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Buying second hand?

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  • Buying second hand?

    Hi all,

    So I'm ready to buy a big boy espresso machine. I've had a bunch of other toys but most recently a Sunbeam EM6910 which I killed the group head collar on from overdosing... oops! I know I could replace it but I'm also tired of having machines that have issues and are at that "appliance" level where they don't last, so I've decided to step up to an Italian made Dual Boiler or HX machine. I would buy the Lelit PL60T new (which would take me a while to save for) but a La Spaziale Vivaldi S1 (v1) has come up locally pretty cheap.

    I haven't been to look at it yet but I wanted to ask your opinion - what do I need to look out for with a second hand machine? Any obvious signs of abuse etc I know, but since it's got to be plumbed in and the seller hasn't installed it I can't easily give it a run to test it. I understand that it would be a risk buying it, but it's pretty affordable right now and would let me buy a nicer grinder (currently the good old Sunbeam) which would be a much better setup indeed. They said it had been serviced a year ago and hardly used since then (not installed) so I'm a bit worried for tubing etc sitting dormant in a garage for so long.

    I just want to know IF I can gauge how long the machine might last for me - is it age or neglect that I should be worried about? Is a 10 year old espresso machine likely to go another 5-10 years with care (not sure how old this one is yet...)? Will a second-hand machine likely cost me a lot in parts/maintenance/consumables? I'm new to the "serious" world of espresso machines, so forgive my ignorance!

    P.S. Also well aware that I will have a steep learning curve to making great coffee, considering the OD thing with the Sunbeam. I'm ready for that!

    Thanks for your help and the hours of learning I've already had from Coffee Snobs!


  • #2
    Buy second hand.

    Just got this beast (La Cimbali two group) and with some tweaking I have it humming along on 10amp power,connected to rainwater (from water tank).
    It's certainly possible and once you spot a bargain off you go,don't hesitate.Paid $60.00 for this big machine,exceptional value deals are around if carefully looking.
    Hope that encourages you somewhat,I've had to park my new addition out by the back door as it's too big for our kitchen.
    Click image for larger version

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    Last edited by mulquemi; 20 February 2016, 05:49 PM. Reason: sorry ..wrong photo!


    • #3
      Wow, nice find!


      • #4
        Yeah cool Mick - sounds like a deal alright!

        I've looked at a few commercial machines as well, but like you it would have to go outside and I'd be worried about the boiler size never really cycling all the water through..

        I'm planning to have a look at this Vivaldi today so I might end up taking it into a shop for someone to look over - probably the only way for me to really gauge it's internal health/expected lifespan.


        • #5
          Don't worry yourself about the boiler contents going sour,any instruction manual/user guide would recommend weekly emptying and refilling boilers to maintain the freshest water taste.
          Both my wife and I and occasionally a visitor or neighbour,no way possible to use even half the 11 litre (or whatever the capacity is).
          I simply securely fit a large diameter poly pipe length to the boiler water outlet and switch the heating switch off and let it flow,seems to reduce the boiler volume by about a half,done and easy.I occasionally forget and my good wife will tell me the boiling water in her tea cup smells of "iodine",prompts me to do a refresh of boiler.
          Hope that helps,any other questions,fire away.....this is close to number 10 commercial machine I've redirected into domestic duty all over town.
          Please do observe the precautions with free flowing boiling water.....won't you!
          Senior Member
          Last edited by mulquemi; 21 February 2016, 01:31 PM. Reason: grammer & precautions


          • #6
            Great find how did you get it so cheap? Its a great looking machine.