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Thread: upgradeitis confusion

  1. #1
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    upgradeitis confusion

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    I will start off by saying that I absolutely love my gaggia classic. truly, it has taken me past the point i ever expected to get with making my own coffee at home. But, as is the way of any sort of pastime, as things progress, I want to see how much better it can get.

    So I know without a doubt that the first thing needing upgrading is my grinder, so that will happen. I also know that I am getting way ahead of myself when looking at newer and different machines. But I am glad I am doing so, because it seems when you go beyond a gaggia classic or a rancilio silvia, the next step up gets very confusing.

    HX not Hx, E61, plumbed, not plumbed. Auto, semi auto... so many questions. I look on ebay, lots of Boema single group machines available there. Course they need to be plumbed in, but will they give me a better coffee?

    Theres a San Marino CK on ebay for $450. Sure it might go higher, but again, will it produce a better ristretto, a better latte? Hard to find good info about some of the machines listed.

    I also suspect that a commercial machine may take too long to heat up in the mornings, and require copious amounts of flushing.

    I read and I read, and making a decision is damn hard. One of the sponsors here (talk coffee) seems to have excellent deals on new machines, its hard to decide what I want, what i need, what fits my bill.

    At this stage its kind of an enjoyable frustration, and always good to learn what the terminology means, and read what people think about the different types of equipment. But I am trying to set some goals for saving up to be able to spend the pennies on a machine that will last me a good long while.

    suggestions, recommendations, horror stories or more education on whats worthwhile appreciated.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Koffee_Kosmo's Avatar
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    Re: upgradeitis confusion

    First you need a budget to work on and then

    Buy the best grinder you can afford preferably one that will not require an upgrade later on
    Buy a machine based on how may cups of coffee you make per session



    KK

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    Re: upgradeitis confusion

    I was sort of working towards deciding on a machine then saving the money. Budget isnt the issue, it might take a year or more to put the cash aside, but its good to have something to aim for.

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    Re: upgradeitis confusion


    Espresso Machines
    Good Machines (other CS users will add there recommendation)

    Bazzera Domus Galatea
    VBM super lever or VBM PID Dual Boiler


    With

    Compak K10 Grinder

    However a La Marzocco GS3 would also be nice :)

    KK

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    Re: upgradeitis confusion

    Hi raphec,

    Although I recently got a grinder that should survive any bouts of upgraditis for a good few years, in terms of a machine, Im in the same position as you - happy to spend "enough" to get a lasting machine, and happy to wait until Ive saved up enough to do so...

    So rather than setting a budget and getting the best machine in it, Im deciding how much I can save in a year, and deciding on a price-bracket that way. Perhaps you have a time-frame (and therefore an approx price range) in mind? That would give people more to work with for suggestions... (eg. $50/week over 12 months = 1 x Expobar Minore II!)

    Cheers
    Stuart.

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    Re: upgradeitis confusion

    well, given my current usage, and roasting habits, I am saving between $3 and $9 a day just by only drinking coffee i make instead of buying it.
    Also given the fact that I would describe my current hobby as coffee, it means i am prepared to divert a fair bit towards it.
    My concern is that I will spend a fortune, to decide that the cup i got from my classic was... well... classic...

    Part of me wants a lever espresso just because the idea of it seems pretty awesome, but never having touched one, thats probably a bad idea.

    I am definitely looking into a commercial level grinder such as a gino rossi or cunill at sometime in the near future.

    When it comes to these sorts of big expenditures, i am the type who will look and look and ummm and aahh about it for ages, then all of a sudden go out and do it.

    I was doing the same sort of thing when it came to getting my house, talking about it for years. Then all of a sudden all my friends were asking me when i decided to buy a house
    :)

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    Senior Member flynnaus's Avatar
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    Re: upgradeitis confusion

    Unless you are making 50+ coffees a day or more I cant see the sense in a commercial grinder (saying that without really understanding what a typical commercial grinder would process). Even then Im sure a prosumer grinder would easily handle that capacity given a kilo of coffee would make 50 shots or so of around 18g per shot (+ wastage).

    Nothing wrong with thinking about it instead of rushing in unless there is a good deal but the first step is to pay a visit to a (sponsors) shop and get some expert advice.

    Trouble with walking into a shop is that all the machines seem to be saying buy me, buy me! Its bad enough looking at the pictures on websites.

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    Re: upgradeitis confusion

    Im cleaning up a Rossi but my Macap will always be my main grinder as it has done an excellent job so far and the Rossi is even too big for my kitchen. ;D

    You dont have to spend money on a Rossi when a Macap or Mazzer will do the job.
    Thats up to you though.

    Im very happy with the coffee from my Expobar (my first and in all likelihood, last machine).

    Do your research, decide on a few machines and set a budget to aim your savings and hobby funds at.
    When youre ready to buy refine your reseach and decide.


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    Re: upgradeitis confusion

    i must say the expobar office was one of the machines ive been eyeing, as well as the leva. The amount of flushing people seem to think it needs concerns me though.

    As to the reasoning behind a commercial rather than a high end domestic, when picking up secondhand, the commercial ones seem to go cheaper. I know the size of the hopper is ridiculous to my needs, but if I buy second hand, then it makes sense.

    Dont know much about tha Macap grinders. Was just starting to read up about them after reading some of the Talk Coffee specials last night.

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    Re: upgradeitis confusion

    My Leva needs about 100ml flush if its been idle for a while.
    Not a big deal.

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    Re: upgradeitis confusion

    Flushing is not a big deal on MOST prosumer machines that float around here on CS. Most of the hype you hear about cooling flushes are US spec and not the Aus spec which seem to be more temp stable, in general.
    TC Chris might be able to share his experiences on that.

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    Re: upgradeitis confusion

    Quote Originally Posted by YeeZa link=1217890644/0#10 date=1217914071
    Flushing is not a big deal on MOST prosumer machines that float around here on CS. Most of the hype you hear about cooling flushes are US spec and not the Aus spec which seem to be more temp stable, in general.
    TC Chris might be able to share his experiences on that.
    Agreed- You cannot compare US spec. to our Aussie machines. Most HX are good-fantastic. For example, flushes arter an hour of idle may vary from a rinse (thermostable giotto/makin) to 100ml as TG has mentioned.

    I have experienced 100-200ml between shots :o in which shall remain nameless- but be guaranteed that they will NEVER be a part of the Talk Coffee range.

    As we always say, at this end, given an excellent grinder and great coffee, the biggest variable will usually be the nut on the group handle ;)

    Chris

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    Re: upgradeitis confusion

    thanks for that :)

    another question I have about HX machines or any machines really - i dont really want to start a new thread just for this - currently, on weekdays i have my classic on a timer clock so I can wake up and have the machine preheated and make my coffee and race to work.

    is this going to be an issue in the next bracket up?

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    Re: upgradeitis confusion

    Na

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    Senior Member GregWormald's Avatar
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    Re: upgradeitis confusion

    IMO--

    The next step up from a Silvia is a VBM Levetta, single 700 ml boiler, non-Hx. This is temperature stable, E61, but needs heat-up time (45 seconds or so) and cool-down times/flushes for milk stretching that could be a problem if you plan on making more than 4 milk drinks at a time. There dont seem to be many machines in this category.

    Next up is Hx machines. They need cooling flushes, but can produce coffee and milk simultaneously, and in general will just keep going as long as the water holds out.

    Dual boiler machines may or may not be a step up--this is a moot area.

    PID adds more temperature stability and reduces the need for cooling flushes.

    Once you have decided on the level, the most important factor is which machine suits you--try them out if at all possible.

    Just my take.

    I went for a VBM Domobar Levetta--the first step up, and because I very rarely make more than 2 milk drinks in a row, have never felt the machine to be a limiting factor.

    Greg

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    Re: upgradeitis confusion

    Quote Originally Posted by GregWormald link=1217890644/0#14 date=1217936193
    IMO--

    The next step up from a Silvia is a VBM Levetta, single 700 ml boiler, non-Hx. This is temperature stable, E61, but needs heat-up time (45 seconds or so) and cool-down times/flushes for milk stretching that could be a problem if you plan on making more than 4 milk drinks at a time. There dont seem to be many machines in this category.

    Next up is Hx machines. They need cooling flushes, but can produce coffee and milk simultaneously, and in general will just keep going as long as the water holds out.

    Dual boiler machines may or may not be a step up--this is a moot area.

    PID adds more temperature stability and reduces the need for cooling flushes.

    Once you have decided on the level, the most important factor is which machine suits you--try them out if at all possible.

    Just my take.

    I went for a VBM Domobar Levetta--the first step up, and because I very rarely make more than 2 milk drinks in a row, have never felt the machine to be a limiting factor.

    Greg
    That is fast.

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    Re: upgradeitis confusion

    so when i have built up a bit of a budget, so i am not wasting someones time, where is the right place to go, where i can actually try this level of machine? Are there any shops that actually have demo units set up?

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    Senior Member Koffee_Kosmo's Avatar
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    Re: upgradeitis confusion

    Quote Originally Posted by raphec link=1217890644/0#16 date=1217942516
    so when i have built up a bit of a budget, so i am not wasting someones time, where is the right place to go, where i can actually try this level of machine? Are there any shops that actually have demo units set up?


    Depends where you live raphec
    Some active sponsors

    Melbourne - Talk Coffee = Chris
    Sydney - Di Bartoli = Renzo
    Cuppacoffee = Dennis Taren Point (I think)


    Other sponsors
    Brisbane - Barazi = Chris

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    Re: upgradeitis confusion

    Quote Originally Posted by Koffee Kosmo link=1217890644/0#17 date=1217943204
    Quote Originally Posted by raphec link=1217890644/0#16 date=1217942516
    so when i have built up a bit of a budget, so i am not wasting someones time, where is the right place to go, where i can actually try this level of machine? Are there any shops that actually have demo units set up?


    Depends where you live raphec
    Some active sponsors

    Melbourne - Talk Coffee = Chris
    Sydney * * - Di Bartoli * *= Renzo
    Cuppacoffee = Dennis *Taren Point (I think)


    Other sponsors
    Brisbane - *Barazi * = Chris
    Thanks, but no, the only coffee making equipment I sell is the AeroPress. Dont know that it would satiate the upgrade bug on this occasion.

  20. #20
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    Re: upgradeitis confusion

    Thanks, but no, the only coffee making equipment I sell is the AeroPress. Dont know that it would satiate the upgrade bug on this occasion
    AeroPress is a good option if raphecs Gaggia breaks down ::)

    KK

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    Re: upgradeitis confusion

    Hmmm,

    If the budget (within practical boundaries) is not an issue, then I would shoot for either the Compak K10 WBC or the Mazzer Kony (since throughput is not the issue at home) and for the espresso machine, look to spend upwards of $3,500 for any one of a number of excellent machines that will last you a lifetime.

    When its all said and done, its not really a lot of money considering youre buying hardware that has the potential to outlive you and something that you can leave to your grandkids. Amortised in this way it represents less than $150/year. Fantastic value in my book.

    Opting for a commercial quality grinder for the home isnt about throughput anyway, its about quality of build and accuracy of grind which have been shown to elicit improvements of quality in the cup. Naturally, were talking about the law of diminishing returns here but for $150/year, its worth it in my book..... 8-)

    Mal.

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    Re: upgradeitis confusion

    hmmm i will have to make an appointment to go see talk coffee sometime soon.

    so many good machines, so hard to choose.

  23. #23
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    Re: upgradeitis confusion

    Careful.

    Every time I visit Chris, I tend to walk out with less money and more shiny things!

    Brett.

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    Re: upgradeitis confusion

    i would walk in there with no money, and a notebook

    take notes

    consider

    then spend money.


  25. #25
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    Re: upgradeitis confusion

    Yeah. I remember thinking that I would be rational about it too.

    Perhaps you have better self-control ;-)

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    Re: upgradeitis confusion

    a girlfriend who would shoot me if i impulse spent that much.

    then again... she is away for a week soon :D

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    Senior Member Koffee_Kosmo's Avatar
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    Re: upgradeitis confusion

    Raphec

    The trick is to let her believe she wants it and have her approve to spending the money on the bling machine

    Thatís what my wife does to me all the time [smiley=lolk.gif]

    And by the way
    She ;) picked the Bezzera Galatea (thatís one I got back see method above ;))

    KK

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    Re: upgradeitis confusion

    Quote Originally Posted by fatboy link=1217890644/20#22 date=1217982283
    Careful.

    Every time I visit Chris, I tend to walk out with less money and more shiny things!

    Brett.
    Moi? *Dons halo and looks innocent* I only open the door for you Brett- you attend to the rest! ;D

  29. #29
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    Re: upgradeitis confusion

    $150 a year = 50 x $3 coffees or only 1 per week.

    I have 3 per day so would pay for itself in just over 12 months.

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    Re: upgradeitis confusion

    Quote Originally Posted by Koffee Kosmo link=1217890644/20#26 date=1217989667
    Raphec

    The trick is to let her believe she wants it and have her approve to spending the money on the bling machine
    she doesnt like coffee :(

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    Re: upgradeitis confusion

    but does she LOVE hot water?
    or hot choc perhaps? ;)

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    Re: upgradeitis confusion

    Quote Originally Posted by roknee link=1217890644/20#30 date=1217998205
    but does she LOVE hot water?
    or hot choc perhaps? ;)
    Hot Water Snobs [smiley=lolk.gif].... Hmm just dont see it happening ;D

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    Re: upgradeitis confusion

    she in general doesnt like hot drinks.

    not tea, not hot chocolate, not hot water, not cup-a-soup

    shes like the anti-raph in that respect. I LOVE hot drinks :D

    raph-cup-a-soup-snob-ec

  34. #34
    Senior Member flynnaus's Avatar
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    Re: upgradeitis confusion

    Quote Originally Posted by GregWormald link=1217890644/0#14 date=1217936193
    The next step up from a Silvia is a VBM Levetta, single 700 ml boiler, non-Hx. This is temperature stable, E61, but needs heat-up time (45 [s]seconds[/s] mins or so) and cool-down times/flushes for milk stretching that could be a problem if you plan on making more than 4 milk drinks at a time. There dont seem to be many machines in this category.

    PID adds more temperature stability and reduces the need for cooling flushes.
    I went for a VBM Domobar Levetta--the first step up, and because I very rarely make more than 2 milk drinks in a row, have never felt the machine to be a limiting factor.
    The Levetta is looking more attractive to me as the next course of my upgradeitis treatment unless I win lotto. This is for the same reasons as Greg

    Doing a bit of research, I came across this site which includes a couple of mods.

    http://www.ielogical.com/coffee/VBMPID.html

    Would a PID be an recommended mod for the Levetta (like it is for the Silvia). I thought it would have better temp control or does it also have a bimetal strip thermostat? This mod sounds more like a luxury than a necessity along with the boiler insulation.

  35. #35
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    Re: upgradeitis confusion

    Quote Originally Posted by flynnaus link=1217890644/20#33 date=1218066940
    The Levetta is looking more attractive to me as the next course of my upgradeitis treatment unless I win lotto. This is for the same reasons as Greg

    Doing a bit of research, I came across this site which includes a couple of mods.

    http://www.ielogical.com/coffee/VBMPID.html

    Would a PID be an recommended mod for the Levetta (like it is for the Silvia). I thought it would have better temp control or does it also have a bimetal strip thermostat? This mod sounds more like a luxury than a necessity along with the boiler insulation.

    A couple of things to keep in mind:[*]US Spec OLD VBM and old Aussie machines imported by the last mob machines run red hot. ECA did a heap of work with VBM to ensure that ours would be brilliant- which they are....[*]4.5kg of brass changes temperature VERY slowly[*]This PID was done on a Domobar Super Lever[*]The levetta has a very precise rheostat attending to boiler temp. If you want to play with brew temps, easily done with a screwdriver and a group thermometer.[*]A PID on a levetta- possible, but overkill IMHO

    Hope thats of use ;)

    Chris

  36. #36
    Senior Member flynnaus's Avatar
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    Re: upgradeitis confusion

    Thanks Chris

    Very useful. As usual I learn something from your posts. I didnt pick up that it was a Super Leva (as it said Super Levetta in the title) but did think it looked rather large for a Levetta.

    You last point sums up my suspicions.

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    Re: upgradeitis confusion

    Chris,

    are there any times you are just around for drop in visits? I am trying to firm an idea up as to what i want. I dont want to make a specific appointment because theres a good chance im not going to do much spending in the short term. (this statement may or may not be true :) )

  38. #38
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    Re: upgradeitis confusion

    Quote Originally Posted by raphec link=1217890644/20#36 date=1218068588
    Chris,

    are there any times you are just around for drop in visits? I am trying to firm an idea up as to what i want. I dont want to make a specific appointment because theres a good chance im not going to do much spending in the short term. (this statement may or may not be true :) )
    Hi Raph,

    The problem is that Im always around....Somewhere ::)

    Dont be scared- just make a time!

    There is no pressure to buy. If you enjoy the experience and tell a mate, I just recruited a new member of the marketing team...If you buy you do...If you dont, you dont...

    rgds

    Chris

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    Re: upgradeitis confusion

    Chris you have just saved me more money. I was tossing around the idea of putting a pid on the Quaha with the idea that I could put it on a levetta when it came. As SWMBO decided we needed a new machine before I got this small upgrade you have just blown apart any excuse I had to tinker with one.

    Thomas.

    p.s. Thanks for your Help.

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    Re: upgradeitis confusion

    Hi raphec, I recently went through the "which machine would I buy" phase.

    Absolutely bench-test. Book it in if you havent already. Youll very quickly decide which set of compromises you prefer and itll give you an accurate RRP to head for, as well as fuelling your savings plan with inspiration.

    Prior to my bench-test visit at Di Bartolis Sydney, I would have purchased some machines in the $2-3K category based on looks alone, the PIDing of others, but ended up walking away with my hands-on choice of a less glamorous and solid work-horse VBM Super Leva. I have it paired with a great Macap M4 grinder from Chris at Talk Coffee. Both of these sponsors provided the products at a marvellous price. :)

    A suggestion: while youre at it, tack onto your budget $75 for a bottomless portafilter and line up for one of Greg Pullmans barista tampers!

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    Re: upgradeitis confusion

    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    If money wasnt an issue and I could wait Id probably go for a Mazzer Robur and a Synesso Cyncra... but back in the real world Im running a modded rocky with my VBM domobar super and I couldnt be happier.

    I seem to be the only one in the world who has a vbm super that requires me to do a 150ml flush at the start of a session (after a few hours idle). It doesnt need anything if Im pulling shots within a couple minutes of each other, but I like to give it a bit of a rinse to get the old coffee off the screen.

    I was expecting a 94C group idle temp and zero flush required (like the US spec units of this machine), and was bitterly (no pun intended ;) ) disappointed. Ive grown to love it though and wouldnt trade it for anything....except maybe a cyncra :P

    And before everyone attacks me (yet again) rest assured that yes, I have tried smaller flushes, and yes, when I do, I get horribly burnt espresso out.

    Just thought Id chime in with my second crack.

    Sam



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