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What a pain in the ass
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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > What a pain in...  
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wildlyesoteric
Senior Member
wildlyesoteric
Joined: 3 Oct 2007
Posts: 113
Location: Salmon Arm, BC
Expertise: Pro Barista

Espresso: Breville Cafe Roma
Grinder: Mazzer Major
Vac Pot: Bodum Santos
Drip: Swissgold
Roaster: Milwaukee HG/DB
Posted Mon Jan 14, 2008, 9:29pm
Subject: What a pain in the ass
 

I've got a relentless hypothetical purchase addiction.  I'll have a bunch of dough by march but ATM I've just got the Mazzer and regular brewing methods.  It took a long while to really warm up to the idea of espresso at home, just because of the hassle, but I'm getting there... I just think about having some really nice cups, a nice neat work surface and making espresso at home, enjoying a nice relaxing day.  With a school/work week of 55hrs this probably isn't realistic and I go back to being flip/flop over the issue.  Maybe it's due to the fact that I haven't got the cash to lay down and commit, but I'm having a hell of a time deciding what to buy.  Here's the toss up... I'm sure many have had similar issues in deciding.

Prosumer HX machine - Most likely the Giotto Premium at espressotec.com.  Larger boiler than most, two portafilters, good reputation, and dirt cheap at $1595CAD.  It's the most local option being in Richmond (well, 5 hours away) but it would mean good service, full warrenty, all that.  From what I've heard I could probably work in a RB tamper with that price, which takes off the sting a bit.

Entry Level HX - Bezzera BZ02 for $1200 new seems like a good deal, no shipping, full warranty and it saves a few bucks, even if it is a compromise.  OTOH I could just say to hell with it and pick up a used Oscar or Ellimatic or something just to get into it (Nah.)

Light commercial pourover - Couple options here, including the Rancilio Epoca (downside, vibe pump) new with warranty for $1800 or so

Commercial plumbed - Cheap and fairly available, range from $800-1800 for the used Nuova Simonelli Macs, Wegas, Rancilios, ELITEs, Astras, Bezzera etc.  Most risk for breakdowns/parts and always such a hassle being old, dirty and ratbagged.  Looking inside my Major nearly makes me wish I went for a near-new SJ on eBay at the same time as mine for a hundred less


Anybody wanna sell me the perfect used commercial machine in a month-and-a-half? ;)
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cjbrubaker
Senior Member


Joined: 12 Sep 2007
Posts: 172
Location: Providence, RI
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Rancilio S24, Silvia PID,...
Grinder: Mazzer Mini E type B
Vac Pot: Yama 4-cup
Posted Mon Jan 14, 2008, 10:06pm
Subject: Re: What a pain in the ass
 

Personally, I think the vibe vs. pump issue is mostly academic. I have a pourover HX commercial machine (Rancilio S24) and absolutely love it. Some great deals can be had on these units, and if you can spare the space, I'd say go for one of them or an Epoca. Some people like the pinpoint adjustability of a PID, but I had a Silvia PID, and I prefer the greater flexibility and finesse afforded by a HX machine. That, and owning a commercial machine comes with a lot of intangibles that I never really understood with a consumer machine. For example, I really like having a hot water spout (i use it more than the steam wand), I love not having to worry about running the reservoir or boiler dry, I love knowing I can't outrun this machine, I love the steam pressure, I love the light action of the steam and hot water valves, and I love being able to easily take apart and re-build just about everything on the machine. So ,my advice- look for a used, single group commercial heat exchanger. It's hard to find a better value if you can affford the space.
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wildlyesoteric
Senior Member
wildlyesoteric
Joined: 3 Oct 2007
Posts: 113
Location: Salmon Arm, BC
Expertise: Pro Barista

Espresso: Breville Cafe Roma
Grinder: Mazzer Major
Vac Pot: Bodum Santos
Drip: Swissgold
Roaster: Milwaukee HG/DB
Posted Mon Jan 14, 2008, 11:55pm
Subject: Re: What a pain in the ass
 

That's been my leaning.  Currently at work I'm using a Nuova Program Plus 2 Group, so something in the mid-range like the S24 would be pretty much parallel in terms of use and performance.  I don't know anything about the epoca but it's got a big fat boiler and I dig that.
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JVBorella
Senior Member
JVBorella
Joined: 29 Oct 2007
Posts: 1,166
Location: northeastern CT.
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Speedster, Strega, Cremina
Grinder: K10 WBC, Bunnzilla
Vac Pot: Hario NCA 3 & 5, Mitzudash
Drip: Hario Wooden Neck/Buono
Roaster: Hottop KN-8828P/B
Posted Tue Jan 15, 2008, 5:58am
Subject: Re: What a pain in the ass
 

What do these machines cost up your way?
http://www.chriscoffee.com/products/home/espresso/vivaldi_2
Click Here (www.chriscoffee.com)

 
John
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ByronA
Senior Member


Joined: 24 Aug 2007
Posts: 378
Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Rancilio S24, KitchenAid...
Grinder: Compak K5, KitchenAid...
Vac Pot: Don't want one
Drip: Don't want one
Roaster: Will eventually get one
Posted Tue Jan 15, 2008, 6:48am
Subject: Re: What a pain in the ass
 

From what I understand, the Epoca is very similar to the S24, S26, and S27. Actually, I think it is closer to the S26 and S27. It is the replacement model and a lot of parts are the same. I do love my S24 too! Still getting the hang of it, but after watching a few videos and taking some advice from one of these threads, my results keep getting better!

I actually got mine from Vancouver and shipped it over here. Keep an eye on Craigs List. Vancouver has the best deals and largest choice on used espresso machines in Canada. You are lucky you have that option. As for the grinder, I would suggest you give it a thorough cleaning.

I often work late from home, and I really love sitting in my livingroom drinking a fresh cap while I work. Sometimes I have to pull an allnighter, and I just keep making them!
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cjbrubaker
Senior Member


Joined: 12 Sep 2007
Posts: 172
Location: Providence, RI
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Rancilio S24, Silvia PID,...
Grinder: Mazzer Mini E type B
Vac Pot: Yama 4-cup
Posted Tue Jan 15, 2008, 10:11am
Subject: Re: What a pain in the ass
 

You're right, the Epoca is the successor to the S20 series. Aside from the exterior styling, I forget what the differences are, but the shots of the Epoca internals look almost identical to my S24. I'd be interested to know how the Epocas are "better."

Here's my understanding of how the models break down, and how the single-group S-series relates to the Epoca's

S24 -> Epoca ST-1 (pourover model, vibratory pump, manual brew control)
S26 -> Epoca S-1 (plumbed-in, rotary pump, manual brew control)
S27 -> Epoca E-1 (plumbed-in, rotary pump, automatic brew controls [aka buttons for single, double shots, etc. instead of an on/off brew switch])
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wildlyesoteric
Senior Member
wildlyesoteric
Joined: 3 Oct 2007
Posts: 113
Location: Salmon Arm, BC
Expertise: Pro Barista

Espresso: Breville Cafe Roma
Grinder: Mazzer Major
Vac Pot: Bodum Santos
Drip: Swissgold
Roaster: Milwaukee HG/DB
Posted Wed Jan 16, 2008, 10:38am
Subject: Re: What a pain in the ass
 

That's good information baker, thanks for the helpful post.  Puts the Epoca a little further ahead of the pack.

As for the grinder, I ran some grindz through it shortly after it arrived, not really expecting amazing results.  A week later I took apart the burrs with the brushes and cafiza ready -- to my surprise there was NO residue on or surrounding the burrs.  NO caked on grounds, NO apparent oils, nothing.  I was almost disappointed not to have anything to scrub off.  They weren't new burrs either -- they could've had a couple thousands lbs. through them.  I will pick up a new set though; ATM it's serving its purpose very well.

Apart from all that, this morning I finally got the motivation (and time) to haul Major into the kitchen and pull a couple shots on the Breville machine (sister's).  45 minutes of tweaking grind lended impressive results.  Thick, sweet, smoky espresso from a FC+ Sidamo/FC++ Tanzania blend.  Two good doubles and a 6.5oz cappuccino with a thick stemmed rosetta -- I had to scoop about 3tbls of meringue foam off the top to get the milk pourable.  I can't imagine the difference from $200 to $2000.  A set of Illy cups later, some Marzocco cups and Nuova Points, Europa steam pitcher and a Bubinga Reg Barber and I'll be set.  What more do you need?
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