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Thread: Deciding on a "pointy end" machine

  1. #1
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    Deciding on a "pointy end" machine

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hi guys,
    Im pretty much dying to move in to the upper echelons of making good espresso, but it seems the more I read, the harder my choice of machine (let alone having no idea of what we can and cant get here in Aus). No matter the cost, Id like to get it right the first time to avoid endless upgrades down the line ;-) (sure itll happen anyway I had a laugh). So Ive assembled the following criteria:

    1. Ive decided that plumbed+rotary pump is the way to go. The ability to plumb the drip dray would be a plus, but not a deal breaker cause if its not Im sure Ill just butcher it and make my own.
    2. Semi-Automatic. I like to do that aspect myself, and itll keep the cost down a smidge.
    3. Dual boiler ideally. In terms of thermal stability I think Id like to follow the KISS principle and go with dual boilers. Not totally opposed to single, HX machines though....
    4. E-61 grouphead would be niiiiiice, but Id settle for anything with a thermosyphon.
    5. Ideally Id like to spend a bit over 2K (yeh I know, Im an optomist).

    So what would you guys suggest? Or maybe I should just buy a second hand commercial machine off ebay?
    Looking forward to hearing from you!

  2. #2
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    Re: Deciding on a "pointy end" machine

    at that price your looking at 2nd hand of ebay or ??....

    doubt you will get dual boiler

    harder to find e-61 in 1 grp but plenty of nice ex commercial 1 grps would still fit your "wants"

    if your prepared to wait then move fast you can find the right ones

    its what i have and i love it :)

  3. #3
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    Re: Deciding on a "pointy end" machine

    Quote Originally Posted by 1301007F10203B353521520 link=1282380162/0#0 date=1282380162
    So what would you guys suggest? *Or maybe I should just buy a second hand commercial machine off ebay? *
    Looking forward to hearing from you!
    Hello asr and welcome....

    I see some slight issues in that your shopping list is incompatible with your arm length to pocket depth ratio *;D

    The least expensive machine which meets your requirments is the rotary pump Expobar Minore III and that retails at over $3k.

    As for eBay, youd want to know what youre doing. Lots of seriously dodgy "pre-loved" stuff gets unloaded there. Most commercials are ex. cafe and are moved on because they have had it. In general, significant work is needed to get them right and thats assuming parts are available.

    I had a client who picked up a bargain Giotto there for a grand last year...Not so much of a bargain after he spent well over $800 just getting it going and it still looked trashed after I repaired it for him.

    Be careful.

    Chris

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    Senior Member Koffee_Kosmo's Avatar
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    Re: Deciding on a "pointy end" machine

    If you like function over form
    Have a look at the Bezzera BZ35

    KK

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    Re: Deciding on a "pointy end" machine

    Thanks for the advice guys!
    I had a laugh maheel I know, told ya I was an optimist, but I am willing to pay what I have to.
    The Minore III certainly sounds like a winner........

  6. #6
    Senior Member GregWormald's Avatar
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    Re: Deciding on a "pointy end" machine

    Id like to suggest that you decide on what you want the machine to be able to do, rather than the mechanism. Many different mechanisms are capable of superb coffee.

    Once your *requirements* are set, then a visit (verbal or physical) to a couple of sponsors should put you on the right track. Then a "hands-on", because the actual ergonomics of the different machines on your short list will really be a determining factor.

    I hope youve included a good grinder in your imaginings.

    Greg

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    Re: Deciding on a "pointy end" machine

    Phew, not an easy choice is it! *After reading till my eyes bled, Ive definitely got my heart set on a dual boiler system (ease of use, consistency, steam power). *Seems theres only about 6 models on the market today, each with their own funny quirks, so Im trying to weigh up their pros and cons:

    Expobar Minore III-R
    +CHEAPEST (definitely a deciding factor. As much as I wish it were true, Im not made of money)
    +PIDed
    +EB-61 (huge plus)
    +2x1.5L boilers, 2x1200W heating elements (huge)
    +runs fresh water to the brew boiler through a heat exchanger in the steam boiler, resulting in even better thermal stability
    +insulated boilers
    +excellent consistency
    +bewtusgroup. Huge consumer base for advice/help/mods/support
    +cool touch steam wands
    +third revision (kinks mostly ironed out)
    +giganticus drip tray (cheers Thundergod)
    -Aesthetics. *While not ugly looking by any means (CAN an E-61 machine look ugly?), its clearly simplistic in styling. I dont *hate* it, and I find some other manufacturers go to the other extreme and over-style (take the Mistral for example. *Most people rave about its styling but I think its just way over the top). So I guess the jury is still out on this point.
    -Given the HX-into-brew-boiler design, the steam boiler cant be turned off when not in use, like many other dual boiler systems, foregoing electricity savings. *Might not be too much of an issue depending on the quality of insulation (which I hear is quite good, and a step up from the Brewtus II insulation)
    -Quality of build. Has a bit of a reputation for being rough around the edges. *I guess you get what you pay for. *Still, there seem to be many MANY more success stories than disaster stories. *And the quality is still where its needed (Gicar PID etc).
    -Apparently when steaming it can give up the ghost earlier than anticipated with a double boiler machine. *Not sure how much truth there is to since since others say different. *Especially confounding given the rated wattage of the heating elements. *May be simply a case of tweaking it a bit (steam boiler comes at 1.1bar and can be adjusted up to 1.4. *One, two, or four tiped wands of various hole diameters giving different results). *Either way, this points a minus.
    -Spanish, not Italian, doesnt have the pedigree, blah blah. *Frankly this point doesnt irk me. *Im not so elitist that I think the only people capable of making espresso machines are the Italians. Im well aware that the Italians are equally capable of producing crap. *Im sure if the Japs put their minds to it they could make a better and cheaper version within a year I had a laugh. (Everyone probably just choked on their coffee when they read that.........)

    La Marzocco GS/3
    +(apparently) best espresso available. *Wouldnt mind seeing some blind taste tests on this one since I cant help but wonder how much of a role the placebo effect has on this judgment. *"Oh I just paid 7k+ for a single group machine, it MUST make the best espresso......oh it does! wooow!" (in case I was too subtle, Im a skeptic)
    +crazy steaming power. *Just....crazy.
    +ease of use
    -no E61 group just makes this thing look slightly boring.
    -preinfusion method. *Does anyone else think this is a huge cop out? *Cause it doesnt have the ramp up of the e-61s, it pulses the pump once to wet the puck, then after a programmable amount of time the pump comes on normally. *I know debate rages back and forth over the merits of preinfusion, but this method just seems lazy to me?
    -PRICE. *DEAR GOD PRICE. *How can this possibly be justified? Maybe 5k for the machine and 2.2k for the La Marzocco name?

    La Spaziale Vivaldi II
    Didnt read too much into this one, because I simply can not stand the styling. *Sorry if I offend any Vivaldi owners *:-[

    Vibiemme DoubleDomo Super

    +Aesthetics. *Now this is one pretty machine in my books. Stunning. Not too much, not too little style.
    +PROCON rotary pump. Mmmm. Epic.
    +Gicar PIDed
    +(original Faema) E61 grouphead
    +2x1.4L boilers, tad smaller than the Minore but not huge.
    +Steam boiler can be switched off.
    +Reasonable price
    -Apparently in the first versions, the boilers werent up to scratch, so Vibiemme were replacing them. *This was back in 08 though, and I cant find any recent information on whether this was rectified. (edit: just read that the 1.4L steam boiler is the revised edition)
    -Not even sure if these are available in Australia........
    -Way smaller heating elements then the Minore, 600W and 1000W.

    Izzo Alex Duetto MK II
    +Aesthetics. Passes. Def prettier than the Minore, but behind the Vibiemme IMO
    +PIDed
    +Plumbed and tank. *(I plan on plumbing it, so the tank is an unnecessary extra. *Could come in handy for taking it to holiday homes etc?)
    +E61. Yaaaay!
    +steam boiler can be turned off.
    +1.8L steam and 0.8L brew.
    +Insulated steam boiler
    +Cool touch steam arm
    +1000W brew, 1200W steam
    +A fair bit bigger than the Minore. *Some people complain about it, but I rather like that aspect. *If Im going to pay this much for (what most people consider, not us of course!) a kitchen appliance, I damn well want it to be imposing and noticeable!
    -shorter then average distance between drip tray and group
    -questionable placement of PID (directly above steam boiler......)
    -Expensive.

    I know that ultimately the only person that can make this decision is me, so Im not asking you guys to think for me. *But at the same time I want to be armed with ALL the facts, and I love to hear opinions from other people. So if you see any glaring errors in this summary please point them out to me! *Thanks again for bearing with me!

    PS. *A good grinder is included in my "imaginings"!




  8. #8
    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    Re: Deciding on a "pointy end" machine

    Quote Originally Posted by 7260611E71415A545440330 link=1282380162/6#6 date=1282633863
    Expobar Minore III-R
    You left out...
    +++ 2 litre drip tray.

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    Re: Deciding on a "pointy end" machine

    haha true!

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    Re: Deciding on a "pointy end" machine

    Quote Originally Posted by 7E6C6D127D4D5658584C3F0 link=1282380162/6#6 date=1282633863
    -questionable placement of PID (directly above steam boiler......)
    Hello asr,

    I meant to follow up on this aspect of the Duetto and have yet to... :-[

    One concern was that the PID may be exposed to moisture. This is not the case as the anti-vac valve on the Duetto (and my Pompeii lever) is plumbed to the drain tray. Any release of condensate occurs there, not around the top of the machine. All machines should be like this in my opinion, but I guess its more expensive...

    The PID is rated to 70oC which is well below the ambient temperatures in this vicinity. The steam boiler is also insulated.

    The Izzo is more expensive than the Minore III-R but in my opinion is a vastly superior machine in finish, build quality and performance- and I sell both.

    My advice is to come and sample one and then consider whether its worth the extra spend. You will find you receive a great price from all Izzo dealers. The gap is not as large as you may think...

    Chris

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    Re: Deciding on a "pointy end" machine

    Yeh Ive read about that, I thought it went back to the tank though? Oh well, either way its pretty clever engineering. Any mechanism that reduces moisture inside the case is a bonus in my books! Its probably not on other machines just because of the extra complexity. I think Id still put some $5 reflective insulation on the underside of the PID anyway, just to calm my paranoid nerves.

    Unfortunately I live in South West WA (near Bunbury), and the only local coffee machine place that I know of is Bunbury Coffee Machines, and I think they only sell Isomac stuff (which, as pretty as they are, sadly lack a double boiler model). Ive been in contact with Dimattina in Perth, Im not sure if they have demo models, but if I can get up there Ill have a peek around.

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    Re: Deciding on a "pointy end" machine

    Quote Originally Posted by 1604057A15253E303024570 link=1282380162/10#10 date=1282666434
    Unfortunately I live in south west WA...
    Hello asr,

    Dimattina are our WA agent for Izzo and they have a demo model on their bench as do Cuppacoffee in NSW, Coffee Roasters Australia in QLD and ourselves in Melbourne.

    There are also now a few Perth based CSers who are also using them *8-)

    Give Simon a buzz and I am sure hell be delighted to show you over the machine and pull some shots for you when youre next in Perth.

    Chris



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