Advantages of E61 espresso machine - Page 2

Recommendations for buyers and upgraders from the site's members.
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#11: Post by Mat-O-Matic »

Rather than debate E61 as obsolete or what have you, the OP question is: what does an E61 machine (like the Profitec 400) offer as benefit over a Profitec GO?

One answer is that, because E61 is old, with plentiful parts, and reliable espresso production over decades, it can deliver a higher performance, often with better quality parts at a lower (relative) price point. This is hinted at above in terms of serviceability, but also translates into bang for buck. A $1,600 E61 is likely to offer durability and quality over a $1,600 Other Thing. There is a reason most double boiler machines are much more expensive, and a few are not. The GO--like the Gaga Classic and a Silvia--is a single boiler machine which brings several inherent restrictions to use and challenges to quality in the cup. A short amount of hands-on time with a non single boiler would make the benefits apparent.

Economical E61s like the Profitec, ECM Classica Special, Anita, Apartmento, Mara X, etc., would all offer substantial build quality, ability to produce good espresso, and steam easily vs single boiler machines. I don't know the Pro 300, but similar machines make sense to consider over the GO. I recently had delicious shots brewed on an Ascaso Duo. Lots of people love some of the Breville machines. There are great levers like the MCaL or Robot.

As written above, there are many worthwhile upgrade paths from a single boiler, and things like build quality, ease of use, and the aesthetics and features that appeal to the OP can guide those decisions.

The linked E61 article was a fun read. Here's another one:
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#12: Post by oscarnyc (original poster) »

OP here. Thank you all for giving me some good things to ponder. I've spent the last week in the rabbit hole of all the permutations of machines, benefits / drawbacks.

I think the GO is more than a lateral move from the GC. Yes they are both round group head SBDU machines, but the GO improves in every way to address many of the GC drawbacks - larger boiler, PID, pressure gauge, easily adjustable OPV. In practical terms, it will deliver more consistent shots and faster/better frothing, and the ability to easily sample a range of temps and pressure and there effect on the coffee. All without mods and various temp surfing type workarounds and guesswork.

That said, I'm also drawn to the e61 machines. The tactile experience, the standardization which allows for all type of add-ons, the growth curve of learning to master the process. From a practical standpoint, I think ill really appreciate the efficiency of being able to froth simultaneously and more effectively.

After much research I'm leaning towards the ECM Mechanika V slim. With the intro of the VI the V has come down into my price point. The build quality and design are excellent and should be both durable and relatively easy to self service. Its more chrome-ey than id like, but it seems these machines are all a similar look. Other than the Rocket which seem to get mixed reviews on reliability and serviceability. Plus it kills me that they are 30-40% more in the US than Europe. Whereas the ECM are more like 10-20%.

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#13: Post by boren »

If your tendency is to go with E61 despite the many disadvantages that's fine, but why make temperature stability even worse by choosing a HX machine like the Mechanika and not a dual boiler one like the Profitec Pro 600 or ACS Minima? Price is not that different, but value is.

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#14: Post by russel »

As someone who has rebuilt/restored a lot of machines I'd like give the e61 a +1 for value as a used/2nd hand machine. A simple e61 HX from a quality manufacturer offers a lot of shot pulling value with modest risk of high repair costs. With the simple addition of a group thermometer and an openness to flushing it can churn out good espresso to meet most people's' tastes. Doing a lot with less complexity has its value, and although a manual lever does this better, the humble e61 HX deserves to be appreciated in this way too.
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oscarnyc (original poster)
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#15: Post by oscarnyc (original poster) »

Boren, in the US the price difference between the Mechanika and the Pro 600 is substantial - around $800, or almost 50% more. The Minima may be a good machine (or perhaps not) but for whatever reason (the unusual appearance?) it is not a well known machine in the US and would have little support and terrible resale.

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#16: Post by mrgnomer »

Because of the big nose thermomass of the e61 the flush temp surfing with a single boiler HX is a good, kind of before it's time, design. The HX offers a fresh water source for the extraction. Plumb one in with a good filter system and there's a continuous supply to add the option of line pressure preinfusion. Very flexible hands on of you're ok with that.

There's also a difference, IMHO, from temperature control and stability. The e61 is pretty stable, I believe. Controlling the extraction temperature is the harder part with such an influential thermomass and circulating superheated heat exchange line running through. If you want precise control in a wide temperature range there's better designs. I ball parked flush/rebound timed with an e61 HX for years and did pretty pretty well.
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