$3500 Upgrade from Elektra Microcasa a Leva

Recommendations for buyers and upgraders from the site's members.
neruson

#1: Post by neruson »

Hey guys,

I am looking to replace my faulty Elektra Microcasa a leva and upgrade to a better and more consistent espresso machine.
Budget is USD $3500.

I normally have 2 lattes in the morning and then another 2-4 americano type/ milk-based drinks throughout the rest of the day (split between my wife and me). This is pretty consistent everyday as we both work online from home.

I need a machine capable of steaming and brewing at the same time without it affecting steam power and brew pressure.
I'm open to a semi-automatic or lever style. If it's a lever style I really need something consistent that isn't as sensitive or nuanced as the MCAL.

My grinder is a Eureka Atom Specialty 65 (would this be suitable for a machine at this price point?)

Main machines on my list are the Profitec Pro 700, ECM Synchronika, Bezzera Duo/Matrix and Crem One Profiler. Feels like the more I research the harder the decision, so would love your feedback on these machines or any suggestions for other machines that may suit my requirements.

Please also let me know if I've forgotten any details.

Thanks!

walr00s
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#2: Post by walr00s »

It sounds like you are certain you want to steam milk while the shot is brewing, in which case non-programmatic flow control won't be of much use to you. Have you looked at the Lelit Elizabeth (programmatic pre-infusion DB) or any of the La Spaziale machines?

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Jeff
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#3: Post by Jeff »

I'm interpreting "steam at the same time" to mean "can steam right after pulling a shot and then pull another shot", otherwise, as walr00s points out, you'll need either a spring lever or a volumetric or gravimetric semiautomatic.

I'd consider the Bianca along with the ECM/Profitec, as well as one or more of the big-group spring levers. I don't know the spring-lever models too well, but I would imagine there are some great options within your price range.

baldheadracing
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#4: Post by baldheadracing »

AFAIK, the pressure-profiling in the Crem is programmable so steaming while pulling shouldn't be an issue.

Manual flow-profiling while steaming can't be as easily done, but "ghosting" the steam pitcher works just fine if there is enough room. (Ghosting means placing the steam wand in a stationary steam pitcher such that all one has to do is turn the steam on and then off. It works great for latté art milk; but doesn't if you want separated foam.)

Note that you should look at steam boiler capacity/pressure if you're going to pull multiple milk drinks. I don't follow machines that much anymore so I can't comment on the machines that you are looking at, but some double boilers' steam boilers seem awfully small to me.

Note also that warm-up time will be longer compared to an MCaL ... and you will notice that the steam may well not be as 'dry.

Good luck!

neruson (original poster)

#5: Post by neruson (original poster) »

walr00s wrote:It sounds like you are certain you want to steam milk while the shot is brewing, in which case non-programmatic flow control won't be of much use to you. Have you looked at the Lelit Elizabeth (programmatic pre-infusion DB) or any of the La Spaziale machines?
Ah sorry, I didn't word that right. Steaming at the same time as brewing is actually not that important. What I mean is that I want to be able to switch between brewing and steaming without waiting for brew temps to recover in between. So a HX or Dual Boiler type machine is what I meant.

neruson (original poster)

#6: Post by neruson (original poster) »

Jeff wrote:I'm interpreting "steam at the same time" to mean "can steam right after pulling a shot and then pull another shot", otherwise, as walr00s points out, you'll need either a spring lever or a volumetric or gravimetric semiautomatic.

I'd consider the Bianca along with the ECM/Profitec, as well as one or more of the big-group spring levers. I don't know the spring-lever models too well, but I would imagine there are some great options within your price range.
Yes, that's exactly what I meant! Should have phrased that better.

I have been looking at the Bianca for a really long time actually, even before considering an upgrade. But the recent WLL comparison video has me questioning workmanship and quality of parts - I'm aware the video is extremely biased and actually unfair but somehow it's drawn me away from it. Someone convince me otherwise? :P

As for the ECM/Profitec machines, I find it difficult to choose between them. I prefer the look of the synchronika slightly over the profitec but are we down to looks as differentiating factors between these two or is there something regarding features that I'm missing?

neruson (original poster)

#7: Post by neruson (original poster) »

baldheadracing wrote:AFAIK, the pressure-profiling in the Crem is programmable so steaming while pulling shouldn't be an issue.

Manual flow-profiling while steaming can't be as easily done, but "ghosting" the steam pitcher works just fine if there is enough room. (Ghosting means placing the steam wand in a stationary steam pitcher such that all one has to do is turn the steam on and then off. It works great for latté art milk; but doesn't if you want separated foam.)

Note that you should look at steam boiler capacity/pressure if you're going to pull multiple milk drinks. I don't follow machines that much anymore so I can't comment on the machines that you are looking at, but some double boilers' steam boilers seem awfully small to me.

Note also that warm-up time will be longer compared to an MCaL ... and you will notice that the steam may well not be as 'dry.

Good luck!
I incorrectly phrased the whole "steaming and brewing at the same time". What I meant was I need something that won't require me waiting between shots.

Thanks for the advice on steam boiler capacity and pressure. I'll keep an eye on these specs.

Warm up time isn't too much of an issue, but may consider a timer at the plug if the machine I get doesn't have the auto on/off feature.

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maxbmello

#8: Post by maxbmello »

If you want to stick with levers, I would suggest looking at any of the commercial group machines - pro 800, londinium, izzo, ACS, etc. Should meet all of your workflow requirements and would imagine it wouldn't be as finicky as your elektra.

I haven't shopped for a machine lately, but I think all would be around your budget

baldheadracing
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#9: Post by baldheadracing »

neruson wrote:I incorrectly phrased the whole "steaming and brewing at the same time". What I meant was I need something that won't require me waiting between shots.

Thanks for the advice on steam boiler capacity and pressure. I'll keep an eye on these specs.

Warm up time isn't too much of an issue, but may consider a timer at the plug if the machine I get doesn't have the auto on/off feature.
Ahh. You can ignore what I wrote :lol: .

FWIW, I don't think that you have to worry about steam boiler capacity if you do the steaming and pulling sequentially. I'd guess that pretty much all machines in the price range that you're looking at can handle that pace of workflow. It is, for example, at a dinner party where one has to make multiple drinks, that stuff like boiler recovery matters.

Also, FWIW, I think that the WLL video on the Pro 700 vs. Bianca is full of ****. The two 1-st Line response videos are a tiny bit better. Between the three, you might find some truth in all the mud-slinging. Just my opinion - I've never dealt with either vendor, and I've never owned a machine from either ECM/Profitec or Lelit.

BruceWayne
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#10: Post by BruceWayne »

neruson wrote:I have been looking at the Bianca for a really long time actually, even before considering an upgrade. But the recent WLL comparison video has me questioning workmanship and quality of parts - I'm aware the video is extremely biased and actually unfair but somehow it's drawn me away from it. Someone convince me otherwise? :P
I would say that the WLL video convinced me never to purchase anything from them. It's hard to understand putting out a fairly biased comparison that has the potential to offend future customers, but they did.

As far as build quality, Profitec/ECM machines appear to have superior build. Since I haven't seen one in person, I use "appear", but I think that it's likely true. The build of the Bianca isn't poor or low quality in my opinion, and after a certain point, better build quality doesn't really gain you anything. In the case of these machines, I think they are all past that point. In terms of features that aren't build quality, the fact that the video WLL put out doesn't say much says to me that they couldn't make a case in those areas.

30 mL/s max flow rate isn't a very good argument in favor of their flow control unit. :D A definite case of a capability that doesn't gain you anything. It just means that you can open the valve way beyond its useful range.

I'd recommend finding a dealer that sells both machines, and getting an opinion. Both WLL and 1st-line have an inherent conflict of interest.