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Thread: Recommendations: a sturdy setup for black coffee drinkers

  1. #1
    Junior Member
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    Recommendations: a sturdy setup for black coffee drinkers

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    (Hi all, first time poster - I didn't find any threads for this particular combination so figured I'd start one.)

    We currently have a Breville Cafe Roma and a Sunbeam burr grinder that have both seen better days. They've been used for the better part of a decade with only a few repairs/tweaks but coffee has recently gone from "not really the best" to "undrinkable" and it's probably time to upgrade.

    We're looking for a new grinder and machine setup that will be making long blacks 90% of the time. Not much call for frothed milk in our house.

    Main priorities:


    • Makes good black coffee.
    • Can be repaired/serviced and probably last 10+ years making a 2-3 coffees a day.
    • Can buy replacement parts and consumables easily.
    • Not too fussy to use. I know there are a bunch of nifty manual espresso machines that don't even have heaters, but that's probably too much fiddling for us.
    • No bigger than what we have now.


    Desirable things:

    • Single wall portafilters.
    • Pressure gauge.
    • Service manuals (exploded diagrams, etc) available somewhere would be amazing. I like to fix my own stuff, when I can.
    • Combo machine that doesn't make a mess on the kitchen bench would be a bonus.


    Budget:
    • $1000-ish but would consider spending a bit more for something that ticks all the boxes. New or used.


    So far considering:
    • Lelit Combi or its PID-enabled cousin. Has almost every feature but look like they might be fiddly to repair/service yourself.
    • Rancilio Silvia and a Rancilio or similar grinder. Silvia doesn't tick all the feature boxes but there is tons of technical info about it on the web, and simple internals.


    What other factors and models should I be considering? Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    Left field- I drink espresso and since upgrading to my Strega I haven't looked back. You can get La Pavoni for around the $1k mark. Maybe worth considering Lever for black coffee's?
    Dimal and angusg like this.

  3. #3
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    Sep 2016
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    FWIW, I have owned a Vibiemme Piccolo for a while now - its an E61 group equipped SBDU which can be picked up pre-loved for a very reasonable price. (Like mine, around 5-600)
    It is now happily coupled with a shiny new Macap M2 series (micrometric) and the espresso is very, very good. Total spend approx $1k. Could be less if you're keen enough to go hand grinder, I had a laugh!!!
    The Macap is a very solid but petite grinder with very nice, quiet performance and great looks IMHO.
    Should the need arise the Piccolo does the odd milk drinks without much ado. there'a knack but its quite a capable steamer.
    There are setups with infinitely "more" but it meets my needs superbly.
    CafeLotta, level3ninja and angusg like this.

  4. #4
    Senior Member level3ninja's Avatar
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    The Lelit PL41TEMD or PL42TEMD will eat the Silvia. The Silvia doesn't have a PID, doesn't have auto-refill/boil dry protection, and has generally been out of date for 5-10 years. I believe site sponsor Jetblack Espresso are the Australian importers for Lelit. They can get you parts and help diagnose over the phone etc. I would suggest you call them and talk to Charlie about what you want to do.
    Dimal, greenman, CafeLotta and 1 others like this.

  5. #5
    Senior Member
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    Based on the style of coffee you like, Id be inclined to spend nearly all of your budget on a really good grinder and then do pour over or French press.
    Dimal and angusg like this.

  6. #6
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    The Breville Barista bes870 hits most of your bullet points, usually on sale for $600-650 plus $120 or so for extended warranty, but is an appliance machine which is unlikely to last 10+ years like your euro examples. A combo that doesn't make a mess . Interested to see what you get. GOOD LUCK.
    angusg likes this.

  7. #7
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    Thanks all. There are a bunch of options here that were totally not on my radar. Will do some more research and pondering and let you know where I end up.
    Dimal likes this.

  8. #8
    Junior Member
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    Feb 2019
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    Hi Angus, there’s a nice Lelit PL41TEMD with the matching Lelit Grinder on Facebook marketplace for the $800 mark. it’s a nice looking machine and well kept.
    angusg likes this.

  9. #9
    Senior Member artman's Avatar
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    Jun 2006
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    Great points above.

    Re desirables list, single wall baskets are a necessity.

    You could also go a decent hand grinder and earl press. Minimal cost, great black coffee, last forever.

    Or the brazen? Generally raves about.

    Cheers
    angusg likes this.

  10. #10
    Junior Member
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    Mar 2014
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    Thanks again for all the advice, folks.

    The person selling the Lelit PL41TEMD machine and PL43MMI grinder actually got in touch via PM a couple of days after I posted this thread, and offered them to me at a very reasonable price. They're now set up in our kitchen, a massive improvement over what we had before.

    My only concern: it seems this machine+grinder have two previous owners who each had the setup for two years before upgrade-itis took hold. So I expect I'll be back on here in Feb 2021 asking about E61s!
    Dimal and level3ninja like this.



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