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Feeling the pressure!!

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  • Feeling the pressure!!

    Hi all.

    Apologies in advance for amateur hour here, but I am currently running a Breville BES820XL, my second machine since upgrading from a Sunbeam Cafe Crema ii about a year and a half ago. Probably the one thing I've loved most about the Breville over the Sunbeam is the pressure gauge on the front, as it means (obviously) I can very easily adjust my grind between different beans to optimise extraction!!

    Now to the question; as I've never owned a new machine before, I am thinking of upgrading to a Rancilio Silvia soon (pending a healthy January bonus) and see that they do not have anything like a pressure gauge. Am I just being an amateur, or is this as important a part of coffee extraction for everyone as it has been for me?

  • #2
    G'day mate...

    To be quite honest, I'd reckon a change to a Silvia or similar machine would be more of a sideways move than an upgrade. So long as you're still happy with the operation of the Breville, I'd be opting for a Grinder Upgrade before doing anything else and then when the Breville eventually carks it, move up to a small HX or Dual Boiler machine....

    Last edited by Dimal; 13 September 2015, 04:50 PM.


    • #3
      Mal's nailed that reply...


      • #4
        Hello and welcome Kiz84,

        I agree with what Mal said.

        As well as having a pressure gauge, the BES920 has 2 boilers and a heat exchanger, while the Sunbeams and cheaper Brevilles have thermoblocks. It is considered that boilers are better.

        The Silvia has a single boiler and can make great coffee, however it comes standard without a PID making it difficult to maintain a desirable temperature while the BES920 has two PIDs and a third element in the group head all designed to keep the temperature within one degree of what you set. Even when making multiple coffees.

        A PID can be added to a Silvia but when standard, especially after frothing milk, flushes are needed to lower the temperature to make good coffee. Also it lacks a lot of the desirable gadgets that come standard with the Breville.

        Enjoy your coffee.



        • #5
          Feeling the pressure!!

          Thanks for the replies gentlemen! And sorry for the late reply back, moved house and finally settling in, I've been fighting Telstra for 6 weeks to get the NBN connected, so limited internets!

          The 820X gave up the ghost last weekend (popped "something" when I accidentally over-extracted on some fresh beans :-/ ) so I've been forced to buy a pre-loved machine on my current modest budget. I ended up scoring a well looked after Sunbeam EM7000 for a few hundred dollars from Gumtree. Taking your advice, Dimal, I decided against the Rancilio and stuck with the domestic brands and hope the dual boiler is a decent upgrade. Barry, as much as I would have preferred the BES920, one just didn't surface in my budget before I got sick of instant :-/-though I am trying to convince some friends of mine that this is the machine for them!

          Dimal, you mentioned a grinder upgrade in your post. This seems to be the conventional wisdom when upgrading equipment. I currently use a Porlex ceramic burr hand grinder which I do really like, but the guy I bought the machine off had the Breville smart grinder pro, which I now have my eye on. I love the Porlex, but adjusting the grind and consistently finding the same grind positions is very difficult. This is probably the most enticing this about a bench top grinder for me (hope that makes sense!) and means the smart grinder might be on the Christmas list. Are there other grinders in that price range worth considering? Thx!!
          Last edited by KizZ84; 14 November 2015, 08:26 AM.


          • #6
            You should be able to get far superior results from your EM7000 than what you ever achieved on your old machines. I have an EM4820 at work (Cafe Crema II) and can make pretty damn good coffee with it as long as I use a decent grinder and the single wall filter basket.
            So if you pair your EM7000 with a good grinder then you'll be laughing. There's 2 ways to go with the grinder:

            1) consider that you might want to upgrade in the future and buy a domestic version of a commercial unit. Something like a Compak K3 or Macap M2M can be bought for around $500-600 new or $300-400 used. A Rocky or Mazzer Mini would also be an option, but I reckon the Compak and Macap are more user friendly and better value either new or used.

            2) Buy the best small conical burr grinder you can afford. The Breville Smart Grinder Pro is probably the best of the appliance brands due to its ease of use, cleanliness and performance. They can be bought here in NZ for $200 from Harvey Norman pretty much all the time so I'm sure you'll be able to find one for a decent price. The other options in this price and performance bracket would be the Sunbeam EM0480, Iberital Challenge, Nemox Lux or Isomac Professionale. Of all these I'd just buy whichever you can get for <$200.

            Good luck and happy coffee making.


            • #7
              Thanks Leroy. My first machine was a Cafe Crema ii and I loved it, too! Proved to myself that I could pull a shot superior to 99% of the rubbish cafe coffees you get around here (outer-eastern Melbourne). The 7000 was on my wish list when it came out a year or so ago, so I think it will keep me content for quite some time.

              Anyway, I think I have sold myself on the Breville Smart Grinder Pro, so just surfing around for the best price now ;-)