Most reliable brand of espresso machines? - Page 3

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

#21: Post by Otaibimn »

Ypuh wrote:Reliability is a funny thing. People often confuse it with longetivity or ease/lack of maintenance.

Would you rather have a machine that keeps working endlessly when neglected?
A machine that can be easily maintained and has cheap replacement parts?
A heavy duty commercial machine, but service is not cheap?

You can have a very reliable brand like La Marzocco, but that doesn't make it cheap to maintain. Within the E61 I don't see a lot of variance since all pumps, electronics and grouphead pretty much come from 2 or 3 manufacturers.
From the American Society of Quality:
Reliability is defined as the probability that a product, system, or service will perform its intended function adequately for a specified period of time, or will operate in a defined environment without failure.

The most important components of this definition must be clearly understood to fully know how reliability in a product or service is established:
1- Probability: the likelihood of mission success
2- Intended function: for example, to light, cut, rotate, or heat
3- Satisfactory: perform according to a specification, with an acceptable degree of compliance
4- Specific period of time: minutes, days, months, or number of cycles
5- Specified conditions: for example, temperature, speed, or pressure


Basically it comes down to an equipment doing its full function during a set period of time before breaking down completely.

The period of time is dependent on the end user.


Everything breaks down... even humans.



You might have a high quality car but it requires an expensive service every 5000km and another model that is much cheaper that gets you from A-Z and you can only need to change it's oil at a nearby shop while standing over it.

People always confuse that too.



MAINTAINABILITY = Ease of repair.

Both are different but it helps in the reliability since less downtime.

Back to the OP:
Get something that is reliable and easy to maintain.
AKA Anything without a saturated group head.
AKA Something that can be descaled easily so that you don't need to replace the boilers.
AKA Something with dual boilers and PID controlled with a simple logic that can error codes to understand what is going on.
AKA Something has spare parts in the local grocery store (E61).
AKA Runaway from Breville stuff... hard to find parts and harder to repair.

Anything E61 with a dual boiler and controllable temperatures will do you fine in the long run. Easy to fix yourself and the worst thing that can happen is a relief valve getting stuck and it's replacement takes 20mins.
Unless you roast your own coffee, You still didn't reach 90% of the rabbit hole.

vecchi della seattle
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#22: Post by vecchi della seattle »

I had a Rancilio Silvia for 20 years. Used daily it never burped. I replaced nothing and never decalcified it (Seattle has very low mineral content water). I sold it for $50 at a garage sale. My Profitec Pro 500 lasted two years before the solid state relay went out. If there is a moral to the story it's the simpler the design, the more reliable it's going to be.


#23: Post by Pressino »

Henry_k wrote:Bad news first: answer to your question is: no. But there is also a good news: all you need is Vietnamese Cafe Phin filter. Using Fresh Roast 700 I doubt you will see a difference ;-)
You make a good point about the need to understand the meaning of "reliable" in the OP's question. Something is considered reliable if it can be expected to function as intended for as long as possible under normal use. But instead of the very "reliable" Vietnamese Phin, which produces filtered rather than espresso coffee, I would suggest other gadgets that do produce coffee either exactly like espresso or something a lot closer to that than filter coffee. All of these are devices that are much simpler, mechanically, than all of the previously mentioned machines and for that reason alone are essentially much more reliable than every one of those other machines. The Robot, or anything like it that is well constructed, is about as reliable an espresso maker as I can imagine. The same goes for the Moka Pot. And if you want steamed milk, get yourself a Bellman, or better yet if you want both steamed milk and espresso from one gadget, get something like my old trusty Atomic that I got over 40 years ago... :D


#24: Post by Bluenoser »

vecchi della seattle wrote:I had a Rancilio Silvia for 20 years. Used daily it never burped. I replaced nothing and never decalcified it (Seattle has very low mineral content water). I sold it for $50 at a garage sale. My Profitec Pro 500 lasted two years before the solid state relay went out. If there is a moral to the story it's the simpler the design, the more reliable it's going to be.
Yes.. simple is generally more reliable.. My SSR also went in my Pro 500 PID in 18 months.. but that is because Profitec can't do electrical design. There is no way an SSR should be unreliable. They didn't do proper thermal design, didn't use heat sink compound and mounted something that needs to cool, right next to a boiler. I agree the Robot (which I've had for about 2 years) is likely the most reliable espresso machine I'll ever own.

Electric espresso machines have some inherent failure due to scale. It's difficult to estimate reliability because the quality of the water has much to do with it. But quality of design is also critical and that is impossible to measure until a certain time period has elapsed and the design has been proven.


#25: Post by jgood »

I think it's pretty much impossible to answer this as we each have a machine or two -- a very small sample. I have a QM Carola and the companion Carola steamer. I have had the Carola for 4 years and have had zero issues. I have had the steamer for almost 2 years and the only issue I had was the plastic mount for one of the neon indicator lights cracked (probably shipping damage) and Chris sent me another neon in its mount -- a 10 min repair. I would instead look for easy repairability: ie room to work inside, standard parts, and a dealer with good customer support to guide me through any work.


#26: Post by DanoM »

The answer depends alot on what you need.... If you are just after espresso and steamed milk then an Olympia Cremina is built like a tank. It should last decades with only minimal service and seals. Of course you are the pump on that and have to learn how to pull a shot.

If you want to press a button for espresso that's a whole other game, and there are good machines at every step in between.
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#27: Post by erik82 »

The most reliable machines are the ones that are build for commercial use and that have had their maintenance according to what the manufacturer recommends. Plus you need to have a service contract to fix them in a timely manner when you do have a problem in between. In a commercial setting they need to be reliable as a cafe can't be down every couple of weeks.

So I'd say a Kees van der Westen, La Marzocco, Synesso etc. So you need to be able to spend a lot of money for this to get the most reliable one. That's because reliability is also for a large part dependent on the competence (or in most cases incompetence) of the user.

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#28: Post by BaristaBoy E61 »

The reliability of almost any machine can be increased with the installation and use of water filtration that provides non-scaling water and the installation of dedicated electrical circuits that also employ GFCI and surge protection for all electronics and electrical components.
"You didn't buy an Espresso Machine - You bought a Chemistry Set!"


#29: Post by ShotPull »

I have the ECM Synchronika that was upgraded from the Expobar Brewtus III. I've had a couple of issues with both machines. The ECM issues were fixed by me and a phone call with WLL. Same for the Expobar but I did have to change a couple of parts on that one. The parts were common wear parts. My very first machine was a super automatic and I had major problems with that in the first 3 days and returned it.

I agree with those above who stated the most reliable one is one you can fix because eventually you'll need to fix something but it's not that tough. The dealers know how much it costs to ship these things so the good dealers will support you and walk you through almost anything.

I believe any of the top brands from Italy, Germany and Spain (and others I'm sure) will take good care of you. Just don't buy a super automatic and expect it to be trouble free for any significant length of time!

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#30: Post by zix »

If you want to you can break down the machine into two: one for coffee only, one for milk only.

The Dualit Cino steamer (available under some other brand name in the US for 110V outlets) has worked well for me the past four years. It has a thermobloc heater, can steam a big pitcher for two cappas without a problem, gets warm in a minute and you can have it turned off the rest of the time, which will make it last much longer than thermoblocs in small domestic machines that stay turned on and hot for long time periods. Really, a five or ten minute timer would be enough.
There are other more expensive dedicated steamers - this is the one I chose. I got it for <300 USD. There is a built in filter in the water tank. I descale like every 3-6 months since I use it sparingly (up to 10 cappuccinos per week, but mostly around 5).

The Strietman CT2 is a gravity leva machine, and it only makes coffee. It is dead simple and is very nicely designed and built. I have the predecessor, the ES3 wall mounted machine. The new temp controls on the CT2 are more easily settable to your desired temperature, the machines all use PID free regulation which should last for the life of the machine, and the gravity boiler principle means there is no pressurised boiler, which is in itself a recipe for longer life.

Just like Jim Schulman said, all good espresso machines demand regular fixing up (gasket removals et al) and maintenance (descaling et al). The ones I suggested are, however, smaller, often more suitable for home use, and - due to their simplicity - more easily repairable.

If you are making 500 cappuccinos a week, it may be worth getting a used pro machine and sending it off to a service technician once a month for descaling, and gasket change every 6 months or so.

If you make something like 10 cappuccinos a week, it might be very well worth it to learn how a small thing like the Dualit Cino works for the repairs or gasket changes needed every 3 years or so.
For the Strietman, with ca 10 espressos a day, I am exchanging my piston gaskets about once per year, the small one in the middle about every 6 months. Descaling maybe every 3 months (I have soft water). It hasn't crossed my mind to ask somebody else to do that for me, cleaning and maintenance is dead easy.
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