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Upgrade step from basic machine?

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  • Upgrade step from basic machine?

    I am a coffee lover, and have a $350 Spidem Sovrana (essentially a cheaper version of the Saeco Via Venezia, Spidem are made by Saeco, apparently. Works fine, but is not cafe-quality coffee. Doesnt actually come that close. Frothing is a pain.

    I did look around recently at prosumer/semi-commercial machines, but the price seems to be $2000 and upwards - more than I want to spend. Also, I was put off by the long wait time. I want to turn a machine on and have it ready in 5-10 mins.

    So Ive settled on a budget of $1000 - $1200 price range.
    What should I be looking for?
    What is the best machine in that price range?

    Im also considering a decent grinder, that seems to be important too.

  • #2
    Re: Upgrade step from basic machine?

    I have a Silvia/Mazzer combo.

    I managed to pick up a second-hand Mazzer (ex-cafe) for $225, using the Trading Post. I was very lucky in getting such a great deal. The Mazzer is a truly spectacular grinder. You can easily change grind setting b/w Espresso and Plunger without an "adaptation" period that I hear happens with other grinders. The grinder responds to change immediately without any wastage of coffee. It is also extremely quick, I can grind a double-shot within seconds.

    I strongly recommend the Mazzer, if you can get a good deal. The Silvia is a brilliant machine, without any upper limit to espresso quality. The only variable is your skill level, which will improve over time.


    • #3
      Re: Upgrade step from basic machine?

      Avi. You hear of people like yourself picking up second hand Mazzers and whilst a few people might stick their noses up about it, the whole thing comes down to the fact that these machines are classified as one of the very very best grinders you can get and regardless of where it came from you are going to be assured that you will be able to pick up spare parts and the quality is always going to be there. and $250 what a bargain. Valar is right that the bargans are hard to find but if you look hard enough they are certainly there to be found.

      David R ...... Enough looking, you have discovered one of the major limitations with Dual units and homey style machines, time to lay down the dollars and invest, invest in Caffein Eutopia for many years to come. $2000.00 is a heck of a lot of money, Thomas Cho picked up an incredbly good machine recently for about $1800 less that what it sells for new. Buying new might not always be the best sollution. If you can get a hold a second hand unit and spend a couple of hundred on it you will get what you want. Remember espresso machines are primarily based on the following Low flow high pressure Pump, Pressurised H/W tank, Ellement, Sollenoids, Valves/Taps and a couple of switches, every thing can be basically given a good clean and those that can t, you can still have a go. Our Twin group Boema is a prime example of this and so too is Toms La Valentina machine (Very Nice)

      Buying new doesnt always have its rewards, doing one up lets you know your machines workings and you know more of its personality than just general consumer.(no digs at any one)

      Look around, the rewards are certainly there.



      • #4
        Re: Upgrade step from basic machine?

        Thanks all.

        I took the plunge last weekend and bought an ECM Botticelli and a Isomac Granmachinato (?) grinder. $1400 for the two. The store (Rio Coffee, Adelaide) had various machines in the $500 - $2600 price range on demo. The ECM Ghiotta ($2600) was great, basically a commercial machine in a small body, but I couldnt justify that much. Coffee from the Botticelli was basically the same.

        As the guy who demod them said (he was a trained barista) there WILL be differences but youll be hard-pressed to pick them. It mainly comes down to ease of use (eg. being able to brew/steam/water at the same time) and ultimately getting 100% close to commercial machine coffee vs 98% close.

        I spend all of Saturday and used 1/2kg beans getting the grind right. Too much coffee...I was edgy all weekend.

        But I am pleased with my results. Coffee is WAY better than my old machine, and basically is on a par with my favorite coffee shop (Cibo, Burnside Village).