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Trying to Decide R58, Quickmill Qm7,  Breville DB
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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > Trying to Decide...  
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cuznvin
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Joined: 6 Oct 2011
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Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: La Spaziale Mini Vivaldi II
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Posted Wed Jan 23, 2013, 11:13am
Subject: Re: Trying to Decide R58, Quickmill Qm7,  Breville DB
 

acasabia Said:

Allow me to re-introduce myself. I was in your exact position less than a year ago, torn between the R58, the QM, the Expobar, and the BDB.

For a long while the BDB was the winner, its price and design were great, and it looked like a good machine. I dropped it from the list however for a number of reasons, many have already been listed here; the lack of user serviceable parts, less physical control over the shot (push-button), no user descale, limited US service centers, etc.

The R58 is a beautiful piece, and was the machine that really made me love the industrial looking e-61 brew group. I had a lot of trouble telling myself not to spend the extra cash on this one, simply on the principle that; while I wan't to buy a machine I will never need to replace, I still as a home user shouldn't ever drop close to 3 grand on a coffee machine. Also, its external PID, and limited user base at the time was a bit of a gripe as well. But wow is it pretty or what!

The Alexia was the machine I actually called up to buy. It is bigger than the others, and yes it will require some assembly after shipping, but when you own a DB machine you should really be comfortable doing these minor adjustments and repairs anyway. I saw the users here were very dedicated to it, and it had a great set of reviews to back it up. The sales person was kind enough to help me compare a few machines, and even rand both pumps near the phone, to supplement the hundreds of user reviews and video's I had already seen. I have to say, I wasn't impressed with the rotary pump's volume, and I honestly enjoy the "warm-up," on the vibration pump... it is an active pre-infusion that really plays off of your tamping skills. I turned this machine down last minute, no regrets.

The QM. well it's smaller, has a smaller user base, not a lot of reviews, and would have had to ship from Italy. I liked the reduce volume on its vibration pump, I wish more machines would use this feed-back trick. It was pretty, but seemed more delicate than the others. I'll admit my research on the QM stopped pretty early on, I was distracted by the BDB.

The Expobar. I will be the first to tell you of this machines less than luxurious feel. It is a tool, not a piece of art. There are no custom stamped metal panels, no art-deco ridges in the face. It is just a big, heavy, steam machine. My fears were thus: the vibration pump would be too loud, the machine would be poorly built, there are few users to draw supporting info from, there are few US service centers (I do live close to one though), etc. However, the machine is much cheaper than it's size comparable competitors, and is obviously built out of some heavy duty parts.
My biggest issue with the Expobar was that the plumb w/ tank model has a relief into the drip tray, but this is done with the assumption that you are plumbing the machine, and was easy enough to fix in under 10 minutes with 20in of tubing.
The PID is accurate, the boilers are big and reliable, the steam is strong, and it's no burn steam wand will fit any steam tip you buy, I have the four pack from rocket and use the two-hole. The gauges are well places, the pump is quiet enough compared to my grinders, and its footprint isn't that large.

I know the expobar came with two in-tank water softening cartidges, the BDB comes with its own filters, I do not know about the others. This was a concern for me after what happened to my last machine even with regular descaling. I use bottled water now anyway.

Any of these machines will do you justice, it now just comes down to cost. Might I plug in that any cash you save on the machine should go to your grinder, a tamper (if not included with your machine), fresh coffee, knock-box, and all the other BS we say you have to buy but would most likely be perfectly happy without :)

Best of luck!

Posted January 23, 2013 link

Thanks for your insight. How long have you had the Brewtus? I am curious why you say the QM67 had to be shipped from Italy? There are retailers in The US that sell this machine.. Where did you have to reroute the tubing to on the Brewtus?
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BubbaDude
Senior Member
BubbaDude
Joined: 8 Jan 2011
Posts: 510
Location: Frisco Bay
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Breville Dual Boiler
Grinder: Baratza Vario
Vac Pot: Yama
Drip: Clever Coffee Dripper
Roaster: Hottop 2KB
Posted Wed Jan 23, 2013, 12:37pm
Subject: Re: Trying to Decide R58, Quickmill Qm7,  Breville DB
 

acasabia Said:

For a long while the BDB was the winner, its price and design were great, and it looked like a good machine. I dropped it from the list however for a number of reasons, many have already been listed here; the lack of user serviceable parts, less physical control over the shot (push-button), no user descale, limited US service centers, etc.

Posted January 23, 2013 link

"No physical control over the shot?" BDB gives you control over the pre-infusion pressure and duration, the shot temperature to one degree F, and the shot time with an on-screen shot timer. What else do you want?

 
"I've Scaced many HX/E61 machines, seeing shot variances of up to 8-10F or more. [The BDB] stays within 1F." - Mark Prince
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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 Wed Jan 23, 2013, 12:47pm
Subject: Re: Trying to Decide R58, Quickmill Qm7,  Breville DB
 

acasabia Said:

Allow me to re-introduce myself. I was in your exact position less than a year ago, torn between the R58, the QM, the Expobar, and the BDB.

For a long while the BDB was the winner, its price and design were great, and it looked like a good machine. I dropped it from the list however for a number of reasons, many have already been listed here; the lack of user serviceable parts, less physical control over the shot (push-button), no user descale, limited US service centers, etc.

The R58 is a beautiful piece, and was the machine that really made me love the industrial looking e-61 brew group. I had a lot of trouble telling myself not to spend the extra cash on this one, simply on the principle that; while I wan't to buy a machine I will never need to replace, I still as a home user shouldn't ever drop close to 3 grand on a coffee machine. Also, its external PID, and limited user base at the time was a bit of a gripe as well. But wow is it pretty or what!

The Alexia was the machine I actually called up to buy. It is bigger than the others, and yes it will require some assembly after shipping, but when you own a DB machine you should really be comfortable doing these minor adjustments and repairs anyway. I saw the users here were very dedicated to it, and it had a great set of reviews to back it up. The sales person was kind enough to help me compare a few machines, and even rand both pumps near the phone, to supplement the hundreds of user reviews and video's I had already seen. I have to say, I wasn't impressed with the rotary pump's volume, and I honestly enjoy the "warm-up," on the vibration pump... it is an active pre-infusion that really plays off of your tamping skills. I turned this machine down last minute, no regrets.

The QM. well it's smaller, has a smaller user base, not a lot of reviews, and would have had to ship from Italy. I liked the reduce volume on its vibration pump, I wish more machines would use this feed-back trick. It was pretty, but seemed more delicate than the others. I'll admit my research on the QM stopped pretty early on, I was distracted by the BDB.

The Expobar. I will be the first to tell you of this machines less than luxurious feel. It is a tool, not a piece of art. There are no custom stamped metal panels, no art-deco ridges in the face. It is just a big, heavy, steam machine. My fears were thus: the vibration pump would be too loud, the machine would be poorly built, there are few users to draw supporting info from, there are few US service centers (I do live close to one though), etc. However, the machine is much cheaper than it's size comparable competitors, and is obviously built out of some heavy duty parts.
My biggest issue with the Expobar was that the plumb w/ tank model has a relief into the drip tray, but this is done with the assumption that you are plumbing the machine, and was easy enough to fix in under 10 minutes with 20in of tubing.
The PID is accurate, the boilers are big and reliable, the steam is strong, and it's no burn steam wand will fit any steam tip you buy, I have the four pack from rocket and use the two-hole. The gauges are well places, the pump is quiet enough compared to my grinders, and its footprint isn't that large.

I know the expobar came with two in-tank water softening cartidges, the BDB comes with its own filters, I do not know about the others. This was a concern for me after what happened to my last machine even with regular descaling. I use bottled water now anyway.

Any of these machines will do you justice, it now just comes down to cost. Might I plug in that any cash you save on the machine should go to your grinder, a tamper (if not included with your machine), fresh coffee, knock-box, and all the other BS we say you have to buy but would most likely be perfectly happy without :)

Best of luck!

Posted January 23, 2013 link

I am also curious if you looked at the ECM Germany Technika which is an HX machine.
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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 Wed Jan 23, 2013, 4:22pm
Subject: Re: Trying to Decide R58, Quickmill Qm7,  Breville DB
 

I am leaning heavily towards the  ECM  Technika IV HX machine...
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CMIN
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Joined: 14 Jun 2012
Posts: 1,225
Location: South FL
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Crossland CC1
Grinder: Baratza Preciso
Posted Wed Jan 23, 2013, 4:55pm
Subject: Re: Trying to Decide R58, Quickmill Qm7,  Breville DB
 

cuznvin Said:

I am leaning heavily towards the  ECM  Technika IV HX machine...

Posted January 23, 2013 link

Looks like a great machine for the $

edit - read some stuff on it, seems everyone is very impressed with it, if I were considering machines in this range I'd be hard pressed to not go with the Technika IV. Looks sharp and clean too.
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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 Wed Jan 23, 2013, 8:06pm
Subject: Re: Trying to Decide R58, Quickmill Qm7,  Breville DB
 

CMIN Said:

Looks like a great machine for the $

edit - read some stuff on it, seems everyone is very impressed with it, if I were considering machines in this range I'd be hard pressed to not go with the Technika IV. Looks sharp and clean too.

Posted January 23, 2013 link

Yep.. Just concerned it is an HX as opposed to a dual boiler with PID. Although from what I am gathering it doesnt even need a cooling flush.
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acasabia
Senior Member
acasabia
Joined: 17 Oct 2008
Posts: 603
Location: Westchester, NY
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Expobar Brewtus iv-p,...
Grinder: Quamar M80e, Hario slim
Vac Pot: Yama Vacpot, Aeropress,
Drip: french press
Roaster: hot-air popper.
Posted Wed Jan 23, 2013, 10:38pm
Subject: Re: Trying to Decide R58, Quickmill Qm7,  Breville DB
 

cuznvin Said:

I am also curious if you looked at the ECM Germany Technika which is an HX machine.

Posted January 23, 2013 link

When I was looking, I was pretty certain I wanted a dual boiler, not that HX machines aren't great. I just knew I wanted a PID and the extra control. The ECM's are nice though, a friend has one and loves it.


BubbaDude Said:

"No physical control over the shot?" BDB gives you control over the pre-infusion pressure and duration, the shot temperature to one degree F, and the shot time with an on-screen shot timer. What else do you want?

Posted January 23, 2013 link

What I meant by "physical control," wasn't the ability to manipulate the physical parameters of the pull, in that case the BDB has it all. I meant that the BDB is an electronic machine, compared to a e-61 group where you are physically lifting the valve for the water and pump activation. I like how the e-61 group head is completely off of the face of the machine making it easier to clean, and in the case of an issue, easier to repair. However, since the BDB is not user serviceable anyway, this is a bit irrelevant.

cuznvin Said:

Thanks for your insight. How long have you had the Brewtus? I am curious why you say the QM67 had to be shipped from Italy? There are retailers in The US that sell this machine.. Where did you have to reroute the tubing to on the Brewtus?

Posted January 23, 2013 link

I have had the Brewtus since October '12, I pull shots on this thing like crazy, usually at least three cappuccino's and a few shots daily for family and friends. Cleaning this machine, and all e-61's I imagine, is a breeze. The steam is top notch with the two hole tip, and the temp is pretty stable thanks to the large boiler and 1250W heating elements. I re-routed the OPV relief back into the reservoir, instead of the drip tray (which is how the plumbable models come). If you buy a tank-only brewtus, it will ship with two tubes in the reservoir, one to feed, one for relief, I essentially just imitated this. It takes 1/4in nylon, or teflon tubing. If you were to plumb any of the other models, you would have to change the way the machine's opv relief is plumbed to prevent overfilling the reservoir (assuming they come with the relief fed into it).

When I searched for these other models, the QM, Rocket, etc., many of the sites I checked indicated that they would be shipping from the manufacturer (see image from SCG), I dont know if this has since changed for these models, but I didn't want to have to wait, or risk shipping damage from overseas.  

Also, the Expobar ships as a 15A machine, no firehazard cable adaptor required.


DavecUK Said:

this springs to mind:

Click Here (www.telegraph.co.uk)

The only saving grace with coffee machines, is that they are very heavy!

Posted January 23, 2013 link

My machine shipped in excessively protective packaging from WholeLatteLove. I was home when the truck came and could hear the UPS man cursing how heavy it was, the next week when my grinder came he seemed scared this would be a regular occurrence.

acasabia: Screen Shot 2013-01-24 at 12.28.59 AM.png

 
Anthony C

Currently pulling:
Dallis Bros (NYC): New York Espresso

http://coffeeandneuroscience.wordpress.com/
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BubbaDude
Senior Member
BubbaDude
Joined: 8 Jan 2011
Posts: 510
Location: Frisco Bay
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Breville Dual Boiler
Grinder: Baratza Vario
Vac Pot: Yama
Drip: Clever Coffee Dripper
Roaster: Hottop 2KB
Posted Wed Jan 23, 2013, 11:34pm
Subject: Re: Trying to Decide R58, Quickmill Qm7,  Breville DB
 

acasabia Said:

What I meant by "physical control," wasn't the ability to manipulate the physical parameters of the pull, in that case the BDB has it all. I meant that the BDB is an electronic machine, compared to a e-61 group where you are physically lifting the valve for the water and pump activation. I like how the e-61 group head is completely off of the face of the machine making it easier to clean, and in the case of an issue, easier to repair. However, since the BDB is not user serviceable anyway, this is a bit irrelevant.

Posted January 23, 2013 link

When you pull the lever on the E61, you trip a switch that turns the pump on. When you press the "manual" button on the BDB, guess what happens? Right, you trip a switch that turns the pump on and starts the shot timer. And yes, there are screws on the BDB's skin that you can remove to play with the innards. The machine doesn't need much user servicing, but the opportunity is there if you like to fiddle with the OPV, the seals, and the boilers. Thing is, most of the HX parts that need attention don't exist on an electronic machine. But whatever.

 
"I've Scaced many HX/E61 machines, seeing shot variances of up to 8-10F or more. [The BDB] stays within 1F." - Mark Prince
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acasabia
Senior Member
acasabia
Joined: 17 Oct 2008
Posts: 603
Location: Westchester, NY
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Expobar Brewtus iv-p,...
Grinder: Quamar M80e, Hario slim
Vac Pot: Yama Vacpot, Aeropress,
Drip: french press
Roaster: hot-air popper.
Posted Thu Jan 24, 2013, 11:07am
Subject: Re: Trying to Decide R58, Quickmill Qm7,  Breville DB
 

BubbaDude Said:

When you pull the lever on the E61, you trip a switch that turns the pump on. When you press the "manual" button on the BDB, guess what happens? Right, you trip a switch that turns the pump on and starts the shot timer. And yes, there are screws on the BDB's skin that you can remove to play with the innards. The machine doesn't need much user servicing, but the opportunity is there if you like to fiddle with the OPV, the seals, and the boilers. Thing is, most of the HX parts that need attention don't exist on an electronic machine. But whatever.

Posted January 23, 2013 link

No machine in this tier should need much user servicing but owning one, you should be able to if you need to. Saying electronic machines wont need as much servicing is the equivalent of novice Mac users saying they cant get viruses. With proper use no machine should have any service issues but errors do occur and how easy they are to repair is a factor that plays into the longevity of the machine. When I lift the lever a direct circuit is connected activating the pump, when you press your button, a signal is sent back to the digital processor which then tells the machine to activate the boiler pump, the timer, and whatever else its controlling. It is not so simple, and this is a major point when it comes to repairs. Try and remember that all these machines are, are big electronic boxes filled with hot water.

I suppose in practice your statement is often accurate. But dont ever delude yourself into thinking seals wont need changing in the BDB, the only saving factor is that you cannot descale it yourself (which is where a great deal of seal wear can come from). I wonder if they replace those seals leading to the 3-way solenoid when they descale it for you. Being able to make adjustments easily on your own is essential if you really want to own this machine, If you owned one of the earlier BDB's with the faulty brew pressure, you would see why having screwless access to the OPV valve is a wonderful thing. As a side note, in a video I watched of someone adjusting the BDB's opv, it looked like a lot of plastic on the inside. Not really an issue unless you move the machine around or induce a stressor of some kind, but something to think about. I bought a machine I intend to keep for a very long time, having easy access to any wearable parts, and knowing there are fewer electronics (especially proprietary electronics) that can fail was a major point I was looking at. Yeah lifting the lever activates a switch to activate the pump, and when I open up the machine it's one analogue switch, with two wires. Opening up the face on the BDB I imagine its digital interface makes it more complicated. In fact the only piece of equipment Im not certain how I would repair on my machine is the digital PID, which thanks to GICAR is easily swappable.

The BDB is a pretty machine, but being stuck with their proprietary design is a risk in a situation where something needs replacement and you dont want to spend a lot of cash. Being able to swap out a simple trip switch behind the lever for $2 in the case that I broke it is a nice reassurance over having to send it away for x-weeks to be repaired by the manufacturer. Im sure you machine included free shipping when you bought it, but this wont be the case when you mail it in for service, and I hope there is no water in that boiler if you ship it in winter, it would be nice if you could easily remove and properly drain them.

Since many manufactures rely on the e-61 design, there are an abundance of parts and accessories to chose from, and a wide user base to draw reapir information from. Because of this, the expobar, and other e-61's feel more commercial, and I imagine we will see this design for a long time coming.

The take away is this, the BDB is an absolutely beautiful machine, one that I almost bought. It's price, its design, its features, they're all phenomenal. However I can't speak to the brands longevity and the amount of digital parts makes it almost certain it will need some complicated replacements. The e-61 line up is no where near as pretty by home standards, but the use of direct circuit electronics, and mostly mechanical parts make the machines easier and cheaper to service, and the design has a long heritage to draw user support, and customizations from. I've learned to love the 9lb block of chrome sticking out of its face, I think many other users feel the same.

Function>form.

 
Anthony C

Currently pulling:
Dallis Bros (NYC): New York Espresso

http://coffeeandneuroscience.wordpress.com/
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BubbaDude
Senior Member
BubbaDude
Joined: 8 Jan 2011
Posts: 510
Location: Frisco Bay
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Breville Dual Boiler
Grinder: Baratza Vario
Vac Pot: Yama
Drip: Clever Coffee Dripper
Roaster: Hottop 2KB
Posted Thu Jan 24, 2013, 12:29pm
Subject: Re: Trying to Decide R58, Quickmill Qm7,  Breville DB
 

acasabia Said:

The take away is this, the BDB is an absolutely beautiful machine, one that I almost bought. It's price, its design, its features, they're all phenomenal. However I can't speak to the brands longevity and the amount of digital parts makes it almost certain it will need some complicated replacements. The e-61 line up is no where near as pretty by home standards, but the use of direct circuit electronics, and mostly mechanical parts make the machines easier and cheaper to service, and the design has a long heritage to draw user support, and customizations from. I've learned to love the 9lb block of chrome sticking out of its face, I think many other users feel the same.

Function>form.

Posted January 24, 2013 link

Thanks, but I don't need for you to speak to the BDB's longevity since I've had one for over a year and its longevity speaks for itself. I have one of the early models that came with the OPV set too high, so I had to open the machine to adjust it. Having done that, I haven't needed to open the machine again or to adjust the OPV again. It's either right or it's not, and Breville lets you program the pre-infusion pressure so there's no need for fiddling on a routine basis.

There is no such thing as "direct circuit electronics." There are solid-state circuits with no movable parts that aren't subject to wear other than copper migration (which takes a very long time) and there are mechanical switches that wear out after too many actuations. We had a long discussion about this on the BDB owner's thread so I won't repeat it. Some people are more comfortable with mechanical systems and others with electronic systems. This thread is about dual boiler machines, so the OP's assumption is that electronics will be part of his solution.

My sense of the 50-year-old E61 is that is looks like a legit espresso machine because that chunk of metal on the front is so familiar. Some people are attracted to that design and others aren't. It's a fallacy to suppose that it can't be improved on, however.

In any event, people who buy a BDB for its looks will be disappointed, but those who buy it for its functionality - like me - tend to be pretty happy. The feature set simply runs rings around every other machine in its price class.

 
"I've Scaced many HX/E61 machines, seeing shot variances of up to 8-10F or more. [The BDB] stays within 1F." - Mark Prince
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