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  • Upgrade Time Options

    Hi All

    After many many years of faithful service, I think it’s time to move on from my Silvia V2. She’s faithfully got us through 3 kids over 15 years without gripes, so I can’t complain. But I think it’s time for an upgrade. Paired with a Rocky doserless that I’d hold onto for the time being (new burrs about 12 months ago).

    Daily usage is higher than normal at the moment with work from home, but when we return to ‘normality’ our regular days are 3-4 milk coffees and a couple of shots across my wife and I. Weekends are often double that on the milk coffees with family visiting.

    I enjoy tinkering with my technique, but my wife is more the set and forget type when using the machine.

    What I’ve liked about Silvia:
    - Been very reliable over many years
    - Easy to get replacement parts when I’ve needed to (and all the repairs I’ve been able to do myself)
    - Warm up time not super quick, but ok

    What I’d change or prefer:
    - Not have to temperature surf so much
    - Be able to brew and steam at the same time
    - Like the idea of dual boiler for the above 2 reasons
    - Nice to have low water warning, but a nice to have only

    Budget up to $2.5k.

    Looking around, my current shortlist is Lelit Elizabeth, Profitec Pro 300 or Expobar Minore IV. I know the Crem One is replacing the Expobar, but have seen some decent prices as a result. Lelit looks like it would provide a good happy medium between my use of the machine and my wife’s ie. program one button set and forget for my wife; I get to play around with the other.


  • #2
    You can still steam while you pour shots with an HX machine and have potentially greater capacity for preparing multiple cups than the Elizabeth and Pro 300. Consider the Rocket Appartmento, Izzo Vivi, ECM Classika or Mechanika for example.
    If you can't get along to a vendor to see machines and get a demo, why not complete the Quote form using the link at the top or bottom of this site and have sponsors who have experience with a variety of equipment make offers.


    • #3
      Thanks for the recommendations.

      Yes, getting out to see the machines in the flesh for a demo is a bit trickier than normal for everyone right now. Trending to a bit less restrictive though, so hopefully in a few weeks will become a little easier.


      • #4
        I upgraded from a Silvia (with PID) to a Bezzera BZ10 about 2 years ago. Main reason for upgrading was to get a "quicker" machine as we entertain a lot and making several coffees for guests was taking too long.

        Reason I ended up with the BZ10 was simply due to one coming up second hand for a great price when I was looking, so I grabbed it and saved some money.

        If I was going to spend my full budget, I probably would have ended up with a Profitec 500.


        • #5
          On your budget, I would try and pick up a 2nd hand P500 you’ll occasionally see them on the Jet Black Espresso website or in the forums here. FWIW i have a P500 and love it for its reliability and ease of use. I have been considering an upgrade to a dual boiler however, as having come from 3 group machines I’m getting a little frustrated with the Hx mechanics.


          • #6
            Following with interest and I’ll share my experience.

            On your EXPOBAR option, I’ve had my Minore IV v2 for about 8 years and it has been a great machine. The PID gives it a super stable temp and coffee is always great. I use it every day and it gets left on for 2-5 hours per day.

            I’ve had a few break downs (steam element, poor contact electrical Causing insulation to melt, and general maintenance of the E61 valve mechanism.

            overall none have been show stoppers for me but I’m technical enough to repair myself.

            In the last couple of weeks, the PID is on the blink (literally) and warm up of the brew boiler take 45 minutes. It’s $300 for a new pid and all the wiring is showing visible signs of heat degradation.

            not bad for 8 years but I think a more basic/traditional machine would last longer.

            Hope this helps. For me, I’m considering a new machine (maybe the same again) vs replacing the PID.


            • #7
              Thanks for sharing your experience with the Expobar. A few repairs over that time period doesn’t bother me much, as long as the parts are relatively easy to come by. I’ve replaced a number of parts on my Silvia myself over the years, so user serviceable is good for me.


              • #8
                Just been through a similar exercise Gfunk. Literally gave myself a headache going around in circles researching all the options & listening to all the advice.

                I had a Vibiemme Jnr that packed it in after 8yrs & some shoddy servicing (or lack there of as it may appear) and have taken delivery of a Izzo Vivi PID this last month. My usage sounds fairly similar to yours. Can't speak of the other options mentioned & it might just be a tad over your budget you mentioned, but I'll my detail observations.

                PRO's (IMO) - Aesthetics, it's a great looking machine, empty reservoir alarm, shot timer built in (it's actually really handy), 15min heat up time is AWESOME!!, PID although I'm pretty happy with the setting it's been bench tested so haven't touched it. Size - it doesn't have a huge footprint like other machines making it kitchen friendly. Comes with a single and dbl portafiller and a reasonable metal tamper (not a plastic one that goes straight in the bin). Steam wand is cool touch and super easy to use (and clean).... + heaps of steam & do it as the shot is pouring. Cup warmer is a decent size for the machine, easily fits 4 cups. E61 group head is high enough to allow most tall cups or glasses to fit under.

                CONS that I've observed since owning - Doesn't feel as quite heavy duty on the outside as the VBM, which was a beast. Water reservoir is smaller than the VBM & I do notice it. I haven't been a fan of the supplied baskets so have already retired them for 17-19gm & 20-22gm Pullman precision ones + bought a naked portafiller with a triple basket. Waste water/shot tray thing is fairly small, but very easy to remove and rinse. Not sure I'm pulling as consistent and tasty shots as my VBM just yet.... but I'm real close.

                Good luck . At around your budget you'll have lots of great options, so keen to hear where you end up ?


                • #9
                  This is not going to be a popular opinion at all, but I'd fall out of my chair if any of the prosumer e61 box machines could produce a better coffee than the Breville 820, which you can pick up for like $900 from a department store. The Breville will probably have less powerful steam and look less cool, though maybe a better tip than many e61 boxes, plus it has a stack of sensible, user-friendly features that e61 boxes lack, like an actively heated group for quick heatup and the ability to see than tank water level from the front. I bought one second hand and it had utter garbage durability, trying to get it serviced was a nightmare and expensive, so I ultimately turfed it and moved on to a Vesuvius e61 box, and I used the pressure profiling features. But if you're in the market to spend $2.5k, you could nearly buy 3 of these things for the price of 1 of most e61 boxes. They might be more durable, but they'll be less user friendly and they probably won't make better coffee.

                  And, for another unpopular opinion, you could take the savings and put them towards buying a grinder that costs many multiples more than the Breville.


                  • Dimal
                    Dimal commented
                    Editing a comment
                    "Breville 820"
                    Do you mean the BES-920 machine Luca?
                    The only Breville unit I can find with '820' included in its nomenclature is their espresso grinder.

                • #10
                  Would I buy a Breville over a Silvia? Yup. Probably would- especially if there was more than one user.

                  Breville is manufactured to a price point. Word was that in the beginning when they were selling them for $1500, they were landing them at $300 and you can see how when you open one up. These days, they sell at closer to their true value.

                  If you only have Breville money, yeah sure and if you manage 3 or more years, you're a winner. If you want something to last for 10, 20 or more years, don't buy landfill.

                  Grinder? Absolutely. The best you can afford. You put diesel in a Lambo and it's guaranteed to run like crap.


                  • #11
                    Exactly. All those intricate electronics just begging to fail. You might not pay as much in the outlay, but you’ll make up for it in parts and days off work pulling your machine apart and trying to fix it. I made a 6910 last 10 years but that was not without replacing lost parts on the machine, and the only reason I did it was because I had a spare machine for parts I’d got for free. I’m not saying a 6910 and an 820 are the same, but there is a big and very noticeable jump up when going from a consumer machine to a prosumer one.


                    • #12
                      Don’t let shiny panels fool you into thinking that the internals are well designed and top spec. Has anyone ever seen inside something like a Quickmill Andreja from the 2000s? Breville coffee machines are like a catch-22 - the reason they often don’t last as long as they could is because of the people that they are mostly sold to. Look after them and feed them good water and they have as much opportunity as many other coffee machines of lasting many years.


                      • #13
                        I bought a refurb breville for $600, failed after 3 months; lots of steam leaking and hissing and I thought "well this is probably a $50 replacement of a vacuum breaker; I'll just call Breville and they'll sort me out". I called them and they basically said sorry, can't help you, we don't service our own machines, we can refer you to an authorised appliance repair centre. I needed it done quickly, so I went to see them. They said the boiler had developed a leak and the entire boiler had to be replaced, which was something that I'm deeply sceptical of to this day, at the cost of like another $600, but by that stage I was over a barrel, so I forked it over. Then the exact same steam leak reoccurred just out of the repair warranty period, so I was thoroughly disgusted by the whole experience that I cut my losses and bought a vesuvius from Chris at talk coffee, since he's a straight shooter and he's right next to Rick, the coffee machinist, so there's a whole coffee engineering brains trust there's that's pretty unbeatable support. So I most definitely am no fan of Breville's durability or lack of customer service.

                        Definitely a question of priorities. Unfortunately, though I really hate to say it, I think that the Breville probably makes coffee that's at least on par with most e61 boxes, and I suspect probably a bit better than most. But only when, if, and for so long as it works.


                        • #14
                          Originally posted by LeroyC View Post
                          Don’t let shiny panels fool you into thinking that the internals are well designed and top spec. Has anyone ever seen inside something like a Quickmill Andreja from the 2000s? Breville coffee machines are like a catch-22 - the reason they often don’t last as long as they could is because of the people that they are mostly sold to. Look after them and feed them good water and they have as much opportunity as many other coffee machines of lasting many years.
                          Equally true of prosumer machines - feed them hard water and they fail in 2 years. Breville and Sunbeam put filters in their machines, doesn’t stop them from being returned in droves. I’d love to see the stats on warranty returns. My folks have had breville and sunbeam and they go through a machine a year on average. They do what the manual says and they still break.


                          • #15
                            Originally posted by crazyhakins View Post
                            They do what the manual says and they still break.
                            This is one of the parts that annoys me. They can't put proper care instructions in because almost no one would follow them. They'd perhaps have an easier time of denying warranty claims, but once it got out that you actually had to do stuff to Breville machines, but e.g. Sunbeam still only said to do the bare minimum, people would flock to Sunbeam, or whatever brand has the least maintenance required. Not that most people do what's in the manual now,

                            My in-laws bought a 920 because their Saeco VV (over 20 years old) was starting to show signs the end was near, the 920 was on sale, and they know how much I like mine. I tried to explain my cleaning and maintenance routines to them. Got shut down almost immediately and was told they wouldn't be doing all that (I think I'd only gotten up to flushing the group after pulling a shot, yes after every shot, yes you push the button again twice, yes every time, no it only takes a second, push push and that's it, too much to remember ok). They literally never did any maintenance on the VV, filled up the water tank and emptied the drip tray, for 20 odd years. Somehow the coffee at their house has gotten worse since they got the 920. I used to chance it if I needed the caffeine, I think I've had 2 coffees since they upgraded.

                            Part of me wonders if people paid $2-3k for them if they'd be willing to look after them properly. Maybe they should release a line of "long life coffee machines" where the only difference is they up the price by 200% and include proper care instructions. pcrussell50 has it fairly comprehensivly covered on HB.