Which espresso machine - (budget revised upward to $5500)

Recommendations for buyers and upgraders from the site's members.
Glacier21

#1: Post by Glacier21 »

Due to an unexpected tax windfall, I get to buy an espresso machine now - yay! I've read a ton and watched a ton, but this community's input will help me close in on the right machine - thank you in advance.

There seems to be some amazing options around $2500 +- 30%. I've owned a La Pavoni Europiccola for 21 years -- had the best of shots/the worst of shots, LOVE how bulletproof and repairable it is, will never retire it, but it's a project to make exceptional coffee with the peacock.

Habits:
- I'll be the only operator of la macchina
- Typically 1-4 double shots at a time
- We do steam milk, but are mostly we are machiatto drinkers, sometimes proper cappuccino, up to 5oz/150ml cup. If we're having a dinner party, La Pavoni could be employed for milk steaming. Steam/milk is not a priority.
- We've always done Italian-style beans/roasts (Peets Espresso Forte, Illy), but have recently been having amazing lighter/Ethiopian beans; I expect to experiment a bunch. Pre-infusion and flow control are interesting.
- We work from home and I want to make coffee when I wake up at 5:30am, all the way through 1pm, typically at short notice (opportunistic)
- I have a pretty good grinder, Eureka Mignon Oro XL 65mm

Must have:
- Depth less than 19" (48cm); Any height is OK
- Very strong likelihood to make exceptional espresso consistently (I think this is a given in this price range)
- Tank-like build, repair-ability, strong likelihood to last 10-20 years.
- Super-quiet operation (warmup, espresso-making)
- Can be ready to make coffee 8 hours per day, operated on a wifi switch.
- OK-enough milk-steaming (quality>quantity)

The machine will be placed next to a wet bar sink, so plumbing it will be an option. Given the usage volume (low), I kind of prefer to control the water manually, so direct plumb is nifty but not a big factor.

Based on this, I'm thinking...

Leilit Elizabeth looks like a great option. I actually really like how this looks. Pre-infusion looks promising. Not deep.
Profitec 300 DB has a great look and build, like that it can heat up quickly, but no pre-infusion/flow control
ECM Synchronika is just a bit too deep 18.7" on a 18" counter, but I think it would work. Love the build. Seems like no compromises.
Profitec 600 fits at 17.7", also a great build, hard to find a downside to this machine
I haven't looked at Rocket machines much, or other brands

Thank you for reading. It's so helpful to review past posts, but for anyone who takes the time to review this all and provide input - thank you.

edit - revised subject line with new/larger budget parameters

TallDan

#2: Post by TallDan »

If you're keeping another machine for steam anyway, ECM Puristika?

Glacier21 (original poster)

#3: Post by Glacier21 (original poster) replying to TallDan »

I think it would get annoying to heat up La Pavoni every day (my understanding is that it can't be left on indefinitely, as well). For holidays a few times a year it would be OK. Also, La Pavoni makes a fair amount of noise just coming up to temp.

I see you have a Decent. That would be another pairing with the manual lever machine. So many options :)

TallDan

#4: Post by TallDan »

The decent definitely ticks a lot of your boxes. I know it's not for everyone, but I find it fits my needs very well. The fast warmup is great. I don't need to leave it on all the time or have it automatically wake up in the morning because of how quickly it's ready to go. I don't tinker with all of the profiles as much as many others do, but it's great to have that flexibility there when I do want to play. I had some concerns about it before I had it and very nearly bought a synchronika instead, but ultimately, I'm quite happy.

innerjourney

#5: Post by innerjourney »

FWIW - I'm completely new at this (first machine), but...

I didn't have the budget you're looking at to begin with. Looked at the Pro 300 first and really liked everything about it including the price. But something felt like I would eventually (meaning quickly) want a little larger steam boiler (and the higher steam pressure), so I went with the 600. Honestly, it was kind of a... the 300 looks great, but what I really want is the 600. :)

So with the blessing of my wife (she's awesome), we got the 600. Also got flow control on it as something that I can eventually work into. For right now I'm just taking it easy learning to tamp/prep, and having fun as I go. I love this thing.

The one thing I'll say is that the 300 I think has a quicker warm up time? But I'm fine with the generally recommended 40-50 minutes.

We do only milk drinks, and decaf, so that may not be what you're looking at, but that's where we're coming from.

From what I read it seemed like the reliability was also great on Profitecs, and also the internals seemed great. Solid. I wanted something that I wasn't going to be worrying about in 2 years, 5 years, etc.

My experience, from a complete novice. :D

Good luck on choosing - you'll have fun.

User avatar
CoffeeMac

#6: Post by CoffeeMac »

Londinium Compressa ticks all your boxes except depth (it's 21"). I especially like the completely silent operation and consistently excellent espresso.

Londinium Vectis is smaller and will hopefully come out by the end of the year, so that might be an option.
Eventually you will end up with a lever.

LMWDP #706

Glacier21 (original poster)

#7: Post by Glacier21 (original poster) »

This is helpful, and CoffeeMac the idea of the Londinium is a good prod around potentially getting a lever machine. I don't mind a learning curve. But the high end levers (Profitec 800, Cremina, Londinium) seem to be just too deep. Vectis looks too far away.

I hadn't measured the depth of the counter space until I got ready to post this, and am realizing how much I don't have a feel for the physical presence of one of these machines. It is one thing to sink this kind of monetary budget into a machine; It would be a far greater hit to exceed my counter-space budget.

I just noticed this about the Leilit Bianca, from Clive: In a unique stroke of genius, the reservoir is modular. It can be detached when direct plumbed, making the machine drastically smaller. (15.9 inches vs. 19.9 inches).
.

Direct plumb isn't my first choice, but the install would be pretty easy and it would be really nice to not overstep the counter.

spopinski

#8: Post by spopinski »

What about the Ascaso Steel Duo PID

Glacier21 (original poster)

#9: Post by Glacier21 (original poster) replying to spopinski »

Oh, this looks interesting, thank you, will review some more.

caeffe

#10: Post by caeffe »

Glacier21 wrote:.........learning curve. But the high end levers (Profitec 800, Cremina, Londinium) seem to be just too deep. Vectis looks too far away.

I hadn't measured the depth of the counter space until I got ready to post this, and am realizing how much I don't have a feel for the physical presence of one of these machines. It is one thing to sink this kind of monetary budget into a machine; It would be a far greater hit to exceed my counter-space budget.
Take another look at the Cremina - it's dimensions are quite similar to your Pavoni - https://www.olympia-express.ch/en/products/cremina
With a width of 7.9 in and depth of 10.6 it meets your size criteria as well as the "super-quiet" operation.
I think the dimensions noted on the website don't account for the height to clear the lever but you mentioned that height is not an issue.

Maybe it won't meet your price criteria.

I don't have a Cremina but have a Pavoni and an Elektra Micro Casa (manual and spring levers)
Agree with you that the Pavoni as it comes up is "noisy - you must have the version that doesn't have a p-stat like I do. Another one to consider is the Elektra Micro Casa (another lever, albeit spring). The Micro Casa is much easier to maintain compared to the Pavoni due to the ease of replacing the piston gaskets.

Bear in mind, the machines you mention will be "noisy" if it uses a vibe pump - so it won't meet your criteria of "super-quiet" during espresso making. I have a Nuova Simonelli Oscar and I've nicknamed it Oscar the Grouch since it basically growls during espresso making and refilling. They'll be quiet as they come up to heat but the pump will probably engage upon turn-on to refill the boiler.
LMWDP #162