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Thread: Which machine 4 $1000?

  1. #1
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    Which machine 4 $1000?

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    I am a new member to Coffee Snobs. I would like the wisdom of the broad membership regarding a new purchase. I am wanting to upgrade from my Saeco Via Venezia and I have a budget of $1000.
    The machines I have looked at are the Sunbeam, the Rancilo Silva and the Vibiemme Domobar Levetta. I have also looked at the Gaggia Classic and the Gaggia twin classic. The 2 Gaggias come within my budget and also come with a grinder. Are there other machines I should be considering? I have had a helpful chat with Chris (talk coffee) but thought I would draw also on the collective wisdom of the membership. Or will this become confusing?
    I love the forum. Cheers

  2. #2
    Senior Member Magic_Matt's Avatar
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    Re: Which machine 4 $1000?

    Hey Crowie, and welcome :)

    I dont have experience with most of the machines youre looking at, but Im sure youll get plenty of good advice here, and from Chris. It would probably help if you could give some more info about your requirements - how many coffees you make per day, are they milk coffees or espresso etc.

    From my experience with the Sunbeam Id recommend it only if your budget is strictly limited and multiple milk-based drinks in a short period of time are a must-have requirement - otherwise saving for a while longer and going for a Domobar or similar will likely save you money in the long term.

    Also dont forget that if you dont have a quality grinder already, youll need to budget an absolute minimum of $150 for this. $300 would be the minimum to get you a grinder that would do justice to a decent machine.

  3. #3
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    Re: Which machine 4 $1000?

    Hi Crowie...and welcome to CS.

    I upgraded last October from a Saeco Via Venezia to a new Vibiemme Domobar Levetta, (recommended by Chris and others) and could not be happier with the results Im getting with it! However, I dont want to sound like a fanboy for VBM, because there are some very good machines out there.

    m@ has given some very good advice, with which I would concur.

    If you cant extend your budget to something like a Levetta, but could stretch to a Rancilio Silvia, then I would go for that in preference to the Sunbeam or either of the Gaggias... Id also have a look at the Isomac Venus, which is a little cheaper than the Levetta.

    All the best with your selection!

    Trevorbeans


  4. #4
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    Re: Which machine 4 $1000?

    thanks regular roaster.
    I probably do 3 - 4 shots a day on avge. I usually make a strong flat white - 1 third strong espresso, 2 thirds milk. I steam my milk and attempt to get that nice silky texture as opposed to froth and bubble. As it is normally only me I dont mind a short wait to do the shot and warm the milk. Occassionally I would like to make 4 shots when entertaining, but this doesnt happen more than once in a while. What is most important to me is the quality of the shot, not the time it takes.
    I understand a little about the importance of the grinder. I am looking at the machine first. Then I will way up the ability of my grinder after that.
    Cheers
    Crowie

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    Re: Which machine 4 $1000?

    sorry ..... that should have been thanks m@

  6. #6
    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    Re: Which machine 4 $1000?

    What grinder do you have now?

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    Re: Which machine 4 $1000?

    Thundergod,
    I have a little Emide, about 10 years old, cost about $100 back then. I will most likely upgrade the grinder as well in the near future. The Machine is the most important for me right now as my Saeco (8yrs old) is making me bath water.

  8. #8
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    Re: Which machine 4 $1000?

    Just a thought, the reason people are leaning you toward getting a better grinder is basically, thats what you should be aiming for first if you want an upgrade in coffee. The reason why youre getting muddy water coming out of your machine is mainly down to the dodgey grinder.

    But if you wanted to get a good machine/grinder combo for 1K sheet, maybe hitting up an Iberital Challenge, Ascaso i-mini or similar, for about $270-300, and then stretching your budget a bit and picking up a Silvia. Thats probably what Id be looking at if my budget was $1000....

    You may wanna hurry up and pick up the Silvia soon too as I think theyre on the up price wise.

    Choosing a setup is never easy, no matter what budget you set(except a moneys no option), so I hope it goes well!!!

    YeeZa


  9. #9
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    Re: Which machine 4 $1000?

    Thanks YeeZa,
    Certainly a grinder is on the menu ........ prob need to clarify - $1000 is my budget for a new machine. The grinder - well thats another question. From what I am reading a good grinder is going to set me back around $300.

    So I guess all up my budget for the whole new package is $1200 - $1300.

    The prob with the Saeco is it is in need of a service, not the grinder. I decided to up grade instead of $150 service to change all the plugs, rings, etc on the Via Venezia. Just think I can get a better shot than the Saeco gives me.

    Really needing some advice on the machines and which one to go for.

    Cheers


  10. #10
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    Re: Which machine 4 $1000?

    Ohhh, ok. Thats a different (and more interesting) story then!!! haha :D

    Well if you could, Id be stretching the budget and extra $150 and hitting up Chris deal at the moment of the Vibiemme Domobar Levetta for $1150 (check out the sponsor specials area), for sure. Its a great machine in its class, and it looks great too. Plus theres quite a few people on this site (and others) as far as user tips are concerned. As far as build quality goes its deadly. Chris is definitely the man to speak to though.

    YeeZa

  11. #11
    TC
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    Re: Which machine 4 $1000?

    Quote Originally Posted by YeeZa link=1205793118/0#9 date=1205817288
    Ohhh, ok. Thats a different (and more interesting) story then!!! haha :D

    Well if you could, Id be stretching the budget and extra $150 and hitting up Chris deal at the moment of the Vibiemme Domobar Levetta for $1150 (check out the sponsor specials area), for sure. Its a great machine in its class, and it looks great too. Plus theres quite a few people on this site (and others) as far as user tips are concerned. As far as build quality goes its deadly. Chris is definitely the man to speak to though.

    YeeZa
    Thanks for the kind words all...

    I also believe that its worth extending the few dollars on the VBM.

    For me the fact that the boiler is not aluminium and that its based on the e-61 group is more than enough to justify the extra spend. You can see where the $$$ are in the VBM- all 18kg of it. Build quality is terrific and you will produce great espresso more consistently subject to good, fresh coffee which is correctly ground...

    Sincere apols, but the writing is on the wall for that old grinder. Look at the Ascaso i-mini or Iberital challenge as entry level, quality espresso grinders...

    regards

    Chris

  12. #12
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    Re: Which machine 4 $1000?

    Thanks Chris,
    looks like Ill be giving you another call then.

  13. #13
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    Re: Which machine 4 $1000?

    Crowie, I see you have the same setup as me, the Via Venezia & Emide.

    In my case, Im looking to upgrade the grinder first, to something like the Iberital, & possibly a Silvia or similar down the track.

    This upgraditis is a bugger isnt it? :D

  14. #14
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    Re: Which machine 4 $1000?

    Hey scooter,
    similar stories...... I started with a hand me down drip filter machine and filter coffee from the super market. Moved on to a hand me down kambrook espresso machine. Then I bought my emide and started bying beans from a local store. I discovered the other day it is a burr grinder so it cant be all that bad - I then purchased the Via Venezia about 7 years ago .......... I cant believe I paid the same as they are worth now????

    The via venezia has been an ok machine, but badly needs some parts replaced. Also, dont know how you find it but I have begun to feel cheated by the "creme" plate in the bottom of the group head. I think it assists in the basket getting clogged up and I am continually picking it clean!!! The water isnt pumping through consistently anymore and the pressure pin in the group head has lost its spring. I am not sure I like the plastic attachment on the steaming wand as again I think it gives the impression of helping the steam process but actually just bubbles the milk.

    All in all, a good introduction to preparing an amature shot of coffee. I could service the saeco and keep producing ok homebrand coffee .......... but nah ......... time to do something much better, but within a budget.

    Good luck with your decision making process

  15. #15
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    Re: Which machine 4 $1000?

    Gday crowie, my Saeco is holding up OK, I have another Saeco machine which looks like a precursor to the Via Venezia, black painted body, cheaper looking switches, steam wand on opposite side, but otherwise pretty much operates the same as the Via. Bought it as a spare at a garage sale for $5 !

    I gutted the PF off the old machine of all the pressurised stuff, & have been using it in the Via, this has highlighted the shortcomings of the grinder though so a new one is calling...

    Took the outside off the panarello a number of years ago but left the inside bit on as an extension to the metal steam tube, works well this way.

    Do you roast at home? Have been using a popper for a while but just recently got into the whole Corretto thing and Im loving it !


    Cheers.................Sean

  16. #16
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    Re: Which machine 4 $1000?

    Hi Crowie,

    I have the same machine and like Sean, I completely gutted the inside of the portafilter and invested in a good tamper. This changes things dramatically and is definetly worth the 5 minutes.
    Im hoping to upgrade my grinder mid-year and then maybe the vv in the next couple of years.
    I also took the outer plastic cover off steam wand (you still need the inner one), but if you havent done that yet, it will also allow you to better control the steaming.

    Kit

  17. #17
    Senior Member greenman's Avatar
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    Re: Which machine 4 $1000?

    Hi Scoota and Crowie, like you guys I started my coffee journey on a Via Venezia, I was going along quite happily in blissful ignorance until I happened to stumble across CS last may...................well the greenman coffee education and transformation into coffee tragic and total coffee snob has occurred. Upgraditis hit me after about three minutes on CS and after 2 months Silvia arrived in my household, took me a couple of weeks to sort out my technique, grind, tamp etc and started producing great espresso and milk drinks. I then decided my EM450 was good but a bit erratic at times so Rocky appeared on my doorstep and week later, then of course my original tamper was not up to scratch so a Pullman matched to a 21g Synesso basket arrived, knock box, tamper stand, milk jugs, ACF cups etc etc....................god Im having fun...........good luck with your upgrades and whatever machines you decide to purchase.

  18. #18
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    Re: Which machine 4 $1000?

    I was interested in the comments re the changes you had all made to your saecos. I have played with the steam wand also - works ok. You seem to understand your machines workings better than I do.

    I havent got into home roasting as yet ....... will have to investigate this on one of the roasting threads.

    Needless to say I have an appointment with Chris (talk coffee) next week to have a look at the VBM Levetta and a new grinder. Cant wait.

    Really appreciate all the comments - much better talking to fellow coffee travellers than sales folk trying to flog me something I dont need.

    I look forward to more shared experiences and wise insights on the various threads in the future.

    Cheers, Greg (Crowie)

  19. #19
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    Re: Which machine 4 $1000?

    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    Good luck with your purchases Greg...You have some excitement in store, if Im any judge. Always better to pay a few dollars extra for something you really want, if you can.

    I played around with my Saeco V/V with unpressurized portafilter, etc., and while there was a definite improvement, it nowhere near matched what Im getting from my Levetta.

    Make sure you get a good well-fitting tamper, if you dont already have one...Pullmans are simply the best!!

    Trevor



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