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Aldi Lumina Signature Automatic Twin Boiler Espresso Machine - Review

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  • Aldi Lumina Signature Automatic Twin Boiler Espresso Machine - Review

    After much discussion in another thread about this machine I decided to buy one and find out first hand if its possible to get a good coffee from a $400  superauto.

    Aldi Lumina Signature Automatic Twin Boiler Espresso Machine

    The Aldi store that I went to had about 6 of these left from the "Catalogue Sale" last Thursday so I grabbed one and took it to the Snobbery to give it a workout.

    It comes in good looking, full colour retail packaging, lots of attention grabbing catchwords on the box like "dual boiler", "LCD display" and "conical grinder" along with mention of the 2 year warranty and 60 day satisfaction guarantee.

    Inside the box it was packed more than well enough with foam to protect from the shop to home.  

    Out of the box you notice that its fairly bulky and weighed-in at nearly 10KG dry.

    Im using a Silvia here to give a comparison for the size and weight.  The Silvia weighs near 12kg and Lumina is about 50% wider and little taller. In the box is the espresso machine, manual, DVD, tool and a ground coffee scoop with a cleaning brush on the handle.












  • #2
    Re: Aldi Lumina Signature Automatic Twin Boiler Espresso Machine - Review

    First impression is that it feels a little cheap. Everything is plastic including the drip tray cover and cup warmer. Doors and trays dont fit as well as they should and are sometimes a little tricky to get them into place but remember this is a $400 machine, not a multi thousand dollar one so some corners have to be cut.

    The whole machine is on a swivel base which is nice as it turns around on the spot with very little effort so you can get to the back of the machine to refill it and to the side of the machine to get at the brew head. The swivel base also means it would work fine under overhead cupboards in a small kitchen.

    The door on the side opens to allow access to the brewing group. With a simple lift and slide the whole brewing group comes out for easy cleaning. The dreg tray is located below that.

    With the brewing group removed you get easy access to the bottom basket.

    It appears that a single screw hold the screen in place and you have clear access to the screw so cleaning would be simple.

    The top shower screen is more buried in the brewing head and while you could get to it with a finger I think removing it would be trickier.











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    • #3
      Re: Aldi Lumina Signature Automatic Twin Boiler Espresso Machine - Review

      The conical grinder has alloy gears to set the grind with a simple push knob to make changes. The scale goes from 1 (finest) to 8 and the manual recommends setting it to 4.5 (the DVD says 5.5?!?!). There is the typical "cone" finger guard over the burr set so seeing them or getting at them through the hopper is tricky. However, the hopper is held on by 3 screws with silicone plugs covering them so if you were cleaning it would be easy enough to get at it.

      The 1.5 liter water tank has a door on top that you can easily pour cold water through.

      The water tank is also removable for cleaning or filling with a spring-loaded stopper on the bottom so you can get from the sink to the machine without leaving a train of water.

      The bean hopper has an easily removable lid and holds 300 grams of roasted coffee.

      This was built August 2010 in China. I bought it in August 2010 in Australia. Thats super speedy from the factory and across half a planet. There is also a local support number that is good for east coast Australia business hours.











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      • #4
        Re: Aldi Lumina Signature Automatic Twin Boiler Espresso Machine - Review

        The LCD has icons to tell you what mode its in and what the settings are.  First pic shows medium amount of coffee and temperature along with the "refill" icon to show the water level is low.

        Second pic shows large (full) amount of beans and temperature.

        Using default settings, the "small coffee" button pulled a gusher with very pale crema. It needed some tweaking from factory settings to improve the shot.

        Finest grind, highest temperature, largest dose is often the best settings for an auto so I tried that with far better results.  The shot was still too long (40ml) for the amount of coffee used.

        A quick fiddle and I had set a 20ml volume for the small coffee.  This was a big improvement over the default 40ml shot (which was pale and very over extracted).  










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        • #5
          Re: Aldi Lumina Signature Automatic Twin Boiler Espresso Machine - Review

          The first pucks in the drawer were just slop with no shape at all. After lowering the volume of water, raising the amount of coffee and using the finest grind the pucks were in much better condition.

          How does the 20ml shot compare to the Giotto? Not very well, but to be fair the Giotto is a $3000 machine and was using a $3000 grinder. The other (I have to remind myself) is a $400 machine and inbuilt grinder.







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          • #6
            Re: Aldi Lumina Signature Automatic Twin Boiler Espresso Machine - Review

            Steam?  There is plenty of steam!  Changing from coffee to steam takes about 20 seconds all up.  Once it’s in steam mode it keeps producing steam until you take it out of steam mode.  A word of warning though, the initial burst of steam is very high pressure so I suggest bleeding it off into the drip tray or a cloth before heating the milk in the jug.

            Take the silly rubber thingy off the steam wand (already gone in this picture) and toss it in the box (or bin!).  You will get far better milk without it and will be better off just using just the bare steam arm and good technique.

            The steam arm has limited movement (single plane) but if you tilt the jug to get a whirlpool you will get good milk.


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            • #7
              Re: Aldi Lumina Signature Automatic Twin Boiler Espresso Machine - Review

              Pros:
              Good steam power
              Reasonable espresso shots with tweaking to max
              LCD lets you see the settings easily.
              Good user manual, some chinglish that required reading twice but mostly ok.
              Easy to disassemble and get at parts that need cleaning.
              Great warranty (on face value, not tested)
              Well designed overall.
              Grind on demand entry for $400

              Cons:
              Near 100% plastic made it feel a little cheap.
              Coffee could be better with more control.
              Cannot set the grinder quite fine enough.
              Would like the option of shorter than 25ml shots.


              Putting it all together what do you get?

              This is a $400 automatic espresso  machine and it was never going to produce as good a coffee as a $4000 semi-auto (manual) espresso machine and grinder.  The tamping and dosing are pretty much fixed variables so I would like to see finer grind adjustment so you could “choke” the pour and work your way up the grinder adjustments to get a nice tight pour.  I would really like to see the minimum volume of 25ml for the “small coffee” short-shot become a 15ml minimum so you could do double-short-shots and get a far better 30ml coffee shot.

              Overall the Aldi Lumina Auto is a very affordable leap away from the jar of instant coffee and this is a machine that your Nanna could use after 15 minutes of tuition.

              8-)

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              • #8
                Re: Aldi Lumina Signature Automatic Twin Boiler Espresso Machine - Review

                Excellent review Andy, and an excellent way of encouraging entry level CoffeeSnobbers to the forum, and introducing them to the delights of real coffee and yours and the other sponsors wares. Not to mention that none of us appear immune to the upgradeitis virus [smiley=wink.gif]

                Graham

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                • #9
                  Re: Aldi Lumina Signature Automatic Twin Boiler Espresso Machine - Review

                  Excellent review Andy.... 8-)

                  Makes for a bloody excellent Template for all of we prospective equipment reviewers. I almost want to go out and buy one of these... Almost :

                  Mal.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Aldi Lumina Signature Automatic Twin Boiler Espresso Machine - Review

                    Thanks fellas!

                    I hope it helps any new owner of these to produce a better coffee and for those that are researching the machine before purchase, hopefully a lot more facts than what you will gleen from reading the box in the Aldi store.

                    Of course, I was also curious if you could get a drinkable coffee from a superauto machine in this low a price bracket... turns out you can!

                    I should also put it back to the factory defaults and take a picture of the nasty brew it made out of the box but as mentioned above, you can get a pretty good coffee from it with some tweeking and maybe with some internal hacking, produce even better?!?!

                    Hmmm... there might be a round two.
                    :

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                    • #11
                      Re: Aldi Lumina Signature Automatic Twin Boiler Espresso Machine - Review

                      Originally posted by 19363C21580 link=1283270347/9#9 date=1283354679
                      ...internal hacking... Hmmm... there might be a round two.
                      Go on, you know you want to and you know we want to see innards ;D

                      However, more interesting than the Aldi were the glimpses of the Snobbery in the photos - looks sensational!

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                      • #12
                        Re: Aldi Lumina Signature Automatic Twin Boiler Espresso Machine - Review

                        Originally posted by 6F404A572E0 link=1283270347/9#9 date=1283354679
                        Thanks fellas!

                        I hope it helps any new owner of these to produce a better coffee and for those that are researching the machine before purchase, hopefully a lot more facts than what you will gleen from reading the box in the Aldi store.

                        Of course, I was also curious if you could get a drinkable coffee from a superauto machine in this low a price bracket... turns out you can!

                        I should also put it back to the factory defaults and take a picture of the nasty brew it made out of the box but as mentioned above, you can get a pretty good coffee from it with some tweeking and maybe with some internal hacking, produce even better?!?!

                        Hmmm... there might be a round two.
                        :
                        As one who has also had access and worked / attempted to work on a few full Autos...

                        My concern has always been one of reliability... I know with teh Saceo for eg... Set it to fine grind and you start to get problems shortly afterwards.... If you readjust the grind adjuster and crib a few more slots... You get dammed good shots but the main tamping and delivery system splits and cracks up under pressure after a few months..

                        It is like any unit... Built to a speck / purpose and once you start tweaking to the extremes then something will give.

                        I still think its as good as some of teh more expensive units but just like the Sunbeam etc... Only Time will be teh real judge.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Aldi Lumina Signature Automatic Twin Boiler Espresso Machine - Review

                          Atropine, I also think it produces a very good cup of coffee, and like you have no experience with an automatic machine with which to compare it.
                          I agree with your critisism of the cup heater, and the confusion about the two cup procedure.
                          Im not quite sure what you mean by the design of the machine means you are using day old coffee grinds?

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                          • #14
                            Re: Aldi Lumina Signature Automatic Twin Boiler Espresso Machine - Review

                            Thanks Andy for the review. I first saw this a few weeks ago in the catty. Have been on holidays so missed the sale, tossing up on visiting a store to see if they still have any left.

                            Do you keep the machines you test or sell them on? I currently have a Breville IKON and Breville Burr Grinder. Do you think the Aldi machine is a better setup, worse or similar to my current one? Im never going to have a few thousand dollar machine so this is in my price range.

                            Do you have the approximate dimensions of the unit?

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                            • #15
                              Re: Aldi Lumina Signature Automatic Twin Boiler Espresso Machine - Review

                              Originally posted by 4F787F61626B0D0 link=1283270347/13#13 date=1283404610
                              tossing up on visiting a store to see if they still have any left.
                              Plenty left around my area.

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