Espresso-only machine buying suggestions.

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

#1: Post by lukas_peters »

Espresso hive Mind:

I'm moving on from my Robot and am wanting to give a pump machine a go.
below is my modest feature list:

-Single Boiler (never make milk drinks)
-fast heat up time (No E61 group head)
-58mil porta filter (sorry breville)
-variable brew pressure down to 6 bars
either stock or via a mod.

the two I have found that check all boxes are the Gaggia Classic and the ECM Casa V

curious if anyone here can suggest others?
thanks all.

GorchT

#2: Post by GorchT »

What's your budget, which kind of coffee do you prefer? Do you want some kind of profiling?

LObin

#3: Post by LObin »

A pump driven machine won't necessarily pull better shots. Workflow will be different and so will be pressure and temperature profiles.

In their stock version, the 2 machines you listed won't pull better shots than your Robot. Quite the contrary actually. Single boilers use thermostats to regulate their temperature. When you pull a shot, you have no real idea of the extraction temperature. Yes you can learn how to do temperature surfing but it's not as accurate as a the temperature surfing you likely do on your Robot.

If you want to pull similar or even better shots on a pump machine, you'll want a PID to set the water temperature. I would also suggest having some level of pressure profiling, since you already have that with your Robot.

May I make a few suggestions? Not sure what your budget is but these are all in the same range or a bit more expensive than the machines you've listed.
- ECM classika PID or QM Alexia Evo (with flow control)
- ECM Puristika
- Bellezza Bellona (no pressure profiling though)
- Breville 920 BDB with Slayer mod.
- Flair 58 (it's got some level of temperature control)
- Odyssey Argos

If you get the Gaggia, at least you know you can eventually add a PID, flow control or a set of OPV springs for lower brew pressure. Although I'm not personally a fan of Aluminum (the boiler) being in contact with the brew water...

That's my 2 cents!
LMWDP #592

lukas_peters (original poster)

#4: Post by lukas_peters (original poster) »

thanks for the feedback... I'm aware I'll be losing a lot of versatility but to be honest I kind of want to be locked into one single pressure profile and adjust my grind accordingly. primarily I'm into light roasts so pulling in the six bar range and moding the Gaggia accordingly. I expect I'll be getting an Argos at some point in the future so this is just something to play around with and have fun with a real portafilter workflow which after a long time with the robot I really miss

henri

#5: Post by henri »

If you're willing to compromise on heat-up time, you could look into Quickmill Carola, which is an espresso-only machine with E61 and PID. If quick heat-up is essential, then the Profitec Pro 300 has PID (but is a dual boiler). Quickmill also has thermoblock machines with 58mm portafilters (I think?), like the 0820 or the Orione, but I don't know how easy it would be to adjust pressure on those. If money is no obstacle, then I suppose the Decent would tick all the boxes?

I've had the Casa V for about two years - any questions, I'm happy to answer. It's a nice little machine but as LObin said above, less versatile than a lever.

LObin

#6: Post by LObin »

lukas_peters wrote:thanks for the feedback... I'm aware I'll be losing a lot of versatility but to be honest I kind of want to be locked into one single pressure profile and adjust my grind accordingly. primarily I'm into light roasts so pulling in the six bar range and moding the Gaggia accordingly. I expect I'll be getting an Argos at some point in the future so this is just something to play around with and have fun with a real portafilter workflow which after a long time with the robot I really miss
Yeah I would definitely get the OPV spring kit for the Gaggia. Along with a PID. Temperature surfing in the dark results into inconsistent... well... results. But that's just me ;)
There's a FB Gaggia group that can help with mods. Might be able to score one that's already moded over there.
LMWDP #592

lukas_peters (original poster)

#7: Post by lukas_peters (original poster) »

Thanks, the Gaggia has apparently a "poor mans pre-infusion" hack where you open the steam valve during the
first few seconds of the shot, this diverts some of the
pump pressure away from the puck and essentially acts similar to true pre-infusion. Im curious if such a thing would work on the Casa.

GregoryJ
Supporter ♡

#8: Post by GregoryJ »

If I were in your shoes and already had the Robot to hold me over, I'd be tempted to wait for the Argos to come out. You can get a 6 or 8 bar spring for it, and it should give a very repeatable profile and be fast to heat up.

You can also look into the Breville Dual Boiler. There is a lot written here on it's temperature stability, preinfusion capabilities, and possibilities to mod it. The 2nd boiler is not a waste, because it is a heat exchanger to help out the tiny brew boiler.

User avatar
Portlandia

#9: Post by Portlandia »

ECM Puristika with flow control is worth looking at.
Hard pressed to find anything remotely better for the $1500 price range IMO.

jgood

#10: Post by jgood »

Another vote for the QM Carola. I've had one for several years and it's been excellent. You can put it on a timer to solve the E61 warm up time. I recently got a Robot to take on a ski trip, and am impressed with it. That said it's less of a production to pull a shot with the Carola, and even more so if pulling several.