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  • Silvia/Lelit or HX machine?

    Hi Guys,

    Been spending some time investigating options for replacing my automatic Saeco with a semi-auto that produces good quality coffee and stretches milk reasonably. Also need grinder, but think Im happy with the idea of the Compak T3 Touch.

    I rarely make more than 2 milk based coffees at a time, and have no problem with the idea of letting the machine warm up for 30-40 mins before use etc. Bench space is not a big issue.

    My search initially started astoss-up between the Silvia V3 (hopefully with a PID controller already added) and the Lelit PL41TEM (w PID) (and these are still an option).

    Then I managed to convince myself that I might prefer a small HX model, particularly the VBM Domobar Junior.

    Obviously, theres quite a price diff (a bit over $2200 for VBM), and from all my lurking Ive worked out that to properly de-scale a HX machine requires a fairly onerous procedure.

    Would like to buy local as long as price is vaguely sensible (Im in Canberra, and friends have been happy with their service from Cosmorex).

    I guess what Id like is some informed advice as to how whether Im likely to get noticeably superior coffee/milk from the VBM relative to say the Silvio (hopefully with PID)?
    Or am I largely paying for the speedier interchange b/w brewing/steaming and boiler capacity? I realise that the skill set of the pseudo-barista impacts all of this.
    Finally, with Canberras soft water (39), how often would the de-scaling hassle with the HX machine become an issue?

    Sorry for the barrage of questions.
    Cheers
    Mark

  • #2
    Re: Silvia/Lelit or HX machine?

    Hi Mark and welcome to coffeesnobs!

    There are definite pros and cons with each setup. Like you, I only make a couple of lattes in the morning and power up later in the day if I need to make coffees for visitors.

    A PID silvia/Lelit will remove one variable - you should get a constant temperature for pulling your shot.

    Both however are single boilers, which means that you must remember to refill the boiler after steaming your milk or you risk a burnt out element.

    A HX machine like a vibiemme (but dont forget Attilios excellent range of Diadema machines) adds other benefits.

    One is the E61 grouphead which incorporates preinfusion before the shot is pulled.

    Another is that the boiler will autofill. You will probably have to pull a cooling flush before you pull you shot to make sure that the water going into the puck isnt too hot.

    Youve already mentioned Cosmorex, I would suggest you go and meet with Attilio or his staff and have a look at the machines. One Diadema Ive always had a soft spot for is the Junior Electronica, which is a HX machine in a small footprint with volumetric dosing (ie the amount of water put through the puck is measured out).

    Attilio has them on sale at the moment.

    Cheers

    Sniff

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Silvia/Lelit or HX machine?

      Thanks Sniff.

      Sounds pretty sensible advice, and I really hadnt given a lot of thought to the preinfusion stuff. I personally probably prefer a manual rather than volumetric machine, but, thinking again, the Mrs might be give me less grief if there is one less variable at brew time. Will drop Attilio a line.

      Cheers
      Mark

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Silvia/Lelit or HX machine?

        Originally posted by 45435F41445B4746280 link=1323550296/0#0 date=1323550296
        Ive worked out that to properly de-scale a HX machine requires a fairly onerous procedure.
        Its not too bad - Ive done it twice and didnt take me that long in hindsight. Just patience and towels and some bad late-night TV You should be fitting a water filter anyway, which will prolonge the need for descaling. I even use one in Darwin where the hardness doesnt register on those little test strips.

        If youre handy you can probably fit the water filter yourself, and Bombora should be able to look at your hardness and pre-set it, as well as give you all the right fittings.

        Originally posted by 45435F41445B4746280 link=1323550296/0#0 date=1323550296
        I guess what Id like is some informed advice as to how whether Im likely to get noticeably superior coffee/milk from the VBM relative to say the Silvio (hopefully with PID)?
        I cant comment authoritatively, but I hear that the Silvia / Lelit models can, if quirks are learnt and dealt with, make a comparable coffee. There should be less quirks with a good HX. Not to mention you can steam and extract at the same time...

        Originally posted by 45435F41445B4746280 link=1323550296/2#2 date=1323571426
        I personally probably prefer a manual rather than volumetric machine, but, thinking again, the Mrs might be give me less grief if there is one less variable at brew time.
        And you can always use a volumetric machine in "manual", wherease you cant use a manual in volumetric mode!

        Hope that helps a little.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Silvia/Lelit or HX machine?

          Hi Mark,

          Having both a single boiler Lelit and a HX Giotto I think I can give you some advise on the pros and con. Im not going to list them out as Im sure you can find plenty of those but just a few noticeable issues with each.

          Firstly the Lelit is compact enough to take with you anywhere you want to go without much hassle. They are made with quality material but there really isnt much overly complex with them. It is a single 300ml boiler which means you cannot steam and pull a shot at the same time. This will mean not the best machine for entertaining. Theres plenty of steam but controllable steam since it takes double the time to steam a milk than the Giotto. The steam arm leaks a little...but nobody really cares all that much. Also priming the boiler is critical to longevity.
          With the Lelit it is really really easy to make a nice tasting espresso. It is a very forgiving machine. You will be very prone to catching Upgraditis.

          Giotto is a solid piece of equipment. 3 x the weight of the Lelit. Being a HX definitely great for steaming and pulling a shot at the same time. I find that the Giotto lets you make beautiful looking espressos. Taste wise however youll have learn your craft well. Theres much less chance of upgraditis appearing again any time soon.

          Summary, buy the Lelit if its just for yourself and the partner to make a good espresso/latte and to take with you on holidays. Buy the HX to slow down upgraditis and if you think youre going to entertain with it.

          Or do what I did and buy both! ;D

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Silvia/Lelit or HX machine?

            Check out the Perfetta as well - kind of a compromise between Silvia and going the HX, in price and performance (but as a beautiful as they come). Reduces the need for a PID and has plenty of steaming capacity for those few times you need to steam lotsa milk.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Silvia/Lelit or HX machine?

              Thanks for all the useful feedback thusfar guys. Will let you know how I go.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Silvia/Lelit or HX machine?

                Well, I went out and visited Attilio at Cosmorex and got some great advice what I consider a great deal on a Diadema Regal (Reale) 2L HX machine, and a Compak K3 Touch (with some other goodies thrown in). Took it home earlier this arvo and made a pretty decent latte (though I need to familiarise myself with the steam control a bit better...dont think I had it fully open).

                Couldnt be happier. Thanks to all and who offerred advice and Attilion and Hugh(?) at Cosmorex.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Silvia/Lelit or HX machine?


                  Congratulations and enjoy the coffee making journey!

                  Sniff

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Silvia/Lelit or HX machine?

                    Very much appreciate the kind words BOSW!

                    Enjoy your Regal.

                    Rgdz,
                    A.

                    Comment

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