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Advice on buying first semi-automatic espresso machine please?
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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > Advice on buying...  
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JaniceAnn
Senior Member


Joined: 15 May 2013
Posts: 185
Location: Virginia
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Fri May 17, 2013, 4:36am
Subject: Re: Advice on buying first semi-automatic espresso machine please?
 

I think I would rather go with an Italian or German made espresso machine.  

I am thinking that they are fairly easy to do most repairs on from what I have read on the forums here and I can descale if I have too where the BDB isn't something that I open up and repair.  I also don't like the idea of having to take it or ship it to one of their service centers for descaling every three years.  As far as I know, Breville doesn't even have this set up yet but says that they will by the time the machines start to need descaling.

I have several Breville appliances, including their wonderful automatic tea maker but I am not sure I want to go that way for the espresso machine.

Since my husband and I don't drink espresso, but have Americanos and Cappuccinos, I am not sure we need a better grinder but when I talk to Chris I will ask if he can make me a package deal for a machine and grinder and see
what he says.
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JaniceAnn
Senior Member


Joined: 15 May 2013
Posts: 185
Location: Virginia
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Fri May 17, 2013, 7:58am
Subject: Re: Advice on buying first semi-automatic espresso machine please?
 

I talked with Mary at Chris' and she recommended the Silvano and the Baratza Vario.

Sounds nice but my husband really would rather have a machine that he can program for the amount of coffee instead of flipping the switch to start brewing and flipping it off when you have the amount
that you want.  He says he would walk away to do something else and forget to flip the switch.  I think that since he will be making a much small amount of coffee and then adding water from the electric kettle, he wouldn't
have to wait long for the shot.

Now I have the decision of getting the Silvano and Vario or just making do with the Breville Smart Grinder for a while and getting the Mini Vivaldi II.

I was also looking at Clive Coffee which has the Mini Vivaldi II at the same price but adds cleaning tablets, a Rattleware tamper, coffee. a steaming pitcher and shot glasses plus a $75 gift certificate so I could get a few other accessories.

The warranty information says that repair work can be done by Chris' as they are the importers and they are much closer to me.  I wonder if they would want to do work on a machine that I bought somewhere else though.

Any thoughts on this?
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biochemgawd
Senior Member


Joined: 26 Mar 2006
Posts: 82
Location: Canada
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: BDB
Grinder: Vario
Posted Fri May 17, 2013, 8:12am
Subject: Re: Advice on buying first semi-automatic espresso machine please?
 

JaniceAnn Said:

I talked with Mary at Chris' and she recommended the Silvano and the Baratza Vario.

Sounds nice but my husband really would rather have a machine that he can program for the amount of coffee instead of flipping the switch to start brewing and flipping it off when you have the amount
that you want.  He says he would walk away to do something else and forget to flip the switch.  I think that since he will be making a much small amount of coffee and then adding water from the electric kettle, he wouldn't
have to wait long for the shot.

Now I have the decision of getting the Silvano and Vario or just making do with the Breville Smart Grinder for a while and getting the Mini Vivaldi II.

I was also looking at Clive Coffee which has the Mini Vivaldi II at the same price but adds cleaning tablets, a Rattleware tamper, coffee. a steaming pitcher and shot glasses plus a $75 gift certificate so I could get a few other accessories.

The warranty information says that repair work can be done by Chris' as they are the importers and they are much closer to me.  I wonder if they would want to do work on a machine that I bought somewhere else though.

Any thoughts on this?

Posted May 17, 2013 link

I would avoid using your smart grinder for espresso - even with a great machine like the Vivaldi II you will get a disappointing result. I would recommend considering, however, the Vario + Breville DB. It has features including automatic volumetric buttons and auto-on timer + makes great espresso.
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dana_leighton
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dana_leighton
Joined: 11 Jan 2002
Posts: 1,937
Location: Little Rock, AR
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Isomac Relax; Caferina...
Grinder: Macap MXK; Baratza Vario-W;...
Vac Pot: Yama 5-cup
Drip: Technivorm; CCD; Melitta
Roaster: Poppery I w/PID controller
Posted Fri May 17, 2013, 8:12am
Subject: Re: Advice on buying first semi-automatic espresso machine please?
 

JaniceAnn Said:

my husband really would rather have a machine that he can program for the amount of coffee instead of flipping the switch to start brewing and flipping it off when you have the amount that you want.  He says he would walk away to do something else and forget to flip the switch.  I think that since he will be making a much small amount of coffee and then adding water from the electric kettle, he wouldn't have to wait long for the shot.

Posted May 17, 2013 link

The espresso will take about 25-30 seconds to brew. Whether that is within the attention span of your husband only you and he know. You will want an automatic machine with volumetric dosing if he wants to flip the switch and walk away. But if you come back in 5 minutes, the espresso will be cold. That may of may not be good (there is some minor debate about preference for hot espresso vs. cool espresso). I much prefer espresso that is still warm, but not hot. As it cools the flavors will change, often accentuating the bitter flavor components.

Now I have the decision of getting the Silvano and Vario or just making do with the Breville Smart Grinder for a while and getting the Mini Vivaldi II.

Grinder quality over machine quality. Always.

The warranty information says that repair work can be done by Chris' as they are the importers and they are much closer to me.  I wonder if they would want to do work on a machine that I bought somewhere else though.

I am not sure how much shipping cost varies by distance, but once the warranty period is over, you can ship it for repair to anyone.

 
Dana Leighton - Espresso hack and CoffeeGeek moderator
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JaniceAnn
Senior Member


Joined: 15 May 2013
Posts: 185
Location: Virginia
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Fri May 17, 2013, 8:39am
Subject: Re: Advice on buying first semi-automatic espresso machine please?
 

Wow, only 25 to 30 seconds?  Even he should be able to stand still for that long.  He tends to be very active and always moving.

If we did decide on the Mini Vivaldi would you add the pre-infusion chamber?

Decisions, decisions, decisions!
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emradguy
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emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 2,947
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Duetto II; Twist v2
Grinder: M Major, Macap M4 x2, VDD...
Drip: Espro presses; Aeropress
Roaster: H-B "List of Favorites"
Posted Fri May 17, 2013, 9:36am
Subject: Re: Advice on buying first semi-automatic espresso machine please?
 

1) if he can't wait 30 seconds, you should reconsider making this purchase all together.

2) he could spend the 30 seconds frothing milk, cleaning the counter, or doing something else, but if he's OCD at all, he'll probably want to watch the extraction to stop it at just the right time...get him a naked/bottomless pf and a digital kitchen timer

 
.
Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
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JaniceAnn
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Joined: 15 May 2013
Posts: 185
Location: Virginia
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Fri May 17, 2013, 9:45am
Subject: Re: Advice on buying first semi-automatic espresso machine please?
 

That's funny!!!
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MerleApAmber
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Joined: 13 Nov 2012
Posts: 203
Location: Atlanta
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Breville BES900
Grinder: Baratza Preciso + Esatto
Vac Pot: Yuma
Drip: bah-humbug
Roaster: Hot Top 2K P
Posted Sat May 18, 2013, 4:22pm
Subject: Re: Advice on buying first semi-automatic espresso machine please?
 

I discovered 6/10th's of the joy of great coffee is the theater that goes into making it... Add that there is something very zen about the set up, draw, and then clean up/wipe down, and you'd be surprised how fast your husband might just pick it up as an art.
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alanmushnick
Senior Member
alanmushnick
Joined: 16 Feb 2003
Posts: 277
Location: Haddonfield
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Vetrano, gaggia espresso
Grinder: Mini Mazzer
Vac Pot: none
Drip: Krups aroma control
Roaster: I still don't do this.
Posted Mon May 20, 2013, 3:05am
Subject: Re: Advice on buying first semi-automatic espresso machine please?
 

I would get a Rocky Grinder and the Oscar or the Silvano. It might be a little more than you wanted to spend. The Rocky is a perfectly fine grinder. It is the rare geek that needs to spend more. As a disclaimer, I had one, and at the time the Mazzer Mini wasn't much more money, so I sold and upgraded. But the Rocky does a great job.
I also agree about the fun of making espresso and steaming milk. The handcrafting of it all adds to the pleasure by far.
Ask Chris and you won't be led astray.

 
Alan Mushnick
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calblacksmith
Moderator
calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,670
Location: Riverside, Ca, U.S.A.
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: ECM Vene. A1, La Cimbali M32
Grinder: Azkoyen Capriccio, Major
Vac Pot: 40s era Silex
Drip: Msl. Com. brewers
Roaster: gave it a try, decided no
Posted Mon May 20, 2013, 3:56am
Subject: Re: Advice on buying first semi-automatic espresso machine please?
 

Alan, several years ago I would have agreed about Rocky, the market has really changed though and there are much better grinders new now for the same money. I suppose if one could find an excellent example of a Rocky for $100, I would say it may work but the huge steps in the adjustment system will have the buyer looking for a new grinder fairly soon.
YMMV:-)

 
In real life, my name is
Wayne P.
Anything I post is personal opinion and is only worth as much as anyone else's personal opinion. YMMV!

Feed the newbs, starve the trolls and above all enjoy what you drink!
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