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Thread: need help to get right machine

  1. #1
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    need help to get right machine

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hi to all,

    I am new to the site and am researching the web wanting to buy a new espresso machine and grinder for home. At the mo I own a cheap De Longi that has done me well and get my coffee pre ground here in Brisbane from Merlo.
    I would like to invest in a grinder and see that the Rocky is very popular also I have read many reviews and like the look of the Silvia.
    Today I went to Merlo to look at machines and they do not stock the above products. I did try out the Baby Gaggia which I liked but thought for the extra couple of hundred the silvia may last longer and be a better machine? I also looked at the Solis Plus grinder but have seen this isnt a good grinder for the Silvia re review read at coffee connoisseurs. Is there also a machine you can recommend that has a twin boiler as I make mostly caps and would like to be able to steam and brew at once.
    Does anyone know of a good supplier in Brisbane that stocks the silvia and other machines that I can go and try?
    I am very open to suggestions from all and value your input and knowledge as I want to get a machine I will fall in love with and I one I never want to replace.
    Look forward to your thoughts :D
    Claire

  2. #2
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    Re: need help to get right machine

    Silvia is a fine beast but it wont steam and brew at once.

    The Sunbeam 6900 probably wont last as long as the Silvia but you can brew and steam at the same time. Infact its the only one in its price class that can.

    The Rocky is a very good grinder and has all the guts from Rancilios MD40 commercial grinder.

    BUT if you really want the twin boiler option you are looking at $$$$$. Contact any of the sponsors

    But do invest in good grinder. (he says owning a Sunbeam EM0480 does the job but grind varies a bit sometimes)

    Have fun looking

    Cheers
    Rich

  3. #3
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    Re: need help to get right machine

    Quote Originally Posted by Claire link=1153735413/0#0 date=1153735413
    I am very open to suggestions from all and value your input and knowledge as I want to get a machine I will fall in love with and I one I never want to replace.
    Look forward to your thoughts :D
    Claire
    Gday Claire,

    Welcome to CoffeeSnobs [smiley=thumbsup.gif]. Regarding advice for a particular machine and grinder, I would sincerely advise you to contact one or more of our Site Sponsors, listed on the top L/H side of the page. They are consummate professionals all, and really look after CoffeeSnobs members such as yourself, more or less starting out from a new platform. Once youve had a chance to have a chat with these guys, Im sure you will be much better equipped to make a decision on what will suit you best.

    All the best Claire, and Happy Brewing into the future :),

    Cheers,
    Mal.

  4. #4
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    Re: need help to get right machine

    Claire, welcome to the site. Youve started a biiiiig journey. Seems like your research has led you to one of the best sites to help out on this journey :)

    Another thing your research seems to have done is set you straight on the grinder story - you have to have a great grinder to get a great coffee, from any machine. Lots of people own Rocky, so they are a great choice. Fresh_coffee, a site sponsor and good guy, will also tell you that there are other options in the same category - Macap M5 comes to mind as being an equivalent but may even be better value. Look for some of Fresh_coffees posts on grinders, theres a wealth of information there.

    Lots of people talk about Silvia being a great machine, and I am sure they are (no personal experience). Like most machines they have some tweaks and practices that make the end result a more consistent product, but others also call them a little tempramental. The general impression would be that Silvia would be a better long-term machine than Baby Gaggia - most Gaggias use an aluminium boiler.

    If youre after a dual-boiler machine, then there are only a few available - a flavour of the moment is Minore II. Read up on 2muchcoffeemans reviews in the "coffee hardware for sale" forum.

    In the "youll never want (or need) another machine" category is pretty much any of the "prosumer" Heat Exchanger (HX) machines. I personally went with an ECM Giotto from this category, but there are many great machines - Diadema Juniors are also in this category. HX are great in their ability to froth milk while making espresso!

    Another option thats getting some good reviews is the Sunbeam EM6900, and its a dual-thermoblock unit so removes the wait for boiler switching to froth milk. Once again, no personal experience, but there are a few very satisfied owners here.

    So I havent helped much here, except telling you more about what options you have. I can say Im happy with my giotto, and really would never consider moving away from it. The convenience

    Final word from me is that the site sponsors here, particularly Fresh_coffee and 2muchcoffeeman (Chris) put so much back into this site, in not only their sponsorship but also their advice and their preferential treatment of the CoffeeSnobs family...... and while they arent in Brizzy, Im sure theyre well worth talking to, and will be able to support you extremely well from afar (how far away are we all anyway, with the internet!)

  5. #5
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    Re: need help to get right machine

    Gee you guys here are quick with your responses, thanks for the advice. Tomorrow I definately will do the rounds of the sponsors for some advice.

    Thanks poundy for some names of other machines I shall check out the Giotto. I will also check out the Macap grinder.

    Can some one also tell me the difference between a HX and a thermoblock, I have read a bit about the thermoblock (not all good) and read the reviews on the Sunbeam already how is a HX different. Sounds like a twin boiler may be out of my price range.

    Im glad Ive found such a great site for my research.

    Claire


  6. #6
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    Re: need help to get right machine

    Claire- any of the site sponsers will be able to take you through the nuances of the differences between the machines. As a basic way to describe it- the thermoblock is used on almost all the department store "espresso machines". The work on a pump that pushes water through a maze of hot metal and into a speacially designed basket that is designed to increase the pressure to make the creme look great.
    So you end up with a great looking cup without most of the nuances of the bean. >:(
    The siliva and other "boiler" models do not have these silly pressurized baskets and simply rely on steam pressure that can be manipulated to enter the espresso mass at jsut the right temperature to produce better-than-cafe- espresso...IMHO.
    THe HX machines are similar in that they use a boiler too- only they also have a special tube that runs through the boilier for the espresso water to travel along and pick up enough heat exactly for the brew temperature without going too high. In effect - the heat is exchanged along the way.
    It basically means you can get greater consistency time after time.
    For the money Id go with Silvia- My mate Bullit has her on his bench and let me say after a couple of shots in preheated cups- its no waiting at all for a full head of steam to microfoam the half to one litre of milk in next to no time.
    I dont see a need for a bigger boiler of twins for the home maker who wants the best taste and has plenty of friends to chare it with! ::)
    Silvia and Rocky- thats what I say- and at this stage Im only half way there ;)
    Yes - Im still labouring under the misguided choice of a thermoblock.
    But not for long.
    RH

  7. #7
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    Re: need help to get right machine

    Thanks rayurhead I think that you are spot on.

    Time and time again my research brings me back to the silvia and the cost seems very resonable which is good. Thanks for the info on the HX this makes sense and also seems to double the cost of the machine, as I checked out the Giotto and though a beautiful machine that I would love in my kitchen it is probably a little expensive for me unless I am lucky enough to win lotto. ;D

    Hopefully today I can find a seller in Brisbane that can let me try the silvia I see coffee roasters is on the Gold Coast but it doesnt seem that they supply the Silvia :( thus my search continues.
    Claire

  8. #8
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    Re: need help to get right machine

    Theres a few errors that I want to clarify here:

    Quote Originally Posted by rayzurhed link=1153735413/0#5 date=1153747463
    As a basic way to describe it- the thermoblock is used on almost all the department store "espresso machines". The work on a pump that pushes water through a maze of hot metal and into a speacially designed basket that is designed to increase the pressure to make the creme look great.
    The pressurised filter has nothing to do with the thermoblock. You can buy (or make) standard filters for thermoblock machines, that produce real crema from good coffee beans. The reason for pressurised filters was (according to a Sunbeam rep) to improve the results that came from stale coffee, because at the time most of those machines were released, fresh coffee was far less widely available, and that low-end users generally wont have a grinder for making the freshest coffee.

    A thermoblock is cheap to make, thats why they do it. Its also probably more consistent/easier to use for the beginner/hack user, which would help it dominate that market. That you dont have to wait for a whole boiler full of water to heat up is a theoretical benefit.

    The siliva and other "boiler" models do not have these silly pressurized baskets and simply rely on steam pressure that can be manipulated to enter the espresso mass at jsut the right temperature to produce better-than-cafe- espresso...IMHO.
    Only cheap "steam toy" machines (and moka pots) use steam pressure to push the water through the coffee. The Silvia and all proper boiler espresso machines use a pump, just like the thermoblock machines have. In fact, most likely the exact same Ulka pump...

    The benefit is that the larger mass of water in the boiler adds thermal stability to the system. The cool water coming into the boiler from the pump does not affect the outgoing water temp as much as in a thermoblock, where the whole volume of water is displaced several times over in a single shot.

    THe HX machines are similar in that they use a boiler too- only they also have a special tube that runs through the boilier for the espresso water to travel along and pick up enough heat exactly for the brew temperature without going too high. In effect - the heat is exchanged along the way.
    It basically means you can get greater consistency time after time.
    The true benefit of the HX machine is that you have a boiler full of steam available to do the milk instantly, but the brew water goes through fast enough that it doesnt heat up to boiling point (which would ruin the coffee).
    Disadvantage: If you dont brew for a while , the water in the HX coil WILL heat up to the boiler temp. So you need to run a cooling flush through before brewing your coffee.

    Beyond that theres double boiler machines that have completely separate brew water and steam systems.

  9. #9
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    Re: need help to get right machine

    Hi Claire,

    Barazi here in Brisbane stock both the Silvia and Rocky and a host of other machines including the ECM Giotto. They are a site sponsor, so be sure to mention youre a coffeesnob member.

    These guys are great to deal with and will be able to demonstrate the machines for you and make you a coffee or two in the process. They are at 2/25 Boyland Ave., just off Beaudesert road in Coopers Plains.

    Cheers,

    Mark.

  10. #10
    Senior Member fatboy_1999's Avatar
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    Re: need help to get right machine

    Quote Originally Posted by Claire link=1153735413/0#0 date=1153735413

    I am very open to suggestions from all and value your input and knowledge as I want to get a machine I will fall in love with and I one I never want to replace.
    Look forward to your thoughts *:D
    Claire
    Claire,

    Welcome to the site.
    Lots of good advice so far. Hope it isnt information overload.

    I personally have a Silvia/Rocky combo. Very happy with it, but Im here to tell you, the upgrade bug is still with me. If I had the dollars, Id be chatting to Chris (Talk Coffee) tomorrow about which HX machine I should go for. Its not that I NEED a HX, once we get to this point with our obsession, I dont think NEED comes into it anymore.

    Anyhow, Ill add to the suggestion you chat to Barazi, Talk Coffee or Cosmorex.
    These guys know their stuff. Give them a rundown of what you want to use the machine for, a rough budget and Im sure theyll help you out.
    Good luck - the journey is SO worth it.

    Brett.

  11. #11
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    Re: need help to get right machine

    Thanks Fatboy and Sparky guess I am going for a drive to Coppers Plains tomorrow to check out the Barazi shop. ;D I looked at their website yesterday but there was no mention of the Silvia so hadnt given them a call, so thanks for the advice as it was driving me insane trying to find a supplier in Brisbane, the closest supplier I could find was in Byron Bay.

    Like you Fatboy I am not loaded up with $$ for a HX machine but wonder if I get the Silvia I will wish I had waited and got the HX instead? Maybe I will get a Rocky grinder and continue to use my little DeLonghi for a bit longer? To many decisions.

    Everyones help has been great thanks [smiley=dankk2.gif]

    Claire

  12. #12
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    Re: need help to get right machine

    As fayboy said, you might get upgradeitis with Silvia, but I really dont think it will be that soon - I know my upgradeitis hit after only a matter of months (from a Gaggia Espresso Deluxe). The fact that Barazi, Cosmorex, and 2mcm all sell them has to add weight to the suggestions youll see around the place that theyre at the pinnacle of that section of the market.

  13. #13
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    Re: need help to get right machine

    Quote Originally Posted by Claire link=1153735413/0#10 date=1153819748
    Thanks Fatboy and Sparky guess I am going for a drive to Coppers Plains tomorrow to check out the Barazi shop. *;D *I looked at their website yesterday but there was no mention of the Silvia so hadnt given them a call, so thanks for the advice as it was driving me insane trying to find a supplier in Brisbane, the closest supplier I could find was in Byron Bay. *
    For some obscure reason, Barazi have a different web page for their non-bezzera stock.

    Good luck with the shopping.

  14. #14
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    Re: need help to get right machine

    Thanks guys am going in to meet Chris on Monday and have a play let you know what I think.

    Claire [smiley=2vrolijk_08.gif]

  15. #15
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    Re: need help to get right machine

    Quote Originally Posted by Claire link=1153735413/0#10 date=1153819748
    Like you Fatboy I am not loaded up with $$ for a HX machine but wonder if I get the Silvia I will wish I had waited and got the HX instead? Maybe I will get a Rocky grinder and continue to use my little DeLonghi for a bit longer?
    First question; undoubtedly true. Probably best to avoid using a HX - ignorance is bliss ;P

    Second question; if you get a Rocky, youll wish it were a mazzer!

    Cheers,

    Luca

  16. #16
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    Re: need help to get right machine

    :) Sorry Matt King
    Just goes to show ya that when you think you know something about something, theres always someone else that knows more.
    Heres what I know and its not technical really.
    If ya try out a machine and it goes clunk clunk clunk when its making steam- dont buy it.
    If its listed with any site sponsors- go for it!
    If youre watching the budget- you can still produce espresso better than most cafes with a bit of practice on a non HX- site sponsored machine!
    And - IMHO Luca- you wont be wishing for a Mazzer if you have a Rocky.
    2 bobs for you Claire and whoever.
    RH


  17. #17
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    Re: need help to get right machine

    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    Dont worry razorhead I am staying right away from the department store machines and have decided I dont wish to get a thermoblock. Seeing one of the sponsers on Monday and will try not to have a go on a HX machine or it may make me want one! I had settled on the Rocky but will chat to Chris at Barazi about that too. Too many choices ohh what to do!!!

    Claire



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