Mixup between Cremina, Linea Mini, Niche Zero, Oracle (Sage/Breville)

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

#1: Post by Smokey »

I've had my eye on the Linea Mini for some time. The pandemic took grasp and I wasn't able to pull the trigger as of yet.
This has let me to learn about new options, not to convince myself out of the LM, but for the sake of learning about other machines.

I came across the Olympia Express Cremina, which seems like it's right up my alley. Simple, elegant, well-crafted. Able to produce wonderful espresso, with the "hands-on" feeling of the lever. Now a contender for a spot in our kitchen.
On the other hand, my wonderful wife doesn't see coffee, to put it as James Hoffmann, as a hobby. I do. This led me to the Breville Oracle. A contender for a spot in our kitchen.

I've placed an order for a Niche Zero, as this seems to tick off all the boxes of what I would like in a grinder.

Perhaps someone could talk some sense into me.
Here are my options as of now, in no order of likelihood:
1) Get a Linea Mini, use with paired Niche Zero. 1 machine, 1 grinder
2) Hold off for a used Cremina. Hard to come by lately. 1 machine, 1 grinder
3) Buy a new Breville Oracle, for easy use for my wife. Niche would be used occasionally for the Oracle, by me. 1 machine, 2 grinders
4) After buying an Oracle, "invest" in an older Cremina. I found a nice v1.2 from '64 on eBay. Get my "hands-on" feeling fix. 2 machines, 2 grinders

I would like to hone my skills, personally. I find the Linea Mini a good opportunity to do that. Doubling my practice by making drinks for my wife. As one may expect, she would also be there with the machine herself and want to make a drink for herself. Therein lies the reasoning for an Oracle.
I suppose the same reasoning applies toward the Cremina as well.

thoang77

#2: Post by thoang77 »

Could your wife not use the LMLM and Niche? Pre-weigh doses and it shouldn't be that much more difficult than using the Oracle. Sure theres a couple more steps but it wouldn't take long to teach her to tamp and turn the extraction off after x seconds (install an Dotshot or Luminaire to make it easier), provided she's amicable to that

DaveB
Supporter ♡

#3: Post by DaveB »

One thing I don't like about the Oracle is that it forces you to use massive 20g doses and there doesn't appear to be any way around it.
Von meinem iPhone gesendet

nguye569

#4: Post by nguye569 »

There are no options between the Oracle and LMLM that you'd consider? There are some other machines that would get you control capabilities but offer volumetric dosing for your wife to make things easier for her.

millmountain
Supporter ♡

#5: Post by millmountain »

thoang77 wrote:Could your wife not use the LMLM and Niche? Pre-weigh doses and it shouldn't be that much more difficult than using the Oracle. Sure theres a couple more steps but it wouldn't take long to teach her to tamp and turn the extraction off after x seconds (install an Dotshot or Luminaire to make it easier), provided she's amicable to that
^+1

My wife learned to use our Niche + Bianca with ease. She grinds, uses the distributor, tamps, pulls the shot with a scale, steams her milk and cleans up after each shot. She even does a back flush or two if I'm not home. This is a lady who, less than two months or so ago, always used pods and microwaved the coffee just so it would be fast. Taste has triumphed over speed! The key for us was that I made all her coffees almost every day for about a month (thanks to extra home office), so she got used to the machine being around while I learned it. The grind we had was difficult, but once the Niche arrived it was simple. One day when we had time I just talked her through it, letting her do all the steps she had been watching me do. She enjoyed it, wanted to make the others that day and the next; I gave a tip or two, and then she knew how.

I would strongly advise against going with the Oracle for her ease of use. Sounds like the seed of regret.

baristainzmking
Supporter ♡

#6: Post by baristainzmking »

It sounds to me that you really wanted a LMLM, and it will work great with Niche Zero. Your wife will have no problem learning to use it, as it is a really user friendly stable machine and it will steam the milk on its own, just position the pitcher.

You know what they say: Pay once, cry once. ;)
Julia

fliz

#7: Post by fliz »

The LMLM doesn't give you control over preinfusion.

Have you considered a Londinium-R?

Have you considered a BDB?

Smokey

#8: Post by Smokey »

thoang77 wrote:Could your wife not use the LMLM and Niche? Pre-weigh doses and it shouldn't be that much more difficult than using the Oracle. Sure theres a couple more steps but it wouldn't take long to teach her to tamp and turn the extraction off after x seconds (install an Dotshot or Luminaire to make it easier), provided she's amicable to that
She could and is definitely capable. She's learned french press technique and Mokka technique already. I shouldn't count her out when it comes to an espresso machine.
nguye569 wrote:There are no options between the Oracle and LMLM that you'd consider? There are some other machines that would get you control capabilities but offer volumetric dosing for your wife to make things easier for her.
I'm sure there may be, but I haven't been looking. I came across the Oracle by accident. I had never considering going in the super automatic direction. Then it caught my eye and I thought "Oh, that could be helpful for my wife". I'm making a U-turn on that road though, and back to "My wife would also (eventually) be happy with a LMLM"
fliz wrote:The LMLM doesn't give you control over preinfusion.

Have you considered a Londinium-R?

Have you considered a BDB?
It also doesn't have pressure profiling :). I think I can live with their new pre-infusion that they have via the app.
I did look at the Londinium-R. I originally thought it was huge. That was while I was learning about the Cremina, where any other machine in comparison to the Cremina would be considered huge.
Comparing to the LMLM, it's not that big.
However, a big no-go for me is the warm-up time. I've read this is ~1hr from first hand accounts. My Astoria has a warm-up time of ~45min and it kills me. I've tried smart plugs, but sometimes you forget.
BDB have not. I'm not sure why. Perhaps a machine like that (normal dual boiler) would be something for me, and I would strongly prefer the other mentioned options. Take the BDB to the next level (Oracle), then would become a "wife machine" and I could justify it somehow.

Well, what I've come away with is to not discount my wife. She is more than capable, and it would also be a chance to share my hobby with her and maybe lead her in the taste over convenience direction.

No mention of the Cremina so far. I find that interesting. Is everyone so far just not part of the cult?

thoang77

#9: Post by thoang77 »

Smokey wrote:Well, what I've come away with is to not discount my wife. She is more than capable, and it would also be a chance to share my hobby with her and maybe lead her in the taste over convenience direction.

No mention of the Cremina so far. I find that interesting. Is everyone so far just not part of the cult?
How does she feel about the LMLM and the small learning curve? Also to simplify her workflow even further, you can get things like a LevTamp or a palm tamper to take tamping level/depth out of the equation.

I think the Cremina is out of the equation because it's a little much for a non-enthusiast. It's a bit more laborious and getting consistency from shot to shot does require skill and practice. So unless you're planning on being the sole user, or your wife is very interested in learning about it, I'd look at pump, or at least spring lever, machines. No question a beautiful machine and I'd love to have one, but it's certainly a machine you own/use for the love of the craft.

Smokey

#10: Post by Smokey »

thoang77 wrote:How does she feel about the LMLM and the small learning curve? Also to simplify her workflow even further, you can get things like a LevTamp or a palm tamper to take tamping level/depth out of the equation.
Yea, she's definitely up for it. I'll start with the normal preparation process and if we find that tamping is a challenging part, then a leveler/pressure controlled tamper would be a great step forward.
Shot timer would also be a welcome upgrade - it just adds another element of convenience.

One thing that she won't be able to escape is making her own microfoam. I guess there's no way around learning the basics of foaming milk. However, once you get there, there is something rewarding about it - knowing that you made it.