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  • which machine to buy?

    Hi

    This is my first post. My nearly 3 year old Cafe Roma has died and I need a new machine. I could just replace it with another Cafe Roma as I think I got my moneys worth out of it. However, Ive been researching and have started to think I could upgrade to something a bit better. I dont want to spend a fortune, so was thinking of the $600 range at the most. So far Im considering the Sunbeam 6910 and the Gaggia Classic.

    What concerns me is how long they are likely to last. If I spend that much Id like to get 10 years out of the machine. I know the Sunbeam has a 5 year warranty on the pump, but what about the rest of it? And Im not sure about the Gaggia - only 1 year, maybe?

    Part of me says to just get another Cafe Roma and throw it in the bin in 2 or 3 years time, and part of me wants to try something of a bit better quality. I also intend to buy the Sunbeam 480 grinder.

    Can people whove had either of these 2 coffee machines give me their opinions please.

  • #2
    Re: which machine to buy?

    Hi Judy and welcome to CS!

    Youve certainly had a good run from your Cafe Roma and either the SB or Gaggia will be a good step up. They are however very different to each other. The SB uses a thermoblock, whereby water passes through a heating element, while the Gaggia has a dual purpose boiler. The SB is probably simpler to use, while the Gaggia requires a greater degree of interaction between the machine and the user.

    In regards to your concern about longevity, well, I could pretty much guarantee that the Sunbeam will not make it to 10 years - theyre just not designed or built to last anywhere near that long. On the other hand, with regular maintenance, theres no reason why the Gaggia wont still be producing good coffee in 10 years time.

    For the grinder, the 480 will do ok, though if you can stretch your budget, a better grinder will be a worthwhile investment. Talk Coffee (Sponsor on the left) have the Ascaso i-mini on special at the moment for $300, and its a very good grinder at that price point.

    Cheers!

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    • #3
      Re: which machine to buy?

      Thanks Cuppacoffee

      When you say the Gaggia needs more interaction between the user and the machine, what do you mean? We have 3 adult children who come and go and use our coffee machine when they feel like it, so need a machine thats pretty easy to use. I dont want to have to supervise them all the time when they want a coffee.

      I am getting more interested in the Gaggias though. There are also the Baby and the Carezza which Ive read some good reviews about. Id like to try a machine with a boiler. Weve always had thermoblocks - also had a cheap Sunbeam before the Breville. I do wonder about after sales service with the Gaggias though. Do you know what thats like?

      As you can see, after many years of buying household appliances Im a little suspicious of their tendency to break down. Even if the manufacturer will fix them under warranty, youre without your machine for a while and you have to take it to them and pick it up, often on the other side of town.

      So I guess reliability as well as nice coffee is important to me if Im going to pay this kind of money.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: which machine to buy?

        hi judy

        as pointed out, the classic is the better unit, and repairable

        have just finished a boiler and seal replacement in a classic,

        Customer has owned it since early 1999

        if i was to do that in a sunbeam, it would be 3-5years old, and the repair cost would be more than a new machine

        graham

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        • #5
          Re: which machine to buy?

          Hi Graham

          Thanks for your reply.I think Im going to be getting a Gaggia then. Do you know anything about the other Gaggias - Baby, New baby, Carezza etc? Its always intersting to hear the views of people who repair machines as they have a good idea of the most robust brands to buy. Is there any other machine around this price range that youd recommend?

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          • #6
            Re: which machine to buy?

            The Gaggia would be the better machine IMO, and should outlast the Sunbeam. Having said that though, the Gaggia has an aluminium boiler, which I have heard some people have had corrosion issues with. A machine with a brass boiler would be preferable. If you can afford it (probably $200 more than the Gaggia), you may be better off going for a Rancilio Silvia, which is all brass and stainless steel construction. They often come up for sale 2nd-hand in the "Coffee Hardware For Sale" section on here within your price range.

            And regarding the grinder, Im sure everyone on here will tell you that the grinder is much more important for quality espresso than than the actual espresso machine, so youd be better off getting a better grinder than the Sunbean (which is really only barely adequate). Something like the Ascaso i-mini mentioned above would be a much better alternative.

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            • #7
              Re: which machine to buy?

              Thanks Bill

              I keep reading about how good the Rancilio Silvia is, but am concerned about a few things. One is where to buy it in Brisbane - I never see them in department stores, and I dont like the idea of buying something off the net without seeing it in real life. Also, they take a long time to heat up, I beleive.

              I read somewhere that some of the newer Gaggias have stainless steel/brass boilers. Do you know if this is correct? Also, the Breville Ikon has a stainless steel boiler and seems to get good reviews and is cheaper. If I got the Ikon I could afford to spend more on the grinder. Ive never seen the Ascaso grinder in a shop either. Once again, do you know where in Brisbane I could see one?

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              • #8
                Re: which machine to buy?

                Hi Judy
                I live in Brisbane
                If you want to see the Silvia go to Barazi in Coopers Plains

                KK

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: which machine to buy?

                  Im in Brisbane too. Yep, for the Silvia, go to Barazi (also goes by the name of The Coffee Centre). See http://www.coffeecentre.com.au/

                  (Theyre a site sponsor too)

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: which machine to buy?

                    Re the interaction bit, its entirely up to the user to determine when to stop the flow of coffee whereas the SB has the option of pre-set delivery. The Gaggia is simple to use.

                    As for corrosion issues with the Gaggia, I think youll find this is due to people adding the wrong (acidic) solution when descaling the machine. If it ever needs repair Im sure a local coffee supplier would be able to refer you to someone local. Parts are readily available.

                    Just to complicate matters, the Ikon is also a good little appliance, and though it wont have the lifespan of the Gaggia, if it enabled me to buy a better grinder, then it would be worth considering.

                    I guess the closest you can come to see/touch the Ascaso is at..

                    http://www.talkcoffee.com.au/equipment/grinder-ascaso-i-mini.php

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: which machine to buy?

                      Thanks Everyone

                      I discovered the Coffee Centre on the net while looking up places to buy the Silvia. After ringing them I was surprised to learn that the Silvia is only guaranteed for 1 year. This isnt much for an $800 machine, IMO. The Ikon is guaranteed for 2 years, I think - or is that another Breville? Anyway, I know this is the wrong section for the Ikon, so will ask questions about it in the other section.

                      Am still thinking about the Gaggias. Anyone know anything about the newer Gaggias that I think are said to have ss/brass boilers?

                      The Ascaso grinder looks good - not too big. The Rancilio Rocky Doserless looks huge. I may have to pay a visit to the Coffee Centre to have a look at all these machines. My birthday is in a week and this is going to be my present so I have to act soon.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: which machine to buy?

                        Just to confuse things Ill throw another 2 machines into the mix.   The Nemox Dell Opera and the Lelit Combi. Both machines have a built in grinder and roughly sit within your intended budget when cost of SB grinder factored in. I dont know a lot about these machines, you can find out more by doing a search on this site. Some members own them. Perhaps someone who does know a bit more about them can expand?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: which machine to buy?

                          Gday Judy,

                          Welcome to CoffeeSnobs..... [smiley=thumbsup.gif]

                          I think some of the new Gaggia models use a stainless steel boiler (or two) but Im not sure which ones they are. Older Gaggias use a tried and true Aluminium Alloy Boiler with an embedded heating element. Lots of people have been using these for many years and providing you look after them properly are well and truly capable of running sweetly for more than a decade of constant use.

                          Dont get too hung up on the fact that Silvias and other specialist espresso machines usually have a 12 month warranty. Unlike the kitchen appliance makers like Breville, Sunbeam, Delonghi and other mass producers of coffee appliances.... Rancilio, Gaggia, Nemox and other "specialist" espresso machine manufacturers design and manufacture their products with the intention that owners can expect a long and useful life from them. The 12 month warranty is nominal in that if anything is going to go wrong, it will probably happen within that period. Careless operation leading to heating element burnouts and the like are never covered by warranty though, as one would expect.

                          As others have already mentioned, the grinder is way more important than the machine or brew method employed and the use of freshly roasted, high quality coffee only ground immediately before brewing more important again. You dont need an espresso machine to enjoy great coffee you know.... So long as you satisfy the prerequisites above, you can produce wonderful coffee brews for drinkers of both black or white coffee alike using an AeroPress, a Syphon or a Presso (a purely manual espresso making device). Opting for one of these brew methods instead of an espresso machine initially, will allow you to purchase a much better quality grinder and that WILL make an enormous impact on the quality of coffee you can make. You can always save up for a decent espresso machine later on if you want to but all the above brewing methods are quite simple (still require knowledge and skill to use properly) and are probably more amenable to the casual use of your visiting offspring.

                          Anyway, some more food for thought Judy. All the best,

                          Mal.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: which machine to buy?

                            Hi Judy, I would like to back up the grinder being the most crucial element of making a good coffee.
                            Try and get the best possible grinder you can afford eg: the Asasco Mini mentioned above for $300, the Rocky doserless doesnt take up a lot of bench space, check out the grinder section for heaps of info on grinders.
                            Plenty of CSers love their Gaggias. When I upgraded from my Saeco Via Venezia to Silvia I looked at Gaggia, Sunbeam etc. I was swayed towards the Silvia from good feedback from CS Silvia owners and the longevity and build quality of the machine, all that solid brass and stainless steel.
                            Good luck with your choice of machine and grinder..................gm

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: which machine to buy?

                              Originally posted by greenman link=1222913634/0#13 date=1222939313
                              Hi Judy, I would like to back up the grinder being the most crucial element of making a good coffee.
                              Try and get the best possible grinder you can afford eg: the Asasco Mini mentioned above for $300, the Rocky doserless doesnt take up a lot of bench space, check out the grinder section for heaps of info on grinders.
                              Plenty of CSers love their Gaggias. When I upgraded from my Saeco Via Venezia to Silvia I looked at Gaggia, Sunbeam etc. I was swayed towards the Silvia from good feedback from CS Silvia owners and the longevity and build quality of the machine, all that solid brass and stainless steel.
                              Good luck with your choice of machine and grinder..................gm
                              ...and a quick reminder that we have a few Ascaso i-1 (i-home) left at $350- normally $475. With 54mm flat burrs and timed grind, they represent great value at the price.

                              Chris

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