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Thread: Machine advice needed!!

  1. #1
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    Machine advice needed!!

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hey all,

    I would like some help working out what machine to buy.

    I did a ton of research and I initially settled on a Rancilio Silvia with PID but the more research I do, Im starting to go in circles as many machines I put off the list, are slowly coming back on it!

    My main concern with Ms Silvia is that I dont want to get upgrade-itis in 12 months time. I tend tobe the type that starts looking at the high end and then working my way down to what I can live with. Id rather spend a bit more

    now and have something thats likely to keep me satisfied a bit longer. I can just see Ms Silvia opening my eyes and me getting itchy feet quite quickly. And yes, I know that no matter what I buy I will eventually want to upgrade!

    So, here is a bit of background on what I have learned about what I want/need, what I would and would not like to compromise on:

    - I will be using a Mazzer Mini grinder.
    - I mostly have short blacks, but need the ability to do OK milk as needed. (So instant steam not vital but would be nice)
    - Volumes not massive - mostly one or two at a time - for a total of 1-4 coffees per day. Likely 2 on average. Occasional 5-10 for a family/friends event but not often.
    - I really would like quality results, and am willing to have a machine thats a bit harder to master but has great results.
    - Im not too interested in manual temperature surfing, having to cool the group head with wet towels etc after each pour...something with reasonable temperature stability please! Thats what I buy a machine to do....!
    - Prefer its not required to be plumbed in at this time as Im in a rented place.If it can later be plumbed in thats cool (but not mandatory).
    - OK with the concept of a lever machine if its worth it.
    - Prefer something that when mastered will produce quite reliable high quality pours. ie *when you do everything right* I dont want any of this first shot is great,next shot always sucks etc or random result problem some machines have.
    - Like a machine thats proven to last a while. (No regulators blowing up 3 times a year asi in some I have read about...!)
    - Like quality construction. That may sound dumb, but I have been a bit disappointed with some of the reports of certain Expobar machines having sub-standard quality out of the box.
    - E61 group head sounds awesome and always catches my eye when I read about machines with E61! Its not mandatory but certainly desirable.
    - Prefer new at this time unless there is something special around and its low use and nearish to new.

    I am OK about single, double boiler, HX etc - happy with any technology that can do an OK job of what I have written above. The results are what drives me!

    Budget for machine only - say ~$2750 max ($3k at a stretch), preferring $1500-2500 if possible. Am hoping to aim for $2500-3200 including Mazzer mini.


    Anyway, so there you have it - any pointers would be great.

    I have been reading about Vibiemme, Diadema, Rocket, Isomac, Elektra, Expobar, Bezzera models mostly. Any pointers on the good and bad points of certain models would be awesome.

    Thanks!

    Richard

  2. #2
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    Re: Machine advice needed!!

    Gday Richard
    where are you located? the advice most often given to this question is to visit a sponsor and try out a couple or a few machines to see what you like.
    Youd probably get away with a single boiler machine but Id stretch that bit extra for a HX. A well configured HX should give you excellent results and there are a few options around $2k. The only dual boilers Im aware of are the Expobar (that you dont seem keen on) or the Izzo machine that will be outside your quoted budget...
    Just resist the temptation to bypass the sponsors for what looks like a better deal from somewhere else. The time spent configuring the machine properly is worth much more than a small saving you could make buying off someone who doesnt care as much.
    Geoff

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    Re: Machine advice needed!!

    Hi Geoff,

    Thanks for the fast response.

    I am in Melbourne (East Malvern to be exact) and it would be great to find a Melbourne based shop where I can go look at and discuss various models in detail.

    Over the weekend I will go and research specifically on HX and which machines are HX to see what sort of short list I end up with. I will also look up the Izzo machine you mention, just out of interest...(famous last words!).

    No problem supporting the sponsors...Im not the type to go do things randomly to save $100 or so.

    Thanks for your advice.

    Richard

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    Re: Machine advice needed!!

    I bought my grinder from Chris at Talk Coffee who I think is not far from where you are. Excellent service and Id recommend you give him a call.

  5. #5
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    Re: Machine advice needed!!

    Hi Richard,

    Upgrade-itus seems to be a very common occurrence with snobs :) I think thatd you would be better off getting it right the first time indeed.

    Looking at your wishlist and budget, I would suggest several machines/configurations.

    1. The La Nuova Era Cuadra

    2. The Isomac Millenium

    3. If youre willing to drop the Mazzer mini for a Eureka Mignon, you can get the Mignon with an Isomac La Mondiale

    All three machines have the E61 group heads and levers. The Cuadra shell doesnt seem as sturdy as the other two machines, but it comes in 4 different colors, and it doesnt get as hot as the others.


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    Re: Machine advice needed!!

    Quote Originally Posted by 776D762A766D676C657660040 link=1279861914/0#0 date=1279861914
    Budget for machine only - say ~$2750 max ($3k at a stretch), preferring $1500-2500 if possible. Am hoping to aim for $2500-3200 including Mazzer mini.
    Some budgetary advice from a novice; Also budget for:

    - A good quality tamper with matching basket
    - At least a kilo of beans to fine tune your grind, dosing, tamping, setup of volumetric measure if you choose a volumetric machine
    - A knock box
    - A multi-program electronic timer for automatic starting
    - Some form of water filtration
    - Cleaning agent
    - Group head brush (why oh why arent these supplied with the machine?)

    Some of the sponsors offer addon packages that include most of the above. I spent over $400 acquiring most of the above post-purchase, including wasting $35 buying an ill-fitting tamper before getting a Pullman.

  7. #7
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    Re: Machine advice needed!!

    ^^^
    And a milk jug if you want milk drinks.

    Is knock box necessary? I just shake my pucks out (or a light tap with the tamper if theyre really stuck)

  8. #8
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    Re: Machine advice needed!!

    Hi Richard,

    I spent 6 months researching my e61 hx purchase and countless hours on the internet.

    After going around in circles I woke upto the fact that I needed to spend the $$$ to get a HX ,
    I was torn between the VBM super and the Giotto / Brezzera Domulus Galatea.

    I Settled on the VBM super with the full stainless chassis/body and It has been a great. *My main reason for the VBM super was the stainless chassis, plus longevity, and reported reliability.

    The super also has a smaller footprint than i expected, and sits nicely on our kitchen benchtop. It has also been considerably quieter than Id have expected after reading many a review of it being loud.

    Most importanly the Results have been magic and now enjoy real fresh espresso single origins regularly.

    Good luck with with your HX purchase.

  9. #9
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    Re: Machine advice needed!!

    Hi 12ht,

    Your shortlisted machines are exactly what Im looking at now. Originally, I was only looking for the VBM Junior, but after going to the Aromafest yesterday and the guy made me a drink with the VMB Super, I thought WOW the steam power and performance was great. Then I looked at the Junior behind, I thought nope, if I was going to buy it would definitely be the Super!

    What made you make the final decision to go with the VBM Super rather than the Giotto / Brezzera Domulus Galatea? Im looking at those 2 machines as well.

    Thanks
    Michelle

  10. #10
    Senior Member Koffee_Kosmo's Avatar
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    Re: Machine advice needed!!

    Quote Originally Posted by 25212B202D24242D2B2029267A7878480 link=1279861914/8#8 date=1280126071
    What made you make the final decision to go with the VBM Super rather than the Giotto / Brezzera Domulus Galatea? Im looking at those 2 machines as well.
    Both the Bezzera & Giotto machines have a better finish than the VBM
    However they all make great coffee

    KK

  11. #11
    Senior Member bennett's Avatar
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    Re: Machine advice needed!!

    Quote Originally Posted by 5F5B515A575E5E57515A535C000202320 link=1279861914/8#8 date=1280126071
    Your shortlisted machines are exactly what Im looking at now. Originally, I was only looking for the VBM Junior, but after going to the Aromafest yesterday and the guy made me a drink with the VMB Super, I thought WOW the steam power and performance was great. Then I looked at the Junior behind, I thought nope, if I was going to buy it would definitely be the Super!
    This statement isnt very accurate. Both the VBM super and junior should have plenty of grunt to make enough coffee back to back to suit your needs. The super has more power but also a larger boiler - so more water to keep warm. Dont get me wrong if you have the budget and the space then you should go for a larger machine - but dont expect better coffee. Both the super and junior are capable of making equally great coffee. If you do end up considering a larger machine then you should definitely have on your shortlist

    1. Bezzera Domus Galatea
    2. Rocket Giotto Premium Plus
    3. Diadema Junior Extra
    4. VBM Domobar Super

    The VBM actually has the worst external finish out of these four machines as KK has pointed out. Just have an open mind when you finally end up buying one and try and see them all in the flesh.

  12. #12
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    Re: Machine advice needed!!

    Hi Michelle,

    Good chance that if you were at the ECA stand, "the man" on the VBM DS was either Dennis (morning) or moi from 1pm. Dave from ECA pulled a few shots in the gap while I had a feed. If the man was well over 180cm, that was Dave ;)

    To correct inaccuracies in the last few posts, the steam pressure is identical on the Domobar Junior and the Domobar Super. The Junior just has smaller lungs and runs out of puff earlier. Either wil cope comfortably with 2 coffees and 2 x milk, back to back until you get sick of making coffee ;)

    FWIW, the internal layout of the VBM machines allows for easier service than the Domus in my opinion. The Giotto is also terrific. All have excellent finish, but the GPP and DJE are my winners. I personally am over the look of the Galatea as I reckon its overdone and too "tizzy". On average, its also significantly louder than the others.

    Chris

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    Re: Machine advice needed!!

    Hi Chris and all,

    I was there after 1.00pm. Im embarrassed to say the man told me his name and I forgot... im not sure if it was you or not, he had a small/short beard and was tall. Our daughter was with us. My daughter told me that the demonstrator on the Giotto machine was the Barista champion so not sure if it was you that I saw on that day.

    To set the record straight, the demonstrator did in fact tell/advise us that the super and junior was exactly the same except one has a bigger tank and the other was smaller. All functions was the same. He also showed me the water tank of the Giotto which I really liked due to the fact it was easier to life open and had a bigger opening as compared the to VMB. But because there was so many people I felt impolite to hog his time as it looked like it was built like a tank. We wanted to come back when it was quiter but that never eventuated as it was busy throughout the day.

    I did check the technical specifications for the Super and Junior and from memory other than the tank there was a few more techinical differences between the 2 which made me think the super was a bit better? Please correct me if Im wrong, but I dont have the info on hand at the moment, but I remeber something about the 3 way power switch, insulation in the inner wall in the super which the junior doesnt have and a more expensive pressurstat in the super. Im not sure if the above differences will make a difference. Also read somewhere that because the super is bigger the thermal of the internals are more stable/better hence. My main concern are the reliability and longevity of the machine.

    Im probably reading too much into the techniccal differences between the 2 machines and maybe that dont really matter at all.

    P.S. The Aroma Festivel was really fun. My husband really liked the Izzo Alex and thought it was a great machine until I told him that we were already 3 times over budget (the VMB Super) and if we bought that machine its double that, his eye rolled and said lets get some snacks ::)

    Michelle

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    Re: Machine advice needed!!

    Quote Originally Posted by 24202A212C25252C2A2128277B7979490 link=1279861914/12#12 date=1280144209
    Im probably reading too much into the techniccal differences between the 2 machines and *maybe that dont really matter at all.
    Its easy to start going around in circles and get caught up in technical minutia between machines at this end of the scale. Weve all been there at one point or another :)

    I think the true test is to go and have a play with the machines in person as theres only so much youll learn from a specs sheet.

    Youve got some good machines in your list there, and for each of them theres a snob on this forum wholl happily stand and say that the machine they bought was the best choice for them for "x" criteria they had. Theres no right or wrong answer, just what works best for you and keeps the passion going :)

    Best advice would be to go and see a sponsor <---- and have a chat and a play with several machines.

    Enjoy the journey :)

    Caff.




  15. #15
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    Re: Machine advice needed!!

    Quote Originally Posted by 35000D0A3E220E07070404610 link=1279861914/11#11 date=1280135678
    FWIW, the internal layout of the VBM machines allows for easier service than the Domus in my opinion. The Giotto is also terrific. All have excellent finish, but the GPP and DJE are my winners. I personally am over the look of the Galatea as I reckon its overdone and too "tizzy". On average, its also significantly louder than the others.

    Chris
    Chris I wonder if your comment is a little skewed
    The reason I say this is that I have noticed that you no longer advertise the Bezzera on your web site

    There are many owners of many makes of machines
    There is a machine to suit every one

    The decision boils down to
    Price
    Finish Quality
    Personal choice

    With regards to servicing

    If one is not proficient and have the correct tools to service any piece of machinery then that person will always struggle in any service,
    eventually blaming the machine

    What I am trying to convey is
    Once one is familiar with any piece of equipment then service becomes second nature in performing tasks in correct sequence

    KK

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    Re: Machine advice needed!!

    Sorry KK,

    Its a good machine and is built like a tank. Its also reliable- as you would have experienced before you sold yours.

    The internal location of some components lacks thought in my opinion and if something as simple as an OPV adjustment involves profanity and sometimes blood, you have to wonder who was snoozing. The fact that its required in the first place puzzles me.

    If a cover is a nuisance to remove with allen key screws which are blocked and difficult to access, likewise. This ultimately leads to higher costs when repairs are required. Ill choose not to be insulted by your comments regarding proficiency and the equipment we hold to repair machines.

    There is nothing wrong with the machine, but I see the insides of a whole heap of different machines and my opinion is my opinion.

    Chris

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    Re: Machine advice needed!!

    I guess it depends on whether you want to service the machine yourself or not. Not being technically minded this wasnt a factor for me when I chose the Bezzera. And indeed it hasnt missed a beat in 2 yrs.

    Having gone back and looking at the latest HX machines on behalf of my brother in law I must admit I would still choose the Galatea on looks and finish, and perhaps more importantly the ergonomic layout around the group - plenty of room and very large range of movement with the steam and hot water wands. Loud pump - yes!

    All depends what your priority is of course! 8-)

  18. #18
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    Re: Machine advice needed!!

    Quote Originally Posted by 776D69776F656061040 link=1279861914/16#16 date=1280155879
    I guess it depends on whether you want to service the machine yourself or not....
    Absolutely- you just need to keep in mind that challenging service = larger service bills....

  19. #19
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    Re: Machine advice needed!!

    Quote Originally Posted by 46737E794D517D74747777120 link=1279861914/17#17 date=1280185001
    Quote Originally Posted by 776D69776F656061040 link=1279861914/16#16 date=1280155879
    I guess it depends on whether you want to service the machine yourself or not.... *
    Absolutely- you just need to keep in mind that challenging service = larger service bills....
    For a second there I though you guys were talking Sunbeam ;D :D

    If the so called prosumer machines are as good as every one wants to tout them as...

    A: Then a service every 3 or 5 years would be the max that might be expected and as it would really be just a dust and polish.

    B: Should cost next to nothing and if any thing more than 25% of teh purchase cost then start re-assessing your evaluation / fit for purpose.

    C: Warranty should be 3 years by default if they are that Reliable / Good

    D: Electronic Controllers should also be covered by 3 year warranty and not be worth any more than $80 at best.... Should they ever fail...


    If ya spending a couple of hundred plus every year to service etc... Then false econ....

    Buy a sunbeam and replace / trade up every 2 years :D ;D ;) 8-)

  20. #20
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Re: Machine advice needed!!

    Quote Originally Posted by 1A2F2225110D2128282B2B4E0 link=1279861914/15#15 date=1280148297
    If a cover is a nuisance to remove with allen key screws which are blocked and difficult to access,
    Morning Chris,
    Removed the cover from my Galatea a few weeks ago, had it on and off within 10 minutes, didnt find it a nuisance or a challenge, $5 set of Allen keys and away ya go.
    Most of your other comments are spot on, particularly regarding noise, the reason I removed the cover was to sound insulate the panels, it certainly helped. :)

  21. #21
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    Re: Machine advice needed!!

    Quote Originally Posted by 714D445C49280 link=1279861914/19#19 date=1280192600
    Quote Originally Posted by 1A2F2225110D2128282B2B4E0 link=1279861914/15#15 date=1280148297
    If a cover is a nuisance to remove with allen key screws which are blocked and difficult to access,
    Morning Chris,
    Removed the cover from my Galatea a few weeks ago, had it on and off within 10 minutes, didnt find it a nuisance or a challenge, $5 set of Allen keys and away ya go.
    Most of your other comments are spot on, particularly regarding noise, the reason I removed the cover was to sound insulate the panels, it certainly helped. :)
    Thats my point Jon- 20 minutes of wasted labour every time a tech is inside the machine...

    It should take 1-2 minutes....and yes, I know what an Allen key is and I use them... ::)

  22. #22
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Re: Machine advice needed!!

    Quote Originally Posted by 487D7077435F737A7A79791C0 link=1279861914/20#20 date=1280192943
    Thats my point Jon- 20 minutes of wasted labour every time a tech is inside the machine...
    What I said Chris was 10 mins on and off, not 20, this having never done the job before, I imagine a competent tech *would be quite a *bit quicker than a clumsy old fart like me. *;)
    I certainly didnt infer you dont know what Allen keys are. You seem a little scratchy on this issue. ::)

  23. #23
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    Re: Machine advice needed!!

    Quote Originally Posted by 447871697C1D0 link=1279861914/21#21 date=1280193700
    You seem a little scratchy on this issue.
    Yes Jon,

    This and a few other issues as well. A read through recent [s]accusations and insults[/s] posts will provide you with an overview.

  24. #24
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Re: Machine advice needed!!

    Quote Originally Posted by 5D686562564A666F6F6C6C090 link=1279861914/22#22 date=1280194161
    Quote Originally Posted by 447871697C1D0 link=1279861914/21#21 date=1280193700
    You seem a little scratchy on this issue.
    Yes Jon,

    This and a few other issues as well. A read through recent [s]accusations and insults[/s] posts will provide you with an overview.
    Certainly hope you didnt take my comments in this way, simply observations from personal experience. :)

  25. #25
    Senior Member Dennis's Avatar
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    Re: Machine advice needed!!

    Quote Originally Posted by 437F766E7B1A0 link=1279861914/21#21 date=1280193700
    a clumsy old fart like me.
    Well then Jon, youll understand why I have faith in Chris comments rather than your own. ;)


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    Re: Machine advice needed!!

    Hey all,

    Thanks for all your advice and recommendations.

    I have checked out a couple on the weekend (thanks Chris!) and am presently leaning towards the Rocket Giotto Premium Plus.

    I will go do a bit more research ion the next few days on a couple of others mentioned on this thread though, just to be thorough.

    Its been fantastic to have such thorough feedback from so many knowledgeable people.

    PS, I happened to have one of my top 3 coffees today. Sadly I didnt make it myself, but it was a long macchiato with a 70% Tanzanian/30% cant remember blend , and absolutely stunning. Totally blew me away. And the guy who made it (Con Haralambopoulos...legend and Im very fortunate and spoilt to have him make my daily coffees for me!) also gave me his thoughts on my machine shortlist, and said all were excellent...which was great to hear. *




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