Help with eventual upgrade from Specialita/Robot

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

#1: Post by ColoradoCoffee »

Hello,

As the title says, I currently have a Robot and a Specialita and am pretty satisfied. I can pull great shots and their aesthetics have wife approval. I drink straight espresso and the wife likes lattes.

However, thanks to this forum, I have upgradeitis, but can pair it with a decent ability to delay espresso gratification while I wait for my end of year bonus.

I'm somewhat torn as to what I would upgrade first with a budget of roughly $2000-2500. A new high end grinder seems somewhat overkill for the robot and using the Specialita with a high end machine seems also inadequate. Unfortunately upgrading both is not in this year's cards!

What I don't like about my current setup:
-tedious workflow to pull multiple shots in a row when entertaining
-hopper makes single dosing/switching between decaf and regular beans cumbersome (I know I can get a mod to do this on Specialita)
-I use a bellman to steam milk, which takes forever for the wife when she wants a latte.
-I tend to stay in the medium to dark roast range for beans, would be great to have a grinder really capable of getting the most out of light roast beans too.


What I have my eye on for grinders:
-Monolith Conical (flat and max look amazing, but stretch budget a bit much)
-Lagom P64 (love the look, but mixed reviews so far make me nervous about this one)
-Ceado E37S/D (ugly IMO, heard it takes up a ton of counter space. The SD is more expensive than Monolith last time I checked.

For espresso machines - I love the lever style machines and would want to stay there:
-Strietman CT-2: looks absolutely beautiful and wife agrees. Can't steam milk which is a minor negative.
-Olympia Cremina (big stretch to budget unless I find a used one)
-Londinium I Compressa (slight stretch to budget, don't love that it would need to be plumbed in, so this is the least likely to work)
-I'm sure there are cheaper ones but I haven't researched those as much.

Thank you in advance!

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icantroast

#2: Post by icantroast »

Is the specialita actually limiting on a higher end machine? I've seen dozens of people with a specialita and for example a lelit Bianca. Might just keep the grinder and get a new machine.

ojt

#3: Post by ojt »

From what I've read the Specialità might get a little bit limiting when going to the light roast territory, but it should suffice for a while. If I was in your situation I would probably go for a new machine since you already have a pretty good grinder. I would be afraid the upgrade wouldn't have a huge impact on quality-in-cup. I personally prefer to outgrow my equipment, only upgrade when I actually realise how and why exactly it is limiting me. "Which one" depends on many variables I guess.. what's the rough ratio of espressos vs lattes for example. The CT-2 is definitely an appealing machine, both aesthetically and functionally, but it lacks the steaming. I only steam milk two days a week so I could probably get by with a Bellman but having the steam available in the same machine I make the coffee with is still a huge plus. Then even with the Cremina, compared to CT-2, you do have the temperature stability draw-back.. IMHO you do need a thermometer attached to the grouphead.

Again depends on how you see it, but going that much up the price ladder I personally would be looking at the Decent. It would solve your espresso needs temperature control included, and it steams. The looks are debatable but it does take very little counter top space. And you get to choose whether you want to nerd out about the extraction or just hit a button, whereas spring levers sort of take some of that control away, and manual lever force it on you.

Best of both worlds? Get a used Cremina, keep the grinder (for now), and also keep the Robot. I think you'd have a pretty awesome set right there.
Osku