How much espresso machine is enough? - Page 2

Need help with equipment usage or want to share your latest discovery?
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#11: Post by Bex »

cu_gator wrote: I am leaning towards the M4 electronic. Again, the ease of use and other than the clumping from all the comments it appears to be very consistent.
May I suggest that you look at the Cymbali Max Hybrid instead? It's in the same price range, and there's no clumping. It's all in how you look at it, but a doser is a minimal hassle; stirring grinds in a yogurt cup to get rid of clumps is a major one.

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#12: Post by narc »

When you are content with what your have. Something "better" will always show up. Personally content with the machines I have. Would like & think about couple other machines. But then practical reality kicks in. Plus need to save the espresso $$ for a grinder upgrade. A "better" grinder will have more of an impact on the consistency and quality of the espresso I pull than a "better" machine.
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#13: Post by erics »

You know you bought too much machine if Starbucks opens a competing facility in your driveway

Yes, I believe 4K+ is a lot (too much) for a "novice" to spend on an espresso machine + grinder + accessories + plumb-in requirements + electrical changes.

From what I have read, the Cimbali Max Hybrid appears to be good bang for the buck.

The Vibiemme Super Domobar (pour-over vibe) and QM Anita (also pour-over vibe) are very nice value machines, would hold their value well, and have willing buyers - just in case. I think it a good idea to "get your feet wet" on a less expensive combination and then, possibly, move on to the Elektra A3.

Eric S.
E-mail: erics at rcn dot com


#14: Post by Beezer »

If you're looking for a plumbed in, rotary pump HX machine, I think something like the Quickmill Vetrano, Izzo Alex, or Fiorenzato Bricolleta would meet your needs. Those machines aren't exactly cheap, but they're about half of the price of an Elektra A3 and don't require special wiring. You could put the extra money toward a really kick ass grinder.
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#15: Post by Randy G. »

cafeIKE wrote:Did you forget that you used to use a Rocky and now have a Kony :?:
Did you forget that the Kony was received approximately 8 months after I got my VBM, and that for all those months I was using Rocky with VBM, and it is that upon which my comments were made? It is not I who needs his memory jogged.
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#16: Post by cannonfodder »

Gator, Hmm, you the same gator from SRP?

I am a bit divided on the subject. I have gone from the entry level to the A3. it is easy to spend someone else's money, but if you are willing then go for it. I could have purchased 2 A3's with all the money I spent on 'interim' equipment. The A3 is well documented on this site so I won't beat that drum. Having said that, there are a lot of capable machines below that including the VBM, but I would be lying if I said I have found something that produces a better shot than the A3 without going to extremes. I will re stress the grinder, get a good grinder, without it you will be disappointed. The Mazzer Super Jolly, Robur, Cimbali Max are all good grinders, among others. Personally, I would not go with a grinder any lower than the Mazzer Mini, but as I said, it is easy to spend someone else's money. I have an A3 paired with a Cimbali Max and a VBM Domobar Super paired with another Cimbali Max and enjoy both, so I am a bit biased.

My answer to your question, how much espresso machine (and grinder) is enough, the most you can afford.
Dave Stephens

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#17: Post by cafeIKE »

Randy G. wrote:Did you forget that the Kony was received approximately 8 months after I got my VBM, and that for all those months I was using Rocky with VBM, and it is that upon which my comments were made?
No. You didn't mention it. Your profile gives no indication of Rocky. Future readers would have no idea what grinder you were using.

...and we all know that recent events shade 'history'. :wink:


#18: Post by seattlesetters »

First, I'm a rank amateur with zero experience, so please take all this with a grain of salt. But I'm in the same boat as you.....looking for my first machine/grinder complex, wanting the very best repeatable espresso possible with ease of use being second on my list. The big difference is our budgets, where mine started out at $1,850 firm, about 35% of yours.

I solved my problem by getting what I felt to be the easiest machine (for me) to make good espresso consistently in the shortest amount of ramp-up time...the Quickmill Alexia w/PID. Eliminating as many variables as possible was the most important thing for me, and temperature control was what I always heard Sivia owners complain about. This machine addresses that concern. I also knew I needed a the best grinder I could get, and within that budget, the MACAP M4 (with doser, for ease of use), was about the best I could afford and still get a good machine that was easy to use (temperature-controlled e61). Recently, I had a small windfall that upped my budget to $2,150, but after over two years of lurking and research, I had become a "the grinder is everything" convert and decided the extra money would all go to a grinder. I first had decided upon the MACAP MXK but further research led me to the La Cimbali Max Hybrid as an easy to use, forgiving machine with a grind quality second to none. It also is smaller and fits better in the kitchen.

I, too, looked at the MACAP electronic grinder, and I understand where you're coming from on the whole ease of use thing. I want my wife and daughter to learn to make espresso, and thought they may be more inclined to participate if they could just press a button and get a reasonable grind volume with the help of the timer. But, alas, I know myself and the clumping issue would eventually cause me to whine, and they would hear me and they would tweak out about the clumps just as much as I would. So, I went with the Max Hybrid and its fluffy grind quality which is more forgiving of distribution.

If I had your $4,500 budget, I personally would just wait for the Vibiemme DB machine due out soon. I'm a freak about accuracy in everything I do, and the temperature control afforded by its PID and the forgiving nature of its e61 brew group would appeal to me. I'm just not down with temperature surfing, water dancing, guestimating, etc., although I'm sure in the hands of a skilled barista (which I am definitely not!) an HX can produce espresso on par with any design. I'd pair it with a Kony or MXK and know I had a most forgiving and consistent set-up, and a world-class grinder. And, if an HX was acceptable, I would see no reason to go beyond the QM Vetrano. I believe Chris has his finger on the pulse of the espresso public better than just about anyone, and the specs he brings the Quickmill machines in with are the top value in the industry, IMHO.

In closing, and to be as honest as a rookie can, with your budget, I'd rather have Miss Anita and a Mazzer Robur than an A3 and an M4. Is the A3 a better machine than Anita? Probably so. But the grinder is everything, and a newbie IMHO would be better served spending the money there. But if the A3 turns your crank and lights your fire, do what will make you happy. I doubt anyone would find fault with that selection.

cu_gator (original poster)

#19: Post by cu_gator (original poster) »

Seattle, thanks, your comments are the ones that i connect with most and it helps. I think you make a good point on the grinder. As i think about it, although the push button/cleanliness of the electronic doserless is appealing. I think in the long run the WDT would be a PITA because of the clumping so i think now the max hybrid (the others are just too big). And for the same reason, the only other machine that i have been thinking about is a dual boiler so that is the Vivaldi. The temp setting would seem to be pretty nice. Not sure why that machine needs a smaller PF? Anyway thanks again for your insight.

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#20: Post by narc »

gator, Seattle. Consider an initial purchase of a higher end grinder. Use the balance of your budget for the machine. The two grinders I use are adequate, but not what I would consider again for 1st grinders. The Mazzer Mini has +6years, the Macap M5(tall hopper version of M4) I received through H-B Holiday Gift this year of no problem use. Just not up to the overall grind quality as some of the better grinders. Eventually you will realize that a higher end grinder would make your espresso life more enjoyable. These commercial grade grinders even the Mini & M4/5 for home use will last a long, long time requiring just routine cleaning for maintenance. It's more or less a one time investment. "Improvements" in these grinders tend to be more or less refinements and more for the commercial world rather than the home environment. Our home machines are another story. With time significant maintenance will be requiremented in the more complex machine. Just look inside of the case to see all the possible parts that may or will wear out. It's one of the reasons I've retired the E61/HX/vibe machine and gone pure lever. Home machines seem to be evolving at high rate. You will probably replace the machine way before a real high quality grinder due to breakdown or desire.
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