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Buying Advice

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  • Buying Advice

    Hi All,

    First time poster, great forum have learnt a lot in a short time! Hoping to pick the brain of some of you experienced snobs

    First let me start off by saying I'm a novice, have been practicing on an old rancillo. Have booked myself into a few beginner courses in anticipation of upgrading my gear. Just wanted to get peoples recommendations based on below requirements, I'm leaning heavily towards a Duetto III at the moment:

    - Something thats going to get me close to a good cafe coffee (after some practice) so that I can stop driving 20 minutes and spending $10 each day on my fix I currently have a semi-auto machine that was supposed to be the morning coffee making but it rarely gets used, just does not cut it.

    - Something that could handle churning out 4/5 coffees without me being away from guests for 20+ minutes

    - Budget of 4-5k inc grinder/accessories - I'm a bit lost on the grinders to be honest have seen they can range in price by quite a bit!

    - Finally, I plan on keeping the machine in my alfresco kitchen thats under the patio. I will cover it when not in use, hoping this isn't a issue? Would hate to buy a new shiney machine only to ruin it after a few weeks because it's kept outdoors?

    Apologies for the long

  • #2
    Hi Evro50,
    I to am a new comer to this site, with a similar story. I have a Silvia that I build and installed a PID for as well as insulated the boiler. This made it a lot easier to use instead of temperature surfing all the time and using a heap of water. But as you said, it is a 10 minute exercise to make a Latia.
    I can only comment on my personal experience of late. I was lucky enough to have picked a very cheap Bezzera BZ40 machine, it is similar to the BZ35 but is a commercial grade coffee machine. I could not believe how easy it was to make a shot with this machine after working with the Silvia. Even my first attempts were on par with the better average shots from the Silvia. The Silvia can produce great coffee, but you really have to do your bit, it can very unforgiving.
    This machine is also plumbed in, what a joy to use. No more filling the tank or emptying the tray. 15-20 minutes from a cold start for your first cup, a push button control panel and steam to burn.
    I looked earlier and saw the BZ35 it's junior on ebay at the moment second hand from $650-1600. The machine that have is a $3600 ( new price ) machine and runs off 15 amps, an over kill but does not leave me wanting.
    If you buy second hand and you do not know the history behind it, be prepared to do some work on it. Mine came from a working cafe before it was left in a back shed as a back up machine for a year. The hand fulls of muck that came out of boiler was mind blowing. But that is one thing about these types of machines, even after all the abuse I brought it home and it fired up and worked O.k. They are very easy machines to work on if you have good hands, but like always do not work on them unless they are unplugged. Take lots of photos and use the right tools. Parts are are easy to get as well
    Also get a good grinder, you hear it all the time. But I have a cheap one, and I can see the limits with it now that I am starting to know what I am doing. You need the fine adjustments to get it right, and the cheaper grinders do not seem to grind as evenly either.
    There are alot of fancy machines out there, so buy the best you can afford that suits your needs. If you look after them they will serve you for many years to come, so hopefully you will not have to buy again at least because it isn't up to the task.
    Just my two cents, for what it's worth. Good luck, and shop around. The sponsors on this site would be a good place to start if you want new.


    • #3
      Thanks for the reply Did a lot of reading of older threads on here and other forums after the silent treatment in this thread!

      Sourced a Vesuvius from Talk Coffee a few weeks back, paired with a [painted] Kony E & reverse osmosis with remin thanks to the crappy water over here. Needless to say I have been on a permanent caffeine high since it's arrived thanks to the quest of trailing different pressure profiles!

      Only issue I can see is servicing the machine considering no one in Perth stocks them at the moment, have spoken with a few local stores and always get a blank face when I tell them what machine I have. Oh well, cross that bridge when it comes!


      • #4
        Hi Evro50
        Good to see you have found a great looking and very capable machine.
        It looks and sounds like this one is in a whole league of it's own, but you better pace yourself as I can see a caffeine over load into the horizon otherwise. Tho some once said you can not have to much of a good thing.
        I do not know enough about water treatment setups for the coffee machines, just what I have read. But I have heard that the coffee water needs to have some minerals in it, you have not found that the reverse osmosis takes to much out of the water to affect the taste noticeably?
        We are luckier here in Brisbane, as I just checked the hardness in my area. It is in the 100-120ppm which is on the lower end of the scale, and I can get away with using a mild water softening filter. But they do a more industrial version as well for harder areas as well.
        After seeing what I got out of my machine, which had been serviced by some one during it's cafe life. I am very skeptical about taking it to anyone to service, other than it having a electrical break down. It looks to me that there are some that will do just the basic clean etc, and not go the full hog. I am up to day 6 I think with the descale that I am doing on my machine. The heat exchanger has still got scale in it, and I keep changing the acid once or twice a day. so I suggest do your research and do the main cleaning and servicing yourself, that way you know that it is done right. With a machine like you have I would.
        Now that I have pulled my apart and seen how it all operates, I am pretty confident that I can handle most things that would come up with this machine, so get familiar with it. Those blank face looks do not instil in me any confidence.
        All the best and enjoy!


        • #5
          thanks for the comments, the RO system I have is the Aqualife Aquacafe - designed for coffee machines specifically, has the remineralisation stage