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Thread: Finally satisfied with Expobar Leva

  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2005

    Finally satisfied with Expobar Leva

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    From Instant to Stove Top to Kenwood to Bezerra BZ99s, now finally satisfied with Expobar Leva

    I can still remember the Saturday morning where it all started. *Reading the paper I was taken by the thought that life was just too short to keep drinking instant coffee, which I had decided was very much like licking carpet. *I put the paper down, drove to the Mall and bought a traditional ‘stove top’ espresso, just the same as the one my older Dutch relatives used at Sunday afternoon family gatherings. *Looking back now I can see that perhaps I was responding to a call from way back in my ancestral blood line to return to consumption of “real” coffee (or I really just needed some decent caffeine fixes at home). *

    Three different styles of Stove Top’s later and I decided it was time to get an espresso machine. *Already feeling like I had spent too much on my three stove tops I felt quite proud to pick up a relatively unused Kenwood machine from Cash Converters. *I even went the extra step and treated myself to a Breville coffee and spice grinder!

    Soon I was grinding, tamping and steaming my little heart out and was very excited to now and then produce some crema in my shots. *It was at about this time that I think I uncovered the whole online world of coffee. *Suddenly I was the complete amateur, and suddenly I was seriously in need of upgrading my equipment. Thus began the rigorous mental gymnastics required to justify the $$$ required to ‘get the machine and grinder I so clearly needed to have’. *

    Luckily, I then chanced upon a great buy, an ex demo Bezzera BZ99s for $350. *I complemented this with the affordable Nemox Lux Grinder. *After a bit of a learning process and a few steaming tip modifications to the BZ99s I was finally producing some good shots and pleasing milk based drinks (and I was able to easily accommodate visits from all my European coffee loving relatives).

    Hot Shots and Temperature stability problems
    After 2 ½ years with BZ99s the quiet voices of dissatisfaction were now becoming troublesomely loud. Poor temperature stability with the BZ99s was lowering the quality of my shot and I was getting tired of having to bleed of large amounts of water (into the tiny drip tray) in order to get a reasonable shot (my pressurestat modifications had not rectified this issue). Upgraditus hits again with vengeance. I sold my BZ99s for a tidy sum and with my new “coffee machine equity” set out in an earnest search for a new machine that would truly satisfy.

    I had two non-negotiables in my search for my next machine.
    1) Price: To appease my concerned conscience I was determined to keep a cap on my spend and not get sucked into the idea that more $$$ necessarily meant better coffee. *
    2) E61 type group: Following the difficulties I had with BZ99s temperature stability and associated hot shots I decided that an E61 type group was the way to go. *I spent a number of months researching all the main Heat Exchanger E61 machine brands. *I had conversations with most of the main retailers to get a bit of an idea of the type of customer service and follow up support that I would get for my $$$. *

    Final Choice: Expobar Leva from
    In the end I decided upon an Expobar Leva. *Basically this machine satisfied my budget and as far as I could read they have an excellent reputation. *A few retailers of Italian made machines gave me the whole “made in Spain thus poor quality” line, but at the end of the day I could find no customer feedback to back this claim up. *For me it was about getting an E61 HX machine with a good reputation at the right price. My buying experience has also been excellent. *Although I have a local Expobar dealer I decided to go with the Melbourne based distributor I dealt directly with the Rick Mead, the CoffeeLovers manager, and he provided very friendly and professional service. *The machine came to me fully bench tested and they have also tweaked the pressurestat for optimised temperature stability in Australian conditions. He is also the one to speak to about a good price.

    I have had the machine now for two months and am very pleased with its overall performance. *The things I like about the machine are:
    1.Price: Avoiding the extra snob$$$ associated with Italian made machines an Expobar can generally be had at a much better price (currently $1585 inc GST from, *
    2.Temperature stability: I have been pulling the best shots ever and only need to bleed of about 40mls of water if the machine has been idle for a few hours,
    3.Looks: Although the Expobar had gotten some bad press for its looks I think that the Leva model looks great and its simple lines suit my gallery style kitchen perfectly,
    4.Drip Tray: Fantastic large drip tray, easy to empty,
    5.Steaming: The machine came with two holed steaming tip which I find great for producing two cups or more worth of silky microfoam. *Trying to do smaller amounts is a little more difficult with the powerful steaming capacity of the Leva. *After talking with Rick from CoffeeLovers about this he is looking into supplying me with a single holed steam tip which should do the trick. *

    So overall I believe that I have made a good choice in the Expobar Leva given my particular needs and budget. *Surely upgradeitas is many years away now (although I am following with interest the upcoming arrival of the new dual boiler Expobar Brewtus!)

  2. #2
    Super Moderator Javaphile's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004

    Re: Finally satisfied with Expobar Leva

    A wonderful write-up Linden and welcome to the wonderful world of Coffee Snob(ishness)s. ;D

    It sounds like youre ready to start exploring the world of home roasting, adding a whole new layer to your coffee enjoyment. :)

    Java "Get it while its fresh" phile

  3. #3
    Senior Member robusto's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005

    Re: Finally satisfied with Expobar Leva

    Congratulations on your journey, above all, from the dark beginnings of instant coffee to the
    englightenment of espresso.

    Youve explained the transition well, especially what factors coffee lovers traversing the same path should look for.

  4. #4
    Nyg is offline
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2005

    Re: Finally satisfied with Expobar Leva

    Great write up. I have been having trouble deciding on a coffee machine myself. These are the machines I am / was looking at

    Sunbeam EM6900
    Rancillo Silvia
    ECM Giotto
    Expobar Bretus

    After getting a stern telling off from Andrew (from Multitude) for considering a thermal block I gave away the Sunbeam. After reading your review I have called Rick and will look at getting the Leva or Brewtus..

    Toys... Yay. Thanks again for the write-up.

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2005

    Re: Finally satisfied with Expobar Leva

    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    nice choice Nyg, but just a note - they had to rename the brewtus for the aussie market ... not too sure why.

    Down here, its called the Barista Minore ... Im sure Rick will probably know that though!

    I nearly went for a leva through Rick - he was really helpful to me when I was researching for my upgrade. My only concern was going to be service and repair ... hes in melbourne, Im in sydney ... but then Rob Forsyth found me and offered me the office pulser at an unbelieveable price, and hes only 20 minutes away if anything goes wrong.

    If I had more money, Id have gone for the [s]Brewtus[/s] oops ... Barista Minore! I had a play on one at Forsyths, its an awesome machine!

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