$5000 budget: Which espresso machine?

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

#1: Post by poison »

History: I've been in the coffee business for 20 years, as a barista, a roaster, and consumer.

Gear progression: Krups>Gaggia>Expobar Pulser> Astra Pro
Capresso>Solis Maestro>Mazzer Super Jolly> Fiorenzato Doge Conical

Current setup: Astra Pro and Fiorenzato Doge Conical Titan

Of course everyone gets the upgrade bug frequently, but I've been so satisfied with my Astra Pro's over-achieving capabilities, coupled with the Fiorenzato, that the upgrade bug has kind of left me alone with it for 11 years. But I've been thinking about it, and wondering what's out there that fits my unique, or weird, needs and desires:

1) Most importantly, it has to pull a better shot than the Astra. I don't feel like your typical $2-3k machines will brew better shots; they will only provide more convenience, features, complexity, and reproducibility. I know lever machines might, but I don't have a lever-suitable space. So what, Elektra Sixties? La Cimbali JR? LM Micra? Speedster/Slayer (RIP budget lol).

2) I'm not sold on dual boilers for my needs. As a roaster, I like to brew multiple coffees in one session for QC purposes, and I'm just fine utilizing the HX temp surfing to allow me to adjust parameters quickly; I feel like a dual boiler would be cumbersome in my case.

3) A rotary pump would be nice for noise/refinement but not critical; reservoir is fine, maybe preferred, too.

4) I'm more the 'analogue' type of guy than the 'digital' type. Something like the Decent doesn't really appeal to me. I can play with my Spinn app if I want to do that.

5) Cabinet height is probably the average 17in, so no full-on commercial stuff above that height.



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#2: Post by TomC »

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poison (original poster)

#3: Post by poison (original poster) replying to TomC »

Definitely on the list. Obviously a nicer machine, and top tier build quality, but will it pull a better shot? It's kind of hard, few people have used all of these machines at this level.

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#4: Post by buckersss »

How about an Olympia Cremina? It's a lever, but since it's not a spring, it shouldn't interfere with opening cabinets while not in use. Other than the lever protruding, it's footprint isn't that big.

poison (original poster)

#5: Post by poison (original poster) »

I would seriously consider a Cremina or londinium, but the space requirements are an issue. I should post a pic of the area so you can see.

poison (original poster)

#6: Post by poison (original poster) »

You can see its positioned at the entrance to the kitchen, where a lever would interfere with both the walkway and cupboard.


#7: Post by boren »

Continued from another thread....
poison wrote:Oh snap, thank you! It's 1/8 of an in clearance for me!

Now, Bianca or Micra? :D
With that level of clearance I don't thing the Bianca is an option. The cup warmer area would be too close to your cupboard and will probably trap heat.

The Micra is not as tall, so if you're ok with the lack of flow control and overall features, value etc, it's the better choice. I have to admit I don't personally get the appeal of this machine.

poison (original poster)

#8: Post by poison (original poster) »

Well, I think the upper would be half under and half past the cupboard, so it might be OK.

I'm on the fence about flow profiling. Bottom line is it doesn't offend me, won't hurt to have, and might be some thing I grow to love. The Micra kind of suits me better, but I just wonder if it won't need more upkeep than the Bianca, and of course it costs $800 more.

Ben Z.

#9: Post by Ben Z. »

I remember seeing astras in like every Italian bakery in CT/MA. Good machines. I think if you want a big step up you'll need to go with one of the new, fancier machines with profiling, etc.

That being said, I could hook you up with my Elektra 60s if you are interested. Rotary pump is nice, otherwise, the bigger advantage is probably just that it looks way cooler.


#10: Post by Primacog »

I used to have an izzo pompei my kitchen which was smaller than your kitchen. Needless to say, a single group izzo pompei is far bigger and heavier than most home based espresso machines but I never found it to be a problem.

The lever arm did block the upper cabinet door that was directly above it but it was no big deal - if I needed to access it, I merely pulled the lever down (keeping my hand on tbe lever just in the case I accidentally jogged it and released it while I was opening or closing the door of that cabinet).

5k gives you a lot of room to play with and many worthy machines to be considered. Since you want a machine that will elevate your espresso experience over what you already have and you seem to be partial to spring levers, I can speak from experience about the Nurri L-type SA spring lever as I took delivery of mine a couple of weeks ago. Since then I have been making the best espresso and lattes I have ever been able to make and more easily too - even compared to my izzo pompei that I had to sell to make way for it. You can control the temperature for the grouphead, brew boiler and steam boiler and you can control the level of preinfusion pressure that is supplied by a rotary pump. Ther are two paddles that you can use to vent the grouphead to end the shot or to switch on the rotary pump. The machine is consequently very versatile and it has the same la san marco type design for lever grouphead that the izzo employs. Furthermore it is a real looker.
I had another look at your photo of your kitchen and the countertop does look rather shallow. Personally i would always prefer a lever macbine but if the size is a problem you could consider the Nurri GTO pressure profiling pump machine. It has a tiny footprint and has not only got double boilers but also a saturated group head.
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