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  • Please spend my money!

    Hi all

    I think I have discovered this forum in the nick of time as I am about to upgrade my espresso machine and grinder. My enthusiasm is high but skills and experience less so. Your opinions on equipment selection would be a great help

    Budget $3500

    Usage. Espresso and flat whites. Generally light use but will have occasional demand of up to 20 shots per session, 40 per day. Equipment will be moved often

    General expectations and assumptions. Single group head, rotary pump, dual boiler, water tank. Grinder needs to be at least the equal of the brew system. Both need to be solid and reliable and not too quirky to use. Don't care what brand name. Do care if it makes great coffee!

    Current system. 3 y.o. Breville BES860. Has an integrated grinder. It's okay I guess but I'm ready for a step up in both grind and brew. Especially grind. Grind quality has worsened. Decided to take the law into my own hands, open the case and try to tighten up the grinder. Succeeded but noticed build is quite plasticky on the inside

    Location. Sydney inner west

    I hope this info is enough to help you point me in the right direction and I look forward to hearing back

    Cheers!

  • #2
    Ah, you don't as for much!

    My best suggestion is that you visit a Sponsor close by in Sydney - there are a few, just go for a flick through the Sponsor's area on the front page, or do a search with Sydney Sponsor in the CS search area - and go have a play! Even Non- Sydney Sponsors wil freight machinery to you, so if you know what you want, contact all Sponsors and give them the opportunity to get your business. As soon as I got into the serious side of things, all my coffee machinery has been freighted because I have my preferred Sponsors who have looked after me.

    The problem is that everyone's got their favouritest, but it may not be your favourite, if you know what I mean! $3.5k should get you a good machine and grinder and, at that price point, they will be reliable.

    The good thing about buying from a Sponsor is they will look after you with after sales service and, quite often, if you mention you're a Snobber, will throw a few extras in, or give you a better price.

    I have a Nuova Simonelli Musica and Macap M4D Grinder (just upgraded the grinder this week from a Macap M4) and love them both to bits.

    Cheers
    Di

    Comment


    • #3
      With your current brief from your post the only machines that come to mind are the Izzo Alex Duetto and possibly an Expobar Minore and the upcoming Rocket R58. However with your budget there won't be much money left over for a grinder - these machines vary from $3000-$4000 alone without a grinder. If you are willing to consider a heat exchanger as opposed to a dual boiler then it opens up a HEAP more machine options. With your usage requirements I would lean towards the Izzo HOWEVER you also say it might need to be moved a lot and the IZZO weighs a TON so not very portable. Grinders are easy I would recommend either Mazzer Mini, Compak K3 or Macap M4D. Basically there are too many pros and cons of all machines that's why it's good to have a list of requirements (as u already have) and have a chat with a local site sponsor. I would recommend Di Bartoli or Jetblack Espresso in Sydney.

      Comment


      • #4
        Thanks guys!

        Originally posted by bennett View Post
        With your current brief from your post the only machines that come to mind are the Izzo Alex Duetto and possibly an Expobar Minore and the upcoming Rocket R58. However with your budget there won't be much money left over for a grinder - these machines vary from $3000-$4000 alone without a grinder. If you are willing to consider a heat exchanger as opposed to a dual boiler then it opens up a HEAP more machine options. With your usage requirements I would lean towards the Izzo HOWEVER you also say it might need to be moved a lot and the IZZO weighs a TON so not very portable. Grinders are easy I would recommend either Mazzer Mini, Compak K3 or Macap M4D. Basically there are too many pros and cons of all machines that's why it's good to have a list of requirements (as u already have) and have a chat with a local site sponsor. I would recommend Di Bartoli or Jetblack Espresso in Sydney.
        Wow this is great. I've got some answers already! I think the suggestions to talk with a good supplier is spot on so I will do this ASAP

        I've thought of another consideration, which is speed to heat up. I need to be able to get it running well ideally within 10 mins of start up. Don't know but maybe this favors HX machines which might also be cheaper. That means I have money for a better grinder too!

        I do like the idea of a rotary pump over vibrating pump. Is the quality difference in the coffee noticeable?

        Thanks

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by trickydicky2 View Post

          I've thought of another consideration, which is speed to heat up. I need to be able to get it running well ideally within 10 mins of start up.
          I think you'll be pushing it with a 10 minute start up. The machine may well be up to pressure by then, but if you can wait a little longer you'll get better, more consistent results.

          Comment


          • #6
            Hardly noticeable; it really depends on the skill of the guy making it, along with quality of beans & grinder.

            Main difference is the rotary pump is quieter, and will give you the option of plumbing it into the mains.

            Bennett posted some good points about portability and budget for grinder. Something to also think about is the ability to steam milk - which may be important if churning out 20 coffees in a session. I cant comment on the other machines (eg Expobar or Rocket's dual boliers), but the Duetto steams very fast. The disadvantage is that it's got a small water tank and weighs like a ton of bricks (30 or so kilos).

            You might also want a relatively faster grinder. My mazzer mini takes about 27 seconds to grind enough beans for a double basket. One way to overcome this is to grind in advance and fill up the doser.

            Comment


            • #7
              Can I ask... Why do you say you need a dual boiler? A well set up HX will be just as temperature stable as a DB, and (as I've heard some report) some HXs even more stable. The advantage of a DB is the ability to accurately, repeatablely and measurably with the brew temp.
              The rotary ECM technika can be had for sub $3k (I think - but contact a sponsor to be sure), leaving enough room in the budget for a mini, K3 or MD4, or a good 2nd hand super jolly. I think for my money that's what I'd do (rotary technika + 2nd hand SJ)

              Comment


              • #8
                Welcome trickydicky,

                I agree with Di. There are excellent CS sponsors in Sydney: Jetbalck, Di Bartoli and Coffeeparts.

                My call is that a rotary pump will only offer silence and the ability to plumb in. I would advise against economising on a grinder solely for a rotary pump as it's extremely unlikely that a rotary pump will add anything to the cup.

                Best bet is to visit some sponsors and view and sample the machines so that you can ensure that you purchase the right machine for you. A discussion of your short-list of machine features will help you lock down to the right machine for you.

                One thought- unless you're very consistent in your shots and primarily espresso/lungo based, you will see little advantage from a dual boiler machine.

                Hopefully, this gives you a few things to think about as you work through this process ;-)

                Chris

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by jamespbeasley View Post
                  Can I ask... Why do you say you need a dual boiler? A well set up HX will be just as temperature stable as a DB, and (as I've heard some report) some HXs even more stable. The advantage of a DB is the ability to accurately, repeatablely and measurably with the brew temp.
                  The rotary ECM technika can be had for sub $3k (I think - but contact a sponsor to be sure), leaving enough room in the budget for a mini, K3 or MD4, or a good 2nd hand super jolly. I think for my money that's what I'd do (rotary technika + 2nd hand SJ)
                  Excellent, even more comments. Thanks! Not surprisingly some of my ingoing expectations are changing, which is good

                  Well, I paid a vist to Di Bartoli and this helped work a few things out. I've got to say, if Di Bartoli is typical of the kind of people involved in real coffee then I've got to say the world of coffee is a wonderful place to be. I got some very down-to-earthe and enthusiastic advice from Renzo today. What I took from that is also consistent with the various points made in this thread

                  - A HX machine will do me fine, and it's cheaper and lighter than a DB machine
                  - I really don't need a rotary pump. However, I must confess there's something nice about the smooth silent delivery. Is it worth $400-500. Head not sure yet... but my heart says yes
                  - ECM are now on my radar. Lacks the wow factor of say a Giotto, but was for me a quiet high achiever. The milk performance was very silky. Unexpectedly this feels like a dark horse turned favourite right now
                  - Giotto remains a contender, however my gutfeel is that maybe there's just a hint of Italian flakiness... Too harsh?
                  - Vibiemme and Izzo models I saw today I think will be a pain to lug around so are in the parking lot

                  Grinder is less clear in my mind right now. I'd like to learn some more. The Mazzer Mini Manual is the incumbent choice. I like the post grind handling on the Electronic model better, because it dropped centrally into the basket (manual shoots to the left), is un-clumpy, and the conical design means nothing is left behind in the grind collector (or whatever its called). Ironically, the electronic features were less interesting for me. A little unit labelled Vario was popular in the shop but it seemed somehow lightweight and gadgety to me. Maybe it punches above its weight. I ran out of time to look properly at other models

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Hi there... you may also want to check out the La San Marco Flexa 85E. It is a single grouphead double boiler machine with built in tank (5L+) with plumb-in option. It doesn't have a rotary pump but with dual, relatively quiet, vibe pumps it is built to last. Speaking of options you can also add on a PID remote that allows you to monitor and control ALL machine functions from boiler pressures to brewhead temp to preinfusion to shot volumes etc... These machines are distributed by Segafredo Zanetti so I am sure there is someone in your neck of the woods to talk to. These machines are built as solidly as main battle tanks and the best bit is that they can be had for just $2499

                    As you may have guessed, I am the proud owner of one and can happily attest to the fact that I have never been disappointed even once in the 8+ months I have been using it. 2500+ shots have been run through this machine and I am loving it more each and every day

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Vinitasse View Post
                      Hi there... you may also want to check out the La San Marco Flexa 85E. It is a single grouphead double boiler machine with built in tank (5L+) with plumb-in option. It doesn't have a rotary pump but with dual, relatively quiet, vibe pumps it is built to last. Speaking of options you can also add on a PID remote that allows you to monitor and control ALL machine functions from boiler pressures to brewhead temp to preinfusion to shot volumes etc... These machines are distributed by Segafredo Zanetti so I am sure there is someone in your neck of the woods to talk to. These machines are built as solidly as main battle tanks and the best bit is that they can be had for just $2499

                      As you may have guessed, I am the proud owner of one and can happily attest to the fact that I have never been disappointed even once in the 8+ months I have been using it. 2500+ shots have been run through this machine and I am loving it more each and every day
                      That's an interesting machine... sturdy and with lots of cool control features. Sounds like you've given it a lot of use too! At 35kg, though, it's not quite portable enough for my niggly lower back, sadly

                      I'm thinking a HX machine will suit me better overall

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        End of day thoughts

                        There's an easy solution to my need for a quick start-up I failed to work out for myself... Buy an electronic timer for the mains plug! Doh

                        Pre-infusion. With machines like the Giotto and the Technicka, is this possible? Is it a case of just manually flicking the pump on and off and on again?

                        My current wish-list is over-budget! AN ECM Technika IV rotary, Mazzer Mini Electronica plus a few essential accessories is looking like $4,400. I think this shows my preferences are leaning towards neat and quiet. However, something's gotta give. If I went for the noisier vibe pump ECM plus messier manual Mazzer Mini then I'd be on-budget, have a great system, but not quite my ideal

                        Is there an elephant in the room? For whatever reasons, coffee equipment (and a hundred other things) is rather expensive here compared to overseas. E.g. in the US my preferred AUD4,400 combo would be about USD2,600. Even the UK with 20% VAT is less than UKP2,200 (about AUD3,400). Sure, Australia is an expensive place to do business, but should I also be working on the assumption that local prices need to be negotiated? I'm not looking to stir up a hornets' nest here, and love to see a thriving coffee scene, but what's been the general experience around getting a fair deal?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by trickydicky2 View Post
                          Pre-infusion. With machines like the Giotto and the Technicka, is this possible? Is it a case of just manually flicking the pump on and off and on again?
                          The E61 grouphead in these machines (and most pointy end range of machines) has built-in pre-infusion in the grouphead. After you flick the brew lever/switch, it will do its pre-infusion via its internal mechanical workings before letting the full pump pressure hit the coffee.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by trickydicky2 View Post
                            Is there an elephant in the room? For whatever reasons, coffee equipment (and a hundred other things) is rather expensive here compared to overseas. E.g. in the US my preferred AUD4,400 combo would be about USD2,600. Even the UK with 20% VAT is less than UKP2,200 (about AUD3,400). Sure, Australia is an expensive place to do business, but should I also be working on the assumption that local prices need to be negotiated? I'm not looking to stir up a hornets' nest here, and love to see a thriving coffee scene, but what's been the general experience around getting a fair deal?
                            Hi Tricky,
                            There are quite a few threads dealing with this (and they sometimes get a bit heated). In short the landed cost in OZ is higher, our wages and warranty liabilities are higher, the cost of holding stock is higher (smaller market = higher fixed costs per unit, rent etc), etc etc etc (some goose will now jump in and tell you that the OZ market is fundamentally uncompetitive and the retailers are living in castles in the Alps). That said, some great deals can often be obtained if you go about it the right way (which it sounds like you would do) with the right local coffee retailer (e.g. the firms discussed above in Sydney). Full disclosure...my only interest in the coffee industry is drinking great coffee.
                            Cheers
                            BOSW

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by oble89 View Post
                              The E61 grouphead in these machines (and most pointy end range of machines) has built-in pre-infusion in the grouphead. After you flick the brew lever/switch, it will do its pre-infusion via its internal mechanical workings before letting the full pump pressure hit the coffee.
                              Thanks oble89, that's good to know

                              Also, Barry, I do have some sympathy with your argument here. With specialist kit like say coffee or snow skis I think it's mainly what you said. I suspect that the need/desire for local service support also allows higher retails to be sustained. For mass market products I think retailers have been a bit greedy, and a combination of the Internet and strong AUD has found them out in last year or two, eg Gerry Harvey

                              I'm sure I will be able to work something out with the guys at Di Bartoli or another local specialist

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