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Rocket/ECM heat exchanger machine or Breville dual boiler?

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  • Rocket/ECM heat exchanger machine or Breville dual boiler?

    Tax return time is here and the mrs and I decided to amp up our coffee game. I am trying to decide if its worth dropping ~$3k on one of the heat exchanger machines (I'm kind of 50/50 between the ECM Mechanika slim or the Rocket Apartamento, as they seem pretty similar in quality and function. While the treasury can bear such expense (not happily but) I am trying to weigh it up against a dual boiler machine, specifically the Breville Dual Boiler. I'm finding it difficult to find any material about whether the Italian brand machines are worth the extra coins; I did find a video on YouTube comparing the Apartamento with the Breville, saying they were in a similar price bracket (might be true in USA but for sure the Rocket is about double here), and she seemed to think they were roughly similar. But the Breville is about half the price even if you get it with the grinder from Good Guys.

    So it comes down to these factors:
    • I want to be able to make espresso and steam milk at the same time.
    • Ideally it would be the last machine I buy for the next 10 years, hopefully ever. I would rather repair something then replace it.
    • $2800 is pretty much the hard limit.
    • Kitchen bench space is a factor, but theres enough room to fit the larger Breville machine there.
    So my question then, is an Italian made heat exchanger machine going to be notably better, and/or have better longevity? I am assuming because most of the recommendations seem to aim people towards the Italian machines, and they definitely look better. But does it really do be like that or am I just being hypnotised by the shiny silver parts?

    One of my main concerns about getting the Breville machine is the electronics / etc, I have had enough bad experiences with mass produced whitegoods at this point that I assume everything is going to break as soon as the warranty runs out, they no longer make the specific machine you have/can't get replacement parts/the replacement part costs more than a whole new machine, so the only reasonable option ends up being to buy the new model. So if the Breville was going to cost $1400 now and another $1400 3-5 years from now, it will be worth just spending the $2800 now IF the Italian ones actually have better longevity. I don't want a fancy Italian machine if its just going to give me similar problems, but, the Rocket machine seems like it has fairly simple-ish mechanical internals that I can probably repair myself if needed. Maybe.

    Sorry for rambling. I've been thinking about this a lot.

    TL;DR- is a Rocket Apartamento / ECM Mechanika Slim worth ~twice the cost of the Breville Dual Boiler ?
    Last edited by petehehe; 5 August 2020, 02:05 PM.

  • #2
    Hi and welcome to CoffeeSnobs.

    Italian machines are made to last and just as importantly they are made to be serviced/repaired/maintained for life (of the user that is). And then you hand them down to the next generation. ? Parts are still available for the vast majority of Italian machines that we see through our workshop whether they are 5, 10 or 20 years old.

    charlie
    Last edited by JetBlack_Espresso; 5 August 2020, 02:30 PM.

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    • #3
      Welcome aboard. What Charlie said. If you have an aptitude for serving and repair of relatively uncomplex mechanical devices and enjoy great to greater coffee and want it to last for a loooong time one of the HXs you mentioned should not dissapoint. How many do you wish to make a day? that may influence your final buying decision due to the pulling and steaming simultaneously requirement.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by JetBlack_Espresso View Post
        Hi and welcome to CoffeeSnobs.

        Italian machines are made to last and just as importantly they are made to be serviced/repaired/maintained for life (of the user that is). And then you hand them down to the next generation. ? Parts are still available for the vast majority of Italian machines that we see through our workshop whether they are 5, 10 or 20 years old.

        charlie
        Thanks Charlie, thats actually kind of the exact info I was after. Its hard to find reviews that talk about longevity.

        Do you have a preference between the ECM or Rocket machines?

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by noonar View Post
          Welcome aboard. What Charlie said. If you have an aptitude for serving and repair of relatively uncomplex mechanical devices and enjoy great to greater coffee and want it to last for a loooong time one of the HXs you mentioned should not dissapoint. How many do you wish to make a day? that may influence your final buying decision due to the pulling and steaming simultaneously requirement.
          Average day, one for me and one for the wife so 2.
          Occasionally if we chuck a bender at our house and end up with people crashed on our couch/etc, possibly a lot more.

          Is there an inherent limitation on HX machines in terms of how many cups you can brew in a sitting?

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          • #6
            HX's don't really have a limit on number of coffees. Brew water temperature will generally recover shot to shot and so will steam. The models with bigger boilers will get large quantities of milk done a little faster and have more capacity to dispense boiling water. But unless the whole household is having long blacks this generally won't be an issue.

            Both the Rocket Appartamento and ECM Mechanika Slim are nice machines. What's the grinder situation? If you needed to send some of that tax refund towards a grinder too then you could also consider the Lelit Mara X which will save you some $$.

            charlie

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            • #7
              Agree with the comments above, a Breville Dual Boiler will give a solid 3-5 years, maybe 10 years if you are handy and can replace parts yourself. But they are a domestic appliance.

              With any of these machines you really need a good grinder, not a Breville or anything domestic, you will need some like a Eureka Mignon/Atom, Compak K3, Macap M2D, Mazzer Mini.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by roosterben View Post
                Agree with the comments above, a Breville Dual Boiler will give a solid 3-5 years, maybe 10 years if you are handy and can replace parts yourself. But they are a domestic appliance.

                With any of these machines you really need a good grinder, not a Breville or anything domestic, you will need some like a Eureka Mignon/Atom, Compak K3, Macap M2D, Mazzer Mini.
                and you can add Ceado to that list now too ?

                charlie

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                • #9
                  Just to throw another option in there - the Dual Boiler Lelit Elizabeth is a very nice looking machine with a great feature set.

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                  • #10
                    I heard recently that an ECM should last around 30years if looked after
                    That’d be my choice over the rocket.
                    Throw in a quamar Q50 in for a grinder recommendation (along with the others) also when you can afford one.
                    Last edited by Ronin; 6 August 2020, 06:29 PM.

                    Comment


                    • Dimal
                      Dimal commented
                      Editing a comment
                      ECM wouldn't have started that rumour would they?

                    • Caffeinator
                      Caffeinator commented
                      Editing a comment
                      The internet is where to go whenever you want to read unsubstantiated pearls....Pearls of what I don't know. I'll dwell on that.

                      Anyone need a top up for their pyrite stash?

                    • Ronin
                      Ronin commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Either way, breville would be my last choice.
                      Sorry for trying to be helpful

                  • #11
                    Having been down both paths I would go for an Italian machine from one of the site sponsors. Having owned a Breville Dual Boiler it makes excellent coffee with fantastic programmable temperature control.
                    ​​​​​​However even with care and fastidious maintenance they basically fall apart at the seams after 5 years. Generally things like leaks and O rings then expensive non commercial bits where the repair bill makes them a diminishing return.

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                    • #12
                      +1 for the quality Italian machine. Will last a lifetime if you take care of it and don’t get upgraditis like most.

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                      • #13
                        Originally posted by Ronin View Post
                        I heard recently that an ECM should last around 30years if looked after That’d be my choice over the rocket. Throw in a quamar Q50 in for a grinder recommendation (along with the others) also when you can afford one.
                        Only 30 years? That’s a bit disappointing. I would hope for better than that.

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                        • #14
                          Originally posted by petehehe View Post
                          Average day, one for me and one for the wife so 2. Occasionally if we chuck a bender at our house and end up with people crashed on our couch/etc, possibly a lot more. Is there an inherent limitation on HX machines in terms of how many cups you can brew in a sitting?
                          I agree with the others. Based on how you describe your main usage the ECM, Rocket or a Lelit will be a better option than the Breville. Just be aware that every machine needs proper care and preventative maintenance. You can’t avoid the need to clean and care for your machine through the purchase choice. Ask any decent service technician and they’ll have endless stories of wrecked high end machines that have been fed crappy water and never backflushed.

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                          • #15
                            Just curious - it's well documented that "prosumer" machines have higher spec components and use many industry standard components so are more reliable and more readily repaired than "appliance" machines. Older machines were nearly always mechanical with simple electronics and could be kept going for many, many, many years. Will this still be true for the newer generation of "prosumer" machines? With modern control units (Gicars etc) containing complicated circuitry and semi-conductors which, from experience, do become obsolete, won't the repairability be reduced to the timeframe that the manufacturer maintains support for the controller?

                            Comment


                            • FNQ
                              FNQ commented
                              Editing a comment
                              I was thinking along the same lines just the other day. The new software and electrical cleverness of some pointy end machines MAY make them less future proof.
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