I cant comment on the others but my Expobar Leva is a solid workhorse.
Hi - I think I have over read the HX machine choices, and am now further away from a decision thatn when I first started.
The budget for the machine part is $2k - have found all the above in that price range, and I chose that price range simply because it seemed to fit the value balance.
My use is the 3 to 4 milk based drinks in the morning, another one or 2 piccolos the rest of the day, and the occasional party situation which would be a max of 10 milk based drinks i guess.
Current setup is the Mokita combi for the last 4 years, but time to save me some time and hopefully make thinks a little easier for my wife to use when im away. Likely grinder is the SS wega 5.8 touch - ie flat burr with a timer dose.
I am in newcastle, so playing with these machines is beyond local, so i am buying sight unseen, and relying on the good judgement of others.
An attraction of the tea is the availability of mains connection, though I suspect a float valve setup should be pretty to set up on all of them, but it would be good if the drainage tray suited a drain connection with ease.
Are any of these machines rubbish?
DO some suit plumbing in better than others?, and
Are all groupheads created pretty close to equally for a piccolo drinker? ;)
please help me! ;)
I cant comment on the others but my Expobar Leva is a solid workhorse.
Given that most machine prices have gone up as a result of the shift in the $AUD against the Euro, you might need to do some more research to see if the prices that you have are not out of date. *I think that you will find that your choices are fewer than you might expect. *
To some extent, I think that you get what you pay for and shouldnt expect a $2k machine to match up to a $3k machine. *Conversely, and also to some extent, prices of some machine may be backed by what lawyers call "puffery" rather than substance and if you have a head delivering an acceptable temperature without a bad flow rate and a decent steam tip, you should be pretty right. As always, the best advice that I can give you is to (a) work on building up a good palate for coffee and then (b) test out the machines that you are interested in with coffee that is familiar to you.
Hi pharma,Originally Posted by 3820293A25292A2731480 link=1240742933/0#0 date=1240742933
As Luca mentioned, you may need to look at pricing:
Current RRP as far as I can ascertain is Expobar $2225, Diadema $2550, Bezzera BZ07 $2295 and Isomac is about $2250.,
Boiler size at 1.5L is bigger in the Expobar and with a 2000W element, its likely to have the most rapid recovery. If you are not so fussed about external finish, my opinion is that this one offers the best bang for buck.
I have limited experience with the Tea. I do know that the strategy is to run the boiler at more like 1.5 bar so as to get adequate steam out of the small 1.2L boiler. These settings could lead to hot running groups and resultant large cooling flushes if the group is not set up with thermosyphon restrictors. Even then, if the HX design is poor, you can fudge the correct group temperature with good steam but end up with cold shots anyway as the HX doesnt allow the water to warm adequately...Hopefully one day, well have a definitive answer on this.
Whether any vendors of the machine attempt an upgrade, I am unsure. I am hoping that one day Ill find a volunteer owner so that I can run my Scace over one to get some real facts. *
The Bezzera is a nice little machine which differs from the others in that the group is not an e-61 group. The boiler is 1.5L. Rather than a thermosyphon to heat the group, its heated electrically. A bonus is that the group heats quite quickly on startup and that steam performance is good.
One minor irritation with the machine is that this proprietory group has unusual anatomy. Although the group handles take standard 58mm baskets, the lugs and actual group size are very slightly smaller than your typical e-61. Bottom line is that the group handle pressure gauges and other equipment which some sponsors have to set up their machines will not fit this machine. Bezzera machines often run 12 bar pump pressure. Whether the BZ07 does, I am unable to ascertain. My instinct is that it runs a little hot as evidenced by the need for a cooling flush, but I have seen worse. This is a great machine for tight spaces as its not much larger than a Silvia- although somewhat deeper.
The Unico Splendor is a gorgeous machine although now superseeded in Australia. With a RRP of $2550, you will be unlikely to find one within your budget. Be sure to check that you are buying the Maxi version with ball jointed steam and hot water wands. There was a vendor selling very old original splendors on a dodgy site. These are not as nice as the Maxi version in my opinion. Might be worth checking with Attilio of CosmoreX as to whether any more stock is available. *:-? This machine oozes quality.
As to plumb in, the only machine in this group which can be plumbed is the Expobar and this is done the right way- with the fitment of a commercial rotary pump. Although there are kits around to plumb vibe pump machines, we dont recommend the conversion and warn that this conversion when applied to any machine after sale would in all liklihood, void your manufacturers warranty. The Expobar can be drained as well. Allow around $450 for the conversion.
You are most welcome to make contact if youd like further information.
Good luck in your search ;)
As everyone has written (I think?) you will need to go a tad over $2000.00 I am afraid.
If you want to talk about the Diadema Junior Plus with RRP $2350.00 it is superior to the superseded original (pre Maxi model) Splendor. I have a display model (never used & unmarked except for some fingerprints that wipe off) Junior Plus that is being moved on in our MOVING SALE.
All you need to do is email me off site.
Hi pharmaboy,Originally Posted by 647C75667975767B6D140 link=1240742933/0#0 date=1240742933
Were "only" a couple hours down the Freeway if you want to have a look at some of these - and others.
You are in luck most of the machines that you are looking at are in special at Di Bartoli check our CS special page:
Any questions do not hesitate to give us a call or send us a pm, machine are available for demonstration, as well we have stock at the shop.
Di Bartoli Home Barista Centre
I recently upgraded to the Splendor and based on your requirements it certainly wont disappoint. Its absolutely brilliant, however cant be plumbed in. Have sent you a message.
The best person to talk about if your Splendor can be converted will be Atilio, give him a call or pm him.
Di Bartoli Home Barista Centre
Im in a similar situation to the OP - looking at the Isomac Tea vs Expobar e61-leva and equivalents.
We currently have a second-hand Saeco Magic somethingorather that was given to us for nix. It is currently being serviced. I think it is on its last legs and I have no intention of putting more money into it.
We would not have purchased a fully-auto machine. We are quite prepared to get our hands dirty.
I dont have a budget as such. Im looking for value and quality.
We drink almost exclusively milk-based drinks. This is perhaps partially in order to cover up the less than exceptional espresso. (We are managing something acceptable by using fresh, 5 senses beans and a bit of tweaking of the machine thanks to coffee snobs).
My husband and I currently have 4 double shots between us a day at home. We do often entertain and once a year we have 30-40 here. From time to time well have 12 or 15 or so. Usually on a weekend it will be 4 or 6 of us and everyone drinks coffee.
Were not interested in a frequent upgrade path. We dont need the best machine there is but were after something solid that can handle our current coffee drinking patterns and will be able to handle our expanding needs. Were in our late 20s and can only imagine our entertaining burden will increase!
I expect that a HX will be the way to go, coupled with potentially a mazzer mini or compak k3 touch grinder or similar.
Were in Perth and Im happy to speak to any of the coffee snobs sponsors but would prefer Perth-based supplier if possible.
My husband does travel interstate fairly frequently and could potentially see someone while away. Sydney or Canberra most likely to come around next.
Happy to hear opinions, thoughts, rants and raves from others too :)
our show room is literally 5 minutes from the Canberra Airport so very convenient if your husband would like to visit.
We have some very fine equipment on display (and for demo) and some incredible specials happening in our moving sale.
very first CS site sponsor
I always want it to visit Perth, is the only city in Australia never been. Let us know if your hasband want to drop by, happy to demostrated all the machines.
Di Bartoli Home Barista Centre
Hi Pharmaboy and RachelG,
I upgraded from a sunbeam to an Isomac Tea and Mazzer Mini Electronic about 4 weeks ago.
Short answer is, Im very, very happy with the purchase. Tea was 1.9k. Mazzer was 1.1k. I spent less than I wanted on the machine and more than I wanted on the grinder but this seems to be the key recommendation of most people out there.
No issues with the grinder. I went for the electronic (timed dosing) but am still to use that to its full advantage I think. Need to play around a bit more.
As for the Tea. It is great. I have the same gripes everyone seems to have about the TEA, reservoir volume and slops tray are too small but Ive been getting into a routine of filling / emptying each day and that is going fine. Only fault I would say is that it can do with a little bit of silicon to isolate the electrics from water tank spillage and stop the drip tray leaking (tripped out the RCD one night!!).
As for steaming capacity, for me it is more than enough. I pump out 2 flat whites and 2 lattes each morning and the steaming is more than enough (I have to throttle it back). Then have around 3 macs through the day. I think I might jack up the pressure stat to 1.5 bar (from the 1.3 bar it came out of the box with) not to increase steaming performance but to get the temp up from the current 86 deg C to around 96 deg C. Cooling flushes are fine but use plenty of H2O.
I have a timer which has the machine come on at 05:00 hrs and off at 15:00 hrs. I think you need a good 1.5 hrs+ before you get up to get the machine up to temp.
Is the coffee good?.....having about a 50% success rate now but that is a reflection purely on my barista skills and not the machine. Its a steep learning curve as it is very unforgiving but it is fun along the way (sometimes its damn frustrating tho!!).
I looked at the Alba and Moondaile in detail but couldnt see much benefit of going for the Alba and didnt need the steaming capacity of the Moondaile. The critical point though in the decision was that my TEA for some reason came with cool-touch wands....excellent feature and I recommend if you go for one you make sure it has the cool touch. That is what tipped me over the line with the TEA.
Should I have bought a dual boiler? At this point, I dont regret going HX.
Im in Perth as well and despite what a lot of people say, we are starved of good machine retaillers over here. I actually didnt want to go for an Isomac to start but did because that is one of the few machines marketed locally. Two retailers in the Perth region carry them. One is good (who I bought it off) and one is average in my opinion. Neither are CS sponsors and I know there are sensitivities about posting company names here so I wont. The one I bought it off set it up on a test bench for me and we pulled shots all morning so I got a good feel for it.
You may be able to work out who Im talking about.
Anyway to both of you, good luck. I did a lot of research and am happy with my decision, with a couple of minor points as outlined above.
Hope this helps...
Glad you are enjoying your new Tea and Mazzer James, Ive had mine since January and she is producing some great espresso. My boiler was set at 1.5 out of box, I took it back to 1.2 and the steam power dropped off markedly so I went back up to 1.5. I have to do the cooling flush if shes been sitting for a while and as you said the tank needs a re-fill quite regularly, but I had to do that on my Silvia so its no big drama.
I find the drip tray great after Silvias little thimble and the cool touch steam wands are great.
Ive had a few large family gatherings and the Isomac has handled the demands of multiple milk drinks in its stride.
Im a newbie so forgive my ignorance. I am looking to upgrade from my Gaggia Classic and have been researching the Isomac Tea, Millenium Due, Expobar Minore3, Giotto Rocket and VBMs as well as grinders such as Best Grinder and Mazzers. What has struck me is the considerable price tag for these grinders. These can cost half as much as the coffee machine. Considering all the copper, brass and stainless steel in the espresso machines I feel we are being got at with the prices for the grinders. Any thoughts?
Hi bleach and welcome....Originally Posted by 555B5256545F554E435F52555256545F370 link=1240742933/14#14 date=1241518673
With grinders, its easy...You gets what you pays for...
Its the speed and precision of the bits that you dont see that deliver the results in your cup...
$10 plunger and $700+ grinder = brilliant cup...
$50 grinder and $5000 machine = garbage coffee...
Well put...Originally Posted by 75404D4A7E624E47474444210 link=1240742933/15#15 date=1241520732
Only other issue is Beans and User but their negated as common in both you workings..
I own several grinders.Originally Posted by 212F2622202B213A372B26212622202B430 link=1240742933/14#14 date=1241518673
The cheapest cost $150.
The most expensive $700+.
Theres a BIG difference in quality of output.
I now only use the cheap one when travelling as its small and light.
That and my Aeropress can make me a reasonable coffee when theres nothing better around. But I prefer the coffee made with my better grinder.
I have 4 grinders.
The cheapest is a Gaggia MM and the grind quality is very poor (loads of dust) and it is noisy and unpleasant to use (so I dont).
The other 3 range from $250-$700 in price and all have comparable grind quality but things like speed, noise, adjustability, build quality etc vary. I have compared them directly vs Mazzer Mini, Super Jolly and Major and Rancilio *Rocky and MD50 and Bezzera BB004 and could not taste a difference with any of these grinders (the Rancilio grinders had their burrs teflon taped which seemed to sweeten the taste a bit).
I would class the $180 Sunbeam EM0480/EM0450 grinder to be as good in terms of grind quality as any of mine (from usage of a couple of friends) and it is easily the best option for a grinder on a budget. Up from there, you are getting superior build quality, adjustability, possibly usabilty (highly personal judgement) and style factor but the grind quality does not vary hugely unless you get something like a Mazzer Robur, IME.
Welcome bleachbythebeach..... [smiley=thumbsup.gif]Originally Posted by 525C5551535852494458555255515358300 link=1240742933/14#14 date=1241518673
As per all of the above and add the Diadema range of espresso machines to your wish list. These are top quality units from every perspective and worthy to be on the list.... 8-)
I just bought a vacuum cleaner this afternoon that made a good grinder look cheap. :oOriginally Posted by 747A7377757E746F627E73747377757E160 link=1240742933/14#14 date=1241518673
Just wanted to chime in about the Diadema Junior...
Ive had my Junior Semi-Auto for a bit over a week and would definitely recommend it as a great machine in your price range (if you buy it from Atillio/Cosmorex during the moving sale). Makes great espresso and has great steaming capabilities.
Thanks Mal and thanks to all the welcomes and advice to this newbie. I will add the Diademas to my check out list. By the way does anyone have any idea why Isomac would name a coffee machine Tea?Originally Posted by 6944404C412D0 link=1240742933/19#19 date=1241595169
Tea is a girls name in italy. Not quite as bad as Mitsubishi naming a 4wd "pajero", and then marketing it in Spain I suppose....
;D ;D ;D
Oh and an update - someone somewhere has a box with a HX machine inside it, addressed to me - and although i could get all machines on my initial list below $2k, I somehow have parted with a few hundred more for an upper range machine, just so i never come on coffeesnobs, and think, I wish Id .........
Grinder choices still an issue though.........
Good thing....I was getting worried that they were making very expensive boiling water dispensers for filling teapots :P ;DOriginally Posted by 372F26352A2625283E470 link=1240742933/23#23 date=1241680243
Nah - she does have a hot temper though. ;) ;DOriginally Posted by 702F37212A212D242427272F232C420 link=1240742933/24#24 date=1241680863
Thanks for all the suggestions!
James there are now 3 stockists of Isomac in Perth that Im aware of - 2 good, one..not.
The first 2 supply beans to some fabulous cafes, such as epic, velvet, ristretto, west end deli, tiger tiger and the other one mainly sells fully-auto machines.
Were going to go have a play with some isomac machines at the academy and well see how we go :) were pretty definite about the mazzer mini at this stage (husband wants the electronic, i think the manual will do the job) but could be persuaded otherwise.
Just want to say thanks for the discussion. *Its been helpful. *We are also at the stage of making a decision about machine and grinder within the range discussed - and we live in Perth, so similar factors to RachelG and James.
This is a fair step up from our current setup, a basic discount store grade machine and coffee (fresh ground) from a good local supplier. *I also work close to one of the better coffee places in Perth so at least Ive still had the benefit of great coffee :).
Ive been doing a lot of reading and comparisons based on discussions, reviews etc. CoffeeSnobs has been great for this.
I would definitely not consider myself an expert, but I can say that I am extremely happy with my BZ07P. Like Chris mentioned, the electrically heated head heats up in 15 mins. If left there, it does run hot, but nothing a cooling flush cant fix. The key to this guy is not to overfill the basket - youll get water leaking all over the place if you do. But once you get it right, you get beautiful espresso - like I said, Im not expert, but I dont believe it compromises the quality of the espresso at all.
If you drink mostly milky coffees like me, I can certainly vouch for the 4-hole steam wand - its a beautiful monster! Steams your milk in less than 10 seconds, and once youve practiced enough, makes beautiful, silky smooth microfoam. I have to say cost me quite a few dollars in milk and lots of frustration at first, but now its worth every cent and every piece of hair I ripped out.
As for external finish - I just absolutely love the way it looks. Anyway, I have not used any of the other ones so maybe my opinion does not count. Still, love it to bits.
I got mine from Chris at Talk Coffee. Extremely informative, patient and very helpful - I know I am a difficult customer :-[, so he did well.
Wow! Thats a long time for warm up! Ive found with the Reale that the boiler is up to temp and pressure in 5 mins (how long does 1.5 litres of water take to boil anyway? ;D) and that left on its own, the group is too hot to touch 10 mins later, or 2 mins later with 2-3 flushes through the group. Forgive my ignorance, but I imagine that the group temp should be around the ideal 90 degree extraction temperature?Originally Posted by 646F51696762630E0 link=1240742933/12#12 date=1241442913
Ive found that I can have a great session from cold machine to boiler purge and machine off in 20 mins - just wondering what the effect of the extra hour or so for warm up will have?
Anyone feel to chip in - just interested!
Were about to sign on the dotted line for an Isomac Tea and a Mazzer mini-e :) It will be my husbands 30th bday present :)
Wow! What a terrific pressie.... 8-)Originally Posted by 1C2F2D262B22094E0 link=1240742933/30#30 date=1242950315
Youre definitely a keeper RachelG ;) :P That will be an awesome setup for the both of you. Im the only one here who likes to play with real coffee so gets a bit lonely (coffee-wise) sometimes...
May the God Shots flow freely in your household [smiley=thumbsup.gif]
Nice one Rachel, Im sure you will be making brilliant espresso on your new gear when it arrives :) :) :)Originally Posted by 12212328252C07400 link=1240742933/30#30 date=1242950315
After weighing everything up, last week we also selected an Isomac Tea and Mazzer Mini. Were extremely pleased with the results. The difference in the coffee between the budget machine and this one is dramatic.
I was expecting to have to play around while getting used to the machine and grinder, but things must have been set pretty well. Straight away we were getting coffee to a standard that we would happily pay for at a cafe.
A change of beans required grind settings to change, I guess as expected. Im looking forward to further improvements as we get to know the equipment better.
Congratulation now is all about you play with the machine.
Thanks guys! A few sink shots but it is a million times better than the old machine - completely beyond comparison. Were getting some really impressive espresso now.
It is an excellent (and selfish) present from my perspective - my husband has been making all the coffee for me!
Seems fair to me Rachel.... 8-) ;DOriginally Posted by 6556545F525B70370 link=1240742933/35#35 date=1243423752
Not surprising Kev, today weve sacased a new Tea for a customer and it came from factory at 93 degrees celsius and Apprx 9.2 bar of pressure = 140psi. We were very pleased with the way it came from factory and the shots weve pulled from it.Originally Posted by 323C2F6E6E6E590 link=1240742933/33#33 date=1243264210
Im surprised Ofra- as we keep hearing that these run hot and at 1.5 bar out of the box as set by the factory *:-? Nevertheless, its good to see these readings. Have they finally had an epiphany on the production line?
Out of curiosity, have you profiled the machine across more than one or two shots and can you let us in on what you have found?
CSers- another reminder of why its good to support CS sponsors....
It seems so. Weve had an ongoing discussion for few months now with the importer with regards to the Tea running "hot" and it does look like theyve been more attentative to feedback and now have all units come with above reading straight from the box. Steam pressure was set to 1.2 bar.Originally Posted by 3A657D6B606B676E6E6D6D656966080 link=1240742933/38#38 date=1243576010
Thanks Renzo for the congrats, and thanks Ofra for the feedback on your tests. Its encouraging to hear the results. I havent experienced any of the negatives that were previously reported.
Its good to hear that you are getting great results too, Rachel. Definately a great present!!
My wife loves coffee too, so plenty of opportunity to practice. Im usually keen to get some feedback and was surprised to start getting some scores of 11 out of 10 from her! Consistency is getting better and the ratings scale needs adjusting again :). Not surprisingly, our coffee consumption has gone up too.
An unexpected outcome is that the local coffee place near work still gets its fair share of business from me because its getting even harder to cope with the coffee produced from the large expensive automatic machine at work. I guess the savings I was planning to make to help cover the new machine have to come from somewhere else...
I purchased my Tea in Perth and factory settings were 1.5 boiler and 11bar for brewing. I have adjusted the boiler back to 1.2 now and the brew to 9.5 bar, still getting good steam power for milk and shes not running too hot now, still needs a flush if left sitting for a while.