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Please help, any machine advice appreciated
Rocket R58 Double Boiler
Rocket Espresso R58 Double Boiler -  Everything you need for the perfect shot!
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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > Please help, any...  
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daschlag
Senior Member


Joined: 13 Feb 2011
Posts: 34
Location: Seattle
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Silvia
Grinder: Vario
Drip: Cuisinart programmable...
Posted Sun Feb 13, 2011, 4:27pm
Subject: Please help, any machine advice appreciated
 

Hi everyone, I'm brand new to the forum and would like some general advice.  I've done as much research as my head can handle and now must turn to the experts.

I've had a Breville 800ESXL for 5 years and broke it last week.  It's been discontinued and parts are unavailable, so I'm using this as an excuse to get something "better" (read: not made in China).

I've decided upon a super automatic.  I've narrowed it down to a couple of Saecos, but would like to hear about any other options that y'all might recommend.  Basically I'm currently considering the Saeco Talea Giro Plus, and the Saeco Incanto Deluxe.  I live in Seattle and have been up to the Seattle Coffee Gear showroom, seen both of these in action, and am very impressed with the quality prices (refurbished).

So, my price target is around $600, and I would like something that grinds, has different brewing options (heat, strength, size) and milk frothing.

Any suggestions?  Have I overlooked any winners?  What of buying refurbished Saecos?  Thanks in advance!
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frcn
Senior Member
frcn
Joined: 23 Dec 2001
Posts: 3,356
Location: Northern California
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Vibiemme Domobar Double
Grinder: Mazzer Kony, Baratza...
Vac Pot: Hario, 2 Cory pots, 1 Cory...
Drip: Behmor Brazen, Bunn A10 mod...
Roaster: computer controlled Hottop,...
Posted Sun Feb 13, 2011, 4:45pm
Subject: Re: Please help, any machine advice appreciated
 

daschlag Said:

Any suggestions?

Posted February 13, 2011 link

Ya... Don't.

If you want convenience at the cost of quality espresso, just get a pod machine. It will be more dependable and less expensive to service. The complications  of a super auto are such that corners have to be cut to produce one that sells for $600. Look at it this way. A decent electric espresso grinder sells for $350 or more as a starting point.

 
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Garrett
Senior Member


Joined: 12 Nov 2010
Posts: 54
Location: Chicago Suburbs
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: La Spaziale Mini Vivaldi II
Grinder: Baratza Vario
Drip: Bodum French Press
Posted Sun Feb 13, 2011, 5:19pm
Subject: Re: Please help, any machine advice appreciated
 

Hi Josh,

As Randy mentioned, if you're looking for great espresso, superautos won't be able to get you there but they can still do a decent job.  Nespresso may also be an option too or if you're still thinking autos, SCG as you mentioned has both refurbs at $569 Incanto  and $499 for the Talea Giro refurb.  They both have SBS (allows you to adjust brew pressure) although I'm a fan of the metal on the Incanto vs the plastic of the Talea and the Incanto has a bypass doser which is good if you want to put in a different coffee then what's in the hopper on top of the machine.  Those refurbs are both good for the money and very simple to use.

Hope this helps a tiny bit

Cheers,
Garrett

 
- Garrett
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JtothaR
Senior Member
JtothaR
Joined: 20 Dec 2010
Posts: 683
Location: Albuquerque, NM
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Faema D92/A1 Smart
Grinder: B VARIO, Krups Conic
Drip: Manual Pour-Over, Bodum...
Roaster: Redbird, Metropolis
Posted Sun Feb 13, 2011, 6:50pm
Subject: Re: Please help, any machine advice appreciated
 

Most people here wont recommend super-autos in general, but I do believe that they serve a purpose in some cases. Both of the machines youve mentioned will work fine as long as you keep the machine well maintained.

Buying from Seattle Coffee Gear usually means that you will get good warranty service as well.
Super-autos are more likely to break down than regular volumetric and semi autos.

Having owned both A Saeco and several semi-auto machines, I find that the convenience is about the same for both but shot quality and durability of the machine is compromised on the super auto.

It takes me about 3 minutes to make a cappa on my current setup which I spent a relatively modest $350 for refurb machine from the local Simonelli distributor with a warranty.
Picked up the Commercial grinder on ebay barely used for $300. Spent maybe another $150 on random accessories (Knockbox, Tamper, Shot Glasses, Cups, Steaming pitchers, 1000g scale, Appliance timer and surge suppressor, etc.) ~$800 total

So if you're patient and willing to hunt a little, you can have a setup that would have cost $2K new and for less than bottom rung super autos around $1000.

And I cant forget to mention, my shot/drink quality is way up since getting rid of my Saeco. The taste does shine through in the milk drinks as well, especially since the super-auto was asthmatic when it came to milk steaming. =)

 
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daschlag
Senior Member


Joined: 13 Feb 2011
Posts: 34
Location: Seattle
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Silvia
Grinder: Vario
Drip: Cuisinart programmable...
Posted Sun Feb 13, 2011, 8:18pm
Subject: Re: Please help, any machine advice appreciated
 

Thanks for all the input, folks!  It seems superautos are not the machines of choice for the seasoned espresso drinkers.  I'm used to buying very small amounts of espresso at the local coffee shop because I've never had a quality grinder, but I'm willing to change that, and I agree that the autos (in my price range) don't shine for their grinders.

So... what semi-autos in the $600 range would be recommended?  The Ascaso Steel Uno and Rancilio Silvia have both caught my eye.

And, one last shot at the superauto - what do people think of the Jura-Capresso ENA 3?
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JasonBrandtLewis
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JasonBrandtLewis
Joined: 9 Dec 2005
Posts: 6,368
Location: Berkeley, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Elektra T1 - La Valentina -...
Grinder: Mahlkönig K30 Vario -...
Vac Pot: Yama 5-cup
Drip: CCD, Chemex
Roaster: No, no, not another...
Posted Sun Feb 13, 2011, 8:36pm
Subject: Re: Please help, any machine advice appreciated
 

daschlag Said:

I've decided upon a super automatic . . .

Posted February 13, 2011 link

(Oh.)

daschlag Said:

I live in Seattle and have been up to the Seattle Coffee Gear showroom . . .

Posted February 13, 2011 link

Well, Josh, if you are intent on going that route, you're going to the right place.  

Look, there is a reason why -- as a group -- we generally don't recommend superautos.  It's pretty much the same reason we never recommend Brevilles.  They aren't very good.  Now having said that, James ("JtothaR") is correct -- there are times and places where a superauto is the right choice -- generally speaking, however, it's not in the home of someone uncompromising about their coffee.  Please don't take that the wrong way:  I'm thinking of people who are willing to trade quality for convenience.  Mostly, superautos are for cafés where the owner is either a chain, or someone who cannot/will not take the time to train their employees (or where the staff turnover is too great); superautos are for offices/break rooms/waiting areas/gas stations/roadside rest areas where people can walk up, push a button, and go.

Seriously, I have never has a shot from a superauto that I thought could be described as better than "good."  (And as I've long maintained, I don't remember having a "good" one, but I'm giving the machines the benefit of the doubt.)  The worst shot I make on my own machine is still "very good."  

But keep in mind that superautos are more prone to breaking down, needing professional service/repair.  

Cheers,
Jason

 
A morning without coffee is sleep . . .
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JtothaR
Senior Member
JtothaR
Joined: 20 Dec 2010
Posts: 683
Location: Albuquerque, NM
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Faema D92/A1 Smart
Grinder: B VARIO, Krups Conic
Drip: Manual Pour-Over, Bodum...
Roaster: Redbird, Metropolis
Posted Sun Feb 13, 2011, 8:42pm
Subject: Re: Please help, any machine advice appreciated
 

Don't forget to budget for the grinder first and foremost. Both of the machines you mentioned are around $600 by themselves.

If you have a separate budget for the grinder, both of those machines are solid although the Silvia is thought to be overpriced for what you're getting.

If the $600 is for machine and grinder, Whole latte love is offering a Gaggia New baby with an MDF grinder for $664, a touch over budget, but a good starter setup.

Also, 1st line has an Ascaso steel Duo for $800 but you get a free Ascaso I-Steel grinder which is a pretty substantial savings. (If you have a separate grinder budget you could combine the two for this deal)

I have no knowledge of any of the Jura machines.

Edit: $900 for the Steel Duo. Misread it.

 
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jwoodyu
Senior Member
jwoodyu
Joined: 31 Dec 2010
Posts: 847
Location: Michigan
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Allex Duetto II
Grinder: Mazzer Major
Posted Sun Feb 13, 2011, 9:18pm
Subject: Re: Please help, any machine advice appreciated
 

I have owned a Jura S9 and can tell you first hand go with a semi. I now own a Alex Duetto II and can tell you hands down I woud not go back to a super auto of any kind based only the quality of my espresso. You should budget $300 a year for service  and save the box for shipping if you get the Jura. You also need to be prepared to be without your machine while its in for service. It does take a little more effort with my semi auto but not much and the end product makes it well worth it. Chris has a Silvia packaged with a Vario grinder for just about 115 more than your listed budget. The Vario is great but you might get up grade sickness pretty quickly on the machine. Consider breaking the budget and just spending a little more money on the machine rather than buying it twice. A good clean used machine might be the play and I know there was a used Quickmill in the for sale forum.

If you stay with the super DO NOT use beans that have a lot of surface oil and set the grinder to fine. That combo will gunk up the brew unit and you will be shipping it in sooner rather than later.

 
Yes i have a reason for leaving SCG off my list, yes it is my opinion, yes it is subjective as opinions are by definition, no don't start a flame war because you disagree.
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daschlag
Senior Member


Joined: 13 Feb 2011
Posts: 34
Location: Seattle
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Silvia
Grinder: Vario
Drip: Cuisinart programmable...
Posted Mon Feb 14, 2011, 6:17pm
Subject: Re: Please help, any machine advice appreciated
 

Okay, if anyone is still checking this thread...

I've been researching more semi-autos per the advice of forum members, and have a noob question - many of them, such as the Silvia, the Le'lit, and the Ascaso Steel Uno, seem to have brass boilers, which, from what I have seen, may take up to 20 minutes to warm up before using.  Am I reading that right?
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daschlag
Senior Member


Joined: 13 Feb 2011
Posts: 34
Location: Seattle
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Silvia
Grinder: Vario
Drip: Cuisinart programmable...
Posted Mon Feb 14, 2011, 6:18pm
Subject: Re: Please help, any machine advice appreciated
 

Oh, I also wanted to follow up and indicate that my $600 target budget is somewhat flexible ($700 tops before tax) and does not include a grinder.  Open to any suggestions, thanks again for all the great input!
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