Move from pour over to espresso - what should I buy

Recommendations for espresso equipment buyers and upgraders.
davidmccleary

Postby davidmccleary » Jun 09, 2019, 11:39 am

Hi all,

I just signed up to the forum, although I have been reading posts on it for many years.

I currently enjoy brewing coffee and own a Kalita Wave, Eva Cafe Solo, Baratza Encore grinder and Hario scales. I love the setup and the results I get, especially from the wave. I particularly enjoy light roasted single origin coffees, in particular natural and red honest process coffees. Over the last few months I have been thinking more and more about buying an espresso machine and would love some advice on what to buy. I used to have a Gaggia Classic and Gaggia MDF grinder about 10 years ago which I loved but at the time I didn't buy freshly roast coffee and didn't weigh the coffee, so results were very inconsistent.

Below are my requirements:

- I will mainly be making coffee for one.
- I want the machine to heat up extremely quickly, less than 5 mins.
- I like the idea of a lever machine, rather than a semi-automatic.
- It has to look nice in the kitchen
- It should work well with medium to lighter roasts. (I want to be able to use the same beans that I used for pour overs, not for ever brew but for some)
- I will be using it for espressos and americanos only, no milk based drinks
- I would prefer a hand grinder to start off.

The Robot and La Pavoni EN Europiccola are the two that stick out at the moment but I am open to all suggestions!

Thanks in advance!

thirdcrackfourthwave

Postby thirdcrackfourthwave » Jun 09, 2019, 12:17 pm

davidmccleary wrote:Hi all,

Below are my requirements:

- I will mainly be making coffee for one.
- I want the machine to heat up extremely quickly, less than 5 mins.
- I like the idea of a lever machine, rather than a semi-automatic.
- It has to look nice in the kitchen
- It should work well with medium to lighter roasts. (I want to be able to use the same beans that I used for pour overs, not for ever brew but for some)
- I will be using it for espressos and americanos only, no milk based drinks
- I would prefer a hand grinder to start off.



The Robot ticks all your boxes. I can have a shot and clean up in under 3:45. The limitation is time to boil, but I don't have a hand grinder. Looks are subjective but DW said something like, 'It is better (probably means smaller) than I thought it would be.' The lighter the roast the more you have to pay attention to the pre-heating, for sure. For reference I'm mostly pulling medium roasts. For yuks I have pulled light stuff. Probably can't really comment on the taste/performance because the beans weren't really ones I would normally for espresso (thin, acidic and very fruity.)

Good luck,

Ben

User avatar
redbone

Postby redbone » Jun 09, 2019, 2:32 pm

Medium to lighter roasts demand greater boiler temp and pressure, more than a none self heated machine can provide. A VAM / Caravel would come closer but for a light to medium roast drinker a pressurized boiler encompassing spring or non-spring assistance would be best.
Between order and chaos there is espresso.
Semper discens.


Rob
LMWDP #549

happycat

Postby happycat » Jun 09, 2019, 5:00 pm

Robert probably knows better than I do but I thought I would provide some notes

Flair manual espresso maker temp depends on kettle and cylinder preheat. With a PID kettle (like a Bonavita) you can go as hot as you prefer. I dry heat my cylinders on a glass top range.

Flair can produce a lot of pressure. There are also tricks for light roasts... grind extra fine, preinfuse under pressure, then pull. I've also experimented with flow restrictors (silicone disc with hole in the middle)

Flair can be fast because you do things in parallel... fill and set kettle temp, set cylinder to dry heat, grind and tamp, then the cylinder and water will be ready for your pull. Start to finish in 5 mins or less.

I'm not selling you on the Flair, just noting my own experience with it. I tend to underscore, grind finer, and pull with more pressure than the Flair is advertised for because I like the output.

My suggestion is to find some people in your area with diff equipment and take your favourite beans to try them out.
LMWDP #603

davidmccleary

Postby davidmccleary » Jun 10, 2019, 2:09 pm

Thanks all for your replies. Very useful information so far! :)

It's good to know the robot and flair are both decent options.

jgood

Postby jgood » Jun 10, 2019, 2:29 pm

If you decide to go with a non Flair/Robot type of machine I would rethink the 5 minute warmup time -- most modern machines take quite a while to warm up, 1/2 hour or more, but can be left on all day, so they are ready. The LaPavoni is I think, the exception in that it is not designed to stay on for long periods.

User avatar
redbone

Postby redbone » replying to jgood » Jun 10, 2019, 2:52 pm

Small boiler prosumer machines heat up extremely quick there is need to heat water using separate source or soak parts. Five minutes is not realistic but 10-15 min is not far fetched depending on machine. This time would also include a blank shot to heat group and other components. Time could be used to prepare and weigh dose. Currently pulling great straight express shots and shots for Americano from current machine on rotation Arrarex VAM.

Spring assisted lever espresso machines

*Times may be faster considering voltage in your area 220v-240v vs 120v in N.A.
Between order and chaos there is espresso.
Semper discens.


Rob
LMWDP #549

davidmccleary

Postby davidmccleary » Jun 10, 2019, 3:00 pm

Thanks Rob, will take a look into some boiler machines as well!

baristainzmking

Postby baristainzmking » Jun 10, 2019, 3:26 pm

Here is a good option with a really quick heat up time from 1st-Line. Lelit PL41TEM Anna, SBDU with PID. It sells for $629 and qualifies for their summer 7% off discount.


https://www.1st-line.com/buy/lelit-pl41 ... d-w-gauge/
Julia

arponce

Postby arponce » Jun 10, 2019, 5:27 pm

What's your budget? Also, is the fast heat up time a priority? If so, then the Robot or Flair is a great choice. Any machine with a boiler will take some time to heat up. I have a La Pavoni and it takes about 15 minutes to hear up (on the high heat setting). If it's on the lower heat setting it can take up to 40 or so minutes. But I do have a heat sink on my grouphead which increases the heating time.

Two great manual grinders in the market are the Kinu and the Bplus Apollo.