Wife demands better espresso machine

Recommendations for buyers and upgraders from the site's members.
Gargamel40

#1: Post by Gargamel40 »

Surprise turn of events. While i was learning about espresso making online, my wife enrolled herself in barista class and now wants a proper espresso machine at home.

We want a reliable machine that has control option and sepparate dial for brewing water temperature and brew pressure. They need to be easily controlled and monitored.
Easy to maintain and easy access to water tank.
Preinfusion option.
Sepparate hot water outlet (i think all have that anyway)
Basic steaming milk option (not very important).
Fast heatup time (it's a bonus, but not very important).
Takes 58mm portafilter (we will use bottomless one and VST baskets).
RELIABLE!

Did we miss anything important?

I would love to be under 2000 with budget but let's talk options first.

Gargamel40 (original poster)

#2: Post by Gargamel40 (original poster) »

By pressure control i mean a dial that shows brew pressure and an option to dial it in from outside not by opening the machine.

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Jeff
Team HB

#3: Post by Jeff »

A couple of thoughts on the list of requirements first.

I find the brew pressure gauge close to useless day to day, but valuable when servicing or adjusting the machine. With a grind that's anywhere near "right", it always does the same thing during a shot and its peak is controlled by the setting of the OPV inside the machine.

A hot-water tap often doesn't taste very good. They usually come from the steam boiler where making steam leaves the minerals behind. It is useful for draining a bit of water from that boiler to help keep the mineral levels safe for the machine or warm a cup.

Fast heat-up time suggests the Breville Dual Boiler (BDB). Another machine in that price class I'd consider is the Lelit Elizabeth.

If you're not making milk drinks often and can use a battery-powered frother when you do, you might want to consider a Cafelat Robot or perhaps Flair 58. I own Robot in addition to a high-end machine and enjoy it a lot. The Argos should be coming out April or so looks very interesting, but there won't be good opinions on it until early summer.

What is your budget for a grinder? To a great extent, that could be the limiting factor on your espresso.

Gargamel40 (original poster)

#4: Post by Gargamel40 (original poster) »

Brew pressure. I want a dial so i can see what kind of pressure the machine has and be able to dial it in from outside the machine. When that is done i won't mesa with it unless it starts to go off.

I'm surprised about a water taste. I know Lelit Elizabeth water tastes like plastic and i hoped other better machines have that sorted out. Wife plans to use it for making Americanos.

Fast heat up time is NOT very important. In would rather have better other functions.

Lever machine is out.

Grinder budget up to 700 eur. I'm thinking Baratza Sette 270wi for weighted grinding and ease of use.

SAllen

#5: Post by SAllen »

I again sound like an advertisement but you're describing the BDB in terms of features and price.

One of the best aspects of it is the adding of water from the front without having to remove the water tank. I'm curious as to what other machines have that feature.

JohanR

#6: Post by JohanR »

What about the ECM Puristika: external dial for adjusting the OPV and an external glass tank. Get a kettle for water for americanos and a nanofoamer for the occasional cappuccino.
Since you are in Europe I would think you get better value buying things made here rather than in the US.
Johan

Gargamel40 (original poster)

#7: Post by Gargamel40 (original poster) »

Love the look of Puristika. Looks like it also has a PID and you can set a brewing temperature and it also shows the time when you pull the shot. So it's got everything, just hot water tap for Americano.

Looks very tempting indeed.

luvmy40

#8: Post by luvmy40 »

Another vote for the BDB. It ticks all your boxes except being able to adjust the OPV from outside. I've never understood the obsession with adjusting the OPVs. Unless they bypass at too LOW a pressure, who cares what the max pressure is. They are a safety device only. They have zero bearing on the brew process. That is all controlled by dose and grind, or your method of flow/pressure control.

As far as the water spigot goes, the BDB is one of the few that doesn't use the water from the steam boiler. (Maybe all dual boilers do?)

With a two minute mod that requires the use of a screw driver and does not require you to open the machine, you can have excellent flow control and still have the use of the spigot for americanos. I do find it more convenient to just keep an electric kettle on the counter for this, but that's just me.

JohanR

#9: Post by JohanR »

luvmy40 wrote:I've never understood the obsession with adjusting the OPVs. Unless they bypass at too LOW a pressure, who cares what the max pressure is. They are a safety device only. They have zero bearing on the brew process. That is all controlled by dose and grind, or your method of flow/pressure control.
Without the OPV, or any other form of flow control, the flow and the pressure are related to each other through the pump curve: for a given flow you will have a certain pressure or vice versa. With the OPV, the pump curve becomes flat for flows smaller than that corresponding to the OPV setting. In this way the pressure (just after the OPV to be more precise) will be the same for any lower flow.



For example, in the diagram above (for a ULKA E5) the pressure just after the OPV would follow the green curve for flows below about 200 cc/min = 3.3 g/s with the OPV set to about 9 bar. (The rest of the water is in most cases diverted back into your water tank or sometimes into the drip tray.)
Johan
★ Helpful

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BaristaBoy E61

#10: Post by BaristaBoy E61 »

Gargamel40 wrote:We want a reliable machine that has control option and sepparate dial for brewing water temperature and brew pressure. They need to be easily controlled and monitored.
Easy to maintain and easy access to water tank.
Preinfusion option.
Sepparate hot water outlet (i think all have that anyway)
Basic steaming milk option (not very important).
Fast heatup time (it's a bonus, but not very important).
Takes 58mm portafilter (we will use bottomless one and VST baskets).
RELIABLE!

Sounds like the machine for you and your barista wife would be a La Marzocco GS3 MP!
"You didn't buy an Espresso Machine - You bought a Chemistry Set!"