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Home Espresso Machine Recomendation?
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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > Home Espresso...  
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joeldamianicigan
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joeldamianicigan
Joined: 5 Jun 2011
Posts: 41
Location: Fresno, CA
Expertise: Just starting

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Posted Sun Jun 5, 2011, 1:04pm
Subject: Home Espresso Machine Recomendation?
 

Does anyone have a recommendation on a home espresso machine?  I've been looking at the Rocket Giotto Premium Plus, a heat exchanger machine as well as the Izzo Alex Duetto ii for a granite counter-top area in my kitchen.  I'm not sure as to a grinder but I would venture the Baratza Vario would suit my home based grinding needs quite well.  I plan on using ESE pods when it's not convenient to grind or perhaps when I don't have fresh whole beans on hand for whatever drink I plan on making.

I was reading that some people have been having maintenance problems with the Izzo Alex Duetto ii.  Not sure I would want to purchase this machine if parts routinely fail.  I'm looking for something that is obviously built to last.  Chris' coffee was even mentioning that the PID is supposed to prevent maintenance issues so this doesn't make much sense.  

Rocket Espresso has so much branding of their products and accessories which somewhat deters me from purchasing one of their machines.  How do these machines stack up to the competition?  What's the difference between a heat exchanger machine without a PID and a dual boiler machine that has one?  I've heard you have to flush the machine after it sits for awhile to get it back to brewing temperature but of course, I've never done this myself so I don't know how much of a hassle it would present.  It might just be apples and oranges.

Also, I don't really plan on plumbing the machine I get anytime soon so maybe this should play a factor in my decision.
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JtothaR
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JtothaR
Joined: 20 Dec 2010
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Location: Albuquerque, NM
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Espresso: Faema D92/A1 Smart
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Posted Sun Jun 5, 2011, 1:25pm
Subject: Re: Home Espresso Machine Recomendation?
 

joeldamianicigan Said:

Does anyone have a recommendation on a home espresso machine?  I've been looking at the Rocket Giotto Premium Plus, a heat exchanger machine as well as the Izzo Alex Duetto ii for a granite counter-top area in my kitchen.

Posted June 5, 2011 link

Both good choices, do some more searching to find the many discussions on the pros and cons of these two types of machines. HX vs. DB

joeldamianicigan Said:

I'm not sure as to a grinder but I would venture the Baratza Vario would suit my home based grinding needs quite well.

Posted June 5, 2011 link

Yes, I'm confident that it would.

joeldamianicigan Said:

I plan on using ESE pods when it's not convenient to grind or perhaps when I don't have fresh whole beans on hand for whatever drink I plan on making.

Posted June 5, 2011 link

I can't say that I recommend this. Also I know of no machines that are capable of quickly switching between these two brewing methods. In fact it is much faster just to grind and tamp as usual, than to change the brewing pressure of your pump and swap out dispersion blocks, screens... etc, for a much worse cup of coffee.


joeldamianicigan Said:

I was reading that some people have been having maintenance problems with the Izzo Alex Duetto ii.  Not sure I would want to purchase this machine if parts routinely fail.  I'm looking for something that is obviously built to last.  Chris' coffee was even mentioning that the PID is supposed to prevent maintenance issues so this doesn't make much sense.  

Posted June 5, 2011 link

It's a great machine, I have not heard of the problems you speak of. I have heard from many satisfied owners though.

Also, all machines require some maintenance.

joeldamianicigan Said:

Rocket Espresso has so much branding of their products and accessories which somewhat deters me from purchasing one of their machines.  How do these machines stack up to the competition?

Posted June 5, 2011 link

To me, offering branded accessories is just good business. Why sell someone just a machine when you can sell them a whole line of branded accessories too?


joeldamianicigan Said:

What's the difference between a heat exchanger machine without a PID and a dual boiler machine that has one?  I've heard you have to flush the machine after it sits for awhile to get it back to brewing temperature but of course, I've never done this myself so I don't know how much of a hassle it would present.  It might just be apples and oranges.

Posted June 5, 2011 link

This is another place to use that search function. Hint: Both types of machines need to be flushed.

joeldamianicigan Said:

Also, I don't really plan on plumbing the machine I get anytime soon so maybe this should play a factor in my decision.

Posted June 5, 2011 link

Yes, it definitely should.

Good Luck,
James

 
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JasonBrandtLewis
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JasonBrandtLewis
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Posted Sun Jun 5, 2011, 11:39pm
Subject: Re: Home Espresso Machine Recomendation?
 

Joel?  Re-read James' post.  

Couldn't have said it better myself . . . .

 
A morning without coffee is sleep . . .
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takeshi
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takeshi
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Posted Mon Jun 6, 2011, 11:16am
Subject: Re: Home Espresso Machine Recomendation?
 

joeldamianicigan Said:

I was reading that some people have been having maintenance problems with the Izzo Alex Duetto ii.  Not sure I would want to purchase this machine if parts routinely fail.  I'm looking for something that is obviously built to last.  Chris' coffee was even mentioning that the PID is supposed to prevent maintenance issues so this doesn't make much sense.

Posted June 5, 2011 link

Be careful trying to assess failure rates by looking at forum posts.  Forum posts, by nature, tend to be geared towards problems as people rarely bother to post that all is going well.  Further, popular machines will have more forum activity and may make it seem like there are more problems.
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frcn
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frcn
Joined: 23 Dec 2001
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Posted Mon Jun 6, 2011, 11:36am
Subject: Re: Home Espresso Machine Recomendation?
 

Any part can fail... Most failures of machines in this class of which you speak happen early. After that, parts that fail are often considering maintenance items such as group gaskets and even pressurestats. Once past those sorts of things many failures come from lack of proper maintenance. Stories like, "I hadn't backflushed my machine for three years, running it on tap water, and no, after backflushing, it doesn't work any more." As was said above, don't read too much into failure reports, particularly of machines in this class. Squeaky wheels are heard over the silent ones.

re: Plumbing - having a machine that can be either plumbed or work on a reservoir can be a plus. The value depends on how much use the machine gets. The more use, the more appreciative you will be of not having to fill the reservoir.

A PID theoretically reduces failures because pressurestats traditionally carry the full current of the heating element through their electrical contacts, and will eventually fail. While a PID can fail, if it is working through a solid state relay (SSR), it is theoretically more dependable. Better, it is also more accurate and adjustable.

 
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calblacksmith
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calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
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Posted Wed Jun 8, 2011, 11:37am
Subject: Re: Home Espresso Machine Recomendation?
 

However, in my opinion and one shared here by many. A PID on a HX machine is as useful as TEATS on a Boar hog. The machine just won't benefit from one. A DB is a different story entirely. Different strokes......

 
In real life, my name is
Wayne P.
Anything I post is personal opinion and is only worth as much as anyone else's personal opinion. YMMV!

Feed the newbs, starve the trolls and above all enjoy what you drink!
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JeffPersson
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JeffPersson
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Posted Wed Jun 8, 2011, 11:58pm
Subject: Re: Home Espresso Machine Recomendation?
 

Hey Joel just passed through Fresno on the way up here to Tahoe for vacation this week.

James has a lot of good info there. In regards to your desire for the use of pods I think the changes you would have to make to swap out for pods would negate the convenience they can offer. It might be better to have a different brewing method available for back up situations like you described.

I know many here will cringe when they read this, but when it's not convenient for me to brew a "proper" cup of coffee either because of time or because I planned poorly and ran out of beans, I use the Keurig K-cup brewer my folks gave me. It's definitely not on par with anything using fresh roasted and ground beans, but for me it's definitely drinkable, and VERY quick. (Think Aeropress brew time without all the prep. i.e. 30 sec)

I certainly prefer a well made cup of coffee, but as a card carrying member of the Jack Soo Coffee Club for 20+ years I can drink almost anything, including the hours old Folgers Black Silk they leave sitting in the pot at work.

 
My wife plans to sign me up for the first season of Coffee Gadget Hoarders.
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joeldamianicigan
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joeldamianicigan
Joined: 5 Jun 2011
Posts: 41
Location: Fresno, CA
Expertise: Just starting

Vac Pot: No
Drip: Mr. Coffee
Posted Thu Jun 9, 2011, 12:15pm
Subject: Re: Home Espresso Machine Recomendation?
 

I thought I had the forum options set to e-mail me when a reply to my post is made but no e-mail.  What gives?  I'll have to check on my settings again.  Anyway, I've been drinking ESE pod based coffee for years now at my local Mercedes Benz dealership here in Fresno.  There's a barrista there who pulls Bristot shots everytime I drop by weekly for a carwash.  She uses a three group machine of unknown name and the mochas she makes (albeit free of charge) are quite good - better than most drinks I've gotten at Starbucks recently.  Maybe that isn't saying much but I don't know of any coffee shops here in town that make an extraordinary cappuccino or espresso.  Weirdly she seems to overextract the POD way over an average 25s pull to make my drink it seems.  Comes out like tea!  Has anyone ever sampled some of Bristot's ESE pod offerings?  

As far as I knew, it didn't hurt the machine to use a pod basket (gotten free from Chris' coffee services website) when grinding beans for a shot isn't convenient.  I didn't realize you had to change out the machine's components in any way.  After hearing so much backlash against the use of ESE pods, I will for sure grind my beans most of the time.  We don't seem to have any local roasters here in town so I would have to order my beans online.  Does anyone have any recommendations?  Also, for those who know Fresno, where do you go to get a good espresso or cappuccino aside from Starbucks?

My quest to find the right espresso machine for my needs continues...  All this PID talk has somewhat thrown a wrench in my decision making processes.  Now I seem to be looking at the new Breville BES900XL machine even though aesthetically, it doesn't match the more traditional looks of the E61 based Rocket or Izzos.  I like the Rocket Giotto, but somehow see the machine as a step down from the likes of the Izzo Alex Duetto ii.  I've been told it's really personal preference comparing a heat exchanger with a dual boiler like the Izzo.
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MarkPod
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MarkPod
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Posted Thu Jun 9, 2011, 12:35pm
Subject: Re: Home Espresso Machine Recomendation?
 

frcn Said:

Any part can fail... Most failures of machines in this class of which you speak happen early.

Posted June 6, 2011 link

Not sure I completely agree...My BrewtusII was a great machine, but around the 3-year mark it began to have failures - teflon tubing getting brittle and cracking; temp controller going haywire; vibe pump getting wonky; opv needing replacement.

The more pieces and parts you cram into the small space of a home machine, the more maintenance and trouble (it's more difficult to get at those parts) you can expect.  Dbs are very convenient, but the added complexity and reduced interior workspace will make it more of a PITA in the long run.  Just take a look at photos on Chris Coffee's site of the interior of any of the DBs, and then look at the interior of a La Cimbali Junior.  IMO, simplicity of design is too often ignored these days by espresso machine manufacturers and consumers.  

To brew a shot on my DB BrewtusII, I used to flush the group with 2oz into my cup prior to making a shot.  With my Semiautomatica (Hx), I flush 2.5-3oz depending on how hot/cool I want to brew.  Difference in convenience/ease of use?  Zero.  However, the Semiautomatica weighs 1/3 as much as the Brewtus and has similarly fewer parts (all of which are in easy reach).

Mark
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elwood00
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elwood00
Joined: 15 Nov 2007
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Location: US
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Espresso: Conti Prestina Lever
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Posted Thu Jun 9, 2011, 12:35pm
Subject: Re: Home Espresso Machine Recomendation?
 

joeldamianicigan Said:

better than most drinks I've gotten at Starbucks recently.  Maybe that isn't saying much (...)

Posted June 9, 2011 link

That really says NOTHING.... ;)

joeldamianicigan Said:

We don't seem to have any local roasters here in town so I would have to order my beans online.  Does anyone have any recommendations?  

Posted June 9, 2011 link

roaste.com (great selection -drop shipped from the roasters - if you sign up for a membership free shipping on any order, if not, cheap shipping or free shipping over a certain amount - don't remember how much. Actually more convenient than a local roaster IMHO.

joeldamianicigan Said:

I like the Rocket Giotto, but somehow see the machine as a step down from the likes of the Izzo Alex Duetto ii.  I've been told it's really personal preference comparing a heat exchanger with a dual boiler like the Izzo.

Posted June 9, 2011 link

Not a step down, just a different philosophy. Each have their advantages and their disadvantages.
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