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Thread: 2nd hand - Isomac Mondiale hx versus Grimac Mia

  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2018

    2nd hand - Isomac Mondiale hx versus Grimac Mia

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hello everyone,

    First time poster, big coffee drinker (combo of long black and latte). Currently have a Sunbeam Cafe series but it's getting a bit sad so thinking of purchasing a higher end 2nd hand machine.

    Locally I have available on Facebook BBS pages;

    1. Isomac Mondiale machine, it's about 10 years old, has had the boiler and control unit recently replaced, has a non matching front support under the drip tray and the steam wand has a slight drip if not turned off properly. Comes with a similar aged Rancillo Rocky grinder, total price of $1,000

    2. Grimac Mia, 12 years old (but only about 2.5 years of use), has been serviced and pump needs replacement (seller will do this), comes with Iberital grinder. Total cost $900

    Would you consider buying either of these machines? Are they too old, too expensive? Any guidance greatly appreciated.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2005
    I have a Grimac Mia and like the other owner have replaced the pump on mine which I have owned since new and have used for 9 of the 12 years.
    The only other repair was a new hot water solenoid that cost about $60 from memory.

    Both machines should be solid buys at those prices and both should make great coffee.


  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Can you inspect both?

    My 9yo VBM Domobar Junior was recently 'decommissioned' - there was nothing *catastrophically* wrong with it but it was becoming failure-prone in various areas, just due to the age and the wear and tear caused by heat/water/pressure/etc that coffee machines endure. The service agent determined that it's safest to not replace the relay (again) and to "never plug it back in". I kept it in tidy condition, replaced lots of parts, did routine servicing and it only had mild use in 9 years. I got $500NZ "trade in" on a new machine and the VBM is getting scrapped.

    In your case it depends if you're confident diagnosing electrical faults and replacing pstats, switches, etc.
    Espresso machine parts aren't too difficult in terms of price and availability, but the labour/diagnosis of faults and then the adjustment/setup after repair can be complicated and time consuming (and therefore costly).

    The isomac is a more straight-forward machine (fewer plastic switches and more generic parts) - However 10 years of age (domestic) is about where you start to find wiring, plugs, and all sorts of small seals and parts needing to be replaced. Doing these one by one is frustrating. And who know's if it's been descaled or if other parts have bene replaced? Most domestic machines, sadly, have not been taken care of. It's safer to plan for a full rebuild (not easy/cheap unless you know what you're doing). I'd avoid this one.

    The grimac (a model I'm not familiar with) has 2.5years of use (lets say 3.5 years....'cos exaggeration) sounds much safer. Everything should be working ............except if it's had water sitting in it unused, in which case it will probably be worthless. You could look for signs of corrosion around copper lines and brass fittings, but even then it may have been tidied up for sale.

    Grinders - rocky has a pretty heavy duty motor but will need new burrs. Look for damage/cracking to the plastic bits. I'm not sure about the other model.

    Personally, if i had a $1000 to spend, I wouldn't get 2nd hand machines this old. I would go with a new (or newish) ECM Casa V or Lelit single boiler machine. And I would look for a large, 2nd hand grinder (that you can get replacement burrs for).
    If i was going to by a 2nd hand machine I'd buy it from someone i knew looked after it (eg a coffee snob member, not a random facebook person).

    FYI Espresso machines need servicing and this costs about $300 every 2 years. It's not a cheap hobby (but youll save money in the long run vs going to cafes every day)
    Last edited by skelly; 24th September 2018 at 02:11 PM.
    level3ninja likes this.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    I purchased a 10 year old mondiale late last year. I'll post some thoughts soon when I'm not on my phone

  5. #5
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Quote Originally Posted by mentasm View Post
    I purchased a 10 year old mondiale late last year. I'll post some thoughts soon when I'm not on my phone
    Sorry to dig up an old thread but would be keen to hear your thoughts + OP's views if he/she ended up with the Mondiale?

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    damn, forgot about this.

    I picked my mondiale up from a local seller via this forum. Paid less than a grand for it.

    Great machine that looks good. Pulls pretty good shots given my skill level.

    After getting used to it a bit I took it in and had it serviced. No major issues, few seals replaced. Noticed that the steam arm had been repaired in the past with liquid metal. Had an occasional drip but wasn't an issue.

    Fast forward a couple months from there and I had a report of unusual activity from the wife. Machine was overheating and pressure was building high and spounded like it was going to explode. Took it in for another service as it was unsafe and unusable as it was, can't remember the part name that was replaced but it was cheap. For some reason the tech decided to play with the steam and water taps. Guess they leaked for him a bit. After getting the machine home I was now seeing regular leaks from both the steam and water taps.

    Talked to coffee shop and only real option for the taps was to replace them with new ones from the newer version of the mondiale. I went ahead with that but it cost me north of about $400 to do that.

    I had a good long chat with the mechanic about it before I committed to the repairs and he made a good point. Even though it was an expensive repair, the machine I have is for all intents and purposes as good now as a brand new $2500 machine. He could try and sell me a new one but I wouldn't be gaining anything other than maybe a couple years or warranty. At its core the machine I have now is solid and unlikely to give me any issues.

    So far that is being borne out. I've had at least 9 months of trouble free use now. Turns out the cool touch steam wasd also came with a steam tip that I am much much better friends with than the one on the original wand.

    So was a 2nd hand machine worth it for me? I've probably spent just shy of $2000 on it now after initial purchase, servicing and repairs. I'd say yes it was. I was always going to find it harder to outlay $2500ish upfront, especially coming from a much cheaper Silvia setup. Yes I've spent close to as much but I have done it in stages. The upside is that now that the wife has experienced the coffee from a decent HX machine she would demand me replace it with similar should it fail unrepairably

    Whilst I was lucky to find a machine that had been well looked after and had spent much of its life being used on Melbourne's much more forgiving water (Water here in Adelaide is terrible) it still had issues that needed resolving. The great thing about most of these HX machines is the parts exist to maintain and repair just about anything that goes wrong
    Dimal likes this.

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