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Thread: Looking for some entry level HX Machine

  1. #1
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    Looking for some entry level HX Machine

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hi everyone,
    Im about to start a quest for that perfect cuppa and I need your help please.
    Im looking to buy an entry level HX machine(under $1500). Ive done some research on the net and seems like Expobar Office is on the list. However, I have some questions before I make my decision:

    -are there any other machines of similar/better quality?
    -are there any shortfalls with the Expobar Office?
    -how long does it take to heat up before I can start pulling some shots?
    -what is the difference between semi-auto and fully-auto?

    Please help before I depart with my hard saved $$$. :)
    Thks Bill

  2. #2
    TC
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    Re: Looking for some entry level HX Machine

    Hey Bill- a number of people I know own the expobar and all report good experiences!

    On price point, a competitor might be the Simonelli Oscar- but with a plastic body. The expobars are known to run a little warm and sometimes ship with fairly high pump pressures- both easily tweakable.

    Differences between the Semi and the Auto are limited to the Volumetric touchpad in the Auto and obviously a few dollars. I believe that they are unmatched when it comes to "bang for buck"

    Keep in mind the need to factor in a good grinder- at least an Iberital Challenge.

    I can supply you with both....Perhaps you might drop me a PM and we can talk some more...

    Chris

  3. #3
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    Re: Looking for some entry level HX Machine

    Hi Bill,

    Youve certainly done your research well. The Expobar Office Pulser is probably the only thing that will really fit your budget. The NS Oscar is a possibility, but when you drop that much coin on a machine you want to have aftermarket service and the Oscar doesnt seem to be well supported.

    There are two main issues with the expobars; first, they require massive cooling flushes and second, they have no brew pressure gauge and come with the brew pressure set way too high. I think that this is just an issue of factory settings; if you buy from a reputable vendor, they will plug the machine in, test it and tweak it to mildly acceptable standards for you.

    I agree with Chris 100% that the Iberital is the cheapest acceptable grinder ... or has Chris started to agree with me ;P

    When you pick up the machine, its probably worth picking up the whole kit; 58mm tamper, 350 and 600 ml jugs, detergent, backflush disk, coffee tool, knockbox etc. ... it adds up!

    To answer your other questions:

    -You probably need to give the machine an absolute minimum of 15-20 minutes, but Id want to give it more like 1/2hr. If you want to have a cappuccino for bfast, put the machine on an appliance timer.

    -There are many, many machines of similar or better quality, but not at that price

    -Full auto = volumetric controls. You dont need them. Semi-auto = pump on/pump off controls.

    Cheers,

    Luca

  4. #4
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    Re: Looking for some entry level HX Machine

    Thanks Chris and Luca!!
    You guys cleared my questions for sure. ;D
    It sounds like the Expobar Office semi-auto are the one to go for.
    Ill definetly get a good grinder too(Im thinking mini Mazzer).
    With the two issues with the Expobars, running too hot and too much pressure, are there any ways to monitor these?


    thks

    Bill

  5. #5
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    Re: Looking for some entry level HX Machine

    Billy- what would need to happen is a check and adjustment of both boiler and pump pressure. This would be performed as a part of your pre-delivery service.

    The mazzer mini is a sensational grinder and would complement your machine perfectly....I can only see one problem with your planned setup and that is your budget. You will need to extend yourself a little further to put the package together. The alternative is to choose a less expensive grinder. I suppose a little pain now will allow you to have a setup which will do the job very well and pretty much indefinitely....unless a bout of upgraditis hits! ;).

    Drop me a line when youre ready to go- Id be thrilled to assist with your purchase...

    Chris

  6. #6
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    Re: Looking for some entry level HX Machine

    A bit late, I know, but the Ascaso Steel is another option. I saw one recently in Perth, and was impressed with the coffee and steaming capabilities. Its not an HX machine --- it has a reasonable boiler and an endless quantity of steam is produced via a separate thermoblock system. However, I didnt really like the finish, felt there was not enough height between the drip tray and the group (barely 70mm) if you wanted to make a long black coffee (which I do); and because the water tank is at the rear under a flap with a full open top, I also felt it would be too easy to pour water down into the internals of the machine. Yes, you could withdraw the water tank, but you had to take a lot of plastic pipes out. After some agonising, I have just purchased a Simonelli Oscar which I am coming to grips. I guess it does make a better cup than my Baby Gaggia, if only just, but it makes it at a much better temperature. I think I need to experiment much more now with coffee types and in particular, grinds. [smiley=rolleyes.gif]

    So far, frothing has me beaten, the steam pressure is so prodigious, but Im sure I will be able to get it right in due course.

    Otherwise, I like the silver Oscar, and particularly its look and the fact that it DOES have an ABS plastic case, like the Gaggia. Its a very substantial machine, and heats its capacious boiler up in around 10 minutes. Frankly I have found no advantage in waiting longer than 15 minutes to make a cup. One made 15 minutes later tastes excatly the same. I purchased it from Bake and Brew in Adelaide who were cheaper than elsewhere ($1195), and Donna there could not have been more helpful.

    Allen

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    Re: Looking for some entry level HX Machine

    My opinion for what it is worth is to go for what you really want.

    Ive seen too many people continually upgrading.

    I mean if you are a student do have an absolute limit and no way to get more money then fine.

    My concern is that it can be cheaper to compromise as you end up selling, losing money and then buying something more expensive.

    In the prosumer lines the top choices are the Giotto or the Minore.

    The Mazzer is a fine choice although my preference is a Rocky doserless for home use.

    All the best,
    Grant

  8. #8
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    Re: Looking for some entry level HX Machine

    Quote Originally Posted by wattgn link=1148648086/0#6 date=1150031044
    My opinion for what it is worth is to go for what you really want.

    Ive seen too many people continually upgrading.
    Grant

    Grant is right.
    My advice would be to buy your grinder first, because you will be able to use it with your current machine.
    If you buy your HX machine and use a poor grinder, you will wonder why you bothered with the upgrade, as it wont be able to perform adequately with coffee from a low performing grinder.

    The other thing is that if youre going to spend serious money, and to most people, 2-3 K is serious money, do it right the first time. If you dont, youll be upgrading before you know it and will spend much more than you thought you ever would. As has often been mentioned, good equipment is easy to sell and maintains a high percentage of its original price. You might even like to peruse the "for sale" section here. Our sponsors offer great package deals at times and will back you no matter what.

  9. #9
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    Re: Looking for some entry level HX Machine

    hows the expobar goin, billy?

    enjoying that mazzer mini? ; )

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    Re: Looking for some entry level HX Machine

    I dont know about the machines you speak of, but I can certainly recomend the Mini Mazzer. Ive been using one for about two years with a San Marino CK compact and I love it. Im no expert, but a good grinder makes a real difference.

    Bart.

  11. #11
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    Re: Looking for some entry level HX Machine

    Thks everyone for your recommendations.

    Ive finally settled on Expobar Office Pulsar and Mazzer Mini ;D
    There were some dramas with the Expobar though when I got it :(. The first one was faulty and its pump kept going and did not stop!!! The pressure forced water to leak from both steam wand and hot water outlet until there was no water left in the tank!!! But it was replaced very next day with the another one ;D.

    Ive had them for a few weeks now and Im still trying to be friends with them. Spending lots of time, effort and beans!!! I hope that Im rewarded soon with that beautiful golden syrup! *

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    Re: Looking for some entry level HX Machine

    Hi,

    Can anyone tell me who supplies expobar office pulser machines in Australia? I havent had much luck with getting a company to ship from US so far. A shame because with exchange rates as they are the outright price is 820AUD from the US.

    Cheers

  13. #13
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    Re: Looking for some entry level HX Machine

    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    Quote Originally Posted by jprm link=1148648086/0#11 date=1216819929
    Hi,

    Can anyone tell me who supplies expobar office pulser machines in Australia? I havent had much luck with getting a company to ship from US so far. A shame because with exchange rates as they are the outright price is 820AUD from the US.

    Cheers
    Hi jprm,

    There are quite a few sponsors (including ourselves) who supply the pulser. In Australia, you will find that the model is called the Office Semi-Automatic. This machine is 240V and has a 2000W element- a dramatically different machine to the US 110V model. Due to this, and signafantly smaller volumes and the fact that its a Spanish machine- and therefore purchased in Euro, you will find that you will need to spend more to get one.

    You are welcome to call or drop me a line if I can assist.

    regards

    Chris



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