High-end espresso machines

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

#1: Post by Arafel »

I currently have an excellent setup, a Profitec Pro 600 with flow control and a Kafatek Monolith Flat grinder. I do love the shots I get for the most part, but now I have machine upgradeitis. My main consideration is plumbing the machine in. Filling up the res on the Pro 600 is a pain, mostly because invariably I'll forget and then be pulling a shot and it will stop because the res is low. Then there is buying distilled water and Third Wave to mix in.

So, I have some questions for people.

1) E61 vs other tech: I have to admit the E61 looks elegant. The heat issue isn't a problem for me; I set my machine to come on via my home security system approximately 40 minutes before I plan to pull my first shot in the morning. I do like the E61 for repairability. However, it seems to me that new tech like saturated groups has more stability. Can anyone provide feedback?

Next is machine consideration. I really don't have a budget; I'm willing to go high end if needed. Here are the machines I've considered so far. One consideration is counter space. I have 16 inches of clearance between the counter and cabinets.

1) Syncronika with flow control: Pros-looks good, somewhat compact, PID controller, gages high and easy to read. Cons: E61? Also, it doesn't seem like that much of an upgrade from a Pro 600.

2) Linea Mini: Pros-repeatbility, good looks. Cons-lack of preinfusion without modding it. No real manual control. PID control seems harder to access?

3) Eagle One: Pros-good looks, Cons; software control seems buggy so far from user feedback, no manual control of preinfusion

4) GS3: Pros: saturated group. MP gives control of preinfusion. Cons: not the best looking machine. Also, difficult to fit on my counter space height wise

5) Slayer: Pros: elegant looking machine, fits in my counter space. Needle supposed to give great preinfusion. Cons: $$$, and some reputation for not being the most durable machine.

6) Synesso Home: machine to come out in 2022. Can't really rate it yet, but I'm willing to wait. Many of my local coffee shops in Denver use Synesso machines, and the espresso is super tasty.

Are there any other contenders? Feedback on pros and cons? Feedback on shot quality vs. my current Pro 600?

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Jeff
Team HB

#2: Post by Jeff »

Single-group lever?

mdmvrockford
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#3: Post by mdmvrockford »

I like TeamHB Jeff's idea. An inexpensive lever to try (to see if you like lever espresso in-the-cup) is Cafelat Robot or Flair 58. If you like lever espresso in the cup from either of these then you can move onto ones with electric boiler and steamer. And sky's the limit (as is for pump machines). And you can sell your manual lever Robot or Flair 58 for same or slightly-lower-than original purchase price.

I would add these additional points to consider:
* if plumbing in then need to have setup for appropriate water supply for the plumbed-in machine. I have seen these at other home-barista.com members homes. No clue about its range of cost.
* Perhaps just make regular habit of checking water reservoir level of Profitec Pro 600. And use the funds instead to get Titan conical espresso grinder such as Monolith Conical. With your Monolith Flat, you will have two end-game grinders for flat and conical.
LMWDP #568

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spressomon

#4: Post by spressomon »

I don't know, I messed around with a few different machines over the past 22-years of 'at-home espresso making', always and sometimes quickly getting to the end game with them for one or more reasons. I'm not in the fan club of E61 group machines...ditto for single group levers. If I went back to a lever machine, and the chances of that happening are about the same as me getting a personal tour of Mars, I'd have a two lever machine. I don't want to wait until the group temp sheds enough heat to stabilize...for a quick, or in some cases a not-so-quick second, third, etc., shot.

I'm glad I'm 100% happy with my Slayer. It ended my experiences for...yeah, inconsistent espresso.

Now, I drive a 15 year old truck (mostly for work jobs...) and a 23-year old LandCruiser and live in a small house. I can't buy the best of everything, but I'm damn happy every morning to play with my Slayer (and my 4+ YO Monolith Flat); even going on 5-years of using it every single day (outside of vacations :lol:).

The night before, still can be a bit like waiting for Santa Claus to show up the next morning with that 'I can't wait to play with the Slayer' and on to sip'n short cappas/flat whites. This is what let's me know I made the right decision and took the leap...as it has met all of my needs, wants and super-ceded my expectations.

Cry once.
No Espresso = Depresso

Airbornewilly
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#5: Post by Airbornewilly » replying to spressomon »

I went from a E61, to a Linea Mini, and finally a Slayer. While they all have been great machines in one way or another, the Slayer is an entirely different beast. I feel the exact same way as Spressomon lol. I cannot believe how much I look forward to waking up just to play with the Slayer again. I'm also in the Denver metro. Trying to decide what my end game grinder is and definitely considering the monolith flat/max. If you want to bring the Flat over and have a play date with the Slayer just let me know! Good luck with your decision!!

wru
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#6: Post by wru »

Highly recommend pairing a Kafatek. I have a monolith paired with the Slayer and it is truly outstanding for single-dosing.

HH

#7: Post by HH »

I'd recommend checking out a DE Pro/XL for Decent Espresso. It does everything you have stated you need (variable preinfusion, fast warm up, easily-readable dials), it is small so will fit on your counter. It has more functionality than any of the machines you have listed and is cheaper.
It's not particularly 'traditional' however in any sense of the word, so if this might put you off you may be better considering another machine.

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Arafel (original poster)

#8: Post by Arafel (original poster) »

HH wrote:I'd recommend checking out a DE Pro/XL for Decent Espresso. It does everything you have stated you need (variable preinfusion, fast warm up, easily-readable dials), it is small so will fit on your counter. It has more functionality than any of the machines you have listed and is cheaper.
It's not particularly 'traditional' however in any sense of the word, so if this might put you off you may be better considering another machine.
1) I really don't like the looks
2) I seem to recall the one time I was able to find specs on their godawful website that with the tablet, height is around 20 inches.
3) Don't trust a machine that depends on a tablet for everything

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AssafL
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#9: Post by AssafL »

Remember that plumbing in also makes plumbing out highly recommended.

It is because machines like the gs3 are designed to release excess water to the drip tray. An OPV can vent water into the tray at a slow rate - but if it happens when you are away plumbing out may save quite a bit of water damage.

As for the existing setup - seems like a simple level
Switch will prevent the shot from Stopping mid way.
Scraping away (slowly) at the tyranny of biases and dogma.

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JB90068
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#10: Post by JB90068 »

RE Plumbing:
For my Sync, ECM recommends that the line in pressure gets reduced to 2 bars or roughly 30 psi. Water pressure at our house is around 80 psi and the water is hard. I went with a BWT filter system with an inline pressure reducer and aquameter. The whole system cost around $600. US. This took care of taste, pressure and scaling problems. Finally was able to locate a part made by ECM so that I will be able to run the drain line directly from the bottom of the metal drip tray to the P-trap beneath the sink. This avoids using the small plastic catch basin that can be mounted beneath the chrome drip tray. My concern is having that become a failure point and having it overflow in the event that the machine floods out.
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