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To Upgrade Machine or Grinder?
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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > To Upgrade...  
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stanley_c_wong
Senior Member


Joined: 23 Oct 2006
Posts: 67
Location: Singapore
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Office Control, Silvia,...
Grinder: Rocky
Posted Mon Oct 7, 2013, 10:43pm
Subject: To Upgrade Machine or Grinder?
 

I have "Upgrade Fever" and would like advice on what to upgrade.

My equipment upgrade thus far:
Machine: Krups 4050 > Silvia > Expobar Office Control HX.
Grinder: Store bought ground > Rocky

My drinks:
Mostly lattes and cappuccinos.
About 10-16 drinks a week. 2-4 at one time.  An additional 8-12 drinks at one time every 2 weeks or so, when I entertain.

Aims:
Polishing my mediocre barista skills, in particular, latte art.

Why upgrade?  Honestly, I have no justification.  The Expobar Office Control HX solved my issues I had with the Silvia when entertaining.  I no longer have to temperature surf and the machine is normally ready when I am.  I do not think a double boiler will make me whip up drinks faster, or better.  With tuning, I hardly have to flush to get constant temperature. However, the everything-shiny machines like the Vibiemme Domobar is so sexy!  And I keep thinking I can get better milk frothing on a better machine.  Though that it just my excuse for my poor frothing skills.  Would it help if I changed from the stock 2-hole to a single hole tip on the Expobar?

On the other hand, I have not upgraded my grinder since the Silvia.  My Rocky is great, but slow.  And I hate that I have to hold a button down for the grind.  I thought of changing the rocker switch myself but have not gotten round to it.  And I keep reading the the grinder is all important.  A recent visit to shops in Brisbane showed me that they used various brands of espresso machines but all but one used Mazzer grinders.

If I upgrade the machine, I would go for a Vibiemme Domobar HX.

If I upgrade the grinder, I would go for a Mazzer Mini Electronic A.  I would actually prefer a Mazzer Mini manual, or if electronic, the B version, but the cheapest Mazzer I can find selling here (Singapore) is the Mini Electronic A.

Your advice please.  If your advice includes bits about how I am an idiot and I should just carry on with what setup I have, I understand.. I have been telling that to myself a few times too.
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NobbyR
Senior Member
NobbyR
Joined: 10 Jul 2011
Posts: 2,023
Location: Germany
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Poccino Opus One, Ariete
Grinder: Eureka Mignon Istantaneo
Vac Pot: N/A
Drip: Melitta Linea Unica de Luxe
Roaster: N/A
Posted Tue Oct 8, 2013, 1:22am
Subject: Re: To Upgrade Machine or Grinder?
 

IMHO, with regards to espresso quality, there's more potential improvement in upgrading the grinder. The Rancilio Rocky, although capable of grinding fine enough for espresso, has its limitations, which mostly stem from being a stepped grinder. So my advise is to get a stepless grinder like the Mazzer you mentioned.

 
***
"This drink of the Satan is so delicious that it would be a shame to leave it to the infidels." (Pope Clement VIII on coffee, when he was urged to ban the beverage)
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DavecUK
Senior Member


Joined: 21 Sep 2005
Posts: 1,392
Location: UK
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Tue Oct 8, 2013, 2:07am
Subject: Re: To Upgrade Machine or Grinder?
 

Imagine a man with no legs.........should he buy 1 leg or 2?
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ECM
Senior Member
ECM
Joined: 11 Oct 2003
Posts: 476
Location: Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Quick Mill Vetrano 2B
Grinder: Mazzer Robour E
Vac Pot: French Press
Drip: no
Roaster: Fresh Roast+8,  i-roast and...
Posted Tue Oct 8, 2013, 4:01am
Subject: Re: To Upgrade Machine or Grinder?
 

I would keep the espresso machine and throw everything you got at the grinder.  Forget a mini.  Yes itís an upgrade from the Rocky but not much of one.  You would be better off spending another 500 which would bring your budget up to $1500.00.  With that kind of investment you could get yourself a Compak K10.  Now with that grinder you will notice a huge difference in quality.  

Really the only other place to go in terms of your espresso machine is either a DB with an E61 group, the same as you have now or,  go as far as to get a GS3.  It really doesnít matter because either way you would still be stuck with a inconsistant grinder (mini or rocky) that just doesnít have the consistency you need to pull better shots more often.  

I had a mini for 10 years.  I upgraded to a Mazzer Robur ... what a difference!  A quality conical like the K10 will give you what your looking for.  

GRINDER GRINDER!

Rob
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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 8, 2013, 1:40pm
Subject: Re: To Upgrade Machine or Grinder?
 

As always, grinder matters more.  Definitely the grinder.  I'd also suggest going beyond the Mini to a Super Jolly, Vario or something else equivalent.
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CMIN
Senior Member


Joined: 14 Jun 2012
Posts: 1,356
Location: South FL
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Crossland CC1
Grinder: Baratza Preciso
Posted Tue Oct 8, 2013, 2:20pm
Subject: Re: To Upgrade Machine or Grinder?
 

I wouldn't bother with the Mini (no offense to owners), too many other better grinders for not much more money, the Baratza Vario is cheaper but will kill the Mini in grind quality and taste in cup for example. If your looking at a Vibiemme I'm guessing you have a decent budget to play with, you could do so many combos. You could go with the Vario and a decent machine a little less then a Vib, or go all out on a grinder. Depends on what you want to do. You even have the HG-One if you don't mind hand grinding, which rocks for single dosing and your getting a Titan Burr set.

Could also find a used Super Jolley maybe in your area. Upgrading your machine but sticking with the Rocky will hold you back, Silva will make better coffee with a nicer grinder then the Vib will paired with a Rocky by far. Grinder Grinder Grinder
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frcn
Senior Member
frcn
Joined: 23 Dec 2001
Posts: 3,354
Location: Northern California
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Vibiemme Domobar Double
Grinder: Mazzer Kony, Baratza...
Vac Pot: Hario, 2 Cory pots, 1 Cory...
Drip: Behmor Brazen, Bunn A10 mod...
Roaster: computer controlled Hottop,...
Posted Tue Oct 8, 2013, 2:22pm
Subject: Re: To Upgrade Machine or Grinder?
 

Grinder. grinder, grinder, grinder. Did I mention grinder? Good!
Rocky is a good grinder for most any method except espresso.
A large stepless conical makes a world of difference. If it is just for espresso, and a hand grinder is a possibility, think about the HG-one. Massive burrs and affordable all things considered.
Click Here (hg-one.com) - A grinder with 83mm Mazzer conical burrs TiN coated for $915!
Keep the Rocky for everything else.

 
Visit My Website
www.EspressoMyEspresso.com
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stanley_c_wong
Senior Member


Joined: 23 Oct 2006
Posts: 67
Location: Singapore
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Office Control, Silvia,...
Grinder: Rocky
Posted Tue Oct 8, 2013, 6:36pm
Subject: Re: To Upgrade Machine or Grinder?
 

Wow!  Very definitive feedback.  Grinder it is.  And I will hold out for something better that a Mazzer Mini.

Thank you.
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Omar
Senior Member
Omar
Joined: 9 Oct 2013
Posts: 12
Location: Halifax, Canada
Expertise: Professional

Posted Wed Oct 9, 2013, 8:15am
Subject: Re: To Upgrade Machine or Grinder?
 

Valuable feedback here. thank you everyone. this is literally my second post on this forum.
so i have a 2 year old HC-600 (heycafe) not sure if it needs to be upgraded or not.
what signs should i look for before considering to upgrade it?
also, if i do have to upgrade it, what would you recommend?
budget not more than $800
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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 Wed Oct 9, 2013, 9:29am
Subject: Re: To Upgrade Machine or Grinder?
 

Omar,
You may be interested in a thread we did on that grinder about a year ago.
http://coffeegeek.com/forums/espresso/grinders/559095
According to the thread, it is a lighter duty clone of a SJ. The results at the time was that it produced a similar grind so to upgrade, you are looking at a bigger budget than you said. A Major can be had used in that budget and it is a good step up from a SJ.

 
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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