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Thread: For Those with No Money But the Upgraditis Bug...

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    Senior Member Coffee2Di4's Avatar
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    For Those with No Money But the Upgraditis Bug...

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Following on from my Silvia -v- 6910 thread...

    For those of us with no money at present, or other roadblocks (eg; spouses, work colleagues, etc), if you were to upgrade your machine and had the spare money laying around, what would be your next choice in the Mid Range Bracket (ie; $500-$1500)?

    Both a Machine and a Grinder. *You can chose a couple, but try and keep your limit as to if you were really in the market. Please feel free to comment on what attracts you to your choices.

    My choices:-

    • Espresso Machine: * Either the Acasso Steel or the Nuovi Simonella Oscar.

      My reason for choice is that both have either dual boilers or a boiler and a thermblock, which will allow me to pull a shot and steam my milk either at the same time or straight afterwards. *Im far to impatient to wait for a boiler to build up steam - Ive done it once before on a boiler machine and it drove me nuts!

      Also, as mentioend in a previous post, Im not fond of the machines that look as though theyve just stepped out of a boilermakers workshop with all the extra bits added or the grouphead jutting out of the machine like an aftermarket accessory. *I like my machine to look neat, compact but not too sharp edged, square and utilitarian.


    • Grinder: *Mazerra BB004

      Sad, *but true, I like the blue hopper on it!


    Im assuming, with doing no real heavy research - but I most definitely will when (if?) I go down the path of upgraditis - that, because they are Italian made, they are a good product so Im just purely going on looks and features.

    Feel free to comment on my choices, if you so desire - its all a huge fun learning curve for me!

    Cheers
    Di

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    Re: For Those with No Money But the Upgraditis Bug

    OK Ill bite :)
    I have thought about the Oscar a bit, it does have a good sized boiler and I havent read of any owners complaining about the plastic body, they generally seem to like the body work, but, there always seem to be a but, IF I had one, going by what Ive read elsewhere I would be looking at retrofitting a OPV on the cold water side of the boiler, and a vacuum breaker as well.
    Anyway site sponsor Veneziano sell them so they would know how to set them up so they give there best.
    Dont know much about the Ascaso but if the brew boiler has a standard button thermostat you could find yourself temp surfing like us Silvia owners or fit a PID, but if you add the cost of a PID onto a $1650.00 machine your up into another price bracket once again site sponsor Di Bartoli would know whats needed to get the best from the Ascaso.
    Probably stick with what youve got till you can move up into a nice thermostable HX, as an example read Lucas review of his Maver Makin
    http://pourquality.blogspot.com/2007...-maver_15.html
    yeah I know you dont like the look of it , maybe the Diadema Junior would be more to your liking.

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    Re: For Those with No Money But the Upgraditis Bug

    Quote Originally Posted by Hoyks link=1230949095/0#0 date=1230949095
    Im assuming, with doing no real heavy research - but I most definitely will when (if?) I go down the path of upgraditis - that, because they are Italian made, they are a good product so Im just purely going on looks and features.
    Having just bought a Pavoni Europiccola Professional I think the Italians have lots of style but are absolutely dyslexic when it comes to functionality and engineering. Just about everything is back to front, but I have to admit it makes great espresso and is lots of fun as you can control flow rate (by hand being a lever machine) and hence dont have to be quite so pedantic with the tamp as the EM6910.
    My Rancillio Rocky grinder I have no urge to upgrade it performs well,especially with new burrs.

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    Re: For Those with No Money But the Upgraditis Bug

    Hi Di,

    I think that price structures in espresso machines and grinders are ... well ... cruel. *The marketplace has a continuum of products at various price points, but, unfortunately, I dont think that quality and value increase linearly with price. *The way that I see it, it works out like this ...

    For espresso machines, there are three distinct brackets.

    The first bracket is your entry level $600 plus bracket. *The 6910 seems to be a fairly civilised machine at a very reasonable price if you like decent milk drinks. *I say "seems" because I havent had much experience with it. *Or you can get a Silvia, which will give you one enjoyable shot in 20 if you are lucky and will do you the disservice of living forever, making it more difficult to justify an upgrade. *(2nd hand, the silvia is much more attractive, but Im going to write about BNIB prices.) *Thats the entry level, which I guess is two machines around, what, $600-800. *From what I have seen, you should compare the steel duos results with machines in this price bracket, seeing as it looks like it shares the same components - all that it will do is eliminate the brew/steam transition time.

    The second bracket is the $1400 plus bracket ... though the machines here will bleed into the next bracket, too. *This bracket basically contains the Oscar and the single boiler e61s. *The Oscar is fantastic value for money, but it is especially important that the vendor sets it up properly, rather than just on-selling the box to you, because it has no gauges. *Frankly, running up Oscars and tweaking the pstats was not one of my favourite parts of the job at Veneziano, but I have to admit that it was very rewarding to get such a cheap machine producing respectable shots. *The Oscar cuts corners on the plastic shell, the hot water wand and the group head. *The stock steam tip can be a bit violent for small amounts of milk and shots tend to speed up towards the end of the pour. *If any of those are deal breakers, youll need to add more to your budget. *The alternative is the single boiler e61 machines. *These are basically not suitable if you want to make milk drinks, as the boiler has to heat up from brew to steam and this takes a few minutes. *They should, however, be a considerable step up from the first bracket machines in terms of espresso - both quality and ease of use ... I mean, these machines are basically half a dual-boiler e61.

    The third bracket is the $2000 plus bracket; home of the prosumer e61 heat exchanger machines and the few dual boiler domestic machines. *These machines tend to be cobbled together from a mixture of standard parts used in commercial machines and parts made for the domestic market. *Broadly speaking, these machines are capable of performing up there with all but the best commercial machines. *However, as with commercial machines, their performance can vary ... both from model to model and within a production run of one model, depending on how they are set up. *Its a good idea to make sure that you have a good frame of reference for different espresso tastes and that you know your way around a machine before you buy one, so that you can try a few out and give yourself the best shot at getting something good out of the $2500 lottery. *Otherwise, youll end up like those people who are clueless enough to wax lyrical on this site about those machines that I think are garbage ;P

    There are two further options that warrant a brief mention. *The first is the extremely expensive and awesome machines like the GS3 ($7.5k or so) and the Speedster ($10k or so) ... if youre considering these, you are probably sitting there reading this post and mentally adding in a plethora of things that I have oversimplified or skipped over. *The second is buying a second-hand commercial machine. *These are often available at what seem to be fairly reasonable prices, but dont make the mistake of thinking that because they are commercial they are necessarily good. *Many cafe machines have just had it from abuse after a few years and restoring them is more effort than it is worth. *Of course, these machines are big, always need to be plumbed in or at least run off a rather large bottle and you might not be able to run them off your kitchen circuit. *If you are buying these machines, you are either a DIY master with a fair idea of whats required or you are potentially up for grief.

    If youre still interested in buying an espresso machine after that dose of healthy scepticism, best of luck!

    Luca

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    Senior Member flynnaus's Avatar
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    Re: For Those with No Money But the Upgraditis Bug

    Quote Originally Posted by luca link=1230949095/0#3 date=1230982319
    Hi Di,

    The alternative is the single boiler e61 machines. *These are basically not suitable if you want to make milk drinks, as the boiler has to heat up from brew to steam and this takes a few minutes.

    Luca
    A succinct but excellent assessment of various espresso machine options, Luca.

    I thought the Speedster would be way out of my league but is the GS3 also only recommended for very experienced baristi (home or professional)?

    I dont know about other dual purpose single boiler E61s, but I can get my Levetta ready for steaming in about a minute after stopping the shot. That includes purging.

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    Senior Member Koffee_Kosmo's Avatar
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    Re: For Those with No Money But the Upgraditis Bug

    Weather any machine is affordable now is not an issue for me

    What is my decision making process
    Use & needs
    Features
    Appearance

    It is pointless buying any product to be used a few times and then store it away when it does not perform to your personal use & needs
    (and we have all done that)

    Test drive machines and choose a set of features based on your use & needs add a little forward thinking for future growth of usage

    Put down as large a deposit as you can afford and borrow the rest
    Small monthly repayments are manageable

    I know this may go against the grain of popular thought but it is a sound and sensible option

    KK

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    Re: For Those with No Money But the Upgraditis Bug

    Expobar Pulsar maybe, it does lack a boiler pressure gauge and to my eyes not much of a looker but from what I have read it performs OK, make sure the dealer takes the time to set it up properly as like the Oscar theres no gauge.
    Here is a Link to a closer look on a UK site.

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    Re: For Those with No Money But the Upgraditis Bug

    Quote Originally Posted by flynn_aus link=1230949095/0#4 date=1230984383
    I thought the Speedster would be way out of my league but is the GS3 also only recommended for very experienced baristi (home or professional)?
    The idea the the GS3 (or any other LM/Synesso machine) is only recommended for very experienced baristi probably stems from the fact that it is people with a lot of experience who see the value in these machines and rave about them. Invariably, any rave about these machines will mention their brew temperature properties - ie. repeatable and easily adjustable (any insinuation that a flat-line profile is desirable per se as opposed to as a means to reproduce the profile should be looked on with suspicion, btw).

    It is fair to say that you wont get the most out of the easy brew temperature adjustment on a GS3 unless you have had a lot of experience tasting espresso and some experience fiddling around with brew temperature. However, you lose nothing by having the ability to easily adjust brew temperature ... indeed, you gain the opportunity to build your palate to take temperature into account.

    Repeatable brew temperature profiles are beneficial to everyone, especially people with little experience. If you bought an e61 machine, for example, it would be harder to dial in a shot than on a GS3 because the temperature will increase over successive shots.

    There is nothing to be gained by buying a machine that is more difficult to adjust or that produces less repeatable brew temperatures.

    I guess that a similar notion is that you would only benefit from a better grinder if you had already put up with a crappier one. This is just wrong. A beginner will probably have an easier time getting decent shots out of, say, an EM6910 or a Silvia if it were paired with a Robur rather than an EM0480 or a Rocky.

    In espresso equipment, you pay more money for ease of use. Cheaper domestic equipment is harder to use than (good) commercial equipment. If it werent for the price, every beginner would be well advised to start with a GS3 and Robur Electronic rather than a Silvia/Rocky or 6910/0480.

    Cheers,

    Luca

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    Senior Member flynnaus's Avatar
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    Re: For Those with No Money But the Upgraditis Bug

    As usual, thanks for taking the time for the informative and informed reply. It sounds like some sort of training would be necessary for the beginner to know how to adjust but there wouldnt be too many who would have a lazy $7K to splurge on a coffee machine.

    I can see where you are coming from with the grinder comparison. With fewer variables/options at hand it is difficult to improve the quality of the shot.

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    Re: For Those with No Money But the Upgraditis Bug

    All I can say is...

    I LOVE my Oscar.

    Even though it seems to have been designed by a left hander who was too scared to go all the way, i still love it.

    Also, unlike my gaggia, when 5 friends drop round, it has enough grunt and volume to get coffees out for everyone in a reasonable time.

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    Senior Member Coffee2Di4's Avatar
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    Re: For Those with No Money But the Upgraditis Bug

    Firstly, a huge thank you Luca - I always love your replies. Theyre always really informative and non-biased and a pleasure to read - drop into my threads anytime!

    Raphec - thanks for the response: I was hoping someone that had an Oscar would respond so I could pick their brains a bit! Not that Im going to be in a position to buy one any time in the next year or two probably, but what sort of price did you pay for it? Ive tried to do a search on all our Sponsors and then googled Australia Wide, with no luck. Also, have you had any issues with it since you bought it?

    Cheers
    Di

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    Re: For Those with No Money But the Upgraditis Bug

    Hoyks

    There is a NZ retailer of these and they sell for around $1600 NZ. I only found this by accident yesterday as they also sell VBM. This seems like a bargain for a HX machine, significantly cheaper than anything else I have seen over here (usually around $2.5+). Seems strange that NZ would have this product, but not Aus (or any of the sponsors).

    I also googled some reviews on coffeegeeks, they seemed quite complimentary of the machine, although did have some concerns over a few aspects of its build quality (something about an O ring and another small part) and most noted the "plastic" look rather than the S/Steel of the VBM etc.

    It has a 2.3l tank, no mention of boiler size (on the website anyway) and a 1200w element (this may or may not be adequate, dont know).

    Would be an interesting machine to have a play on. Its not an E-61 group head. Am unsure how much of a step up this would be from the 6910.

    Sen

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    Re: For Those with No Money But the Upgraditis Bug

    I got mine second hand off a fellow coffee snob.

    Veneziano (look at your sponsors) in melbourne have a awesome looking red one on display with a price tag around the $1400 mark if i recall correctly.

    As for issues, well i bought it second hand, and its about 5 or 6 years old i think. The pressure stat on it went, which took out the pressure relief valve as well. Veneziano fixed it for me, so its all working excellently now and producing consistently good coffee.

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    A_M
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    Re: For Those with No Money But the Upgraditis Bug

    Quote Originally Posted by Hoyks link=1230949095/0#10 date=1231451586
    Firstly, a huge thank you Luca - I always love your replies. *Theyre always really informative and non-biased and a pleasure to read - drop into my threads anytime!

    Raphec - thanks for the response: I was hoping someone that had an Oscar would respond so I could pick their brains a bit! *Not that Im going to be in a position to buy one any time in the next year or two probably, but what sort of price did you pay for it? *Ive tried to do a search on all our Sponsors and then googled Australia Wide, with no luck. *Also, have you had any issues with it since you bought it?

    Cheers
    Di
    Di

    Found heaps of info - Google is your friend.... *Coffeegeek and Coffeecrew etc *as well as a few posts on other forums...

    While my eye is focused on the top end... Reality is another matter and with some belt tightening going on. I am almost *in a position where I could afford an Oscar but little else... *

    My Rocky would do for the grinder and the Oscar is reported to be able to do the Milk and pour at the same time etc. *Thus with my usage mainly on Milk drinks.... *It would suit the family.

    I found one supplier in Australia and they appear to sell Red / Black and Silver. * The Silver is my choice if I was to go NEW.... *Which may yet be the case as not many available second-hand or if they are they are well hidden...

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    Re: For Those with No Money But the Upgraditis Bug

    The Silver is my choice
    Silver looks nice, but, the silver is a painted finish. N.B. This is unconfirmed as I am only going by what I have read.
    Red looks stunning I dont know if it is painted or red plastic.

  16. #16
    sdg
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    Re: For Those with No Money But the Upgraditis Bug...

    Quote Originally Posted by 7E677173120 link=1230949095/3#3 date=1230982319
    Or you can get a Silvia, which will give you one enjoyable shot in 20 if you are lucky and will do you the disservice of living forever, making it more difficult to justify an upgrade. *
    I had a laugh *(ruefully)

    But really - 1 in 20??

    :o

    I thought it was just me!! *:-[




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