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Time for a new machine - Manual vs automatic
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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > Time for a new...  
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BigApple
Senior Member


Joined: 26 Jan 2013
Posts: 1
Location: Australia
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Sat Jan 26, 2013, 12:48am
Subject: Time for a new machine - Manual vs automatic
 

Hi everyone,

First post here. A bit of background, I have a Gaggia Classic with Nemox grinder. Replaced the boiler last year.   They are 7 years old. I think the Gaggia Classic is on its last legs.  I need to research for a new machine.

I was always going to buy the Rancillio Silvia when the Gaggia died.  Had a look at online, it'd seem that it's probably better to buy the Rocky to match.  Now, I am also considering a low end Jura.  I realise that they are very different types of machines.  The Rancillio Silvia being manual, it's always more fiddly.  It's more difficult to test out as they are not sold in major stores in Australia.  They are mostly sold online.  However, from all my research, it's meant to make great coffee!  Jura on the other hand have great reviews.  They are sold in major stores.  I'd imagine I just have to press a button and presto, coffee done.  Not sure about its maintenance and its quality compared to Rancillio Silvia.

Hope to get some ideas in how to decide which way to go. Thanks.
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Coffeenoobie
Senior Member
Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 3,021
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Sat Jan 26, 2013, 1:11am
Subject: Re: Time for a new machine - Manual vs automatic
 

"How to Buy an Espresso Machine"

Superautos you give up quality for push button connivance and the repair costs are very high.  Read some amazon reviews for some of the issues.  I would not get one just for that reason and the grinder is not very good on combo machines.  But you have to decide what is most important to you.

 
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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CMIN
Senior Member


Joined: 14 Jun 2012
Posts: 1,362
Location: South FL
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Crossland CC1
Grinder: Baratza Preciso
Posted Sat Jan 26, 2013, 8:07am
Subject: Re: Time for a new machine - Manual vs automatic
 

Avoid superautos, especially a low end priced unit, if you get two years use out of one your lucky lol. They don't even get to the right temps, and the coffee they make always taste like watered down. The shots come out fast too, not like tweaking 25-35 seconds like most do...I know two Jura owners and shots come out in like 10-15 seconds and taste blahhh. The built in grinders suck too.
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JasonBrandtLewis
Senior Member
JasonBrandtLewis
Joined: 9 Dec 2005
Posts: 6,372
Location: Berkeley, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Elektra T1 - La Valentina -...
Grinder: Mahlkönig K30 Vario -...
Vac Pot: Yama 5-cup
Drip: CCD, Chemex
Roaster: No, no, not another...
Posted Sat Jan 26, 2013, 9:16am
Subject: Re: Time for a new machine - Manual vs automatic
 

BigApple Said:

The Rancillio Silvia being manual . . .

Posted January 26, 2013 link

The Rancilio Silvia is not a manual.

BigApple Said:

Jura on the other hand have great reviews . . .

Posted January 26, 2013 link

The Jura is not an automatic.

Perhaps you should read the following FIRST:
-- Types of Espresso Machines
-- How to Buy an Espresso Machine
-- The Home Barista's Guide to Espresso

Then, you should consider (and answer) the following . . .

Standard Questions:
1)  What kind of drinks do you like/want to make?  (This will tell us what you need in terms of a machine's capabilities.)
2)  How many drinks, on average, do you see yourself needing to make at ay one time? (This will tell us what you need in terms of a machine's ability to work continuously.)
3)  How many drinks, on average, do you see yourself making in any given week?  (This will tell us what you need in terms of a machine's durability.)
4)  Can you plumb a machine directly into the water supply, or do you want/need a pourover machine with its own reservoir?
5)  Do you have a 20-amp circuit available, or only a (standard) 15-amp circuit?
6)  What is your budget for a new machine?  Does that also include a grinder?  If not, what is your budget for a grinder?

Cheers,
Jason

 
A morning without coffee is sleep . . .
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Iluvdabean
Senior Member
Iluvdabean
Joined: 7 Mar 2005
Posts: 1,252
Location: Kentucky
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: La Nuova Era Cuadra/Gaggia...
Grinder: Baratza Preciso/K-A Pro...
Drip: Bonavita BV 1800 TH
Roaster: Nesco 1010/Behmor 1600
Posted Sat Jan 26, 2013, 10:14am
Subject: Re: Time for a new machine - Manual vs automatic
 

I love my Gaggia Classic,its been used everyday for five years. I hope my bolier lasts longer although its aluminum it cycles quickly. Yet I to am thinking of a
new machine. I am thinking Silvia V3 or even maybe Quickmill Silvano. For me personally I dont think anything full auto would work because I still
cant believe they are as good as semi-autos in making espresso. So my vote goes to Silvia. I still think its an awesome machine even today amidst all
its competition. I read someones comment that those big commercial  Rancilio's are probably just a bunch of Silvias in a row inide. Dont know if its true but it
seemed interesting to speculate on.Heres a good overview of it.

http://www.sweetmarias.com/prod.details-rancilio.php
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Coffeenoobie
Senior Member
Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 3,021
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Sat Jan 26, 2013, 10:36am
Subject: Re: Time for a new machine - Manual vs automatic
 

A used Silvia is a better bang for buck than new.  Silvia has not kept up with the completion.

 
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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SteveFreides
Senior Member


Joined: 9 Jun 2012
Posts: 21
Location: Ridgewood, NJ
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Syncrony
Drip: No Drip - French Press
Roaster: Poppery II
Posted Sat Jan 26, 2013, 12:11pm
Subject: Re: Time for a new machine - Manual vs automatic
 

CMIN Said:

Avoid superautos, especially a low end priced unit, if you get two years use out of one your lucky lol. They don't even get to the right temps, and the coffee they make always taste like watered down. The shots come out fast too, not like tweaking 25-35 seconds like most do...I know two Jura owners and shots come out in like 10-15 seconds and taste blahhh. The built in grinders suck too.

Posted January 26, 2013 link

I must respectfully disagree.  We just took our Gaggia Syncrony in for service, having purchased it used for $375.  The counter says it's made over 15,000 shots of espresso.  Ours was manufactured in 2003 and used very little by its previous owner.  I didn't check the shot count when we got it, but I do remember checking a while back and it saying 8,000 shots.

A complete servicing at Repair Shack, in Berkeley Heights, NJ, is costing us $256, after which we will have an essentially new - rebuilt is the proper term - machine.  It'll have a new boiler and whatever else needs made new.  If I get another 5 years out of it, that'll be $50 per year for my coffee machine, and I think that's great.

I prefer the espresso that I get out of my super-auto to just about any I've had in a coffee shop.  I pick the coffee I drink and I buy green beans and roast them myself at home. The super-auto has a built-in burr grinder that you adjust to your liking, and it also lets you adjust the amount of coffee.  It does the tamping for you and puts the pucks into a hopper you empty when it's full.  It's also got 5 different water temperature settings - again, you pick what you like.

We adore the coffee we drink, to the point where it's tough to even order coffee in any form when we go out.

We like the Gaggia Syncrony well enough that I bought one, from some sort of estate sale, on ebay - a second machine which, it turns out, works but also needs an overhaul.  This one cost me only $160, and for $400 total, I'll have a second machine to either keep as a spare or keep out for those times when I want to make 4 shots quickly rather than just 2 - we'll decide that once we have both machine back here.  Our second Syncrony is a new model than our first but they seem to be basically the same machine - the newer model (both are discontinued) is a bit more compact, which is a good and a bad thing.  It takes up less counter space but you have to give it water and empty the hopper more often because both are smaller.

Different strokes for different folks, I suppose.  In an ideal world, we'd all grow coffee in our back yards, roast it ourselves, grind it ourselves, and use lever espresso machines.  In lieu of that, I'm happy with roasting it myself and using a super-auto.

Allow me to put in a good work for http://coffeebeandirect.com - we buy most of our green beans there, but before we started home roasting, we bought roasted whole bean coffee from them and they did a great job.  They roast only upon receipt of your order - all of one day's orders are roasted the next day and shipped that day or the following day, so you're getting coffee that was roasted only a few days prior, and to me, that might be the most important variable of all - well, that and having it fresh ground, too.

Best of luck to you, and all the above is just my opinions, nothing more and nothing less, based on my own experiences over the last few years.

-S-
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SteveFreides
Senior Member


Joined: 9 Jun 2012
Posts: 21
Location: Ridgewood, NJ
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Syncrony
Drip: No Drip - French Press
Roaster: Poppery II
Posted Sat Jan 26, 2013, 12:27pm
Subject: Re: Time for a new machine - Manual vs automatic
 

One more data point - I adjust the time it takes to make a shot with my super-auto by adjusting the grind.  The finer the grind, the longer the shot takes.  I have found what I consider to be the sweet spot for me and my wife.

Our older Syncrony has two setting for two different amounts of water, and they seem to think that the smaller one is espresso and the larger more regular coffee.  The newer Syncrony has three setting but you can customize each - we use the smallest one but decided we like it just a tad bigger than their default.

I guess my point here is that there are still plenty of things one can tweak on a super-auto.

-S-
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JasonBrandtLewis
Senior Member
JasonBrandtLewis
Joined: 9 Dec 2005
Posts: 6,372
Location: Berkeley, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Elektra T1 - La Valentina -...
Grinder: Mahlkönig K30 Vario -...
Vac Pot: Yama 5-cup
Drip: CCD, Chemex
Roaster: No, no, not another...
Posted Sat Jan 26, 2013, 1:56pm
Subject: Re: Time for a new machine - Manual vs automatic
 

Steve, I am honestly happy that you enjoy (love?) your super-auto.  That said, most of the people here would agree that super-autos are things to be avoiding in most cases.  They are a trade-off in quality for convenience.  Super-autos can make good espresso, no doubt about it.  but they can never make great espresso (let alone outstanding or the near-mythic "god shot).

 
A morning without coffee is sleep . . .
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SStones
Senior Member
SStones
Joined: 24 Nov 2012
Posts: 475
Location: Canada
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Giga 5, ECM Giotto, Rocket...
Grinder: Anfim Milano-Best
Vac Pot: No  :(
Drip: Some $30 thing from Walmart
Roaster: I buy pre-roasted.
Posted Sat Jan 26, 2013, 2:24pm
Subject: Re: Time for a new machine - Manual vs automatic
 

Having a super-automatic is like having a Lincoln.  It does a lot for you and is very easy. It will not outperform an excellent driver in an excellent sports car.  If you really want to get from the bottom of a mountain pass to a chalet at the top in the most enjoyable way imaginable, the Audi R8 is going to do it magnificently. If you think you want to pay attention to your passenger, drink a coffee and eat a slice of toast on the way, the Lincoln is going to make it much easier and you'll arrive a little later than the being driven by the perfectionist.
Same goes with the superautomatic espresso machines.  You put a cup in, press the button and walk away with your coffee without ever having to break your conversation off or put the toast down. The espresso that a top of the line super-automatic produces is absolutely fine. Just fine. At work, "just fine" works just fine and the espresso is just fine.  Alone in my office without distractions, though? That's where the Giotto is waiting to have my full attention and reward me for my practiced abilities better than "Just fine".
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