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Thread: Bitter sweet dilemma

  1. #1
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    Bitter sweet dilemma

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hi All

    Sadly, my old machine has developed some issues that mean it is probably now too expensive to justify a professional fixing it. I do, however, have permission to look for a new ""baby" I was very interested in the Lever machines, particularly the Izzo Alexa, but I was wondering if there will be differences in the cup that justify the extra expense over a more traditional machine? I can afford a really good machine, but only if it lasts a long, long, long time and is upgraditis "immune" (nothing is upgrade "proof", right??) The Alexa would be a big stretch though...

    The way I use it is typical domestic use - 2 to 4 shots in the mornings (usually doubles) ,and few more on the weekends. I never cater for large groups, and so temperature consistency with long off periods is more important than speed between consecutive shots.

    My old machine was plumbed in, and I have bench space for a sizable single group.

    I have an HG-One grinder, which I bought because I loved the simplicity of it, the lack of things to go bang, and the need to get quite involved in the process to get your cup - it's everything I wanted and more. I'd love to get the equivalent feeling from a new machine - particularly in the simplicity of design. If something DOES go wrong, obviously having someone in Perth who knows what they are doing is important, and it would be nice to have something that was known to be reliable and easy to maintain.

    My drinking preference is for ristretto, and I love sweeter and more chocolate notes in the cup. My wife loves milk based coffees on the more mellow side.

    I just bought myself a Pullman tamper and some VST baskets for the old machine, so I would LOVE to have something that was 58mm, but it's not a deal breaker (seriously though - I've barely used them

    Anyway, I'd love some feedback on what the lever machines are like by comparison in the cup, or if I should just be a bit more practical/sensible and just buy a proven traditional machine?

    Cheers!!

  2. #2
    joe
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stickleback View Post
    Anyway, I'd love some feedback on what the lever machines are like by comparison in the cup, or if I should just be a bit more practical/sensible and just buy a proven traditional machine?

    Cheers!!
    Hi Stickleback,

    I too had to part with my volumetric machine, which again failed, and went to a lever machine.

    I've had it only a week, but can say that my short blacks have never been so smooth! After using single boiler and heat exchanger machines over nearly 30 years, I would never have believed it.

    I also like the procedure of making it, the fact that there is no need to back flush and (fingers crossed!) less to go wrong.

    Mine has a pump and a tank. You say you have plumbing - in your case you won't need a pump, which means near-silent operation.

    If you can justify it, I'd say go for it!
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  3. #3
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    First thing that springs to mind is, what could possibly be wrong with your current machine to make it beyond viable repair? Forgive me, just curious. It's only happened once or twice that I've had to tell someone a machine repair is not viable, and they were cheap gaggias, kitchenaids, superautos or brevilles/sunbeams. If it's one of those, fair play.

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    Hi Machinist, I was just reading your Londinium thread!

    It's not that it can't be repaired, it's just that I can't justify the indeterminate cost to get it going again. There are a couple of issues that need professional attention - I'm seriously not up to the task and there ain't no labour of love involved!
    First problem is that I sheared off a group head bolt trying to change the seal myself (something I have done before). It's a Cimbali and I was told that it would take at least couple of hours to get it out and back in again, plus then getting the bolt out. If the group was damaged in that process it would mean getting second hand and who knows what that might cost once I'm over a barrel?
    It also has had problems with consistent pressure which needs to be investigated - I had concerns that it might be the pump.
    Finally it has developed minor leaks from both the stream wand and the stream arm unless the handles are turned off tightly.
    So basically, worst case scenario it could easily be more than $1000, and that would depend entirely on the honesty of the machinist, and I just don't think the 20 year old machine is worth it. If I was more handy and had easy access to the parts, it might be a different story

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    Thanks Joe! What lever did you get?

  6. #6
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    Fair enough.

    Just had a read of your original thread and sounds like you have persevered with the Cimbali. My estimate for repair / service based on what you say above would be about half what you term worst case scenario, but sometimes it is wholly sensible to put those funds to a new machine.You definitely won't regret the Alex Leva, it is a wonderful thing and inherently very simple, but forgiving.

  7. #7
    joe
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stickleback View Post
    Thanks Joe! What lever did you get?
    Bezzera Strega.
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  8. #8
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    So I bit the bullet and ordered the Alex Leva - hopefully it arrives next week! Thanks to Chris @Talkcoffee
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  9. #9
    joe
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    Well done! You'll never look back.
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  10. #10
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    Neither will the mortgage!



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