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Thread: Which machine?

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    Which machine?

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

    I have a budget of around $1700...which espresso machines should I investigate and consider buying (for home use)?

    Cheers,
    Dave

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    Re: Which machine?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave_D link=1207354009/0#0 date=1207354009
    Hi,

    I have a budget of around $1700...which espresso machines should I investigate and consider buying (for home use)?

    Cheers,
    Dave
    Hi Dave,

    Thats a big question ;)

    If your budget is $1700 including a grinder, you might consider a dual purpose single boiler machine like a VBM Domobar levetta or similar. With this type of machine you pull your shot, press the steam button...................wait..................... .texture your milk and theres a milky coffee for you. If youre an espresso drinker, this machine will most likely be ample for you.

    If on the other hand milk is a priority, you are in HX machine limbo zone. The is the Simonelli Oscar, Expobar Semi Auto and not a whole heap else to choose from. Ideally, Id suggest an Expobar eb-61 lever or better- but youll need closer to $2k for one of them...

    Please feel free to give me a buzz if I can assist.

    Chris

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    Re: Which machine?

    Thanks Chris,

    I currently have a Gaggia Classic and Sunbeam 0480 grinder...for the time being I will stick with the 0480. I would like to put the money into an espresso machine and then update the grinder a bit later.

    We almost exclusively make milk drinks.

    Cheers,
    Dave

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    Re: Which machine?

    Hi Dave,

    Whilst the 0480 is probably not too bad with a Classic..... it will severely
    limit the quality from the better machines.....

    It will be usable - certainly - but you wont notice much difference in the espresso quality from the more "pointy end" machines until you upgrade.

    The quality of the grinder is FAR more important than the machine when it comes to espresso.

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    Re: Which machine?

    Thanks JavaB,

    Yes that is reasonable...I guess at this time I would like to put the available budget into the best machine I can buy for the budget that I have (read "allowed to spend" ;)).

    Then in the not too distant future, push my luck again!

    Cheers,
    Dave

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    Re: Which machine?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave_D link=1207354009/0#4 date=1207358976
    Thanks JavaB,

    Yes that is reasonable...I guess at this time I would like to put the available budget into the best machine I can buy for the budget that I have (read "allowed to spend" *;)).

    Then in the not too distant future, push my luck again!

    Cheers,
    Dave
    In which case Dave, I think you should short list the expobar eb-61 lever machine. It competes with the Giotto and other similar machines and you can upgrade it with cup rails and a coool touch wand from the Minore II. This makes for an awesome machine at a very good price point. One bonus is that compared to the less expensive HX machines, the eb-61 is easy to gain access to for service = lower cost of ownership when service time comes ;)

    Its terrific value for money.

    Chris

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    Senior Member GregWormald's Avatar
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    Re: Which machine?

    The best machine for you will also depend on how many shots you make a day, and how many at once.
    I make about 5 maximum on weekends, and find the VBM Domobar Levetta excellent. The waiting time for steaming milk is actually less time than it takes for me to flush the group head, clean the portafilter, and get the milk from the fridge, so it is not a big deal at all.
    Greg


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    Re: Which machine?

    Thanks Greg,

    Can it steam larger amounts of milk easily...say if you were making four milk drinks at the one time?

    Cheers,
    Dave

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    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    Re: Which machine?

    While waiting for Greg to answer your last question let me second Chris on the Expobar Leva.
    I bought one from him about 18 months ago (IIRC) and he got me the cup rails as well.
    They are great.
    I recently got the cool touch steam wand from Di Bartoli.
    I actually wanted it for the different tip profile and the "cool touch" feature was just a bonus to me, but it IS nice not getting burnt as often.

    The Leva has been trouble free.
    Ive only had to change the group seal in all this time.

    As for steaming ability..........it wouldnt bat an eyelid at 4 drinks (if it had eyelids).

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    Re: Which machine?

    Thanks Thundergod,

    What size milk jug have you used with the Leva?

    I had a good chat with Chris earlier and he explained his reasons for promoting this machine.

    It will come down to budget with the contenders at this time being:

    Vibiemme Domobar
    Expobar Office (semi auto)
    Expobar Leva

    Cheers,
    Dave

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    Re: Which machine?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave_D link=1207354009/0#9 date=1207374753
    Thanks Thundergod,

    What size milk jug have you used with the Leva?

    I had a good chat with Chris earlier and he explained his reasons for promoting this machine.

    It will come down to budget with the contenders at this time being:

    Vibiemme Domobar
    Expobar Office (semi auto)
    Expobar Leva

    Cheers,
    Dave
    Hi Dave,

    600ml (or thereabouts) is the correct size jug for two cups. The Expobar machines will have no problems handling multiple 1 litre jugs. I reckon a couple back to back would be easy for the machine with an almost instant recovery.

    As mentioned, I personally prefer the Leva as its easy to gain access to and also easy to calibrate. The extra few dollars are well worth the extra spend. Competing Italian machines would typically retail at anywhere between $2.45-$2.75k

    Chris

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    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    Re: Which machine?

    As Chris said the Expobar gives you "more bang for your buck" or is that "less bucks for your bang"? ;)

    I have 2 x 600ml and 2 x 300ml jugs.
    My wife and son use lactose free milk and my daughter sister and mother prefer skim milk.
    Everyone else doesnt mind full cream.

    So at a gathering I use full cream for everyone that doesnt ask for one of the other options.

    This means I need several jugs of different milk just to accommodate preferences/needs.

    I think Ive pushed about 10 drinks out in a row. That included a couple of hot chocolates.
    So whilst the machine can definitely handle more coffees than I can, it has also proven that it candle handle almost any steaming job you can throw at it.

    The only thing that ever slowed it down was my wifes long blacks but Ive learned to do those last now so as not to have to wait for the boiler to top up before I can pull the next shot.
    Long blacks and teas go to the back of the queue.

    I spent 10 hours last year at the AromaFest making coffees on a Minore II at the DI Bartoli stand.
    That gave me a heap of extra experience but I still cant push this beast to its limits (provided long blacks go last).

    The only thing that slows you down is refilling the water tank but even thats 2.5 litres (usable).
    The drip tray is about 2 litres itself and takes about 5 seconds to empty if youre in a hurry.

    Boiler is 2 litres from memory. Steam power is awesome.

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    Re: Which machine?

    Thanks for taking the time to make a comprehensive answer Thundergod...it is very helpful.

    In deciding to upgrade from the Gaggia Classic...it is most certainly not just the coffee quality that Im considering, but the machines ability to handle those situations where you are called on to make more drinks than for just yourself and the missus.

    Was there much of a learning curve in adjusting to the Leva?

    Cheers,
    Dave

  14. #14
    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    Re: Which machine?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave_D link=1207354009/0#12 date=1207380198
    Thanks for taking the time to make a comprehensive answer Thundergod...it is very helpful.
    No worries.
    If youve read any of my other posts youll realise I usually am quite succinct.
    That just goes to show how impressed I am by this machine if I rave on this much.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave_D link=1207354009/0#12 date=1207380198
    In deciding to upgrade from the Gaggia Classic...it is most certainly not just the coffee quality that Im considering, but the machines ability to handle those situations where you are called on to make more drinks than for just yourself and the missus.
    The Leva certainly meets that criterium.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave_D link=1207354009/0#12 date=1207380198
    Was there much of a learning curve in adjusting to the Leva?
    The Leva is my first ever machine.
    My first coffee was drinkable.
    Need I say more?

    To be fair though to that last answer:
    * I did a lot of research before buying including here on CS.
    * I spoke extensively to Chris and honestly was leaning strongly towards the Silvia/Rocky combo but I had a niggling doubt and after more talking with Chris I decided (he did not upsell me) on the Expobar and the Macap M5 grinder.
    * I had done a barista course as part of my research to understand my wants and needs.
    * I was in the fortunate position of having the money available (and even a bit more than I spent if I had decided).
    * That first coffee was using beans from Hazel De Los Reyes.


    Youll get used to the ugly feet. ;) Its a good machine.

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    Senior Member GregWormald's Avatar
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    Re: Which machine?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave_D link=1207354009/0#7 date=1207365648
    Thanks Greg,

    Can it steam larger amounts of milk easily...say if you were making four milk drinks at the one time?

    Cheers,
    Dave
    Dave,

    I cant give you an experienced answer for this cause I havent done it yet---BUT, I can say with certainty that while playing (today) I was able to steam 750 ml of water to 65C in less than one minute.

    As far as the cool touch is concerned I just put a short length of plastic tubing over the wand where I touch it to move it around, and havent burned my fingers since.

    Greg

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    Re: Which machine?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave_D link=1207354009/0#12 date=1207380198
    Thanks for taking the time to make a comprehensive answer Thundergod...it is very helpful.

    In deciding to upgrade from the Gaggia Classic...it is most certainly not just the coffee quality that Im considering, but the machines ability to handle those situations where you are called on to make more drinks than for just yourself and the missus.

    Was there much of a learning curve in adjusting to the Leva?

    Cheers,
    Dave
    Hi Dave, this response led me to ponder a little further....

    Im not sure that a VBM is so much an upgrade from where you currently are :-/.

    It has far superior build and specifications and you will get that god shot fore frequently- (with suitable skills), however the coffee making exerience will be the same as what you currently experience, just at a whole new level of excellence.

    I have little doubt that a Domobar Levetta represents an example of best of the dual purpose class, but ultimately, its a single boiler machine just like your current machine.

    I maintain my original call that its probably well worth saving a few more $$$, even if you have to hold off for a while and heading in the direction of a HX machine.

    regards

    Chris

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    Re: Which machine?

    Thanks for your responses...its decision time :-?

    Cheers,
    Dave

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    Re: Which machine?

    I have been doing some more reading since last posting and I notice in various places that some folk say that temperature control can be a problem with a HX machine, and can require larger cooling flushes...hence lots of refills.

    Does this mean for the well intentioned amateur like me that I might be in over my head with such a machine?

    Would consideration of a dual bolier machine be a good idea?

    I would appreciate any thoughts on this.

    Cheers,
    Dave

  19. #19
    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    Re: Which machine?

    I got the hang of my Expobar Leva easily enough and its my first machine.
    Dont let it scare you off.
    Still, the Minore II is an option if you want less hassle for some extra dollars.

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    Re: Which machine?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave_D link=1207354009/15#17 date=1207658762
    I have been doing some more reading since last posting and I notice in various places that some folk say that temperature control can be a problem with a HX machine, and can require larger cooling flushes...hence lots of refills.

    Does this mean for the well intentioned amateur like me that I might be in over my head with such a machine? *

    Would consideration of a dual bolier machine be a good idea?

    I would appreciate any thoughts on this.

    Cheers,
    Dave
    Hi Dave,

    No need to worry. All machines need a flush- even if only to rinse off the group head. Bottom line is if you dont like the look of the water (e.g obviously on the boil), reject it and when youre happy, do your thing.

    Many of the US websites have reviews of dramatically different spec. machines to ours. For example, the Expobar eb-61 leva in US spec can require a huge flush. Aussie machines are set up differently and TG will support that its an easy machine to use.

    The Makin is excellent in this respect as is the Giotto with thermostability mods. I hear this bloke from Talk Coffee modifies them to decrease the cooling flush even further....amongst other things ;)...

    Good luck

    Chris

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    Re: Which machine?

    Quote Originally Posted by 2muchcoffeeman link=1207354009/15#19 date=1207672341
    The Makin is excellent in this respect as is the Giotto with thermostability mods. I hear this bloke from Talk Coffee modifies them to decrease the cooling flush even further....amongst other things ;)...
    ...such as... (probe, probe, probe) ;)

    Dave, definitely dont be scared off the HXs with cooling flushes etc. Like the fellas have said, youll be flushing no matter what.

    As Ive really only used for an extended period of time, my own machine, I can say the Minore is reletively easy to use ::)... it seriously didnt take me long to get to a point where I was getting v.drinkable shots consistently. Then once thats in place, theres all the fun stuff of temp control & tweaking etc.

  22. #22
    Senior Member Dennis's Avatar
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    Re: Which machine?

    And having had my giotto pimped by Talk Coffee, I find that I dont need to run a cooling flush at all...then again, if you drink more coffee, the group head wont get a chance to get too hot! ;)

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    Re: Which machine?

    Hi Dave,

    Ive owned a VBM Domobar Levetta since October last year, and it does all I need to do.

    If Im doing four or 6 milk drinks at a time, Ill pull the three doubles, then texture the milk after that. I line up two jugs of milk, and first texture the 750ml Motta, then the 600ml jug.

    Although Ive not tried it, I see no reason the Levetta could not texture a one litre jug. Chris could probably verify or otherwise on that.

    The Levetta does have really very good steaming power...not very far off a commercial machine, at least if you wait until 3 bars of pressure.

    Trevorbeans



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