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

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

#1: Post by Brien »

Hey everyone! Long-time lurker. I've been doing filter for years but finally ready to join the big-boy club. Made a post a few days ago, apologies for a new thread but the budget has... increased. I did some more research, and here's where I am at.

Skills - none. Starting from square one - need to learn the basics etc.

Uses - probably 60/40 on espresso vs. milk drinks. I don't want to buy an entry level and then end up spending MORE money on upgraditis 6 months, a year later. I also don't necessarily want to drop thousands up front. Would likely only be pulling 1 or 2 shots, 4 or 5 times a week . I'm the only family member who drinks coffee, and I don't coffee on weekends (or if I do, I go to one of the local third wave places).

Grinder - C40 w/ Red Clix, with plans to eventually move to a big flat burr grinder (P100, EG-1, etc.).

Machine - As I said above, looking into the GCP or a Silvia (M), modded, easily puts me near or past $1k. At that price-point, I'm honestly just thinking I'd rather go with a Silvia Pro (X), a Lelit Elizabeth or a Profitec 300 (my current front-runner). All are dual boilers, because good single boilers apparently don't exist, and HX machines don't seem to save me much $ and I don't really want to deal with temp surfing or cooling flushes.
OR - Flair 58. Lever, yes, but seems like a good price/performance compromise. I miss out on learning the craft on a 'real' machine, no steam w/o a stovetop steamer, but I also don't have to worry about nearly as much maintenance and I can pack it away since I probably wouldn't be pulling shots every day.

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#2: Post by CarefreeBuzzBuzz »

Add Espresso Forge to the List.
Artisan.Plus User-
Artisan Quick Start Guide


#3: Post by mycatsnameisbernie »

Brien wrote:good single boilers apparently don't exist
Check out Lelit Victoria, Quick Mill Carola or Alexia, or ECM Classika, just to name a few.

For me, however, 40% or more milk drinks would (and did) justify a Dual Boiler.


#4: Post by Bluenoser »

You've got a good grinder, so that will be all you need. I eventually upgraded to a Monolith and never regretted the cost. Lagom would be my next choice.

I only make 1-2 shots a day and I'd be hard pressed to replace my electric HX machine should it die. I'd go with my Robot or Flair 58 and steam with a Bellman.

So you can spend about $600 and go mostly manual, but your espresso will be $3k level. Or you can go fully electric. I find the electric machines require good water chemistry (many of us lug 5 gal RO jugs), monthly chemical cleaning and lubing, flushing of steam boilers and other maintenance. The manuals are virtually maintenance free and will last forever. Skip the HX designs.

Brien (original poster)

#5: Post by Brien (original poster) »

So after much back and forth, given my budget and workflow (mostly, that only I drink coffee in the house, and even then not daily or multiple times a day)... I think the Flair 58 is probably best for my needs. If I get really into home espresso I can save up for a DE1.

Thanks all for the help.


#6: Post by pdx-climber »

If you wanted to just get a smaller taste, try the Picopresso... ~$100 vs the >$500 for the Flair 58. And you have a perfect travel/camping/tailgating setup. I have a DB machine and 3 grinders, but a Pico and a 1zpresso J-max will make me tasty espresso all day and anywhere I go. I am a fan of the Flair 58 and can see having one for some uses - but the Pico has a place. And keen an eye out for used if/when you do get tempted by a "big boy" machine. I got a killer deal on a QM Lucca M58 just by watching and being quick. Same on a Vario that is about to be Forte-fied.


#7: Post by boren »

Another vote for the Picopresso. If the Flair 58 is on the list, the Picopresso should be too. Easy to use, produces great espresso and at a fraction of the price. This and a Lagom Mini grinder aren't that much more expensive than just the Flair 58 alone.

Brien (original poster)

#8: Post by Brien (original poster) »

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.


#9: Post by boren »

The Argos looks great, but if you order now it'll be about 6 months until you receive it. Are you ready to wait this long?


#10: Post by jgood »

mycatsnameisbernie wrote:Check out Lelit Victoria, Quick Mill Carola or Alexia, or ECM Classika, just to name a few.
I have had a QM Carola (from Chris Coffee) for 3 years plus and been very happy with it. Paired with a Bellman stovetop steamer (from Prima Coffee) it's a pretty good setup. Otherwise I'd look at a Cafelat Robot and a Bellman.