First machine for espresso newbie: Flair 58, Profitec Pro 300, Silvia Pro, Lelit Elizabeth or... ? - Page 2

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

#11: Post by VoidedTea »

Because Robot was mentioned above, I wanted to add that Robot comes very handy even when you buy something more fancy later. So it would not be a waste of money if you start with it. But it will teach you a lot, it makes excellent espresso and very forgiving especially for newbies, doesn't take much space, and practically maintenance free. May sometime become a collectable too. :wink:


#12: Post by thirdcrackfourthwave »

Brien wrote:Hmm. Didn't even have that on my radar.

Also considering the Argos, at $850 it seems like it could be a no brainer. Has the app to track temp/pressure/flow just like a Decent at 1/3 the price. It's a lever, but I'm already doing the handgrinder pour over routine so that doesn't faze me.
Tracking is different than 'controlling.' I don't think you will be able to 'control' at Decent levels--if that is what you are after. Last update said it was due to ship in April.

Brien (original poster)

#13: Post by Brien (original poster) »

Well, the appeal of something like the Argos or Decent (esp. the Decent) is that if things go wrong I can take those data points to somewhere like here and get help.

While I love the picopresso, and may end up grabbing one for camping/travel, the reason I've kind of avoided the Robot, lower tier Flairs etc. is I really want to learn on a 58mm workflow, and have access to the world of accessories that brings. So I've basically narrowed it down to 3 options:

Flair 58 + nanofoamer
Argos (w/ smart espresso profiler)
Decent DE1 - I'd probably save some coin and get a refurb v1.1 off the bazaar or buy-sell, nothing in the 1.3+ seems to be of use to my uses

My only real concern with the latter two options is that I know I'm signing up for much more cleaning and maintenance, and my time is very limited.

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#14: Post by Nunas » replying to Brien »

If you want it immediately, between the Flair and the Argos, there's no choice but Flair, as the Argos is still on pre-order. Also, the Flair, even the newer 58, is more of a known entity than the Argos. For me, I'd love to have an Argos to play with :), and I don't think the cleaning would be much worse than the Flair. I've no opinion on the DE1, other than it is diametrically opposed in concept to the other two machines on your list.


#15: Post by boren »

Brien wrote:

While I love the picopresso, and may end up grabbing one for camping/travel, the reason I've kind of avoided the Robot, lower tier Flairs etc. is I really want to learn on a 58mm workflow, and have access to the world of accessories that brings.
The Picopresso can use the same 51mm baskets, distributers and tampers (including self-leveling ones) that are compatible with La Pavoni lever machines. Granted, the selection is smaller than 58mm accessories, but I'm not sure you're actually going to miss much. And other than increased chance of channeling I don't actually see what 58mm brings to the table. I think the optimum is smaller.

Brien (original poster)

#16: Post by Brien (original poster) »

What about a Breville (Sage) Bambino and an aftermarket bottomless PF and basket? Would that be a better "is this worth my time" entry point than something like a Flair or Argos etc.?

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#17: Post by Jeff »

With a few years of experience, I'd use a Robot (and do), am looking forward to the Argos (caveat, still a gamble that you'd have to evaluate against your own situation and perceptions), but wouldn't want to deal with a Bambino on expensive beans. I don't have a Flair 58. From what I've read, the Flair 58 is probably in the same class as the Robot. The two reasons I'd consider a Bambino would be if I regularly made milk drinks and found a simple frother inadequate (I don't think they are for flavor in the cup) or wanted a simpler work flow (no separate kettle, compared to a Robot or Flair 58).


#18: Post by Bluenoser »

You should also look at the K-Max, if you haven't actually bought the grinder..

But for machine, hands down, I'd do a Robot (which I have) or a Flair 58. Now it depends how serious you want to get into Latte art.. you might want a bellman.. but if you do, buy the version with a pressure gauge on the side (there is a version in Canada that is just a steamer with pressure gauge). The nanofoamer is also good.

Other than that, you have to outlay significantly more. I started with something similar to the Bambino and had to upgrade in 6 mo.

Brien (original poster)

#19: Post by Brien (original poster) »

Is the knock against the Bambino(s) the lack of adjustable temp/flow? Or is it just not very good at what it does in general?

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#20: Post by Jeff »

Repeatability is a common, critical flaw in many entry level machines. You can never dial in better than the randomness of the machine. You're forever stuck with very forgiving, "comfort" espresso blend and roast if you want a reliably good espresso from them. With a more finicky bean/roast, no matter how good you are, you're at the mercy of the machine hitting the sweet spot. For many, that classic, comfort espresso is all they desire, so a semi-automatic machine in the sub-$1,000 class can be sufficient.