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Thread: to upgrade or not.

  1. #1
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    to upgrade or not.

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hi all, newbie here.
    have been reading these posts for a little while now and need some advice from you experts.
    I have a Sunbeam EM4800C and have been thinking of upgrading to the EM6910. Can anyone tell me if its worth it if so why?
    I upgraded the baskets on my old 4800 to the single floor and found an immediate improvement in my results but they are not consistent. Sometimes the machine is struggling to push the water through the basket when I tamp it down to the correct pressure.
    Any advice greatly appreciated. :-/

  2. #2
    Senior Member iggs's Avatar
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    Re: to upgrade or not.

    there are a lot of factors to consider here - but the first one id want to ask you is "what sort of grinder are you using?"

    this is the first step to good, consistent results

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    Re: to upgrade or not.

    There are a lot of variables.* The grinder is the main consideration.* However the 6910 is a good starting point as I had the 4800 then bought the 6910 which I had a for a couple of years.* I started with the sunbeam grinder the best one they make cant remember the number.* It was OK but once I bought the 6910 I upgraded the grinder to a Mazzer Mini and the shots were excellent.* *Then I graduated to a HX machine.*

    The 6910 produces excellent results for a while but do read the threads about it in 500-1500 machine category to make yourself familiar with the issues that can occur.* There are also some viable alternatives to the 6910 that are covered at length in that section.

    Good luck and remember upgraditis is a disease that all CoffeSnobs suffer from* ;D

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    Re: to upgrade or not.

    Quote Originally Posted by 2C22223C6B322A2B22450 link=1318836685/1#1 date=1318837007
    there are a lot of factors to consider here - but the first one id want to ask you is "what sort of grinder are you using?"*

    this is the first step to good, consistent results
    I am using a new Sunbeam EMO480

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    Re: to upgrade or not.

    I pushed my borrowed Sunbeam EM3800 (literally) to bursting. Blew the group seal apart when I choked it on too fine a grind.

    Yes, the single-wall filters help. Having a decent grinder and fresh coffee is way more important however.

    Before we make any more recommendations tho, its important to know what sort of coffees you make?

    To my mind the EM6910 is overpriced - but it has its place and a lot of people love theirs. I think if you were going to be doing a fair bit of milk-making in one stretch then its probably a decent choice in the price range.

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    Re: to upgrade or not.

    Hi Stan,
    what did you mean by the EM6910 produces excellent results for a "while"?
    Hi Kelsey,
    Overpriced for under $600! I dont really want to pay over $1000 for one, all the ones I have seen in the shop from $1500 to $2500 are all automatic machines which is not what i really want, and there doesnt seem to be many machines in the shop between $600-$1500 range. For one thing too many things to go wrong. Milk making I generally make 2 cups of chino at a time probably 3 maybe 4 times a day.
    otherwise what machine would you recommend.
    The only difference I can see between the 4800 and 6910 is one has the twin thermoblock and a larger group head. The larger group head would probably be a benefit as I dont seem to get a strong enough brew with the smaller one. Correct me if I am wrong but having a larger basket ie more coffee I will get a stronger shot?

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    Re: to upgrade or not.

    I currently have the EM6910 and the Breville Smart Grinder and Im getting some fantastic coffee (and the occasional not so good coffee). I previously had the EM4800 and it was a HUGE step up in my mind - the coffee I was producing from the EM6910 was a lot better and more consistent.

    Sailor - with regards to the stronger shot, Id hazard a guess at yes because youll fit more coffee in the 58mm basket than the 51mm. Ive also used an EM0480 with the EM6910 before and found it to be ok, its just a lot easier with the BSG.

    I know a lot of people ho hum at thermoblock machines on this forum and I too one day want to upgrade to a boiler/HX machine, but one feature I love of the EM6910 is the quick warm up time.

    Im obviously biased but I think its a good step up from an EM4800 :)

    Whereabouts are you located Sailor?

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    Re: to upgrade or not.

    Quote Originally Posted by 15202F262E410 link=1318836685/6#6 date=1318894136
    one feature I love of the EM6910 is the quick warm up time.*
    Dont be fooled by the "ready" light.
    Your coffee should taste better if you let the 6910 warm up for at least 30 minutes.

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    Re: to upgrade or not.

    Quote Originally Posted by 0935283339382F3A32395D0 link=1318836685/7#7 date=1318896530
    Your coffee should taste better if you let the 6910 warm up for at least 30 minutes
    Indeed - I forgot to mention that! I normally let it warm up when Im not in a rush!

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    Re: to upgrade or not.

    Quote Originally Posted by 5341494C4F52200 link=1318836685/5#5 date=1318893010
    Overpriced for under $600!
    Kelsey might be thinking overpriced at full RRP.

    Quote Originally Posted by 5341494C4F52200 link=1318836685/5#5 date=1318893010
    all the ones I have seen in the shop from $1500 to $2500 are all automatic machines which is not what i really want, and there doesnt seem to be many machines in the shop between $600-$1500 range
    you need to get out of department/appliance stores. Look at CS sponsors web pages (where are you located?). The two most popular single boilers on CS, Silvia and Lelit, are considered great entry level coffee making, and are at the bottom end of the $600 -$1500 range. Silvia is just about the most popular machine across the globe - but you wont find her in department stores in Aust

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    Senior Member Stan's Avatar
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    Re: to upgrade or not.

    I meant that while mine was working properly O got good coffee. However the problems after the two year mark kept coming. However the newer machines from Sunbeam have modifications mine did not so they may be more reliable.

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    Re: to upgrade or not.

    Thats correct - at full price, theyre overpriced for my needs.

    For you - could be a different story. Even at $600, for me Id rather have a Lelit (or a used Silvia from here) - I guess the problems with my own, plus the issues I see from others on the forum quite regularly, have left me with an overall negative impression of the machine that may not be deserved.

    But my needs Are different, so the Silvia/Lelit/Bezzera BZ09 suit me best.

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    Re: to upgrade or not.

    Hi Tango I am on the sunshine coast, Buderim.
    Yes I have looked at the Silvia but from what I have read it is not good for expanding milk for more than 2 cups. then it overheats which would be a bugbear if there are guests and I want to make 4 cups of cuppa chino. What would one pay for a used Silvia or Bezzera BZ09

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    Re: to upgrade or not.

    Unless Barazi (located near your neck of the woods) have some demonstrators left I doubt youll find a BZ09 (they were going for nearly $900, I think) - I dont think theyre imported anymore.

    Ebay and this site (hardware for sale) sell used Silvia by the truckload. $600 or a bit less for an as new machine. They last and last so depreciate slowly. Many people who buy second hand end up selling 2 years later (upgraditis) for almost the price they bought it.

    Dont buy second hand machines unseen unless youre really confident in the seller.

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    Re: to upgrade or not.

    Hi Sailor, Im in Caloundra - howdy neighbor!

    The single-boilers may not be for you, the milky coffee conundrum is a big one for those who have frequent guests.

    Its not a matter of overheating tho - the boiler that heats the water also makes the steam. Once youve textured a certain volume of milk, the boiler runs dry and needs to be primed - I.e. have water added back in. This is done simply by running water through the grouphead (or brew head, as Sunbeam likes to say).

    So when I have guests I texture the milk first, then make pull the shots, two at a time. This has the advantage of priming the boiler, although you can get the odd colder shot when doing this.

    Ive found that the boiler takes about one minute to finish heating before the light goes off, then I need to wait about 20 seconds or so before its actually hot enough to pull the shot.

    This might get old if I had to make a half a dozen milky coffees at once, day in, day out - but thats not our use-case.

    Instead I make two coffees at a time, perhaps three times a day. Once a week I might make four-to-six coffees at once. For these purposes, my machine is ideal because I can live with the extra couple of minutes I need to wait to make those last two coffees and my method utilizes a lot of that wasted time anyway.

    So the Sunbeam may be the prefect machine for you - its not for me and Im dubious about its longevity.

    I got my BZ09 for well under $900, but the extra 40% boiler size, heating elements in the group and general build quality made it worth paying the extra.


    BTW theres a non sponsor in Maroochydore (that industrial area on the way out to Nambour) that stocks Silvia. You could have a look at one there. Dont know if theyll demo one for you tho.

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    Re: to upgrade or not.

    If the BZ09 isnt imported any more they will probably run out of spares soon to making it obsolete. Didnt want to spend $900 anyway. I see there is someone trying to sell a Silvia for $400 from Canberra bit far to go and have a look I had a laugh.

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    Re: to upgrade or not.

    Quote Originally Posted by 363F2F323236382E5D0 link=1318836685/14#14 date=1318985014
    but the extra 40% boiler size

    extra 67%? (500ml versus 300ml). Ill change my name to pedant.

    Single boilers do actually come in much smaller sizes than 300ml as well. For example, the Gaggia Classic which has a reasonable reputation, but is no Silvia.

    Lelit, a 250ml boiler, and a direct rival, is slightly cheaper than Silvia.

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    Re: to upgrade or not.

    Quote Originally Posted by 535A4A5757535D4B380 link=1318836685/14#14 date=1318985014
    Hi Sailor, Im in Caloundra - howdy neighbor!

    The single-boilers may not be for you, the milky coffee conundrum is a big one for those who have frequent guests.

    Its not a matter of overheating tho - the boiler that heats the water also makes the steam. Once youve textured a certain volume of milk, the boiler runs dry and needs to be primed - I.e. have water added back in. This is done simply by running water through the grouphead (or brew head, as Sunbeam likes to say).

    So when I have guests I texture the milk first, then make pull the shots, two at a time. This has the advantage of priming the boiler, although you can get the odd colder shot when doing this.

    Ive found that the boiler takes about one minute to finish heating before the light goes off, then I need to wait about 20 seconds or so before its actually hot enough to pull the shot.

    This might get old if I had to make a half a dozen milky coffees at once, day in, day out - but thats not our use-case.

    Instead I make two coffees at a time, perhaps three times a day. Once a week I might make four-to-six coffees at once. For these purposes, my machine is ideal because I can live with the extra couple of minutes I need to wait to make those last two coffees and my method utilizes a lot of that wasted time anyway.

    So the Sunbeam may be the prefect machine for you - its not for me and Im dubious about its longevity.

    I got my BZ09 for well under $900, but the extra 40% boiler size, heating elements in the group and general build quality made it worth paying the extra.


    BTW theres a non sponsor in Maroochydore (that industrial area on the way out to Nambour) that stocks Silvia. You could have a look at one there. Dont know if theyll demo one for you tho.
    Thanks for that info.
    Like you I mostly just make 2 cups at a time then maybe once a month I would make 4. so if its only waiting a couple of minutes that would be Ok. will try and find that Silvia place near here probably Kunda Park.

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    Re: to upgrade or not.

    cultivating a relationship with your local is a must. youll learn plenty from them, if theyre any good (eg you need a better grinder than the 0480 to get the most out of Silvia. The Lelit is less fussy)
    Quote Originally Posted by 24363E3B3825570 link=1318836685/17#17 date=1318985588
    will try and find that Silvia place near here

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    Re: to upgrade or not.

    Quote Originally Posted by 60565943655659545E5B5E580607370 link=1318836685/18#18 date=1318986150
    cultivating a relationship with your local is a must. youll learn plenty from them, if theyre any good (eg you need a better grinder than the 0480 to get the most out of Silvia. The Lelit is less fussy)
    Quote Originally Posted by 24363E3B3825570 link=1318836685/17#17 date=1318985588
    will try and find that Silvia place near here
    Just bought the 0480 last week! on recomendations from some on here. Are you saying its not good enough. Why?
    Looked on line for a Silvia place near here and havent found any.

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    Re: to upgrade or not.

    Quote Originally Posted by 283A323734295B0 link=1318836685/19#19 date=1318986923
    Just bought the 0480 last week! on recomendations from some on here. Are you saying its not good enough. Why?
    Looked on line for a Silvia place near here and havent found any.
    Dont panic, Im sure youll be happy with the results from the 0480.* WR is correct in that you can produce better results with a better grinder.* If you were in the position to compare the 0480 with a better grinder (e.g. Compak K3 or Mazzer Mini) you would definitely notice a difference.

    You would have been better off with a Breville Smart Grinder, I have seen them advertised in stores for as little as $180.* But the Silvia/0480 is a decent combo.




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    Re: to upgrade or not.

    Quote Originally Posted by 67757D787B66140 link=1318836685/19#19 date=1318986923
    Looked on line for a Silvia place near here and havent found any.
    hey mate. why dont you check out the deal that sponsor coffee parts have going? best price for a new silvia ive seen and cheap shipping too! (i know because im always craving a new machine and "window shopping" :))

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    Re: to upgrade or not.

    Quote Originally Posted by 55474F4A4954260 link=1318836685/15#15 date=1318985255
    If the BZ09 isnt imported any more they will probably run out of spares soon to making it obsolete. Didnt want to spend $900 anyway.
    Not really - the BZ09 shares a lot of its components with other Bezzera models. Its also not obsolete - the importers just wont be bringing this model in anymore - Silvia has this end of the market sewn up, despite any quality/value differences the Bezzera represents.

    But yeah, stick to your budget. Youll want to sneak a decent tamper in there too at some point, so best to save cash for a few of those type of essentials.

    Quote Originally Posted by 71474852744748454F4A4F491716260 link=1318836685/18#18 date=1318986150
    cultivating a relationship with your local is a must. youll learn plenty from them, if theyre any good.
    Not sure theyre that good WR! My own dealings with them havent been marked with greatness.

    Id weigh up the value of having a local agent vs the support and value a sponsor can bring to the table.



    Sailor, I guess the other thing that I should reiterate is that Im not trying to push you to a Silvia - Id hate you to be unhappy with your choice. You might get a somewhat better shot out of it (which will depend on a great number of variables!!) but you might get better consistency out of the Sunbeam. Maybe it wont reach god shot territory. Maybe it will.

    My point is that the right machine is the right machine for you.

    The BZ09 is definitely the right machine for me - but might not be for a great many others. I did a metric ton of research before making my decision. I put together a very pretty spreadsheet with pros and cons for the Lelit, Silvia, Bezzera and the Breville DB (gotta have an outlier in there).

    But its important to recognise that each pro and con while objectively true is subjectively of variable importance to the person purchasing.

    Purely on the spec, I thought the best options were:

    • BZ09
    • Lelit
    • Silvia
    • Breville DB


    In reality, due to the importance of certain factors to me personally, the list was really like this:

    • BZ09
    • Silvia
    • Lelit
    • Breville DB


    Why? Because the leaky steam wand that is typical of the Lelit feels like a bigger issue than it is. Thats all. Is that worth a couple of hundred dollars? It was to me. It isnt to others. Because objectively its not really a problem unless you like to leave your machine on a timer.

    Why the BZ? Because objectively speaking, there was no beating it for the money. An extra $100 over the cheapest price I could get on a Silvia for (as WR so rightly pointed out) 67% greater boiler capacity and the knowledge that it will outlast anything else in its class.



    How did I resolve all this? I went and had a demo of the BZ. Id also had the Silvia demoed (knowing that the Lelit would be nearly identical in operation - except perhaps a little less finicky, if common wisdom here is to be believed).

    After seeing them in person and in operation I had a good feel for whether it would suit me.

    You really need to see if you can see both in operation to determine if theyre a good fit for you.

    And then read every thread here that you can find on both. I mustve read hundreds.

    Who knows? Maybe the Sunbeam will turn out to be your machine after all. But its gotta be the right fit for you - not me or anyone else on the forum.

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    Re: to upgrade or not.

    Thanks heaps for the help guys. Found a local retailer here that sells the Silvia and a few others. so will have a look at the Silvia and the BZ sometime this week. As far as price goes they wanted $849 for the silvia, after a bit of hagling they said they can do me a 5% discount. I think with a bit more hagling I can get it closer to the $750 mark. They said they cant give me to much off that machine as they only get it from Brisbane themselves. will see what else they got, the plus will be dont have to pay postage!

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    Re: to upgrade or not.

    Make sure you get it demoed and a good tutorial on how to use it! Thatll be one of the biggest benefits of buying local.

    God knows if Chris hadnt demoed the BZ to me, Id almost certainly have extremely watery milk even now!

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    Re: to upgrade or not.

    Thanks for keeping us in the loop Sailor.

    Postage often isnt that much but if your retailer offers decent ongoing servicing, particularly if there are issues, that is valuable.

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    Re: to upgrade or not.

    just looked at the price of a Bezzera 09 not available but the BZ07 is, I assume its 1 level down from the BZ09 and its $2k. out of my league

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    Re: to upgrade or not.

    Yep - kelseys messing with you. bezzeras not in your equation unless theres still the 09 demos available.
    bz09 looks the same but is very different to the bz07 (HX machine) as Im sure kelseys about to say....

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    Re: to upgrade or not.

    how much were the 09 going for? in case I find a used one?

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    Re: to upgrade or not.



    Quote Originally Posted by 495B535655483A0 link=1318836685/28#28 date=1319000863
    how much were the 09 going for?
    Quote Originally Posted by 4E47574A4A4E4056250 link=1318836685/14#14 date=1318985014
    I got my BZ09 for well under $900
    that was a bargain. they were more like $1400 new

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    Re: to upgrade or not.

    Yep. The Bezzeras have a weird, weird naming convention.

    The BZ09 was the lowest on the totem pole - below the BZ07 and the BZ10. Go figure.

    Unless Wiffle doesnt accept his repair from Bezzera, as far as I know youd be unlikely to find an 09 from Bezzera. But you never know. Theyre in Brisbane and a sponsor, so it might be worth an email.

    Mine was a demonstrator machine that was serviced before being sold and came with a full 1 year warranty.

    Quote Originally Posted by 15232C3610232C212B2E2B2D7372420 link=1318836685/29#29 date=1319001201

    that was a bargain. they were more like $1400 new

    Yeah, I got an absolute bargain. Couldnt be happier.

    But now you know why theyre not bringing them in anymore. I couldnt have bought one at that price, no matter how good the machine is.

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    Re: to upgrade or not.

    Hey Kelsey, googled the BZ09 and they are available in Germany for $930 australian!

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    Re: to upgrade or not.

    With the strong $Aus a lot of EU stuff appears cheap ATM

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    Re: to upgrade or not.

    If you could get shipping cheaply enough and if the power supply could be converted cheaply enough (EU is on a 2-prong plug, I believe and we REALLY need 3-prong for proper earthing) then that could be a very good deal.

    Theres a couple of plusses the BZ has over the Silvia, to my mind. The bigger boiler is nice - as WR pointed out, thats 67% more steam power. And boy does it steam well. I only do one cup at a time, so no more that 150ml of milk, but its done in 5 - 10 seconds.

    The grouphead has heating elements that help maintain thermal stability in the pour. I can attest to the fact that I have very little trouble getting nice shots out of this machine. I did some temperature profiling on it and found that provided you take a few basic steps, you dont really need to temperature surf per-se.

    The drip tray is also huge, which is lovely - the Silvias drip tray is one of its enduring complaints.

    And it just looks like a weapon. Its quite deep tho - 42cm compared to Silvias 29cm. So although its not particularly wide or high (about the same as the Silvia) it does take up a fair bit of bench space.


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    Re: to upgrade or not.

    I think peety117 got an Isomac Venus imported for under $900 delivered. I dont know if a mod was required.

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    Re: to upgrade or not.

    I received a really interesting email last week. Long saga as I understand it...

    Seems the bloke decided to import a top end rotary pump prosumer machine from Europe. All shipped on a skid and everything!

    Also seems not to have arrived in the condition the bloke had hoped for and has taken quite a knock and has internal damage...

    The bloke has a EU warranty but is hoping the importer*will assist him. Just so happens to be the same importer who received an earful from our bloke because of a price difference.

    Interesting story... What would you do if you were the importer?* :-?

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    Re: to upgrade or not.

    Sovereign risk?

    Fair to say Id be reluctant to have any machine posted let alone from overseas where for all I know the business is about to go bust (along with half the banks in Europe)

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    Re: to upgrade or not.

    Quote Originally Posted by 0C393433071B373E3E3D3D580 link=1318836685/35#35 date=1319158247
    Interesting story... What would you do if you were the importer?* :-?
    Full Price Repair.

    They didnt sell the machine, Therefore, they are not under any obligation to honour any Guarantee/warrenty.

    If the consumer doesnt like it, He can send it back to Europe to get it fixed for "cheaper" :P

    Caveat Emptor applies in this case more then ever

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    Re: to upgrade or not.

    Its an EU warranty so he needs to go to the people he bought it from.* Pretty simple really. I wonder how he went about asking for warranty after giving the local importer an earful about cost?* :-?

    Nice set up Kelsey* :) might want to do something about those cups though.* A little out of place* on top of a machine like that.* Get some nice ceramics to match ;) Incasa wont break your bank (what Ive got) but if you got a few extra dollars go for the ACFs or Terra Keramik if you have money to burn.

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    Re: to upgrade or not.

    Ive got my eye on the Terras, those orange espresso cups look the biz. Not sure when tho - bank is still recovering from this purchase. ;)

    I did wind up with a nice naked PF with a custom wooden handle tho:



    As to importing, yep - its pretty much a given that unless youre dealing with an international company (like Apple) you cant expect your warranty to be covered outside the country of purchase. Bezzera dont bring in the BZ09 anymore, so if you had a hankering for that specific machine, import is the only way. I cant imagine it saving you money tho, once shipping and electrical conversion is taken care of.




  41. #41
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    Re: to upgrade or not.

    Quote Originally Posted by 10020C1A06630 link=1318836685/38#38 date=1319163985
    I wonder how he went about asking for warranty after giving the local importer an earful about cost?*
    Good thing I wasnt the importer* ;D


    Quote Originally Posted by 14392D3F3031363F192C1E392C3D580 link=1318836685/37#37 date=1319161987
    They didnt sell the machine, Therefore, they are not under any obligation to honour any Guarantee/warrenty.
    ...nor support, parts or a repair for that matter ;)

  42. #42
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    Re: to upgrade or not.

    Quote Originally Posted by 05303D3A0E123E37373434510 link=1318836685/40#40 date=1319172269
    ...nor support, parts or a repair for that matter ;)
    That too, But I would imagine it costs the company nothing to be gracious and allow the consumer to get his gear fixed at cost price.

    Maybe add a little extra for the 1d 10t surcharge? ;)

  43. #43
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    Re: to upgrade or not.

    Hey there what is a HX machine?
    have found another retailer in Melbourne that sells the Silvia for $679 including freight anywhere in Aus.

  44. #44
    TC
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    Re: to upgrade or not.

    HX = Heat eXchanger

  45. #45
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    Re: to upgrade or not.

    dumbo here! are you saying that some machines have a HX as well as a boiler. or are you referring to the HX being a thermoblock.

  46. #46
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    Re: to upgrade or not.

    I have another question, the silvia with its small boiler will it expand enough milk for 2-4 cuppas?

  47. #47
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    Re: to upgrade or not.

    HX has boiler to create steam, the brew water travels throught this boiler (in a tube) and gets heat from the water in the boiler, hence HX.

    Silvia would only steam for 2 cups (3 smalls at a stretch) at a time. then you need to refill boiler, let it come up to steam temp and go again.

    Do a google search for images for HX, dual boiler etc and you will get hydraulic diagrams so you can see how they work, much easier than trying to explain in words.

    cheers

  48. #48
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    Re: to upgrade or not.

    Thanks for that. I take it that not all machines have this. I was under the impression they were either thermoblock or boiler. So some of the boiler machines have the HX and some not. I gather the Silvia just has a boiler and no HX?

  49. #49
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    Re: to upgrade or not.

    Quote Originally Posted by 50424A4F4C51230 link=1318836685/47#47 date=1319182657
    So some of the boiler machines have the HX and some not. I gather the Silvia just has a boiler and no HX?
    Yes and Yes.

    Cheers

  50. #50
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    Re: to upgrade or not.

    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    Quote Originally Posted by 70626A6F6C71030 link=1318836685/47#47 date=1319182657
    I was under the impression they were either thermoblock or boiler
    Ill probably be corrected here (please do)

    most thermoblocks range from $200 - $700
    single boilers $500 - $1700
    double boilers $1300 - $2000+
    HX $1100 - $5000+

    the last two categories allow you to pour a shot and steam at the same time - necessary if you want fast quality coffee for many



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