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  • low end e61 HX machine?

    Background: I started with a sunbeam PU5900 (EM5900+EM0450 kit) and did a fair amount of aeropressing for a while (and still do when I'm working out of town). A close friend of mine has *two* rocket giottos and my sister has a two group E61 commercial machine. I've used these and with the same technique I can definitely make a better shot - I suspect it's the 52mm vs 58mm difference (20% less thickness of puck for the same dose). I've recently resuscitated my friend's starbucks barista machine (saeco derived single boiler) and although it's better than the sunbeam thermoblock, it's still not as good as I can make with a pointy-ended machine.

    after umming and ahhing about midrange machines like the silvias, lelits, and oscars for a while, I've decided that my upgradeitis has to hit a halt somewhere. so I'm in the market for a basic E61 HX machine, I think. I considered PIDing a single boiler E61 machine like the VBM piccolo but I like the idea of my brew water not having been sitting in the boiler for who knows how long.

    I am not concerned about aesthetics but I am concerned about ergonomics - I'd love to have a lever, but not willing to pay an extra $500 for one (would rather buy a better grinder than have a lever).

    I rarely drink milky drinks unless I'm outside and the espresso is unbearable - my drink of choice is a triple ristretto macchiato although recently I've taken to just drinking double ristretti because I can't be bothered to steam milk or make the extra shot.

    so what I've been looking at is expobar office semi-auto, diadema junior PUL, VBM junior... any other suggestions?

  • #2
    You shouldn't need to PID a machine like the VBM. Due to the E61 group, larger boiler and adjustable thermostat, it's much more temperature stable than other single boilers on the market such as the Silvia.

    I recently received a Piccolo and while yes, it would be nice to have the steam on demand from a HX, it is an excellent machine. It can produce fantastic shots and waiting for steam isn't much of an issue as it just becomes part of your routine. Unless of course you need to make multiple milk drinks, then it becomes a bit tedious.

    I guess what it comes down to seeing as you 'rarely drink milk drinks', is if you really believe it's worth spending the extra on features in a HX that probably won't be used much? You might be better off spending less on a decent single boiler such as the Piccolo, Diadema Perfetta or Isomac Zaffiro, and using the remainder of your budget to buy a better grinder.

    If you do want to go down the HX path though, then the Diadema Junior Semi-Auto PUL, Isomac Tea Due or VBM Domobar Junior I'm sure would all be excellent choices. They can be had for around or under $2k from site sponsors, Chris at Talk Coffee currently has the Diadema at a very good price. As far as I'm aware the lower end Expobar don't use an E61 group, so I would avoid that but that's just my personal preference, I'm sure it's still a very capable machine.

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    • #3
      If you are comfortable with a pre-loved machine ( no warranty, etc) then you can find some excellent Hx E61 equipment in the classified section of this site.
      Alternatively, shopping around Au sites you can find the Isomac Tea for about $1250 .

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      • #4
        If you can plumb, buy this: http://coffeesnobs.com.au/coffee-har...tml#post489970

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        • #5
          Originally posted by blend52 View Post
          If you are comfortable with a pre-loved machine ( no warranty, etc) then you can find some excellent Hx E61 equipment in the classified section of this site.
          Alternatively, shopping around Au sites you can find the Isomac Tea for about $1250 .
          Was this a typo? I've been considering getting one of these but I've never seen them below about $2k.

          I'm pretty much looking for the same as the original poster (and coming from the same setup too, my Sunbeam blew up a while ago and I've been umming and ahhing about what to buy to replace it). The Isomac Tea is probably what I'll end up getting, as it seems good value even at 2k. I don't want to try and deal with a single boiler - especially when I have visitors and might have to do half a dozen milky drinks.

          Anyway, will be curious to see what you end up going for.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by wintal View Post
            Was this a typo? I've been considering getting one of these but I've never seen them below about $2k..
            No, at the time CoffeItalia was running a special at that price, but i notice its increased to $1500 now.
            but the Millenium is still a bargain at $1400.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by blend52 View Post
              No, at the time CoffeItalia was running a special at that price, but i notice its increased to $1500 now.
              but the Millenium is still a bargain at $1400.
              Cheers. That's still a very good price based on the going rate elsewhere I've seen (assuming the machine's exactly the same). I think I'll check it out.

              Edit: looks like that one is without the 'cool touch' steam wand. They still have the cool touch one about $100 more than I've seen elsewhere. Not sure how much the cool touch steam wand matters either.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by wintal View Post
                Cheers. That's still a very good price based on the going rate elsewhere I've seen (assuming the machine's exactly the same). I think I'll check it out.

                Edit: Not sure how much the cool touch steam wand matters either.
                My previous VBM was standard wands. Current Rocket has cool touch, they still get quite warm/hot but the bonus is the milk does not bake on, very easy to clean. My 2 cents, for an extra $100 it would be a yes for me.

                Steve.

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                • #9
                  I would be wary purchasing anything from CoffeeItalia. They're grey import machines and from what I understand, all business is now handled offshore. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for grey imports of any kind, as long as people are aware of the possible risks and costs involved with doing so. I'm not going to get into that though, there are threads here on both importing and CoffeeItalia so you can research it for yourself. Their prices seem to fluctuate somewhat too, I once saw the cool touch Tea on there for $950...

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by chron View Post
                    I would be wary purchasing anything from CoffeeItalia. They're grey import machines and from what I understand, all business is now handled offshore. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for grey imports of any kind, as long as people are aware of the possible risks and costs involved with doing so. I'm not going to get into that though, there are threads here on both importing and CoffeeItalia so you can research it for yourself. Their prices seem to fluctuate somewhat too, I once saw the cool touch Tea on there for $950...
                    Thanks for the heads-up. I contacted the CS sponsors this arvo, and nearly all of them recommended the VBM Junior, so I'm going to have a look into that as well.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by wintal View Post
                      Thanks for the heads-up. I contacted the CS sponsors this arvo, and nearly all of them recommended the VBM Junior, so I'm going to have a look into that as well.
                      Having owned a VBM Junior I can vouch that is a very capable machine. No cool touch wands but that is far from a deal breaker

                      Steve

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                      • #12
                        Yep - the VBM Junior is a great machine.

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                        • #13
                          All the M/c mentioned in this thread are good choices, but bearing in mind the thread title, i do feel we are aiding the OP in "premature upgraditis"

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                          • #14
                            as the OP... I have settled on a VBM Junior, but i decided on getting the silvia from a non-sponsor - at <$500 it let me buy a wega 5.8 as well. I should go pick it up this afternoon...

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                            • #15
                              Wow, a silvia..........Ok, that's certainly a change of direction. Well they will make great espresso with the correct technique. Not a machine for me but enjoy your new toys and many great coffees lie ahead. :-)

                              Steve.

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