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Upgrading to HX or dual boiler machine
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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > Upgrading to HX...  
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Coffeenoobie
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Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 3,030
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Sun Dec 23, 2012, 8:32pm
Subject: Re: Upgrading to HX or dual boiler machine
 

You have a lot of choices if the 1500 is for a machine only.  I understand that Oscar is not pretty.  If I had a larger budget it would not be my first choice.  However, it works well for the money I had.

 
Coffeenoobie

Buying advice: GRINDER GRINDER GRINDER. Don't cheap out on the grinder.

My coffee treasure map...
Click Here (maps.google.com)

Oscar trick out: http://s156.photobucket.com/user/GandBteam/story/14231
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GlenO
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Joined: 31 Mar 2012
Posts: 18
Location: Portland, OR
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Rocket Cellini PP
Grinder: Forte AP, Macap M4 Stepless;...
Roaster: HotTopB-2k, UFO/TO
Posted Sun Dec 23, 2012, 9:40pm
Subject: Re: Upgrading to HX or dual boiler machine
 

Charity, I went through a similar decision process about nine months ago when I was looking to upgrade from my Silvia of five years.  My usage is similar to yours based on your initial post (i.e., usually just myself, occasionally a second person and even more occasionally 3 to 4 people).  After weeks of reviewing online information, reviews, posts on this site and other coffee sites as well as conversations with two different vendors, I narrowed my search down to the Rocket Cellini Premium Plus and its closest equivalent in the Quickmill familly, the Andreja, which is Anita's big sister.  Both are solid machines with equivalent quality components and similar fit and finish.  I preferred the looks of the Rocket and with a newer house with an open floor plan and a kitchen with other stainless steel appliances, looks are important to me.  There's nothing wrong with that.   In the Andreja's favor was its ability to be plumbed in if one purchased the optional plumb kit.  When I was able to purchase V1 Rocket at a closeout price, the Rocket won out.  The steaming ability of the Rocket is more than adequate.  I'm sure I would have been just as happy with the performance of the Quckmiill.

As far as not being able to plumb in the Premium Plus, for me it has been a non-issue.  As I mentioned, my usage is typically quite light.  And I've been pleasantly surprised how minimal a flush is required to get the Rocket to proper brew temperature.  Light usage plus minimal flushing means less water, obviously.  I've gotten into the habit of topping off the reservoir as part of my daily cleaning/maintenance routine, but know I could often go two, perhaps three days without needing to refill if I chose.  Of course, I'm sure if I were plumbed in, I'd love the convenience.

If you do go the HX, E-61 route, I would recommend getting a brew head thermometer (i.e, "Eric's Thermometer").  It helped me immensely getting my flush routine down.  And even now that I have a pretty good understanding of how the Rocket behaves, I find myself using the thermometer daily.

One last note, if you're open to purchasing a product return, following the holidays there are likely to be quite a few returns to vendors, with customers taking advantage of the 30-day, no questions asked return privilege.  The machines carry a full warranty and usually can be had with  substantial savings.  That might keep you closer to your $1500 budget.  Look for "Buyer's Remorse" items at Chris Coffee and "Open Box" items at Seattle Coffee Gear (and I'm assuming other vendors would have something similar).
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CharityV
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CharityV
Joined: 8 Jul 2005
Posts: 176
Location: Oregon
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Le'lit PL041
Grinder: Rocky DL
Roaster: SC/TO
Posted Sun Dec 23, 2012, 9:44pm
Subject: Re: Upgrading to HX or dual boiler machine
 

The Oscar is a great machine from everything I read. I definitely don't mean to imply it isn't worth the money just because it isn't my cuppa, so to speak. I'm sure every morning it makes you fantastic espresso, and that's the point of all this, after all. :)

cuznvin- I have not looked at those, but I will now that you've mentioned them.
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qualin
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qualin
Joined: 30 Jun 2012
Posts: 654
Location: Calgary, AB
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Izzo Alex Duetto 3
Grinder: Mazzer Mini Elect. Type A
Vac Pot: Looking to buy
Drip: Manual
Roaster: Considering?
Posted Mon Dec 24, 2012, 4:32am
Subject: Re: Upgrading to a dual boiler machine
 

cuznvin Said:

Just wondering why a DB is more complicated to maintain??

Posted December 23, 2012 link

I apologize for seeming like this is off topic, but I probably should answer this question just to be courteous and perhaps it will help in a future decision when it comes to the whole HX vs DB thing.

It is my understanding that a DB is more complex to maintain because you have to descale two boilers, not just one. Some double boiler machines work like a "Conventional" heat exchanging machine
on the steam boiler side, then that water gets pumped into the coffee (or brew) boiler for temperature stabilization. This is so that when one is pulling a long shot, the temperature of the coffee boiler
stays relatively stable and the brew boiler heater doesn't have to work as hard. Its almost as if they "re-used" some of the HX components and added another boiler. :-)

In order to be able to fully descale the machine, the whole machine needs to be disassembled, descaled, cleaned and reassembled. With a service manual and a decent set of tools, it probably isn't
a big deal if you have some mechanical aptitude. Chris's coffee recommends not descaling HX or DB machines, due to the fact that it can sometimes create more problems than it can solve.

Now, in saying that, some hardcore coffee geeks will probably say that this is bad advice and one should always regularly run descaler (Like a Citric Acid Solution) though the machine every 6 months
before scale has a chance to build up. OK, that's fine. I think if one knows where to look for the common problems that can occur after descaling and know how to repair them, then go for it. (Things like
clogged steam or hot water wands, stuck anti-backflow valve, stuck vacuum breaker, etc.)

Personally, I build computers as a hobby. Looking inside of one of these machines, it looks somewhat daunting but only because I'm not familiar with it. Once I understand what all of the components
do and understand how the machine disassembles and reassembles, it isn't that bad for me. I can "Figure it out.", but it would probably take me the better part of a day to do so. In all honesty, unless
you want to risk having your nice shiny expensive machine sitting in a pile of parts on your workbench for months at a time, (ie. Redneck Trans-Am syndrome) I'd recommend that you get your machine
serviced by an experienced, qualified service person working at a reputable service depot, regardless if it is HX or DB.

It is up to you to decide wether or not you want to take on a task like that yourself. I think it's akin to working on your car. Some people I've met can do a complete engine tear down without having a
mechanics journeyman's certificate. Others can't even do an oil change themselves. Some people I've met don't even know that their oil even needs changing....

Now, as a disclaimer, I'm saying this not as an experienced, qualified service technician. I'm saying all of these things as a hobbyist and I'm still learning. I'm just erroring (sp?) on the side of caution.
What I'm doing above is re-affirming my knowledge and hoping that I didn't goof up a detail above. :-)

 
Garbage In, Garbage Out, for every step of the process. From Beans to grinder, grounds to machine, coffee to cup.
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qualin
Senior Member
qualin
Joined: 30 Jun 2012
Posts: 654
Location: Calgary, AB
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Izzo Alex Duetto 3
Grinder: Mazzer Mini Elect. Type A
Vac Pot: Looking to buy
Drip: Manual
Roaster: Considering?
Posted Mon Dec 24, 2012, 4:57am
Subject: Re: Upgrading to HX or dual boiler machine
 

I just thought I'd quickly mention, just to be more on topic...

I was thinking... If you can find a Rocket Cellini Evoluzione or an Izzo Alex II  (Not the Duetto) on sale, on clearout or on a buyers remorse deal, consider one of these machines instead. The downside may be,
either one of these machines may violate your budget up to $500 over, but would possibly save you the need to buy another machine down the road if you wanted to plumb-in.

If you are firm on your budget, I can respect that. I just thought I'd toss that idea out there if it was an option and you were flexible.

Good luck.

 
Garbage In, Garbage Out, for every step of the process. From Beans to grinder, grounds to machine, coffee to cup.
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cuznvin
Senior Member


Joined: 6 Oct 2011
Posts: 656
Location: NY
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: La Spaziale Mini Vivaldi II
Grinder: MACAP M4 Stepless /Baratza...
Drip: YouBrew
Posted Mon Dec 24, 2012, 5:54am
Subject: Re: Upgrading to a dual boiler machine
 

qualin Said:

I apologize for seeming like this is off topic, but I probably should answer this question just to be courteous and perhaps it will help in a future decision when it comes to the whole HX vs DB thing.

It is my understanding that a DB is more complex to maintain because you have to descale two boilers, not just one. Some double boiler machines work like a "Conventional" heat exchanging machine
on the steam boiler side, then that water gets pumped into the coffee (or brew) boiler for temperature stabilization. This is so that when one is pulling a long shot, the temperature of the coffee boiler
stays relatively stable and the brew boiler heater doesn't have to work as hard. Its almost as if they "re-used" some of the HX components and added another boiler. :-)

In order to be able to fully descale the machine, the whole machine needs to be disassembled, descaled, cleaned and reassembled. With a service manual and a decent set of tools, it probably isn't
a big deal if you have some mechanical aptitude. Chris's coffee recommends not descaling HX or DB machines, due to the fact that it can sometimes create more problems than it can solve.

Now, in saying that, some hardcore coffee geeks will probably say that this is bad advice and one should always regularly run descaler (Like a Citric Acid Solution) though the machine every 6 months
before scale has a chance to build up. OK, that's fine. I think if one knows where to look for the common problems that can occur after descaling and know how to repair them, then go for it. (Things like
clogged steam or hot water wands, stuck anti-backflow valve, stuck vacuum breaker, etc.)

Personally, I build computers as a hobby. Looking inside of one of these machines, it looks somewhat daunting but only because I'm not familiar with it. Once I understand what all of the components
do and understand how the machine disassembles and reassembles, it isn't that bad for me. I can "Figure it out.", but it would probably take me the better part of a day to do so. In all honesty, unless
you want to risk having your nice shiny expensive machine sitting in a pile of parts on your workbench for months at a time, (ie. Redneck Trans-Am syndrome) I'd recommend that you get your machine
serviced by an experienced, qualified service person working at a reputable service depot, regardless if it is HX or DB.

It is up to you to decide wether or not you want to take on a task like that yourself. I think it's akin to working on your car. Some people I've met can do a complete engine tear down without having a
mechanics journeyman's certificate. Others can't even do an oil change themselves. Some people I've met don't even know that their oil even needs changing....

Now, as a disclaimer, I'm saying this not as an experienced, qualified service technician. I'm saying all of these things as a hobbyist and I'm still learning. I'm just erroring (sp?) on the side of caution.
What I'm doing above is re-affirming my knowledge and hoping that I didn't goof up a detail above. :-)

Posted December 24, 2012 link


Thanks so much for answering. Now I have more questions... Does the  whole machine need to be disassembled on an HX machine too? I am not handy and doubt  will be taking any machine apart. Plus there arent any espresso machine dealers on Long Island. Im guessing it is less expensive to have an HX machine professionally descaled vs a DB. I guess this is why Breville requires that their machines be professionally descaled....

GlenO post also makes sense to mebecause I will probably have the same usage as they do. Now Im thinking the HX route instead.
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qualin
Senior Member
qualin
Joined: 30 Jun 2012
Posts: 654
Location: Calgary, AB
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Izzo Alex Duetto 3
Grinder: Mazzer Mini Elect. Type A
Vac Pot: Looking to buy
Drip: Manual
Roaster: Considering?
Posted Mon Dec 24, 2012, 6:23am
Subject: Re: Upgrading to a dual boiler machine
 

cuznvin Said:

Does the  whole machine need to be disassembled on an HX machine too?

Posted December 24, 2012 link

I've heard that the heat exchanging tube can get clogged up if the scale is bad enough, which I believe would warrant disassembly, but descaling the boiler itself is a less complex process, because there's
only one of them in an HX machine. I guess it depends on the machine and how it is constructed. Like I said, I'm not a service professional. I'd prefer to hear an answer from someone who has actually done
the work and can give their opinion on the topic before making any judgements or statements.

cuznvin Said:

I'm guessing it is less expensive to have an HX machine professionally descaled vs a DB.

Posted December 24, 2012 link

Who knows. The only thing you can do is ask the nearest dealer. Chris's coffee is roughly about a 3 hour drive away from Long Island. I'd call them and ask. Shop rate in my area hovers around $110/hr.

cuznvin Said:

I guess this is why Breville requires that their machines be professionally descaled....

Posted December 24, 2012 link

I think it is also a liability issue. Breville doesn't want to worry about people descaling the machines improperly which could lead to potential warranty work.

cuznvin Said:

Now Im thinking the HX route instead.

Posted December 24, 2012 link

I don't really want to cause another HX/DB flamewar on this forum. Both a DB and HX have their advantages and disadvantages, but that's something best left for another thread. It's not fair to the OP for me to
have Hijacked this thread, I just wanted to answer your question. Better if you post a separate topic with your questions before you make any judgements.

 
Garbage In, Garbage Out, for every step of the process. From Beans to grinder, grounds to machine, coffee to cup.
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mmlugar
Senior Member


Joined: 3 May 2007
Posts: 8
Location: Coventry, RI
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Mon Dec 24, 2012, 9:06am
Subject: Re: Upgrading to a dual boiler machine
 

I agree.  Can't speak from experience, but the HX option seems best.
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Coffeenoobie
Senior Member
Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 3,030
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Mon Dec 24, 2012, 11:39am
Subject: Re: Upgrading to HX or dual boiler machine
 

I freely admit Oscar is an ugly work horse and did not take offense, I was pointing out you could do it new and grinder for 1.5k.  But for $475 it was a great deal for the power house Oscar is under the hood.  And I did not want to spend over 1k total for my full set up.  I have now on tampers, pitchers, thermometers etc.  

I would have loved to have 1.5k to spend on the machine alone.  That is a healthy budget. Also get the Vario W I think the W is worth it.

 
Coffeenoobie

Buying advice: GRINDER GRINDER GRINDER. Don't cheap out on the grinder.

My coffee treasure map...
Click Here (maps.google.com)

Oscar trick out: http://s156.photobucket.com/user/GandBteam/story/14231
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Coffeenoobie
Senior Member
Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 3,030
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Mon Dec 24, 2012, 11:42am
Subject: Re: Upgrading to HX or dual boiler machine
 

I am not handy.  I am reasonably good trouble shooter and I have replaced a pump, a valve and cleaned a valve.  I took lots of photos at every stage so I could put it back together.  I will say it is pretty easy to work on these machines.

 
Coffeenoobie

Buying advice: GRINDER GRINDER GRINDER. Don't cheap out on the grinder.

My coffee treasure map...
Click Here (maps.google.com)

Oscar trick out: http://s156.photobucket.com/user/GandBteam/story/14231
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