Looking for a new espresso machine. There is much to read, but no good comparison articles. So maybe somebody on this blog can help me.
Loving the espressos, caffe lattes etc.
So far my preference is a dual boiler or a dual thermoblock which is better? Iím looking for now at the following models: Ascaso Duo Pro Thermo or Boiler, love the looks of the machine but donít like the buttons they look a bit shaky. QuickMill 03004L Cassiopea with lever switches -Coffee Machine with double heat exchanger. I heard some really good things on the Quickmill anybody any experience? Or the Isomac Tea with the E61 unit but this is maybe a bit out of my league, as it is my first espresso-machine.
Hopefully somebody can give me some advice. Maybe there is even an better machine more suitable for a starting coffeegeek like me.
Good espresso.....Great espresso isn't a cheap game. The more you spend on the equipment the easier it becomes to routinely pull great espresso. That said, you can get good to great espresso on entry level equipment, just not easily. Entry level is still probably $600 - $1000 for grinder and machine.
First and most important is the grinder makes the coffee, the machine just pushes hot water through the grounds. You can get better results with a great grinder and mediocre espresso machine. Second is the coffee itself. Good coffee in general comes from beans that have been ROASTED within two weeks. If you haven't tried fresh coffee, you don't know what you're missing. Coffee that's been roasted within two weeks NOT "opened" or having a "best by" date within two weeks. True espresso is made when you push hot water through properly ground coffee at about 9BAR pressure for around 25 seconds. To grind the coffee correctly (meaning evenly at very fine settings), you need a good quality burr grinder. Entry level is about $200 for a Baratza grinder, preferably $300 for a Baratza Preciso, or $400 for a Baratza Vario. You can go up from there easily!
Finally, to answer your question, there's a night and day difference between dual boiler & thermoblock. Thermobock is a small metal block with channels. Water passes through the channels and heats on the fly. This does not offer thermal stability, so your espresso will be extracted with varying and poor temperature control. Dual boiler means two boilers. One dedicated to brewing and the other dedicated to steaming. Dual boiler is much much better.
I think the Cassiopea is what Chris Coffee sells in the US as Silvano. However, Chris Coffee usually upgrades his machines over the basic Quick Mill line.. Also "dual heat exchanger" is a bad translation to english. The Silvano has a coffee boiler and a thermoblock for steaming. There aren't any dual heat exchangers per se.
Isomac Tea is a heat exchanger machine. This means there is a large dedicted steam boiler with a "heat exchanger" or copper tube running through the middle. When you brew coffee, fresh water is passed through the heat exchanger, and the heat from the steam boiler flash heats the water to brew temperature. This type of machine will be able to produce quality espresso and cappuccino quicker than the other machines you mention. There are a LOT of heat exchangers (HX) out there. The cheapest starting just around $1,000, but very capable. HX run up to about $1,800.
If you have a lower demand, and will never or rarely use the machine to host a dinner party, then the Silvano might be a good choice for you if you're in the US. The silvano will deliver very constant brew temperature, but only "adequate" steam. It can't churn out a bunch of milk drinks. Don't know anything about the Cassiopea.
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