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Thread: If I had $1k... ex-commercial 1-group or prosumer?

  1. #1
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    If I had $1k... ex-commercial 1-group or prosumer?

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    This is an "if only..." thread.

    Background: we just bought a Breville Café Roma. It went on lay-by BCS (before Coffee Snobs) and because I bought a good grinder (Ascaso i-home) around the same time, I couldnt justify laying-off my lay-by and upgrading the machine. Im telling myself Ill stave off the upgraditis for 12 months. The longer I wait, the more Ill have to spend on my next machine; thats the logic.

    SO, if you had $1000 to spend on a machine, would it be on a Silvia+PID or a VBM Domobar Levetta (at a stretch), OR would you go for an ex-commercial 1-group? Ive barely heard a whisper on Coffee Snobs about people with 1-groups at home, but I know of a few people whove gone that way (for under $1000) instead of forking out $2k-3k on a piece of prosumer bling and have been very happy that they did. More fiddling around and such, but amazing coffee at a fraction of the cost.

    So:
    - Why dont more people go for second-hand 1-groups?
    - Are they more expensive than I think?
    - Are they simply hard to get?
    - Are their quirks and not-made-for-home-use isms too annoying?
    - What would you look for in an ex-commercial 1-group and how much would one be looking at paying?

    Lots of questions.
    Cheers,
    Stuart.

  2. #2
    Senior Member flynnaus's Avatar
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    Re: If I had $1k... ex-commercial 1-group or prosu

    I fit this category. I acquired a Gaggia Baby recently which is barely entry level in the $500 - $1K range. If I had ~$1000 and it was a toss up between the Sylvia and VBM Levetta I would go the VBM (but at that price it would be the black rather than stainless steel model). I havent heard/read a bad word about the VBM but there are quite a few who upgrade their Sylvia (not from quality but the desire for something a bit better). The VBM sounds like it is closer to the pointy end of espresso machines than the Sylvia

    Without trying to sound critical your question(s) sounds like a variation on the "what machine should I buy" question. I am keen to see the responses of those who have been before us. One thing being a member of CS has caused is machine envy as well as upgrade-itis.
    - Why dont more people go for second-hand 1-groups? My guess is that there just arent that many available. They are built to last and not many see the need to upgrade
    - Are they more expensive than I think? Hard to answer. How expensive do you think? The cost of a 2nd hand HX or DB is relative to its age and how well it has been maintained (I think)
    - Are they simply hard to get? As per my first answer. *I dont see many come up but I am still a newbie both in CS membership and home barista terms
    - Are their quirks and not-made-for-home-use isms too annoying? * IMO I wouldnt think so. You have to weight it against the need to improve upon your current machine and what you are looking for in your new one. Is there any perfect machine? (well the new Giotto sounds like its close) but it was explained to me that you need to *buy the machine that feels right to you.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Koffee_Kosmo's Avatar
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    Re: If I had $1k... ex-commercial 1-group or prosu

    VBM Levetta for me

    Commercial ex cafe machine single group would be suitable but one must consider "how much use it will get" and needs to be plumbed in

    If you make several coffees a day then it is justified but if its a few coffees a day them it may be overkill

    Both are good options it depends on how many cups of coffee you will make.

    KK


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    Re: If I had $1k... ex-commercial 1-group or prosu

    From my relatively limited looking around, and comments of others, it is usually cheaper to buy 2nd hand 2 group commercial machines, there is more of them around, and they arent as popular for home use because of the size.
    Used 1 group commercials just dont seem to be very common and are always popular...

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    Re: If I had $1k... ex-commercial 1-group or prosu

    The size and the need to plumb in would be the 2 main factors Id consider. A number of 1-group commercial is BIG and takes up quite a bit of space. It basically takes over the kitchen bench in a typical domestic kitchen. Some have opted to put in a separate table for it (like a home-bar type setup) but apart from that a 1 group looks a lot more at home in a deli or food court stall than in a typical kitchen.

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    Re: If I had $1k... ex-commercial 1-group or prosu

    yep, I agree. You dont see many one gorup commercial machines about. A 2 group takes up much more space - but there are some smaller 2 gorups like my rancilio S20 midi. It is still very big, but I love it! Great when you have guests over. the other think buying second hand commercial machines is that you have to be prepared to put in some work to fix them or else it will be very expensive. But for me I like not having to fill a tank, or empty drip trays constantly.

  7. #7
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    Re: If I had $1k... ex-commercial 1-group or prosu

    Im in the middle of fully rebuilding a 1 group commercial at the moment. Let me tell you...its a b!tch! The machine is in about 100 different pieces excluding the fasteners such as bolts and screws.

    Its about 14 years old, but the scale wasnt so bad! Lucky I had commercial grade descaler. Whats of more concern for me is localised corrosion on the frame and some of the nuts and washers that lock the cap of the boiler on. Easily fixed though.

    For $1000, dont expect too much if you do come in to a 1 group commercial.

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    Re: If I had $1k... ex-commercial 1-group or prosu

    whatd you pick up dave?

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    Re: If I had $1k... ex-commercial 1-group or prosu

    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    I have just bought an old 1-group Visacrem VX (aka Gaggia GX) commercial HX machine for home. Actually Ive bought 2 because I need a new element and it was just as cheap to get a parts machine with a known good element as it was to go hunting for a new element by itself. This thing is gigantic even for a commercial machine (55cm square and only one group) but looks to be very easy to service and simple to understand.

    Mine isnt up and running yet but I had a coffee this morning from an identical machine sitting on a friends bench. Hes plumbed his in and its great, it delivers quiet, perfect coffee every time with no mess.

    My total outlay for this should be under $600 NZD including a sturdy stand for it to sit on, so Id say if you can handle a bit of maintenance, a bit of plumbing and possibly sourcing a few parts then a commercial machine would be a lot of fun. If youre more the sort of person that wants it to just work, then you might be much happier with a Silvia or (more likely I would think) the VBM.

    Theres a really great - and long - thread over here: http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1181202738 where a user named "ozscott" buys a second hand Faema and figures it all out. Definitely inspirational.



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