Another newbie with first time buying questions...

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

#1: Post by slopefox »

Hello everybody,
My first post here. I decided to join since I been thinking about buying an espresso machine for years.
I have to start apologizing since I know you have gone through this dilemma with every single newcomer so I'm sorry for keeping beating the death horse. (not sure if you can say that anymore in that case apologies for that too)

The way it goes is I start considering something "inexpensive" (i.e. Breville barista pro) then I start doing the research and I see all the cons of that type of machine and move on to the next level (i.e. basic prosumer) then I think "well, if I'm going to spend all that money I might just go double boiler so I don't have to upgrade any time soon" and then it gets so overwhelming that I talk myself off completely.
So this time I decided to pursue this until I buy my stuff.

I normally drink plain espresso (or at this time just brewed black coffee) no much milk drink (but once in a while I might since I'll have frothing equipped machine).

So I was lately looking at the Bezzera BZ13 as a possible candidate (I liked the PID and the quick heating time) then I was suggested the Lucca x58 (Quick Mill).
Since then I saw some posts (I think it was here) where somebody said for black straight espresso makes more sense to go the DB route rather than the HX (HX don't seem to be very popular on this forum :P ). Especially one user that bought that machine and soon after got relegated to his second home since he upgraded to a DB.

So I did some research on the M58 instead (pretty much same machine but DB) until I found one (yes just one but...) kind of horror story with that machine being very wrong (for this person) and since returning it or getting local service would not be an option for me that made me nervous.

So I found the Profitec 600 was on the same price range and only seen good things about Profitec. But then I found somebody highlighting all the down sides of a DB vs. HX and ended up at the beginning once again. Apparently the DB ability of being able to pull back to back "americanos/Lattes" is very limited due to the size of the boilers

Can you help me decide between one of these three machines considering I'll be the only user having mostly a couple of espressos in the morning and another couple on afternoons (with the occasional friend visit where I might need to pull 2/3 drinks back to back).
I know there are other brands/models like Lelit but they go around (or over) the $3000 which is way more than I want to spend. (I started with a budget of $1500 and II'm now around the $2700/$3000 grinder included).
Thanks in advance,

User avatar
Jeff
Team HB

#2: Post by Jeff »

Welcome to H-B

Let's back up a bit first.

Have you already decided on a grinder? If so, which one? If not what is your total budget?

Do you expect to stick with traditional espresso or do you think you'll be exploring some of the flavors in lighter roasted coffee?

For someone getting started in the hobby of espresso, a good lever machine like a Cafelat Robot or Flair 58 with a good quality hand grinder can be a great place to start. There are lots of inexpensive ways to make frothed milk for an occasional cappuccino or latte.

Your overall budget may end up suggesting something other than the models you're looking at right now.

User avatar
another_jim
Team HB

#3: Post by another_jim »

The minimum cost dual boilers, the Breville and the Lelit Elizabeth, are both popular here. They have fairly small steam boilers (.75 to 1 liter), but they can pressurize up to 2 bar, so they steam as well as a 1.5 to 2 liter HX. The advantage of these is that you can go for a better grinder than if you paid $750 more for the Pro 600. The other one in this class, the Silvia Pro, doesn't seem to get as many thumbs up as the Lelit or BDB.
Jim Schulman

slopefox (original poster)

#4: Post by slopefox (original poster) replying to another_jim »

Hi Jim ,
I understand (from what I read) that is very common to under estimate the importance of the grinder, seems to be a very common newbie mistake. My thoughts are that if I don't get into this "hobby" it might be easier to get the money back from the machine, and if I do, then upgrading the grinder would be easier than the other way around. I sure feel better at throwing away $400 from the older grinder than $1500 from getting the "wrong" machine.
I might be wrong though...

slopefox (original poster)

#5: Post by slopefox (original poster) »

Jeff wrote:Welcome to H-B

Let's back up a bit first.

Have you already decided on a grinder? If so, which one? If not what is your total budget?

Do you expect to stick with traditional espresso or do you think you'll be exploring some of the flavors in lighter roasted coffee?

For someone getting started in the hobby of espresso, a good lever machine like a Cafelat Robot or Flair 58 with a good quality hand grinder can be a great place to start. There are lots of inexpensive ways to make frothed milk for an occasional cappuccino or latte.

Your overall budget may end up suggesting something other than the models you're looking at right now.
Hmmm,
Don't know what happened to my reply, anyway the short version of what I typed (and never posted seems like) is...
The idea is to stay below the $3000 for both, as far as grinder I'm thinking on the Sette 270, seems to do the trick and if I really get into this upgrade to something better in a year or so.

I think I might try different roasts to see what they bring to the game.

As far as those manual presses not sure how they would work for me since I live at altitude and water boils at a lower temperature so I guess having a machine that pressurizes the hot water might be better but I'm not sure about that.

Starspawn2318

#6: Post by Starspawn2318 »

The Breville dual boiler would be a phenomenal place to start. Nice idea. Nice pre-infusion options, nice temp control, quick warm up. Nice for all types of espresso so you can experiment. You can grow into it and it's not so expensive that when you one day you want to upgrade it's an issue. Plenty of extra money for the grinder.

The Sette 270 is pretty nice as an entry level espresso grinder. Loud but thats okay, its well regarded for what it is. Nothing wrong with it to start with and again you wont feel too bad about upgrading in the future and if you get deep into the hobby you probably will want to do so.

Sounds like a reasonable plan and you can do it well under the 3,000 budget.

User avatar
Jeff
Team HB

#7: Post by Jeff »

The grinder will often be the limiting link after the coffee. The Sette 270 will do a good job with classic espresso. If you can find a used Niche Zero at a comparable price, I think that is a lot more enjoyable to use and a bit better in the cup. People seem to be upgrading from the Niche Zero relatively often right now because there are new shiny objects for them to lust after. Another good grinder for maybe three or 4 cups at a time is the Option-O Lagom Mini. A good hand grinder like a 1Zpresso K-series is a little less expensive. A good hand grinder typically will do a good job with espresso up through medium roast and filter at any roast level. (Light-roast espresso with a hand grinder can be a bit of a work out.)

Depending on your altitude, espresso may be a challenge no matter what. I don't have any problem at 2000 feet of altitude (98° C). I understand that it can be more of a challenge at 5 to 10,000 feet.

If feasible, something like a Robot or a Flair 58 with a grinder of your choice, I think is going to be a good way to see if you even enjoy making your own espresso.

Working within a $2,500-3,000 budget and figuring the grinder of around $500, machines that I would look at and there are probably others include:
* Lelit Mara X
* Lelit Elizabeth
* Breville BDB

The Profitec Pro 600 I think is a very good machine. I'm not sure that it would give you the kind of differences in the cup that you would see spending an additional 500 or $1000 on a grinder. That said, it's hard to pick a reasonable upper range grinder without knowing what your taste are going to be in espresso ahead of time.

slopefox (original poster)

#8: Post by slopefox (original poster) »

Thanks again Jeff,
It seems like the BDB is quite a favorite around here, for some reason, may be because I started looking at the barista series, I tend to put it on the same ballpark since they look similar and the barista seems to be catalogued as a quite entry level "appliance".
It seems like I need to go back to the drawing board and do more research on the BDB.

gobucks

#9: Post by gobucks »

I think with your drink preferences (mostly black espresso, occasional milk) I wonder if a single boiler might be better- for example, the Profitec Go is $1000 for a PID controlled single boiler from a reputable company. You definitely want PID (HX machines don't count unless it's the Mara X), as temperature control is crucial when you don't have milk to mask defects. Otherwise, the aforementioned Mara X and double boilers should all fit your needs, and would certainly be a lot more pleasant to use, it would just leave less budget for grinder.

As for grinders, the options available under $1000 have gotten much better recently, so you have a lot of options. If you want to play around with different coffees, you probably want a single doser, rather than one of the more traditional Italian hopper-centric ones. A used Niche Zero, a Lagom Mini, a DF64 or DF83, Niche Duo, or Timemore Sculptor 078S would leave plenty in your budget for one of the double boilers. You might even be able to get a top-end 64mm flat grinder, like the Zerno or Lagom P64, but it would likely be maxing out your budget.

LittleCoffee

#10: Post by LittleCoffee »

Hey there
The hardest thing about getting started is knowing what your priorities are. People always translate that into a "which machine" first post, but as Jeff says important to back up and think about what you really need.

For you the questions I think are:
1. Do you want the ability to steam milk? If not then a dual boiiler is quite possibly overkill and you can save money getting something else..

2. How likely are you to want to try medium and lighter roasts? If you do then the Sette 270 may be a frustration.

For me, I wrote this out as my first post: Choosing an Espresso Machine Rationally

1.5y in I am very, very happy with my Izzo Duetto IV and Sette 270Wi combo. I don't know what machines in this range do these days but for the choice I had to make the Izzo has been fantastic, and I'm confident it will have more longevity than the other alternatives. But I lucked out - I drink cappuccinos half the time and so far I've found anything lighter than than a dark roast to not be something I enjoy much which I didn't really know when starting out. I didn't know these were the things I wanted prior to starting out.

If I was going again I'd think hard about a Linea Micra, though that is a bit above your budget. I've learned to live with a cheap timer and an E61 that takes 30 mins+ to get up to temp. Every now and again I also have a wonder at the lever machine section of this forum but I still like the simplicity of my Duetto.

Good luck!