Results 1 to 33 of 33
Like Tree5Likes
  • 2 Post By Dimal
  • 1 Post By Yelta
  • 2 Post By Bazooka

Thread: Suggestions for replacement of San Marino Compact

  1. #1
    gc
    gc is offline
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Kuranda, Australia
    Posts
    217

    Suggestions for replacement of San Marino Compact

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    I don't know whether what I am seeking exists or not, but here goes.

    I want to replace my San Marino Compact CK which is now 15 years old with something that is, hopefully, better.

    Things that I think I want (Not in particular order):

    1. Energy efficiency - many machines these days seem to have thermal components exposed to air where heat loss is significant. I am unconcerned about aesthetics and much more concerned with function, so pretty chrome bits on the front just means heat/power wastage to me.

    2. Insulated boiler compartment, completely thermally separated from PID controller/other electronics/electrical components as excessive heat and electricals are never good company.

    3. Probably a HX machine again, as my reading on this forum seems to suggest I don't require more in a low volume domestic environment. (But I'm open to advice on this).

    4. I live in far Nth Queensland so am really dependent on servicing the machine myself and ordering parts online. So servicing needs to be fairly straightforward as does access to parts online etc.

    5. Commercial type Groupe - goes without saying really.

    6. Option for plumbing in, but internal tank at this stage (I never plumbed in the San Marino, just installed water filters for it).

    7. Rotary Pump?

    8. Easy cleaning, draining trays etc.

    9. Quality internal plumbing and boiler construction. (I have a sneaking suspicion that machine construction quality and weight have a positive correlation!

    I have a MahlKonig Vario V2 Grinder and would continue to use that.

    I assume I am looking somewhere between $2000-$4000, although I would need some convincing at the high end.

    Any advice greatly appreciated so I can arrange demo on my next trip to the frozen south.

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Hobart
    Posts
    346
    A well thought through brief but it goes a little beyond my level of expertise... which is not saying much. If you don't get useful suggestions, you could try getting sponsors attention by using the quote form (see below)... I'm sure they will know whether what they have will fit your brief.

  3. #3
    gc
    gc is offline
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Kuranda, Australia
    Posts
    217
    Quote Originally Posted by WantRancilio10 View Post
    A well thought through brief but it goes a little beyond my level of expertise... which is not saying much. If you don't get useful suggestions, you could try getting sponsors attention by using the quote form (see below)... I'm sure they will know whether what they have will fit your brief.
    I might try the quote system in a few days. Was just hopeful that some smart coffee snobbers out there might have some creative advice before approaching suppliers. Thanks for your input.

  4. #4
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Warwick, QLD
    Posts
    16,774
    G'day gc...

    Given any thought to a Lever Machine, such as the Bezzera Strega for example...
    Bezzera Strega - Di Bartoli

    Sits within your budget range, simple construction and the ability to produce truly excellent coffee...

    Mal.

  5. #5
    Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Posts
    60
    Another vote for a lever. I'm very happy with my Londinium. A very simple and rugged machine with great support from the supplier.

  6. #6
    gc
    gc is offline
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Kuranda, Australia
    Posts
    217
    Quote Originally Posted by Dimal View Post
    G'day gc...

    Given any thought to a Lever Machine, such as the Bezzera Strega for example...
    Bezzera Strega - Di Bartoli

    Sits within your budget range, simple construction and the ability to produce truly excellent coffee...

    Mal.
    I haven't thought about a lever machine before. I've spent some time today looking them up. Not sure I've got my head around the benefit, (what is the advantage of the lever machine with HX like the Bezzera Strega?), but if Di Bartoli have one in action I'll definitely go and watch them pull a couple of shots when I'm in Sydney. Is servicing easy with a lever machine? I assume that seals, springs etc are easily replaceable?

  7. #7
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Warwick, QLD
    Posts
    16,774
    In a nutshell, large Lever machines produce espresso as it was intended to be, and all the super specialised pump machines try to emulate to a lesser or similar degree, but never better....

    If you are heading into Sydney then it would really be worth your while to visit Renzo and Ofra at Di Bartoli, maybe contact them before you drop in so that they can arrange some comparison demos for you. I'm sure you'll be impressed...

    Mal.
    Barry O'Speedwagon and Yelta like this.

  8. #8
    gc
    gc is offline
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Kuranda, Australia
    Posts
    217
    Will do. Have been speaking to Renzo this week on an unrelated warranty issue which he was most helpful with.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Moonta SA.
    Posts
    6,866
    Quote Originally Posted by Dimal View Post
    In a nutshell, large Lever machines produce espresso as it was intended to be, and all the super specialised pump machines try to emulate to a lesser or similar degree, but never better....

    If you are heading into Sydney then it would really be worth your while to visit Renzo and Ofra at Di Bartoli, maybe contact them before you drop in so that they can arrange some comparison demos for you. I'm sure you'll be impressed...

    Mal.
    The voice of reason.

    Like your logic Mal, the best shots I can recall have all come from lever machines operated by experienced and skillful people.

    Were I 20 years younger I suspect I'd buy something along the lines of a Strega, but I'm not, so will stick with the Domus Galatea.
    Dimal likes this.

  10. #10
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    163
    An espresso from a large lever machine is like that first kiss!

    Gli angeli cantano


  11. #11
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Hobart
    Posts
    346
    hmmm if this becomes a lever driven wank fest.... count me out

  12. #12
    gc
    gc is offline
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Kuranda, Australia
    Posts
    217
    Quote Originally Posted by Yelta View Post
    ........by experienced and skillful people.

    Were I 20 years younger I suspect I'd buy something along the lines of a Strega, but I'm not, so will stick with the Domus Galatea.
    After looking at some demo's on Youtube I think this might be my situation too.

    One important reason I am looking to replace the San Marino Compact is that over time it has become less consistent in its pour. Although I usually service it myself, I have had it serviced professionally to see if I had missed something (apparently not); replaced grinder with MahlKonig. So in the end figured that the machine and me are just ageing. At least I can replace the machine! So at this stage of life I am after a reliable machine that is CONSISTENT in its performance. Should have mentioned this in OP but apparently can't edit it.

  13. #13
    TC
    TC is offline
    .
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Melbourne
    Posts
    14,665
    Quote Originally Posted by WantRancilio10 View Post
    hmmm if this becomes a lever driven wank fest.... count me out
    Thanks for your most valuable contribution to the discussion. I am sure the OP will find it of great value

  14. #14
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Hobart
    Posts
    346
    oh, bugger... I've copped TC sarcasm. Sorry for the vulgarity in the above. The OP listed quite specific criteria - I will try to stick to those

  15. #15
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Moonta SA.
    Posts
    6,866
    Quote Originally Posted by WantRancilio10 View Post
    hmmm if this becomes a lever driven wank fest.... count me out
    Why did you feel this was necessary.

  16. #16
    TC
    TC is offline
    .
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Melbourne
    Posts
    14,665
    Quote Originally Posted by WantRancilio10 View Post
    oh, bugger... I've copped TC sarcasm. Sorry for the vulgarity in the above. The OP listed quite specific criteria - I will try to stick to those
    Yes- what did you expect? You may know little about levers. I'll leave you to organise your own "fest".

  17. #17
    gc
    gc is offline
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Kuranda, Australia
    Posts
    217
    Quote Originally Posted by Yelta View Post
    Why did you feel this was necessary.
    Please don't get distracted with etiquette. I'm interested in suggestions and guidance from people with more knowledge and experience than me. I can discern for myself what's valuable. No need for censorship. Clearly, some don't like lever machines, and and some do. That's OK.

    But if anyone could address my list in the OP more directly, that would be good. I appreciate any advice that you can give.

  18. #18
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Hobart
    Posts
    346
    Sorry... I wasn't really meaning to have a go at anyone... and nothing against levers. I am genuinely interested in levers and one day might own one. The individual comments from others about levers above are entirely valid so I admit I went 'off' a little early.

    I think real info is more helpful than a self-congratulation vortex that swallows us whole. Obviously I haven't been kissed by a lever.

    Put my offending post down to a misguided attempt at humour
    Last edited by WantRancilio10; 26th November 2015 at 12:48 PM.

  19. #19
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    301
    GC have you tried replacing your Filter Basket(s) ?
    Obv I doont know the age / or use of yours.
    I have had an older well used machine that was rock solid
    and the introduction of new / quality baskets was noticeable.

    I can vouch for the quality / supply of either HQ or Synesso baskets from sponsors on this site.
    a low cost trial / test, and in the very least youll be doing the right thing by the OP whom you pass old faithfull onto.

    Good Luck
    EA

    Std Disclaimers (now maybe necessary when replying too some threads)
    NO Im yet to be lucky enough to taste a Trad Lever shot
    Yes I have two of those baskets with 3letters - and yes I'm yet to fall in or out of love with them
    (No, no responses required here).
    Yes the CSS (Chief Stipend Steward) recognises to her horror that shes now stuck with a definate 'Bush Turkey' when it comes to collecting coffee filter baskets

  20. #20
    gc
    gc is offline
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Kuranda, Australia
    Posts
    217
    Quote Originally Posted by EspressoAdventurer View Post
    GC have you tried replacing your Filter Basket(s) ?
    Obv I doont know the age / or use of yours.
    I have had an older well used machine that was rock solid
    and the introduction of new / quality baskets was noticeable.
    I purchased the machine new in 2002. I did replace the filter baskets earlier this year. Not sure if they were "quality" or not (Purchased online from CoffeeParts). Changing baskets didn't alter pour at all really (that I could tell). And nesting bush turkey has just filled my driveway with barrowloads of leaves yesterday, so he's not my friend at the moment

  21. #21
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Posts
    367
    Quote Originally Posted by gc View Post
    One important reason I am looking to replace the San Marino Compact is that over time it has become less consistent in its pour.
    EspressoAdventurer seems to be onto something here. Could the reason of inconsistency comes from the Vario? I have used one for a short while in the past, it wasn't the most consistent grinder and required quite frequent change in the grind setting. If you're genuinely looking for a new machine/upgrade, that's totally valid (you deserve it hands down! I have not stuck with a machine for more than 2 years! ). But if you're getting a new machine to hopefully solve the inconsistency, it may not do what you hope it would do.

    I'm quite curious by your energy efficiency requirement. Do you leave the machine on 24/7? Depends on what you do in practice, it does affect the choice of machine you're seeking. If you do leave it on 24/7, I'm not sure if the sticking-out chrome does in fact consume that much more electricity in the grand scheme of thing. A better choice would be to turn it on when needed (then you need a more agile machine rather than one that needs 1 hour to stabilize/heat up).

  22. #22
    gc
    gc is offline
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Kuranda, Australia
    Posts
    217
    Quote Originally Posted by samuellaw178 View Post
    EspressoAdventurer seems to be onto something here. Could the reason of inconsistency comes from the Vario? I have used one for a short while in the past, it wasn't the most consistent grinder and required quite frequent change in the grind setting. If you're genuinely looking for a new machine/upgrade, that's totally valid (you deserve it hands down! I have not stuck with a machine for more than 2 years! ). But if you're getting a new machine to hopefully solve the inconsistency, it may not do what you hope it would do.

    I'm quite curious by your energy efficiency requirement. Do you leave the machine on 24/7? Depends on what you do in practice, it does affect the choice of machine you're seeking. If you do leave it on 24/7, I'm not sure if the sticking-out chrome does in fact consume that much more electricity in the grand scheme of thing. A wiser choice would be to turn it on when needed.
    Hmmm... interesting you say that about the Vario. Visually and with the "fingers" test, it does seem to be consistent grind, but in the last two months or so it became quite erratic. So I removed the top burr for cleaning and noticed that 5 of 6 screws retaining the ceramic burrs were very loose. One was nearly falling out! This machine is still under warranty too. I'm having replacement burrs sent up, but certainly not what I expected from a (relatively) expensive domestic grinder. Grateful I caught it in time though. Screw falling out would have wrecked it completely

    Re: energy efficiency: Its simply that I hate waste in a finite world, especially when it is simply to facilitate aesthetic preferences. Just wrapping insualtion around boilers can reduce power consumption significantly. Mobile devices with non-replaceable batteries are in the same catagory to me. Its a modern indulgence that will simply not be sustainable for future generations. But don't let my personal philosophies distract from the OP request.

    Thanks for your thoughts.
    Last edited by gc; 26th November 2015 at 01:25 PM. Reason: small addition for clarity

  23. #23
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Posts
    367
    Visual test will not tell if the Vario is consistent shot-to-shot, which is what I refer to by consistency. I do concur that the grind quality from Vario is consistent and impressive. But my guess is the coarseness/fineness setting isn't as rigid as some other grinders - thus having to change the grind setting often, which translate to inconsistency (the pour is fast and slow the next few etc).

    Thanks for the clarification re energy efficiency. Does sound like what fits your list should be a smaller machine, but with commercial built quality and performance. That is a contraction in itself in most cases. More consistent performance is often positively correlated to a bigger boiler and heavier mass overall, that requires more heat to maintain at temperature and to get up to temp. One have to give in some way, depending of what you put priority on.

    There's the Linea Mini which sounds like a good candidate with a small brew boiler with the steam boiler can be turned off when needed. However, don't think that is service-friendly to us common folks and the price is a tad out of your upper range. Below that price, the Breville Dual Boiler is a good performer with little energy appetite, but it isn't user-service friendly either and is less 'commercially' built. Another few candidates would be La Spaziale Mini or Dalla Corte (they're not 58mm portafilter but are pretty much semi-commercial built). Outside of those, you'd be looking at mostly E61 chrome boxes which you've stated to be out of consideration.

    Double boiler(DB) can be as efficient or even better than HX design if the steam boiler can be turned off for idle. Commercial HXs usually have a huge boiler because it affects the brew recovery, but as you know, big boiler = energy hogger. The brew boiler doesn't have to be as big on a DB for that reason, and the steam boiler can be turned on only when you need it.

  24. #24
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    163
    Quote Originally Posted by WantRancilio10 View Post
    Sorry... I wasn't really meaning to have a go at anyone... and nothing against levers. I am genuinely interested in levers and one day might own one. The individual comments from others about levers above are entirely valid so I admit I went 'off' a little early.

    I think real info is more helpful than a self-congratulation vortex that swallows us whole. Obviously I haven't been kissed by a lever.

    Put my offending post down to a misguided attempt at humour
    Yet you come back now with another not too subtle dig.

    Shall I send my future posts to you for approval ?

  25. #25
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Hobart
    Posts
    346
    apologies again

  26. #26
    gc
    gc is offline
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Kuranda, Australia
    Posts
    217
    Quote Originally Posted by samuellaw178 View Post
    Visual test will not tell if the Vario is consistent shot-to-shot, which is what I refer to by consistency. I do concur that the grind quality from Vario is consistent and impressive. But my guess is the coarseness/fineness setting isn't as rigid as some other grinders - thus having to change the grind setting often, which translate to inconsistency (the pour is fast and slow the next few etc).

    Thanks for the clarification re energy efficiency. Does sound like what fits your list should be a smaller machine, but with commercial built quality and performance. That is a contraction in itself in most cases. More consistent performance is often positively correlated to a bigger boiler and heavier mass overall, that requires more heat to maintain at temperature and to get up to temp. One have to give in some way, depending of what you put priority on.

    There's the Linea Mini which sounds like a good candidate with a small brew boiler with the steam boiler can be turned off when needed. However, don't think that is service-friendly to us common folks and the price is a tad out of your upper range. Below that price, the Breville Dual Boiler is a good performer with little energy appetite, but it isn't user-service friendly either and is less 'commercially' built. Another few candidates would be La Spaziale Mini or Dalla Corte (they're not 58mm portafilter but are pretty much semi-commercial built). Outside of those, you'd be looking at mostly E61 chrome boxes which you've stated to be out of consideration.

    Double boiler(DB) can be as efficient or even better than HX design if the steam boiler can be turned off for idle. Commercial HXs usually have a huge boiler because it affects the brew recovery, but as you know, big boiler = energy hogger. The brew boiler doesn't have to be as big on a DB for that reason, and the steam boiler can be turned on only when you need it.
    Thanks for these suggestions. Linea Mini does seem like a great machine....but as you say......a "tad" expensive Will spend some time learning about the La Spaziale Mini and Dalla Corte. The former has this problem though: "Integrated element in steam boiler is expensive to replace in the event of failure"

    Re energy use. I remember reading one modder who reported that after insulating his boiler it reduced heating episodes with thermostat by 50%! That simple...... Imagine if all components were designed to maintain their heat levels..... So its not size, its smart design. And you are right, I am trying to avoid an E61 chrome box - if there's anything better.

  27. #27
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Hobart
    Posts
    346
    Times change and maybe the Dalla Corte has proved to be more than reliable but back in 2009 TC was yet to be convinced

    Quote Originally Posted by Talk_Coffee View Post
    Dealbreakers for me were a face that only a mother could love, clunky internal build, poor finish, overpriced at the time and the lack of a hot water wand.

    I also thought the analogue control of temp- i.e if its not right, just remove the knob and replace it so that it is just didnt cut it against contemporary machines. For mine, I feel that the LaSpaz Vivaldi II was much better resolved and as for build quality and componentry, no contest...The DC simply didnt cut it at this price point.

    For these reasons, we chose not to range it...

  28. #28
    Senior Member LeroyC's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Woodend, New Zealand
    Posts
    2,248
    Is second hand an option or do you only want a new machine?

  29. #29
    gc
    gc is offline
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Kuranda, Australia
    Posts
    217
    Quote Originally Posted by LeroyC View Post
    Is second hand an option or do you only want a new machine?
    Preferably new as I'll probably have it for another 15 years, but second hand refurbished might be an option. Depends what it is I guess. What would you suggest?

  30. #30
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Newcastle NSW
    Posts
    179
    Hi gc,

    A commercial lever machine seems like izzo alex leva from site sponsor (Talk Coffee) seems to be a good fit for what you are after, it is energy energy efficient as the boiler is insulated and no internal pump, It has commercial group head, less electronic and hence reduced risk of things going wrong, parts readily available and top notch service from a reputable supplier.

    Having said that, coffee machine is a personal thing, so if you have an opportunity please swing by one of site sponsor shops to experience and make your own decision.

    Please keep us posted on how you go with choosing your new coffee machine
    Dimal and WantRancilio10 like this.

  31. #31
    Senior Member LeroyC's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Woodend, New Zealand
    Posts
    2,248
    Quote Originally Posted by gc View Post
    Preferably new as I'll probably have it for another 15 years, but second hand refurbished might be an option. Depends what it is I guess. What would you suggest?
    Yeah I was thinking a refurbished unit. Even though you've said you don't think a lever machine is suitable they seem to keep being recommended so maybe you should try one if you get a chance when in Sydney.
    But I was actually thinking a refurbished single group commercial or semi-commercial machine would fit the bill. If I was to upgrade and had that sort of budget that's what I'd be looking at. You're unlikely to find something with a fully separated boiler, but a high chance the boiler will have been wrapped during the rebuild. Site sponsor the Coffee Machinist does this sort of thing and occasionally has machines that fit your needs. There's plenty of options, but the main ones are things like - La Carimali Uno, La Cimbali Jr, Rancillio S26 or S27 models, Boema single group machines, Faema E98 S1 Compact, La San Marco single group.
    The other option is to send your San Marino away to be restored (if it's possible). But if you've got your heart set on an upgrade don't let me talk you out of it. With the change I'd also get a better grinder. Maybe a Compak K8 or A8, or a Macap MD4 or something. Good luck, happy shopping.

  32. #32
    gc
    gc is offline
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Kuranda, Australia
    Posts
    217
    Quote Originally Posted by LeroyC View Post
    Yeah I was thinking a refurbished unit. Even though you've said you don't think a lever machine is suitable they seem to keep being recommended so maybe you should try one if you get a chance when in Sydney.
    But I was actually thinking a refurbished single group commercial or semi-commercial machine would fit the bill. If I was to upgrade and had that sort of budget that's what I'd be looking at. You're unlikely to find something with a fully separated boiler, but a high chance the boiler will have been wrapped during the rebuild. Site sponsor the Coffee Machinist does this sort of thing and occasionally has machines that fit your needs. There's plenty of options, but the main ones are things like - La Carimali Uno, La Cimbali Jr, Rancillio S26 or S27 models, Boema single group machines, Faema E98 S1 Compact, La San Marco single group.
    The other option is to send your San Marino away to be restored (if it's possible). But if you've got your heart set on an upgrade don't let me talk you out of it. With the change I'd also get a better grinder. Maybe a Compak K8 or A8, or a Macap MD4 or something. Good luck, happy shopping.
    Lots of ideas for me here. Many thanks. I'll research each of your suggestions over the next week or two and will definitely try a lever machine out too when I next visit Sydney. The lever machines are quite different and I don't know how I would go with one. Definitely need to experience it to know I think.

  33. #33
    kbc
    kbc is offline
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    2,960
    I'm a little late but here's my second crack worth for gc.

    If you want a cheap, reliable commercial machine in the $3-4k range you can't go past the Expobars.

    Expobar Megacrem Compact is very popular for small cafes, coffee vans, etc.

    Pic:




Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •