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Thread: New machine advice

  1. #1
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    New machine advice

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    I started a topic in the mid-range machines. I have since speculatively increased my budget. Im just wondering if this is necessary? Long post, please skip to the end if you dont wish to see the machines I have considered for the questions.

    Originally I was going to go the Gee as to me it seems like the best single boiler option since it has a built in PID and thermoblock for the steam which makes it a cheap alternative to an HX. However a plastic water receptacle, LCD screen and push buttons have me worried about longevity. I plan to be careful but buttons can break/become unusable and electronics can fail. Plus Im a sucker for a pretty machine!

    Having said that my main concern is whether Im going to get a better cup and longer life from a machine closer to $2000. Plus the old adage about in for a penny in for a pound.

    I then looked at the Oscar as it seemed like a cheap HX machine, then I became worried it was because it is a cheap HX machine i.e. likely to have issues, plastic exterior etc.

    My next step up was the Isomac Zaffiro if I buy from a sponsor and have it bench tested with two years full support Im looking at over $1700. However Chris from Talk Coffee and a few other posters have stated that Isomac doesnt measure up to the slightly higher priced machines like Diadema etc. Really dont want to save $200-$300 and ending up with upgraditis due to it.

    My eye was then caught byPonte Vecchio Lusso Club Spring Lever espresso machine. Its a good looking machine (hate the red though). My main negatives are finding a tamper, different sized shots, the likelihood of me breaking it by not knowing what to do with it. I like the fact there is no pump so one less thing to go wrong. However this is replaced by the spring loaded lever. The spring has to wear at some point? Plus the stockist is in Sydney so after sales support worries me a touch although this is probably the winning contender at the moment.

    Then there is the Diadema Perfetta many seem to place this as the ideal in single boiler machines. But we are talking a top grinder plus a few hundred dollars more than the Gee without the benefit of a PID. Id imagine there must be a similar need to temperature surf as with a Silvia which is something I could learn but does worry me enough to make me wonder if it really offers nearly a $1000 better shot? If its built like a tank and is likely to last me 20 years then the concern disappears. How much does a boiler cost anyway? Obviously that will die but have no clue how much a new one is likely to cost?

    My other consideration is that it puts me just a few hundred shy of a HX machine. Is there anything decent at or below $2000. They do worry me a touch in all honesty though, it seems you give up temperature surfing but then have to cool the group head prior to shots etc.

    I know that it is best to talk to the sponsors etc. The only issue is that no sponsor carries every machine. Plus unlike most things coffee machines seem extremely hard to find reviews or comparisons of. Its never going to be possible for me to compare every machine in the sub $2000 price bracket for build quality, longevity, etc. I may be able to go to a few shops and pull a few shots but wont be able to see all the machines etc.

    I guess what Im asking is is there a massive difference between a $2000 machine and a $1000 machine (removing other variables like a decent grinder)? Are the going to last longer and pull better, more consistent shots or is it mainly cosmetic?

    Also if you had up to $2000 (or just over, if I can get a machine at $2200 which is loads better Ill spend it) which machine would you look at and why?

  2. #2
    A_M
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    Re: New machine advice

    A long post and many issues raised.

    Plastic water tank.. Not a problem.
    Electronics .... Not a problem

    You need to forget much of the marketing and peer pressure .....

    Go and look at a few and get hands on...

    Many just quote what they have read and or have a reason for promoting what they recomend. Do be a sheep, make a real invormed decision.

  3. #3
    TC
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    Re: New machine advice

    Hi Ouom,

    The solution to your quandary will be found by stepping away from the keyboard and actually experiencing some of the machines in the classes you mention.

    Rather than worrying about what others think, go see for yourself and make your own conclusions.

    As for reviews, much of what I read is rubbish and any bloke can write one. Of course the reviewer is happy with his machine as he often knows no better and has limited, if any experience. I frequently see terrible machines with glowing reviews ::)

    Sponsors are here as industry professionals. Talk to a few and come see some machines. ;)

    Chris

  4. #4
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Re: New machine advice

    Totally support what Chris says above... 8-)

    Personally, I think youre flitting around so much between machines of significant extremes in design, that youre losing sight of what it is, that you are actually looking for in a machine. Much better to sit down first and quietly work on a machine specification (in very basic terms) that will address all (or most) of your requirements. Then, make arrangements to visit with specialist retailers in your locale to try out the various machines they may have available for hands-on trials. Even better if one or more of these retailers is a Site Sponsor.... 8-)

    Its just me of course, but I would tend to spend more time on examining the Grinder options available. These will have more impact on the quality you experience in the cup than other electro-mechanical devices.... ;)

    Mal.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Re: New machine advice

    Chris and Mal both offer excellent advice, the site sponsors are here to assist and will offer expert opinions if consulted, why not visit or call a couple explaining your requirements? ;)

  6. #6
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    Re: New machine advice

    A single boiler (even PID) machine willl never be able to match the convenience & capacity of an HX machine, so whether you choose one or the other will depend on what type of coffee you make, and how patient you are.

    HX machines are a bit overkill for making 1 coffee per day. I struggle to justify mine sometimes, but then i realise ill have it for at least 10 years, and itll actually pay for itself in 4 years (since i used to buy cafe coffee every day)

    Quote Originally Posted by 62465C5E514A330 link=1280356020/0#0 date=1280356020
    I guess what Im asking is is there a massive difference between a $2000 machine and a $1000 machine
    Yes.

    You pay for:
    - Convenience & ease of use
    - The E61 system, ensuring every shot has the potential to taste amazing (if your coffee, tamp & grind is good) The machine is not a limiting factor in the process.
    - The ability to make milk-based coffees continuously (the machine is ready before you are)
    - Ability to service and repair easily (not that anything should go wrong)
    - An attractive thing to have on display

    Apart from the serviceability aspect, all factors are subjective, so no one can make up your mind for you.

    Dont ask "what can my machine do for me?". Ask "what do I want my machine to do?"

  7. #7
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    Re: New machine advice

    I saw Chris this morning. To be frank I was nervous that it was going to be a car yard type situation where you feel pressured into buying something, which is why I had done so much prior research, but is was for naught as just the opposite was true.

    It was a totally wonderful experience. No attempt to upsell (or sell at all). Shared the pros and cons of all the machines and let them speak for themselves. Was a relaxed, informal, instructional and best of all honest chat where Chris helped explain how the different machines worked, the potential issues and the associated costs when things do go wrong with all the machines and how to best avoid things going wrong in the first place.

    I walked away with the Domobar Jr. I was amazed that I could actually taste a huge difference between the HX machines and the Gee (and the Gees was clearly a better shot). I knew that I would regret not paying the extra and end up with a Gee and an HX by the end of the year if I didnt take the plunge.

    Not to say the Gee wasnt a good machine, the coffee it produced was much nicer than anything I had made out of my Sunbeam (or bought from a lot of cafes), plus its pretty much as easy to use as the Sunbeam (if you remember to prime the steam prior to pulling the shot so the steam is up to temp in the thermoblock by the time the shot is done) but it was just no match for the Domobar.

    For his part Chris was great and initially spent a fair portion of time steering me back towards the Gee as he knew the HX machines were well beyond my initial budget. *

    It was undoubtedly the most pleasant experience I have ever had as a consumer. There was no pressure to buy the most expensive (or anything at all) and Chris actually talked me out of buying certain things and encouraged me to try the tampers rather than just buying the most expensive one (which I likely would have done thinking dearer=better). I never felt as if I was being pushed towards any machine in particular and have walked away feeling not only as if I made the right choice, but actually more confident and knowledgeable about coffee machines in general (which is amazing considering the amount of time I spent reading info online).

    Thanks again Chris, I have set the machine up and its working great (even with my Sunbeam grinder and stale beans that I had left over). Cant wait to order the grinder and throw some fresh beans through the machine!

  8. #8
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Re: New machine advice

    Quote Originally Posted by 00243E3C3328510 link=1280356020/6#6 date=1280563516
    I saw Chris this morning. To be frank I was nervous that it was going to be a car yard type situation where you feel pressured into buying something, which is why I had done so much prior research, but is was for naught as just the opposite was true.

    It was a totally wonderful experience. No attempt to upsell (or sell at all). Shared the pros and cons of all the machines and let them speak for themselves. Was a relaxed, informal, instructional and best of all honest chat where Chris helped explain how the different machines worked, the potential issues and the associated costs when things do go wrong with all the machines and how to best avoid things going wrong in the first place.

    I walked away with the Domobar Jr. I was amazed that I could actually taste a huge difference between the HX machines and the Gee (and the Gees was clearly a better shot). I knew that I would regret not paying the extra and end up with a Gee and an HX by the end of the year if I didnt take the plunge.

    Not to say the Gee wasnt a good machine, the coffee it produced was much nicer than anything I had made out of my Sunbeam (or bought from a lot of cafes), plus its pretty much as easy to use as the Sunbeam (if you remember to prime the steam prior to pulling the shot so the steam is up to temp in the thermoblock by the time the shot is done) but it was just no match for the Domobar.

    For his part Chris was great and initially spent a fair portion of time steering me back towards the Gee as he knew the HX machines were well beyond my initial budget. *

    It was undoubtedly the most pleasant experience I have ever had as a consumer. There was no pressure to buy the most expensive (or anything at all) and Chris actually talked me out of buying certain things and encouraged me to try the tampers rather than just buying the most expensive one (which I likely would have done thinking dearer=better). I never felt as if I was being pushed towards any machine in particular and have walked away feeling not only as if I made the right choice, but actually more confident and knowledgeable about coffee machines in general (which is amazing considering the amount of time I spent reading info online).

    Thanks again Chris, I have set the machine up and its working great (even with my Sunbeam grinder and stale beans that I had left over). Cant wait to order the grinder and throw some fresh beans through the machine!
    Well done Quom, Im sure you will be more thane happy with your choice, bit of a learning curve but it wont take ya long to get the hang of things. ;)

  9. #9
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    Re: New machine advice

    Good move with the VBM, Quom. I recently moved to the VBM Junior as well - love it to bits. Got mine from Talk Coffee as well! - good prices, knows what hes doing and a nice guy, what more could you ask for? ::)

    Wait till you upgrade that grinder of yours, itll knock your socks off.




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