Step up from super automatic to prosumer espresso machine

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

#1: Post by Daniel »


I'm currently owning a super automatic Delonghi Primadonna Soul and as my passion for espresso is growing, I want to invest in a new machine to get higher quality/ real espresso shots and be able to experiment.

After some research, I'm planning to purchase a lelit bianca v3 and a niche zero.

I know there is going to be a long path (lots of trials and errors) towards getting excellent shots and want to invest time to reach this goal but wanted to make sure that this investment is worth it in terms of substantial increase in espresso quality (looking for tasty real espresso shots with syrupy texture) or will the difference in quality between my current setup and my planned setup not worth investing?

I'm currently having 5 to 7 espressi a day on weekdays and 2 cappucinos and 2 espressi a day during week ends.

Thanks a lot for your advice

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#2: Post by StoicDude »

Hi Daniel,
Welcome to the forum and the questions and thoughts many of us had I'm sure. I was in the same boat over the last few years.
I will write a lengthy response detailing my experience with my equipment.

As a short, answer, IN MY OPINION, a Lelit Bianca and Niche Zero, which is around a $4000 purchase these days, do not justify the quality in the cup.
This is my opinion solely based on numbers and I look at it this way.
Delonghi costs 1500-2000, Lelit combo is 4000. Does Lelit/ Niche make coffee 100% better than the setup you have now? NO!

I think espresso and coffee is way more than that, so just numbers will not do.

I started some years back with a Verissmo Starbucks capsule machine. At that time I thought it was good. The machine was $100 bucks.

Upgraded to Delongi LaSpecialita which was around $700 and thought the quality went way up. Definitely not 7 times better, but the ability to grind fresh, steam milk and have some adjustment ability to my coffee was worth it. At that time the wife and I were drinking milk drinks with syrups.

My use of milk and syrup started decreasing and the search for better espresso started.

Ended up selling the LaSpecialita for 350, and bought a used Rocket Cinquantotto, Eureka Specialita. I believe I paid 1800 for the Rocket and 600 for the Specialita, so 2400 total.

Here the shot quality went up again, but I think the bigger difference was the quality of the machine, precision of the machine, its adjustability and the feel.

I frequently would use this analogy: LaSpecialita is a Toyota Corolla while the Rocket is a Porsche GT 3 RS. You can adjust dose, time, temperature grind quality weight etc. The machine just feels great when using.

I almost got into another crazy rabbit hole and was debating about getting a new grinder, or two to chase that "always can be better" thing with espresso. Even considered going the Decent route but realized I'm pretty dialed in and have very good to exceptional shots every day with the rocket. I doubt I d be able to justify spending another 5k to get a 5%-10% improvement in the cup.

I also own a Miele CM5500 that I got used for $350. That machine makes good to very good shots.

Today I had the opportunity to use it with a coffee that I know well and consider my favorite coffee. Wood Fire Roasted Columbia, Finca Los Alpes carbonic fermentation.

I really love this coffee. Good body, has a very interesting "pop" of spice and cherry and a very chocolate finish. Super interesting for me and a joy to drink.

Ground it up on the Mazzer Omega and brewed it I the Miele. It was a very good shot! I was actually surprised. I didn't try to grind it on the machine and brew, but will try that next.

If I had to put numbers to it, from my Rocket/ Eureka it's a 90-100 out of 100 rating.

Miele, in my opinion is 70-85 tops. Just my opinion.

I will tell you for sure the milk steaming doesn't compare when it comes to a true steam wand compared to super automatic. At least the Miele can't make anything close to what I can.

The other thing is espresso, for me, is a ritual and it's fun. Going purely by money and numbers is tough.

If you have the money, get the Lelit and Niche.

If you are on a budget and making it a financial first decision where you try to justify it, I doubt you will get that much of improvement in the cup where a 4000 purchase makes sense.

If you have questions let me know. I hope my ramblings helped. Let us know how it goes.

If you have somebody local, maybe they can let you try a shot from their set up. I'm in Reno NV by the way.

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#3: Post by StoicDude »

I see you are in Europe perhaps.

I would try to get a class with the guys from Kaffeemacher if they have something close by.

If there are classes or retailers that do demos, its worth going and teying out in my opinion.

This would show you what the machines are capable off and you can judge for yourself if they are that much better.

Daniel (original poster)

#4: Post by Daniel (original poster) »

Thanks a lot for your detailed advice, appreciate it


#5: Post by Milligan »

I agree in a sense with StoicDude, it can be hard to know how much more value that $4k expense will give you in your cup compared to what you have now depending on your specific preferences. I do know that it will open up a world of options for experimenting compared to a super automatic. If you have the commitment to learning espresso then it will be a fun and rewarding experience. However, you don't need a Bianca V3 to have fun with espresso. There are lower end machines that would satisfy your need for quite sometime and open you up to much more options that what you currently have.

The good part about a Bianca is that it comes well loaded with a lot of features you can grow into such as flow control. It is in the realm of "end game" espresso machine for a home barista. You could also look into a Decent espresso machine in that price range if you lean more toward a tech approach to espresso. You are also in the realm of the La Marzocco Linea Micra if you forgo flow control for ease-of-use, faster warm up, and brand-bling. I think the Niche is a great grinder to start with due to its exceptionally forgiving dial in range and great workflow.

It is hard to put a percentage on how much more enjoyable a cup of espresso is from one machine to another. I do know there are cups of espresso you can not have on a super automatic so you could say such a cup is infinitely better on the Bianca :D

Daniel (original poster)

#6: Post by Daniel (original poster) »

Thanks Milligan, helps a lot

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BaristaBoy E61

#7: Post by BaristaBoy E61 »

Welcome to HB Daniel

I like to recommend that this link to thread be read:

Choosing an Espresso Machine Rationally
"You didn't buy an Espresso Machine - You bought a Chemistry Set!"

Daniel (original poster)

#8: Post by Daniel (original poster) »

Thanks BaristaBoy, irrationality is indeed an integral part of such a choice; after all, spending 4k€ to prepare hot drinks is totally absurd! But having a smile on my face each morning going through this ritual and drinking this hot beverage is all that counts. Thanks again