Unsure about which (PID focused) machine to coose [budget max. 800]

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

#1: Post by Esphir »

So I'm now looking for an upgrade. Mainly focused on one with an PID, in the price range/budget of max. ~700-800€ (already got an grinder in form of the Sage/Breville Smart Grinder Pro which I'm perfectly happy with).

The thing is, even tho I've already found some machines here and there that kinda peaked my interest, there's always a little minus attatched to them. As if it wouldn't be already difficult enough to find the right machine for one in this price spectrum and with that to pull the buying trigger, which is why I'm comming here for some help and advice.

Initialy, my eyes were on the Sage/Breville Bambino Plus.
Programmable modes for once you're found your recipe/favorite roasts, an PID (even tho unfortunatelly only internal), can produce some good foamy milk automatically and on top of that, doesn't even costs 500€. But the more I look into it, the more I realise it's downsides like (from what I've heard) the products main focus on latte drinks/drinkeres and with that mailny fitting for only darker roasts. Also the fact that you can't really adjust the temperature, even tho it has an PID is a bit anoying for me.

I was also thinking about one of Lelit their machines, like the Grace PL81T PID or the Victoria PL91T.
Still in my budget, with not only having an controllable PID pannel (which really fancies me) but also with an Bar display on some models. All of that sounds *really* good on paper but I'm still kinda unsure since I've also heared about big and anoying pressure problems comming with their machines, which basically requires modding them (which I'm not so fond of).

Profitec Go was also recently getting recommended to me, but it's kinda expensive and I'm not completely sure if it really holds up for it's price since I haven't done much research on it yet.

On another note, I'm also seeing machines like Rancilio Silvia or the Gaggia New Classic Pro beeing reccomended everywhere, but I really can not wrap my mind around their popularity.
While yes, they both are looking quite good and can probably produce some good results, everywhere I go, all I'm reading is about the problems that they're having and that they desperately NEED modding assistance to hold up.
So in the end, you're basically having not only destroyed your warrenty and run in risk of completely damaging your machine (no matter on how many guids exist out there), you're also ending up with an machine in an total price range, where you could just look out for one in the next price range.
It could be that I'm missunderstanding something here, but it doesn't make much sence to me, so quite a big nope for me on this side.

As for additional informations about me, I'm mainly interested in Espresso or Cafe Crama kinda drinks (but interested into experimenting a bit/trying out something new) and would use it maybe once or twice a day.
Here and there also aren't minding some milk drinks (like Latte) but not really interested in the whole Barista "perfect and beatifull Latte art" kinda stuff (taste>looks).

So yeah, thankful for any advice you guys can give to me! :D


#2: Post by jcmender »

Hi @Esphir, I can't speak to many of the models you mentioned but I just upgraded from a ~20yo PID-modded Gaggia Classic to the Lelit Victoria and 4 months in am thrilled with the purchase. The built-in pressure gauge has made a huge difference for me in getting quality extraction. It's a simple thing (and there's obviously better pressure monitoring/profiling on more expensive machines) but just having a clear display of pressure immediately helped me dial in my grind/tamp to get a proper brew ratio, something that I was never really able to get repeatable with the Gaggia. The Victoria heats quickly and based on the built-in thermostat, the temperature is super stable - almost so stable that I wonder if it's fudging the measurement somehow, but I haven't had a chance to measure the temp at the brew head. Not as fast for steaming as a dual-boiler or thermoblock machine but it's definitely good enough for me. I just drink espresso but my partner uses the steam, and we can go back and forth quickly enough that it's not an issue.

With the caveat that I'm far less experienced than most posters on this forum, personally I highly recommend the Victoria. Good luck!