Upscale Home Based Lever Machines - Page 2

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Satchmo780

#11: Post by Satchmo780 »

The Pro-800 is a dipper not a heat exchanger, and the Cremina SL is a spring lever group (albeit smaller than the others mentioned).

The Strega has a cartridge heater to play with grouphead temps, but that mostly helps with speed up time, although for light roasts that should help bump up the temp if necessary.

KanzaKruzer (original poster)

#12: Post by KanzaKruzer (original poster) »

RueFondary wrote:The machines in your initial selection differ significantly in their features and capabilities, beside the fact that they can all run without direct plumbing (Some of the models listed can also be plumbed directly)

The Cremina is a very traditional compact design (no electronics to speak of) manual lever machine with a small portafilter

The Profitec Pro 800, Strega and Londinium R24 are single spring lever single boiler machines with 58mm portafilters (some like the pro 800 are "hot-fed HX" or dipper design, other are cold fed HX designs). The R24 allows to customise preinfustion pressure via a phone app, but doesn't let you adjust brew temperature. The stock Strega doesn't have precise temperature controls (I don't recall if it can be adjusted) but it has a pump which can be used to customise preinfusion pressure (which the Pro 800 lacks when fed from a water tank). All these 3 machines have a fairly long warm up time (the strega does benefit from a group heater which gives it an advantage over the 2 others on this front)... and I'd probably pick the Pro800 out of these 3

In the same price range, there are some newer prosumer designs which combine a long established group design (The dual spring La San Marco 54mm commercial group which has been a staple in Napoli for decades, and also in use by Izzo for instance), with all the modern features one may want (variable preinfusion pressure, dual boiler configuration, precise temperature settings with 2 or more PIDs, fast heat-up time, ability to run plumbed in or from a tank, etc.), which also offer some additional features such as repeatable but adjustable temperature profiling. The ACS Evo Leva (available worldwide by contacting ACS in Italy) has been on the market for 2 years now. The Nurri Leva and the yet to be fully released 1-Group ACS Vostok are also worth a look in my opinion.

(Edited to address some points raised by Satchmo780 in the next post. Thanks!)
RueFondary,

Thanks so much for adding your insight! The Strega appears to meet most of my desired features. It has a 58mm portafilter which allows access to a broader set of accessories. It is self contained with its own water tank. We have hard water here in KC and I treat all the water that goes in with a BWT filter. I mainly stay around light roast beans although I sometimes switch to medium for variety. I would probably like to reduce the pre-infusion pressure, but once that is set I doubt it would change. I probably need to research whether the temperature can be adjusted to better suit light roast beans. I'm curious if the Strega has been updated or slated for one. In any case everyone's comments have helped me dial in on what I'm looking for with a spring lever machine.

Thanks again,
David

baldheadracing
Team HB

#13: Post by baldheadracing »

There have been three or four updates to the Strega; but the last update was in 2016 AFAIK. There are some Strega's sold currently with wooden knobs; but I'm not sure if the machine comes that way from the factory, or a dealer is installing the wood knob kit that Bezzera has.

On the Strega, adjusting pre-infusion pressure with the pump is fairly straightforward, but is also easier if you add a pressure gauge to read pre-infusion pressure (which does not read extraction pressure). Keep in mind that changing pre-infusion characteristics such as pressure and length of time also impact brew temperature profile and brew pressure profile. Temperature can be managed with flushes, and/or a PID can be added to control the group heater cartridges (I use flushes).

FWIW, I mostly use my Strega with light to nosebleed-light roasts.
-"Good quality brings happiness as you use it" - Nobuho Miya, Kamasada

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okmed

#14: Post by okmed »

RueFondary wrote:
The Profitec Pro 800, Strega and Londinium R24 are single spring lever single boiler machines with 58mm portafilters
The Strega is dual spring.
★ Helpful

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truemagellen

#15: Post by truemagellen »

RueFondary wrote:The machines in your initial selection differ significantly in their features and capabilities, beside the fact that they can all run without direct plumbing (Some of the models listed can also be plumbed directly).......
Excellent summary. I will add that given the author has a PKE he can do light roast ristretto a with the dual spring LSM style machine easily. With the higher pressure it is harder to do longer ratio shots but it's also possible by retarding lever or removing the spring.

Definitely don't be scare of a smaller basket many of us find a 55mm LSM or a 49mm Cremina is preferable to a 58mm machine. Dalle Corte who have no lever machine have a page dedicated to explaining their smaller basket size:
https://www.dallacorte.com/magazine-the ... n-428.html

There is also a strietman Ct2 to consider and add a steaming unit or keep your mara x for steaming. So many options you can't go wrong with any of them. Your price range gives you a lot to work with.

Oskuk

#16: Post by Oskuk »

I liked my Strega a lot, but the whole idea of you doing the job and being in your inner barista world -it is a bit smashed by the toy-grade ulka keeping it's rap on. ;-)
So, If I ever go back from Astoria Gloria to Strega, I'll plumb that too and just listen the silence...

buckersss
Supporter ♡

#17: Post by buckersss replying to Oskuk »

The Strega is real appealing. How do you adjust preinfusion pressure with the pump, and what's the range?

If you plumb it in, then preinfusion happens at waterline pressure? Not all Strega models have the plumb in option though, is that correct?

KanzaKruzer (original poster)

#18: Post by KanzaKruzer (original poster) »

This is all great information. I had originally thought I would limit my search for tank only units, but I may explore direct plumbing with a regulator if it is possible to adjust pre-infusion pressure with a line gauge. I'd have to add an under counter water softener, but I suspect I may go through more water than I have with the Mara X due to flushing the group head. The Strega can be purchased as a tank only, or as a switchable unit. That may give me the opportunity to change to direct feed in the future if needed. I had originally planned to move my espresso machine to our kitchen during a remodel, but that did not rank high enough with our space limitations. Looks like I will keep my espresso in the basement. I've moved it a couple times, but may try it in bathroom since it has easier access to a sink.

I plan to stay with one espresso machine and prefer to keep my gear simple. The 58 basket size is a preference because of familiarity and availability to a broader list of accessories. As an example the Asso Jack Leverler I use is only available in 58mm size. I'm also interested in trying the WAFO SOE Spirit basket when it becomes available which will only be offered in 58mm size. I dealt with a different size basket on the Flair I had before the Mara X. I travel with a Picopresso which uses a 52mm basket but that is infrequent enough it is not an issue.

I would need to sell my Mara X before ordering a Strega to help fund the purchase which may take awhile since I don't want to mess with shipping. I plan to keep researching the Strega and visit with several vendors who carry Brezzra. It will probably take me a couple months to gather enough information to be comfortable making the switch. Now that I have identified the Strega as a potential candidate, it will be easier to compare advantages and disadvantages of other lever machines.
David

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mrgnomer

#19: Post by mrgnomer »

The Bezzera Strega Top is a tank machine that can be plumbed in. It is very versatile with its vibe pump preinfusion/grouphead fill which allows for high extraction pressure and greater water volume when you use it. The HX gives fresh water for extraction and line pressure preinfusion when plumbed in. The grouphead heaters speed up ready time from cold start and maintain steady grouphead temp. It is a solid machine that is great stock but also has lots of potential and guides for modification.

The only other machines I have experience with is a Cremina 67 and a LaPavoni Europiccola. For extraction control and quality the Strega is stronger and more consistent. The Strega is also great at steaming.
Kirk
LMWDP #116
professionals do it for the pay, amateurs do it for the love

Oskuk

#20: Post by Oskuk »

buckersss wrote:The Strega is real appealing. How do you adjust preinfusion pressure with the pump, and what's the range?

If you plumb it in, then preinfusion happens at waterline pressure? Not all Strega models have the plumb in option though, is that correct?
The cheapest has been Strega-version is only plumbed, no tank, no pump.
Next one was with tank and pump, and most expensive is the top, with both variations possible.

So, I'd go plumbed without noise, and preinfusion with line-pressure. You can of course viggle and play with the lever, some Fellinis etc to let the spring press a bit and the wait, press more or whatever...