CCX1 upgrade, La Spaziale the best choice?

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

#1: Post by calmcoffee »

I've had my Crosslands Coffee CCX-1 and Mazzer Super Jolly since early 2016, my first foray into espresso. The CCX-1 broke a while back, and although I ordered some new parts for it, I haven't been able to revive it. I think moving to Phoenix with super hard water and getting lazy about water quality killed it. That said, I think it's time to upgrade anyway. I think I've been making decent espresso with it that I prefer to the local coffee shops. That said, it completely falls apart any time we have guests over that all want milk drinks. It's been a few months since the CCX-1 died, and as I've transitioned to working from home 3/5 of the week, I'm badly missing my daily espresso, and would like to get a new machine.

As far as needs and wants, a model with a tank is fairly needed. The water out of the tap here is truly terrible, and we already have an under-sink RO system, filtered pitcher, etc. While I have the room to plumb something in, I really don't want to maintain two separate filter systems. Although we don't have guests over too often, my wife won't drink espresso without milk. I'm extremely tired of waiting for steam with the CCX-1, waiting for it to cool back down, etc. I think that leaves a DB machine as the best choice. From the aesthetic side, not only do I dislike the E61 look, my wife would not be thrilled with a machine that "looks like plumbing under the sink".

Espresso-wise, I like to keep it simple. Although likely heretical here, I stopped worrying about weighing things long ago, mostly due to making similar drinks day after day. I typically use a naked PF and a triple basket, and err towards ristrettos. I occasionally try a new coffee, but my go-to remains Red Bird Coffee Espresso or their "Blue Jaguar" blend. I've dabbled with single origins, but never found any to my liking. This leaves me with a very simple workflow where I know how much to grind, use the WDT with my decade old cut-up yogurt container, tamp, and pull, bumping the adjustment on the SJ one way or the other so the next shot is just a little better.

I'd say budget-wise, I'm looking to stay well under 3k USD. I don't believe I have the skills (nor desire to spend the time) to get the most out of a machine like a GS3.

It seems like there's not a ton that match up with my needs/wants around the 2k range. The LMLM seems to match most of my criteria, but is pretty expensive. There's some Profitec machines, but they all have the E61/"exposed plumbing" that's a no-go. I ran into the Decent machines earlier today, but I think I'd find the experience lacking. My friends and family call me a coffee snob, but I don't think I'd like spending the time to actually experiment with the DE1's. There's the Breville DB, but I'm not a fan of the cheap plastic, nor knowing that it's likely not going to be reliable long-term.

As such, I _think_ I've decided on the La Spaziale Vivaldi II Mini. It looks good, is a DB, doesn't seem to require cooling flushes or specific timing like an HX would (ok, maybe it needs a "warming" flush or two), and has a tank. I'm also considering the Dream T, which appears to be largely the same machine except with a touchscreen. I'd prefer the buttons, but it seems stock and shipments are a bit of an issue now, so I think I'd take either (or the Lucca A53 if everything else is out). I know it's an older design, but I don't think I'd use the newer stuff like Flow Control even if it had it. The biggest con I see is the 53mm portafilter, which will require a new tamper, new naked PF, and new baskets. I don't have _that_ many accessories, so not a deal-breaker. While I'm at it, I'll likely also grab the more accurate screen and baskets from IMS, as it seems that will help to eliminate the occasional channeling/spraying with the naked PF, something I've been able to reduce over time but never fully eliminate (over time, not per shot).

Lots of text above, but I hope that gives an overview of my thinking thus far. Anyone have comments on whether or not I'm missing another option, or an area where my thinking is off?

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Jeff
Team HB

#2: Post by Jeff »

From what I've read, the La Spaziale seems like one good option. It seems well-regarded by those that have or have had one, advice, parts, and service are available through a dealer like Chris Coffee, and it's not crazy expensive.

Though I have yet to be able to try one myself, the Lelit Elizabeth may be another machine that meets your needs. I'd take a look at that.

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Doolittlej
Supporter ♡

#3: Post by Doolittlej »

I have owned a La spaziale Vivaldi II fort 14 years (similar to the mini except for tank vs plumbed in). It has been a good machine, but I think your comment on the need for all new accessories is spot on. There are lots of options with 58 mm that perform as well as the mini. While many are the E61 some look better than others. Lelit Bianca might fit your needs and the wood accents improve the look.

CamBam_HB

#4: Post by CamBam_HB »

I think you are right on - The LS Mini vivaldi II (and its variants) is very much going to meet all your requirements.
As far as accessories are concerned, yes its a bummer to move to 53mm, but there is a decent community for accessories and such.

If you want some others to consider that are not E61 based - The Rancilio Silvia Pro and the Lelit Elizabeth would fit the bill. Both are DB, saturated group, 58mm group heads and a have a large community for parts and support.

Lastly, as someone that has used a LS MVII for over a decade and just moved to an e61, these are the features I miss from the MVII

- Drip Tray size - Most of the modern units have a drip tray size that is around 1.5L or less vs 2.5L of the LS. You will be cleaning the drip tray more often with these other machines unless it has the option for a drain kit (which the MVII also has).
- Low water indicator - the LS has a indicator that shows you are low with water, while allowing you to complete your shot. (this may be to just ECM) - When you run low on water - the whole machine just turns off.
- Volumetric Dosing - I had my buttons configured so that the 1 would run for 90 seconds (this is to allow me to turn off the shot when I have the output that i want), while the 2nd button would run for 10 seconds to allow flushing of PF and cup.

calmcoffee (original poster)

#5: Post by calmcoffee (original poster) »

Thanks for the thoughtful replies. I'll take a look at the Lelit, not familiar with that one. Hoping to make a decision and purchase tomorrow. If nothing else I'm glad I'm not missing something obvious in my selection that'll result in regret.

beanman
Supporter ♡

#6: Post by beanman »

I've had a La spaziale Vivaldi II (plumbed in version) for about 12 years.
It is my first real espresso machine and purchased it used, so naked portafilter, custom tamper, etc, came with it (the seller moved to a 58mm machine).
Overall it works great. Dual boilers are nice, and the single and double programmable dosing buttons are handy (but sometimes the volumes need to be reprogrammed -- mine wonder off setting every couple months)
You can run a plumbed unit off a 5 gallon water bottle with a Flow Jet pump. The machine sees continuous water pressure, and changing bottles is easy. I have mine in a small cabinet in my dinning room.
If you're not in a hurry, they appear in the Buy/Sell section every 1-3 months.
Good luck with your decision.

calmcoffee (original poster)

#7: Post by calmcoffee (original poster) »

Appreciate the replies. Took a look at the other suggestions, but none really stood out to me. Given the generally positive feedback and lack of "your thinking is wrong, here's THE machine that perfectly matches" (not that I was expecting that), I ended up purchasing the Vivaldi II Mini. I'd have liked to get the plumbed version so I could play around with preinfusion more, but dealing with the extra complexity of filters or bottled water+pump+space just isn't worth it.

I'd have waited for a used one to show up if I wasn't in a rush at all, but I kinda am. Current machine is broken. Wife has stopped drinking coffee for other reasons, and thus stopped demanding we brew drip coffee every day, plus I'm WFH 3 days a week... Just don't want to wait.

As such, I called up Chris' Coffee and managed to get a good deal on a new red model. They threw in or discounted some of the accessories, so I also got a real tamper, bottomless PF, precision triple basket and screen, and a silicone gasket. All I need now is a better scale, some fresh beans, and maybe some fancy cups to celebrate the new setup.

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beanman
Supporter ♡

#8: Post by beanman »

Congrats on the purchase.
I'm sure you will enjoy it for years.

Doolittlej
Supporter ♡

#9: Post by Doolittlej »

You will be very happy. Chris coffee provides great service after the sale allowing you to use the machine for years.