Strategic design compromises in $2-3K rotary pump espresso machines?

Recommendations for buyers and upgraders from the site's members.
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#1: Post by SkyBlip »

So... Why does the Aria exist? Seems to have everythig I want. Does this machine seem small and overcrowded -both outside (for you experienced barristas) and inside? Without flow control, is the Mitica PID better in other ways? Do rotary pumps generate more heat, and will that degrade surrounding parts more quickly: because the Aria is smaller (less airflow inside) and because the Mitica, while larger has a non-insulated boiler? Why might the Aria, currently ~$2,200, be cheaper to make than the Mitica? Will it's small size mean difficult temperature stability (to self: will I notice in the cup)?

Home-barrista has helped guide me to feeling ever closer to an informed decision. But I want to distinguish among the choices of a manufacturer both within their own product line, and within the quality-to-price context of similar machines by other brands.

At one retailer, saw this: "We replaced the Bezzera Mitica with the Izzo Alex Duetto which is built to last around 10 years longer" ( few sites give standardized model#'s & release dates for anything, and define "to last" right?). Readings from this forum give me arguments against that statement: maintenance routines by an inforumed user give any machine at this price level a chance to last a lifetime, just as neglect might destroy either. But what arguments might exist to corroborate the 10year claim? Would they apply in a comparison with the Aria? -Looking at the Duetto IV's upgrades [link], seems like I should be getting it over either Bezzera. Are these prices in the $2-3,000 strictly about market strategy, and not quality? Like undercut the Bianca and the imment incursion of Breville into the arena of hand-made, classic looks?

I have ultimately just two questions, I think. I was about to empty pockets on a Bezzera Aria with all the trimmings, but have lingering doubts. After a month of reading, this is my first post. It's not as well organized as I'd like, neither is my mind.

1) Anyone have a checklist you might share? -to interact with machine marketing and specs. My stab at it:
Common compromises & trade-offs (features for some) that alter a machine's dynamics of use, longevity\maintenance, and price:
- boiler size. A difference of just 0.5 liter might save a lot on manufacturing..but can it be radical for temp stability or machine longevity? (Below the 4L mark, I don't care between 1.5 to 3.5 liters)
- boiler material and insulation and coatings.
- internals layout (heat dissipation design -both for protecting internal parts and for temp stability/flushing during use)
- internals layout (ease of repairs & mods)
- load bearing structural design and materials
- sum total of small internal parts quality: valves, gaskets, connectors, lube,
- manufacturing of the housing, like gage of plating, or metal corners that aren't very seamless, a chincy grid, tamper, & portafilter?
- electronics quality: coding of PID & brain units.
- Stainless Gicleur, SSR, and pump.

2) I thought I could use the list to choose among my top 3 machines:
a) Bezzera Aria PID (E61 rotary, copper HX) [cramped? what IPX rating would front panels, PIDS, & power buttons get]
b) Bezzera Mitica PID (E61 rotary, uninsulted copper HX) [what's it's weakest and strongest unique thing of the 3 models?]
c) Izzo Alex Duetto IV (E61 rotary, doble boiler in stainless steel) (more expensive, not sure about the look)
-Which would you choose, for your own self? (@HB ..should I be linkifying the model names to sales pages?)

My criteria:
E61 (-ish) with rotary; longevity/durability (therefore stay away from too much electronics dependency Bezzera DE machines & super-autos); layout-facilitated maintenance/repairs; keep within a product line bracket of $2,000~$3,000; if convincing I'll pay more now to pay less later.

For shot pulling, to be able to tweak and muck about (within budget, $2-3K), and get decent lazy shots for hurries or when someone else uses the machine. Physical issues mean levers are ruled-out (less I see a Pompei for peanuts!); but a gorgeous heavy group, not hidden by an overhang, is a must.

It's partner will be either the Turin DF83 or the variable rpm Turin DF64. Initially I'll keep to dark roast espresso shots, noisettes, and cortados (2-4/day), and prob 1-2/day of capps/lattes for others.

(By the way, in most frontal product images I've seen, you can zoom in on the gap between the drip tray and the lip of the frontal housing plate to read "Aria TOP MN MANUAL DOSAGE 10R PID". Would "10R" refer rotary pump?).

Thoughts or redirections welcome and appreciated!

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BaristaBoy E61

#2: Post by BaristaBoy E61 »

Welcome to HB Donald

I would suggest reading this thread for more insight:

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

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#3: Post by Martin »

OP raises interesting questions and I'll likely read responses. However, l hope for the OPs sake, that he gets his new machine before all his questions are answered, sorted, weighed, and hyper-rationalized. Personally, I think it's a poor idea to choose anything other than a Bianca.

Because that's what I did, and who needs more data then that? :?
Heat + Beans = Roast. All the rest is commentary.

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#4: Post by mrgnomer »

Aria looks like Bezzera's Lelit Bianca competitor. Bezzera is an in house parts and design production company which has been around for a while.

The single boiler heat exchange of the Aria is a cost saving. Personally I think e61 groupheads are better suited to heat exchangers. Good features for the money is a copper boiler, rotary pump, plumb in capability. I'm not sure but I think the PID is offset for brew temp and that would be a bonus. For the cost the Aria looks like a good machine.
LMWDP #116
professionals do it for the pay, amateurs do it for the love


#5: Post by coyote-1 »

I'll contribute this thought: 'consumer' grade espresso appliances can last 20 years or more with only basic maintenance and descaling etc. If a $149 appliance can do that, a $3K prosumer machine ought be able to do likewise.

I'd hate to imagine spending that kind of money, and it dying by design in eleven years.

SkyBlip (original poster)
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#6: Post by SkyBlip (original poster) »

@ALL, thanks for the replies and patience. I aware of many of my post's problems as an effort at communication and rquest for input.
  • Any thoughts on the Bezzera Mitica hx (pid & rotary version) in this or any context?
  • why would the HX boiler be hotter than the coffee boiler of a double boiler? And why would the heat more easily change the group temp? In Choosing an Espresso Machine Rationally, @luca said a HX system, relying on the hotter boiler to keep the head at the required temperature. ..In a DB system, the thermosyphon will run colder.
  • At the moment, I am leaning toward getting an Izzo Alex Duetto IV double boiler and putting a home-made Bezzera logo on it somewhere, maybe a cheesey magnetic decal. Ahem.
  • In the absence of universal model numbers or dates of manufacture, how can one be confident that a site is selling the latest version of a model? (no aspersions intended, maybe I'm not good at exploring Web sites)
Of u.s. on-line retailers, I only know of 2 'repeutables' selling the Aria, and they only show one version of the housing design. Seems a low-level commitment, or protection of other products on offer. At the Bezzera site, there are many colors and panel patterns available -well, shown.
@mrgnomer - yes. And yes, in the videos at least, and I think at, it is said the PID is offset for brew temp, meaning it knows the boiler temp but instead displays a calculated temperature that's an estimate of the resulting water temperature at the group. (I think)

@BaristaBoy E61, @ - Thanks for that!! -good variety of thought processes that are sure to reach that special someone's special neuron. I know I'd read that thread really early on, but almost nothing stuck, in a rational way, in me head. Reading it twice, at least, is a good idea. Especially after beginning to feel informed & to believe in one's thought process, logical or otherwise. This forum works very effectively to combine rational and irrational decision-making, even if by discounting the one or the other. In some ways, the goal could be to end with pants down for all but the mirror to see.

@LittleCoffee, @luca - really useful to me what you share in Choosing an Espresso Machine Rationally, a huge thanks.


#7: Post by jgood »

No that the rotary pump is a bad idea - it's quieter, and does last longer. I just want to share my experience with a QuickMill vibe pump machine. After 6 years plus the pump started to hesitate on the first pull after the machine was idle for a good while -- shot quality was unaffected. I was advised to replace the pump and pump air release valve, cost $75 for the parts. After months of procrastination I bit the bullet and did the repair-- took all of 30 minutes, as I was doing it for the first time. I will hopefully get another 6 or 7 years before I need to do it again. My point is that if the machine's longevity is the reason for the rotary pump, I wouldn't worry about a vibe pump. There's a bit of maintenance on all these machines, and the vibe pump is just one more thing that can/will wear out. In terms of the HX - Double boiler issue, there is an advantage, especially for a first machine, not to have to flush to get to the correct temp, and even more so if you're not plumbed in.

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#8: Post by mrgnomer »

The boiler for a heat exchange line is set for steaming pressure. The temperature is hotter than brewing. It's why a double boiler e61 with a PID controlled brew boiler needs to have a calibrated offset. The e61 nose sticks out and would cool off without a hotter than brew temperature circulation of water. It's why I think an e61 is better suited to the thermosyphon loop of an HX. The HX line does tend to overheat but a flush cools it down before the brew. The brew water is also not coming from a boiler but directly from a water source which can be made fresh by a flush.
LMWDP #116
professionals do it for the pay, amateurs do it for the love


#9: Post by LittleCoffee »

I'm glad my treatise on machines concluding at a Duetto IV is maybe of some use to someone else!

I can say the following a year in owning my Duetto IV and Sette 270Wi combo:
1. Read up on water and make sure you flush the steam boiler even if you're using soft scale free water. I was using the right water but not flushing though managed to catch this before anything bad happened and descaled.

2. I have had nothing but trouble free delight from my combo. I would heartily recommend it to anyone, though of course no guarantees your experience will be the same.

3. Re-reading my treatise, I agree with every single conclusion in it - they were the right conclusions for me. The only thing is I'm now at 15 coffees a week rather than 5 so the depreciation maths is a little improved :D

Do look at this as a process rather than a destination and enjoy the ride!


#10: Post by DaveC »

jgood wrote: In terms of the HX - Double boiler issue, there is an advantage, especially for a first machine, not to have to flush to get to the correct temp, and even more so if you're not plumbed in.
That world is changing...and won't be true for much longer!