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Thread: Upgrade-itis....overcompensating?

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    Upgrade-itis....overcompensating?

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    I have been agonising over which machine to buy as I am upgrading from my saeco via vanezia. I have poured over countless reviews, read about hundreds of machines and the final choice came down to the Silvia, La Scala Butterfly, Expobar Office SA and the Office E61 Leva. I have managed a good deal on the E61 and an Iberital Challenge grinder (was going to get a Rocky but read great reviews on the Challenge). I am just curious how other people have felt after they bought their new upgraded machine.

    I make about 20 - 25 cups of coffee a week and I think that would justify buying a HX machine. I love my coffee but I guess I am curious if the difference between a HX machine and a consumer quality machine is worth the price. My house is the regular meeting place for all my friends and waiting for the steam to build has been agony when making 5 chinos in a row. Anyone else been in this situation? Is the HX the answer or just an overcompensation / overkill?

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    cd
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    Re: Upgrade-itis....overcompensating?

    Sam,

    I reckon if you can afford the HX go for it. You will never regret it. I have had my Diadema for nearly a year now and it has been an absolute joy to use. It really comes into its own though when friends arrive - endless amounts of steam, consistently good espresso and easy to use.

    One word of advice - buy from a good dealer. When I picked up my machine I got a three hour lesson that Im sure saved me hours of headache trying to work things out for myself!

    Good luck,

    Rob

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    Re: Upgrade-itis....overcompensating?

    Thanks for the reply Rob. I am located in North QLD so buying from a good local dealer is an impossibility for me. I have found the price varies from $1585 - $2200 depending who you buy it from. Because Ill have to teach myself I have opted for the cheaper seller so I can afford the beans to get things right.

    As for the friends, a mate bought me a nice framed blackboard for my kitchen that has a menu of the coffees and cakes (thanks to my lovely wife) that they all enjoy at my place. I am hoping that the HX will save some time and effort so I can enjoy coffee WITH my friends rather than AFTER they have drank theirs.

    Just a question though, is the steam from an HX machine drier than from single boiler machines? I have the problem with my saeco that the steam is very wet and I need to drain the water for the first 2 seconds before I get good steam.

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    Re: Upgrade-itis....overcompensating?

    Welcome to the wonderful world of HX Samthedog.

    Just a question though, is the steam from an HX machine drier than from single boiler machines? I have the problem with my saeco that the steam is very wet and I need to drain the water for the first 2 seconds before I get good steam.
    Steam will condense back into water in the steaming tube/tip between uses on all machines. This is not a defect but simply physics having its way.

    As the steaming tube cools after use its temperature drops until it is cool enough to cause the steam inside of it to condense back into water which then fills the tube/tip of the tube. This is why its important to purge the steam line every time prior to frothing your milk. This is the case whether you own a $100 Sunbeam or a $20,000 La Cimbali and is nothing to be concerned over.

    Java "Loves a good steamer" phile

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    Re: Upgrade-itis....overcompensating?

    20-25 coffees more than justifies it. Its not just the volume but also the enjoyment of using a quality piece of machinery to produce your favourite brew - that IMHO is justification alone even if you only made one coffee a day.

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    Re: Upgrade-itis....overcompensating?

    Hehehe, thanks for the replies. Ill let my wife read this to further calm her nerves about this decision. I am still relatively new to coffee making and am wondering about how to get the grind right. Is timing it the best way? I know most people say that 25 - 30 seconds for extraction is the go. I usually use particle size as my guide (but then again I use a crappy sunbeam blade grinder much to my shame) and the sound my "blender" / grinder makes changes when the particles reach the desired size.

    Also, I keep reading that Expobar machines run hot/cold and that most people adjust their pstat. If anyone has experience in this could you please pm me with some brief details on this process? Much obliged.
    I hope my machine wont need fiddling but I guess thats half the fun to having this kind of toy.

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    joe
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    Re: Upgrade-itis....overcompensating?

    I usually use particle size as my guide (but then again I use a crappy sunbeam blade grinder much to my shame) and the sound my "blender" / grinder makes changes when the particles reach the desired size.
    You will have to extend your upgrade-itis to your grinder. A good burr grinder makes a world of difference.

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    Senior Member robusto's Avatar
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    Re: Upgrade-itis....overcompensating?

    I came across somewhere a machine with an "insulated" steam wand. Actually, its a tube within a tube, primarily designed, I guess, to minimise milk being baked on the hot surface.

    As to whether it would minimise condensation...?

    But purging water from the wand is always a good idea. Hot water is a terrible frothing medium!

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    Re: Upgrade-itis....overcompensating?

    I had a laugh, yeah I am buying an Iberital Challenge grinder with the Expobar which will be nice. I am only too happy to retire the blade grinder and get a burr grinder.

    I have just put the order in for the Expobar E61 Office Leva and the Iberital grinder. Will be getting it on Monday......man Im going to be wired on Monday night!!!! ;D

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    Re: Upgrade-itis....overcompensating?

    Quote Originally Posted by AlMac link=1134470131/0#4 date=1134489716
    20-25 coffees more than justifies it. Its not just the volume but also the enjoyment of using a quality piece of machinery to produce your favourite brew - that IMHO is justification alone even if you only made one coffee a day.
    Oh I dunno?

    Thats about the same average consumption in our household and my little Mokita handles that ok without too much stress on my sensibilities or the Mokitas.... and most of those drinks are lattes, cappas or piccolos.

    Mind you, if I had the money or the opportunity to get hold of a good single group semi-commercial for a price within my meagre budget, Id be in to it like a duck shot in the bum..... but until such time as the Gods smile upon my good fortune either way, me and my little Mokita will continue to plug along quite happily 8-),

    Cheers,
    Mal.

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    Re: Upgrade-itis....overcompensating?

    I find the Iberital grinder personally, to work very well with an ECM giotto. It is just a pain finding the right grind setting for your coffee beans and coffee machine.

    However once the correct grind setting has been found. You are ready to rock and roll.

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    Re: Upgrade-itis....overcompensating?

    sam, how have you found expobar leva?? This is pretty much the exact set up I am thinking of getting after the christmas rush. Have you had any problems or has it been smooth sailing all the way?? I guess I am in the same position you were in - is it worth the upgrade - would love to hear your opinion now.
    Regards,
    Mal.

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    Re: Upgrade-itis....overcompensating?

    One of the reasons why youre better off buying the best machine you can (or cant) afford is the fact that you wont continue on the upgradeitis spiral. *Every time you SEE, let alone use a high end machine you feel good, and if you have other good quality items in your kitchen or house, it complements them. *Another great thing about a machine like the Giotto is that it weighs so much you dont have to steady the machine with one hand while you rotate the portafilter to stop it jumping around.
    All machines used properly will make decent coffee, but theres something special about using a good grinder and machine in combination. *When I bought my Giotto and ECM (Anfim) Best grinder, I never for a second thought that it was overkill for what I want it for. *I know for a fact that if I had bought something else, it would have been sold the day after I saw a quality HX machine in the flesh. *The "look and feel" can not be beaten. *If you took a purely pragmatic approach, youd probably go for the Silvia Rocky combo, because it is obviously the equal of most high end machines in most practical semses. *BUT.....if you have the spare cash, the Mercedes Benz might save you money in the long term because you can keep it for as long as you want to. *Having said that, Hyundais and Hondas are fantastic at what they do and at the price. The worst thing you can do is have to deal with that feeling a few weeks aor months after the purchase that youd LIKE something a little better, even though you know it DOES the same thing. *Be governed in equal parts by your wallet and your sense of aesthetics. *The brain has an input, but it is usually incompatible with what you really want and your knowledge of how youve behaved in the past with purchases such as this. *Ask any hi-fi nut and youll know what Im talking about.

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    Re: Upgrade-itis....overcompensating?

    hmmm ... if the giotto is a Merc, then the expobar office pulser must be a mitsubishi sigma, but the only upgrade lust Im feeling isnt for a giotto, its for more of a hobby machine, like something old and classic to restore one day, and run in the garage/mad scientist lab.

    Has anyone seen Paul Pratts website? ( http://www.espresso-restorations.com/ )I can be distracted all day by the work he does restoring old La Marzoccos. Thats what I covet.

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    Avi
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    Re: Upgrade-itis....overcompensating?

    I think that I should represent the opposite point of view, if for no other reason than for the sake of balance.

    With all due respect to el espressio, I can certainly assert that I am not a victim of the Upgrade-itis syndrome. I have a Silvia and a Mazzer grinder. While theres no upgrade room above the Mazzer, I have never felt anything less than satisfied with my Silvia.

    From my very limited experience with semi-commercial machines I would certainly agree that they are easier to use, and have a lovely solid look-&-feel. But the only test of any validity, in my opinion, is in the taste of the resulting coffee. The rest is just garnish.

    I cant say that the espresso that I have tasted from larger HX machines are superior to the espresso I produce from my Silvia. So I can hardly say that I feel the need to upgrade.

    What I am saying is this - Upgrade-itis Syndrome is not inevitable for all, but is an individual thing. For those who are trying to decide what to buy, I would suggest that you examine your own individual style and preference. If you are given to Upgrade-itis in other aspects of your life, then a semi-commercial machine is the one for you. If you are pragmatic (as I am), then the only determinant for the buying decision is the quality of the end result - the coffee.

    I would only recommend an HX machine under two conditions:
    1. You drink mainly milk-based drinks, in which case it is really handy to be able to steam milk and brew coffee at the same time.
    2. You often prepare multiple coffees within a short span of time. Boiler based machines are best suited for the occassional coffee or two, rather than frequent use.

    I should state that I offer this post in only the most respectful manner, and I wish only to offer an alternate view to prospective buyers of espresso equipment.

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    Re: Upgrade-itis....overcompensating?

    Quote Originally Posted by mattyj link=1134470131/0#13 date=1135295456
    like something old and classic to restore one day, and run in the garage/mad scientist lab.

    Have to say that I like the idea of that. I think Id also like a classic Merc, too, if cars were my thing, rather than a new one - but nothing fancy, just a 300SL Gullwing.

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    Re: Upgrade-itis....overcompensating?

    Quote Originally Posted by Avi link=1134470131/0#14 date=1135312161

    What I am saying is this - Upgrade-itis Syndrome is not inevitable for all, but is an individual thing. *For those who are trying to decide what to buy, I would suggest that you examine your own individual style and preference. *If you are given to Upgrade-itis in other aspects of your life, then a semi-commercial machine is the one for you. *If you are pragmatic (as I am), then the only determinant for the buying decision is the quality of the end result - the coffee.

    Avi -
    I think, really that youre agreeing with me here. *I certainly agree wholeheartedly with you. *It comes down to the type of person you are - and the brain goes out the window for a lot of us when it comes to purchasing (what some see as) luxury items or (in the case of espresso machines) utilitarian appliances. *I happen to be a great fan of good industrial design - and that has often lead to some cash flow "issues" in the past. *Thats why these days I acknowledge my failings and get what I know Ill ultimately end up getting anyway, and skipping a few steps.
    The happiest people are probably *those who can be pragmatic to the point making smart, sensible decisions all the time when it comes to parting with cash. *Too many people buy stuff to impress others. *If you want a laugh, go to a DJs or Myer or HN. whatever - and watch people looking at and lusting after 4:3 images stretched out to 16:9 on plasma TVs alongside obviously superior (good quality) CRT Tvs - without any negative comment at all. *I would expect that thered be many an expert Silvia owner who can consistently pump out vastly superior shots than a poor HX operator. *But those people would probably make equally medicore shots on a Silvia. *The point is to acknowledge that just because you have a particular machine doesnt make you an expert operator, but to admit to liking some of the more esoteric dimensions of consumerism. *If a person can reconcile guilt with pride of ownership, theyre probably half way to contentment. *In a coffees sense, the remaining half can be gleaned from the amazing knowledge that CSers can share. :)

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    Avi
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    Re: Upgrade-itis....overcompensating?

    Hi el espressio,

    I think that we are in agreement too :)

    I guess I was trying to make a counterpoint to the sometimes one-sided recommendations that get made to prospective buyers of espresso equipment. Given that the price hike up from a Silvia to the cheapest HX machine is $1,000, I think that it is reasonable to carefully balance pros and cons.

    Just as an aside, heres a salient article from Alan Frew, a man with a legendary palate, as far as I can tell. He did an ad hoc (taste) comparison between the Silvia and 3 other higher-end machines, and he couldnt find a difference - http://www.coffeegeek.com/opinions/alanfrew/05-24-2003

    Cheers,
    Avi

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    Re: Upgrade-itis....overcompensating?

    Quote Originally Posted by Avi link=1134470131/0#14 date=1135312161
    I should state that I offer this post in only the most respectful manner, and I wish only to offer an alternate view to prospective buyers of espresso equipment.
    Avi old mate,

    I dont think Ive ever read a post or topic from you that doesnt fit the bill youve described above [smiley=tekst-toppie.gif]..... also, almost always very informative and thinking outside the box. Keep up the good work Avi,

    Mal.

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    Avi
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    Re: Upgrade-itis....overcompensating?

    Thank you very much Mal. Your kind words mean a lot to me, and I appreciate it.

    I should say that I equally appreciate your posts, and always pay close attention to the content whenever I see your name :)

    Cheers,
    Avi

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    Re: Upgrade-itis....overcompensating?

    Avi:

    I just read back through all the posts.

    It certainly proves just what most salesmen are taught and that is people buy what they WANT not what they NEED. The two are quite separate. If people bought what they needed for home use, we would all have Silvias or Mokitas as they meet the needs of 99% of home users.

    Now what we want is a nice impressive, shiny unit that proves to others just how f..g clever we are. It is like having a big wanger except that most of us dont have that on public display for visitors. The espresso machine though is a different story.

    It is all in the mind. The first month I had the Bezzera I enjoyed it but thought it was overkill and took up a lot of room and used a lot of electricity.

    Six months later, it still takes up a lot of room and uses a lot of electricity but not a day goes by that I dont congratulate myself on buying it (and fixing it up).

    I guess if you can feel that way about any toy that you have bought then you have reached gadget Nirvana and are truly blessed!

    Thanks to Mal and other avatars for guiding CSers in their journey to gadget Nirvana.

    ;D

    Grant

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    Re: Upgrade-itis....overcompensating?

    Quote Originally Posted by wattgn link=1134470131/15#20 date=1135740461
    *It is like having a big wanger except that most of us dont have that on public display for visitors.
    Grant
    Grant,

    Your manifesto fascinates and appeals to me and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

    Where can we purchase this "big wanger" you mention?

    Brett.

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    Re: Upgrade-itis....overcompensating?

    He/She/It who dies with the most gadgets wins! [smiley=engel017.gif]

    Java "Its all about the gadgets!" phile

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    Re: Upgrade-itis....overcompensating?

    Brett:

    ;D

    Id like to say get down to your local news agent and get your copy of the Big Wanger...

    It would be fun to pull out at parties for sure.

    I think we should have a separate category on CS called the Big Wanger where we can brag about the size of our coffee producing apparatus.

    Grant

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    Re: Upgrade-itis....overcompensating?

    Quote Originally Posted by Avi link=1134470131/0#14 date=1135312161

    I would only recommend an HX machine under two conditions:
    1. You drink mainly milk-based drinks, in which case it is really handy to be able to steam milk and brew coffee at the same time.
    2. You often prepare multiple coffees within a short span of time. *Boiler based machines are best suited for the occassional coffee or two, rather than frequent use.

    Well that is me entirely. I make mainly milk based coffee and have a flood of them to make in a short time. As I have mentioned to another CS member, I didnt want a machine to "wank on" about in the forums, I wanted the cheapest machine with reasonable quality. Thats the easiest way to say it. Also, to those who dont have a "big wanger", get one and keep it near the coffee machine..... ;D

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    Re: Upgrade-itis....overcompensating?

    Quote Originally Posted by wattgn link=1134470131/15#20 date=1135740461
    It is all in the mind. The first month I had the Bezzera I enjoyed it but thought it was overkill and took up a lot of room and used a lot of electricity.

    Six months later, it still takes up a lot of room and uses a lot of electricity but not a day goes by that I dont congratulate myself on buying it (and fixing it up).
    Im sure it doesnt use that much electricity. My power bills have gone down since I bought the Techno (nothing to do with the mild weather were having Im sure).

    Upgraditis, in my view, is caused by spending too much time on the forums on CoffeeGeek and to a lesser extent HB and alt.coffee. You just get sucked in by all the machine talk on CoffeeGeek and stupid upgrades and reports on new buys not yet out of the box or only used for 1 day.

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    Re: Upgrade-itis....overcompensating?

    my upgrade-itis came out of complete frustration with my sunbeam machine.

    But I guess that happens when, to brew a shot, you use one hand holding the portafilter into the grouphead, and the other hand stopping the machine from sliding around on the bench, from the pressure buildup. If you dont do that, the portafilter just pops out, breaks your cup and paints you walls in a really trendy espresso colour (I called it my feature wall).

    Not all upgrade-itis is caused by reading forums and stressing about intra and inter shot stability and recovery times.

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    Re: Upgrade-itis....overcompensating?

    Hows this for a petty upgrade excuse. *:)

    As most of you know I have a Bezzera HX machine any before that a PID Classic.

    The vibe pumps in both of these machines drive my wife nuts!
    She can live with the grinder noise and steaming but not the pump...?

    The Bezzera also scares her occasionally when the pump operates to top up the boiler out of the blue when I leave it on for extended periods)

    Well it reached a climax last night.

    To Quote her (Angry voice)" Cant you get a quiter machine" (Glare)

    My response" Well..yes I can but.." she cuts me off "well DO IT!".

    So I guess Im now looking for a Rotary pump machine 8-) (I have a witness to her direct order)

    mmmm....maybe a 2grp......one or 2 boilers....mmmm......I had a laugh

    Funny I dont get upset when she starts using her kitchen aid to mixup a stuff in the middle of my Sunday afternoon Motorsport TV fests.....grrrrr....

    CHeers
    Craig A

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    Re: Upgrade-itis....overcompensating?

    Craig,

    You could try rubber mounting the pump or even wrapping the pump in plastic bubble wrap.

    I have the BZ-40P with the rotary pump. Very nice although it still makes some noise although quite a deep throaty sort of noise in keeping the the size of the pump. I have heard that shops sometimes bubble wrap the rotary pumps to quieten them down.

    Grant

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    Re: Upgrade-itis....overcompensating?

    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    Hi Grant
    The pump is already rubber mounted etc but its still noisy as far as the missus is concerned.
    Most of the vibration is transmitted via the copper lines etc
    IMO its as noisy as most vibes Ive heard, the ratteling on the cups and SS tray also does not help.
    Its a pretty small petty reason but if it gets me a new/old up specd machine without have to plead with her for the $$ I go for it.
    Im sure shell bork at the $$.

    Any one got any details or a view on Conti machines particular the twin star 2 group?
    Web site is very lean on info....

    Says it has one boiler per each group + a steam boiler! :o

    check it out http://www.conti-espresso.com/en/twin.shtml

    Craig A



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