Post By SniffCoffee
What to do... to upgrade or downgrade?
Hi all - I haven't been posting awhile but my coffee journey have gone far and beyond (except when there isn't milk )..
Now I think it's time for a change but I'm stuck with a spectacular conundrum.
I currently have an Ikon at home - mostly for the random weekends that I'm at home (I work a lot on the weekends). This has sufficed for a long long time (4 years), especially when I get to play with a wide range of coffee equipment at work. The only upgrade I've done in the meantime is acquire a Rocky.
Now I think it's time for a change - the machine is still perfect, but I'm bored and recently came into a bit of cash.
My first thought was to buy a Silvia but I have a very very very small kitchen.
So now I'm considering an Atomic - besides, the price range is very similar.
My question is - given that I drink espresso with milk, what's are the pros and cons between them, and what would others on here choose, given the same dilemma?
P.S. I know I'm comparing apples with bananas but I really look for guidance on what the differing criteria will be - hence why it's in this section - mods, if it's in the wrong place, please change it thanks.
Is it a manual experience you're after?
I had a lot of fun with a Presso and a Bellman steamer. I've also played with an Otto/Atomic. The other one you could throw in is a Bacchi - it makes very good near espresso.
I'm not sure what you've currently got - a Breville of some sort? But you could always keep it to steam the milk, and extract the espresso with the Presso or Bacchi - or a Rossa?
Stick with the Ikon. It bats way above it's price. It was so good it is now out of production, and the Rocky is also a pretty good item.
Are you home roasting yet?
I know I know - but I want something that produces even better espresso (like, closer to commercial machines). Hence why the big question on Silvia or Atomic.
Originally Posted by GregWormald
That being said, I don't know how the espresso/crema extraction compares between the two.
No, and really don't need to given I live within 2kms of 4 roasters in all directions :P.
Originally Posted by GregWormald
Also, what is an "authentic" Atomic, v.s. any others such as Bellman etc.?
All depends on you and what you mean by "better". If you ask someone that is a regular user of stove top espresso machines (easiest example to think of is bialetti type etc), they wont necessarily like "commercial" type espresso. Its "different"....but which is "better"? If you want a crema, then it will invariably have to be commercial style rather than stove top where you don't get a lasting crema, just as it brews out (then dissipates).
Originally Posted by lilmeh
Note an Atomic is a humble stove top espresso machine albeit with a very classic (award winning) style of body....so the coffee it makes bears no relationship to "commercial" style or even Silvia style (which is "quasi" commercial style in my opinion). And of course while the atomic and bellman machines look entirely different, they make coffee in the same way, as per any stove top machine.
You say you drink espresso with milk. My opinion would be to stay where you are rather than move to bellman/atomic stovetop machines with steam pipe. They are incredibly fiddly and life's too short OR......if you are stuck on those machine why not do it the "authentic" Italian way. Use the stove top to make the black coffee, and heat the milk up in a pot on the stove. It has worked well for generations of Italians, where all this started.
Otherwise, then you would I think be looking for something like a Silvia (picking that model only because you mention it).
It might be worth considering "The Little Guy"- previously known as the Otto. Quite a few sponsors stock them and they do a far better job of producing espresso than an Atomic.
Yep, the Bacchi is fantastic once you work out how to use it. It uses a steam driven piston to force water through the puck, and when you master the technique is as smooth an espresso as I've had (DISCLAIMER: I don't own a lever machine, but have tried the product of some of London's best....Prufrock).....maybe not quite as complex. As Sniff says though, no steaming capability.....but I really enjoy it when I get a break and go to the coast / mountains and get to play with Bacchi. In terms of quality, it loses nothing against my HX machine....but is pricey for a manual device that doesn't steam milk.
Originally Posted by SniffCoffee
In my opinion to get significantly closer to a commercial espresso (providing its a "good" espresso) so that the improvement is noticeable in milk will require something far above a Silvia. One of the 'high end' single boilers would do the job--say the Diadema or the Vibiemme. Don't expect change from $1500.
As long as the local roasters roast to your preferences, then "no home roasting" is OK. OTOH I much prefer my home roast to most of the commercial roasts I have tried because I can have it just the way I want it.
Hmm.. so the consensus is don't do anything?
The problem with getting higher end machines is kitchen fit.. I have maybe 1 inch of space above the Ikon right now.
Have you "tightened" the Rocky?
Winding some plumbers teflon tape around the adjusting threads until it's tight with no slop, and then firming up the drag on the adjuster mechanism and disabling the index "stop" so you can get grinds in-between the usual numbers will provide an upgrade in the coffee.
I'm sure there was a thread about those modifications to the Rocky somewhere here.