Looking for some guidance on espresso machine, budget around $1500

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

#1: Post by eastbaysteve »

Looking for some guidance to save time in the rabbit hole. 20+ years ago I bought an Isomac Tea and sold it 5 years later as I didn't use much and counter space was an issue. Now I have more time and wanted back into making 1 or 2 doubles a day. So, I've been using a rebuilt Livia 90 for 18 months as proof that I would use it. Pretty much every day and twice on Sundays I've been holding to it strong. So with counter space still an issue, I'm ready to upgrade and want something similar in size to the Livia and with the 3.5 liter tank. I'd like to spend $1500, but could go higher if there were huge compelling reasons. I have the same Mazzer I bought when I bought the Tea so I'm happy there. Thanks much in advance for any suggestions you have.

SandraF

#2: Post by SandraF »

How often do you need to steam milk?

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eastbaysteve (original poster)

#3: Post by eastbaysteve (original poster) »

Once or twice a month - thanks

SJM

#4: Post by SJM »

So what do you need that the Livia 90 doesn't give you?
That might help somebody figure out an upgrade path for you.

Bluenoser
Supporter ♡

#5: Post by Bluenoser »

No one can know what's right for you.. so you'll get lots of differing suggestions..

For me, if I were only steaming one-two drinks a month.. I would not get anything with a steam boiler.. You need to flush them quite often, worry about scale, etc. You know the basics of extraction; so I would suggest looking at a lever machine.

I'd recommend something like the Flair 58 lever. You can preinfuse and vary the pressure. Its electric so can keep your brew water hotter which is good for lighter roasts.. This might not be important to you. I have a $2.5k HX and a manual Robot. If I were only making espresso, I would not think twice and simply go with the Robot. The espresso is as good (I don't anything lighter than a 'medium' roast so can't attest to that end of the spectrum) and it saves tremendously on maintenance and water considerations. (And it will last, basically forever with a few gasket changes).

For the odd milk steaming you could get a Bellman steamer (with gauge) or simply microwave the milk and use something like the NanoFoamer.

If you want a pump machine.. a good single boiler is all you need.. you could get an E61 with the profiler mod.. likely about $1.5k .. but really.. the manual lever can rival the electric with the right user.

SandraF

#6: Post by SandraF »

How does a Carola Evo by Quick Mill look? E61 group head & reasonably priced.

https://www.chriscoffee.com/collections ... ill-carola

blutch

#7: Post by blutch »

I'd recommend something like the Flair 58 lever. You can preinfuse and vary the pressure. Its electric so can keep your brew water hotter which is good for lighter roasts.. This might not be important to you. I have a $2.5k HX and a manual Robot. If I were only making espresso, I would not think twice and simply go with the Robot. The espresso is as good (I don't anything lighter than a 'medium' roast so can't attest to that end of the spectrum) and it saves tremendously on maintenance and water considerations. (And it will last, basically forever with a few gasket changes).

How is it to pull multiple shots on this in terms of temperature. Do you have to wait for it to come back up to temp or even to cool?

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Bluenoser
Supporter ♡

#8: Post by Bluenoser »

blutch wrote: How is it to pull multiple shots on this in terms of temperature. Do you have to wait for it to come back up to temp or even to cool?
I don't have the Flair 58.. only a Robot.. but from all I read.. the point of the heater in the Flair 58 is to keep the group hot.. not to heat the water.. So for shot #2, the group would continue to be heated from the heater.. but it would also be hot from the previous shot.. so you would not wait any time to make your successive shots. (just keep the water hot in your kettle) This can actually make shots faster than on my expensive HX machine where I have to wait from 10 to 15 minutes for it to reheat after a shot.

dreadnatty08

#9: Post by dreadnatty08 »

Welcome, Michael. It sounds like you roast your own coffee? Do you like to pull shots of more traditional roasted espresso blends or single origins, or a mix? I think if you had a list of wants/needs that would be a lot more helpful than a broad budget guideline and use case.
I can definitely recommend the Lelit MaraX which I have and have enjoyed for a couple months now. It's just within your budget.

eastbaysteve (original poster)

#10: Post by eastbaysteve (original poster) »

SJM wrote:So what do you need that the Livia 90 doesn't give you?
That might help somebody figure out an upgrade path for you.

Thanks for the question.

Something newer if available with the dimensions and water capacity desired. The Livia has been a great machine thus far.