Desperate for some espresso machine advice, budget £1000 - Page 2

Recommendations for buyers and upgraders from the site's members.
Kinukcafe (original poster)

#11: Post by Kinukcafe (original poster) »

baldheadracing wrote:Dual Boiler of those three, MaraX is good, Pro300 a little below.


Strega and Londinium way, way, way, WAY above the other three. As you're in England, the Londinium gets a slight edge.

For your use case and experience I would rank the Dual Boiler first, then the Mara X, then the Strega, then Londinium - unless you don't mind letting the machine warm up for 45 minutes/leaving the machine on all day, in which the order would be reversed.

Good luck!
Thanks! This is helpful! I think I now ditch the BDB as it is aesthetically much less appealing to me compared to others, eg the MaraX. Do you mean the Londinium and Strega need 45mins to warm up before use? I am totally ok to wait 30mins for all machines as my wife and I are both WFH. 45mins sounds really long but it is only 15mins more than 30mins. Maybe I will be okay with that too. Any further advice will be appreciated.

bgnome

#12: Post by bgnome »

John Michael Hauck has done a wonderful, in-depth series that really dives deep in to the mechanics of the La Pavoni Europiccolas over the years: http://www.youtube.com/c/JohnMichaelHauck/videos

They have tried to improve their approach over the years, with the most modern ones having the best capability. If you are only pulling a couple shots once or twice a day, it really isn't that big of an issue. They certainly aren't the easiest to start out with, but the existential connection you get with your coffee using a direct lever is difficult to describe.

Ross has been very transparent with the development of the Argos. I can't say for certain, but all signs are pointing to deliveries starting in the fall of this year. I believe that is a realistic expectation given where he is at in his timeline and what he has lined up in terms of supplies and manpower.

I do not have personal experience with the manual lever machines. Many of them are capable of very good espresso, as I understand it. The Cafelat Robot and the Flair 58 often rank highest of this particular class of machine. You will need a separate kettle and a way to steam / foam milk if you wanted milk drinks. It is hard to go wrong with either.

baldheadracing
Team HB

#13: Post by baldheadracing »

Kinukcafe wrote:Thanks! This is helpful! I think I now ditch the BDB as it is aesthetically much less appealing to me compared to others, eg the MaraX. Do you mean the Londinium and Strega need 45mins to warm up before use? I am totally ok to wait 30mins for all machines as my wife and I are both WFH. 45mins sounds really long but it is only 15mins more than 30mins. Maybe I will be okay with that too. Any further advice will be appreciated.
Warm-up times are like car mpg / l/100km figures - your mileage may vary.

With active management (you at the machine), you can get a Strega pulling shots within 15-20 minutes, and a Londinium within 20-25. OTOH, if you do nothing except turn the machine on, and/or you turn your home's thermostat down overnight and/or it is winter and/or there's a breeze in that part of the kitchen and/or whatever, then it'll take longer.

I do agree on the aesthetics on the BDB :mrgreen:. However, the value-for-money is undeniable. Regardless, a used machine (at a reasonable price) will be the best buy, especially prosumer machines like the Strega and Londinium. (The MaraX hasn't been out long enough for a, ah, reliable reliability history.)

I cannot in good conscience recommend a new Pavoni to someone who has never made espresso, especially given the alternatives that you've listed. That's just a recipe for frustration compared to a commercial spring lever group machine. If a first-timer wants a small home lever, then I'd recommend the Elektra Micro Casa a Leva.

OTOH, a Robot is a great, great place to start, but has no milk steaming (and a separate stovetop steamer is not the same as a steam boiler in a prosumer machine).
-"Good quality brings happiness as you use it" - Nobuho Miya, Kamasada

Kinukcafe (original poster)

#14: Post by Kinukcafe (original poster) »

bgnome wrote:John Michael Hauck has done a wonderful, in-depth series that really dives deep in to the mechanics of the La Pavoni Europiccolas over the years: video

They have tried to improve their approach over the years, with the most modern ones having the best capability. If you are only pulling a couple shots once or twice a day, it really isn't that big of an issue. They certainly aren't the easiest to start out with, but the existential connection you get with your coffee using a direct lever is difficult to describe.

Ross has been very transparent with the development of the Argos. I can't say for certain, but all signs are pointing to deliveries starting in the fall of this year. I believe that is a realistic expectation given where he is at in his timeline and what he has lined up in terms of supplies and manpower.

I do not have personal experience with the manual lever machines. Many of them are capable of very good espresso, as I understand it. The Cafelat Robot and the Flair 58 often rank highest of this particular class of machine. You will need a separate kettle and a way to steam / foam milk if you wanted milk drinks. It is hard to go wrong with either.
Appreciate your assurance that it is less of an issue for 1 or 2 shots. As always, thanks for shedding more light in my search. It is really not easy for me to gather such massive information and hard to imagine how the whole thing work without putting my hand on any espresso in my life. Hope I can settle one soon to start experiencing.

Btw, the L1 I saw was the MK1 I found out. I think it may be too vintage for me to handle. And that's why the good price. Also, I am eyeing on an used Strega which I posted some photos in the Strega user tread for opinion.

Kinukcafe (original poster)

#15: Post by Kinukcafe (original poster) »

baldheadracing wrote:Warm-up times are like car mpg / l/100km figures - your mileage may vary.

With active management (you at the machine), you can get a Strega pulling shots within 15-20 minutes, and a Londinium within 20-25. OTOH, if you do nothing except turn the machine on, and/or you turn your home's thermostat down overnight and/or it is winter and/or there's a breeze in that part of the kitchen and/or whatever, then it'll take longer.

I do agree on the aesthetics on the BDB :mrgreen:. However, the value-for-money is undeniable. Regardless, a used machine (at a reasonable price) will be the best buy, especially prosumer machines like the Strega and Londinium. (The MaraX hasn't been out long enough for a, ah, reliable reliability history.)

I cannot in good conscience recommend a new Pavoni to someone who has never made espresso, especially given the alternatives that you've listed. That's just a recipe for frustration compared to a commercial spring lever group machine. If a first-timer wants a small home lever, then I'd recommend the Elektra Micro Casa a Leva.

OTOH, a Robot is a great, great place to start, but has no milk steaming (and a separate stovetop steamer is not the same as a steam boiler in a prosumer machine).
Haha. I just don't understand why (maybe the material). The BDB does look okay. But I really love the way how the other choices sit on our worktop day in day out.

" I cannot in good conscience recommend a new Pavoni to someone who has never made espresso, especially given the alternatives that you've listed." Could you explain what you meant here? Are you referring to the La Pavoni Europiccola? I thought it is quite a simple machine for a first time espresso machine owner?

Re the used option, I did find one L1 within my budget but it was the MK1 version. Probably too old to a newbie like me to handle(?) I am also considering a used Strega which I posts picture and ask for opinion in the user experience thread.

Glad you mention about the inability of stove top steaming machine. I really want to steam nice milk that makes me to rule out robot and flair.

Thanks again!

User avatar
Kaffee Bitte

#16: Post by Kaffee Bitte »

The La Pavoni's are difficult to learn. The machine's quirks and the grind level needed make learning to make espresso on the pavoni a bit frustrating, and doubly so if you are also learning all the basics of espresso and steaming and learning to use a grinder. It is going to be a steep hill. However if you can stick it out and get past the initial annoyance there are tremendous rewards awaiting in beautiful espresso. One of which I am drinking right now as I type this out.
If you do decide to go for one though buy a post 2000 model. The millennium models are much easier to get in the temp range you want.


If you are looking for ease of use go for the spring levers. Ponte Vecchio export seems to pull heavy thick shots by many reports. The Lusso seem more about clarity. The commercial like the strega etc would be great for simple streamlined learning
Lynn G.
LMWDP # 110
____________________

baldheadracing
Team HB

#17: Post by baldheadracing »

In a nutshell, a Pavoni relies on you:
- you have to control the temperature - blindly in stock form;
- you have to control the extraction pressure - again, blindly in stock form; and
- you have to really know how to foam small amounts of milk very, very quickly - again, if the machine is in stock form.
This leads to inconsistency. It's an old saw to say that the best shot of your life came from a la Pavoni - shot being singular, as in, the stars and moon and planets aligned - once.

Yes, all this can be addressed with mods, but do you want a hobby of modifying machines, a hobby of maintaining machines, or a hobby of making drinks? Nothing wrong with wanting all three - many of us do - but you'll be learning all three simultaneously with an old la Pavoni.

Or you can get a machine with a commercial spring lever group, turn it on and let it warm up, and walk-up-and-pull consistent shots and steam great milk all day long. No fuss. Still needs to be maintained, though - these aren't white goods.

Your choice.

(Or you can be like me and have, in various states of disrepair, all of the above :lol: )

ETA: the Londinium https://coffeetime.freeflarum.com/d/849 ... 014-ps1135
-"Good quality brings happiness as you use it" - Nobuho Miya, Kamasada

drH
Supporter ♡

#18: Post by drH »

Just another opinion-
Others have covered the quirks of the Pavoni: awesome but with a steep learning curve.
The Londinium will be much easier to use but be aware that you will be the technician working on it if it needs repair or maintenance. That can be incredibly rewarding and Reiss provides exceptional customer support by most accounts - it's just something to consider.

As to the Pro300 : I owned one and it's quite capable but I found it much less forgiving than e61 style machines. The MaraX would be a better pick in my opinion.

If you want the simplest pairing with your manual grinder, the Flair58 could be an excellent, lower cost way to test the waters. Also consider the cafelat robot.

Kinukcafe (original poster)

#19: Post by Kinukcafe (original poster) » replying to drH »

Thanks a lot. Sound advice.

Re the Flair/ robot, I do appreciate the small footprint and simplicity. I know it is wrong, but I think if I could spend such money on a hand tool like device, I may as well pay more for a proper machine in a box. Again, this is pure layman consumer perception as I only heaed about good words on flair58 and robot.

Kinukcafe (original poster)

#20: Post by Kinukcafe (original poster) »

baldheadracing wrote: Yes, all this can be addressed with mods, but do you want a hobby of modifying machines, a hobby of maintaining machines, or a hobby of making drinks? Nothing wrong with wanting all three - many of us do - but you'll be learning all three simultaneously with an old la Pavoni.

Or you can get a machine with a commercial spring lever group, turn it on and let it warm up, and walk-up-and-pull consistent shots and steam great milk all day long. No fuss. Still needs to be maintained, though - these aren't white goods.

Your choice.

(Or you can be like me and have, in various states of disrepair, all of the above :lol: )

ETA: the Londinium https://coffeetime.freeflarum.com/d/849 ... 014-ps1135
I think I want a hobby of making and drinking coffee and occasionally show off my skill and coffee to family members :). I also think some espresso machines are very nice furniture. I don't mind maintain it if it is not challenging and parts are available. I do all the handy work for my home and I maintain my own fixie bike. I am also in watches. But unlike my friends, I am not good at precision work and tiny parts. I guess espresso machine should be okay for me.