What espresso machine would you buy (used) for $1000 budget? - Page 2

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

#11: Post by VoidedTea »

Barberdolan wrote: I am definitely intrigued by the Robot. It has been recommended now a few times and have watched some convincing vid reviews on YouTube. I guess I just sort of defaulter towards an automatic machine (or semi automatic). The only thing that turns me off is it taking too much time to pull a shot and dialing in. But maybe it is more simple than I am making it out to be.
I also really like the idea of the Robot and Gaggia for steam. I feel like the Robot is just one of those things that you would want to have in your house regardless, so sooner or later you would buy one anyway. So why not to start with this option? You can always add something later if you feel like it and have higher budget. I have not heard a single person who would regret buying the Robot.

As for the speed of pulling a shot, it literally takes me less than 5 min from start (turning on the kettle] to finish (sitting down with my cup). The process is a breeze. Some fancy machines take 40 minutes only to warm up before you can do anything. I would highly recommend getting a model with the pressure gauge, it makes more fun when you start pressure profiling.

mycatsnameisbernie

#12: Post by mycatsnameisbernie »

Barberdolan wrote:I also saw this and may be willing to save up a little more money since it is not too far above my budget. It seems like this is similar to the Rocket Apartamento machine.


https://www.wholelattelove.com/collecti ... iFEALw_wcB
Actually the Bezzera machine you linked is very different from an Appartamento. Both machines do have E61 group heads and are finished in chrome. But the similarity ends there.

The Appartamento is a heat-exchanger (HX) machine, and uses a pressurestat to control boiler temperature. You would need to learn how to do HX temperature management to get the best results from it. The good news is it can brew and steam simultaneously.

The Bezzera is a single-boiler dual use (SBDU) machine with a PID. It will be much easier to control brew temperature on this machine. The bad news is that in order to steam, you have to wait for the boiler to heat up to steam temperature. Then, in order to brew again, you need to flush the machine until the boiler cools back down to brew temperature.

Hope that helps!

thirdcrackfourthwave

#13: Post by thirdcrackfourthwave »

Barberdolan wrote: I am definitely intrigued by the Robot. It has been recommended now a few times and have watched some convincing vid reviews on YouTube. I guess I just sort of defaulter towards an automatic machine (or semi automatic). The only thing that turns me off is it taking too much time to pull a shot and dialing in. But maybe it is more simple than I am making it out to be.
It is simple and forgiving. I literally can have a shot less than two minutes after walking into the kitchen so the time thing is not a factor. Further there is extremely little maintenance.

jgood

#14: Post by jgood »

Another option (if you keep your existing machine for steam or get a Bellman) is the Quick Mill Carola -- basically a solid E61 PID machine without steam capability. Basically the espresso half of a double boiler. I think they're now 1100 -- Chris Coffee is the only US dealer.

cccpu

#15: Post by cccpu »

I've done the manual lever + external steamer path and then finally unwittingly stumbled onto the rabbit hole of the BDB and it's manifold modifiable machinations and will just throw out this as food for thought:

While the manual route can be romanticized and rationalized quite easily- I will submit that there may be something to say about the quickest path to improving your skill/enjoyment/ability to learn being the one most securely rooted in convenience.

What do I mean by that? Well, how about consider every variable that it takes to brew a cup of espresso:

Grind of Coffee
Temperature of Machine
Duration of Extraction
Recipe Ratio
Milk Preparation (if used)
Etc.

Consider the time required to set up every variable correctly, and then if something goes wrong, the time required to do it all over again, and again, and again...

If there was a way to streamline your workflow and if there was a set of tools that helped you control and maintain all of these separate variables and made repeating them a given, instead of an exercise in patience, you may find yourself drawn to the process naturally and your passion and skill sets advancing at a much more rapid rate than if you had to try and juggle all of these variables manually yourself every single time...

I found an essentially brand new Breville Dual Boiler almost a year ago on eBay... I paid right around $700 USD for it... and I've only further tumbled down the rabbit hole since then.

I had a Baratza Forté BG with steel burrs that I learned to align with the help of the HB community, and since then have only thought of further simplifying my workflow through a more convenient grinder capable of both filter and espresso, which I also recently have just done.

I have since modified the Breville to be able to mimic features of both Slayer and Londinium espresso machines and the only other plans I currently have would be to make another modification to allow for easy on the fly adjustments to the maximum brew pressure through an external OPV dial- but otherwise the machine is pairing well with my current workflow and I am drinking some of the best coffee I have ever had in my life so far.

All that to say- I would strongly recommend considering setting your mind on securing either a new or used Breville Dual Boiler and seeing for yourself how you feel about it... if you don't like it, you can always sell it or send it back.
LMWDP #583

Barberdolan (original poster)

#16: Post by Barberdolan (original poster) »

cccpu wrote:All that to say- I would strongly recommend considering setting your mind on securing either a new or used Breville Dual Boiler and seeing for yourself how you feel about it... if you don't like it, you can always sell it or send it back.
Thank you for the great insight. Yes I will most likely go with a new BDB (provided I can get the 20% at Bed, Bath..) or a used one from a reputable seller. The robot is super enticing but I went down the manual road before with a high end hand grinder only to upgrade months later to an electric one. I feel like the work flow might get a little old after a while between using the Gaggia for steam and pulling a manual shot with the Robot. I am also conscious of my super limited counter space and having an extra appliance up there will likely cause problems.

Barberdolan (original poster)

#17: Post by Barberdolan (original poster) »

mycatsnameisbernie wrote:Actually the Bezzera machine you linked is very different from an Appartamento. Both machines do have E61 group heads and are finished in chrome. But the similarity ends there.

The Appartamento is a heat-exchanger (HX) machine, and uses a pressurestat to control boiler temperature. You would need to learn how to do HX temperature management to get the best results from it. The good news is it can brew and steam simultaneously.

The Bezzera is a single-boiler dual use (SBDU) machine with a PID. It will be much easier to control brew temperature on this machine. The bad news is that in order to steam, you have to wait for the boiler to heat up to steam temperature. Then, in order to brew again, you need to flush the machine until the boiler cools back down to brew temperature.

Hope that helps!
Thank you...very helpful indeed : )

Barberdolan (original poster)

#18: Post by Barberdolan (original poster) »

Got offered a rocket apartamento which is just one year old and still under warranty (local pickup) for $1200 so the same cost as a new BDB. Definitely prefer the look of a rocket but perhaps going with a brand new machine would be a better option.

foam2

#19: Post by foam2 »

Personally I would have no interest in a completely manual espresso machine except for travel. I am not discounting them but from what I want to do in the morning I appreciate having something that heats up on its own and something I can put on a smart outlet to warm up ahead of time. I had a BDB and it was a great machine but at the time of purchase I was new and didn't give much thought to water and after 6-7 years started having some issues with it. It is a solid machine and if you take care of it will do really well - as others mentioned with coupon you could consider stretching the budget a bit and buying new. If you look on Craigslist or facebook market place I'm sure you can find e61 machines popping up every now and again. I found a rocket Cellini (e61 hex machine) on fb and negotiated it down to $500 to be used at work. I would not discount a heat exchanger machine but either way be patient and you can find the right machine used.

pcrussell50

#20: Post by pcrussell50 »

Jumping into this thread without having read much except George and Mitch's excellent posts. I fully agree with Mitch that the lab-grade temperature control of the BDB, AND it's live real time puck pressure gauge (which surprisingly many glamorously expensive machines don't have), is actually a help when it comes to learning "barista'ing". Once you learn how temperature and pressure play in the cup, it sets you well to then go out and explore more rudimentary manual methods. In fact, one of my mates in the Houston area reports of a coffee shop that uses BDB's for barista training and tasting, so they can learn temperature and pressure.

Not much to add except my testimonial of my life with a BDB as a launch customer, back in late 2011 when it first came out. Bought it from Williams Sonoma during their Fall sale of 30% off anything over $1000. The BDB was $1199 at the time, before the sale price. Besides one needless warranty replacement (that had I known more a the time, was much ado about nothing, literally nothing actually wrong with the machine), it lasted until mid-2018, with only the well known routine maintenance items, replacing a couple of worn o-rings, a solenoid, slow steam wand drip. All easy items that will need attention on any BDB after 2-3 years. In mid-2018, it stopped pre-infusing, even though it still worked perfectly normally as a normal espresso machine. That... was not one of the routine maintenance items. I tried swapping out the pump, (the BDB uses the same widely available, and affordable Italian pumps that most other prosumer machines use), but that didn't fix it. So I paid Breville's fixed repair fee, which includes shipping both ways and a fitted box, so you don't have to worry about how to pack it yourself, and... they sent me back a brand new machine. The moral of this story... do the easy stuff yourself. When something big comes up, that's when you send away to Breville, and they will likely send you back a brand new machine. So now I'm over two years in on this machine. It has become my mod lab. I have it on a remote mounted rotary pump, re routed some of the tubes so now it's flow controlled via the onboard needle valve, de-coupled the solenoid from the pump, so I can operate each independently of the other. Discovered that the Italian solenoid that comes in the machine is of a lower quality/cheaper than some others out there, BUT since Breville uses a standard form factor for solenoids, I put in a more expensive, (and probably more durable) American branded solenoid. Changed a couple of o-rings. Put in an ancient steam ball valve that someone donated to me because it was drippy, but I serviced myself it and it's been working like a champ for the last two years.

To see if you are game for the kind of maintenance required, here are a couple of quick videos, no more than a couple of minutes each.

O-ring replacement:
Fixing the drippy steam valve:
HTH

-Peter
LMWDP #553
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