Tired of HX / E61 downsides, options for a new espresso machine?

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

#1: Post by ppaolo2 »


I have an ECM Mechanika IV, which I descale every 3 years since I use quite good water and there's not much scale. This time after the descaling I am having issues, probably a leaky brew valve or the mushroom gasket that is in a bad shape, causing a low temp at the group, which I am about to try and fix. It's true that parts are inexpensive, but every time there's like 100 variables to check and understand where the issue lies and I am bit tired of it. Add to this the temp surfing, the flushing, and even with a coffee sensor it's sometimes an hit and miss with the shots quality. I'm looking for something easily serviceable, focused on espresso (could do even without steam, I'll just get a milk frother if needed, water tap is totally useless to me), not E61 group.
As much as I like machines like the Prima or Linea Mini, I want something easier to service.
Doing just medium/dark espresso, blends or single origin. Not very interested in lighter roast, but having the possibility to do it in the future would still be nice.

Must have:
Temp stability, I don't want to flush, temp surf or anything, just push and go, knowing the exact extraction temp.
Easy to service and to maintain.

Some options I considered are Silvia Pro X and the Strietman.

Silvia Pro X it's quite cheap here in Italy, it seems solid and temp stable. Not sure how easy is to perform maintenance.

The Strietman is going to cost double the price that Silvia, however it's very easy to perform maintenance, barely needs descaling, seems like it produces great espresso and it's easy to adjust the temperature. I only have some doubts about the volume of the shots, I usually do a 18in/36-38out on a 58mm basket. I don't know if this machine can do it. Also I am not experienced with levers, I am open to learning but I have no idea if it will be hard or not to have a good extraction. Last thing, let's say I need to replace a part 20 years from now, would they still be available and or I'll be left with a nice home decor?

Any other suggestion is welcome, thanks!

User avatar
Team HB

#2: Post by Jeff »

Two very different machines!

Many of the classic lever machines have been out of production for 60 or 70 years. Replacement group seals are often still available. With something as popular as the Strietman, I would imagine that someone would pick up providing replacement seals if Strietman stops at some time in the future.

In my experience, working with light roasts (Tim Wendelboe and lighter) benefits from lower extraction pressures than the classic "9-bar flat" and some period of soak. Depending on your grinder's burr set, light roasts may need longer ratios to achieve balance, around 1:2.5 to 1:3. The Strietman FAQ states "The maximum shot volume is around 50cc." Other levers may not be able to achieve those volumes.

I have an Odyssey Argos on order. This is an interesting and reasonably affordable lever machine that addresses temperature control in a unique way. They have not shipped yet, so it is still something of an unknown whether it will be a great machine, or just yet another machine.

Supporter ♡

#3: Post by tinroofrusted »

If you are not in a hurry, the Odyssey Argos will be coming out maybe by the end of this summer(?). It appears to be a very simple lever machine that can be operated as a spring lever or manually. Cheaper than the Streitman but maybe just the thing to fit your requirements.


#4: Post by ojt »

Well, from maintenance point of view a simple lever definitely does it. Strietman being perhaps close to the top in terms of quality. And it also gets quite close to knowing exactly the brew temperature. Am not sure about the brew volume but the basket is (IIRC) 49mm so an 18g dose is quite high. I dose 14-15g in my 51mm basket. Also since it's a lever with a fixed brew water chamber, the higher the dose the lower the shot volume. There are threads here about Strietman that you might want to check.

With just a bit of fuss regarding temperature an Olympia Cremina might also be a good choice for maintainability, albeit less temperature stable. A grouphead thermometer is a must though, just like with the Pavonis.

Can't comment on pump machines but I guess you've ruled out Decent..? Of course a big old lever such as Londiniums or Bosco would very dependable choices.

ppaolo2 (original poster)

#5: Post by ppaolo2 (original poster) »

I checked the Odyssey and if it really delivers it's a very good deal at 1k, depending on import/shipping costs to EU.
I will check the Strietman threads for more info.
Cremina requires a bit of fiddling with temps, which I prefer to avoid.
I considered the Decent, but it is overkill for me I think. I don't experiment much with different beans and roasts, so even if I am into the concept, I think it's a waste to use such a machine to do the same type of espresso every day.
I am also considering the Meticulous, I would really like it at that price point if they deliver what they promise. Very simple, no water tank and still a lot of customizations if needed.


#6: Post by Clodius »

How about the Lelit Elizabeth V3?
★ Helpful

User avatar
BaristaBoy E61

#7: Post by BaristaBoy E61 »

Since you sound very much in the 'experimental phase' and want something easy to work on and fix, I'd recommend any 2nd hand lever machine that attracts your fancy.

That way you won't be out a whole lot of money if you decide to cash out and you'll have the fun and experience of experimenting without the worry of loss of investment funds.
"You didn't buy an Espresso Machine - You bought a Chemistry Set!"


#8: Post by randyh »

I went from an HX E61 (Profitec Pro 500) that I owned for about 5 years to a used Londinium L1. With the Pro 500, I'd get decent tasting shots most of the time, occasional good shots, and very rarely great shots. With the L1, I'm getting consistently good tasting shots almost all the time, and great tasting shots pretty often. I think it's undeniable that the declining pressure and temperature have a positive effect and I think also make it very forgiving. These types of spring levers are also reliable and easy to service. There is a limitation on shot volume, but you can also just adjust the dose to get the same ratio. Unless you get the LR24 or the Compressa that can adjust preinfusion pressure and at the same time shot volume.

User avatar

#9: Post by mrgnomer »

I went from an E61 rotary pump plumb in HX to a hybrid commercial HX lever. Yeah, there's still temp surfing but I don't mind the extra workflow if it comes with more extraction control and better espresso.
LMWDP #116
professionals do it for the pay, amateurs do it for the love


#10: Post by Primacog »

You didn't mention budget but for levers there is the Nurri hybrid lever with paddle controls, rotary pump, double boilers, and pid controlled and regulated independently heated grouphead, brew boiler and steam boiler.
LMWDP #729