Torn between completely different espresso machines - Page 2

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

#11: Post by baldheadracing »

Sorry, forgot to also ask:
- How comfortable are you with repairing machines? Did you make any modifications to your Gaggia?
-"Good quality brings happiness as you use it" - Nobuho Miya, Kamasada

borisp (original poster)

#12: Post by borisp (original poster) »

- OPV adjustment (cut the spring)
- Changed the shower screen
- Cleaned up my grinder couple of times ( does that count? :D :D )

That is all, I think.

I am comfortable with most basic stuff, opening up the box, unscrewing stuff, changing, oiling, whatever. But, rewiring stuff and heavy modding aren't something I'm interested in very much, I'm probably afraid to damage something irreversibly :D

Team HB

#13: Post by baldheadracing »

Ok, some folks take their machines to a shop for annual maintenance, and some people can do that maintenance themselves. The former should buy locally; the latter may be willing to forsake a warranty and import a machine themselves.

It has been my experience that an imported machine may need some mechanical work immediately, but I perhaps suffer from bad luck (and bad shipping):
- Grinders imported: 3. Grinders missing parts from manufacturer: 1. Grinders not working properly upon arrival: 1. I fixed the grinder myself.
- Machines imported: 3. Machines with issues shortly after arrival: 1, which was sent back under warranty. I paid to ship it back to the vendor. I could have repaired the machine myself, but I didn't have the tools necessary for disassembly.
That hasn't stopped me from buying equipment from other countries, but I am comfortable doing most repairs.

Between the two Lelits, I would consider the above, and not be concerned with the price difference between the two machines.

As alluded to, the pump machine in this price range to get on features alone is, to me, the Breville Dual Boiler. However, the BDB may not be competitively priced in your market, and the BDB's design may not appeal.

For capabilities, all the machines would be similar, but one factor to consider is warm-up time. The Elizabeth is about 20 minutes; the Mara X, 24 minutes; and the Lusso is about 40 minutes. (The BDB is about 12 minutes.)

Aesthetics plays a role and that might be your deciding factor. It would be for me. The Mara X is very compact and has the E-61 group; the Elizabeth has a timeless steel box that blends in unobtrusively; and the Lusso has the 1970's 'Club' design found in domestic Bezzera's, Olympia's, and SAMA's of that era. (The PV is based on the SAMA Lusso.)

Good luck! I think that you'll be happy with any of your choices.

(I know nothing about the Bambino / Bambino Plus.)
-"Good quality brings happiness as you use it" - Nobuho Miya, Kamasada

borisp (original poster)

#14: Post by borisp (original poster) »

Thanks for your informative answer.

The BDB isn't available locally, and its price internationally is similar to Elizabeth's.

I am probably going to check the second hand PVL 1 group which the owner will sell for about 400$, I just hope it's in good shape, although I'm not super sure what to check for.

If the Lusso turns out in bad shape for some reason, I'm pretty certain I'll go with the Mara X. I don't want to deal with international shippings in case of a faulty machine, even if the seller (via Amazon) pays for the shipping.

If they'd be both locally, I'd pick Elizabeth, but your is a solid one and I'd prefer piece of mind and not having to fix a new machine on its arrival even if I can, technically speaking.

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#15: Post by espressotime »

I'ld go Ponte Vecchio .I love the espresso they make.Soft without harshness.I would go for the Export if I only wanted one group.They are really fast when warming up.They also make beautiful steamed milk.
Here are cappo and macchiato I made years back with an Export.

Team HB

#16: Post by baldheadracing »

At $400, I would check out the PVL. That's a very fair price for a machine with a new-ish boiler.

The main thing would be seeing the machine turned on from cold, and then pull a shot. First take the cup-warmer tray off so see if there are any small leaks inside (seen as steam) during warm-up. (If someone has fitted a vacuum breaker, then water sputtering/steam from the vacuum breaker valve is normal. It is a fairly common mod as otherwise false pressure has to be bled off. Machines without vacuum breakers will often have gauges that don't read zero when cold. Again, normal, if a bit disconcerting.) To speed up warm-up, you can manually pull some water through the group once the boiler element stops heating. ALWAYS - ALWAYS - KEEP A GOOD STRONG HOLD ON THE LEVER and ALWAYS KEEP YOUR HEAD OUT OF THE LEVER'S PATH. With no coffee in the group, the lever will spring upwards with full force if you let go or your hand slips. If you fail to heed this advice, then you will hopefully only do this once, and if your jaw is near the lever, you may well go to hospital with a broken jaw.

The only usual thing with the PV Lusso is replacing the piston seals in the group. There is a factory tool, but there are inexpensive alternatives. Here's a channel that has a bunch of PV videos from a new owner's perspective which you may find helpful if you get the machine, including piston seal replacement: ... smA/videos

Good luck!
-"Good quality brings happiness as you use it" - Nobuho Miya, Kamasada

borisp (original poster)

#17: Post by borisp (original poster) »

An update:
The machine had a faulty gasket, the first shot was leaking through the portafilter, and in the second shot... the puck exploded.
The owner said it's the first time it has happened, and that he can probably just "re-settle" the gasket with his fingers :D :D
Later he told me the machine hadn't been taken care of for 3 years and wasn't used for the last couple of months.

He wasn't even bothered by the leak in the first shot. I was bothered by his indifference.
I decided to give up on this machine.

On the bright side, my wife liked the look and the mechanics of the lever machine. We decided to stretch our budget significantly and wait for Black Friday deals and eye a potential 'final-no-need-to-upgrade-ever' machine.

I'm entertaining myself with a possible purchase of Profitec 800/ Strega/ Londinium Victus (when it comes out..although.. I don't know whether it should be in the same league as Prof800/strega??).

I'm trying to read as much as I can about Strega and Profitec 800 machines, it's not 100% certain yet that we'll be able to allocate sufficient budget for those machines, but we'll see, until then I'd like to inform myself as best as I can. I don't quite understand what benefits the Strega's pump bring versus Profitec 800's dripper design... Also, should read about Quickmill Achille or Rapida, they come a bit cheaper than Profitec800...

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#18: Post by drH »

If you are upgrading to a larger lever, do you have the ability to plumb in ?( sorry if you already answered that).
The reason I ask is because you may want to consider the Londinium Compressa in the list. If not the LR24 is more expensive but will be a lot more temperature stable than a dipper.
If not Londinium, then the Pro800 always looked like an awesome machine to me. Profitec has a good reputation.

borisp (original poster)

#19: Post by borisp (original poster) »

drH, I have not considered plumbing before, mainly because we're renting. The question is, is it sensible to install some kind of a solution and uninstall it before moving out (we have no plans of moving out at least in the following 1-2 years?

The Londinium Compressa costs a little bit over 3,000$ after shipping and taxes which is cheaper than getting a local Profitec 800. So that's at least worth consideration, I guess.

The Profitec 800 locally costs about 3,700$,
internationally it goes much cheaper though, around 2700$.
Quickmill Achille internationally, 2700$.

I find Profitec impressive as well, although, merely judging by online videos, images and opinions ^_^

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#20: Post by mrgnomer »

Profitec 800 is a drip tube line pressure machine. A traditional lever from what I've read.

The Strega is a hybrid machine. Has a heat exchanger and uses a vibe pump to fill the group and pressure up the extraction. A vibratory pump is not my first choice but it's cheaper to replace than a rotary pump when it goes. It uses a couple temperature fixed thermostatic heating elements to bring the commercial grouphead to brew temp. All round I found it to be a very solid capable analog control machine. Lots of mod threads for the Strega.

At first the Profitec 800 was at the top of my list but the more I read about the Strega the more it looked like a better choice. The rotary pump plumbed in e61 HX I had for 15 years became limited. A commercial group lever offers an upgrade in extraction control with the Strega adding pump pressure preinfusion/extraction. I've had a Strega for a couple months and find the extraction control that's possible enough to satisfy my need for any upgrade. It's pretty simple and easy to work on as well.
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