Here's the thing with the e61- it is a 'known quantity' and a workhorse.
I started with a Lelit (with a 57mm basket!), moved up to the Breville 900/920, and landed on the Vesuvius (dual boiler, e61 with pressure profiling).
Here's what I do NOT like about the e-61:
- There's a 7# (or was that 7kg?) chunk of chromed metal radiating 201°F into the room when it's on. I haven't burned myself on it, that just doesn't sound like a good design particularly when you live in a place that's warm most of the year. Sure, I leave a bar towel on it when not in use but still.
- The design REALLY pushes the group out which puts it at the front edge of the drip tray on most machines.
- This is more about me, but taking the screen / gasket out without scratching the hell out of it takes some learning. It's more annoying when you buy an expensive IMS screen for it and scratch it's fine mesh up with lines that look like what a 3 yr old does with crayons on a clean wall.
- You have to start / stop shots with a mechanical lever. Not a real dis-like for me but something to be aware of.
Things that are great about it:
- TONS of parts still available. Might be a downside too as there are some cheaply made parts out there too I guess.
- As a continuation of that last mention- customizable parts are out there, change flow rates, screens, gaskets, etc. Silicon gaskets are available which are a buy once and forget it part (unless you rip them up taking the out / putting them in).
- This thing lasts a LONG time if you have decent quality parts.
- Plenty of guides online to taking it apart, cleaning, lubing, troubleshooting.
- In the case of the Vesuvius the group does a great job in producing repeatable espresso shots.
I believe the thinking behind having a LARGE chunk of metal for the brew chamber is temp stability. Spring lever machines have 14# (or was that kg?) groups for the same reason. Now-er-days we have PID controlled stuff that SHOULD be good at keeping temps stable from shot to shot without so much metal. That's the Breville design. The result is much lighter weight and probably a quicker warm up time.
I don't know how much a comparable LM group weighs, but that's a good example of a more modern group I guess. Seems like LM embraced PID controls a while ago now.
In a lot of ways I miss the Breville 920, it'll tell you when to clean it, when the drip tray is full, when it needs water (the Vesuvius does this as well but it's annoying and you can't see it coming like the Breville). It has a cleaning cycle you can run instead of doing the hokey-pokey of backflushing.
My current feeling is I would have been better off with a Londinium L-R at this point, but that's another species and you didn't ask about spring levers. Talk about out old tech that's re-purposed! There are even spring levers with PID controlled boilers now.
Perhaps I've grown to see the ridiculousness of buying a profiling machine only to leave it on a spring lever pressure profile all the time. Sure, the Vesuvius can do much more but that's where I leave it
Sorry, on my third coffee and rambling. Let me sum up by quoting sweaner- no, not outdated. Old, proven big heavy tech that can still be used with new tech.