Strict espresso drinker seeking upgrade opinions

Recommendations for buyers and upgraders from the site's members.
Cgr86
Posts: 140
Joined: 4 years ago

#1: Post by Cgr86 »

Is it worth it to upgrade my Lelit Anna? I'd welcome all input !

Background- I am mainly a strict espresso drinker who makes the occasional back to back cortado for my wife and I. I'd say once a month or so she asks for one and I'll join her. The machine is obviously not the best for this scenario and I am wondering if I should upgrade to a better single boiler with far better steam capabilities, or even a double boiler?

My question for you guys that know far more than I ever will, is there a machine that's a single boiler that would represent an upgrade? I don't want to go from single boiler with a pid to single boiler with a pid where the jump is minimal.'

My logic immediately goes to a double boiler and my issue with regard to a double boiler is counter height. My cabinet when I looked at a rancilio pro x was I can't stack espresso cups up top but the machine itself would fit. Would heat exchange make sense here?

I love the idea of preinfusion and adjustable OPV for some reason. I don't necessarily need a ton of things like flow control I like to keep it simple and just want something that will pull a really great shot, a PID for stability and some cool features that will allow me flexibility if I'm pouring a dark roast over a medium or light roasted bean without going too far into the weeds. If it matters any, my grinder is a Eureka and it definitely does the job.

Budget- I'll go up to 2k but the cheaper the better, and the smaller the better. So far I'm eyeing the Silvia Pro X , Silvia with the PID preinstalled, Profitec Go and a million other machines in between and just spinning my wheels a bit.

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Jeff
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#2: Post by Jeff »

What coffees are you pulling? What do you value in the cup of your espresso? What do you want to change about what you are getting today?

Those are the key questions.

See also the recent thread Looking for an upgrade from my Lelit Anna 2

Cgr86 (original poster)
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#3: Post by Cgr86 (original poster) »

The coffee I pull varies but I usually go on beans from Italy, or local. Medium to light roasts, I don't go very dark.

I'd love for the shots to have more oomph and be great not good. Hence why my logic was more options can be beneficial. On top of that, tacking steam more efficiently would be nice.

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Jeff
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#4: Post by Jeff »

Italian blends and roasts tend to be on the darker side of things, from the perspective of people making light-roast espresso. A lot of what that group says you "need" may not apply to classic espresso.

I don't think you'll get much of a gain out of a machine without getting into something like a Breville Dual Boiler or a Lelit Mara X with a flow kit. It is not for "preinfusion" so much as being able to taper the flow/pressure later in the shot. Both machines have advantages and disadvantages.

I think the biggest gain you'll get is with different coffees. Even the most expensive machine with the best technique can't take a mediocre coffee and make something fantastic out of it. Well, unless you're talking tiramisu.

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BaristaBoy E61
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#5: Post by BaristaBoy E61 »

Cgr86 wrote:So far I'm eyeing the Silvia Pro X , Silvia with the PID preinstalled, Profitec Go and a million other machines in between and just spinning my wheels a bit.
Time to read one of my favourite threads that might add clarity.

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

Cgr86 (original poster)
Posts: 140
Joined: 4 years ago

#6: Post by Cgr86 (original poster) »

I read that and perhaps don't get it. Am I supposed to draw my conclusions in the same manner to which that guy did?

Cgr86 (original poster)
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#7: Post by Cgr86 (original poster) »

To be honest flow control seems like it will just annoy me. I prefer to just flip a switch for a shot versus conduct a symphony as a maestro. I don't like the Breville because they just seem like cheap plastic. The heat exchange isn't as good as double broilers I thought ?

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Jeff
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#8: Post by Jeff »

The Mara X manages brew temperature differently than any other HX. Its temperature stability is comparable to many E61-style DBs. To get something significantly better in the cup "hands off", you'd be into machines significantly more expensive than your budget such as a commercial-group lever, La Marzocco Micra, DE1, and a few others. Like cameras, once you've got a reasonable one, a better one isn't magically going to take dramatically better photographs on its own.

Better coffee is probably going to be the biggest change you haven't ruled out.

Edit: There will be machines in your price range that have better steaming and better workflow. I just wouldn't expect significantly better coffee without taking advantage of additional control.

Quester
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#9: Post by Quester »

Jeff wrote:I think the biggest gain you'll get is with different coffees.
Fantastic advice. Unless a setup is really flawed, spend the money on high-quality coffee (a bit hard to find) and trying lots of different coffees. From there, you are in a better position to know whether--and what--new equipment makes sense.

Cgr86 (original poster)
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#10: Post by Cgr86 (original poster) »

Hi there, ok I understand what you mean. May I ask, what coffees do you suggest to uograde to that's hard to find? I have locally George Howell but happy to try coffee that can be shipped if it is worth it. I love the "Northern Italian" style roasts that tend to have like a hazelnut profile.

And funny you mention the Linea. The micra one is perfect and definitely what I want but the price tag seems hard to justify. The less I can tinker and just pull a great shot, the better for me.