Decision help: Lelit Mara X vs Flair 58 paired with Eureka Oro Single Dose

Recommendations for buyers and upgraders from the site's members.
iBear87

#1: Post by iBear87 »

Hello everyone! :D
I am fairly new here. Been reading posts for quite some time but have now decided to make my own account.

I do have a basic understanding of the whole espresso process and did play around with my Sage Barista Pro which ended up broken after a month so I returned it.
Since then I've been researching my new investment and for now, I plan to preorder Eureka Oro Single Dose grinder since Niche Zero will be too expensive to order and ship to Croatia with all the extra costs of VAT and customs.

When it comes to the espresso machine, I figured I can invest around 1000€ which brings me to Mara X for which I read that people are quite happy with. Apart from it, the new Flair 58 also pops-up.

I love pure espresso and sometimes cortado. I am a bit worried about the warmup time on Mara but I already ordered wifi electrical plugs to circumvent this. I want to be able to dial in the shot and then also play a bit sometimes. But it is also important to have some repeatability when quests arrive. So... I presume Mara X with flow profiling kit and Eureka Oro would be a good choice? Any better combo? So the budget is 1000€ for the espresso machine and around 600€ for the grinder.
I hope I didn't make all this too complicated.

Would love to hear from you and see if you agree or have better advice!

Thank you in advance and warm regards from, currently sunny, Zagreb! :mrgreen:

decrem

#2: Post by decrem »

Welcome!

You said you sometimes enjoy cortados and the Flair 58 doesn't have a steamer. I'm not a fan of microwaved milk plus whipping frother, due to texture and temperature variability. Would you give up milk-based drinks or would you need to find a solution to steam your milk?

For me, if espresso only, the comparison you have proposed is similar to deciding between an auto transmission and a manual transmission on a car. I get why you'd make it, since they're in the same price point. But I think you may want to decide which experience you'll enjoy more. Maybe watch some videos where people post their routines on various types of machines and see which you'd prefer? After that, it's all about tradeoffs.

I'm a fan of E61 machines. The Lelit Mara X sounds like a highly rated HX E61, and it would certainly be on my shortlist if I were in the market* for an HX E61 with a water tank.

The Flair 58 is a manual lever machine that you can get with or without a heating element that serves as temperature control.

For the past ~5 years, I've owned both an E61 and a lever machine, a La Pavoni Europiccola. Most days, I'd prefer to use the E61. My wife has no interest in using the La Pavoni, but she'll quite happily use the E61. Personally, I like the routine with a pump better, especially when I'm overtired first thing in the morning. Temperature surfing is just easier for me on the E61, less time to waste if I overshoot the temp on my lever. Not sure how difficult temperature surfing is on the Flair 58, or if it's even required, but I find temperature swings to make the largest difference in taste. Either way, for me, the routine is more of a difference than the taste in the cup, at least with my (lack of) skills. If I traded in my lever for a commercial spring lever (Londinium, Strega, etc.) it sounds like temperature surfing would no longer be a big deal, and then it's back to which routine speaks to you more.

I'm a manual transmission guy on my cars, but I like at least some automation on my espresso machines.

*Note: I actually am in the market for a new E61, but a direct water connection in/out is a key requirement

iBear87 (original poster)

#3: Post by iBear87 (original poster) »

Thnx man!

I fully understand what you are trying to say! I think I might go with the Mara since I want to make those shots repeatable and the flow control can be installed later on in the process.
I am worried a bit about maintaining such a device but I hope I'll manage. I want to buy a setup that should work for 7ish years or similar. So let's see! :D

Thank you for the advice!
Except for me, my husband will be the other one to use it sometimes and he is not that interested in playing around with it too much so having a more straightforward approach is the best! :D

Thank you once more! :mrgreen:

rbax238

#4: Post by rbax238 »

Dunno if this comment is to a stale conversation or not.

Thought I'd chime in with an observation about HX machines and Flow Control.

The biggest weakness of the (home) HX machine (over a big Dual Boiler) is that modern machines, like the MaraX (and mine), need a lot of "recover time" when pulling many shots. Oh sure, you can do one or two espressos with little problem, and the machine works wonderfully. However, due to the HX design, the machine begins to lose heat soon after. I've read reports by people (with SCACE testing equipment) showing that 3 minutes between shots is not enough time for the machine to remain hot enough (at the brewhead) and the too-cool machine starts pulling sour shots. Some people complain about the HX not giving consistent temperatures, but I think this isn't true. I use a consistent workflow, with a 5 second pre-flush, grinding&tamping and pouring with no problems. So if you on't have the budget for a big DB, don't believe the complaints about the HX machines, unless you want to serve a table of guests, in quick in-attentive way. If you're fine with pacing yourself to what the machine can do, and you pay attention (a bit; it's really not hard), then the HX is fine.

Unlike the smaller DB competition, the MaraX will allow you to easily mod your machine to give Flow Control. I thought I would use this "a little bit" as part of the hobby of espresso exploration. After 2 months I find I am using it 100% of the time. I don't do a lot of extensive preinfusion work right now, as my current bag of beans are a medium roast, but I am experimenting with the pressure. I was making 8bar shots after I saw that rant from James Hoffmann about 9bar (at the puck) being "wrong". Now I find I'm experimenting with 6bar shots. You completely change the flavour profile of a shot by adjusting the pressure.

Thus I don't think that Flow Profiling is some passing fad. It's ever growing in popularity and influence. The only reason I'd ever recommend a HX machine, like the MaraX, over a small Dual Boiler (like the Elizabeth) is because you want to do Flow Profiling.

And you want to do Flow Profiling.

iBear87 (original poster)

#5: Post by iBear87 (original poster) »

Thank you for your reply!

Really appreciated!

In the meantime I went totally crazy so almost bought Bianca. Then I decided it's not time to do such a thing and
I will probably get a Flair 58.
I am very busy and don't want to spend a lot of time desclaing and fixing little problems and similar.
Plus I can flow profile with Flair. I spent a lot of time exploring what would the best espresso machine be and once people
started talking about the amount of upkeep they do, I just don't have that much time.
Not to mention the whole hunt for the holy grail of water that is not hard. It kinda frustrated me so I gave up at the end.
Makes me a bit sad but it's fine.
Flair 58 warms up quickly, can do flow profiling and no scale issues or little electrical parts that don't work.
Will see how it works once I get my hands on it! :)

Thank you once more for your input! I consider it highly valuable and am grateful :)

jgood

#6: Post by jgood »

For what it's worth I have a double boiler E 61 setup and recently got a Cafelat Robot (with pressure gauge) for traveling. Full disclosure: I like dark roasts which are well suited for the Robot. I am super impressed with the Robot. It's a little more production, wouldn't be great for serving a crowd, but if I had bought it first I doubt I would have needed anything else. For steaming a Bellman is a viable option.

rbax238

#7: Post by rbax238 »

For steaming a Bellman is a viable option.
While I agree that the bellman is viable (the first decent option I've seen, actually) I'm not sure how I feel about using a steam wand which is tightly affixed to a boiling pot sitting on a hot stove top (ie. I don't think the wand is long or flexible enough). I just know I'll burn myself.

The robot certainly looks cool. I love its simplicity. The only thing that puts me off is the "pour hot water into the pf and turn it into the holder..."

Again. I just know I'll burn myself.

I think the robot is awesome for traveling (I can wait to burn myself at home). But I'd like to hear from someone who uses it: do you find the "pouring of the kettle water + placing pf into holder" a delicate matter, or is this simply a fear that dissipates after the first day/week of use?

salvia

#8: Post by salvia »

rbax238 wrote: I think the robot is awesome for traveling (I can wait to burn myself at home). But I'd like to hear from someone who uses it: do you find the "pouring of the kettle water + placing pf into holder" a delicate matter, or is this simply a fear that dissipates after the first day/week of use?
My robot is awesome, both for traveling and as a backup machine. For cappuccinos I heat the milk on the stove and then froth it in a french press.

With regards to pouring the boiling water, it doesn't feel dangerous at all and I've yet to burn myself. Pouring straight from a pan, as I did when camping, required more care, but pouring from a kettle with a spout is a breeze.