What are some "lifetime" / "end-goal" espresso machine and grinder options?

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

#1: Post by cuppa »

I currently have a Breville Oracle, and I am completely satisfied with it. If I wanted to buy a fancier grinder+machine for use on the weekends when I have too much time on my hands, what would be options for under, say, 5k USD, new or used? I enjoy more traditional dark espresso but am open to exploring other roasts and flavours.

A little over 50% of my drinks are milk drinks (often a latte) so I would need a good foamer as well.

Also, easy serviceability and spare part availability is very important to me. I'm in Boston, USA.

There's so much information out there it is hard to know where to start!

mdmvrockford
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#2: Post by mdmvrockford »

Need to know other information to help you answer your question:
* Do you need machine and grinder to be able to output for parties (e.g. >4 consecutive drinks with ease and w/o cooling/heating ritual)
* How handy are you servicing machines? Are you like TeamHB "IamOiman " who restores from scratch vintage lever? Ryan (IamOiman) joins Team HB Or as you like me who has two left thumbs and would lose them if doing what "IamOiman" does. :cry: ?
* Please better define "lifetime"/"end goal": Do you mean machine and grinder that will impress the non-coffee/espresso neighbors and the fellow HB senior members on get togethers and prevent upgraditis? If so then $5k (USD) is way too low. And for many there is no cure for upgraditis; upgraditis is not limited to this hobby.

What many on HB consider "lifetime/end goal" machines have things many home-baristas don't really need: capacity. They are commercial devices.

Regardless of the answers to above there are many choices out there currently. Far different vs. >10 years ago. Variations of your question I have read multiple times in past at least decade. Off top of my head for "lifetime" and impress HB fellow senior members and non-coffee neighborsand minimize upgraditis:
(a) espresso machine: Kees vanderwesten Speedster with Idromatic and custom panels https://keesvanderwesten.com/speedster/options OR buy a restored vintage spring lever (e.g. Faema Urania) from "IamOiman" Faema Urania Refurb or Paul Pratt http://www.cafelat.com/pauls-machine-collection.html

(b) espresso grinder (suggesting both conical and flat burr as you indicated "lifetime")
Will output quickly for multiple drinks: EK-43 aligned or Mythos 2 and Robur S among many choices.
If single dosing: Monolith Conical V3 or V4 AND Monolith Flax Max with Shuriken or EG-1

That being said, I am quite happy with my Cafelat Robot (barista) paired with Helor 106 (Mazzer 0186 71mm conical burr; same as Monolith Conical V3 and V4's main burrs) and Mazzer Major with SSP Red Speed; the latter is what I use when I play barista at large family get togethers. My novice palate struggled to tell difference (it certainly was NOT knock-my-socks-off) between Robot & Helor 106 vs. Robot & Monolith Flat Max with Shuriken (Dragonfly Leam Hammer). Since ~2015 getting a Olympia Express Cremina (and since replaced by Robot barista) I have no upgraditis with my setup.
I just focus on the bean and roast. The equipment I have certainly (with maintenance and replacement of minimal wear items) will last the rest of my lifetime and my children's lifetime.
LMWDP #568

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cuppa (original poster)

#3: Post by cuppa (original poster) »

mdmvrockford wrote:Need to know other information to help you answer your question:
* Do you need machine and grinder to be able to output for parties (e.g. >4 consecutive drinks with ease and w/o cooling/heating ritual)
* How handy are you servicing machines? Are you like TeamHB "IamOiman " who restores from scratch vintage lever? Ryan (IamOiman) joins Team HB Or as you like me who has two left thumbs and would lose them if doing what "IamOiman" does. :cry: ?
* Please better define "lifetime"/"end goal": Do you mean machine and grinder that will impress the non-coffee/espresso neighbors and the fellow HB senior members on get togethers and prevent upgraditis? If so then $5k (USD) is way too low. And for many there is no cure for updraditis (no limited to this hobby).

Regardless of the answers to above there are many choices out there. Variations of your question I have read multiple times in past at least decade.
Off top of my head for "lifetime" and impress HB fellow senior members and non-coffee neighbors and minimize upgraditis:
(a) espresso machine: Kees vanderwesten Speedster with Idromatic and custom panels https://keesvanderwesten.com/speedster/options
(b) espresso grinder (suggesting both conical and flat burr as you indicated "lifetime")
(that will output quickly for multiple drinks): EK-43 aligned or Mythos 2 and Robur S among at least five other choices.
If single dosing: Monolith Conical V3 or V4 AND Monolith Flax Max with Shuriken or EG-1

That being said, I am quite happy with my Cafelat Robot (barista) paired with Helor 106 (Mazzer 0186 71mm conical burr; same as Monolith Conical V3 and V4's main burrs) and Mazzer Major with SSP Red Speed; the latter is what I use when I play barista at large family get togethers. My novice palate struggled to tell difference (it certainly was NOT knock-my-socks-off) between Robot & Helor 106 vs. Robot & Monolith Flat Max with Shuriken (Dragonfly Leam Hammer). Since ~2015 getting a Olympia Express Cremina (and since replaced by Robot barista) I just focus on the bean and roast. The equipment I have certainly (with maintenance and replacement of minimal wear items) will last the rest of my lifetime and my children's lifetime.
Thank you, I realised I forgot to explain that part of my title right after i posted it. By lifetime, I mean something that will last a long time, and also pretty much extract the best coffee possible from a given set of beans, and the only limitation is someone's skill level. If 5k is too low for that, what is a good number?

I don't need it to gets lots of coffee for parties. Don't need it to impress anyone. Just need it to get me the best possible coffee from any beans I get if I raise my skill level enough. In a guitar analogy, what is the Gibson Les Paul and Fender '53 Deluxe amp of espresso machines and grinder? If that makes sense?

I will start googling all the ones you had posted, and read about them! Thank you!

mdmvrockford
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#4: Post by mdmvrockford »

cuppa wrote:Thank you, I realized I forgot to explain that part of my title right after I posted it. By lifetime, I mean something that will last a long time, and also pretty much extract the best coffee possible from a given set of beans, and the only limitation is someone's skill level. If 5k is too low for that, what is a good number?

I don't need it to gets lots of coffee for parties. Don't need it to impress anyone. Just need it to get me the best possible coffee from any beans I get if I raise my skill level enough.
I will go out on a limb here: in triangle testing (or blinded testing), I doubt even the uber palates like home-barista moderators will be able to tell significant differences for any espresso bean from (a) Robot & Helor 106 vs. (b) say Paul Pratt Urania & Robur S/Monolith Conical V4. Nor will they be able to tell significant difference from (a) Robot & Mazzer Major SSP Red Speed (aligned) vs (b) Speedster Idromatic & Monolith Flat Max Shuriken.

Cost of my Robot and Helor 106 (includes shipping) ~ $1250. This is well under your $5k and will last lifetime. Ergonomics and capacity are again a whole other issue. For multiple espresso-only drinks I have a Quickmill Alexia PID and flow control device (<$2k brand new MSRP). It does require some cooling if making >4 consecutive drinks. However I mainly use the Alexia as a milk steamer.

If you have not already done so, please look at HB "Buy/Sell" thread for great deals. This is how I got most of my equipment for well under MSRP.
LMWDP #568

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BaristaBoy E61

#5: Post by BaristaBoy E61 »

cuppa wrote:In a guitar analogy, what is the Gibson Les Paul and Fender '53 Deluxe amp of espresso machines and grinder?
The answer to that analogy would be the KvdW Speedster IdroMatic.

The answer to your $5k budget and serviceability would be the Izzo Alex Duetto IV.

https://www.chriscoffee.com/products/iz ... -duetto-iv
"You didn't buy an Espresso Machine - You bought a Chemistry Set!"

cuppa (original poster)

#6: Post by cuppa (original poster) »

Thank you, lots of great answers already for places to start looking and reading.

I only mentioned 5k because I figured it would be a question and in my mind, 5k was a reasonably high number. In reality, there's no specific budget. I can just save up longer if need be. It will be a #2 machine for "hobby" anyway. I'm perfectly happy with the espresso and especially the milk drinks from the Oracle (and love how convenient it is).

Serviceability, on the other hand, is quite important. I would say I'm fairly handy with things, but I've never opened up a coffee machine before.

I have been frequenting the buy sell forum already. But am totally lost with the options there. I'll keep at it.

ira
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#7: Post by ira »

cuppa wrote:In a guitar analogy, what is the Gibson Les Paul and Fender '53 Deluxe amp of espresso machines and grinder? If that makes sense?
That analogy hardly works if you put a price on it. I considered answering as I would have been the first respondent, but when I saw $5000 I figured there was no point.

Speedster as someone else said, one group LM Leva, one group Mistral if you can find one, any of numerous old restored lever machines.
For a grinder, Monolith Max, anything by Titus, Ceado Hero, maybe a Bentwood, Mazzer ZM, Versalab.

But with any of those combinations you're the far side of $10,000 and maybe close to $20,000 with the some of the combinations.

Ira

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Jeff
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#8: Post by Jeff »

I think a reasonable target, one that I might desire something better but be very happy with the results, can be had in the ballpark of US$5,000-6,0000

One example might be

Bianca/Synchronika/Profitec with flow control or a high-end, spring lever.

Bentwood (TBD, I have one of the first US-spec ones coming in a few weeks), Ultra, P100, or even a P64 on a more-limited budget.

cuppa (original poster)

#9: Post by cuppa (original poster) »

Please ignore the price in the first post. Just really good, single espressos from a very good, easily serviced machines (in the US). So, not a superlative boutique machine that will have to be sent to be babied or sent to Europe for repairs.

The analogy should work because Gibson Les Paul and Fender Deluxe are not the best money can buy. You can buy boutique guitars and amps for 20k each. But these are really good mass-produced workhorses that a good musician can use to produce exceptional music, and can get it serviced by any local guitar tech.

ira
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#10: Post by ira »

Streitman if all you want is single espresso's. Doesn't get any better and there is basically nothing to go wrong. Then maybe a Bentwood or Nautilus because I think they'd look really good side by side.

Ira
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