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Machine in the $2K to $3K range
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ThomasK
Senior Member


Joined: 2 Jul 2013
Posts: 24
Location: Atlanta, GA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Bialetti
Grinder: Kitchenaid Pro Line
Drip: Technivorm Mocca Master
Posted Thu Jul 18, 2013, 11:05am
Subject: Machine in the $2K to $3K range
 

(In retrospect I should have posted the second half of this question "Atlanta gatherings for CG members?" in this section.)

I thought I'd toss in an equipment question - since I only have a Bialetti at the moment.
Just got a used Faema MPN grinder - ready to be reassembled once the new burrs arrive later this week.

The questionnaire response is here:
1)  What kind of drinks do you like/want to make?
A: predominantly espresso - doppio - I guess friends will want milk drinks when they're over - although I do like the occasional dry cappuccino
2)  How many drinks, on average, do you see yourself needing to make at any one time?
A: definitely 3 in a row - all doppio - maybe 5 total in a normal day and twice that on weekends - it's the wife and I plus usually we have at least one or two grandparents around, helping with the kids, and the old folks like coffee too
3)  How many drinks, on average, do you see yourself making in any given week?
A: at least 50
4)  Can you plumb a machine directly into the water supply, or do you want/need a pour over machine with its own reservoir?
A: plumbed in and out - no problem
5)  Do you have a 20-amp circuit available, or only a (standard) 15-amp circuit?
A: electricity no issue - kitchen being rebuilt - I can pull in 220 if needed
6)  What is your budget for a new machine?
A:  Preferably no more than $3K, but I hate to buy things twice, so...
   The renovated Faema MPN should work as grinder for a good while.
7)  Are you willing to buy used or do you need new equipment? Do you or family member have the skills to repair used equipment?
A: I'm an engineer originally, love to tinker, but I already have too many hobbies and projects, so new, or refurbished by someone reputable is probably wisest.
8)  Do you have the essential accessories (decent tamper, knockbox, the works), otherwise budget about $100 for these.
A: none of the above - will buy when order the machine

Additional info:
Half the year I travel a good deal, and my wife (who loves coffee too) is a bit of a technophobe so any machine should be somewhat forgiving.
I have an aversion to plasticky things - want a machine that looks (and is) well-built.
Leaving it on 24/7 is fine by me - our odd hours probably makes that a necessity - also, we are practically immune to caffeine, we actually get sleepy after drinking a big mug of coffee before going straight to bed, no problems.
Wife has cleanliness OCD so a machine that makes a mess on a regular basis will be less popular.

So far, a dual head semiauto lever machine - with insulated double boiler - is what I'm thinking of. The kinds that have the "detached" head that doesn't overheat - having to temperature surf sounds like a variable I (and the wife!) can do without.

Does this help?

***

As you can see from the other thread, CalBlacksmith gave me some great feedback - thanks.

***

After looking further at the suggestions made, I've realized I really like the esthetics of no electronic dials up front - stupid criterion perhaps, but...

It's just a crazy bewildering area to look into - so many great-looking machines - this is my list now:
#1 - Technika IV - I like the lever valves
#2 - Vibiemme Domobar Super Commercial
#3 - Elektra Sixties - number 3 mainly because I have to increase my budget a little

Am I on the right track?

PS
The Londinium just doesn't look like it has the fit and finish of the above units - and a lever might be too much for the wife to master?  She's a bit small - 5' 4" and 110 lbs. Do you need to be taller and stronger to effectively use a lever machine?
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calblacksmith
Moderator
calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 8,042
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 Thu Jul 18, 2013, 11:55am
Subject: Re: Machine in the $2K to $3K range
 

If the Elektra Sixties T1  is truly on the table, it is a "for the rest of your life" machine.

See how we love to spend YOUR money! LOL

Smart A## comment aside, you will truly love that machine. Volumetric dosing brings espresso to near plug and play. Get the grinder adjusted correctly and if your shot prep is correct, lock the PF and push the button. You can program the volume to anything you want and if you decide you want to stop it, you can at any time.

We use electronics to maintain the temp of our water, we use electronics to maintain a constant dose of coffee grounds (scale) why should we not use electronics to keep a constant volume of water?

 
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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ThomasK
Senior Member


Joined: 2 Jul 2013
Posts: 24
Location: Atlanta, GA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Bialetti
Grinder: Kitchenaid Pro Line
Drip: Technivorm Mocca Master
Posted Thu Jul 18, 2013, 12:34pm
Subject: Re: Machine in the $2K to $3K range
 

calblacksmith Said:

If the Elektra Sixties T1  is truly on the table, it is a "for the rest of your life" machine.

See how we love to spend YOUR money! LOL

Smart A## comment aside, you will truly love that machine. Volumetric dosing brings espresso to near plug and play. Get the grinder adjusted correctly and if your shot prep is correct, lock the PF and push the button. You can program the volume to anything you want and if you decide you want to stop it, you can at any time.

We use electronics to maintain the temp of our water, we use electronics to maintain a constant dose of coffee grounds (scale) why should we not use electronics to keep a constant volume of water?

Posted July 18, 2013 link

Fair comment.  The most expensive things are those you have to buy twice.  

I hate going cheap and then beat myself up over it, thinking about how much better it would have been to spend a little extra.

So the T1 Elektra is that much better than the other two?
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emradguy
Senior Member
emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 3,305
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Duetto II; Twist v2
Grinder: M Major, Macap M4, Pharos,...
Drip: Espro presses; Aeropress
Roaster: H-B "List of Favorites"
Posted Thu Jul 18, 2013, 2:53pm
Subject: Re: Machine in the $2K to $3K range
 

Regarding mess: the machines are actually not too messy.  If you use a bottomless pf, well, then sprites and gushes can occur if you're grind and/or distribution are "off", and that can be a little messy, but it's nothing that can't be easily wiped away with a paper or cloth towel and a flick of the wrist.  The real culprit in espresso prep mess is the grinder...and, well, anyone who's clean-OCD will just have to get over it.

as far as ease of use...there's definitely a learning curve with any machine, but once that's familiar, things get easier.  most important is consistency, and anyone who's OCD (even when the term is applied lightly) should be great at developing consistent technique.  If you need to convince her she can do it, then look on YouTube for the 5 year olds (or maybe they're 4?) making a latte, and show it to her.  Also, there are a fair number of places that now offer classes, though it's possible that the closest ones to you are at Counter Culture in Raleigh-Durham.

If I were redoing my kitchen or just building in a new coffee bar somewhere in the house, I would consider putting in both a 220V and a dedicated 20-Amp 110V circuit, in case my needs/wants/desires change over time and I wouldn't think twice about plumbing in my machine.

 
.
Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
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calblacksmith
Moderator
calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 8,042
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 Thu Jul 18, 2013, 4:12pm
Subject: Re: Machine in the $2K to $3K range
 

If someone wants to learn espresso isn't hard. It takes devotion to consistently and small, one at a time changes when changes need to be made.

I have a volumetric dosing machine and I love it. I also own a Sylvia for travel  and while it can make great shots, it takes more work and is not as consistent as my volumetric machine.

Is it worth the price? Only you can answer that but it is one that I would pick. It is similar to my machine but with a bigger boiler. The elektra is, in my personal opinion a drool worthy machine.

The price is steep though and that is an important factor. The other two are nice too, all 3 are good quality but the T1 is on the next level.

Please understand, I truly am not trying to sway your choice. Money is a big factor for everyone. Any of those machines will do a great job. Shop for features and looks that fit in your budget.

 
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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jwoodyu
Senior Member
jwoodyu
Joined: 31 Dec 2010
Posts: 857
Location: Michigan
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Allex Duetto II
Grinder: Mazzer Major
Posted Thu Jul 18, 2013, 7:27pm
Subject: Re: Machine in the $2K to $3K range
 

No question about it the Elektra could be one and done.

emradguy Said:

If I were redoing my kitchen or just building in a new coffee bar somewhere in the house, I would consider putting in both a 220V and a dedicated 20-Amp 110V circuit, in case my needs/wants/desires change over time and I wouldn't think twice about plumbing in my machine.

Posted July 18, 2013 link

100% behind the notion of dedicated 110 and 220 circuits in the bar if your building/remodeling. Once you have plumbed one in it is hard to go back. Ron are you plumbed in now?

 
Yes i have a reason for leaving SCG off my list, yes it is my opinion, yes it is subjective as opinions are by definition, no don't start a flame war because you disagree.
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emradguy
Senior Member
emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 3,305
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Duetto II; Twist v2
Grinder: M Major, Macap M4, Pharos,...
Drip: Espro presses; Aeropress
Roaster: H-B "List of Favorites"
Posted Thu Jul 18, 2013, 9:14pm
Subject: Re: Machine in the $2K to $3K range
 

John, How did I know you were going to ask that :-)  Sadly, no! but I promise to let you know when it's done and expect that to be very soon.

 
.
Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
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Coffeenoobie
Senior Member
Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 3,052
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Thu Jul 18, 2013, 10:48pm
Subject: Re: Machine in the $2K to $3K range
 

I did not find it hard but I am 2 inches taller than her.  It has a spring in it.  I thought it looked great in person and the taste in the cup is what impresses me the most.

 
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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ThomasK
Senior Member


Joined: 2 Jul 2013
Posts: 24
Location: Atlanta, GA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Bialetti
Grinder: Kitchenaid Pro Line
Drip: Technivorm Mocca Master
Posted Fri Jul 19, 2013, 4:12am
Subject: Re: Machine in the $2K to $3K range
 

emradguy Said:

Regarding mess: the machines are actually not too messy.  If you use a bottomless pf, well, then sprites and gushes can occur if you're grind and/or distribution are "off", and that can be a little messy, but it's nothing that can't be easily wiped away with a paper or cloth towel and a flick of the wrist.  The real culprit in espresso prep mess is the grinder...and, well, anyone who's clean-OCD will just have to get over it.

as far as ease of use...there's definitely a learning curve with any machine, but once that's familiar, things get easier.  most important is consistency, and anyone who's OCD (even when the term is applied lightly) should be great at developing consistent technique.  If you need to convince her she can do it, then look on YouTube for the 5 year olds (or maybe they're 4?) making a latte, and show it to her.  Also, there are a fair number of places that now offer classes, though it's possible that the closest ones to you are at Counter Culture in Raleigh-Durham.

If I were redoing my kitchen or just building in a new coffee bar somewhere in the house, I would consider putting in both a 220V and a dedicated 20-Amp 110V circuit, in case my needs/wants/desires change over time and I wouldn't think twice about plumbing in my machine.

Posted July 18, 2013 link

The build out - which is still finished only to the subfloor level - already has a dedicated 110 circuit to the wet bar.  I can always pull a few more wires to the area, the panel is being built out now, good timing, still plenty of room in the panel.

And the bar already has plumbing in and out.

I'm having custom stainless counters made, could build in a sink-like drain right under where the espresso machine would go - a removable grid with a shallow drain pan underneath - or just weld in supply and drain conduits in the back.  Assuming I go with the Elektra, does anyone have an installation "template"?  Something that suggests where these holes should go?
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ThomasK
Senior Member


Joined: 2 Jul 2013
Posts: 24
Location: Atlanta, GA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Bialetti
Grinder: Kitchenaid Pro Line
Drip: Technivorm Mocca Master
Posted Fri Jul 19, 2013, 4:18am
Subject: Re: Machine in the $2K to $3K range
 

Coffeenoobie Said:

I did not find it hard but I am 2 inches taller than her.  It has a spring in it.  I thought it looked great in person and the taste in the cup is what impresses me the most.

Posted July 18, 2013 link

That's good to know.  

I'm leaning toward getting an Elektra - and in the future maybe add one of the smaller lever machines, just to experiment.  Maybe find a older unit and restore - but I have a feeling it would be wiser to go with a guaranteed winner with the first machine.  Happy wife and all that.  :-)
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