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Thread: Machine in the <$1000 range.

  1. #1
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    Machine in the <$1000 range.

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

    Ive been using a Breville Cafe-Aroma for six years or so, and have always been pretty happy with the results. However, it has just decided to give up the ghost and its time to move on. Of course, Ive been secretely hoping this would happen for a long time so I have an excuse to upgrade.

    Budget is &lt;$1000.

    Ive got my eye on the Rancilo Silvia and the new Gee Espresso. The Gee has temperature control and I understand that the Rancillo can be upgraded to include a PID. But what exactly is a PID? Does it simply allow for brew temp control?

    Suggestions for other machines in my budget are welcome!

    I use a Delonghi KG100 grinder, buy my beans from a local roaster and machine only needs to be able to make a single espresso at a time. Not even really fussy about milk frothing (tend to drink espresso with a splash of warmed up milk) and to have more control and develop barrister skills (at least a little, not too much!)

  2. #2
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    Re: Machine in the <$1000 range.

    Welcome Jezza,

    My thoughts are if youre not doing too much with milk, the Silvia may suit you better be better as its simpler.

    A PID offers more precise control of brew temperature. Site sponsors PID kits and Jetblack are into PIDing Silvias. THe GEE has inbuilt temperature control out of the box, so does not require modification.

    As for your grinder, at this level, you will need something better. Look at a Breville BCG800, an ex cafe grinder or perhaps a Compak K3T.

    Some great stuff can be found at http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?board=Auction and you get to support a great cause as well *8-)

    Lastly, unless youre in law, its barista ;)

    2mcm

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    Re: Machine in the <$1000 range.

    Quote Originally Posted by 336C746269626E676764646C606F010 link=1295553316/1#1 date=1295553867
    Lastly, unless youre in law, its barista ;)

    2mcm
    Doh! Newbie! ::)

    Thanks for the fast reply and the tips.

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    Re: Machine in the <$1000 range.

    Having gone from the Breville Cafe Roma (ESP8C) to Silvia (w/ large 18gm basket) I can say its an upgrade allright. In my opinion the shots you can get out of the Silvia are night and day from the Breville.

    The problem I had with the Silvia was my grinder was not up to scratch, and had all sorts of issues. Ended up with an Iberital Challenge (should be gettable from a sponsor just over $300). While not up to the same sort of levels as some of the more expensive grinders its certainly more than capable of producing the same result in the cup with the right person behind the portafilter. In my case that just means I need to practice more.

    Personally regarding a PID Im getting some fairly consistent results with just following a routine, although a PID can always be added to a Silvia at a later date, if you get a Silvia + Grinder today, youll not be out coffee for a while and can upgrade later.

    Visit your local CS Sponsor and see what they have to say and show you ;)

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    Re: Machine in the <$1000 range.

    Quote Originally Posted by 595558585D51595753340 link=1295553316/3#3 date=1295560006
    Visit your local CS Sponsor and see what they have to say and show you Wink
    I doubt there is a CS sponsor in Hobart? Same problem that we have down here with hi-fi; auditioning is an issue!

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    Re: Machine in the <$1000 range.

    Quote Originally Posted by 616E71716A6964646C626E0B0 link=1295553316/0#0 date=1295553316
    But what exactly is a PID? Does it simply allow for brew temp control?
    When we put a PID process controller onto a single boiler coffee machine, were usually interested in controlling the temperature of the boiler. A basic PID will control the temperature in brew mode and hand back control to the machines steam thermostat in steam mode. A PID with steam control will also control the temperature of the boiler in steam mode. Given the Silvias "up and down" steam pressure when controlled by its steam thermostat, I think the PID with steam control is the one to go for. It will make the steam strong and consistent which helps texturing and speeds up heating.

    charlie

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    Re: Machine in the <$1000 range.

    Quote Originally Posted by 575847475C5F52525A54583D0 link=1295553316/0#0 date=1295553316
    But what exactly is a PID?
    Just to expand on 2mcms comment - the standard boiler temperature control in Silvia class machines is using thermostats which have a fairly wide deadband of ~10*C (eg. turn boiler on at 90 and off at 100) and there is overshoot of ~15*C after the boiler is switched off. So, on the face of it, a 25*C temperature swing in the boiler isnt ideal when we want stability for good extraction - PIDs can maintain the temperature at the set-point +/- a few degrees and you can change the set-point unlike thermostats.

    However, clever design of the boiler, group & water path with lots of brass smooths the temp swing and if you perfect your surfing technique you can take it out of the equation - but this requires focus on the process (which many like) while a PID allows you to walk up and pull a consistently great shot without that worry.

  8. #8
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    Re: Machine in the <$1000 range.

    It sounds like youve already narrowed it down to the 2 best machines within your price range and fit for your requirements. As already pointed out though, you should also allow for a better grinder too.

    I know Chris from Talk Coffee had an ex-demo GEE for a great pice. May want to check with him if its still available.




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    Re: Machine in the <$1000 range.

    Get a Silvia & Rocky combo. New will cost you a bit more than 1K, but you will have a setup that will last many years.

    Heaps of info on the Silvia on coffeesnobs, and the net generally, so help is always at hand.

    Dont worry about PIDs - there are thousands of happy Silvia owners who dont have PIDs.

  10. #10
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    Re: Machine in the <$1000 range.

    Best bet is to speak with a specialist who will assess your needs and then recommend the right machine for your requirements.

    FWIW, the best shot machine in my opinion is a Scace calibrated Diadema Perfetta. VBM also produce the Piccolo which is similar, but not quite as well finished. A Scace calibrated machine removes the need for a PID, but this cannot be done with a Silvia. Spend is not much more than a Silvia and one of Jims PIDs (which are works of art and worth every cent), but they hold their value far better when upgraditis sets in. Left field, the GEE offers far better functionality over a Silvia.

    If I was buying for me, Id be sitting on my hands and saving ;)

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    Re: Machine in the <$1000 range.

    For under $1000 you could get a Silvia and a BCG800. That would be a major upgrade from your current setup. For a little more than $1000 you could get K3T instead of BCG800. IMO you would better off putting the extra dollars into a grinder than the PID with the Silvia.

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    Re: Machine in the <$1000 range.

    I think you should also consider a gaggia classic. Should be easily available in Hobart. Limitations are that it has a small boiler, so struggles to steam milk for more than two lattes at a time. For one or two espressos at a time, it is fine.

    As for a PID, Id highly recommend it. I havent seen a single post from someone that installed a PID and thought it wasnt worth it. Having said that, it depends on you being electrically competent, or knowing a friendly electrician, as otherwise it is more costly to add a PID than to buy a machine with one.

    A PID with single setpoint for the boiler temp works fine for me as it ensures the machine is always ready to pull a shot. I then engage the steam switch which allows the machine steam thermostat to take over (as per jetblacks post above). When the temp hits 124c on my machine, I purge the wand and start steaming milk at 128c. This enables me to keep steaming with the heater engaged all the time. I know a dual setpoint PID would be better, but for me it was not worth the extra expense. I drink mainly double espressos and the single setpoint handles 90% of my use, but the milk drinkers in my household are now asking for more flat whites, so my views may change.

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    Re: Machine in the <$1000 range.

    I am reluctant to mention it here for fear of being lampooned by the Sylvia Snobs, but my prime coffee machine at present is a top of the range Breville BES860 Fresca, combo job with a built in grinder. I use the single walled single shot filter, however it came with 4 filters.

    Andy said “The one we tested last year produced the best coffee in any machine grinder combo under a grand that I have ever used.” http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1281927196/5

    Many of the operations are programmable but can easily be controlled by the user. Unlike fully automatics.

    Bessie has many features not found in a lot of more expensive machines.

    It consistantly gives me top quality coffee.

    In three years it has not missed a beat, however I have modified the grinder to get it to grind fine enough.
    http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1290592739/0#8

    Bessie is designed in Australia, made in China and sells for about $700. If it had a Made in Italy sticker, it would sell here for about $1500.

    Barry

  14. #14
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    Re: Machine in the <$1000 range.

    Quote Originally Posted by 614251515A7C67564D40424D230 link=1295553316/12#12 date=1295736520
    lampooned by the Sylvia Snobs
    Only for your [s]spilling[/s] Silvia...

    Quote Originally Posted by 614251515A7C67564D40424D230 link=1295553316/12#12 date=1295736520
    Bessie is designed in Australia, made in China and sells for about $700. If it had a Made in Italy sticker, it would sell here for about $1500.
    Have to disagree here considering (despite no volumetrics) the price of the Lelit.

    Best advice, phone a sponsorand have a good old chat. Work out what you want to produce, for how many and how frequently and it is their job to find you a cost effective solution. All I, and may others can offer is our own experience which will invariably differ to yours!

    Keep us posted so the Silvia Snobs can load up their ammo.... ;D

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    Re: Machine in the <$1000 range.

    I had a Breville espresso machine before my Silvia. Not sure of the model but it was the best Breville had before the 860 Fresca came out. I was always happy with that, but after
    a family member bought a 860 Fresca, and I used it and liked it, I set out on upgrading my machine.
    After researching and wieghing up my needs and budget I ended up with a Silvia.
    After using the Silvia and going back to my Aunts Fresca, it feels like a toy.

  16. #16
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    Re: Machine in the <$1000 range.

    +1 Silvia.

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    Re: Machine in the <$1000 range.

    Yeah I tending toward becoming a Silvia snob. Must get around to phoning up one of the site sponsors...

    Thanks again for all the suggestions.

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    Re: Machine in the <$1000 range.

    Dont get too caught up in the hype around Miss Silvia. She is a great machine, but not the only option. A bit of an internet darling if you will. Especially with her partner Rocky (the bean crusher).

    Im not criticising (too much) but it also seems you may have decided before you have tried one. Perhaps see if there are any Hobart CS members (rather than sponsors necessarily) willing to give you a go on a Silvia.

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    Re: Machine in the <$1000 range.

    +1 Silvia is a great machine especially with a pid and synesso basket,i had a breville 820 and it is night and day between the two the coffee from the silvia is so so good, have not bought a coffee from a cafe for a while now keep coming home to make one,especially now prices is just on $5 a large takaway.
    Yes a bit of a silvisa snoob,until if when to upgrade to the $2000-$3000 range,but not yet.

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    Re: Machine in the <$1000 range.

    Quote Originally Posted by 5F666C6C606360436E7B7B6A0F0 link=1295553316/17#17 date=1295908868
    Dont get too caught up in the hype around Miss Silvia. She is a great machine, but not the only option. A bit of an internet darling if you will. Especially with her partner Rocky (the bean crusher).

    Im not criticising (too much) but it also seems you may have decided before you have tried one. Perhaps see if there are any Hobart CS members (rather than sponsors necessarily) willing to give you a go on a Silvia.
    Youre 100% right. This morning, Ive switched and am now set on the Gee and, of course, slowly tending back towards the Silvia (for its aesthetics) as I type this.

    Need to get offline and find a way to try the buggers out!

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    Re: Machine in the <$1000 range.

    Quote Originally Posted by 313E21213A3934343C323E5B0 link=1295553316/19#19 date=1295990263
    Youre 100% right. This morning, Ive switched and am now set on the Gee and, of course, slowly tending back towards the Silvia (for its aesthetics) as I type this.
    If you are set on the Gee, you might be able to get a bargain at the current bidding in the Queensland Flood Charity Auction....Although Id certainly want to get my hands on them and try them out myself before deciding on a purchase (I couldnt with my Lelit, but am happy with it anyway :) ).

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    Re: Machine in the <$1000 range.

    Quote Originally Posted by 233C3E243D283F3E29510 link=1295553316/20#20 date=1295992854
    If you are set on the Gee, you might be able to get a bargain at the current bidding in the Queensland Flood Charity Auction....Although Id certainly want to get my hands on them and try them out myself before deciding on a purchase (I couldnt with my Lelit, but am happy with it anyway).
    Yeppers- there are two- one from us and the other from 9Bar.

    We also stiill have our demo at a nice discount as well.

    Chris

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    Re: Machine in the <$1000 range.

    Hi Jezza,

    I am in the same situation as you.

    Gee has lots of features but it looks too UGLY. So I have put that aside.

    I am flying to Melbourne this week and looking at a Silvia next Friday as site sponsor Coffee-A-Roma is happy to demo. (Thanks Laurance :)

    cheers,
    Graham

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    Re: Machine in the <$1000 range.

    Quote Originally Posted by 0B202D25213B3C3A31797A7B7C480 link=1295553316/22#22 date=1295997056
    Hi Jezza,

    I am in the same situation as you.

    Gee has lots of features but it looks too UGLY. So I have put that aside.

    I am flying to Melbourne this week and looking at a Silvia next Friday as site sponsor Coffee-A-Roma is happy to demo. (Thanks Laurance :)

    cheers,
    Graham
    Guess it comes down to whether you want the results on the bench or in the cup Graham :-? :P

    I reckon its always best to view any machine in the metal as photos rarely do them justice. You just cant beat first hand information.

    Chris

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    Re: Machine in the <$1000 range.

    So I bought a Silvia in the end.

    Im really happy with it. Still in the stage of getting to know each other, but the coffees getting better all the time.

    One problem though. There seems to water collecting behind the machine every few days. Maybe just half a cup or so but definitely coming from the machine. It is clean water, so not coming from the drip tray and there is no water under the water tank, so I dont think its coming from there either. I think I need to resort to opening the top and having a look at the rubber pipe connections.

    Before I try this, does anyone have any other ideas of what might be happening??

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    Re: Machine in the <$1000 range.

    Quote Originally Posted by 747B64647F7C717179777B1E0 link=1295553316/24#24 date=1299273781
    Before I try this, does anyone have any other ideas of what might be happening??
    I dont have a Silvia, but when the three way valve releases, most machines will force the remaining pressure down a tube to the rear of the drip tray. This usually means the drip tray slowly fills up and needs regular emptying.

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    Re: Machine in the <$1000 range.

    This is happening without the drip tray filling up, so it couldnt be that, yeah?

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    Re: Machine in the <$1000 range.

    Quote Originally Posted by 405F5D475E4B5C5D4A320 link=1295553316/25#25 date=1299275049

    I dont have a Silvia, but when the three way valve releases, most machines will force the remaining pressure down a tube to the rear of the drip tray. This usually means the drip tray slowly fills up and needs regular emptying.
    Actually, Ive just had a look and it looks like there is an outlet for what you describe at the back of where the drip tray sits and its possible that the drip tray isnt catching the water when its not pushed right back. Im reckon thats it.

    Bit of a crappy design oversight if thats really it. Might have to put something in so the drip tray is forced to be right back all the time.

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    Re: Machine in the <$1000 range.

    Quote Originally Posted by 2D223D3D26252828202E22470 link=1295553316/27#27 date=1299276664
    Bit of a crappy design oversight if thats really it. Might* have to put something in so the drip tray is forced to be right back all the time.
    Ahh, so it is the same as my Lelit then. Because the three way valve pressure release is at high pressure, the water coming out of that hose will splurt and steam, which is probably causing the water youre describing. Run a shot without the drip tray in place (messy) and see exactly what its doing.

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    Re: Machine in the <$1000 range.

    Ive put a pencil at the front of the tray to force it to sit right back. I reckon this will do the trick.

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    Re: Machine in the <$1000 range.

    Quote Originally Posted by 646B74746F6C616169676B0E0 link=1295553316/29#29 date=1299281172
    Ive put a pencil at the front of the tray to force it to sit right back. I reckon this will do the trick.
    It didnt work! Im still getting leakage.

    On the weekend Ill take the top off and see if I can suss whats going on. Anyone got any other ideas in the meantime?

  32. #32
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    Re: Machine in the <$1000 range.

    The answer may be here: http://coffeegeek.com/forums/espresso/machinemods/359784

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    Re: Machine in the <$1000 range.

    Do you have a blind filter?

    Is so just do a backflush without the drip tray cover in place and you should be able to see where the water goes as it leaves the 3 way valve. Watch out for hot water burns though.

    A couple of backflushes and no water means it is probably coming from somewhere else

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    Re: Machine in the <$1000 range.

    I get puddles all the time, but I believe the when you purge the steam wand into the tray slots, the pressure is so high that it hits the tray underneath and causes a bit of back-splash. Any item of equipment that is so water-based is going to get damp; I just wipe it regularly and am not concerned about it. I dont believe there is any leakage as such. I would like the water tray to be larger, but then the designers have opted for compactness and Im OK with that.

    Ive had my Silvia w PID + Rocky for a couple of months now; wouldnt dream of going back to a plunger and have not bought a cap since then; top class coffee every day. If you can do a course on your own gear it becomes pretty mug-proof. Best investment I made apart from the machine. Good luck with the learning process.

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    Re: Machine in the <$1000 range.

    Quote Originally Posted by 6867787863606D6D656B67020 link=1295553316/31#31 date=1299719431
    The answer may be here: http://coffeegeek.com/forums/espresso/machinemods/359784
    I rang coffeesnobs and it turned out that the problem was exactly as stated in the above thread: "the right angle brass fitting that screws into the pump outlet" was leaking. It was just a matter of undoing the fitting and wrapping a bit of plumbers tape around it. Even better, coffeesnobs agreed to let me do the job myself without compromising warranty (verbal assurance was enough for me) and talked me through how to take the machine apart. It worked a dream, so I am now a happy man.

    It was nice to see inside -- very solid looking internals and REAL plumbing. Weird how this seems to be a systematic problem that Rancilio havent addressed though.

  36. #36
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    Re: Machine in the <$1000 range.

    Quote Originally Posted by 313E21213A3934343C323E5B0 link=1295553316/34#34 date=1300832317
    I rang coffeesnobs
    :question

    Quote Originally Posted by 313E21213A3934343C323E5B0 link=1295553316/34#34 date=1300832317
    coffeesnobs agreed to let me do the job myself without compromising warranty
    :question :question :question

    Is the auto-correct trying to confuse me or is it because I havent had a coffee yet today?
    :-?

  37. #37
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    Re: Machine in the <$1000 range.

    Im curious too Thundergod and Ive had plenty of coffee today!
    :-?

  38. #38
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    Re: Machine in the <$1000 range.

    Quote Originally Posted by 373827273C3F32323A34385D0 link=1295553316/34#34 date=1300832317
    I rang coffeesnobs
    ;D Jezza, im guessing you mean either Coffee-a-Rama, Coffeecraft or CoffeeParts. Just an intelligent guesstimate since their names start with Coffee......

    Great to know youre able to fix it easily enough being down there in Hobart. Saved yourself shipping costs. :)
    Ill keep this topic in mind if i do ever get the Rancilio sometime down the track and that problem creeps in.

    Gary at G

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    Re: Machine in the <$1000 range.

    Oh yeah, right, sorry guys. I meant jetblack espresso!

    :-[



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