee making routine, will ensure that your Boiler is not only kept full and ready to go but clean as well. After "stretching" your milk, and after cleaning the outside of the wand of milk remnants, open the Steam Valve again while the wand is directed towards the Drip Tray or into a spare jug and then Hit the Hot Water Button and wait until you observe a steady stream of water replace the sputtering steam. Close the Steam Valve, Turn Off the Hot Water Switch and then youre done. If you do this after every steam session the Boiler will always be full prior to your next coffee break.
This is more or less the same routine followed by all Dual Purpose/Single Boiler espresso machine owners such as the Ikon, Silvia and Gaggia Classic style of machines. All the best and Happy Brewing.... :)
Thanks Mal :)
The instruction book also says to prime the machine "before first use" to heat up everything inside. So I assume this means that it should be done whenever its turned on from cold. Is this normal practice? The instructions arent very clear.
This instruction is included because espresso machines are usually shipped with empty Boilers. If you follow the routine suggested above Judy, the Boiler should always be full before you start the machine for the first coffee of the day.... 8-)Originally Posted by Judy52 link=1222932957/20#21 date=1228384250
I am getting the Ikon as an engagement present, where is the outlet?
How do you like it now you have used it a bit?
Im pretty happy with the Ikon. The Breville Factory Outlet is in Tingalpa, quite a drive from where I live, but I thought it was worth the effort to save $120.
The boiler makes a big difference with steaming milk. With previous thermoblock machines, I gave up on steaming milk as it was never hot enough, but the Ikon does the job well.
But even with freshly roasted and ground coffee, I dont get a great deal of crema. *Can someone tell me if I need to adjust my grinder - make it finer, maybe? Otherwise, what would be the reason for the small amount of crema?
I realize a lot of people are probably away on holidays, but does anyone know if its possible to get good crema from an Ikon?
Also, I bought the Krups double basket, but have since read that I should have got the Krups group head seal as well. Is it really necessary? If I fitted the Krups seal would I get better crema perhaps?
If you have a look at this thread http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1229668955 you will see a pic of a shot that is abot 90% crema (something to do with the beans I think). As for the Krups seal, you will only need it if you get leakage during your shot, if not, then no you wont need it.
When using the double shot filter, are you getting approx 60ml of espresso in 30 seconds from the time that you hit the brew switch?
If you arent somewhere in that vicinity, then you will need to adjust your grind until you get close to it. try not to alter anything else though (dose and tamp).
I read somewhere that its the Robusta beans that give the most crema. I dont know if the beans I use have that in them(Merlo Espresso Blend). Ill try grinding finer to see if that helps as I think it only takes about 20 secs to get a double shot, so thats probably the main problem.
Judy, I think the photo of the coffee in the pic referred to in the cs thread above is actually an arabica bean. Certainly, robusta has the ability to produce large amounts of crema, though your issue is either to do with your technique, or the coffee youre using. I know I tend to get better crema from coffee thats not roasted too dark.
The Merlo espresso blend is pretty dark. Its my favourite as it has quite a chocolately taste. Ive tried grinding it a bit finer but it still takes less than 20 seconds to get 60ml, and theres still not much crema. The beans were roasted only 6 days ago.
I think Ill buy some different beans and see if theres more crema from them.
and still grind finer. If you still arent getting the 60 in 30 "ballpark" you arent quite there yet. I would suspect that the shot runs pretty watery early into the pour also.
Could also be related to the dose too Judy......
You need to make sure youre putting enough coffee in the basket so that after tamping, when you lock the PF into place and then remove it, you can see the slightest impression of the shower-screen or centre screw in the top of the puck. Once you can consistently dose the basket and tamp to achieve this, you will be 90% of the way there. :)
Also tamping pressure, Judy. Im not sure if anyones shown you how to tamp properly but, until I starting watching YouTube videos and reading information from here, I was almost only just resting the tamper in the basket which led to water running through the grinds really quickly and no crema whatsoever.
If youre like me, with a girly lack of muscles arm, I tamp so Im leaning into the basket with a straight forearm so that Im putting quite a bit of pressure on the grinds (I think there is a weight you can use somewhere) and then back off and polish the puck. You will also find that, by doing this, you fit a whole lot more into the basket.
Hope this helps...
Grinding it finer has helped. Perhaps I should try even finer. The puck is very wet unless I steam milk after making the coffee, when it becomes dryer. So I cant really see if theres an impression of the shower screen or screw in the puck. Also, if I fill the basket right up the coffee is way too strong for me. Maybe I should buy a single Krups basket and fill it right to the top.
Thanks also Di
I must have posted at the same time you did as I didnt see your post before. I have been trying to tamp hard, but I know I need a better tamper. I bought a metal one from a kitchen shop, but its a little too small. I imagine this is a bad thing. I went to a specialist coffee place first and tried a 51mm tamper, but it was a little too tight. The one I have is probably 50mm, so I need something in between, or else maybe I should get the Breville unpressurized baskets as someone said they fit a 52mm tamper.
As the Ikon doesnt have a 3 way valve so if there is "head room" between the puck and the showerscreen this will remain full of water = mushy puck.
How are you drinking your coffee?..... if a milk based drink or a long black.... once you get the 60ml in 25 seconds correctly.... just cut the shot short so you extract less espresso..... if drinking espresso that wont work of course!
A single basket is much harder to extract a good shot..... not impossible - but definitely harder! Most of us dont use them for that reason.... preferring to tip half down the sink..... keeping half in the fridge for iced coffees.... or just having a double ourselves ;)
Keep on practising.... you will get there and enjoy the great coffee you are producing!
The Breville 1/2 and 2/4 baskets have the level marks and numbers stamped inwards and the whole basket tapers inwards as well. Therefore when you have a fitted tamper (like one of ours- a Pullman) they wont be a good fit as a gap must be left to clear these ridges and also to allow for the tamper to enter far enough.....Originally Posted by Judy52 link=1222932957/20#34 date=1231031722
They arent a good choice unfortunately. :(
OK. So I wont waste my money on Breville baskets. But where can I get a 50.5mm tamper without having one custom-made?
Commercially made tampers are generally only nominally whole mm sizes (51, 52, 58 etc)...... but they arent manufactured all that accurately! So if you shop around you might find a 51mm which is 0.5mm smaller.....
Generally most people either "soldier on" with a poor fitting tamper or have one custom made...... There isnt a huge range of "off the shelf" tampers other than for the 58mm (commercial sized) baskets.
Ahhh sorry (my fault :-[),Originally Posted by Judy52 link=1222932957/20#33 date=1231031183
When checking the top of the puck for a shower(screw) impression, I meant for you to try this without actually pulling a shot; basically, locking the PF in all the way and then removing it to see if there is the slightest sign of an impression in the top of the puck. If the impression is well and truly marked on the top of the puck, you probably have too much coffee in the basket. No sign of any impression at all? Then, too little coffee in the basket. You are looking for a sign that the shower-screen or centre-screw is just barely touching the top of the puck. This way, when the brew water first enters the basket, the coffee puck will swell up as it absorbs some of the water while maintaining cohesiveness so that a good seal is maintained between the sides of the basket and the coffee. Channelling due to fracturing of the puck is also considerably reduced if the puck isnt being excessively disturbed when locking in the PF.
Id stick with using the Double Basket for the time being, as JB has mentioned above.... It is a lot easier to learn on and even if a full 60ml of coffee is too much for you in a single cup, try collecting half of the shot in another cup or glass and keep it in the fridge for later use in an iced coffee, etc. You could also try pulling the shot a little shorter as JB has also mentioned; a kind of Ristretto.
One thing you cant do though, is put too little coffee in the basket.... Each basket is designed to work properly only when it contains the correct amount of ground coffee, hence my explanation above of looking for the impression on top of a dry puck to work out what the "ideal" dose for your machine should be. Once you become more confident using your machinery and can regularly churn out great coffee using the Double, you could then try experimenting with the Single Basket, using the same method to identify the "ideal" dose and then see how you go.
Since you are still using the pressurised baskets that came with your machine, it isnt necessary to use a lot of force when tamping the coffee down. So long as there are no air voids in the puck and it is completely cohesive, that is all you really need to worry about as the resistance to the Brew Water flow is created mainly by the pin-hole on the underside of the basket and to a much lesser degree by the coffee puck itself. You still need to make sure that you are using the correct quantity of coffee, firmly tamped into the basket though otherwise your coffee will be unevenly extracted. If you do eventually go the route of standard unpressurised baskets, then this will require a much firmer tamp and one that is applied with as close as possible, the same force each and every time. Pressurised baskets are much easier to use in this respect.
Anyway, hope some of the above is helpful. Have fun and Happy Brewing.... :)
Thanks for that Mal
I am actually using an unpressurized Krups basket. But Im not filling it enough - I get annoyed by the mess if I fill it too much - I guess Ill have to get over that. Also, putting half in the fridge is a good idea.
With the finer grind I can see it coming out much thicker and more slowly and theres more crema - so the grind was probably the main problem.
I had a EM0430 grinder that I was using with my new 800ES and it eventually died. I got an EM0480 grinder now that works really well but I still have to get the unpressurised baskets. I feel that both of these items get a bit of an unfair hiding on snobs.
The 800ES seems to crank out a good brew and the grinder is certainly a good piece of kit for the money. I guess not all of us have a magical budget!! My budget was stretched to get these two items (Thanks to Macca!!) and I am stoked with both. He even included a popper and some green beans for me to have a go with.
Top bloke, great price, couldnt be happier. If anyone is in Mona Vale and they need a hotel, look him up for me and give him the business!!
I dont think you can say unfair unless you have something to compare them to yourself.Originally Posted by matty73350 link=1222932957/40#41 date=1231239633
I havent used an 800ES so Ill only comment on the EM0480.
I have the EM0450 (same grinder but with plastic body and one less switch).
I found it to be noisy, messy and prone to clumping the grinds.
Compared to my Macap its chalk and cheese.
To be fair though, I replaced the 0450 with a Gaggia MDF, which is a lot cheaper than a Macap, but still, the MDF is cleaner and quieter and because of its doser, less prone to clumping.
I recommend the 0450/0480 as the absolute minimum for a grinder so I agree with you that for the money its OK.
But you get what you pay for and a $200 grinder does not perform any better than a $200 grinder.
If you read enough here you find the same theme throughout, a better grinder with the same machine makes better coffee.
Enjoy what youve got for now and get the most out of them; you never know what might come your way in the future.
Pulled the trigger on the Ikon for the shop today, should have it here shortly after the weekend $145 for an "as new" factory 2nd / reconditioned unit. Am looking forward to better coffee in the shop than the 14 yr old Melitta can produce (hopefully). Will have to get the non-pressurised baskets from the local service agent (although I am quietly hoping that the baskets for the Melitta may fit as they are 53mm and non pressurised).
I think youll find the Ikon to be pretty good for that price. I find mine a lot better than the Cafe Roma which cost about the same 3 years ago (although I didnt get it from a factory oulet).
To clarify my point a bit, for those of us that dont have thousands of dollars to spend on grinders and machines, what we do purchase is a big deal. I spent some $600-$700 on gear which for me is a lot of money, I guess what I am saying is that people who have smaller budgets should not always be steered towards equipemnt that is much higher in price.
Advice needs to biased towards what the person has to spend etc, not necessarily always pushing people to spend more and more. There a great pearls of wisdon on this site, I enjoy reading it regularly to find out more about how to better make coffee, but there is a certain air of if you dont spend a certain amount of money it isnt worth it etc.
Maybe I am over reacting, just wanted to get the thought out there.
Be well in coffee!!!
When I bought my equipment I was in a better position than I am now and took advantage of it.
My point was that you said "unfair hiding" and I reacted to that.
Remember, I own the 0450 and limited my "hiding" to that one.
Youll find plenty of examples on this site of me recommending the 6910 and the 0450.
Along with those recommendations though Ill throw in what I know about them; pros and cons.
Also remember that Im an auditor and occasionally that bubbles to the surface. *;)
Ive used a few machines and own a few grinders.
That means Ive experienced the difference that better equipment can make to the resultant coffee.
The auditor in me was pointing out that you need to have experienced comparisons of your own before you can call opinions on the 0450/0480 and 800ES "unfair".
I also believe that if I can convince you to stretch your budget just a little it will save you money in the long run.
All my recommendations always have your best interest in mind.
After all, I get nothing out of any decision you make, other than satisfaction if you are happy and making good coffee.
I guess I stretched the budget as far as I could and got the best that I could for that money. I would love to have spent a bit more the 6910 but it just want there. I had the 0430 which I am now comparing to my 0480 and there is no comparison so I get what you are saying.
Anyways, all god mate, I was just venting a little. I have made a good purchase as far as I am concerned and Macca has been great to deal with. He sent me some of his home roast and it is great, he also sent a surprise popper and green beans for me to have a go myself!!
Good group of people with a great thing in common!!
I dont understand why youre posting in this section. This is about Breville Ikons. Do you have a Breville 800ES or a Sunbeam 6910?
Very happy with the Ikon - (has anyone made a bottomless PF for it???)
Thanks for all the valuable information in this thread. I had the budget grant from my wife to upgrade my Breville Italia (as I am the only coffee lover) and I was researching equipment at the 200 dollar mark. Thanks mostly to this thread I ended up with an Ikon and the sunbeam 0450 grinder, both sourced from the respective factory outlets in Melbourne for less than $300.
In fact I bought the 800ES first, even though I sort of knew a boiler was neater than thermoblock - but I liked the die cast design of the 800. However, after some reading I got buyers remorse and was able to exchange it for the Ikon (with difference refunded! - not that easy at the factory outlets).
Luckily I already had the unpressurised basket from my retired Italia, so I never even touched the crema enhancing baskets. I am now practicing my lattes and espressos (and whatever requests a I get from guests). My only issue now is getting better crema. I am only able to get a thin layer of golden crema, however the espresso get is sweet and rich. I suspect a proper tamper is my next necessity.
After all my researching online and reading threads on CS I am certain Ive got the best package I can get for 300 bucks and I am so far very satisfied with my results (without a proper tamper). I do feel sorry for those who buy machines at kmart, etc without knowing what is required to make a decent cup - I suppose those are the machines that end up on ebay and cash converters... When I first came across this forum I thought you all were insane coffee geeks (and Im a computer programmer!). However, since Ive started visiting this forum my wife now thinks Im a complete coffee lunatic. I regularly humor my colleagues with the interesting facts I keep finding about how the make a perfect espresso, like stirring the grind in a number 8 motion with a toothpick before tamping, etc. However I have joined ranks with you and I am planning to make get a naked portafilter made (another interesting espresso fact that Ive labeled barista pornography).
Ive found no info on CS on making the Ikon PF bottomless (not even sure if its brass). My motivation is that I find the PF to be dripping rather than pouring from the two holes which I suspect is due to the small diameter of the holes combined with a slow pour. Ive already ordered a PF and Id like to hear if anyone else has done this before with the Ikons PF before I find a machinist to do the job? *Alternatively Id like a proper spout mounted on it instead of the two holes, but Im guessing that would be quite difficult to get done (at a reasonable cost). I guess this belongs to a different thread?