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A few questions to point me in the right direction (Purchasing a machine)
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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > A few questions...  
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steamer
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Posted Sun Apr 28, 2013, 11:54am
Subject: Re: A few questions to point me in the right direction (Purchasing a machine)
 

Being in a rush in the morning, buy your espresso on the way into work, get up 30 minutes earlier, get a machine and take it to work. Espresso takes time and learning, if you mess up a shot, either you go without or pull another shot. It will take time even if your machine is on a timer to warm up. Fresh beans, good grind and patience makes a good espresso.
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CoffeeRon
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Posted Sun Apr 28, 2013, 12:44pm
Subject: Re: A few questions to point me in the right direction (Purchasing a machine)
 

steamer Said:

Being in a rush in the morning, buy your espresso on the way into work, get up 30 minutes earlier, get a machine and take it to work. Espresso takes time and learning, if you mess up a shot, either you go without or pull another shot. It will take time even if your machine is on a timer to warm up. Fresh beans, good grind and patience makes a good espresso.

Posted April 28, 2013 link

Please don't take offence but I think you just proved our point as to why he might want to start with a low end HX and a Baratza Vario. Emradguy summed it up quite well when he said he'd be making shots in about 3 min. on a regular basis with an HX.
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D4F
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Posted Sun Apr 28, 2013, 1:23pm
Subject: Re: A few questions to point me in the right direction (Purchasing a machine)
 

I use a Gaggia Classic and could easily have it on a timer.  I believe that Silvia is similar but could be mistaken.  The lack of auto-fill suggests that the machine should not be left on for long periods.  If you have an SBDU machine that does not leak I cannot see why you cannot turn it on via timer.  I certainly turn mine on and walk away for 15 - 45 minutes while it heats and I do other stuff. Not much different than a timer in the am if you fill the boiler after use and it does not leak.  Without auto-fill I would not turn it on when I am not home unless I was very confident that I always filled the boiler and it did not drip/leak, probably at the steam wand.

Gaggia Classic has the elements external and does not depend on water to transfer heat to the sensor/stat, so again not as much problem.  Also a PID can control that well.

I can pull shots quickly enough, and I did not try to hurry, in fact waited an allotted time.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sluei1-IkTw

None of that makes the case for buying SBDU.  SBDU is simple especially for espresso only.  Very easy to repair though rarely needed with proper care.  It is not as versatile as Hx or DB and is usually recommended to fit a budget especially for a beginner who may not like the process of making and cleaning up.  I have seen members here who mentioning using one for 5 years, so not just beginners.  I would find someone with a machine and try making espresso and see how it fits your morning routine.  Time yourself for making, drinking and cleaning and see if you enjoy it, then look at machines.  If you like it a lot, you may want to skip the "starter" machines  :)

 
D4F also at
http://www.gaggiausersgroup.com/
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donner
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Posted Sun Apr 28, 2013, 3:40pm
Subject: Re: A few questions to point me in the right direction (Purchasing a machine)
 

Coffeenoobie Said:

All good machines take more than 10 minutes to warm up.  My machine is on a timer set 1 hour before I get up.

Posted April 27, 2013 link

Maybe you haven't tried the BDB900XL.  Before you say that is not a good machine, you should try one for a while.  It warms up in ten minutes or so, from cold.  Just touch the power switch after getting up in the morning, and it's ready to make coffee by the time you walk back to the kitchen.  

I wonder if someone has calculated the power savings involved in not needing to have a machine sit there warming for much of the day.  That could amount to hundreds of dollars every year, not to mention the environmental benefits to our planet.
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donner
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Posted Sun Apr 28, 2013, 3:49pm
Subject: Re: A few questions to point me in the right direction (Purchasing a machine)
 

P.S.  A BDB and a decent grinder, like a Vario W, can come in under the $1500 mark.  Various vendors sell for well below the suggested retail prices.
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Coffeenoobie
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Posted Sun Apr 28, 2013, 4:04pm
Subject: Re: A few questions to point me in the right direction (Purchasing a machine)
 

I disagree that one hour is much of the day.  But you are correct, I have never used BDB900XL.  I am guessing you probably never have used my machine either.  I will not say "my machine is better" I will just stand by my statement about warm up time based on thermal mass. And a larger thermal mass is slower to heat up fluctuates less than a small thermal mass.  Since consistency is desirable then I suggest the OP wants more thermal stability over less thermal stability.  And he can afford to start off with a larger machine with a larger boiler than most starter machines.  I believe he will not want to upgrade as fast or ever if he starts out with the more stable machine.

I have pulled a shot on a Breville double boiler. (in the shop demo)  It is cool machine but my husband took one look at it and said too much electronics next to water, it will never last.  That is before I even knew anything about it, I had not researched anything at that point so I did not have an impression of breville at all yet.

 
Coffeenoobie

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Bgranger
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Posted Sun Apr 28, 2013, 4:33pm
Subject: Re: A few questions to point me in the right direction (Purchasing a machine)
 

Thanks everyone for the helpful replies and lively conversation.  On a E61 machine like a Cuadra, would anyone feel worried if they left the machine on all day or for an extended period of time unsupervised?  I'm wondering how easy it would be to make a drink if I stop home during lunch or get out of work early on a machine that takes a while to heat up.
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emradguy
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Posted Sun Apr 28, 2013, 7:22pm
Subject: Re: A few questions to point me in the right direction (Purchasing a machine)
 

I think you'd be ok, as long as you make sure there's plenty of water in the reservoir, but it would be better if you could plumb it in. In another thread someone suggested using a wemo timer, and they would probably be even better for you - assuming your have an idea if you we're going to want to use it a half hour or so beforehand

 
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Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
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Iluvdabean
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Posted Sun Apr 28, 2013, 8:33pm
Subject: Re: A few questions to point me in the right direction (Purchasing a machine)
 

When I read what you said below a few questions arose. How much espresso have you consumed? Where do you get it now if you do drink a lot? Maybe I missed that part?

I've researched the machines and techniques thoroughly but could use a point in the right direction from those of you that have the experience here.  Keep in mind I'm wanting to add espresso to my "cut it close" morning routine, so if any of the machines take more than 10 minutes to heat up I might want to avoid them.  Grinder I see myself getting is the Baratza Vario.  Machines I'm considering are La Pavoni manual lever, Ranchilio Silvia, Crossland CC1, Breville Dual Boiler, La Nuova Cuadra or another E61 based machine.  Would also consider used machines.
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donner
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Posted Sun Apr 28, 2013, 9:14pm
Subject: Re: A few questions to point me in the right direction (Purchasing a machine)
 

Coffeenoobie Said:

I disagree that one hour is much of the day.  But you are correct, I have never used BDB900XL.  I am guessing you probably never have used my machine either.  I will not say "my machine is better" I will just stand by my statement about warm up time based on thermal mass. And a larger thermal mass is slower to heat up fluctuates less than a small thermal mass.  Since consistency is desirable then I suggest the OP wants more thermal stability over less thermal stability.  And he can afford to start off with a larger machine with a larger boiler than most starter machines.  I believe he will not want to upgrade as fast or ever if he starts out with the more stable machine.

I have pulled a shot on a Breville double boiler. (in the shop demo)  It is cool machine but my husband took one look at it and said too much electronics next to water, it will never last.  That is before I even knew anything about it, I had not researched anything at that point so I did not have an impression of breville at all yet.

Posted April 28, 2013 link

I'm glad to hear that you respect your husband's opinion, although I'm not sure that I share his distrust of all this new-fangled modern technology.  Frankly, I had a few reservations about the added electronics on the Vario-W too before buying it, but so far so good.  I see that you also own one of those.

As far as your thermal mass comments go, you may not know that much about the BDB.  Water does not care whether it has been sitting in a boiler for an hour or whether it has just reached brew temperature.  200 degrees is 200 degrees.  The BDB has three heating elements, including one at the grouphead.  The brew temperature is maintained within a narrow window, PID controlled.  The machine automatically prevents pulling a shot if the brew temp is not optimal.  After pulling two shots and immediately adding water to them to make Americanos, for example, the machine takes a short time-out of a few seconds while bringing the brew temperature back to the preset point.
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