What would you do with a possibly lemon of an espresso machine?

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

#1: Post by ronlangara »

I am looking for advice. I am currently, for the last year, on my fourth espresso machine. I started over thirty years ago with a moka pot on the stove top. It was great but I decided to upgrade to a "real" espresso machine and got a Faema Bella over 25 years ago. After ten years it started to have problems so upgraded again to a Nuova Simonelli Oscar, Version 1.0. It too was a great improvement but then its problems became more severe last winter. I repaired it and passed it on to a nephew.

As a result I bought a Bezzera Duo DE. This is a great dual boiler machine with a rotary pump. It has volumetric shot programming that works well most of the time, less so with lighter roasts, but I prefer more traditional blends. It has three PID's, the coffee, and the steam boliers, and the group head which is electrically heated. It made much better coffee much more consistently than my old Oscar ever had. I have it plumbed in which is great. It can use a 120V 20 Amp circuit which I have in the kitchen. As a result it is hot and ready to go in 10-12 minutes. The temperature seems very stable to my untrained eyes.

I had the first problem with it not heating the group head last spring. Took it to the dealer, they repaired it. They said it needed a firware update. It worked well for two more months then the same problem. I took it back again. They said it was a faulty part in the Gicar "brain". They replaced the part and said they thought that it had been built at the start of COVID and they may have substituted a different part than they ought to have. Worked well for a three more months. Repeat in September 2020 this time with a new "brain" put in.

Finally so after three repairs, today it failed with the group head heaters not shutting off. That resulted in smoke, a melted/burnt group portafilter gasket, and much consternation. Not to mention a lack of caffeine. :(

So back it went again. They now say they are in the process of recalling all the Bezzera Duo's due to a flaw in the "brain" where undersized resistors can fail and cause either no heat, or stuck with the group heat on, as mine did. It also will get another new firmware update.

I am really unsure whether I should keep it after they repair it again, trade it for something else, they suggest a Rocket R60V E61 machine, or get my money back. This was not a cheap machine, $3,500 CDN and it is now over $4,000 CDN for a new one. The Rocket is a couple of thousand more still!

What would you recommend?

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#2: Post by Chert »

Money back and learn to tinker - if necessary - on something like this perhaps: Scala Butterfly on Craigslist ? HB Buy/Sell also often has Canadian listings.
LMWDP #198

ronlangara (original poster)

#3: Post by ronlangara (original poster) »

Thanks Chert for the suggestion. I have considered that route, going with a used machine that is. I do like the features of the Bezzera. It allows me to do four or five cappuccinos back to back in no time. All very consistently with the help of the Niche Zero grinder I use.

I guess I am wondering how it Maugham compare to using the Rocket R60?



#4: Post by pcdawson »

Sorry to hear about all of the trouble you've been having - I've definitely been there once or twice myself. I would sell and buy a La Spaziale Vivaldi or Mini Vivaldi. I owned one for five years and it was a solid performer. Very reliable and well built dual boiler + significantly cheaper than the R60.

ronlangara (original poster)

#5: Post by ronlangara (original poster) »

Thanks for the suggestion pcdawson. I see from your profile that you have two lever machines. I wondered if you would suggest switching to a lever despite my complete lack of experience with them? I have been considering that option as something that sounds really intriguing but I admit the apparent learning curve for them has me a little hesitant to go that way.



#6: Post by Phip »

You've been making espresso for 25 years with time most recently on a Bezera w/ three PIDs? You'll have no trouble with a lever and probably a lot more fun.
LMWDP #687


#7: Post by pcdawson »

Well.....I love levers! For me it's a tactile thing - like flying a barnstormer rather than a jet. I think you'd have no problem adjusting to a lever. Plus there are a tonne of leverheads like myself who can help you along your journey. As for machines, the Robot is an excellent machine but be prepared to learn about thermal management. On the spring lever side, the Elektra MCal is a great machine as is the Pro 800 and Londinium Compressa/L24. My Olympia Cremina SL is also a beautiful machine but a little pricey.


#8: Post by Pressino »

I agree with the two posts above. The mechanical simplicity of a well-built lever machine is the best way for the OP to go if he wants to minimize the kind of problems he had with the Bezzera, or any other similar machine highly dependent on electronic components. And bigger more commercially oriented ones will permit a competent barista to brew coffee as easily as the Bezzera for a house full of dinner guests. 8)

ronlangara (original poster)

#9: Post by ronlangara (original poster) »

Thanks to the lever supporters for the suggestions and ideas. I was afraid I might consider levers as a replacement :lol: :wink: .

Now my choice is even more difficult. Oh well. I have a little time to decide.


vecchi della seattle
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#10: Post by vecchi della seattle »

Isn't that the way of this world, such a beautiful luxury item causing you grief. You can bet that those old guys at Bezzera have their hands full adding electronics. Have you seen how they check reservoir water level in the Magica? Now that's old skool. But in your case I'd wait them out because it sounds like they're on it. Break out the moka pot and look forward to the return of that lovely machine.