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  • Bought a Diadema Perfetta

    Another thread from a first time espresso machine buyer...

    I've been wanting to get a half-decent espresso machine for a while but never wanted to settle for a cheap Brevelle etc. (especially after trying a few at friends places). I've always appreciated the art of a good coffee and want to learn what it takes to knock out a well balanced shot myself. Up until now I've been living with a Sunbeam EM0480 grinder and french press (and unsuccessful attempts at using a stove-top peculator), but it doesn't satisfy my daily cravings for a long macchiato. From my reading around here and the Home-Barista site, I understand the Sunbeam is barely adequate for espresso and will likely need replacing, however I'll live with it for the time being. I've suffered a bit of scope creep while researching different options for a new or 2nd hand machine so I'm writing up this thread for some advice to bring me back down to ground.

    Proposed usage of the espresso machine is about 2x coffees each day (more on weekends) - 1x macchiato, 1x cappuccino/mocha, with additional milk used for a couple of babyccinos. We rarely entertain so I was originally thinking a single boiler would be sufficient, however an entry level volumetric heat-exchanger machine would be easier for my wife to use. Overall I would like a machine that is somewhat forgiving of poor technique, such that I won't be too frustrated while learning what it takes to extract a consistently decent shot and hopefully my wife will actually use it.


    Current Shortlist with pros/cons:

    new Lelit PL41TEMD (or Rancillo Silva with PID)
    ~ $800
    + under budget, allows for quicker grinder upgrade
    + new warranty, local JetBlack agent for servicing and initial home barista training
    - small boiler suggests lots of refilling and time between brew & steam
    ? PID control means no cooling flushes or tempsurfing, easy to use for my wife?

    2nd hand 2009 Diadema Perfetta (CS Market Square)
    ~ $850
    + under budget, allows for quicker grinder upgrade
    - no warranty, but better quality machine should last a while
    + E61 group head and 750ml boiler should have enough thermal mass for temp stability and consistent shots
    + E61 group head is apparently more forgiving of bad technique
    ? larger boiler and thermal mass suggest long heat-up / cool down time between brew and steam
    ? no PID control, but higher tier machine should have a decent thermostat

    new Nuova Simonelli Oscar
    ~ $1250
    - over budget
    + new warranty, local JetBlack agent for servicing and initial home barista training
    + HX machine allows for simultaneous brew & steam
    ? HX machine requires cooling flushes and tempsurfing, more difficult for my wife to use

    2nd hand Bezzera BZ02 / BZ07 volumetric
    ~ $1000 / $1300
    - on/over budget (no room for a new grinder)
    - no warranty but machines may be refurbed
    + HX machine allows for simultaneous brew & steam
    + volumetric is user friendly for my wife
    ? Bezzera group head is apparently almost as good as E61 but a little less forgiving
    ? do the higher end Bezzera HX machines require cooling flushes


    At the moment I am leaning towards the 2nd hand Diadema Perfetta, hopefully I can check it out in the flesh over the weekend. On the other hand a HX machine would be handy, but I'm not sure it's worth the extra $$ for the limited times we will actually need to brew/steam back to back.

    Any critique or advice is much appreciated.

  • #2
    I guess new vs used comes down to whether you don't mind opening up the machine yourself if something needs replacing. It's not that hard to repair the more high end machines, since they're built like tanks.

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    • #3
      I would not put too much emphasis on a volumetric function , most users soon figure out how to cut a shot.
      so open up your options, for $1k there is a lot of choice of "pre loved" quality E61, HX m/c's like the Bezzera's without the volumetric option.

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      • #4
        Grab Rick's Diadema. It's had the full shebang and is ready for a long new life.

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        • #5
          My 2c:

          Given how much you say you will use it I think your best bet would be the silva with PID and a decent grinder. Even without the PID the Silva is easy to get good coffees from, especially if your getting a barista course with it to show you the basic workflow. None of the machines you listed aren't gonna work real well with the EM0480. Your in-cup result will be much better with a better grinder and any of the listed machines. Get the Silvia and a Rocky or a K3 grinder and you'll be a happy camper for a few years till you get the inevitable upgraditis.

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          • #6
            Tough to beat the re-con Diadema Junior if you are in Melbourne.

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            • #7
              Road trip or sweet talk into shipping: http://coffeesnobs.com.au/coffee-har...r-roaster.html


              Java "The whole shooting match!" phile
              Toys! I must have new toys!!!

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              • #8
                That's a sweet deal... If only I haven't bought all my gears already

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                • #9
                  Thanks for the replies and advice.

                  I went down to Bezzera a Coopers Plains earlier today to have a look at the BZ02 (BZ07 has been sold). The salesman made a decent cup after a short warm-up and plenty of flushing, although a little on the bitter side. Manual should be easy enough for my wife to handle. From an aesthetic perspective they are very "small office" looking compared to the retro styling of the newer BZ10 and Diadema Perfetta.


                  Thanks for the links to other FS items. Rick's K6 grinder looks like a good buy to replace the EM0480, I'll have to convince a mate down in Melbourne to do the legwork to buy and post it though. As for the Isomac Zaffiro machine & Eureka grinder, while I do have relatives in south-west WA, it's still a bit too far for a road-trip (especially with small kids).

                  How does the Diadema Junior PUL compare to the Bezzera BZ02 for consistency and forgiveness of bad technique? Rick's Junior is a bit pricier than the BZ02 and there is the added hassle of getting it up here. Does the solenoid type E61 group head have pre-infusion (I assume the Bezzera group head doesn't)?

                  On the other hand, as mentasm mentioned, if a single boiler workflow is not going to be too much of a hassle for the small number of coffees we make I might be best trying to get the 2nd hand Diadema Perfetta and 2nd hand grinder all within budget.

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                  • #10
                    There's also the Baratza Preciso grinder at $330 from 5senses. I use it with my Oscar with great results.

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                    • #11
                      Hi Fredhoon,
                      Don't discount the Oscar as over your budget.
                      we have some great CS specials on them at the moment if you want to get in contact
                      Cheers
                      Antony

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                      • #12
                        This afternoon I picked up a Diadema Perfetta from ccrcole at a good price. After a bit of fiddling around (I have no idea what I am doing), I managed to get a passable shot out of it with some stale supermarket beans and the sunbeam grinder. I figure that starting off with a single boiler machine now will hopefully give me a cheaper / incremental upgrade path rather than getting a mid-range HX straight off the bat.

                        The next piece of the puzzle is organising a mate in Melbourne to pick up Rick Bond's Wega re-branded K6 grinder. After I've had a bit of a play with this I'll book in for a Dibella "Get the most out of your machine" lesson, get some fresh beans (for a change) and then start practising.


                        Thanks again for all your help and advice.
                        Attached Files

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                        • #13
                          Hi Fredhoon,

                          Congrats on the new purchase. From all reports the 'Perfetta' is an excellent machine and should serve you very well. If for some reason the Wega grinder doesn't work out, looks like a Mazzer SJ has just been listed in the for sale section if you don't mind a drive down the coast (great weather for it too!). I did the DiBella course when I first got my Silvia and found it to be very helpful. With a better quality grinder than you've got, and some freshly roasted quality beans you may never go out for coffee again!

                          Paul

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                          • #14
                            Good choice Fredhoon.
                            I've had a Perefetta for almost 4 years and have been very happy with it. Just be prepared to spend a lot of time altering your grind and tamping before you are able to pull the perfect shot. That being said, once you find the sweet spot, there's no looking back!

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by matt_b View Post
                              Good choice Fredhoon.
                              I've had a Perefetta for almost 4 years and have been very happy with it. Just be prepared to spend a lot of time altering your grind and tamping before you are able to pull the perfect shot. That being said, once you find the sweet spot, there's no looking back!
                              Glad to see it's not just my gross incompetence leading to constant stuffing around with the grind and tamp! On the few occasions I have drawn a decent shot, I try again the next day and have to re-start the iterative process.


                              I'm chewing through beans at a much higher rate than expected, although I have found a good source of fresh beans from the inconspicuous coffee shop across the road from work (Tucker Box) where the barista does a few days part time with a roaster.I am yet to get a better grinder and do the Dibella course (been busy with work and then holidays) so I'm not too worried about my inconsistency just yet. I've also got to get a few accessories to complete the package - naked portafiller, knock box, measured shot glass, espresso cups, milk temp thing and a tiny milk jug.

                              Would it be worthwhile to get the machine serviced / calibration checked before I do a course or is this unnecessary?


                              Anyway I'm loving the machine so far (when I have time to get he shot right), but I'm kind of second guessing my decision to go single boiler instead of HX (to the extent that I am drinking espresso at home instead of Macchiato).

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