Not all E61 HX espresso machines are equal...?

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

#1: Post by LXpat »

Hi all, long time reader of this fine forum, but first time poster.

I'm getting back into espresso after a 10 year hiatus. My last setup was a DB LaSpaziale Vivaldi S1 with a Macap dose grinder, which was a great setup but didn't give much in the way of workflow enjoyment. I moved to Europe for work, donated all my kit to a parochial school (who still maintain and use it daily) and tried to scratch the coffee itch with Aeropress, Clever dripper, Moccamaster etc. all fine (and much more manageable with my lifestyle) but now I'm finally able to get back into espresso.

I'm looking at E61 HX machines around 2,000 Euros. My question is this: style and build quality aside, how different are E61 HX machines if the component specs are the same? I had my heart set on an ECM Technika V Profi PID (but would potentially stretch for a Synchronika).

However, a local espresso machine maker here in Portugal (Fiamma) has a new model called the Nau Classica with stats that look almost identical to the old Profitec Pro500 or a Rocket Apartamento. It's an E61 HX with a 2l boiler, 3l water tank, rotary pump, and no PID all for 1,650EUR.

Its bigger brother, the Vela Classica, adds a 3l boiler, 4.5l water tank, and PID, plus a bigger body. That goes for around 2400 EUR. They also have a saturated group, DB, volumetric model but that's a bit too much for me right now.

Now, I'd like to support a local family owned espresso machine maker, but there is basically no info that I can find about user experience with their products, no reviews, pictures, videos, etc.The designs are unique compared to the usual slabs of chrome, and having seen it in person at a local expo really liked the look. Their commercial machines are incredibly popular here, practically every cafe uses them, so there is at least that.

But I'm not sure if it's worth taking a plunge on their home models vs. a tried and true company like ECM/Profitec, even if the component stats are essentially the same. So, are all E61 HX machines essentially equal?

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mckolit

#2: Post by mckolit »

I can't help with the technical things, but that would be a nice machine to have on my countertop.

ScottL

#3: Post by ScottL »

Based on what I have read and learned, no, not all E61 HX machines are equal. There are different HX designs out there that do better and worse jobs of keeping the thermosyphon temperature in a predictable range. Most all of them will require temperature management in the form of a cooling flush to get the brew temperature in an ideal range, with the notable exception to that being the Mara X. Those with more experience with those machines may chime in, or consider doing some digging through HB for info on these.

What is making you lean toward an HX?

palica

#4: Post by palica »

And why an E61? :mrgreen:

It looks good, for sure, but it also add some complexity and time for warm up, and considering electric cost in Europe, maybe not the best choice?
Do not get me wrong, I love the E61 look and its stability but the name says it all: it was designed in 1961.
If you want to stay local, you also have Ascaso with some good offering for espresso machines.

LXpat (original poster)

#5: Post by LXpat (original poster) »

My reasons for an E61 are esoteric. I know that there are many modern designs that are objectively better, I'm not under any illusions there. My old La Spaziale was more capable than any of the machines I'm currently considering. I really just want a nice workflow, and a way to experiment at home with all the new roasters popping up here in Lisbon. I'm not interested right now in getting stuck into controlling every single aspect of my coffee. I can certainly respect and understand those who get a Decent and play around with all the variables (sometimes I want that too!), but at the end of the day I'm looking for something more relaxing and fun. I don't want yet another screen, or the scientific method, involved in my morning coffee.

As for HX, it's more a cost/quality thing. My end-goal machine for the longest time has been an ECM Synchronika (DB like my La Spaz but E61), and I'm still considering just getting that now. Build quality is very important to me, hence looking at higher end HXs. I don't want to temp surf a single boiler just to make the wife a cappuccino, but I thought a DB might be a bit overkill for my first machine after a long hiatus. The thought of a flushing routine doesn't bother me too much. The other reason was that the machines in my price range from the local company Fiamma are HX, so that narrowed my choices down to ECM Synchronika or a Fiamma HX machine. For grinder, I've pretty much settled on a Eureka Oro single dose since the import taxes for a Niche are ridiculous. I hadn't considered the Ascaso, but I'll take a look; thanks for the tip!

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mrgnomer

#6: Post by mrgnomer »

One thing I really like about e61 HX is the fresh water draw. If you plumb in and filter your water I think there's a wider temp surf flush range. You also have line pressure preinfusion with more consistent water quality and freshness. A plumb in HX as far as I know uses a rotary pump. A Gicar and Sirai pressurestat are good equipment parts I would look for quality wise as well. Other features like boiler element control for empty boiler refills and things like a vacuum release valve that doesn't spit water all over the place, easy access pump pressure/boiler pressure adjustment...shows engineers considered the machine's durability and ease of use.
Kirk
LMWDP #116
professionals do it for the pay, amateurs do it for the love

SandraF

#7: Post by SandraF »

Why do you think a DB would be "overkill"? Might as well get what you want.

I bought a Synchronika after many years away from espresso. My former machine was a Saeco 'Rio Vaporé' aka Starbucks 'Barista' in the end. My initial search for a better machine eventually lead me straight to the Synchronika.

Many videos show what the insides look like & how it's organized for easy maintenance. That sold me, as I knew I'd want to do my own maintenance.

Anyway, just want to chime in to say, get what your goal is. You don't have to use every feature right away....grow into it. Im the only coffee drinker at my place, and now that I've had the Synchronika over 1.5 yrs., there is still fun to be had trying different espresso recipes, etc.

baristainzmking
Supporter ♡

#8: Post by baristainzmking »

Have you considered a Lelit Bianca DB. It has a smaller footprint than most e61 DB Machines and the prices in the European market are quite a bit lower for it than in the US.
Julia

Tonefish

#9: Post by Tonefish »

E61s are also easily adapted for pressure/flow profiling, which is a valued feature at a relatively affordable cost. Many now come with them or offer them as an option.
LMWDP #581 .......... May your roasts, grinds, and pulls be the best!

vecchi della seattle
Supporter ❤

#10: Post by vecchi della seattle »

Seems like you can do better than 1600 euros. https://www.espressocoffeeshop.com/en/s ... tage-220_v
I'm personally in the price is (almost) everything for an E61/HX machine.