Most reliable double boiler rotary pump 1 group espresso machine?

Recommendations for espresso equipment buyers and upgraders.
DavidB

Postby DavidB » May 13, 2019, 12:24 am

I'm gearing up to upgrade from an E61 HX (specifically Lelit PL62 Mara, early version with p-stat) to a double boiler. I'd like it to have a rotary pump, both for reliability and pressure consistency, and a built in reservoir (I'm renting, so plumbing in will require dealing with my land lord, which I'd prefer not to do).

There are a ton of DBs with rotary pumps on the market. My question is, which are the most reliable and will require the least unplanned maintenance if cleaned consistently and serviced regularly?

A slightly related question (or maybe not), is why is it that none of the 1 group E61 group DBs carry NSF certification? I don't need NSF, and I wouldn't expect it to signify reliability, but the fact that all of the NSF certified 1 group DBs use alternative groups makes me scratch my head. (Or perhaps I'm wrong, and some of the E61 1 group machines are NSF certified)?

I'm 5 years into my Lelit. Over that time it has required 2 p-stat replacements, a hose, some corroded wire, a pump replacement, and a group kit. And I'm about to take it in again for another unplanned service (boiler has hit 2 bars resulting in safety valve venting 3 times in the last week, and the p-stat is new). I believe I maintain it properly. I clean it often, and I have always brought it in for a planned service annually. This amount of maintenance may be the result of my machine being an early release. (I know that this model later switched from p-stat to temperature probe with PID control.) While the parts are inexpensive, and my local tech has taken pity on my and has been teaching me some tech skills so I can do some simple service on my machine, I'd really like my next machine to be more reliable.

Among the current crop of E61-based DB rotary pump machines (eg ECM Synchronika, Rocket R58, Profitec Pro 700, Izzo Duetto, Quick Mill Vetrano 2B, and I know there are others), is there a standout from a reliability/maintenance point of view? Would I gain anything (reliability wise) if I were to step up a notch and go to a LMLM, or simply forget the E61 and go sideways to a La Speziale?

Typical usage for me is 4 caps a day, typically with one power down/ power up in the middle of the day, although occasionally I leave it on all day in which case it runs for ~16 hrs. Occasionally I have guests and so serve more, but never more than 12 in a day. I'm not concerned about sustained rate, and when I have guests, I wouldn't pull more than 1 double shot per minute.

Thanks in advance for any advice!

wsfarrell

Postby wsfarrell » May 13, 2019, 1:21 am

I believe ECM and Profitec stand head and shoulders above the others in terms of engineering, build quality, and reliability. I had an ECM and was astonished (in a good way) when I opened it up to check it out. Here's a brief quote from Clive Coffee on the two companies:

"The Profitec Pro 300 and the Special Edition ECM Classika PID espresso machine share identical build quality with well thought out German engineering. Being sister companies, the two even share the same factory. With either one, you can be assured you will receive a machine with neatly organized wiring, easily accessible internals and precision in every inch of the machine."

Phaedrus

Postby Phaedrus » May 13, 2019, 6:52 am

What attracted me to the Vetrano was the accessibility of boiler drains and heating elements from underneath the machine. It is true that the insides aren't as neat as the Profitec/ECM machines, but I feel the overall maintainability of the Vetrano is equal to or superior.

lagoon

Postby lagoon » May 13, 2019, 7:50 am

wsfarrell wrote:I believe ECM and Profitec stand head and shoulders above the others in terms of engineering, build quality, and reliability. I had an ECM and was astonished (in a good way) when I opened it up to check it out."


Seconded. Based on the OP's brief, Profitec/ECM would be the place to look.

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BaristaBoy E61

Postby BaristaBoy E61 » May 13, 2019, 10:27 am

DavidB wrote:There are a ton of DBs with rotary pumps on the market. My question is, which are the most reliable and will require the least unplanned maintenance if cleaned consistently and serviced regularly?

A slightly related question (or maybe not), is why is it that none of the 1 group E61 group DBs carry NSF certification? I don't need NSF, and I wouldn't expect it to signify reliability, but the fact that all of the NSF certified 1 group DBs use alternative groups makes me scratch my head. (Or perhaps I'm wrong, and some of the E61 1 group machines are NSF certified)?

Thanks in advance for any advice!



While all the machines mentioned are excellent, I would without hesitation repurchase our Alex Duetto as it takes a back seat to none. Furthermore, should you desire daily preprogramming of 'ON/OFF' timing, the Alex Duetto Evo allows this function in 20amp mode. It might be the only one of those mentioned thus far that does.

Regarding NSF approval, the Faema Legend E61 single group has this NSF approval, however, it's a single boiler heat exchange design. So approval or lack of it is not related to the group itself but rather, I would imagine, the prohibitive cost of approval of what are essentially non-commercial machines.
"You didn't buy an Espresso Machine - You bought a Chemistry Set!"

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GC7

Postby GC7 » May 13, 2019, 11:14 am

My two cents is that all the machines mentioned are essentially identical in the quality of the espresso made and in the reliability and serviceability. They have the same group, shot timers and pid's that function equally and minimally different boiler configurations. I'd like to see the person who can blindly pick shots form one vs. the other.

Pick a dealer near you or one you trust or just choose a machine that looks best to you. I very recently got rid of my QuickMill Anita and upgraded to a QM67 double boiler. My Anita had the same Ulka pump functioning for over 10 years. I have a spare that I never used. The QM67 is quieter and served my purpose without spending the extra $600-700 on the rotary Vetrano. It is a beautiful machine though. I went with Chris Coffee because it is a 2 hr drive from home and they are all wonderful people who support their customers. I'm sure the other vendors who support this site are reliable and easy to work with as well. If one is driving distance to you that would be more important to me than picking among your choices.

Good luck. You can't go wrong.

DavidB

Postby DavidB » May 13, 2019, 11:39 am

Thanks to all who have weighed in so far!

I have no trouble believing that all of the E61 rotary pump DBs that I mentioned make essentially the same shot, although I suspect there may be more differences in reliability than meets the eye, based on layout of wires and hoses, orientation of boilers, etc, even if the individual components are tried and true.

Driving distance to a reputable seller is something that definitely speaks to me, especially since I know that issues are going to come up (though hopefully a bit less often than has been my experience with my early release Lelit HX). I live 1.5 hrs from Great Infusions, who are an authorized seller and service center for Rocket. (I don't believe they are a H-B site sponsor.) they are actually the ones I've been taking my Lelit to for service for the last 18 months, and I like working with them.

Leaving aside the specific feature differences, and assuming that the shot quality and steam quality are essentially identical, how do y'all think the Rocket R58 compares with its counterparts from ECM/Profitec, Quick Mill, and Alex? Also, how do all of these machines compare reliability wise to LM or La Speziale?

Please keep opinions coming. User experiences are welcome, good bad or ugly. If any of sellers see this post and can comment on warranty claims or have other relevant insight to share, that is also most welcome.

DavidB

Postby DavidB » May 13, 2019, 12:07 pm

I should also say that I'm by no means through with Lelit. I attribute my experience more as a lesson regarding the risk associated with buying an early release model. The Lelit PL162 Bianca also belongs in the group, but it's around a year old and I'm wary of any underlying issues that haven't been discovered yet. I have no doubt that if any are discovered in the next 12-24 months, Lelit will correct them.

MikeMooney

Postby MikeMooney » May 13, 2019, 12:49 pm

I recently purchased a Vetrano 2B from Chris' Coffee. My other "finalists" were the ECM Synchronika, Profitec Pro 700, Alex Duetto IV, and Lelit Bianca. Also considered the Lucca M58 from Clive Coffee, which is manufactured by QM and has the same internals as the Vetrano 2B, just a different front panel layout and (better, IMO) aesthetics. I can't imagine anyone acquiring any of these machines and having much buyer's remorse. They are all superb. Reliability was a key consideration for me, and as I was upgrading from a QM Silvano purchased from Chris' Coffee that had been utterly reliable, I had a level of confidence in both Quick Mill and Chris' Coffee that helped push me in the direction of the Vetrano. Clive's design aesthetic for the Lucca M58 is terrific - the dual blue dials, curved and vented side panels, and the cup rail all add up to a sharper look than the V2B. But I decided in favor of having a seller and source of support and parts in the same time zone and within relatively close shipping distance.

I loved everything about the Synchronika, except for one thing that I guess you could call a reliability issue - I could not get past the powder-coated frame versus the 100% stainless construction of the V2B. I could just see that frame getting scratched and eventually rusting. Aesthetically, I also didn't like the look of that band of painted metal around the perimeter of the machine.

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GC7

Postby GC7 » May 13, 2019, 12:52 pm

DavidB wrote:I should also say that I'm by no means through with Lelit. I attribute my experience more as a lesson regarding the risk associated with buying an early release model. The Lelit PL162 Bianca also belongs in the group, but it's around a year old and I'm wary of any underlying issues that haven't been discovered yet. I have no doubt that if any are discovered in the next 12-24 months, Lelit will correct them.


Exactly. In my example of a vibe Ulka pump that lasted over 10 years still running strong shows that you never know what will cause a need for service on your particular machine. Most will say the pumps fail regularly. Having a quality dealer nearby is a big plus to me and more important than picking over small differences in almost identical DB machines. Most of us with "skin in the game" will recommend what we purchased. My Anita failed in a complicated electrical manner and the dealer in LA who said he was a "Partner with Chris Coffee" would not support service without sending him the machine. Never again so I stuck close to home.