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Beginner - new machine recommendation sought!
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MasterMark
Senior Member


Joined: 9 Jan 2014
Posts: 11
Location: London (UK)
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Thu Jan 9, 2014, 4:25am
Subject: Beginner - new machine recommendation sought!
 

Greetings to all! First off, as on any forum, thereís so much useful info on here itís crazy, and Iíve been reading up on all sorts. So thanks to everyone who contributes and shares their wealth of knowledge!

So like many, Iím looking for a new coffee machine. I used to have a cheap and cheerful Gaggia Evolution which died a death. Iíve since moved flats, and am looking to get a new machine. Iíve realised from reading the importance of a good grinder, so Iíll be good there. Just hoping for some machine recommendation help based on my preferences. Sorry for length of post, but wanted to be thorough!

For a semi-auto, the short-list would be the Rancilio Silvia, the Gaggia classic or the Nemox Felice (or Lelit equiv) Ė the Nemox seems unusually to have the steam-wand on the left, I wonder whether that would be awkward? But I hear itís also less temperamental than the Silvia. The adv of the Silvia and Gaggia is that they are widely available here in the UK (London), new and used, and spares also easy to get. Iím Italian, and go to Milan a couple of times a year, so could easily pick up a machine there if I canít find it here, though warranty would then be out of the window.

However Ė I donít really have time during the week for coffee in the morning, so itís generally just at the weekend (and very rarely more than 2 coffees). And then itíll mostly be a cappuccino/caffeí latte for breakfast. So steaming is very important, and the delay between brewing and steaming is sthg I found rather frustrating on the Evolution. Is there any material difference in speed on that front between the options above? Twin-boilers are too expensive (and big) for me. The cheapest HX I can find is the Nuova Simonelli Oscar, and thatís £550-£600, also too much (say £450 as max). Which leavesÖÖ..lever!

Iím more about practicality than anything. That said, Iím not averse to taking time to learn to use a lever. Theyíre also beautiful machines to look at, not irrelevant for something sitting permanently on your countertop. I understand that Pavoni can be finicky in general and it seems that for someone like me, a spring piston might be a good compromise. Eliminate some of the variability, but still keep many of the benefits of a lever (incl. quick steam). But beyond the expensive Elektra Micro Casa and the Savinelli/Zacconi, Iím not seeing any realistic spring lever options. Does anyone have any ideas?

Thatís enough from me Ė any assistance from anyone would be massively appreciated!

Marco
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mennamorato
Senior Member


Joined: 1 Nov 2013
Posts: 35
Location: Santa Cruz, CA
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Rocket Cellini Premium Plus...
Grinder: Mazzer Mini
Posted Thu Jan 9, 2014, 10:33am
Subject: Re: Beginner - new machine recommendation sought!
 

Maybe look for a used Oscar, or a CC1?
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GVDub
Senior Member


Joined: 25 Jan 2008
Posts: 849
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Londinium I, Arrarex...
Grinder: Gaggia MD85, Dienes Mokka,...
Drip: Behmor Brazen, Abid Clever
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Thu Jan 9, 2014, 10:58am
Subject: Re: Beginner - new machine recommendation sought!
 

If you're getting to Milan on a regular basis, look for a used single group lever there, maybe. Or have friends and family start the search. If you're handy, a restoration project will get you a machine that will be spectacularly good (potentially) and should last you the rest of your life, barring an attack of upgraditis.


You're running up against the classic engineer's dilemma of "Good/Fast/Cheap"óyou only get to pick two. Something good you get quickly is unlikely to be cheap, cheap and fast is unlikely to be good, and good and cheap won't be found quickly.
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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 Thu Jan 9, 2014, 11:05am
Subject: Re: Beginner - new machine recommendation sought!
 

I doubt you'll find a CC1 over there and pry be out of price range as well, don't even think the CC1 is exported there?

I agree, your best off finding a good lever, not sure on prices in the UK but used Pavoni's pop up a lot. I'm in South FL which is no where near the mecca of coffee machines like up north lol, and searched and there's a Pavoni lever by me for $325.

Don't forget the most important thing though, grinder! What grinder do you have? Gonna need an espresso capable grinder, none of those cheap $100 store grinders.
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MasterMark
Senior Member


Joined: 9 Jan 2014
Posts: 11
Location: London (UK)
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Fri Jan 10, 2014, 2:49am
Subject: Re: Beginner - new machine recommendation sought!
 

Thanks, guys, helpful responses.

Pavonis are indeed easy to find, here in the UK also, but many of the comments on this and other sites have made me wary. My folks have an old one from the 1960s, I could always try that one out! CC1, as you say, is not really available. And not sure I'm really up to the task of a restoration project, both from a time and ability perspective!

Very much agree that I will need to compromise on one off price/speed/quality, the eternal battle! I'm actually keeping my eye on a used Elektra micro casa on our favourite auction site. Another concern I have re lever machines is the fact that the housing gets so hot, hot enough to burn I imagine. I don't have kids, but with little nephews and nieces around....... The machine on the counter is out of arms-reach, but kids have an amazing habit of employing spiderman tactics to reach hard-to-get places.

As for a grinder, I'll probably go for something like a refurbed entry-level Baratza which seems to be well regarded here.
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DanoM
Senior Member


Joined: 20 Mar 2013
Posts: 306
Location: Los Angeles
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Bezzera Strega, '84 La...
Grinder: Compak K10, Kludge grinder,...
Posted Fri Jan 10, 2014, 9:49am
Subject: Re: Beginner - new machine recommendation sought!
 

MasterMark Said:

Pavonis are indeed easy to find, here in the UK also, but many of the comments on this and other sites have made me wary. My folks have an old one from the 1960s, I could always try that one out!

Posted January 10, 2014 link

There you go!  If they aren't using it even better.  Something your parents used and can hand down to you like a La Pavoni can be a very nice item with great sentimental value.

If it's as old as you say you'll need to do some work unless your folks have maintained the seals and such.  Get an appropriate seal kit and some wrenches and you'll likely have a machine ready to go in no time.  Lots of resources here, and lots of people here to help you with any questions you might have on the La Pavoni.  Your folk's sounds like an early one, so it might have some special challenges, but there are plenty of them running well out there.

They aren't that hard to get decent espresso from if you have good coffee beans, good grinder, temperature monitoring and some patience to learn.  Once you spend more time with it your espresso will only improve.  Quite a simple and effective machine.
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Coffeenoobie
Senior Member
Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 3,011
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Sat Jan 11, 2014, 10:59am
Subject: Re: Beginner - new machine recommendation sought!
 

There are used lever machines, Arrarex Caravel, made in the 50s I think that are found in Italy that are reported to be great.   If I went to Italy I would be on the look out for one.  The lever heads know more.

Click Here (www.orphanespresso.com)

 
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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coffeeman88
Senior Member


Joined: 10 Jan 2014
Posts: 1
Location: UK
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Sat Jan 11, 2014, 2:13pm
Subject: Re: Beginner - new machine recommendation sought!
 

I am new to espresso machine as well. After reading a few posts about making espresso, I just got so excited and went to buy a machine. I have got the de longhi EC310 which costs £130. Pretty good price I think. Overall i really like this machine and it is so easy to use especially for a beginner like me (What I am learning now is to make a good crema). However I do found that the machine does take a while to start up like some reviews say here Click Here (yourbestcoffeemachine.com)
It can get annoying sometimes. I might upgrade to a machine with a faster start up time.
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MasterMark
Senior Member


Joined: 9 Jan 2014
Posts: 11
Location: London (UK)
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Sat Feb 1, 2014, 2:50am
Subject: Re: Beginner - new machine recommendation sought!
 

Thanks again guys. Ultimately, I went down the predictable route and purchased a Gaggia Classic, paired with an Iberital MC2 grinder. We'll see how I get on!
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hzad
Senior Member


Joined: 17 Jan 2014
Posts: 15
Location: SoCal
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Sun Feb 2, 2014, 12:34pm
Subject: Re: Beginner - new machine recommendation sought!
 

Enjoy it! You could throw in a PID later down the road too if you wanted. Have heard great things about the combo.
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