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Thread: Upgrade Required - What to look for!?

  1. #1
    Junior Member
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    May 2011
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    Upgrade Required - What to look for!?

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

    I am looking to upgrade our family coffee machine. We currently have a Saeco Via Venezia which is doing the trick but 5 years post purchase we are looking to upgrade to something a little more automatic.

    Our IDEAL requirements are:

    - Ability to nominate the pump pressure - eg: to be able to set it at 9 bars

    - Ability to adjust the grind of the beans

    - Inbuilt grinder and used coffe dispencer for cleanliness - As self cleaning as possible aside from the frothing wand - We are stick of having a sink full of coffee grounds from rinceing the group handle after ever use >:(


    - Ability to use the steaming wand for hot water - illiminating the need for a kettle for the odd cup of tea :D

    - Steaming wand to froth our own milk - this is the one thing that we want to do on the machine

    - Would actually prefer smaller hopper for beans so they are always fresh and a smaller water unit so that the water isnt stale either.

    - A machine that looks presentable and isnt too chunky on a benchtop.

    Any suggestions would be really appreciated! We had a look at the Saeco Syntia but we really do not know where to start! Happy to spend the $$$ if we can tick majority of the above boxes and live without the rest!

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
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    369

    Re: Upgrade Required - What to look for!?

    While different people want different things generally the ethos or many people here would be to stay away from automatic machines.

    How many cups in a session and about how may cups per week?

  3. #3
    Junior Member
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    May 2011
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    Re: Upgrade Required - What to look for!?

    Hi Petanque,

    I see where you are coming from and appreciate you makeing me aware of this.

    I would say we would have 2 cups per sesson (one for me one for my husband) every morning then maybe 2 cups each on a weekend - so say 18 cups per week between the two of us, and usually only 2 cups (one each) per session.

  4. #4
    Caffeine Junky
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    May 2009
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    1,103

    Re: Upgrade Required - What to look for!?

    Hi Aime and welcome to CS.

    I guess it sounds like youíre leaning towards a SuperAutomatic machine. What youíll quickly discover is that there are very few fans on this forum when it comes to these types of machines, essentially because the quality of the coffee produced is pretty average, even by the most expensive models.

    I would highly recommend visiting a specialist coffee retailer (i.e. not a large chain retail store) who sells both manual and automatic machines for a non-biased and expert opinion. You may want to start by looking at the list of sponsors to the left of the page to find one near you.

    I would also urge you to consider sticking with a manual machine and perhaps do some taste tests side-by-side at a vendor.

    What is it you like/donít like about your current machine? Do you also have a grinder?

    With regards to your criteria:

    - Ability to nominate the pump pressure - eg: to be able to set it at 9 bars
    Some machines have a PID Ė essentially a digital display on the front which is used to set desired temperate, which is a direct correlation to pressure. The cheapest of these is the GEE Espresso at around $850. The next one up would be the Expobar Minore at around 2.5X the cost of the GEE. You can also add a PID to machines but I donít think this would be a good approach for you.

    Higher end manual machines have an adjustable pressurestat which can be accessed usually by taking the top of the machine off. To accurately make an adjustment you would need a gauge to measure the output pressure at the group.

    A good coffee specialist will check the pressure of the machine before handing it over to ensure it is adjusted to an optimum point. There would usually not be a need to change this.


    - Ability to adjust the grind of the beans
    Any manual grinder will be adjustable. As far as I know the grinders are also adjustable on SuperAutomatics but perhaps to a lesser extent.

    - Inbuilt grinder and used coffee dispenser for cleanliness - As self cleaning as possible aside from the frothing wand - We are stick of having a sink full of coffee grounds from rinceing the group handle after ever use >:(
    Have you ever used a knock box? With the correct grinder the coffee should come out in one clean piece, referred to as a puck. You can get one for $30.

    - Ability to use the steaming wand for hot water - eliminating the need for a kettle for the odd cup of tea :D
    I wouldnít recommend using the steamer for boiling water. Most decent manual coffee machines have a hot water tap but I still use a kettle rather than this if Iím making a long black coffee.

    - Steaming wand to froth our own milk - this is the one thing that we want to do on the machine
    All manual coffee machines will have this. Superatuomatics have either a manual steam arm or an automated milk frother. I think some have the options of either, but again I have little experience with this type of machine.

    - Would actually prefer smaller hopper for beans so they are always fresh and a smaller water unit so that the water isnt stale either.
    Yes hoppers are certainly not the place to be storing beans. Most domestic grinders come with pretty small hoppers.

    - A machine that looks presentable and isnt too chunky on a benchtop.
    I guess aesthetics come down to personal preference.

    I think the first most important decision you need to make is whether you want to stick with a manual machine or go to a superautomatic. As mentioned I would recommend sticking with a manual if coffee quality is your main priority.

    Its difficult to recommend particular machines without knowing your budget.

  5. #5
    Senior Member
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    Oct 2010
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    Re: Upgrade Required - What to look for!?

    I dont see hopper size as an issue. Just put in a small amount of beans.

    Just because many of us here dont like super autos doesnt mean one would not be right for you.
    With super autos, you often do NOT get what you pay for, gimmicks and bling often put the price up with no improvement in coffee quality. Im pretty sure someone here managed to get a cheap aldi super auto producing acceptable coffee a few months back.

    Dont know where you are located, but if you let us know, someone will suggest which sponsors are appropriate for you to talk to.

  6. #6
    Junior Member
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    May 2011
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    Re: Upgrade Required - What to look for!?

    Hey guys thanks so much for the comments and feed back! HUGELY appreciated!

    I am located in South West Victoria, but travel to Melbourne regularly. I think the best place for me to start sounds like somewhere I can try both manual and automatic machines as suggested.


    Is there anywhere you would recommend in Melbourne?

    My budget is within this forums title - I wouldnt like to spend over $1,500.

    No grinder with the current machine which I am completely aware is a downfall. Our problem is bench space - there is simply no room for the machine, grinder, knock box etc. The only major issues I have with the current machines is the difficulty we have getting a constantly good coffee. I am 100% confident that has a lot to do with human error, which is why I was looking to take the human out of the coffee measurement and tamper process all together to hopefully deliver consistant results.

    If you guys can help me find somewhere we could go and test out a number of machines from automatic to manual we would definately be keen for it!

    Cheers
    Aime

  7. #7
    Senior Member trentski's Avatar
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    Altona, Melbourne
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    Re: Upgrade Required - What to look for!?

    coffee-a-roma is probably your best bet for close to the city of Melbourne (Camberwell), if you click on their name it will take you to a page with contact details etc

    Talk Coffee would also be a good option, Chris is based in Northcote

    You can send an email to all of the sponsors and the ones close to you will email back, I havent named all of the melbourne based sponsors and there might be others that suit you better.



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