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Thread: Are we being too snobbish buying machines in this price range? None seem reliable.

  1. #1
    Member Tassie_Devil's Avatar
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    Angry Are we being too snobbish buying machines in this price range? None seem reliable.

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    I ask this question of myself and put it out there for discussion because of our current experience with our Breville BES900.

    It developed "death rattles" and eventually refused to operate at all so was taken in for repair. After a 2 month wait it was supposedly repaired and picked up only to refuse to operate when home here. So back it went and, over another month of waiting, we were told it could be some time yet as parts were difficult to source.

    In the meantime we used a GEC percolator until my wife dropped and broke the glass top. It was too old to find parts so into the bin it went.

    I asked the guy doing the repairs what basic coffee maker he would recommend and his reply was sobering - none are reliable and he repairs all brands. He cited the combination of heat, pressure and water meant that all had a limited shelf life. So some research followed and we purchased a Delonghi EC680. It is not perfect (what machine is?) but it does make excellent coffee and cost less than the broken down Breville BES900 will cost to repair!

    So, I'm now questioning the wisdom of getting the Breville in the first place. It takes up a lot more bench space than the Delonghi and we find the resultant coffee from the Delonghi to be excellent. My friend also purchased a Breville BES 900 and experienced the same problem as we did but, wisely, imported parts from the USA and repaired it himself for a fraction of what ours is costing.

    The general consensus here is that the more you pay for a machine, the better the coffee but I challenge that in the light of our experience. However taste perception is highly subjective so maybe mine is insufficiently sophisticated enough to appreciate how much better coffee is from our relatively expensive Breville compared to the less expensive Delonghi. But then maybe I've lost the placebo effect of owning a more expensive machine so now have sobered up to the fact that one does not need a coffee maker costing over $1000 to make good coffee?

    Over to other coffee snobs to comment!

    John

  2. #2
    Senior Member flynnaus's Avatar
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    Good question. Sometimes I think we are. But I have owned a couple of appliance type coffee machines - a DeLonghi and a Gaggia Baby. Neither could produce the quality of coffee I can make with my Giotto. Recently I had resort to using my Atomic while the Giotto was in for repairs and service. While the coffee from it was good .. again it couldn't produce the same quality of coffee I can consistently get from the Giotto. A friend who owned a Sunbeam EM6910 had made me more than one cup which was every bit as good or better than my Giotto.
    I think we can all accept that you don't need a top of the range machine to make excellent coffee. The question is what is meant by 'excellent coffee'. That may mean different things to each of us. We often use cafes to qualify our home made coffees ("I can make coffee as good as a cafe") but which cafe? We all know some cafes make pretty bad coffee.
    So the question really is "Do you enjoy the coffee you make at home?" If yes, then it doesn't matter what others think. Well, I guess if you are entertaining guests and none finish their coffee you made for them, it may be time to review.
    If your coffee isn't as good as you would like, then think about what you can do to improve it. That may or may not mean upgrading your equipment, not just honing your technique.. I have to say in my case the upgrade was worthwhile as it didn't require as much effort to make good coffee as previous machines did and was more consistent.
    Last edited by flynnaus; 13th July 2016 at 08:10 AM.

  3. #3
    Senior Member sprezzatura's Avatar
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    I have a $21.00 Hario pour over; I get 100 paper filters for $3.80.

    It makes superb coffee.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member sprezzatura's Avatar
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    As a machine tech I can advise this: the simpler the machine is the longer it will last trouble-free provided it's a quality build.
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  5. #5
    Senior Member noidle22's Avatar
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    Your Breville service centre is useless. The BES900 will break down in one way or another after ~5 years, yours has probably got a failing solenoid or main pump, both of which are readily available and in stock with Breville. Neither are particularly expensive or complex repairs. Your repairer should not be representing the Breville brand.

    Being in Tasmania, you are limited by choice of what repairer to use. If the one you are currently using is who I think it is, I had a Wega Mininova in my shop straight from his store when the customer moved here. He had failed to diagnose a faulty relay on the control board and had already replaced the rotary pump, element and pressurestat to try and fix the problem. Absolutely useless.

    Like others will say, an expensive Italian built machine will in the long term be more reliable and consistent. The Breville machine is great when working but at around the 5 year mark it would need repairs, as yours now does, and then probably at more frequent intervals as the rest of the machine ages.

    Also, if you are making better coffee with an EC680 which uses a plastic group head and dual wall baskets, you weren't using your BES900 properly or it has not been operating correctly. It's a far more capable machine overall and can make excellent coffee.
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  6. #6
    Member Tassie_Devil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by noidle22 View Post
    Your Breville service centre is useless. The BES900 will break down in one way or another after ~5 years, yours has probably got a failing solenoid or main pump, both of which are readily available and in stock with Breville. Neither are particularly expensive or complex repairs. Your repairer should not be representing the Breville brand.

    Being in Tasmania, you are limited by choice of what repairer to use. If the one you are currently using is who I think it is, I had a Wega Mininova in my shop straight from his store when the customer moved here. He had failed to diagnose a faulty relay on the control board and had already replaced the rotary pump, element and pressurestat to try and fix the problem. Absolutely useless.

    Like others will say, an expensive Italian built machine will in the long term be more reliable and consistent. The Breville machine is great when working but at around the 5 year mark it would need repairs, as yours now does, and then probably at more frequent intervals as the rest of the machine ages.

    Also, if you are making better coffee with an EC680 which uses a plastic group head and dual wall baskets, you weren't using your BES900 properly or it has not been operating correctly. It's a far more capable machine overall and can make excellent coffee.
    Wise comments. The service centre is unimpressive.
    However I'm puzzled about your last comment and am unsure how we have been using the Breville incorrectly. Some hints would be appreciated.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Morning John.

    This question comes up frequently, the fact is that appliance type espresso machines, Breville, sunbeam, Delonghi etc are made to a price, and have a limited life span, if you get 5 years out of one without problems your doing well, 3 years seems to be pretty standard, they really are pretty much throw away devices, if your a handy man its quite possible to nurse them along for longer, unfortunately if you have to pay for repairs it really does seem to turn into a constant cycle of one thing failing after another.

    Like most I started with a cheap machine (Krupps) almost 20 years ago, it lasted me 2 years, from there I bought a Rancilio Silvia, much better Italian build but still nowhere near top line, the Silvia made very good coffee and lasted me 9 years before I felt the need to upgrade, the person who bought it from me is using it to this day.

    Bought my current machine (Bezzera E61) over 8 years ago and its still making great coffee and performing flawlessly.

    Unfortunately like most things it's a case of getting what you pay for, most Italian machines produced by reputable manufacturers with a little care and routine maintenance will still be going strong in 10 years.

    Your right of course you can certainly make good coffee on some of the cheaper machine, but if your looking at excellent coffee combined with longevity your going to have to look at a buying a quality European made machine.

    These are my thoughts on the subject, I know some will strongly disagree, however if you have a look at the Sunbeam/Breville problem threads as opposed to higher end machines you will quickly get the picture.
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    I think many of us will comment that the Rancilio Silvia is impressively reliable if it is maintained as it should be. Many people see 10+ years of trouble free use. People are still buying and selling V1 and V2 Silvia's.

    I've had mine for approaching 5 years. I recently had it serviced and all it really needed was a new group head seal and a new shower screen. I don't really think the screen needed replacing tbh.

    I do however thing that the consumer brand stuff like the brevilles and sunbeams are basically designed to have a 2-3 year lifetime. I don't think they are great value given that fact.

    If you invest in a Rancillio or a Lelit etc you are usually getting a scaled down commercial quality machine.
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  9. #9
    Senior Member noidle22's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by j_coulson View Post
    However I'm puzzled about your last comment and am unsure how we have been using the Breville incorrectly. Some hints would be appreciated.
    I am also unsure, I added that the machine may have been underperforming for some time as this could be the reason.

    What sort of grinder are you using? As long as your grind and dose is correct, the machine will take care of the temperature and pressure. It's very simple so you probably have been using it properly.

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    La Pavoni (or similar) manual lever is a possible answer to your question, but they won't suit everyone. Reliable, cheap to maintain and can make awesome coffees - this is highly dependent on the user though.

    Regards,

    Matt.
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  11. #11
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MattyRay View Post
    La Pavoni (or similar) manual lever is a possible answer to your question, but they won't suit everyone. Reliable, cheap to maintain and can make awesome coffees - this is highly dependent on the user though.

    Regards,

    Matt.
    Tend to agree with you Matt.

    I recently bought a used La Pavoni Professional for use when traveling, I'm able to pull great shots and make a very acceptable cappuccino with it, bit of a learning curve but no big deal.

    They do have their limitations though, consecutive multiple shots can be a problem as they do tend to get pretty hot, however this can be managed.

    There is also the bling factor! great looking device, certainly a talking point when you have guests.

    I'm very happy with mine.

    DSC_2435.jpg
    Last edited by Yelta; 13th July 2016 at 01:05 PM.

  12. #12
    Member Tassie_Devil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by noidle22 View Post
    What sort of grinder are you using? As long as your grind and dose is correct, the machine will take care of the temperature and pressure. It's very simple so you probably have been using it properly.
    Breville BCG800 grinder.

    The BES900- had lost its pressure for some time but that did not worry me as I saw a comment here some time ago not tpo worry about it. Maybe I should have!

  13. #13
    Senior Member 3rutu5's Avatar
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    Agree with that, I bought a lever (not LP) because it of its simplicity and was hoping as it had less parts it would have less things to go wrong plus I like the process of making a coffee, feels like playing the pokies I had a laugh.
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