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Thread: Midrange buying advice

  1. #1
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    Question Midrange buying advice

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Over the past 2 years I have been using the following espresso machine and grinder, having been able to borrow them over that period from relatives whilst they were overseas:
    - Vibiemme Domobar Junior
    - Eureka Mignon-E red grinder

    As my relatives just returned from overseas and I returned their machines, I had to fallback now (temporarily) on a Nespresso machine, sufficient to say I need to find a new machine fast!

    As I am used to the Domobar coffees now, I want a machine that produces the same quality espressos, long blacks, flat whites and lates, but I am not too aquianted with the market.

    Having done some research, I identified the following (but frankly open to any suggestions!):
    - Vibiemme Domobar Junior (ie just buying the same unit as the one I've been using)
    - Vibiemme Picollo (the smaller model - I don't mind getting my water for my long black from a kettle instead from the machine itself)
    -
    Lelit combo (seems to get very good reviews, and I don't mind the combined grinder combo)
    - Isomac Zaffiro Due



    Based on my research to date and given I never purchased a $$ coffee machine before, I am leaning towards the Lelit combo, but unsure whether I will be disappointed given I've been using the Domobar Junior for so long... Any recommendations would be appreciated!




    Last edited by WaKkO; 3rd July 2016 at 07:04 PM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member GregWormald's Avatar
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    I had a VBM Piccolo before I went to a larger VBM and it was quite good. There is a minute or so wait to steam milk until the machine heats up.

    Greg
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  3. #3
    Senior Member trentski's Avatar
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    That's going to be the biggest annoyance with a single boiler non hx machine. The wait before you can steam milk.
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  4. #4
    TC
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    Hi WaKkO and welcome,

    I think a little research will assist you in making your choice as you are looking at two dramatically styles of machine here- being single boiler and heat exchanger.

    You are accustomed to to a heat exchanger, so single boiler may be too big a step down for you.

    More details in our buyers guide if you wish to avail yourself of it. Happy shopping!

    Chris
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  5. #5
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    Having just upgraded from a Silvia and Rocky to the Domobar Junior and Macap M4D, I can only say - should have done it sooner .

  6. #6
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    Thanks all for the advice so far. Thoughts to date after doing some further research:
    - we are not going for a combo coffee machine grinder
    - my wife is keen to go for a heat exchanger. I am still not 100% convinced we need one given we don't froth milk on weekday mornings.

  7. #7
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    Agree withe the above, I wouldn't want to go back to a single boiler after being accustomed to a HX.

    Also, you seem to be focusing on the machine ... don't forget to include a quality grinder in your budget. It really does make a bigger difference to your coffee than the machine does, especially if they aren't milk based drinks.

    Good luck.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by WaKkO View Post
    Over the past 2 years I have been using the following espresso machine and grinder, having been able to borrow them over that period from relatives whilst they were overseas:
    - Vibiemme Domobar Junior
    - Eureka Mignon-E red grinder

    As my relatives just returned from overseas and I returned their machines, I had to fallback now (temporarily) on a Nespresso machine, sufficient to say I need to find a new machine fast!

    As I am used to the Domobar coffees now, I want a machine that produces the same quality espressos, long blacks, flat whites and lates, but I am not too aquianted with the market.

    Having done some research, I identified the following (but frankly open to any suggestions!):
    - Vibiemme Domobar Junior (ie just buying the same unit as the one I've been using)
    - Vibiemme Picollo (the smaller model - I don't mind getting my water for my long black from a kettle instead from the machine itself)
    -
    Lelit combo (seems to get very good reviews, and I don't mind the combined grinder combo)
    - Isomac Zaffiro Due



    Based on my research to date and given I never purchased a $$ coffee machine before, I am leaning towards the Lelit combo, but unsure whether I will be disappointed given I've been using the Domobar Junior for so long... Any recommendations would be appreciated!




    The Lelit Combi is compact, clean (ground coffee falls on the drip tray, not the bench), easy to transport, makes great coffee and it's excellent value. Worth a look for those after a machine and grinder.

    A HX comes into it's own when making bigger batches of milk coffees, or when the customer is after a machine that makes the process as simple as possible (no switching from coffee to steam mode). Note that heat up time is usually 30min+ compared to the Lelit Combi which is 10min.

    A Dual boiler will give you the ease of use of a HX but will generally heat up faster. Starting at around $1,500 (eg Lelit PL60) this type of machine may be worth a look too.

    charlie
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  9. #9
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    Thanks again for the input everyone. we decided to go for a heat exchange machine. Yesterday evening we settled on a Bezzera BZ10 and a Macap M2M grinder. Later that evening I started reading about the E61 brew head / brew group and now I don't know anymore :/
    - Is the coffee produced with a Bezzera Magica or equivalent with E61 better than the BZ10 coffees?
    - is it worth the extra $$$? +- $400 difference it looks like

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by WaKkO View Post
    - Is the coffee produced with a Bezzera Magica or equivalent with E61 better than the BZ10 coffees?
    No.

    Quote Originally Posted by WaKkO View Post
    - is it worth the extra $$$? +- $400 difference it looks like
    On the basis of being a true E61? I don't think so. Unless you prefer the style/finish and ergonomics and that is worth the price difference. The BZ10 looks like a great little machine.

    The E61 is proprietary so you pay a bit more but nothing wrong with other HX machines in the same class that are not true E61 machines.
    It does mean accessories etc. for E61 machines are universal and easy to source.
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by K_Bean_Coffee View Post
    Hi WaKkO,

    Shots from the BZ10 are on par, with nice even extractions (no spurting using a naked PF).

    Disclaimer - I'm not saying the BZ10 head is better than an E61 - obviously
    I have no idea what the design of the BZ10 head is like. But I'm fairly certain this comment above is misleading.

    A properly ground/distributed/dosed e61 shot won't "spurt" from the naked group, same with a BZ10.

    At a guess an improperly dosed/ground/distributed etc shot from a BZ10 will channel and spurt same as an E61

    As a sponsor i would have hoped/thought you would put some more thought into posts. People see "sponsor" and expect accurate info, or at least I do.
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by applor View Post
    No.
    The E61 is proprietary so you pay a bit more but nothing wrong with other HX machines in the same class that are not true E61 machines.
    It does mean accessories etc. for E61 machines are universal and easy to source.
    Is this strictly true? Any patents on the E61 would have well and truly expired by now, meaning anybody can copy and use it's design.
    Many manufacturers use the E61.
    If it is more expensive (and I don't know myself whether it is or not), this may be due to the its extra complexity and ability to perform preinfusion.

  13. #13
    Senior Member trentski's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lukemc View Post
    I have no idea what the design of the BZ10 head is like. But I'm fairly certain this comment above is misleading.
    .
    No. You've just read it wrong
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by K_Bean_Coffee View Post
    I'll elaborate on my own quote above to give you full context: "Shots from the BZ10 are on par, with nice even extractions (no spurting using a naked PF) when used by me (ie, a skilled operator). The untrained operator will get the same spurting mess with the BZ10 as they will get on any other machine"
    I hope that clarifies Luke. I hope you can see what I was getting at now.
    Cheers
    Paul
    Yep it does, thanks


    Quote Originally Posted by trentski View Post
    No. You've just read it wrong
    Maybe......

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by K_Bean_Coffee View Post
    His wallet was FAT
    Number 4 is disgusting
    Careful, with some of the threads going around here it may be considered a breakfast food
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  16. #16
    Senior Member LeroyC's Avatar
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    No one has mentioned that one of the biggest differences between an e61 and other group heads is simply the amount of material used. My understanding is that most other semi commercial group heads use less brass and are lighter. This generally means they heat up faster, but the e61 has the potential for better thermal stability once at optimal temp. Is this right? Can someone more learned confirm this?

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by K_Bean_Coffee View Post
    I'd probably "sink" that one Paul....
    Very uneven extraction.

    Mal.
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  18. #18
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    Pulling your leg mate...
    That's what the emoticons are meant to imply...

    Mal.

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    No doubt BZ10 can make great coffee, however personally I'd stretch my budget a little more to get the Magica or Domobar. Having the heating element in the brew head means 1 more thing needs to be replaced in a few years time.

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    My ears were burning.

    I'm in the market for an upgrade from my little Gaggia Baby Dose and am after a machine with a little footprint around the 2K mark. The little BZ10 was never on the radar until a few weeks ago. Luckily Paul was not too far away from me and figured i'd drop in for a demo and a chat.

    The machine is a peach, perfect for what i'd need. Considering my household is a 2-3 coffee a day machine (more over the weekends) - this is perfect for us.

    * The heat up time is less than an e61 -> perfect for my morning cup/ pre work
    * I quite like the styling
    * I like the levers.
    * Out of the cup, the coffee was great.
    * Lots of steam power out of the little rig.
    * Good size for my coffee bench (although i've been told i need to make some shelving for our pour-over equipment and other coffee paraphernalia before buying anything)

    Doing a bit more research - it looks like the bezzera head has another heating element in the head to speed it up and keep the head stable. (i can't remember where that was where i heard it - I'm sure it was a video - maybe Whole Latte Love)

    And the shot was nice and gloopy - ballsy and punchy flavour with Paul's freshly roasted beans.

    Considering i was looking at a Giotto back in the day when i started my upgraditis fever, i think i've save the pennies for a better grinder (and even some of Leon's wooden embellishments). I was also looking at some nice 2nd machines, but i
    figured i'd splurge a bit. I'm just waiting for a few things for fall into my favour before I harass Paul again with an order =)


    The above is based on a 30 minute experience with the machine (and tons of google browsing - and translating from German)
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  21. #21
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    I might have to rethink my eventual upgrade after reading this thread. Was thinking I might have to look at a Giotto Rocket as my next machine, but the BZ10 seems to tick a lot of boxes. I guess I'd probably have to look at upgrading my Rocky to something more worthy. Need to start saving

  22. #22
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    bit of a drive from Adelaide

    We are a bit of a backwater as far as coffee hardware shops go. I can only think of one place that has anything but Brevbeam appliances.

    Would be great to do a hands on
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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by K_Bean_Coffee View Post
    Anyone who drives more than 500 kms to visit my showroom on Saturday gets a free gift
    Petrol Voucher?

    Mal.
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  24. #24
    Senior Member Vinitasse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by K_Bean_Coffee View Post
    Anyone who drives more than 500 kms to visit my showroom on Saturday gets a free gift
    Does 100 kms on a motorcycle in the rain earn a gift as well?

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by K_Bean_Coffee View Post
    Anyone who drives more than 500 kms to visit my showroom on Saturday gets a free gift
    I'll happily drive over for a BZ10... :-)
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    Would conveyance via a Boeing 737 adorned with a red roo count? It would be >500 km's, of course. Umpire/judge, adjudication please. I'm a cheap tart so 250 grams of something interesting would be make me happy.

    Scott

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    Quote Originally Posted by K_Bean_Coffee View Post
    For that I would throw you a bag on Yemen Bani Ismail !!!
    I've never had the Bani Ismail. Are they little beans like, say, the Matari? I've read that they are sensational. I might just have to have a sneaky trip to Melbourne for the weekend.
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  28. #28
    Senior Member LeroyC's Avatar
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    I drove about 550km today to look at a 2nd hand coffee machine. They are quite thin on the ground here in NZ. Unfortunately it had some issues inside so I can home empty handed. Still I'm glad I spent $100 and a day to avoid a $1200+ mistake.

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    [QUOTE=K_Bean_Coffee;584364]Hi WaKkO,

    In the past the Expobar Leva was my recommendation at the near $2k mark. Now it's the BZ10.

    Why the change?
    Build quality of the BZ10 is far superior....



    Hi - until now I've really only been an amateur in the coffee stakes - had a Gaggia classic for about 7 years (did my own repairs to keep it going - was still going when I gave it away) and then bought a Breville Dual Boiler two and a half years ago.
    The Breville DB is now about to go in the bin - as it's apparently not worth repairing after less than 2,000 shots.

    I would like to upgrade my skills, and for obvious reasons I am now very keen on durability - would like to buy something which could be still going in 8 years time.

    I had a look at the Expobar Office and the BZ10. I was leaning towards the BZ10, and your comments above about build quality confirm that in my mind.

    I haven't seen one, but the Isomac Tea was something that came up in my research. I was wondering if you had a view of this in terms of durability. Is it regarded as comparable with the Bezzera ?
    I was originally thinking of an E61, but after thinking a bit more about it, BZ10 heated group would be fine for us.

  30. #30
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    Hi Paul

    Thanks for the response.

    If you weren't recommending, but perhaps giving a little advice on HX machines where the buyer's No 1 criteria is durability (looks don't count), are there any pointers you would give ?
    The only other important factor for us is that 90% of our coffees are with milk.

    An HX reasonably not too far from the $2k mark is what I was thinking of.
    I live in Melbourne btw, so can drop in for a visit.

    Mike

  31. #31
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    Hi Mike,

    FWIW, I still think the VBM Domobar Junior is amongst the best bang for buck machines in the under $2.5k bracket. Street price meets your brief.

    My advice- well worth a look. They look schmick with the updated branding as well.
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  32. #32
    Senior Member chokkidog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Talk_Coffee View Post
    Hi Mike,

    FWIW, I still think the VBM Domobar Junior is amongst the best bang for buck machines in the under $2.5k bracket. Street price meets your brief.

    My advice- well worth a look. They look schmick with the updated branding as well.
    +1 for the VBM, one of my most discerning private clients ( a high end winemaker of note), has one and loves it.

    It more than fulfils the brief and I'm more than happy that my award winning coffee is so well presented by both the hands and the machine.

    It's paired with a Macap M2M and is on duty at the vineyard.
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  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Talk_Coffee View Post
    Hi Mike,

    FWIW, I still think the VBM Domobar Junior is amongst the best bang for buck machines in the under $2.5k bracket. Street price meets your brief.

    My advice- well worth a look. They look schmick with the updated branding as well.


    yes - did have my eye on the Vibiemme also. After the fiasco with the Breville DB I thought we could live off plunger while I do my market research properly - but that's harder than expected (living off plunger that is ..)



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