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Thread: which machine to buy?

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    which machine to buy?

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hi

    This is my first post. My nearly 3 year old Cafe Roma has died and I need a new machine. I could just replace it with another Cafe Roma as I think I got my moneys worth out of it. However, Ive been researching and have started to think I could upgrade to something a bit better. I dont want to spend a fortune, so was thinking of the $600 range at the most. So far Im considering the Sunbeam 6910 and the Gaggia Classic.

    What concerns me is how long they are likely to last. If I spend that much Id like to get 10 years out of the machine. I know the Sunbeam has a 5 year warranty on the pump, but what about the rest of it? And Im not sure about the Gaggia - only 1 year, maybe?

    Part of me says to just get another Cafe Roma and throw it in the bin in 2 or 3 years time, and part of me wants to try something of a bit better quality. I also intend to buy the Sunbeam 480 grinder.

    Can people whove had either of these 2 coffee machines give me their opinions please.

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    Re: which machine to buy?

    Hi Judy and welcome to CS!

    Youve certainly had a good run from your Cafe Roma and either the SB or Gaggia will be a good step up. They are however very different to each other. The SB uses a thermoblock, whereby water passes through a heating element, while the Gaggia has a dual purpose boiler. The SB is probably simpler to use, while the Gaggia requires a greater degree of interaction between the machine and the user.

    In regards to your concern about longevity, well, I could pretty much guarantee that the Sunbeam will not make it to 10 years - theyre just not designed or built to last anywhere near that long. On the other hand, with regular maintenance, theres no reason why the Gaggia wont still be producing good coffee in 10 years time.

    For the grinder, the 480 will do ok, though if you can stretch your budget, a better grinder will be a worthwhile investment. Talk Coffee (Sponsor on the left) have the Ascaso i-mini on special at the moment for $300, and its a very good grinder at that price point.

    Cheers!

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    Re: which machine to buy?

    Thanks Cuppacoffee

    When you say the Gaggia needs more interaction between the user and the machine, what do you mean? We have 3 adult children who come and go and use our coffee machine when they feel like it, so need a machine thats pretty easy to use. I dont want to have to supervise them all the time when they want a coffee.

    I am getting more interested in the Gaggias though. There are also the Baby and the Carezza which Ive read some good reviews about. Id like to try a machine with a boiler. Weve always had thermoblocks - also had a cheap Sunbeam before the Breville. I do wonder about after sales service with the Gaggias though. Do you know what thats like?

    As you can see, after many years of buying household appliances Im a little suspicious of their tendency to break down. Even if the manufacturer will fix them under warranty, youre without your machine for a while and you have to take it to them and pick it up, often on the other side of town.

    So I guess reliability as well as nice coffee is important to me if Im going to pay this kind of money.

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    Re: which machine to buy?

    hi judy

    as pointed out, the classic is the better unit, and repairable

    have just finished a boiler and seal replacement in a classic,

    Customer has owned it since early 1999

    if i was to do that in a sunbeam, it would be 3-5years old, and the repair cost would be more than a new machine

    graham

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    Re: which machine to buy?

    Hi Graham

    Thanks for your reply.I think Im going to be getting a Gaggia then. Do you know anything about the other Gaggias - Baby, New baby, Carezza etc? Its always intersting to hear the views of people who repair machines as they have a good idea of the most robust brands to buy. Is there any other machine around this price range that youd recommend?

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    Re: which machine to buy?

    The Gaggia would be the better machine IMO, and should outlast the Sunbeam. Having said that though, the Gaggia has an aluminium boiler, which I have heard some people have had corrosion issues with. A machine with a brass boiler would be preferable. If you can afford it (probably $200 more than the Gaggia), you may be better off going for a Rancilio Silvia, which is all brass and stainless steel construction. They often come up for sale 2nd-hand in the "Coffee Hardware For Sale" section on here within your price range.

    And regarding the grinder, Im sure everyone on here will tell you that the grinder is much more important for quality espresso than than the actual espresso machine, so youd be better off getting a better grinder than the Sunbean (which is really only barely adequate). Something like the Ascaso i-mini mentioned above would be a much better alternative.

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    Re: which machine to buy?

    Thanks Bill

    I keep reading about how good the Rancilio Silvia is, but am concerned about a few things. One is where to buy it in Brisbane - I never see them in department stores, and I dont like the idea of buying something off the net without seeing it in real life. Also, they take a long time to heat up, I beleive.

    I read somewhere that some of the newer Gaggias have stainless steel/brass boilers. Do you know if this is correct? Also, the Breville Ikon has a stainless steel boiler and seems to get good reviews and is cheaper. If I got the Ikon I could afford to spend more on the grinder. Ive never seen the Ascaso grinder in a shop either. Once again, do you know where in Brisbane I could see one?

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    Senior Member Koffee_Kosmo's Avatar
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    Re: which machine to buy?

    Hi Judy
    I live in Brisbane
    If you want to see the Silvia go to Barazi in Coopers Plains

    KK

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    Re: which machine to buy?

    Im in Brisbane too. Yep, for the Silvia, go to Barazi (also goes by the name of The Coffee Centre). See http://www.coffeecentre.com.au/

    (Theyre a site sponsor too)

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    Re: which machine to buy?

    Re the interaction bit, its entirely up to the user to determine when to stop the flow of coffee whereas the SB has the option of pre-set delivery. The Gaggia is simple to use.

    As for corrosion issues with the Gaggia, I think youll find this is due to people adding the wrong (acidic) solution when descaling the machine. If it ever needs repair Im sure a local coffee supplier would be able to refer you to someone local. Parts are readily available.

    Just to complicate matters, the Ikon is also a good little appliance, and though it wont have the lifespan of the Gaggia, if it enabled me to buy a better grinder, then it would be worth considering.

    I guess the closest you can come to see/touch the Ascaso is at..

    http://www.talkcoffee.com.au/equipment/grinder-ascaso-i-mini.php

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    Re: which machine to buy?

    Thanks Everyone

    I discovered the Coffee Centre on the net while looking up places to buy the Silvia. After ringing them I was surprised to learn that the Silvia is only guaranteed for 1 year. This isnt much for an $800 machine, IMO. The Ikon is guaranteed for 2 years, I think - or is that another Breville? Anyway, I know this is the wrong section for the Ikon, so will ask questions about it in the other section.

    Am still thinking about the Gaggias. Anyone know anything about the newer Gaggias that I think are said to have ss/brass boilers?

    The Ascaso grinder looks good - not too big. The Rancilio Rocky Doserless looks huge. I may have to pay a visit to the Coffee Centre to have a look at all these machines. My birthday is in a week and this is going to be my present so I have to act soon.

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    Re: which machine to buy?

    Just to confuse things Ill throw another 2 machines into the mix. *:) The Nemox Dell Opera and the Lelit Combi. Both machines have a built in grinder and roughly sit within your intended budget when cost of SB grinder factored in. I dont know a lot about these machines, you can find out more by doing a search on this site. Some members own them. Perhaps someone who does know a bit more about them can expand?

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    Re: which machine to buy?

    Gday Judy,

    Welcome to CoffeeSnobs..... [smiley=thumbsup.gif]

    I think some of the new Gaggia models use a stainless steel boiler (or two) but Im not sure which ones they are. Older Gaggias use a tried and true Aluminium Alloy Boiler with an embedded heating element. Lots of people have been using these for many years and providing you look after them properly are well and truly capable of running sweetly for more than a decade of constant use.

    Dont get too hung up on the fact that Silvias and other specialist espresso machines usually have a 12 month warranty. Unlike the kitchen appliance makers like Breville, Sunbeam, Delonghi and other mass producers of coffee appliances.... Rancilio, Gaggia, Nemox and other "specialist" espresso machine manufacturers design and manufacture their products with the intention that owners can expect a long and useful life from them. The 12 month warranty is nominal in that if anything is going to go wrong, it will probably happen within that period. Careless operation leading to heating element burnouts and the like are never covered by warranty though, as one would expect.

    As others have already mentioned, the grinder is way more important than the machine or brew method employed and the use of freshly roasted, high quality coffee only ground immediately before brewing more important again. You dont need an espresso machine to enjoy great coffee you know.... So long as you satisfy the prerequisites above, you can produce wonderful coffee brews for drinkers of both black or white coffee alike using an AeroPress, a Syphon or a Presso (a purely manual espresso making device). Opting for one of these brew methods instead of an espresso machine initially, will allow you to purchase a much better quality grinder and that WILL make an enormous impact on the quality of coffee you can make. You can always save up for a decent espresso machine later on if you want to but all the above brewing methods are quite simple (still require knowledge and skill to use properly) and are probably more amenable to the casual use of your visiting offspring.

    Anyway, some more food for thought Judy. All the best, :)

    Mal.

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    Re: which machine to buy?

    Hi Judy, I would like to back up the grinder being the most crucial element of making a good coffee.
    Try and get the best possible grinder you can afford eg: the Asasco Mini mentioned above for $300, the Rocky doserless doesnt take up a lot of bench space, check out the grinder section for heaps of info on grinders.
    Plenty of CSers love their Gaggias. When I upgraded from my Saeco Via Venezia to Silvia I looked at Gaggia, Sunbeam etc. I was swayed towards the Silvia from good feedback from CS Silvia owners and the longevity and build quality of the machine, all that solid brass and stainless steel.
    Good luck with your choice of machine and grinder..................gm

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    Re: which machine to buy?

    Quote Originally Posted by greenman link=1222913634/0#13 date=1222939313
    Hi Judy, I would like to back up the grinder being the most crucial element of making a good coffee.
    Try and get the best possible grinder you can afford eg: the Asasco Mini mentioned above for $300, the Rocky doserless doesnt take up a lot of bench space, check out the grinder section for heaps of info on grinders.
    Plenty of CSers love their Gaggias. When I upgraded from my Saeco Via Venezia to Silvia I looked at Gaggia, Sunbeam etc. I was swayed towards the Silvia from good feedback from CS Silvia owners and the longevity and build quality of the machine, all that solid brass and stainless steel.
    Good luck with your choice of machine and grinder..................gm
    ...and a quick reminder that we have a few Ascaso i-1 (i-home) left at $350- normally $475. With 54mm flat burrs and timed grind, they represent great value at the price.

    Chris

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    Re: which machine to buy?

    If...the Cafe Roma made coffee that satisfied you and your family, then go ahead just buy another one.
    On the other hand if you want a new hobby, hanker after better coffee, enjoy improving your skills, etc. then all the above advice applies.
    Greg

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    Re: which machine to buy?

    Hi Judy52, having owned a Cafe Roma and upgraded in the last 4 months to a prosumer machine, I can strongly recommend doing the upgrade. Very strongly. Im delighted to see youre having a serious look down that path.

    The flavour of your coffee will never be the same again - itll be so much better.

    You and your adult children have the fundamental skills to operate a prosumer machine already. Your microfoaming skills will need refining on a boiler machine with more power, takes a bit of getting used to, but it wont take too long. It just happens much faster.

    CoffeeSnobs is a great forum for getting your questions answered too if you do decide to upgrade.

    EDIT: A good grinder is an essential part of the upgrade.

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    Re: which machine to buy?

    Thanks Everyone

    Ive just about decided to take the plunge and get a new Silvia/Rocky combo. Im just a bit concerned about the heat-up time for the Silvia, as I read that you cant leave them turned on all day. Im afraid thats a bad habit weve got into with the Cafe Roma and previous Sunbeam. We like to be able to instantly make coffee whenever we feel like it - not to have to wait for the machine to warm up.

    Alternatively, Ive noticed you can get a fully automatic Saeco for about the same price as the Silvia/Rocky combo. That might suit us better, perhaps? Any advice is welcome.

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    Re: which machine to buy?

    Judy
    Have a look at this Jura fully auto and heaps better than the Saeco

    In the coffee harware for sale
    http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1223083678/0#0

    KK

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    Re: which machine to buy?

    Thanks KK, but Im not so keen on buying second-hand electrical equipment. Have just come across talk about the Nemox Dell Opera with built-in grinder for $800 new. Would this be a good compromise for me?

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    Re: which machine to buy?

    Judy

    Yes it would be easy to live with
    Many coffee snobs are happy owners of the Nemox

    If you are looking at a super auto and I know you live in Brisbane
    Go and visit Gilkatho in Milton and have a play around with the machines on offer

    I also suggest that you do a search (over 3 months) on some of the machines you are looking at

    KK

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    Re: which machine to buy?

    If fair-average quality coffee is OK then the Saeco should do well. The Rocky-Silvia will deliver much more when youre up to speed on it.

    Also--Ive never heard that Silvia cant be left on. Im sure some of those here with one will comment on that. On weekends my VBM is on from me arising until after the last coffee in the evening.

    Greg

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    Re: which machine to buy?

    Thanks KK and Greg

    I would really love to be able to leave the machine on all day - its just so much more convenient.
    Can someone tell me if you can leave the Silvia on?

    I dont know if you can get the Nemox in Brisbane but Ive found 2 shops that sell the Silvia here. Does anyone know if the Nemox is available here?

    Ill go and look at Gilkatho, just out of interest, as its nearby.

    Ive already been sending myself crazy researching this past month - I dont think I could stand another 2 months of it though.

    .

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    Re: which machine to buy?

    Quote Originally Posted by Judy52 link=1222913634/20#22 date=1223117117
    Thanks KK and Greg

    I would really love to be able to leave the machine on all day - its just so much more convenient.
    Can someone tell me if you can leave the Silvia on?

    I dont know if you can get the Nemox in Brisbane but Ive found 2 shops that sell the Silvia here. Does anyone know if the Nemox is available here?

    Ill go and look at Gilkatho, just out of interest, as its nearby.

    Ive already been sending myself crazy researching this past month - I dont think I could stand another 2 months of it though.

    .
    FWIW, I wouldnt advise leaving any machine which doesnt have an auto-fill function on all day. All you need is a small leak, you get an exposed element which might cook and youre up for repairs which are pricey. Maybe the thermal cutout might protect you- maybe not. Elements are not warranted on any of this class of machine. You blow it, you pay- regardless of what you say happened... :(

    This applies to VBM Vashetta, Diadema Perfetta et al. Be careful all, and prime your boiler after you texture milk as well. Saves the :( later on ;)

    Chris

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    Re: which machine to buy?

    Hi Judy52,

    Ive recently discovered the $10 24-hour Arlec timers (for 2) at Coles which allows us to designate when our machine turns on for pre-heating... dont know if that may suit your family?

    It was a revelation in our household. No more getting up an hour before I wanted a coffee. And I had no idea they were so cheap.

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    Re: which machine to buy?

    Quote Originally Posted by Judy52 link=1222913634/20#22 date=1223117117
    I would really love to be able to leave the machine on all day - its just so much more convenient.
    Can someone tell me if you can leave the Silvia on?
    Chris is right of course :(

    Nonetheless, I do leave my Silvia on all day when I am at home.

    I rarely let the reservoir get below half-full, and although the steam wand does drip occasionally, it doesnt drip *that* much.

    And leaks with Silvia are pretty obvious: there will be a puddle.

    But you do have to be there to see it, so if youre going out all day, or off to bed, then Silva should go off as well IMHO.

    But if youre home, why wouldnt you leave the machine (any machine -- they all want 40mins+ to warm up!) on -- you never know when youll want another coffee ::)

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    Re: which machine to buy?

    Yes, thats how I feel, Simone. But sometimes I go out for the day and son is still home and will want a coffee or two at some stage. Or Ill go out for a few hours and be hanging out for a coffee when I get home and wont want to wait 40 minutes. Can I still leave it on, if I make sure theres plenty of water in it? If I cant, then its no use to me.

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    Re: which machine to buy?

    Hi Judy52,
    My Silvia goes on first thing in the morning and off at night after I have made my wife a hot chocolate on days that I will be home. (Midweek & weekends).
    However, I am careful to make sure that the boiler is filled after steaming and that the steam wand is not leaking.
    Silvias steam wand will leak on start up from cold and must be nipped up to stop it leaking.
    I invite anyone who disputes this to turn on their Silvia when cold, and then without touching the steam knob, flick on the hot water switch.
    You will be amazed at the stream of water issuing from the steam wand.
    I do this as a matter of course so that I know that once I have nipped up the steam knob and stopped the flow, then there wont be any further leaks.
    Remember that its not the amount of water in the reservoir that counts, but the amount of water in the boiler. It should be full at all times, except while actually steaming.
    All the best with your deliberations. Silvia is a great little espresso machine, built to last as opposed to a kitchen appliance that makes coffee.

    Cheers,
    Alan

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    Re: which machine to buy?

    Thanks for that info Alan.

    How do you know if the boiler is full? Im only used to thermoblock machines. Also, I gave up using the steam wand a long time ago. I just make flat whites by adding cold milk to the espresso and putting the cup in the microwave as its quicker and easier and less mess.

    If I continue with this habit do I actually need something like the Silvia? Is there a good quality machine that doesnt have a steam wand?

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    Re: which machine to buy?

    Quote Originally Posted by Judy52 link=1222913634/20#28 date=1223331370
    How do you know if the boiler is full? Im only used to thermoblock machines.
    You run water thru the steam wand til it stops sputtering :)

    Then the boiler is deemed to be full, and (going by my machine) will quite happily sit for hours waiting for a customer.

    I also do this before turning the machine off at night.

    BTW, if your sons at home maybe wanting a coffee, then hes minding the machine, right?
    Responsibility, you know. Rhymes with coffee ;D


    Also, I gave up using the steam wand a long time ago. I just make flat whites by adding cold milk to the espresso and putting the cup in the microwave as its quicker and easier and less mess.
    Eeek :o

    Only kidding ::) -- its just to my taste espresso is better stone cold than microwaved -- even for just a few seconds! Have you ever tried warming the milk, then pulling the shot into it?

    Sortof like a long black, only with milk rather than hot water.

    If I continue with this habit do I actually need something like the Silvia?
    Weeell -- yes! Come to the dark side, where what was once OK becomes something youll pour down the sink without hesitation, and "good" becomes "barely acceptable" ::)

    Is there a good quality machine that doesnt have a steam wand?
    Yup. Its called an Aeropress. Other than that I know nothing about them.

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    Re: which machine to buy?

    With the silvia you will find steaming milk for flat whites a more pleasant process than a thermoblock machine. As for leaving the silvia on for long periods and/or on a pre-timer: I learnt this the hard way, make sure all the switches except the power switch is in the OFF position on a pretimer preheat. Boiler full is also VERY important. Given the italian switches are sort of the opposite of what were normally used to, I once had the pre-timer set to have the Silvia on for an hour before I woke up and woke up to find a flooded bench and what I thought was a dead silvia. I thought Id killed the boiler, pump and wharever else but turns out the fix was a simple reset of the overheat protection. Apart from that, the silvia was great. Great looking, simple design, makes good coffee, decent dry steam (after bleeding).

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    Re: which machine to buy?

    Well, son is 18, uni student, absent-minded and forgetful - sometimes Im amazed that hes actually at uni and passing his exams. But then I was a bit like that at 18 too.

    I wonder if I should just get another cheap machine until he leaves home and wont be using it much. Then I can get an expensive and hard-to-look-after machine as only husband and I will use it most of the time. All this talk of how careful you have to be with the Silvia is putting me off.

    By the way, I went to Gilkato today on the first leg of my serious research and tried out the Jura Ena. I didnt think the cappucino was as good as I can make in the Breville Roma, and the Jura costs $1300! Of course, it does everything for you, which is much easier. Maybe the coffee they used in isnt as nice as what I usually use. And Im wondering if my son could manage to absent-mindedly break the Jura.






  33. #33
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    Re: which machine to buy?

    Quote Originally Posted by Judy52 link=1222913634/20#31 date=1223363962
    /\/I wonder if I should just get another cheap machine until he leaves home and wont be using it much. Then I can get an expensive and hard-to-look-after machine as only husband and I will use it most of the time. All this talk of how careful you have to be with the Silvia is putting me off.
    Actually, this mightnt be such a bad idea Judy..... :)

    Simone mentioned the AeroPress above which can be purchased for around the $50 mark from CuppaCoffee, one of our esteemed site sponsors. If you then buy the best grinder your current budget will allow, say a Macap, Compak or Mazzer; then, you wont have to worry about steaming (texturing milk) and when the time comes (when its just you and Hubby at home), you can lash out and buy a pretty decent Heat Exchanger (HX) machine, if you wanted to. You may decide that you are entirely satisfied with just the AeroPress and using the method described by Simone to make your flat whites, Im sure you will be very pleased with the quality.

    So long as you use excellent coffee, freshly roasted and only ground immediately before you brew, there is nothing written that says you must have an espresso machine to enjoy great coffee.... there are way more choices available than espresso alone.

    Cheers,
    Mal.

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    Re: which machine to buy?

    Ditto the above, though personally, I prefer to use the Aero for straight black coffee and ye good ol plunger when Id like a dash of milk.

    Too many options Judy...and theyre all good. Seems like the more you know, the less you know...if you know what I mean. Save yourself all this angst, put the options in a hat, pull one out, and make that the one!

    Cheers.

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    Re: which machine to buy?

    Hmmm, forgetful, absent minded uni student son and Silvia dont sound like a good combination. Maybe another cheap machine for the time being isnt such a bad idea.
    Or take Simones suggestion and buy an Aeropress along with the best quality grinder that you can justify as Mal has suggested.
    You certainly need a good grinder to get the best out of the Aeropress, same as for an espresso machine, but you will be rewarded with great coffee, and all so easy.
    Both of my sons use an Aeropess and they love it. They also have reasonable grinders. I just have to keep the freshly roasted coffee beans up to them. Life is so difficult for a Coffee Snob.
    All the best with it Judy.

    Cheers,
    Alan

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    Re: which machine to buy?

    OK, 2 months later and I still havent got a new machine. Still using sons Cafe Roma but hes moving out soon, so I have to do something. Ive bought a Rocky grinder, and also an Aeropress. The Aeropress is great for taking away on holidays or to work etc, but to us it doesnt seem to make a coffee as good as we can get from the old Roma.

    Am still thinking about a Breville Ikon, or just another Roma. Or maybe a Silvia. I wish someone would make up my mind for me ;D

  37. #37
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    Re: which machine to buy?

    If you already have the Rocky grinder and you are still keen on the Nemox Dell Opera
    You can save money and get the Nemox Fenice $579 new its the same machine without the built in grinder

    http://(no free plug here)/nemox-fenice-espresso-machine-p-126.html?osCsid=968c13862aed20521b4d87aa4c50013f

    KK

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    Re: which machine to buy?

    Hi Koffee Kosmo

    I live in Brisbane. How would I buy this machine? If I buy over the internet and it needs repairs it could be a problem.

  39. #39
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    437

    Re: which machine to buy?

    If hes moving out... doesnt that just leave the Silvia? ;) No absent-mindedness, potential breakage...

    Maybe theres a CoffeeSnob in Brisbane who owns a Silvia and is willing to have you drop around for a real coffee?

  40. #40
    Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    52

    Re: which machine to buy?

    Different son, Intellidepth. This ones 25. Absent-minded 18 year old will be with us for quite a while yet, most likely. *::)

  41. #41
    Senior Member Koffee_Kosmo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Brisbane
    Posts
    5,113

    Re: which machine to buy?

    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    Well Judy
    If you want to buy local go to Barazi at Coopers Plains
    They sell Silvia and Bezzera
    However they might be able to source another machine of your choice
    I also know that they service other brands

    Give them a call

    Thatís where I purchased my machine I also live in Brisbane

    KK



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