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Thread: REALLY struggling, what coffee machine to get next???

  1. #1
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    REALLY struggling, what coffee machine to get next???

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hi all, currently using a manual lever ROK Espresso GC but thinking of going back to a counter top machine. My benchmark are shots from a BES920 which were excellent till it died.

    This time I want something that will last 10 plus years with minimal maintenance, pulls great shots without too much effort and under $1000 (for second hand).

    Iíve been looking at (spring) levers machines, esp the Ponte Vecchio Lusso 2 seems ideal, but I have concerns aboutís itís reliability and future parts availability. Iím staying away from direct levers, seems too involved to get a great shot. Iíve even thought about bomb proof Silvas but I think that would be a few steps back in shot quality.

    I only make 4 espressos in total on weekends so maybe I should just put up with the ROKs Ďquirksí or get another manual lever that makes a better shot (Flair Espresso, Cafelat Robot?). I donít need milk steaming, already have a grinder and roast on a computer controlled Behmor FWIW.

    Any suggestions?
    Sean

  2. #2
    Senior Member Gavisconi007's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Superman View Post
    Hi all, currently using a manual lever ROK Espresso GC but thinking of going back to a counter top machine. My benchmark are shots from a BES920 which were excellent till it died.

    This time I want something that will last 10 plus years with minimal maintenance, pulls great shots without too much effort and under $1000 (for second hand).

    I’ve been looking at (spring) levers machines, esp the Ponte Vecchio Lusso 2 seems ideal, but I have concerns about’s it’s reliability and future parts availability. I’m staying away from direct levers, seems too involved to get a great shot. I’ve even thought about bomb proof Silvas but I think that would be a few steps back in shot quality.

    I only make 4 espressos in total on weekends so maybe I should just put up with the ROKs ‘quirks’ or get another manual lever that makes a better shot (Flair Espresso, Cafelat Robot?). I don’t need milk steaming, already have a grinder and roast on a computer controlled Behmor FWIW.

    Any suggestions?
    Sean

    My recommendation for such low volume usage is to get a Portaspresso. They make shots as good as commercial levers and you can buy one new for a lot less than $1000. In fact you can get the matching Rosco Mini hand grinder as well and the whole package will be around $1000.

    Cheers

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    Super Moderator Javaphile's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Superman View Post
    ...and roast on a computer controlled Behmor FWIW.
    As a side note how are you using a computer to control a Behmor roaster?


    Java "Curiosity spikes" phile
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gavisconi007 View Post
    My recommendation for such low volume usage is to get a Portaspresso.
    Cool, I'll look them up.

    Quote Originally Posted by Javaphile View Post
    As a side note how are you using a computer to control a Behmor roaster?
    Lots of thermocouples, custom built arduino interface/controller and Artisan controls a SSR hooked up to the heating element.
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  5. #5
    Super Moderator Javaphile's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Superman View Post
    Lots of thermocouples, custom built arduino interface/controller and Artisan controls a SSR hooked up to the heating element.
    Sounds like a great subject for a post/thread.


    Java "What? Me tinker?!?" phile
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  6. #6
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Superman View Post
    Cool, I'll look them up.


    Lots of thermocouples, custom built arduino interface/controller and Artisan controls a SSR hooked up to the heating element.
    As a matter of interest I have both a Portapresso and a Flair, the Flair leaves the Portapresso in the dust, for ease of use, quality of shots as well as price.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Javaphile View Post
    Sounds like a great subject for a post/thread.
    Possibly but I don't like talking about 240V mods. Too many things can go wrong for the unqualified and the consequences can be pretty severe.

    Quote Originally Posted by Yelta View Post
    As a matter of interest I have both a Portapresso and a Flair, the Flair leaves the Portapresso in the dust, for ease of use, quality of shots as well as price.
    That's great feedback. The screw mechanism looks novel that's for sure. I think I'll google Flair vs Rocket or possibly start a separate thread on it.

  8. #8
    Super Moderator Javaphile's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Superman View Post
    Possibly but I don't like talking about 240V mods. Too many things can go wrong for the unqualified and the consequences can be pretty severe.
    While that is certainly something to remain aware of it would be no more dangerous than many of the mods discussed on here.


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  9. #9
    Senior Member speleomike's Avatar
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    Hi

    I have a few lever machines, and a Domus Galtea and other machines in the past. If I wanted a machine that would be my only, or main machine I'd be looking at a full 58mm PF. Even if its only a few coffees a day, when you want a coffee you want the best. The Lusso has a 49mm PF and it is really a bit lacking if you want a decent sized ristretto or espresso. In my opinion the Portapresso does not produce shots that can match a 58mm full lever machine or a good E61 machine. It's acceptable for a camping trip. Even then I'd prob go for a Mocha Pot when camping.

    Mike
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  10. #10
    Site Sponsor Leaf_Bean_Machine's Avatar
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    Agree with @speleomike in that a good E61 machine is the way to go. Not a fan of the lever machines. Love an aeropress for camping as I feel mocha pots can be quite hard on the coffee due to being on a direct flame. We always recommend that when you are buying any machine whether it be new or secondhand that you check if there is a service agent near you who carries spare parts.

  11. #11
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leaf_Bean_Machine View Post
    I feel mocha pots can be quite hard on the coffee due to being on a direct flame.
    Never found using a Moka Pot to be an issue at all, whether heated on coals, gas or what ever one's preferential heat source is. Easy enough to learn how to modify one's approach to suit what ever is at hand...

    Mal.

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    Fair point Java "No Darwin Award winners yet!" phile. Maybe I'm more paranoid than most. How about if anyone wants to know PM me. I'll help as much as I can. The Behmor mod is actually not THAT hard if you know what you're doing. However building and programming the Arduino circuit is orders of magnitude harder. Obviously you need to understand both electronics and programming and when it doesn't work, trouble shooting is a bugger. It could easily be a wayward comma in your code, a bad solder, a fried transistor or some other component you've got the polarity wrong. (.....arghhhh!!!)

    With moka pots, I find boiling the water separately and using the lowest gas setting prevents the burnt coffee taste. I got this baby from Paris. Kicking myself I didn't buy it in Italy but at least I got it directly from a Bialetti store. Tastes the same as a moka pot, just looks way cooler.



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  13. #13
    Senior Member speleomike's Avatar
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    Hi

    Hey Superman, nice Mocha pot variant that I haven't seen.
    Way cool to see the coffee spluttering out into the cups :-)

    Mike
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  14. #14
    Senior Member Jackster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Superman View Post
    Fair point [COLOR=#333333]Java "No Darwin Award winners yet!" phile. Maybe I'm more paranoid than most. How about if anyone wants to know PM me. I'll help as much as I can. The Behmor mod is actually not THAT hard if you know what you're doing. However building and programming the Arduino circuit is orders of magnitude harder. Obviously you need to understand both electronics and programming and when it doesn't work, trouble shooting is a bugger. It could easily be a wayward comma in your code, a bad solder, a fried transistor or some other component you've got the polarity wrong. (.....arghhhh!!!)

    In pretty sure I can sort out the hardware side of a project, but that Arduino programming is a challenge I haven't had to face yet...

    Welcome too, btw!

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Superman View Post
    Fair point Java "No Darwin Award winners yet!" phile. Maybe I'm more paranoid than most. How about if anyone wants to know PM me. I'll help as much as I can. The Behmor mod is actually not THAT hard if you know what you're doing. However building and programming the Arduino circuit is orders of magnitude harder. Obviously you need to understand both electronics and programming and when it doesn't work, trouble shooting is a bugger. It could easily be a wayward comma in your code, a bad solder, a fried transistor or some other component you've got the polarity wrong. (.....arghhhh!!!)

    With moka pots, I find boiling the water separately and using the lowest gas setting prevents the burnt coffee taste. I got this baby from Paris. Kicking myself I didn't buy it in Italy but at least I got it directly from a Bialetti store. Tastes the same as a moka pot, just looks way cooler.



    Ha, I've got one of them, in red, but without the designs.
    Works well still, it was purchased in the early 90's in Rome
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  16. #16
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    At the time I hadn't seen them anywhere else in the world, definitely not Australia so thought it would make a unique souvenir. Was ridiculously expensive (AU$50) for essentially a glorified moka pot but given it got used almost daily when my BES920 died, it was worth it.

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    Back on topic, I'll check out some E61s. There's a thread on 'cheap' ones so that might be a better option than a lever machine (boiler or manual).

  18. #18
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    You could look at E61 machines, but this will add $$ to your budget and you don't need an E61 to make great espresso easily. If it's only a few espressos on the weekend, then a PID controlled single boiler will easily fit the bill. eg Lelit PL41TEMD? Or some second hand/ex demo options.

    charlie
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  19. #19
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    Yeah I've been researching the Lelit PL41TEMP and it seemed to fit the bill and I've also been looking at your used section also. I'm now also looking at a used Isomac Zaffiro but tbh I'm not sure how much better any of these will be compared to say the Cafelat Robot.

    If the Robot can come close-ish and have essentially zero maintenance issues then that is a very attractive option. However it's ~$600 and I can get a new/used for $1000 but then I have all the ongoing maintenance issues that go with it. Decisions........



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