Espresso Dilemma - CT2, Micra, Marriage...

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#1: Post by DoubleR »

I've found myself in a months-long debate with my wife, and while I likely know the answer, am looking for some advice. I want to add a second espresso machine to our home, but it's become a bit of a standoff. Her concern revolves around the mess and clutter it might bring to her carefully curated minimalist design, while I'm craving more control over pulling a shot of espresso.

Her Needs: She's all about simplicity. A quick prep of the coffee puck, a push of the pump, a bit of milk steaming, and she's got her morning latte. She's not too fussy about the drink and if the grind is dialed in properly she doesn't really care. She just wants a little bit of coffee with her steamed milk. But the real question is, can she easily handle the Strietman for a good latte, given that she's not interested in the intricacies of espresso?

My Needs: On my workday mornings, my final five minutes are dedicated to pulling and savoring an espresso. Since I'm normally rushed for time in the morning, it's crucial that this process is efficient, quick, and that the machine is ready when I am. I relish starting my mornings with the lingering taste of a great espresso on my commute (recently, I've been enjoying George Howell Worka Chelbessa). I don't need steam. On weekends or when I work from home, what I crave is the ability to experiment with pressure profiles and have more control over my shots than the pure 9 bar that the Linea Micra offers.

Options on the Table:

Option 1: Replacing my Micra with the Strietman and adding a nanofoamer or bellman for my wife. However, I'm concerned about how this might affect my morning routine and her ability pull a good shot.

Option 2: Getting the Strietman and keeping the Micra. Placing the Strietman in my home office (away from the rest of the house) and using it exclusively for my shots. This way, I get to enjoy the Strietman while keeping it out of the way, but it won't be a central fixture in our home - which is unfortunate.

What are your thoughts? Can Option 1 work given our circumstances, or should I lean toward Option 2 if I'm set on getting the Strietman?
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#2: Post by Jeff »

Option 3:

Keep the Micra, get a Robot, Arrarex, Argos (assuming it meets expectations) or other compact, manual lever

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#3: Post by another_jim »

Option 4: Be the barista, and make all your wife's lattes. See how much you enjoy the process with a Steitman and Bellman steamer.
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#4: Post by jgood »

I used a Bellman stovetop for a few years -- for me it got old as a daily driver for steaming. If you fill it 1/2 way up to the seam it's about 10 min or so on the stove till it's ready and it's excellent dry steam. (Read about the need to tighten the top very well if you get one!) However I relegated mine to travel and got a Carola companion steamer to go with my espresso only E61. It's nice to just go up, grind, and pull a shot and steam your milk. So I wouldn't rush to get rid of the Micra...
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#5: Post by truemagellen »

I have a wpm standalone steamer. It does have an auto steaming function so easy for anyone to operate and heats up fast.

U could get a super auto for her and you gmuse the Strietman. Strietman is worth it :mrgreen:

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#6: Post by RyanP »

I don't make a lot of milk drinks even when i had the Londinium on my counter, but I have a nanofoamer pro on order which should be shipping soon. It looks like it'll be a good option for push button quality microfoam for somebody with an open boiler lever who wants the occasional latte.

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#7: Post by BaristaBoy E61 »

I well understand the wife debate. My wife too is a minimalist and likes things neat, tidy, clean and cleanable. Her favourite question as a minimalist is, "Is it 'manageable'?". The last thing she wanted to see on our ever diminishing and limited counter space was a Speedster - that also has a massive outboard pump, hoses and wiring replacing cookware space in the cupboard below! Try selling that to a minimalist.

Option 2 looks pretty good. You need your wife's full support and endorsement in whatever you do. You'll both be happier in the long run when it's a joint collaboration. 'Happy spouse, happy house'; that goes for both of you.

BTW: The Speedster takes up less room than we both thought. The outboard pump was an opportunity for us to declutter the pots and pans cupboard. We installed the Speedster together. My wife now says that getting rid of the Speedster is "unthinkable", as she can't think of asking anything more from a cup of coffee and it has enriched our time together as well as our social life immeasurably. She sees the machine as having another "work of art" in our home.

This might not be your last espresso setup, things have a way of evolving. Evolve together. I see from the equipment you have that there will likely be many more chapters in your espresso journey. Enjoy the ride - together!
"You didn't buy an Espresso Machine - You bought a Chemistry Set!"

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#8: Post by erik82 »

There's just no substitue for a steam wand. I only drink straight espresso so the Strietman has been perfetc for me for years but when people visit I use a standard Nespresso milk frother. It gives crappy foam but it works for guest. A Bellman and other options also just don't work that well. So you need to keep the Micra.

If you want a no fuss great espresso pulling it time after time with ease then the Strietman is perfect. Fast heatup, superb quality espresso, more then enough shot volume (as opposed to most manual levers) and all the manual control you want. This should be the home office machine and maybe it'll move to the kitchen once the wife has grown into it.

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#9: Post by Primacog »

Option 2 for me. Happy wife, happy life...
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#10: Post by sonnylowe »

truemagellen wrote:I have a wpm standalone steamer. It does have an auto steaming function so easy for anyone to operate and heats up fast.

U could get a super auto for her and you gmuse the Strietman. Strietman is worth it :mrgreen:
I second the WPM steamer.

I've been using this setup as my daily driver for about a year now and couldn't be happier. The steamer heats up in about a minute and steams a small pitcher of milk in similar amount of time. Because it's has the automatic temp control and shut off you can steam hands free while pull your shot.

The steamer was a game changer for me. I had tried many variations of steamers from a Bellman stovetop to the original Nanofaomer, and the WPM is by far the simplest I used.

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