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Thread: First coffee machine - limited bench space

  1. #1
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    First coffee machine - limited bench space

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Long time lurker, first time poster - loving the advice and contributions from everyone!

    I am looking to take the plunge and buy my first coffee machine, and will be putting it in an apartment kitchen with limited bench space so am looking to purchase something with a smaller footprint. It will be used to make around 2-4 milk coffees a day, and paired with a Compak K3 grinder. I have a bit of experience using higher-end domestic machines, but would like something fairly forgiving for a relative newbie. Budget is around $1500-$2000 (but can be stretched a bit), and I am located in Sydney.

    So far I have been looking at the Lelit Mara, Bezzera BZ10 and Isomac Tea Due as potentials...wondering if anyone has an opinion on which of these gives best value for money, or any other options I haven't come across? Alternatively, should I be thinking bigger and sacrifice a bit more bench space for a much better coffee?

    Thanks in advance!
    Pete

  2. #2
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    As an ex user of the Mara for what it is worth it seemed to do a good job. You get what you pay for, so it's no rocket apartmento

  3. #3
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    some machines are narrower but the design of the wands makes using it much wide as you steam off to the side so it effective footprint is much larger.

  4. #4
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    Mechanika Slim seems to be winning a few friends but a bit above your price point.

    I really like my Vibemme Junior which is closer to your price, my judgement maybe a bit biased though.

    Maurice

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by plangron View Post
    Long time lurker, first time poster - loving the advice and contributions from everyone!

    I am looking to take the plunge and buy my first coffee machine, and will be putting it in an apartment kitchen with limited bench space so am looking to purchase something with a smaller footprint. It will be used to make around 2-4 milk coffees a day, and paired with a Compak K3 grinder. I have a bit of experience using higher-end domestic machines, but would like something fairly forgiving for a relative newbie. Budget is around $1500-$2000 (but can be stretched a bit), and I am located in Sydney.

    So far I have been looking at the Lelit Mara, Bezzera BZ10 and Isomac Tea Due as potentials...wondering if anyone has an opinion on which of these gives best value for money, or any other options I haven't come across? Alternatively, should I be thinking bigger and sacrifice a bit more bench space for a much better coffee?

    Thanks in advance!
    Pete
    Hi Pete,

    The Lelit Mara PL62S has had a few internal upgrades over the last couple of years to improve performance and reliability. One of them was to ditch the mater pressurestat in favour of digital control of the boiler temperature. It still retains the title as the most compact (at 22cm wide) E61 equipped HX on the market. Furthermore it has a temperature stabilised heat exchanger, crushless valves for steam and water, an electronic water tank level sensor and now digital control of the boiler temperature/pressure.

    In terms of quality of coffee, there would be no difference between the coffee you get on the Mara and another E61 equipped temperature stable machine (pressure profiling beasts aside ...).

    In terms of value for money, the features I've listed above are generally only available on $3K+ machines (in particular electronic water tank level sensing, temp stable E61 (no cooling flushes), crushless valves). So at low 2's it's pretty good value for money too.

    charlie
    nickm and zeezaw like this.

  6. #6
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    I have a Bezzera BZ10 which is fairly slim and compact - on sale it should fall within your budget - also keep an eye out on eBay 10% off codes as there have been plenty in the lead up to Christmas.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by dbun View Post
    I have a Bezzera BZ10 which is fairly slim and compact - on sale it should fall within your budget - also keep an eye out on eBay 10% off codes as there have been plenty in the lead up to Christmas.
    Or you could try reaching out to some of the site sponsors. I'm sure they can do a better job and you know your not buying from some Bean Head on ebay

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by nickm View Post
    Or you could try reaching out to some of the site sponsors. I'm sure they can do a better job and you know your not buying from some Bean Head on ebay
    Plenty of speciality coffee brick and mortar stores on eBay and even a few sponsors have an eBay presence

    You can score a double win if one of them is running a special on a machine online that also stacks with an additional 10% off via eBay.

  9. #9
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    Iíve got the Lelit Mara and love it. As well as being compact width-wise it is also the lowest machine I could find when I was shopping - it was the only machine that would fit under my kitchen cupboards and still allow me to fill the water tank without moving it. I got mine at Jetblack and they have a lot of machines on display so you can compare sizes. I seem to remember Rocket machines as well as a few other brands.

  10. #10
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    Hi, I have an almost identical question so I thought I'd add it on here rather than start my own thread.

    I need a small machine, but the essential dimension is the depth - my espresso machine lives on a bench with a door in front of it, so it must not protrude more than 38cm from the wall behind.
    That eliminates the Lelit Mara (just!), Bezzera BZ10, Isomac Tea Due and Mechanika V Slim.

    Machines that will fit include Lelit Victoria, Lelit Diana, Lelit Elizabeth, ECM Manufacture Casa V, ACM Alfi, plus many lower priced machines like a Ranchilio Silvia, Lelit PL41TEMD. I know nothing about any of those Lelit, ECM or ACM machines. Of the machines I'm really lusting after, as far as I can tell even a Vibiemme Domobar Junior or Rocket Appartamento would be too deep.

    That covers a wide price range, I know.

    I'm upgrading from a Gaggia Classic. I make 2-6 cups a day, about half black, half with steamed milk. While I like the idea of a double-boiler or HX machine when I'm serving a crowd, I assume any machine will be so much faster for milk that I'll be thrilled when I'm only making one or two. My priority is to find a machine that I can consistently make great black coffee with. I would also like for it to last 15 years like my Gaggia has.

    Can anyone recommend one of those machines over another? Or can you recommend something else?

    Does anyone have a Domobar Junior or Rocket Appartamento that they can measure for me?

    Thanks!

  11. #11
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    I have had a VBM Jnr for 3 years from new. Hasn't missed beat. Backflush once per week (chemical every other flush). Draw from hot water wand every week. Use Melbourne tap water. The valves are still ok, but I think will need to replace in near future (not crushproof). Bought from a sponsor Cafe-a-roma in Malvern. Haven't serviced yet (probably should). Very happy, although I note that some say that the boiler might go and when it does it is v expensive to fix.

  12. #12
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    Thanks aussieflicker. Would you mind measuring it for me? If you pushed it hard against a wall at the back and took the portafilter off, does it protrude more than 38cm from the wall?

  13. #13
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    My VBM junior is 410mm from back to front, not including the portafilter.

    Maurice
    MichaelB likes this.

  14. #14
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    I think in my case the VBM Junior and the Rocket are not going to work. I'm probably down to these two:

    Lelit Victoria PL91T (single 300mL boiler, 58mm group head, PID with some electronic convenience functions)
    https://coffeesnobs.com.au/brewing-e...-victoria.html

    ACM Alfi (HX, 58mm group head, currently on clearance at Dibartoli)
    Apparently no one has ever bought one of these...?
    https://coffeesnobs.com.au/brewing-e...-acm-alfi.html

    Both these machines are around $1500.
    One is only sold at Dibartoli, and the other is not sold at Dibartoli.
    I know nothing about either brand or either machine. I'm in Tasmania so I'm not likely to get my hands on one before I buy it.
    Obviously HX vs boiler is the biggest difference...what else should I be aware of?

  15. #15
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    What was the final choice in the end?

    In a similar position myself.

    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelB View Post
    I think in my case the VBM Junior and the Rocket are not going to work. I'm probably down to these two:

    Lelit Victoria PL91T (single 300mL boiler, 58mm group head, PID with some electronic convenience functions)
    https://coffeesnobs.com.au/brewing-e...-victoria.html

    ACM Alfi (HX, 58mm group head, currently on clearance at Dibartoli)
    Apparently no one has ever bought one of these...?
    https://coffeesnobs.com.au/brewing-e...-acm-alfi.html

    Both these machines are around $1500.
    One is only sold at Dibartoli, and the other is not sold at Dibartoli.
    I know nothing about either brand or either machine. I'm in Tasmania so I'm not likely to get my hands on one before I buy it.
    Obviously HX vs boiler is the biggest difference...what else should I be aware of?

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by sharpyy View Post
    What was the final choice in the end?

    In a similar position myself.
    Sharpyy, check your messages (PM).

  17. #17
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    Thanks to this forum i bought my mom for mothers day( with my brothers) lelit mara. She was really happy and it perfectly fits to her kitchen.
    Dimal and JetBlack_Espresso like this.



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