Torn between completely different espresso machines

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

#1: Post by borisp »


I've been lurking around for perhaps too long ^_^

I have sold my Gaggia Classic Pro because I wanted to upgrade to a Lelit Elizabeth. Life happened, the budget was allocated elsewhere and meanwhile, we're drinking pour-over coffee which is perfectly fine, but my wife desperately wants the Cappuccinos back. With our Gaggia Classic we primarily made Cappuccinos and Americanos.

I have a Eureka Specialita grinder and am now contemplating an espresso machine purchase.

Our budget is still not 100% defined. Those are the 4 main contenders:
1) Breville Bambino plus - because it's cheap.
2) Lelit Elizabeth - this will be the top of our budget with a stretch.
3) Mara X
4) Ponte Vecchio Lusso I/II

I hate the first option because being prone to upgraditis, I think I'll grow to hate the machine.

Lelit Elizabeth seems like the wisest choice, it's a dual-boiler, it might resemble my previous workflow with Gaggia Classic pro which is to pull a 18g with a double spouted portafilter and have 2 cups of cappuccino from 1 pull, essentially.
Elizabeth's steam power is highly impressive to me, coming from the Gaggia.

The Ponte Vecchio Lusso
This is a semi-dream. I really like levers. I mean, I really like levers when I see them in YouTube videos :D

I understand the max shot capacity is about 14g of coffee, correct? so, about 28-30g of espresso?
I'm trying to understand whether this will eventually turn out to be a major flaw for us.

I mean, the only "flaw" is that I'll have to pull 2 consecutive shots as opposed to just one. However, I'll have a bit more espresso in each cappuccino eventually and thus a more balanced and flavorful cup of coffee... so.. then I think, well, maybe the pvl2 would be perfect for pulling two shots *almost* simultaneously?

Also, how's the steaming power of the PVL? it should be at least as powerful as the Lelit Elizabeth/Mara? I really don't know sorry if that's a silly question :-)

To Summarize, my most important factors in a machine:
- I don't want to upgrade/buy new at least in the next 3 years.
- Must be able to serve 2 cups of cappuccino in a relatively pleasant experience.
- Steaming Power. I quickly outgrown the slow steaming experience with GCP.
- I'd like to experience with Light/Medium roasts as well.

Finally, the reason the Mara X is on the list is due to me being located in Israel and only the MaraX is available from a local reseller.
Purchasing the PVL, Elizabeth or Bambino will require ordering internationally.

the PVL is sold by a shop called lagondola from Italy, the Elizabeth and Bambino from Amazon.

What would you suggest?

Team HB

#2: Post by baldheadracing »

I'd pick the Mara X on local availability alone. If something goes wrong, then it'll probably be within the first few days of having the machine, and shipping to another country can be a pain. Regardless, I'd probably still pick the Mara X. Reviews of the machine are good and there is plenty of discussion here about the machine. I haven't used the Mara X, but the Mara was a small-footprint machine that offered great value. A little on the noisy side, but small vibration pump machines do tend to be noisy. (Modifications can address this, but that's a separate issue.)

The PV Lusso is an interesting machine, but I would (and did) take an Elektra Micro Casa a Leva over it. Steam should be no problem with Lusso's 3l boiler, but that big boiler also means that the machine will take quite a while to come up to temperature (unless you keep the water level in the boiler low). The upcoming Odyssey Argos and Londinium Vectis might also be of interest.

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


#3: Post by Ad-85 »

Ponte Vecchio Lusso 2G would be more fun to use than other "press a button" machines
LMWDB #691
LeverHeads on Telegram

borisp (original poster)

#4: Post by borisp (original poster) »

I have read about 20 minutes warm-up for the Ponte Vecchio here on the forums.

In any case, I guess I underestimate the importance of having a local dealer, although the experience of local coffee hobbyists with local suppliers' and resellers' support is subpar (to say the least) and many prefer to order internationally, I do not know, however, how they manage repairs/parts in case of serious trouble.

I have another option to check out a used Lusso: it's 12 years old, 3 years ago boiler changed, descaling maintenance routine 1.5 years ago. 1 group, if the price will be low enough, I might consider that option and begin saving up for a rather serious commercial lever machine.

If not, I guess the MaraX will be the wisest choice. paying the same $$ for a new 2-group PVL (internationally also) would be too much of a shot in the dark for me, and from what I understood (after devouring the forums) there aren't any serious lever machines in my price range (Strega, Londoniums, Quickmill Rapida, Izzo, etc.). For reasons I cannot fully express and articulate myself, I don't want a La Pavoni or Elektra as my main daily driver machine, perhaps my wife's objections contribute to that significantly :D :D

Also, our local prices are significantly higher than most EU. MaraX is more (about 100$ more) expensive than ordering Elizabeth internationally.

Team HB

#5: Post by baldheadracing »

The used Lusso would be interesting and a good introduction to spring levers. You'll get used to the 14g shots :D. Hope it is at a good price.

Mara X is about $100USD less expensive than the Elizabeth in the USA.
-"Good quality brings happiness as you use it" - Nobuho Miya, Kamasada

Supporter ♡

#6: Post by pizzaman383 »

With a two-group Lusso you could pull two 14g shots at the same time.
LMWDP #551
“Taste every shot before adding milk!”

Team HB

#7: Post by baldheadracing replying to pizzaman383 »

There's only one HX and thermosyphon circuit though - the groups bolt to a manifold that splits the same boiler, HX, and plumbing as the one-group. As a result, I'd guess that the two groups are more for sequential rather than parallel usage.
-"Good quality brings happiness as you use it" - Nobuho Miya, Kamasada

borisp (original poster)

#8: Post by borisp (original poster) »

Would you still choose Mara given the Elizabeth is slightly cheaper, although not available locally?

Team HB

#9: Post by baldheadracing replying to borisp »

I wouldn't choose either, but I'm in a different market and the Breville Dual Boiler is currently about $300USD lower than the MaraX/Elizabeth :).

But back to you:
- what types of coffees and roast levels do you drink?
- what would be a typical weekday coffee-making routine? Times, how many, etc.
- what would be a typical weekend routine?
- when friends/family visit, then do you want to make coffee for them?

At this level of investment, I feel that getting the best machine fit is more important than price differences.
-"Good quality brings happiness as you use it" - Nobuho Miya, Kamasada

borisp (original poster)

#10: Post by borisp (original poster) »

- We make 2 americanos in the morning, currently it's drip coffee. We have only experienced dark roasts but we're much open to experience new, light/medium roasts.

Afternoon, we make 2 cappas. In the evening sometimes we make 2 more cappas, although I used to make myself a small drink (cortado?)

With guests we make espressos & lattes.

From time to time I tried drinking espressos I pulled with Gaggia Classic, but didn't like them - they were too harsh in general and I wasn't able to enjoy them and didn't feel their distinctive flavors. With pour over I definitely feel the nice acidity and sweetness that comes out of my coffee, it's very pleasant.

On weekends, the routine is pretty much the same.

Fwiw, our cappuccino is around ~180ml, so perhaps not the traditional 150ml capp.