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Thread: upgrading - professional or "prosumer"

  1. #1
    dsc
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    upgrading - professional or "prosumer"

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

    well its been a really long time since Ive been here, but a lot has been going on in my life and I havent had the time to take care of my hobby. The good news is Im working and I started earning money which leads me in the place where we all go after some time depending what machine we currently own. Thats right, upgraditis:)

    At first I wanted to buy something used, preferably a HX with e61 (preinfusion and looking cool). I found no affordable used machines and so decided to look for something new. As I didnt want to spend more than 600 pounds I chose the Expobar Leva. At that time somebody suggested to go with a used professional machine, and even said that theres someone who is selling a really nice and serviced Iberital LAnna. I thought about it but decided that a 4L boiler and a 3kW heater is too much for 2-3 cappas a day and maybe more during the weekends. I went back to Expobar and almost bought it, but found a used Rancilio S27 on ebay. At that time I made my peace with the 4L boiler and was kind of stocked because the S27 has a 1.7kW heater. Perfect I thought:) Than again I realised that it has no e61 and no preinfusion + the group is similar or identical to that on the Silvia. Somebody else suggested a used LaPavoni PUB 1V in almost perfect condition for around 600euro, which sounds ok, but the problem is the machine looks crappy. I know its not the looks that make the coffee, but I would love something at least decent looking. Today I also found a used 10 year old Vibiemme Domobar Super, but I think the machine is already gone, so Im pretty much left with these options:

    - Iberital Lanna, for 500pounds
    Pros: e61, built in tank, quite deep and has the steaming wand on the right side which isn;t really comfortable for me in my kitchen. Its been serviced, so there will be no surprises (by a friend of a friend:))

    Cons: its a little bit too deep (55cm) and quite expensive

    - Rancilio S27, for around 350pounds (the auction is still going)
    Pros: quite small, lower power means less electricity consuming, steam wand on the left, quite cheap. I like the looks

    Cons: group, heard that it runs quite hot, its been serviced and descaled, but who knows. No tank so I would have to run it from a outside tank as I cant plumb it (Im renting)

    - LaPavoni Pub 1V, for 450-470pounds
    Pros: not e61 group, but still has preinfusion (some LP patent)

    Cons: ugly, no tank as well and quite pricey

    - Expobar Leva, for 600 pounds

    Pros: small, home user oriented, e61 with a lever, shiny!:)

    Cons: no rotary, expensive, and is not built like a tank:)

    Im in a situation where I really dont know what to do, so I thought I would ask here for some suggestions as maybe somebody tried these machines. If you have any info or can somehow help me with making a decision I would really appreciate:) Oh the S27 auction is until Friday, so theres not much time left.

    Cheers,
    dsc.

  2. #2
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    Re: upgrading - professional or "prosumer"

    Hi dsc
    the only thing Id say is, be prepared for a fair bit of rebuilding, replacing, maintenance or just cleaning if you go for a used commercial.
    Now if you are a person who takes great delight in doing that sort of stuff, youre in heaven. If not, youll drive yourself, friends and family crazy!
    Its a bit like an article on classic cars in our local motoring magazine Open Road. It says something like, make sure your family is on side before you start, and be prepared for the fact that everything you buy will have problems.
    Have fun
    Brett

  3. #3
    Senior Member robusto's Avatar
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    Re: upgrading - professional or "prosumer"

    Decisions decisions, DSC -- Im not going to be of much help. BUT, it is not necessarily so that a smaller element will consume less that a bigger one.

    The bigger one will require shorter bursts of power less often to maintain heat. The difference in power bills wil be minimal, and certainly no criterion in the selection process. Unless, of course, it means special wiring to accommodate it.



  4. #4
    dsc
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    Re: upgrading - professional or "prosumer"

    Hiya,

    yeah thats what I thought theres not much difference anyway in 1.7kW or 1.9kW, but theres a difference between a 4L and 6.5L boiler. The latter will definitely require more energy to heat it up properly.

    I really like DIY and wouldnt have a problem with most simple/medium advanced thing in a commercial machine, but the toughest thing is to choose one. The first criterion is the group itself as this is really important and here we have:

    - e61: Expobar, Iberital
    - non e61: Rancilio, LaPavoni (well this one actually has preinfusion, so we can say that its a "fake" e61, or a "e61" of LP design)

    Should I go for the e61 or not? I mean it gives good temp stability, but is it really worth it? It still looks like the Iberital is the way to go. I know some people here have the S27, maybe someone will write something interesting;)

    Cheers,
    dsc.

  5. #5
    Senior Member robusto's Avatar
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    Re: upgrading - professional or "prosumer"

    DSC, I would extrapolate my previous argument to include the boiler sizes.

    Once they are heated, the thermal mass keeps them heated, and will only require short bursts or power to maintain them that way. Put it this way, you have a 300ml boiler (Silvia) a 4 litre boiler and a 20 litre boiler.

    All are at, say, 115C. Turn off the power. Which will cool quickest?

    Once again, I would not let large elements (they heat quicker anyway) or boilers be main factors unless it means extra outlay to rewire, large footprint on the bench etc.

    Cost? Always a consideration, but a 300 difference is easily amortised over the years and I would not let that be a major consideration either if other appealing factors tend to sway you.

  6. #6
    dsc
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    Re: upgrading - professional or "prosumer"

    Hi,

    yup you are definitely right Robusto:) but considering I usually drink a cappa in the morning and a cappa after I come back from work and my g/f drinks a cappa in the evening sometimes, a 4L or a 6.5L is rather too big. I mean It will take some energy into heating the machine in the first place and its nice that it can keep the heat but I will either have to run it consistently from 7:00-20:00 or loose that energy. I dont really see the sense of keeping the machine turned on for 13 hours when I use it for 5min. This is the biggest disadvantage of a commercial machine in my house. Plus they tend to get quite big and would occupy most of the counter in my small kitchen, especially the LAnna.

    Cheers,
    dsc.

  7. #7
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Re: upgrading - professional or "prosumer"

    You could insulate the boiler dsc..... Theres quite a following in the UK with owners of restored commercials who have insulated their boilers to cut down on ongoing energy consumption. That way, you could leave the unit powered up all day, switch it off at night and via the use of a small programmable timer, have it powered up in the morning ready in time for that first beautiful cuppa before work.

    Theres a great site operating in the UK called Too Much Coffee that runs along similar lines to CS that has lots of members who own restored commercials that have done exactly this. Probably be a good idea to pop in for a look and maybe join up with the UK Snobs..... :)

    Cheers,
    Mal.

  8. #8
    dsc
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    Re: upgrading - professional or "prosumer"

    Hi

    Well the main concern is whether a commercial machine is better than a semi professional Expobar? I know that big machines are more temp stable and usually dont require long cooling flushes. But you can achieve a similar thing with a vibe pump, smaller boiler and a smaller heater. Or am I wrong?

  9. #9
    Senior Member robusto's Avatar
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    Re: upgrading - professional or "prosumer"

    DSC, perhaps you should narrow down exactly what you want, size, performance, use, and then decide.

    Big commercial machines are designed with long duty cycles, to be on up to 24 hours every day. They are built to take it.

    Cooling flushes vary from machine to machine, pressurestat setting, and if you are going to switch yours on, pull a coffee and then switch it off.... it may not be an issue.

    You can achieve a good coffee with a Silvia, with a small footprint, small boiler (300 ml) small element (1100w) and small vibe pump.

  10. #10
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    Re: upgrading - professional or "prosumer"

    And a Silvia with a PID is a lovely thing
    Brett

  11. #11
    Senior Member robusto's Avatar
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    Re: upgrading - professional or "prosumer"

    Indeed it is. I miss those twin rows of digits in green and red, corresponding with each other.

  12. #12
    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    Re: upgrading - professional or "prosumer"

    dsc I have the Expobar Leva and it IS built like a tank.

    I get VERY good coffee out of it.
    Most cafes around here cant do as well despite their commercial machines.

    True that you with a commercial machine is a different equation, but at this stage in my life the Expobar was better than a Silvia and I dont want/need a commercial.

  13. #13
    dsc
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    Re: upgrading - professional or "prosumer"

    Hi,

    Ive heard that indeed the Expobar Leva is a solid machine, but its not finished as nice as other manufacturers. I also heard (from an Expobar dealer) that they do get a lot of faults and its sometimes quite hard to solve problems because the contact with Expobar is quite poor. I myself heard about Expobars running too hot because of the lack of Thermosyphon Restrictor and thats pretty much it. Oh and that they can get a bit noisy with the Vibe pump.

    The biggest problem is will I be able to get better coffee from the S27 or Lanna than I can from the Expobar? Commercial machines to have rotary pumps which is nice and all but what difference does that make in the cup? I think what Im trying to ask is is it worth going with the huge big boilered commercials? It is attractive price-wise, but Im still not sure...

    Cheers,
    dsc.

    PS. Mal: oh yeah I know the lot at TMC, Im a member there as well:)

  14. #14
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Re: upgrading - professional or "prosumer"

    Quote Originally Posted by dsc link=1197401494/0#12 date=1197468487
    PS. Mal: oh yeah I know the lot at TMC, Im a member there as well:)
    Cool,

    Id be talking to Cakeboy and a few others in that case, quite a few of the TMC members have commercials and like a lot of CS members, swear by them. Theyll steer you right too if you want to save some energy by insulating the boiler. All the best mate,

    Mal.

  15. #15
    dsc
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    Re: upgrading - professional or "prosumer"

    Hi Mal,

    yup Ive been actually nagging Caley for the last two weeks:) He has the Iberital LAnna and hes talking me into buying one as well:)

    Ive narrowed it down to:

    -Rancilio S27

    -Iberital Lanna

    Now they are pretty much the same, but Lanna has the e61 group and a built in tank. She is also a bit bigger. The problem is that the S27 auction finishes tomorrow, so I have to make up my mind pretty quickly. Still not sure though...

    Cheers,
    dsc.

  16. #16
    TC
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    Re: upgrading - professional or "prosumer"

    For me, no contest....Grab the Iberital ;)

  17. #17
    dsc
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    Re: upgrading - professional or "prosumer"

    Hi,

    hmm interesting I seem to recall your post somewhere that said Iberitals are good machines but its lower quality than Italian craftsmanship. Or maybe Im wrong:)

    Anyway, the LAnna is freaking huge, I just realised that lately, its 8cm wider than S27, but has a tank, which is nice because I cant plumb the machine in.

    I got an offer today for the Izzo Vivi, which will cost me around 720 pounds. I know its smaller and all, but I wonder how does it compare to the S27 or Lanna. Is there even much sense in comparing those machines (commercial and consumer)?

    Cheers,
    dsc.

  18. #18
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    Re: upgrading - professional or "prosumer"

    dsc, if you havent already, have a read through http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1194835529 re the S27.

  19. #19
    dsc
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    Re: upgrading - professional or "prosumer"

    Hiya Greg,

    thanks, Ive already seen that:)

    I decided to go with a refurbished Quickmill Adnreja Premium in the end:) will see how it works out.

    Cheers,
    dsc.



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