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Is it worth buying a premium machine?

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  • Is it worth buying a premium machine?

    Hello all,
    After 15 years of loyal service and repairs I have decided to put my Baby Gaggia to rest.
    The dilemma I now face is do I buy the Breville BES900 that has had so many great reviews, or do I pay the premium to upgrade to an imported machine?
    How much better will the coffee be?
    Is it important to have a twin boiler or not.
    Can anyone offer any guidance , my budget would max out at low to mid $2k



  • #2
    Re: Is it worth buying a premium machine?

    Hi drx,

    Im no expert, but Ive been through a similar decision process myself. Here are my thoughts:

    - At low to mid $2K, you have a whole heap of options open to you - email and Im sure youll get a full run down of all the heat exchanger (Hx) and even double boiler machines that your budget will get you
    - Ive just purchased a Hx (Diadema Junior Semi-auto) for a few $100 more than the Breville
    - I chose to pay the premium because I have more confidence on the longevity of these imported machines
    - I also prefer not having as many electronics in the machine (though the semi-auto Ive got does have a bit)
    - I much prefer the look
    - I do not think the coffee will be any/significantly better in the cup all other things being equal
    - Double boiler and Hx both can brew and steam at the same time. Theres some added benefits to double boiler with easily adjustable temperature control , but Im not up on that, so hopefully someone else can elaborate on that. For me, double boilers and Hx effectively function the same for my purposes (and a definite step up from single boilers)

    Theres been some healthy debate about this (Breville vs others) in previous threads. You might find this one helpful:

    Hope this helps a little.


    • #3
      Re: Is it worth buying a premium machine?

      Originally posted by 62747E060 link=1340789385/0#0 date=1340789385
      The dilemma I now face is do I buy the Breville BES900 that has had so many great reviews, or do I pay the premium to upgrade to an imported machine?

      Keep in mind... the BES900 also happens to be imported... from the Peoples Republic of China


      • #4
        Re: Is it worth buying a premium machine?

        Hey drx, and welcome!
        Yes I definitely think a premium Italian machine is worth it over the breville. The breville is good bang for buck, but it is constructed to a price point, and I reckon longevity is the killer. If youre comin from the gaggia that has lasted you 15 years, I doubt youd get anything similar from the breville.

        If you wanted to spend low $1K including grinder, you wouldnt have much option except the breville (unless you went 2nd hand, which I did, and am loving it)
        But your budget is $2-$2.5K, and you can get a great machine and grinder package for that from some of the sponsors at the moment - and an even better machine if youve already got a good grinder

        Do it - go prosumer!


        • #5
          Re: Is it worth buying a premium machine?

          drx, as you are new to the site, you may want to spend a few hours reading some of the many threads ( + other sites) comparing HX to DB machines and specifically the Breville vs "prosumer" options. There has been much debate and its better for you to get a broad feel for the situation rather than some of us with personal opinions.
          You seem to have a budget that will give you a lot of options, especially if you are prepared to consider one of the near new "pre loved" machines that seem to come up frequently in the sales section.


          • #6
            Re: Is it worth buying a premium machine?

            Hi drx

            Im a newbie here and just went through the same purchasing dilemma as you.  I recently did a latte art learning session and wanted to upgrade my push button automatic (serviceable coffee but convenient) so I could practice my rosettas at home and enjoy better coffees.

            I have access to a rocket Giotto at work which is a great machine but was a bit out of my budget (especially as I needed to allow for a grinder - another round of decision making angst!)

            I think I read just about every article on the breville and was initially drawn in this direction but ended up buying an ex demo izzo vivi from Chris at talk coffee. (thanks to Chris for excellent service and patience with my decision making)

            I decided that I wanted a machine that would last a long time, was serviceable by people in the industry who are passionate about their product and of course, something that looked good on the kitchen bench.  Ive not used the breville but understand it is very good value.  However in my opinion the Italian machines sold by the site sponsors are in a completely different class.

            I pick up the machine tomorrow, so looking forward to a caffeine filled weekend.

            Good luck with your Purchase and I can highly recommend talking to someone like Chris to provide some guidance


            • #7
              Re: Is it worth buying a premium machine?

              Hi drx & welcome. After 15 years of coffee it would seem you are passionate for a fine brew/shot. My suggestion would be to opt for the "premium machine" Italian or Spanish. It will be with you for many years if treated correctly. DB or HX is another debate altogether and best left for another thread. With a euro machine the only real need to repalce it will be because you have caught the dreaded CS affliction of "upgraditis".



              • #8
                Re: Is it worth buying a premium machine?

                As per other posts I think a good quality heat exchange machine would be well worth it (I purchased a VBM Jnr 6 months ago after 11 years with a Saeco Via Venizia and couldnt be happier with it).

                Just remember to budget for a really good grinder ($450+) if you dont have one already. You wont get the best from an upgrade otherwise.


                • #9
                  Re: Is it worth buying a premium machine?

                  I started with cheaper machines - mainly to ensure that I would want to continue on the coffee journey. I had a cheap sunbeam moved to the 6910 (sunbeam) now I have a Musica and I have not regretted the upgrade. I have made good coffee on the sunbeams but I have made exceptional coffee on the Musica. All of the HX and Dual Boilers will be capable to making great coffee. Go and have a look and see what suita you and what you are looking for. As you are in Melbourne you have quite a few site sponsors in the area and you will find them more than helpful. I have purchased from a couple and even with the distance they have been a great assistance. Good luck


                  • #10
                    Hi drx.
                    I too am a newbie and stuck in limbo on this decision. I've been gathering so much valuable information from CS (A HUGE Thanks to u all) but in some ways I'm sufferring from information overload. I live in Northern NSW, which means I don't have access to stores that stock the finer Italian machines. My only options are HN's and GoodishGuys, which obviously fly the Breville flag. I've taken the advice from benandfaith and sent the SiteSponsors an email.
                    I'm leaning toward a Rocket Giotto plus V2. But I'm not sure if it's the best fit. the YouTube videos I've seen on the rocket have made my mouth water. I hope to find the answer soon. I know this doesn't really help you at all. But I could totally relate to your situation and decided this was a good opportunity to start posting on a thread. In other words...I feel your pain drx. I'll be sure to post any valuable advise i receive. And I will hopefully be posting smiley faces due to the decision I FINALLY make.

                    Lennox Head


                    • #11
                      drx - welcome!

                      I have what would be called a "premium" machine - an Expobar Minore III. I upgraded from an NS Oscar and a Silvia (with PID). I didn't actually *intend* to buy the Minore, the opportunity arose (thanks Greg!) and I couldn't say no.

                      Does the Minore make *better* coffee than the other machines? Not exactly. It is far, far easier to use though and I can bang out back to back coffees till the cows come home. The one thing I actually like very much about this machine - compared to the BES900 (which I think is excellent - from my very limited playing with it at Beanology last year) - is that it is built solidly and is simple to repair/tinker. It has an e61 group for example - which means it is a bunch of seals and springs and can be disassembled and repaired trivially.

                      It might be just me, but part of my "decision matrix" would be repairs/maintenance. When you go visit the relevant site sponsors to play with the machine you're looking at before you buy - ask about that too. Even a browse over coffeeparts and looking through the "standard" componentry would inform you of what is a standard looking widget. Looking inside the machine can really inform you about how hard it will be to keep it going.

                      So I don't think you'll find a spectacular improvement in the coffee per se. What you'll find is that you make far fewer duff shots with the better machine. At least I do!



                      • #12
                        To answer my own question YES!!

                        I am now the owner of a VBM Domobar Junior from Talk Coffee.
                        I knew that I would not be content having the Breville sitting on my bench, so off I went to Chris where he showed me a number of machines that suited my requirements. I tossed up between the Rocket and VBM but as bench space was at a premium the smaller machine won out.
                        Thanks to Chris's instruction on how to pull a shot , I have not had a bad coffee since purchase.Much better than my trusty Gaggia ever did.
                        We love looking at the machine , looking at the way the coffee runs down the spout , thick and golden and of course, the coffee.

                        Glad I went Italian and not Chinese.



                        • #13
                          Congratulations DRX, have been watching this thread with interest, wondering which way you would jump.
                          For what it's worth IMHO you made a wise choice.


                          • #14
                            Enjoy the journey - you have taken the first step into Coffee Snobbery


                            • #15
                              Perfect choice, I still love mine years down the track. Look super slick so no grief from the other half