Buying Advice - ECM/Decent/Lelit

Recommendations for buyers and upgraders from the site's members.
Aflick
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#1: Post by Aflick »

I have been lurking around the last few months reading up on espresso machines. I am ready to pull the trigger but I thought I would reach out for last minute input as I am struggling with the decision. I have information overload right now and I can't find anybody local (retailers) that have these machines.

Background - For the past 8 years, I have been using a super automatic (Saeco Xelsis) and it's on it's last legs. It's been struggling for a few years, but I have been too cheap (until now) to replace it. I drink mostly milk based drinks and my wife drinks some espresso shots but mostly americano type drinks.

Research - I have really narrowed down the search to 3 machines (ECM Synronika, Decent DE1PRO and Lelit Bianca). Due to the addition of flow control to the ECM and the price increase on the Lelit, I have somewhat shied-way from the Lelit.

Thoughts - All 3 of these machines have so many pros, I am going to focus on the cons that are holding me up on making a decision.

ECM
-Mostly manual
-Warm up times (it sounds like you used to be able to run in 20amp mode, but this is no longer available)

Decent
-No cup warmer
-Can't pull shots and steam milk at the same time
-Build quality concerns (debatable)
-Steam Power (?) - I have read multiple conflicting opinions on the steam power...although it seems like the majority of folks think it has plenty of power.

I think my wife my would prefer the Decent due to the warm up times and the ability to push a button to pull shots. I think I would prefer the ECM due to the manual control and I think this machine is built like a tank and should be useable long term. The Decent would be nice for trips though (the portability would make it nice when we could carry it).

For those of you who have had the Decent and sold it, can you tell me why and what you bought instead?

Any other thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

kidloco

#2: Post by kidloco »

Look at you :)

I had all three machines! :mrgreen:

Lelit/ECM ECM is bigger, better built, more expensive, and has a weird PID control panel. I warm it up 45 min. The steam is AMAZING, put boiler close to or at 2 bar, and wow. Lelit, stock option has a pressure profile, more traditional look, compact (but that means not that good layout inside) cheaper.

I don't know - my brain says to save money take V3 Bianca. Emotions pull towards Sync, it looks and feels great.

Decent - if you are really into experimenting. It is not a magic machine, sounds weird, tablet is absolute trash, and it can pull you down the rabbit hole and make you anxious about looking at graphics and thinking about what to change. It is small and convenient. It is not for everyone, I adored it for 6 months then hated it.

just my 2c
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BaristaBoy E61

#3: Post by BaristaBoy E61 »

Any machine, even those 'built like a tank' will require regular maintenance and repairs.

Be advised - you will be drafted into 'service'! :mrgreen:
"You didn't buy an Espresso Machine - You bought a Chemistry Set!"

Plinyyounger

#4: Post by Plinyyounger »

Haha, this ^^^^^^
Big 98mm flat grinder, been there done that, sold it. I’m happy now.

Aflick (original poster)
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#5: Post by Aflick (original poster) »

kidloco wrote:I don't know - my brain says to save money take V3 Bianca. Emotions pull towards Sync, it looks and feels great.
From what I am seeing, the price difference is only about $60 so saving money is not really a factor.

Aflick (original poster)
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#6: Post by Aflick (original poster) »

BaristaBoy E61 wrote:Any machine, even those 'built like a tank' will require regular maintenance and repairs.

Be advised - you will be drafted into 'service'! :mrgreen:
Less electronics seems like it would yield easier maintenance. I don't mind maintenance items. These all seem less complicated than the super automatic I have now and have unfortunately had to take apart once or twice.

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Jeff
Team HB

#7: Post by Jeff »

The Bianca outside of the US seems to be priced significantly lower than the Synchronika. In the US, they are similar in price.

HH

#8: Post by HH »

I considered all of the machines you have listed and ended up going with the Decent. I don't know whether it's helpful to share my thought process in terms of choosing between them but I've had my DE1+ for almost two years and still absolutely love it.

To address a couple of issues, I would say the build quality is fantastic. It's really, really good! I'm not sure where the build quality concerns have come from, but I can't find any issues on my machine. If anything going wrong or you need help servicing or fixing an issue, Decent are fantastic, their customer service and support really are second to none. The nice thing about Decent as a company (and this really attracted me to the machine), is that they are constantly researching, developing and innovating. Any improvements they make are almost always retrofittable, so your machine is always able to be brought up to the latest spec if they make any improvements to the platform.

I also really like the tablet. I can't think of a better solution for the 'brains' of a coffee machine than for them to be in a separately-housed tablet as opposed to baked in to the machine. It can be replaced if it breaks, is easy to use, and if you don't like the one they provide or want to use a larger/higher spec tablet you can just switch them over.

I also like the portability of the machine, and the fact it has both automated profile settings you can programme as well as fully-manual control. I couldn't find a machine that suited my needs better, and would buy it again if I was making the same choice today.

The only issue I can see with the DE1 is that some may not like the way it looks, which is a valid concern as you have to look at it every day and if it's aesthetics don't float your boat it's going to be difficult to get around. Having said that they are offering a run of powder-coated cases as well as offering a transparent option.

SandraF

#9: Post by SandraF »

@kidloco- why do you think the Synchronika's has a weird PID panel?

The only thing I'd change about the PID panel is to move it up higher so I can see it better! Lol.

kidloco

#10: Post by kidloco »

Wow. So Synchronika in Singapore is 4700 SGD, Bianca is around 3200-3300 SGD so for us is a 900+ USD difference.

Regarding the PID panel in order to go into temp change mode, you have to press to buttons at the same time, I always need to do at 2-3 times to go into the menu, and then if you do not react it goes out of the menu in like 1,5 seconds.