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bradkeen
Senior Member


Joined: 16 Jul 2013
Posts: 6
Location: Harrisburg, PA
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Tue Jul 16, 2013, 5:33am
Subject: Francis Francis X5
 

Hi,

I had some wonderful luck over the weekend and picked up a great condition Rancilio Rocky coffee grinder at a garage sale for $5.  Prior to this, I had a Baratza Encore grinder that I have been using with a drip coffee maker.  I will have a french press soon.

Anyhow, I have this new, and I assume very nice grinder.  I thought that I would keep my eyes open for an espresso machine to accompany it.

I found one, a good condition Francis Francis X5 on craigslist for $50.

Is this a good price?  It seems to retail for much more, though that was when they still made it.  I would like to make lattes and espressos.

Thanks, and sorry if this is the wrong forum.

~Brad
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calblacksmith
Moderator
calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,781
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 Tue Jul 16, 2013, 6:25am
Subject: Re: Francis Francis X5
 

Brad,
Welcome to the board.

Rocky is an able espresso grinder and at that price, you did well. Expect to change the burrs though as I doubt the prior owner ever did. The steps are a bit large on the Rocky but for when it was designed, it was a good value. Today other grinders are a better deal new but for $5 it is hard to be wrong!

FF, well, there are better espresso machines out there for sure but again for the price, if it works, you will be into espresso for under $100 after you add in tamper, knock box, towels etc, pretty good.

The problem with FF is that the boiler is very small and this makes being consistent very hard. FF puts style over espresso but, like I said, at that price, if it works, you will be able to get into espresso very inexpensively.

 
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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Fred1
Senior Member


Joined: 3 Sep 2004
Posts: 564
Location: Seattle
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: LaSpaziale S1 Mini Vivaldi...
Grinder: Mazzer Mini/NS MCF
Vac Pot: None
Drip: Chemex
Roaster: Hottop, FR+8
Posted Tue Jul 16, 2013, 6:36am
Subject: Re: Francis Francis X5
 

Brad,

First of all, welcome.

Yes, a Rocky grinder for $5.00 is a great deal.  Many home baristas started their espresso journey with a Rocky.

FF machines are not the best quality espresso machines.  High selling price does not equate to high quality.  If the seller will demonstrate the machine for you and it actually works go for it.  If the seller won't demonstrate the machine, run away very quickly.  I would try to get the price down a bit, say $25 or $30.00.

Good luck in your hunt.

Fred
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calblacksmith
Moderator
calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,781
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 Tue Jul 16, 2013, 11:48am
Subject: Re: Francis Francis X5
 

Just as a counter point, I paid $125 for a FF X5 and it served me well for over a year, abet with the problems that a small boiler bring but the machine is well built just a bit small in the boiler department.

 
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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CMIN
Senior Member


Joined: 14 Jun 2012
Posts: 1,380
Location: South FL
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Crossland CC1
Grinder: Baratza Preciso
Posted Tue Jul 16, 2013, 11:59am
Subject: Re: Francis Francis X5
 

$5 for a Rocky, lol, I don't even like the Rocky I would have jumped on that, cleaned it up pry new burrs and flipped it for a nice profit. It's way out of date in this day and age but there are people who still will flock to own one lol. $5 is a steal even if it needs some work, but you said it's in great condition... talk about a bargain lol.

As far as the FF, I don't much much about them, except that when new I thought they were waaaaaay over priced and outclassed. But if it works fine (see if the seller will turn it on and run it even demo a shot etc) and you can grab it for $50 then you scored a great starter setup for less then what a cheap entry level pressurized PF machine goes for.
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dggopal
Senior Member


Joined: 1 Jul 2013
Posts: 24
Location: el monte
Expertise: Just starting

Espresso: Nuova Simonelli Oscar
Grinder: Baratza Preciso
Posted Tue Jul 16, 2013, 5:40pm
Subject: home upgrade for the rocky
 

there are plenty of upgrades that you should do to the rocky that are very easy to do and drastically improve the grind.  A cursory search on google with "rancilio rocky burr mod" will bring up a detailed how to guide for the following mods from coffeesnobs:
- the top burr might move around a bit so stabalizing it with some teflon tape/plumbers tape.
- converting to  stepless grinder.

Also there is a container called a click- clack container, the lid of which forms a sort of vacuum within the hopper.  This lid can be used to push air through the grinder thereby flushing and residual grinds.  You will have to search for the exact size of the container you need but I believe it is well discussed on plenty of forums if not coffeegeek itself.

Regarding Francis Francis.... I wonder if a starbucks barista would be better?  I do not know as I have not used either machine(perhaps someone else can comment) but have seen starbucks barista's on craigslist for as little as $60-75 listed so I think you may be able to get em for around $50.
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bradkeen
Senior Member


Joined: 16 Jul 2013
Posts: 6
Location: Harrisburg, PA
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Tue Jul 16, 2013, 6:06pm
Subject: Re: home upgrade for the rocky
 

Can anyone chime in about the Starbucks Barista? It does look like someone is selling one close to me.

Is this a better machine than the X5?

It looks like people recommend upgrading this one with a non pressurized Porta filter. How much wold this cost?
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CMIN
Senior Member


Joined: 14 Jun 2012
Posts: 1,380
Location: South FL
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Crossland CC1
Grinder: Baratza Preciso
Posted Tue Jul 16, 2013, 7:28pm
Subject: Re: Francis Francis X5
 

I'd pry say the Francis has better internals and materials/build quality (still far over priced and outclassed new though). Neither has a 3 way valve, but you can buy a normal depressurized portafilter for the Barista. I'd pry say you scored an awesome deal for that Francis, long as it works good. If you end up with the Barista, just get a depressurized portafilter for it (Seattle Coffee Gear and others I think carry one for them), pry even find one on Ebay. Both machines are fine for one person just starting out, I'd start saving $$ though as soon you'll catch the bug and want to upgrade ;)
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bradkeen
Senior Member


Joined: 16 Jul 2013
Posts: 6
Location: Harrisburg, PA
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Wed Jul 17, 2013, 7:21am
Subject: Re: Francis Francis X5
 

Thanks everyone!  These are really useful comments.  I think that I'm going to pickup the X5 tomorrow.  I'm looking forward to this introduction to home espressos.  The buyer has offered a short refund guarantee if it doesn't work when I get it home.  I'll also ask for a short demo at his place.
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