Hey all, I realize this kind of post may look like it better belongs in the Buying Advice sub-forum, but I feel that it really belongs discussed amongst this particular community. If mods feel it should be moved, I'm not offended and so be it. I am not looking to start a flame war, nor pit proud owners of X against proud owners of Y. I would love to know how other lever folks feel, and their experiences and opinions of the machines I have on my mind in regards to perhaps replacing my Cremina.
I got my Cremina in late 2014 and paired it with my NS Mythos in early 2015. I enjoy the Cremina, but inevitably always wondered "what's next?" in regards to what may eventually take it's place. (I also enjoy my Mythos, but I know that a Monolith is likely to take it's place this year.)
Anyhow, I've fitted my machine with a 2011+ Teflon boiler:group gasket, an MCaL basket, bottomless Penney PF, 2011+ steam wand and a Spiroline Foam Knife tip. I have a new set of OE silicone gaskets in the mail currently and would like to get a Naked pressure gauge kit for it this year if I ultimately keep it.
The Cremina is amazingly tidy and takes up so little kitchen space, people rarely notice an espresso machine compared to the giant grinder. I work in the coffee industry and I do love the magical charm it seems to have on others who've never seen nor used a lever machine. The only thing driving me to wish for a change/"upgrade" seems to be the wish for faster drink-making & workflow and maybe the whole grass-is-always-greener of a machine I don't own.
I've always had my eye on the Linea Mini, and when seeking a lower cost option eventually considered the Londinium R. I'd love to hear from people who've owned a Cremina and one of these, but I do realize it's a bit too apples-to-oranges to compare them as direct competitors in either case. The L-R is especially tricky for me to form an opinion on because the owners seem quite proud while non-owners often seem to focus conversations on Reiss or his forum, less on the machine. I can't even tell if it would feel like an upgrade from the Cremina in my daily life, beyond giving me the 58mm portafilter and all the wonderful tamper/distributor options that come with that size.
Sorry to make this so long, I'll leave it at that for now. Please weigh in as you see fit, as my wallet and my wife would both surely love the most cost effective option - keeping my Cremina and possibly fitting a Naked kit to it