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Breville BES900XL Best For Pricepoint
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frcn
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Posted Sat Nov 19, 2011, 4:50pm
Subject: Re: Breville BES900XL Best For Pricepoint
 

JoelCigan Said:

Awhile ago I was looking at the Salvatore machines especially since their main headquarters is in Solvang, CA which is approx. 3 hour drive from where I live.  However, since then, the looks of those machines don't compare to the form and function of a Rocket Giotto.  ....

Posted November 19, 2011 link

While the rocket is an excellent machine, you do the Salvatore machines an injustice. When the "looks" of a machine indicate function, let me know. While visual appeal is, indeed, subjective, the Salvatore machines are handmade and carry a SIX year warranty.

 
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JoelCigan
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Location: Fresno, CA
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Sat Nov 19, 2011, 8:35pm
Subject: Re: Breville BES900XL Best For Pricepoint
 

frcn Said:

While the rocket is an excellent machine, you do the Salvatore machines an injustice. When the "looks" of a machine indicate function, let me know. While visual appeal is, indeed, subjective, the Salvatore machines are handmade and carry a SIX year warranty.

Posted November 19, 2011 link

The Salvatore machines look a lot like a Pasquini Livia.  They have more of a coffee house look to them and are not as aesthetically pleasing to the eye as a Rocket Giotto.  This, of course, is my subjective opinion.  I've heard that they are made very very well though.  Not sure I would want one on my granite countertop though unless it was one of those perhaps made out of hammered copper.
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JtothaR
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Posted Sat Nov 19, 2011, 10:56pm
Subject: Re: Breville BES900XL Best For Pricepoint
 

JoelCigan Said:

I do, however want to buy a machine that can take a pod basket in it's portafilter and I think Chris' coffee offers that basket free with an order of say Bristot pods.  Sometimes for ultra-convenience, pods are the way to go especially if you don't want a big mess.  As far as I'm aware, Rocket Giottos and Izzo Alex Duetto IIs offer compatibility with a pod basket and all other baskets that are currently out.  Rancilios offer compatibility too but I don't like the look of that machine.

Posted November 19, 2011 link

Welcome back Joel,

Remember this post? http://coffeegeek.com/forums/espresso/machines/532871#532871

What I explained about pods back then still holds true.

BTW, the cheap bastards at Mercedes-Benz of Albuquerque won't wash your car for you unless you're having it serviced that day, I'm not enough of a sucker to have my car serviced at the stealership though! Lucky people who have a dealership with the free car washes in their area...

-James

 
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espresso_drinker
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Joined: 26 Oct 2011
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Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Sun Nov 20, 2011, 11:18am
Subject: Re: Breville BES900XL Best For Pricepoint
 

JoelCigan Said:

I've been wondering if Breville's newest machine is the best home machine currently on the market.  A lot of people are saying it's the best for the pricepoint.  Does that mean the Rocket Giottos and Izzo Alex Duetto 2s are better performers.  I don't anticipate making tons of drinks during the day except maybe a couple in the morning and late afternoon.  For light use, does the Breville do the trick?  Seems like they pack a whole lot into this package and include features like preinfusion and temperature control that a newbie really wouldn't fiddle with.  

Posted November 19, 2011 link

I think you'll find that the posters here have an overwhelming amount of experience.
However, their experience will not substitute for your own.  If you are close to a Williams
and Sonoma or a Sur La Table, just go out and get one to see for yourself what the machine
can or can't do.  In the hands of a great barista, an average machine and an average grinder
will make great coffee.  In the hands of an inexperienced person, the most expensive
equipment will produce sink shot after sink shot.  

If you look at the senior posters and their list of equipment, you'll see they all have tried
countless combinations of grinders and espresso machines.  I think this is the only real way
to figure out what works the best.  

I was in the same boat as you about a month ago.  The time I spent trying not to make
a mistake with my first espresso machine was, in my mind, too much.  I have quite a bit
of barista skills to learn and with the BDB turning 1 month, I don't think the machine will
be limiting me for a while (unless it stops working).  

Williams and Sonoma has a 90 day return policy and all their espresso machines are 15%
off today so I'd take the plunge... and if you get to the point where the machine is limiting
your espresso/latte/capp quality in 3 months, you can still return it.
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JoelCigan
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Joined: 17 Nov 2011
Posts: 30
Location: Fresno, CA
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Sun Nov 20, 2011, 11:23am
Subject: Re: Breville BES900XL Best For Pricepoint
 

Good advice.  I was just watching a YouTube video of an inexperienced barrista trying to pull good shots on an expensive Izzo Alex Duetto II with poor results.
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JasonBrandtLewis
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Posted Sun Nov 20, 2011, 11:51am
Subject: Re: Breville BES900XL Best For Pricepoint
 

JoelCigan Said:

. . . . Overall, yes, I'm a newbie when it comes to making espresso and espresso-based drinks.  The closest thing I have to a true espresso-based drink is when I get a cafe mocha using Bristot pods at my local Mercedes-Benz dealership.  Other than Starbucks, I haven't been to a coffee shop in the town that I'm from (Fresno, CA) that's blown me away with the quality of their cappucinos or lattes. . . .

Posted November 19, 2011 link

And you won't in Fresno.  Indeed, it's hard enough to do in Berkeley or San Francisco!

JoelCigan Said:

I'd like to buy a machine that's going to stand the test of time.

Posted November 19, 2011 link

Well, no one is intentionally looking for a machine to last only the next 6, 12, or 24 months.  Aside from some machines with a track-record of self-destructing within a short time of purchase (and usually two weeks after the warranty expires), the main reason someone gets a new and, possibly, better machine is that affliction known as "upgrade-itis"!  

My own path was a Pavoni lever machine for five years, but I was frustrated with not being able to pull a consistent shot -- this was my fault, not the machine's, but I didn't know then what i know now -- and so got a Coffee Gaggia in 1980.  When it finally died after a dozen or so years, I simply went out and got another one.  Then, in 2005, I discovered this site and soon upgraded BOTH my machine and my grinder.  Since then, I've upgraded my grinder several times, and my machine once.  Did I need to?  Heck no!  Did I want to?  Hell yes!  Is my coffee better as a result?  Absolutely!    

JoelCigan Said:

I've spent considerable time scouring the videos posted by Kat & Gail of Seattle Coffee Gear.  I'd almost like to visit their store in Washington to try the machines out myself since there really isn't a place in town that sells prosumer machines.

Posted November 19, 2011 link

Very few towns have machines that actually sell prosumer machines -- certainly not with anywhere near the selection of (for example) Chris' Coffee Service or 1st-Line Equipment on the East Coast, or Seattle Coffee Gear or Stefano's Espresso Care on the West Coast.  (Note:  I have no commercial affiliation with any of these vendors, other than as a satisfied customer; I've bought most of my equipment from  the first two, FWIW.)  

JoelCigan Said:

From what I've watched as far as YouTube videos are concerned, it seems the Rocket Giotto might be the best prosumer machine for my taste.  It's fully polished stainless steel design devoid of electronic controls gives it longevity as well as simplistic italian design that melds form and function.  The Izzo Alex Duetto II might be the runner up because in general, I feel it might be overkill in that it's geared for a more commercial application.

Posted November 19, 2011 link

Neither of these machines are anthing other than PROSUMER machines -- meaning both are consumer machines, made using professional (commercial) parts.
Are the Rockets and Izzos able to accept a triple shot VST basket?  I've been wondering that after looking at videos of their 58mm portafilter.
If it's a 58mm portafilter, I would think the answer is "yes."  I can't think of any reason why they shouldn't.

JoelCigan Said:

It also seems they ship with a Rancilio bottomless portafilter.  What's the advantage of pulling shots using a bottomless portafilter, anyway.

Posted November 19, 2011 link

They probably ship with their own (rather than a Rancilio) bottomless.  The advantage is that it is easier to diagnose extraction problems, such as channeling.  It is essential?  No.  Is it a helpful tool?  Yes.  I use one about 50 percent of the time.

JoelCigan Said:

I'm also still somewhat confused with the need for a dual-boiler PID controlled machine vs a heat exchanger.  It seems that a heat exchanger might be the way to go due to it's simplicity of use.  I also gather that when using a Rocket Giotto, you might have to occasionally perform a cooling flush.  Am I correct?

Posted November 19, 2011 link

Once again, there is no difference between a DB and an HX in the cup -- which is, after all, where it counts.  They are simply two different ways of accomplishing the same task:  great espresso.  The hardest thing about an HX machine is explaining what a "cooling flush" is, and how to do it.  But, admittedly, it can sound intimidating.  Each method has its advantages and disadvantages over the other, and neither one is better than the other.  It may be that a "newbie" who has no desire for experimentation might find a DB easier at the start -- meaning a DB may have a shorter learning curve for someone with no experience.

JoelCigan Said:

As far as grinders are concerned, it seems that for home use, the Baratza Vario-W will work just fine.  The only concern that comes to mind is that it doesn't offer as many "fine" grind settings of a stepless Macap or Mazzer Mini electronic type a or b.

Posted November 19, 2011 link

The truly micro-mental steps of a Baratza Vario is perfect for home use.  The original advantage of "stepless" was that the stepped commercial grinders (and even the home grinders like a Rocky) had TOO MUCH ROOM in between each step, and often the "perfect" setting was in between the steps.  Frustrating.  I don't know of anyone who has found that the "gap" between the steps of a Baratza were too large . . .

JoelCigan Said:

Mazzer minis seem to be the gold standard of grinders and dosing directly into the portafilter with electronic control of a single vs a double is nice!

Posted November 19, 2011 link

What you are describing is not a Mazzer Mini; you are describing -- with its electronic control and dosing directly into the portafilter -- is a Mazzer Mini-E.  The two are VERY different!  

JoelCigan Said:

The Breville DB is being sold by Seattle Coffee Gear and has received praise by Gail.

Posted November 19, 2011 link

That's good, but it's still a Breville and leaves with an open but skeptical mind.  

JoelCigan Said:

I could spend a little more for a good machine that pulls better shots.  I was even thinking of waiting until a Slayer home machine is released because it's kinda cool to have a paddle.  Not sure how much those machines will retail for though and would imagin they'd be as expensive as a La Marzocco GS-3.

Posted November 19, 2011 link

GS/3's come with paddle groups, too, and I'd say either machine is complete and total overkill for someone in your position.  Just my opinion, o course, and YMMV.

JoelCigan Said:

Once I get my machine, I'll probably just stick to cappucinos and lattes because they're the easiest to make.

Posted November 19, 2011 link

Well, if all you make is espresso, it's even simpler -- no milk required!

JoelCigan Said:

For mochas you kinda want to carry all the Torani syrups and chocolate and that can kick up the calories substantially.

Posted November 19, 2011 link

TCHO

JoelCigan Said:

Plus, with cappucinos and straight espresso shots you have the ability to taste the quality of the coffee and your performance in making the shot itself.

Posted November 19, 2011 link

True.

JoelCigan Said:

I do, however want to buy a machine that can take a pod basket in it's portafilter and I think Chris' coffee offers that basket free with an order of say Bristot pods.

Posted November 19, 2011 link

Good ****ing lord, WHY???

JoelCigan Said:

Sometimes for ultra-convenience, pods are the way to go especially if you don't want a big mess.

Posted November 19, 2011 link

You want ultra-convenience?  Get instant!  ;^)

Seriously, as long as you have your machine on a timer, so there is no warm-up time, my grinder grinds a 15.5g double in just over 3 seconds.  A quick cooling flush (I have an HX) while I'm grinding and tamping, and presto!  Espresso in under one minute.  It takes longer than that to boil the water for instant . . .

Why go to all the expense of getting a great setup, and then using pods?!?!?!  I don't get it.

Cheers,
Jason

 
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TonyVan
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Joined: 24 May 2010
Posts: 276
Location: Pacific Northwest
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: GS/3, La Pavoni
Grinder: Macap M7K, Rocky
Drip: Kone
Posted Sun Nov 20, 2011, 1:11pm
Subject: Re: Breville BES900XL Best For Pricepoint
 

Joel, I also agree that the cumulative experience offered so far from your original post constitutes a cogent summary of how to go about thinking about your espresso plans and evaluating your next (or first) moves.

I hope it has by now really sunk in that the concept of "the best home machine" is, at best, elusive and dependent on your own desires and situation. The Audi TT you covet at 22 may be the ideal car of the moment - unless what you really wanted was a restoration project with a '59 190SL - and in neither case would they be a suitable choice fifteen years hence with a family of five in tow.

Though I have no Breville experience, my Williams Sonoma experience has shown me that they take care of their customers, so you're not going to get stuck with a problem.  Meanwhile, you are almost sure to get your money's worth, and that goes double if you make so much espresso and learn so much doing so that you wear the damned thing out in two or three years - and you enjoy the journey.  By then you'll know where you want to go from there.  

Besides, keep in mind that a machine's capability is not linear with respect to price, so your espresso won't be twice as good by spending twice as much - so "best home machine" doesn't sensibly apply until you know, from experience, what you really like and how you like doing it.

Just one more thing - about the pod: you can bet your Barber* that even a quick and careless fill of the Breville's basket with reasonably good fresh coffee is almost certain to yield a happier result than any pod, so I wouldn't compromise your machine choice to accommodate pod usage that you're very likely to immediately outgrow.  Any significant muss and fuss that comes with tamping your own is strictly optional and you probably needn't fear it.

So good luck, and get started!

(* Reg Barber is a high-end tamper manufacturer - sorry for any esoteric references within the "newbie" context. You'll find this site unusually free of snobbishness (though not of obsessiveness) and shibboleth-istic terminology thrown about for its own sake.)
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JoelCigan
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Joined: 17 Nov 2011
Posts: 30
Location: Fresno, CA
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Sun Nov 20, 2011, 3:07pm
Subject: Re: Breville BES900XL Best For Pricepoint
 

TonyVan Said:

Joel, I also agree that the cumulative experience offered so far from your original post constitutes a cogent summary of how to go about thinking about your espresso plans and evaluating your next (or first) moves.

Not sure yet what my first moves should be.  I'm thinking of purchasing a Vario-W for my grinder.  

Besides, keep in mind that a machine's capability is not linear with respect to price, so your espresso won't be twice as good by spending twice as much - so "best home machine" doesn't sensibly apply until you know, from experience, what you really like and how you like doing it.

Wondering whether or not Rocket espresso will release their new machine before the holidays.  I hate the aformentioned "upgradeitis."  in some ways, I don't want to be caught with old technology.

(* Reg Barber is a high-end tamper manufacturer - sorry for any esoteric references within the "newbie" context. You'll find this site unusually free of snobbishness (though not of obsessiveness) and shibboleth-istic terminology thrown about for its own sake.)

Posted November 20, 2011 link

Aren't Espro tampers and pitchers better especially for someone new at pulling shots?
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JoelCigan
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Joined: 17 Nov 2011
Posts: 30
Location: Fresno, CA
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Sun Nov 20, 2011, 3:30pm
Subject: Re: Breville BES900XL Best For Pricepoint
 

JasonBrandtLewis Said:

And you won't in Fresno.  Indeed, it's hard enough to do in Berkeley or San Francisco!

Well, no one is intentionally looking for a machine to last only the next 6, 12, or 24 months.  Aside from some machines with a track-record of self-destructing within a short time of purchase (and usually two weeks after the warranty expires), the main reason someone gets a new and, possibly, better machine is that affliction known as "upgrade-itis"!  

My own path was a Pavoni lever machine for five years, but I was frustrated with not being able to pull a consistent shot -- this was my fault, not the machine's, but I didn't know then what i know now -- and so got a Coffee Gaggia in 1980.  When it finally died after a dozen or so years, I simply went out and got another one.  Then, in 2005, I discovered this site and soon upgraded BOTH my machine and my grinder.  Since then, I've upgraded my grinder several times, and my machine once.  Did I need to?  Heck no!  Did I want to?  Hell yes!  Is my coffee better as a result?  Absolutely!  

What machine and grinder are you using now?

Very few towns have machines that actually sell prosumer machines -- certainly not with anywhere near the selection of (for example) Chris' Coffee Service or 1st-Line Equipment on the East Coast, or Seattle Coffee Gear or Stefano's Espresso Care on the West Coast.  (Note:  I have no commercial affiliation with any of these vendors, other than as a satisfied customer; I've bought most of my equipment from  the first two, FWIW.)  

Neither of these machines are anthing other than PROSUMER machines -- meaning both are consumer machines, made using professional (commercial) parts.
Are the Rockets and Izzos able to accept a triple shot VST basket?  I've been wondering that after looking at videos of their 58mm portafilter.

Posted November 20, 2011 link

If it's a 58mm portafilter, I would think the answer is "yes."  I can't think of any reason why they shouldn't.

What's the story on these VST baskets anyway?  

They probably ship with their own (rather than a Rancilio) bottomless.  The advantage is that it is easier to diagnose extraction problems, such as channeling.  It is essential?  No.  Is it a helpful tool?  Yes.  I use one about 50 percent of the time.

Once again, there is no difference between a DB and an HX in the cup -- which is, after all, where it counts.  They are simply two different ways of accomplishing the same task:  great espresso.  The hardest thing about an HX machine is explaining what a "cooling flush" is, and how to do it.  But, admittedly, it can sound intimidating.  Each method has its advantages and disadvantages over the other, and neither one is better than the other.  It may be that a "newbie" who has no desire for experimentation might find a DB easier at the start -- meaning a DB may have a shorter learning curve for someone with no experience.

I'm still confused on when to perform a "flush."  Without a PID, how do you know when the temperature has gotten too hot?

The truly micro-mental steps of a Baratza Vario is perfect for home use.  The original advantage of "stepless" was that the stepped commercial grinders (and even the home grinders like a Rocky) had TOO MUCH ROOM in between each step, and often the "perfect" setting was in between the steps.  Frustrating.  I don't know of anyone who has found that the "gap" between the steps of a Baratza were too large . . .

At $549.00, the Vario-W is reasonable.  What do you think about not being able to dose directly into the portafilter?  Also, was just wondering how many grams constitutes a single, double and triple?  Is 17g a single?

What you are describing is not a Mazzer Mini; you are describing -- with its electronic control and dosing directly into the portafilter -- is a Mazzer Mini-E.  The two are VERY different!  

That's good, but it's still a Breville and leaves with an open but skeptical mind.  

GS/3's come with paddle groups, too, and I'd say either machine is complete and total overkill for someone in your position.  Just my opinion, o course, and YMMV.

True.  Probably way overkill for me at this time.

Well, if all you make is espresso, it's even simpler -- no milk required!

TCHO

True.

Good ****ing lord, WHY???

Less mess??

You want ultra-convenience?  Get instant!  ;^)

Seriously, as long as you have your machine on a timer, so there is no warm-up time, my grinder grinds a 15.5g double in just over 3 seconds.  A quick cooling flush (I have an HX) while I'm grinding and tamping, and presto!  Espresso in under one minute.  It takes longer than that to boil the water for instant . . .

You have your machine on a timer meaning you set it to power on when you wake up?

Why go to all the expense of getting a great setup, and then using pods?!?!?!  I don't get it.

Pods are quick and fast and that's what I'm used to.  Plus they're individually sealed.  Who do you order your coffee from and how do you keep it fresh??  

Cheers,
Jason
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frcn
Senior Member
frcn
Joined: 23 Dec 2001
Posts: 3,437
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 Nov 20, 2011, 3:54pm
Subject: Re: Breville BES900XL Best For Pricepoint
 

Espro Click Tampers - It is a really nice tamper and fits my hand well, but the perceived need to tamp at 30 pounds "exactly" is a false one. I find that it would work well for a new barista that needs to verify that they are tamping at a force of "at least" thirty pounds. Fifty pounds is not excessive and if one gets a scale out it is astonishing how easy it is to achieve..

The pitchers are quite nice and very well made. A good, long-term investment.

 
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