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What to buy? SBDU or lower end HX?
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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > What to buy?...  
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OwenA
Senior Member


Joined: 2 Sep 2013
Posts: 5
Location: UK
Expertise: I love coffee

Drip: Aeropress
Posted Mon Sep 30, 2013, 3:18am
Subject: What to buy? SBDU or lower end HX?
 

Hi folks

Inevitable 'what should I buy' thread, apologies ina dvance:

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.)
- Espresso and cappuccino, about a 50/50 split
2)  How many drinks, on average, do you see yourself needing to make at any one time? (This will tell us what you need in terms of a machine's ability to work continuously.)
- Rarely more than 4
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.)
- 25
4)  Can you plumb a machine directly into the water supply, or do you want/need a pour over machine with its own reservoir?
- Plumbed would be possible as about to remodel kitchen
5)  Do you have a 20-amp circuit available, or only a (standard) 15-amp circuit?
- Guessing a 15Amp, as house is old and electrics not new. Also, am in UK so need 220v.
6)  What is your budget for a new machine?  Does that also include a grinder?  If not, what is your budget for a grinder?
- Ideally 1000, could sneak up to 1200 but reluctant to go higher. Grinder issue complex, see below
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?
-OK buying used if it is something that will last. OK to do basic servicing (not afraid of a screwdriver), reluctant to drill etc.
8)  Do you have the essential accessories (decent tamper, knockbox, the works), otherwise budget about $100 for these.
-Not all of them but separate budget for these.

So here is the deal, I had semi-autos years back, ended up with a superauto as part of a work situation, which was convenient but i did notice the coffee quality was different, but it was what I had. It died recently though. As a stopgap i grabbed an Aeropress from my awesome local roastery/cafe. I've been loving it! Certainly I am remembering that I actually like good coffee over the convenience. Been exploring the grind, water volume, technique and some great coffee (currently hooked on Malacara). The thing is, I miss espresso. I also miss my morning cappuccino (demitasse sized, and 'dry' by Brit standards, which is probably just to say 'correct' by italian standards.

From my previous semi-auto i have a Gaggia MM I got back out to use with the Aeropress. I am well aware this is not a super-high quality grinder, but it is bur and though heavily stepped, it is a mile better than preground.

I totally get that the advice tends to be 'grinder first' and if I had _no_ grinder I'd be thinking that way, but the reality is, whatever i buy in terms of machine is going to have to last as long as possible. I've had a couple of Gaggia SBDU machines before and I basically know the drill, so i am unsure of going back there then deciding I want an HX later. On the other hand if i splurge on an HX now it would be realistic to upgrade the grinder to something better in the not too distant future, at least to a moderately good one, not sure i could drop 700, but certainly 300ish).

So I am looking at options like, in increasing order of price:

- Get a Silvia, cheapest option, either alone or with a Rocky grinder perhaps, liek this Click Here (www.coffeeitalia.co.uk)

- Look at the lower price HX machines, such as a Quickmill Anita liek this Click Here (www.coffeeitalia.co.uk) or with a grinder such as Click Here (www.coffeeitalia.co.uk) (no idea what Nemox are like)

- Stretch and go for say a Rocket plus v2 liek this Click Here (www.bellabarista.co.uk) and then buy a better grinder a bit later.

The Silvia seems to make immediate economic sense, but reading around, it does sound like the exacerbate inexperience with their friendliness and i don't feel like modding a brand new machine. However if i but this, it is what i will have for a looooong time as no chance i can splurge a grand on an HX until it is dead or a most of a decade has passed.

The anita is attractive, but i have the impression that was made for the US market and am unsure about how legit a European one is.

The rocket is a dream machine, but really kinda overbudget - certainly with that the grinder upgrade goes further down the line. Then again one i got that I'd be assuming that with servicing that machine does me for a _really_ long time. My experience with cheap machines, certainly super-autos is that they last about a year per 100 you spend so if it lasts a decade it is worth it! At least that is my attempt at justification. :)

If I have missed any good options feel free to point them out, these seemed to represent the kind of price bands though. Also any advice on Uk retailers welcome. Bella Barista seem legit, and i was recommended Alchemy but their selection si tiny and pricey. These Coffee Italia people have a lot of range but look a bit...odd.

Cheers folks!
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SStones
Senior Member
SStones
Joined: 24 Nov 2012
Posts: 474
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 Mon Sep 30, 2013, 4:54am
Subject: Re: What to buy? SBDU or lower end HX?
 

Don't take my response as the final word, but...
If half the drinks you will use the machine for will involve steaming some milk, you will really appreciate the time saved by a HE machine.
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Burner0000
Senior Member


Joined: 28 Jul 2011
Posts: 1,052
Location: Cambridge, Ontario Canada
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Rancilio Silvia, VFA Expres...
Grinder: Macap MX/VFA N1464/Kyocera...
Drip: Manual Drip, French Press
Roaster: Behmor 1600 / Sonofresco
Posted Mon Sep 30, 2013, 6:03am
Subject: Re: What to buy? SBDU or lower end HX?
 

SStones Said:

Don't take my response as the final word, but...
If half the drinks you will use the machine for will involve steaming some milk, you will really appreciate the time saved by a HE machine.

Posted September 30, 2013 link

Agreed.  Go with a lower end HX (Oscar, Quickmill, Bezzera) and a good grinder (Vario, Macap, Used Mazzer) if you can stretch your budget to $1500 range.  Something like this will deliver outstanding drinks and will last you a long time.
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calblacksmith
Moderator
calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,675
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 Sep 30, 2013, 8:02am
Subject: Re: What to buy? SBDU or lower end HX?
 

Among others, I own a Sylvia. It produces a fine shot  esp with a PID. For a single person, one drink at a time for yourself, it does a good job. I also have commercial HX and have had prosumer HX such as the Oscar.

If you make several shots or several milk drinks at a time, a sbdu, ANY SBDU will get old in a hurry. It seems that we are always pushing HX or DB machines, the honest truth is that if you do a lot of milk or multiple milk drinks at a time, you will get the value from them beyond the money spent. The money hurts once, the machine  is a joy everytime you use it. Now, HX or DB are both the same in the cup, they have different ways to get there and due to the higher parts count of a DB, they cost more money to make, thus, cost more to buy. Each machine has positive and negative points so one may be better FOR YOU but neither is better than the other in quality in the cup.

 
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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JasonBrandtLewis
Senior Member
JasonBrandtLewis
Joined: 9 Dec 2005
Posts: 6,368
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 Mon Sep 30, 2013, 10:43am
Subject: Re: What to buy? SBDU or lower end HX?
 

HX . . .not an iota of doubt in my mind.

 
A morning without coffee is sleep . . .
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OwenA
Senior Member


Joined: 2 Sep 2013
Posts: 5
Location: UK
Expertise: I love coffee

Drip: Aeropress
Posted Mon Sep 30, 2013, 10:48am
Subject: Re: What to buy? SBDU or lower end HX?
 

Seems a consensus, and i think an HX probably fits my user better. The question then is is my best basic HX? I liked the anita because it was cheaper but still an e61, so parts are maybe easier to source and peopel will knwo how to service.

Anyone have ideas about the QM anita in Europe, is this legit? Bezerra unica maybe?
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calblacksmith
Moderator
calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,675
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 Sep 30, 2013, 1:57pm
Subject: Re: What to buy? SBDU or lower end HX?
 

For the most part, HX machines (and DB too) use off the shelf parts inside. There may be a special gauge or button panel and the boiler,  but the solinoids, etc are pretty much off the shelf parts. Even the electronic boxes are often from the same manufacturer.

 
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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SStones
Senior Member
SStones
Joined: 24 Nov 2012
Posts: 474
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 Tue Oct 1, 2013, 4:43am
Subject: Re: What to buy? SBDU or lower end HX?
 

calblacksmith Said:

Even the electronic boxes are often from the same manufacturer.

Posted September 30, 2013 link

Which is a good thing.  You can start with a very affordable HE machine and upgrade the components to create a great machine that fits your desire...  For example, the controller in a Cuadra doesn't have the sense to shut off the element when the boiler is empty.  But the Cuadra is $1200 cheaper than good machines.  You can get a lot of braided hoses, solid state relays, controllers and fuse holders for $1200.
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takeshi
Senior Member
takeshi
Joined: 12 Oct 2002
Posts: 963
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Alex Duetto 3.0
Grinder: Super Jolly
Roaster: Amaya Roasting
Posted Tue Oct 1, 2013, 11:47am
Subject: Re: What to buy? SBDU or lower end HX?
 

Whatever you decide, do not get the Rocky.

OwenA Said:

The Silvia seems to make immediate economic sense

Posted September 30, 2013 link

I don't think many will agree with this given that it is generally regarded as overpriced.
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takeshi
Senior Member
takeshi
Joined: 12 Oct 2002
Posts: 963
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Alex Duetto 3.0
Grinder: Super Jolly
Roaster: Amaya Roasting
Posted Tue Oct 1, 2013, 11:53am
Subject: Re: What to buy? SBDU or lower end HX?
 

Whatever you decide, do not get the Rocky.
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