PLEASE help me! 4 months of indecisiveness has led me here to ask you what espresso setup I should get? - Page 2

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

#11: Post by TomC »

Esthetics appear high on your "must-haves". Choose the highest quality machine that appeals to you and dive in. Having 31 flavors won't mean you'll land at a better espresso machine for your usage. Just get started and dial in from there.

Arafel

#12: Post by Arafel »

catchaperone wrote:Thank you for the recommendations and advice!
I'm thinking about the Profitec 600 now... Would you go for the Profitec 600 or an ECM? I haven't really researched ECM. All I know is that ECM is the sister company of Profitec.
In the spring I decided to upgrade from my Starbucks branded Saeco Barista machine. Initially I considered the Bezzera Hobby and the ECM Casa V. Then I started researching more and wanted the ability to do steaming while pulling shots. I considered the Expobar Office and quickly discarded it, then was leaning toward a Profitec Pro 300. At the last minute I changed my mind and went with the 600. I liked the steaming power and the ease of adjusting brew pressure compared to the 300. And I reasoned, well, I had the Starbucks for 22 years. This is an investment that will last my lifetime. Why not just invest in what I really want.

I've been thrilled with the 600. I got the flow control too, and that adds a nice dimension.

Just prior to the espresso machine upgrade I finally got a grinder. Ended up with the Eureka Silenzio. I like it; you might give it a look, or the Specialita. Eventually I plan to upgrade the grinder to a Ceado E37S

GreavesManchu

#13: Post by GreavesManchu »

I've had a Pro 600 since this last April and really like it. I bought it to replace the Silvia I'd had for 19 yrs. There is no comparison. I pull 6-8 dbls. a day and steam 2 7oz pitchers of milk with no problem

pnyhkr

#14: Post by pnyhkr »

I know nothing about espresso machines and bought a Breville BBE 3 mos ago coz its the most popular in Amazon. After lots of reading and youtube videos I now decided to upgrade and wanted to get the Profitec 600 but my fickle mind want to try other E61 machines first and dont want to get stuck w/ a great machine for years so I bought a Lelit Mara X instead and just waiting for its delivery :D Also upgraded my grinder from Breville smart pro to Ceado E37J, was gonna get Niche Z but the wait is too long and I seldom single dose.

JamesO

#15: Post by JamesO »

I ordered the Pro 600 initially, but didn't love it and decided to stretch the budget for a Lucca M58. I know this is going to sound silly, but this was a big purchase for us, and I really struggled with spending that much on something with plastic sides. I also didn't care for the ergonomics of the steam wand. Clive sells some beautiful wood sides that really elevate the Pro 600, but by the time I got them and a bottomless porta, I'd be right below the cost of an M58.

I love the joysticks on the Lucca, the steam wand feels better to me, and measuring shot time by the tenth of a second is really nice. It also came with a really nice bottomless portafilter.

Aside from the drip screen, build quality of the Lucca is slightly better IMO. The drip screen on the Pro 600 was really nice, and this is one area where I think the M58 can be improved.

There were some old threads here on the M58 that gave me a bit of pause due to the wiring, but I actually opened mine up and the latest version is night and day different. Don't get me wrong, there's clearly a lot of technology in the machine, but working on it appears to be considerably more accessible.

In terms of performance, both seem the same. The rotary pump vs. vibration isn't a big deal to me since our machine isn't plumbed, but the extra touches the Lucca has really makes it a much nicer user experience for me and I'm so glad we decided to do it.

In terms of grinders, we got the Specialita Mignon. I think the Niche looks super cool, but this is where I needed to be fair to my wife. I didn't care for the looks of the Pro 600, and she hated the looks of the Niche. :D Having a hopper for the beans is also something I never considered, but it makes life really nice. When I'm making two drinks in the morning (three if it's my mom's day to babysit), not having to weigh them all out separately is really convenient. I like the looks of the Atom 65, but I'm not sure what the extra expense gets me in terms of performance. The Specialita routinely produces 20g of fluffy, clump free grounds in 9.3-9.5 seconds. Regardless, I'd love to at least try a Niche, because the story and the concept are really cool-just not for us.

Four additional purchases I DO NOT regret are the Acaia lunar scale, Saint Anthony New Levy, Saint Anthony BT, and Oscar water pouch. The scale and Saint Anthony tools take all the variables out of preparation, and the pouch is shockingly effective and makes me feel confident that I'm not slowly sacrificing our investment to scale.

Don Task

#16: Post by Don Task »

catchaperone wrote:Please, someone... Put me out of my misery. Within the course of 4 months (possibly longer) in which I've been saving up for my setup, I have changed my mind countless times. The minute I think I've decided 100%, I'll read something or watch a video and I'll get confused all over again.
{snip}
I feel your pain. I took equally as long agonizing over the decision of which machine to by. That said, here are some tips I took away from the experience:

1) Identify your list of your "must have" features (example: dual boiler or HX, PID, copper or stainless boilers, built in shot timer etc)
2) Esthetics. Does it have to look a certain way? i.e., be personally appealing to you to look at? If this is ultra important then do yourself a favor and simply eliminate the machines that you don't care for when it comes to looks. Personally I don't understand the reasoning when people buy a machine because they love the way it will look in their kitchen, even if it means settling for mediocre espresso or fewer features but as the old esxpression goes... "You can't spend other peoples money!" Be aware, if you buy a machine even though you don't like looking at it... over time you may grow to hate the machine. Not good! But if looks is not a big deal then forge ahead. FYI: Many years ago I purchased a Reneka Techno because it had all the features I wanted. It had plastic side panels which I hated and to make matters worse the vendor only had it in brown and I hated the color. But... I loved the machine for what it could do and never regretted the decision to buy it. NET: If by chance you really like the looks of the machine you ultimately end up with... thats a bonus.

Anyway... after all your research, by now you should have realized the latest and greatest innovation over the last year or so is flow control or pressure profiling. You should have also noticed almost all major producers of machines e.g., ECM, Profitec, Rocket etc... now offer their machines with a flow control device or a aftermarket kit so you can retrofit one of their earlier models. Although many of these these machines are now offered with flow control, their control ability is basically an aftermarket revision / add-on made by the manufacturers so they can compete with the latest trend of flow control.

Once I had my list of "must have" features I narrowed down my list of machines to the units that that had them. This included machines priced way out of a range that I would consider spending but I still included them for consideration so I could do an apples to apples comparison as I worked at paring down the list. For example: I was drawn to the La Marzocco Linea Mini for its rugged looks and cafe quality performance but couldn't get past the operational difference between its paddle versus the paddle on the La Marzocco GS/3. On the GS/3 the paddle offers flow control, on the Linea Mini it looks like a flow paddle but in reality is nothing more than a on /off switch for the pump. This is in sharp contrast to machines like the Slayer, the GS/3 and Lelit Bianca that were specifically designed and calibrated from the ground up as a true flow control machine. Unfortunately for me the price of the Slayer and the GS/3 were way out of my comfort zone but I decided if flow control was desirable feature on the GS/3 and the Slayer... and I could get it on the reasonably priced Bianca I had made my decision.

To really appreciate the advantage of flow control, check out this video. I find it comforting to see the two machines they use to demonstrate flow control are the GS/3 and the Bianca. Also found a new Youtube review on the Bianca posted today. He's definitely gushing over her (almost makes you want to look away)... but its a really good review nonetheless.

Just FYI: The Niche Zero has been showing Sold Out pretty much from the moment it was introduced. You have to check it every week. As soon as you see the color you want is available...order it! Yes you'll have to wait but the wait its worth it.
Krups, then Silvia, then Livia 90, then a Techno! Does it ever end? [sigh]