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Thread: Whats the best machine, under $3,000

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    Whats the best machine, under $3,000

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Im in the market for an upgrade. With a budget of around $2,500 to $3,000. Id like to tap into the passionate expertise of this site and get your opinions as to the best machine for the money. Im currently sold on the Iberital LAnna, which nobody seems to have heard of. It has a rotary pump and when demonstrated for me, made beautiful espresso and talk about quiet! But I am open to suggestions and I would love to hear yours (within reason).

    Regards Bart.

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    Re: Whats the best machine, under $3,000

    Bart- why not consider an Expobar Minore II- the plumbed version with the rotary pump? You will have sensational stability and quite a few spare bucks to put towards a grinder or a big pile o green beans ;)

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    Re: Whats the best machine, under $3,000

    Thanks for the tip, Ive heard good things about Expobar and I shall investigate further.

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    Re: Whats the best machine, under $3,000

    For those insterested in the Minore II, the following may be of help. Note that the Minore is known as the Brewtus in the US.

    This review from home barista covers the Minore I, but is also relevant to the Minore II as the Minore II only has a few additional features. This article does a great job of covering the machines performance (and even compares it to the Giotto).
    http://www.home-barista.com/brewtus-buyers-guide.html

    Download for Brewtus user manual
    http://www.brewtusgroup.com/rt

    Technical Specs and Closer look article (pdf download)
    http://www.bellabarista.co.uk/Expobar-Brewtus.htm

    Otherwise, feel free to shoot though questions here.

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    Re: Whats the best machine, under $3,000

    One requirement I omitted. Machine must have a tank, it cannot be plumbed, because to do so would require drilling through granite splashback. The penalty for which may include, but not be limited to, the removal of my manhood! So says the minister for finance. :(

    Bart.

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    Re: Whats the best machine, under $3,000

    Granite Benchtops are so 1990s, Dahling Tell the Minister Of Finance that Stainless Steel and Plumbed in Espresso Machines are the Fashion now.. But then again It sounds like you have been "Castigated" already..
    Tepin

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    Re: Whats the best machine, under $3,000

    Bart:

    Yes, the hole in the bench is a potential problem. Mind you the hole is not that big, about 30mm from memory for the drain and the water line.

    The benefits are never having to empty a drip tray or fill the tank.

    Big benefit.

    I dont believe you can get espresso machines that have tanks that also have rotary pumps.

    I would certainly highly recommend the machine I have which is the Bezzera BZ40P.

    It isnt a machine in the limelight but it is very well designed and Barazi give excellent service.

    It has a 3.4L boiler with two 1450W elements, rotary pump and built to last. I think they cost just over $3000.

    It runs from an ordinary plug. The large boiler makes it pretty well a commercial level machine but it is very handy. I use the hot water to preheat cups and I can froth and do an espresso at the same time. It also runs cooler than most hx machines which makes burnt shots almost impossible.

    My one I got second hand and is now 10 years old. It still looks like a new machine, so much so that if I told you it was new you would believe me. This is courtesy of high quality and heavy duty stainless that isnt prone to denting or scratching or any sort of corrosion or pitting. Just damned good quality.

    Anyway, it is nice to have money and get the authorisation for a new machine. Just like Xmas!

    Grant


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    Re: Whats the best machine, under $3,000

    Quote Originally Posted by wattgn link=1150703587/0#6 date=1150812835
    Bart:

    Yes, the hole in the bench is a potential problem. *Mind you the hole is not that big, about 30mm from memory for the drain and the water line.

    The benefits are never having to empty a drip tray or fill the tank.

    Big benefit.

    I dont believe you can get espresso machines that have tanks that also have rotary pumps. <snip>Grant
    Bart, Grant and others- the ECM Veneziano has a tank and also a rotary pump....and the beauty is that it can be switched from plumb in to tank with the press of a button. *The only issue is that $3k wont quite get you there...but it performs superbly and is a dead sexy machine- I know as I have one myself- the s1 version on the right... 8-)

    Please note that the machine now ships with cool touch Giotto style knobs and also Giotto style group handles and knobs....

    Chris



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    Re: Whats the best machine, under $3,000

    Bart,

    I have deliberately kept out of this discussion so as not to appear to be making a bald faced advertisement for my own company but in light of all the above recommendations on all and sundry including equipment sold by people that do not support this site, *it would be foolish of me not to butt in at this point.

    You can talk tech specs until the cows come home, you can talk vibe VS rotary pumps, you can talk heat exchangers VS multiple boiiler machines, you can talk ability to plumb in or not, in fact in these pages you can talk anything you like, but the only true professional reply to your request for "what is the best machine" is to say.....the best machine is the one you like. All and sundry can make all kinds of recommendations, but the buck stops with you and your spouse.

    There are quite a few excellent *machines, and there are a few excellent service providers, and there are fewer service providers that also support this site.

    Therefore, may I simply mention that I would be pleased for you to atleast take a look at the 4 models that my company sells and that can be seen on my company website, and if you like the look of any of them, feel free to call.

    There are quite a few very happy "Fresh Coffee Equipment Clients" in this Forum.

    Many thanks for the opportunity to present my own models.

    Regardz,
    FC.
    *

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    Re: Whats the best machine, under $3,000

    Quote Originally Posted by Fresh_Coffee link=1150703587/0#8 date=1150848867
    Bart,

    I have deliberately kept out of this discussion so as not to appear to be making a bald faced advertisement for my own company but in light of all the above recommendations on all and sundry including equipment sold by people that do not support this site, *it would be foolish of me not to butt in at this point.

    You can talk tech specs until the cows come home, you can talk vibe VS rotary pumps, you can talk heat exchangers VS multiple boiiler machines, you can talk ability to plumb in or not, in fact in these pages you can talk anything you like, but the only true professional reply to your request for "what is the best machine" is to say.....the best machine is the one you like. All and sundry can make all kinds of recommendations, but the buck stops with you and your spouse.

    There are quite a few excellent *machines, and there are a few excellent service providers, and there are fewer service providers that also support this site.

    Therefore, may I simply mention that I would be pleased for you to atleast take a look at the 4 models that my company sells and that can be seen on my company website, and if you like the look of any of them, feel free to call.

    Many thanks for the opportunity to present my own models.

    Regardz,
    FC.
    *
    Agreed! You could do a whole lot worse than give Attilio a buzz.....not only will you find that hes a great guy...but he knows his stuff too!

    C

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    Re: Whats the best machine, under $3,000

    Chris:

    The Venziano looks very nice. I like rotary pumps. The tank is good if you like portability. I can think of one person I know who might like this idea.

    How much did you pay for the S1?

    Grant

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    Re: Whats the best machine, under $3,000

    All comments so far have been taken on board. After further research I am leaning towards the ECM Veneziano A1. This machine has been given excellent reviews on other sites, and it sure does look the goods! Average advertised price seems to be around $4,250. As a newbie Im unsure of site etiquette, but if theres a sponsor out there whod like to help me out with one of these machines, please feel free to contact me.

    Bart.

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    Re: Whats the best machine, under $3,000

    keen to spend $4250 on a machine, huh?

    wanna get me one while youre at it? ;)

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    Re: Whats the best machine, under $3,000

    Ill take one too kthxbye :D

    I do wonder when it reaches a point where I am thinking....

    I could buy the following:

    * That new lounge suite we desperately need along with coffee table
    * A plasma TV
    * A holiday
    * A new PC
    * Put another slab of cash aside for a deposit on a house
    * A coffee machine for my 2-4 coffee a day habit

    Fortunately, I am the closest thing to minister of finance in my relationship so *if* I wanted to, I could do something outrageous and go the coffee machine... :)

    UNfortunately, I am too damned level headed and responsible and will probably at least end up with that lounge first.

    Now repeat after me 100 times everyone ... "The machine I have fulfills my needs"

    ;D

    Lachlan

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    Re: Whats the best machine, under $3,000

    ok.

    the machine I have fulfilled my needs ... doh!

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    Re: Whats the best machine, under $3,000

    Whats "need" got to do with it? As an avowed consumer the only thing relevent here is WANT! There are many aspects of life in which one must accept mediocrity. Perhaps ones lounge suite, coffee table and television, to name but a few. However, as a self confessed, self indulgent, obsessive compulsive coffee freak, one thing I simply cannot and will not abide mediocrity in, is my daily Java, nor the apparatus used to lovingly prepare it each morning.
    Is $4,000 alot to spend on a coffee machine? Perhaps. But life is short and I have three sons. Surely one of them can go without a decent education, so that dear old dad may have the espresso machine of his dreams! ;D. Besides, after alot of soul searching and reflection. I have decided on the Iberital LAnna, I was very impressed by its demo and its been described to me by a reliable source as "twice the machine for half the price". Even allowing for exaggeration, thats fair claim and although not quite half the price, it is under three grand. Now that I think about it, a 55" plasma would look fantastic in my lounge room. ;)

    Bart.

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    Re: Whats the best machine, under $3,000

    Gday Bart,

    well if that is the one you like, then that is the one for you and you will have made the right decision.

    Just make sure you have ready access to service from a friendly, knowledgeable, expert service provider who you can rely upon whenever necessary.

    Just one note however, beware the "2wice the machine at arf the price" comment. Thats nothing more than a sales pitch designed to hook those that want to feel as though theyve got themselves some kind of a bargain.........please dont let that sway you unduly, you need to have been impressed with the machine *despite* the comment.

    Glad youve found something you like.

    Regardz,
    FC.


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    Re: Whats the best machine, under $3,000

    Yeah- I cant agree more, FC....We all know that you gets what you pays for...and no way is it twice the machine that the Veneziano A1 is. Its like comparing a Skoda to a Ferrari.

    Its a Spanish machine, not Italian- but I have no doubt that it will do the job and do so satisfactorily- as would many of the other options discussed and suggested. Does it have a tank too?? I thought that was a not-negotiable? :-?

    In my opinion it doesnt look half as good.....and thats before we switch it on... *;) :P Nevertheless, hope you enjoy your new toy, Bart....

    2mcm

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    Re: Whats the best machine, under $3,000

    Quote Originally Posted by Fresh_Coffee link=1150703587/15#16 date=1151039529
    Just make sure you have ready access to service from a friendly, knowledgeable, expert service provider who you can rely upon whenever necessary.
    I so agree with that. The essential difference between the spanish machines and the ECM machines is that the former are built to a price point, whereas the latter are built to a quality point. The spanish machines are great in that they use relatively cheap parts to get to the same performance level, but it wouldnt surprise me if the caveat is that they fail more often. In home use Id imagine that all of these machines are well enough built to last quite some time, but parts will wear and tear and need to be replaced.

    Personally, I would try to stear clear of machines with electronics like the volumetric controls. You really dont need them at all in a home environment; theyre just another thing that can go wrong and are quite expensive to replace. In a commercial environment where one barista has a stream of orders to plough through, the volumetrics are useful, but at home you will never be so busy that you wouldnt cut the shots off manually. Hell, in the busiest cafe that I have worked in we still cut the shots off manually most of the time to make sure that we were getting the max out of the espresso before it went blonde. I bet that the guys who said that it is twice the machine were from coffee company - I was looking at the giotto last time I was there and they tried to convince me that the expobar with the volumetric keypads was better.

    Bottom line, though, the Lanna seems to have the right guts - relatively large boiler and a group head with thermosyphon and preinfusion.

    Cheers,

    Luca

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    Re: Whats the best machine, under $3,000

    Im certainly with the "you dont get something for nothing" statement. The build quality of Spanish machines seems the be generally one level below the Italian machines. Of course thats a generalisation, but either someones not getting paid, theyre outsourcing to China or theyre cutting corners. Pick one.

    With a 6 l steam boiler, itll never run out of steam.

    w.r.to ECM, the Giotto is good, but that doesnt mean all ECMs are as good. I know of one supplier that has stopped selling the lower end ECM machines due to chronic unreliability. They still sell Giottos though.

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    Re: Whats the best machine, under $3,000

    Interesting discussion.

    If you look at the guts of an espresso machine there isnt much there. I mean you could build one up from bits with then get a chassis and sheet metal, etc etc.

    Italian certainly doesnt mean good either. I think really you just have to look carefully at the materials used and how it is all put together.

    I think buying a new machine can be a trap for someone new to machines though so it doesnt hurt to pay extra for a machine that you are 100% confident of.

    I dont think thermosyphons count for much. All that is important is that the grouphead is kept near the temperature of the boiler and that can be done by conduction just as effectively.

    A commercial multi group machine MUST have thermosyphons as the single boiler has to service multiple groups and it the thermosyphon is the practical way to do this. There is no need with single group machine which is why most manufacturers dont bother.

    The reason theyre put on is because the punters demand it but I dont see any sound engineering or heat transfer reason why this is so.

    Anyway, caveat emptor, Bart. Just make sure that you have had a look at this machine inside and out and are confident that it will:

    1. Make good espresso
    2. Last
    3. Be reliable
    4. Make you feel good when you look at it in your kitchen

    Grant

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    Re: Whats the best machine, under $3,000

    Thankyou all, for some very helpful insights. You have tipped the balance, I must confess I was beginning to waver on the Iberital, due to my own nagging doubts and those of the minister for finance. Your comments have convinced me to sit on my hands for a while and curb my impulsiveness. Regrettably, I cancelled my order for the Iberital today, I think Ill hang on to the San Marino CK Compact while I carry out further research, but as I gaze into my crystal ball, Im almost certain that I see an ECM Veneziano in my future. Watch this space.

    Bart. :-/

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    Re: Whats the best machine, under $3,000

    Bart
    Looks like you are on track for some pretty good equipment.
    Apart from having sold Diadema and ECM machines in the past, I have also personally owned and extensively used the Diadema Junior, Giotto and the A1. I have also played with these machines alongside a number of grinders.
    If you would like to discuss any of these machines in depth (ie the pros and cons) feel free to call me at any time.

    John

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    Re: Whats the best machine, under $3,000

    OK - to confuse the issue - what about if I said I wanted the best machine under $3000 that can be fully plumbed in? A *real* annoyance with my ECM Botticelli II is the small water tank and small drip tray. It may only be twice a week that they need filling/emptying, but my brain says that spending $3K on a coffee machine ought to obviate the need to do these menial tasks.

    And BTW, the machine has to be something that doesnt take 30 mins to heat up.

    A final point, am I going to find little idiosyncracies with a Ghiotto, Brewtus etc? Ive just got used to temp surfing on the Botticelli, which I find annoying. As stated above, if Im spending $3K on a coffee machine, I would be unhappy if I still had lots of little caveats.

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    Re: Whats the best machine, under $3,000

    David, every espresso machine has little idiosyncracies, no matter how much they cost. For example, I dont like how the steam knobs on $10k La Marzocco lineas rotate around several times before anything actually happens. Every now and then we bump against the paddles on our $15k Synesso Cyncra and activate a pump.

    30mins to heat up is pretty much obligatory. If you dont like it, buy a sunbeam dual thermoblock. Otherwise, suck it up and do what everyone else does and just put the machine on a timer.

    All machines require some sort of temperature surf/flush routine. With the brewtus, you need to flush a certain amount to heat up the group. You will need to flush less on the second shot than on the first and you will find that if you make multiple shots in a row the group will heat up. With the giotto and most other HX machines where the restrictors and pstat arent ridiculously tuned, you will need to do a flush to purge the superheated water in the HX and might even want to wait a little bit for rebound time. The plus side is that you can use this to fool around with the temperature of the shots that you are extracting.

    I think that the Brewtus can easily and cheaply be converted to be plumbed in and out and you might be able to do the same with the other HX machines. Another alternative is the la spaziale s1, which has a caveat of 53mm portafilters. as far as I know, both the S1 and the Brewtus only have a resolution of first crack. If you want better resolution, you might want to investigate the Dalla Corte Mini Professional, but I gather that (a) thats a little way off still, (b) Im not sure what sort of support youll receive and how available parts will be and (c) it also has a 53mm pf. Also, I dont think that the S1 and the DCMP really let you fool around with preinfusion.

    The category killer machine would probably be the Nuova Simonelli Appia, which is a tank and plumb in version of the Aurelia. It doesnt seem to require much fiddling with temperature and, from what Ive seen, the NS preinfusion is extremely forgiving. Caveats? You betcha. I dont think that NS are importing them into Australia, they probably would cost a bit more than $3k and to get absolutely incredible temperature stability (the WBC tests showed that they didnt waver more than 0.first crack in a shot) at different temperatures, you need to change the restrictors in the group.

    So there you have it. Shopping for any espresso machine is a matter of finding which little idiosyncracies are the least annoying to you. Otherwise, there would be a clear market leader. The best advice that anyone can give you is to actually go an try these machines for yourself. Personally, I find using all of these machines significantly easier than using my Silvia.

    Cheers,

    Luca

    PS. Dont forget about the grinder.

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    Re: Whats the best machine, under $3,000

    Id probably go the Minore II plumbed in version with the rotary pump, plum get a 2 holed tip from Coffeeparts as well as a LM group handle....plenty of change out of $3k to put towards a grinder fund and not too ridiculous a footprint........

    2mcm

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    Re: Whats the best machine, under $3,000

    Quote Originally Posted by luca link=1150703587/15#24 date=1151558281
    Shopping for any espresso machine is a matter of finding which little idiosyncracies are the least annoying to you. *Otherwise, there would be a clear market leader. *The best advice that anyone can give you is to actually go an try these machines for yourself.
    Much like buying a digital camera. As for a coffee machine, I want perfection if Im going to spend money. I guess Ive got spoilt - Im into Linn sound systems, and whatever you buy is pretty much perfect and spending more *always* gets you better sound...its a no-brainer really.

    Quote Originally Posted by luca link=1150703587/15#24 date=1151558281
    PS. Dont forget about the grinder.
    Ive got an Isomac Granmachinato which seems to do the job. Not that Ive done much looking, but the next step up in grinders seems to switch to doser-only (the GM is doserless).

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    Re: Whats the best machine, under $3,000

    DavidR
    Over the years I have used and sold a number of Diadema and Giotto machines. For a domestic espresso machine these would be as close to perfection as you could get.
    But, you will still have to do a little bit of surfing!
    From personal experience, I would not be too keen to plumb this type of machine in.
    John

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    Re: Whats the best machine, under $3,000

    Thanks Pinot. The ECM distributor also recommended *not* plumbing in the Ghiotto.

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    Re: Whats the best machine, under $3,000

    Just a point on heating up machines.

    I have a 3.4L boiler in my Bezzera 40P and I manage to wram it right up to temperature within 20 minutes just by pulling water through it several times.

    It is easy to do when the machine is plumbed in as water use is not an issue.

    Grant

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    Re: Whats the best machine, under $3,000

    Yeah Grant, I do a similar thing - give it a few flushes to heat the group, release some hot water through the hot water tap (to heat cups, and to force the element on, by adding cold water to the boiler), purge the steam arm a few times ... my idea is to get the boiler elements to cycle as often as possible ... thats gotta help, right?

    Well, thats the idea anyway.

    For $8, I got a timer (for another $4, I could have got 2!). I Havent looked back! Machine switches on at 5am, off at 8:30am, back on at 3pm, off at 6pm ...

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    Re: Whats the best machine, under $3,000

    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    Ive got mine on a timer as well. I suppose I could just set it earlier but when we sleep with the bedroom door open it makes some noise. that big rotary pump, you know.

    I probably should make it 30 minutes earlier though.

    Grant



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