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what are my options. need an espresso machine, just espresso

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  • what are my options. need an espresso machine, just espresso

    I have been around for a while (and into coffee for much longer) just not posted much.

    Right now I am looking to downsize from a somewhat unnecessary commercial machine to something more petite and purely for espresso (and variants such as ristretto).

    I know of a few options, but there are bound to be a few I have missed.


    So, what is out there (preferably WITHOUT steam wand)? Something with low thermal mass and built in heating would be my first choice, but I am considering all options. Time to heat up is an issue with my current setup.
    Doesn't need to travel.

    Post here, PM me, whatever.

  • #2
    The rancillio silvia sounds pretty good for you. It does have a steam wand, but I think most machines will have a steam wand. Similarly any other single boiler would be a good fit, such as the Diadema Perfetta (my machine) or Isomac Zaffiro, both of which have commercial E61 group heads. I think it's a good idea to have the steam wand, in case you ever want to make coffee for anyone else, or want a hot chocolate, or a piccolo, or a macchiato etc.

    Are you able to visit a sponsor to get their advice? Also nice to get some hands on experience with the machine before you purchase.

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    • #3
      As you don't want a steam wand, and haven't ruled out a machine without built in heating, the Baachi Espresso might be worth thinking about (only if you have a gas stove). Makes great espresso, within 5-7 minutes of deciding that you want one. Not for everybody, but might be worth a look.

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      • #4
        Thanks for the responses.

        Reading them I realise a bit more information is in order as I have not really narrowed down my requirements much. Sorry about that.


        My current machine is an 11 litre two group that takes quite a while to get to temperature and I find that getting great espresso, while possible, is made harder because it is a dual purpose appliance.

        Most espresso machines are designed to make espresso AND steam milk. These two requirements conflict and the solutions either involve complexity I don't need, or make it harder to achieve my main goal which is making good espresso.
        In the last couple years I have made three milk coffees and around two thousand espressos. Clearly steaming milk is not high on my priorities and that is one reason I plan on downsizing.


        Stove top heating is an option, but temperature control is awkward and I don't know of any stove top devices that make 'true' espresso.

        I am currently leaning towards a used Caravel. an ES-2 is also an outside possibility, but I don't know anywhere I can try one. Portaspresso perhaps. Also Airspresso or Rossa Air Espresso (not really true espresso and the airspresso is a bit fiddly).

        I seem to have an inclination towards the truly simple devices without pump or pressure boilers.


        So what other machines have I missed? I know most people want milk, so most machines are made with that in mind, but there have to be other weirdos like me or they wouldn't have made the machines I am already considering.

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        • #5
          Cadan has a La Peppina lever for sale. Very simple in design and apparently makes great espresso. No steam wand which counts me out.

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          • #6
            Perhaps you may find something like the La Pavoni lever or a Ponte Vecchio to your liking as these machines extract espresso without pump noise fanfare.

            A properly extracted espresso from a lever can be heavenly and therapeutic in more ways than one.

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            • #7
              VBM Domobar Piccolo with Scace calibration (or PID and SSR) = deadly shot machine.

              We can do either.

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              • #8
                If you are seriously into your shots , and have the budget, then a lever m/c must be on the shortlist !
                Izzo, Bosco, L1, etc etc would no doubt satisfy your taste, ..but would hurt your pocket too.
                PS:-- It would help to know you budget in order to make realistic suggestions. !

                Comment


                • #9
                  The OP has posted in the $500-1500 bracket, hence our suggestions.

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                  • #10
                    Considering that you have a commercial machine; I assume you already have grinder and tamp.

                    On a very small budget get a Gaggia Classic. It should be good for you for 5+ year before aluminium corrosion issues.
                    Otherwise a Rancillio Silvia would be a good choice.

                    If you wanted to change everything a Lelit Combi is pretty good size with build in grinder. Fairly small footprint and 3-5min with flushing to heat up. But you will need a 57mm tamper.

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                    • #11
                      I'd also suggest a La Pavoni lever. Love mine. It can do milk but it's really an afterthought.

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                      • #12
                        +1 on the VBM Piccolo for shots. E61 group head, single boiler, 30min heat up with a tea towel over the group head all makes shots pretty easy.
                        It can do milk drinks but definitely isn't its strong suit.
                        Very happy with mine.

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                        • #13
                          I like my Isomac Zaffiro, it's a Single Boiler E-61 machine, it has steaming capability same as other single boilers but you can just ignore that switch It is a really consistent performer for espresso, also has a little more flexibility than most SB machines as it has an adjustable thermostat, and also has a larger boiler than most other single boiler machines which makes for better intra-shot temperature stability.

                          If you like levers though it's going to be hard to go past one of the little La Pavoni levers.

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                          • #14
                            Are you looking for Romance too? I had a great 'relationship' with my La Pavoni Euro. It *could* steam milk, but I rarely needed to. It also fits the bill at being able to come up to temp pretty fast (especially in comparison to your 2 group).

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