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Buying a machine for the first time (noob alert)
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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > Buying a machine...  
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Marbos
Junior Member


Joined: 1 Feb 2014
Posts: 21
Location: Ottawa
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Tue Feb 4, 2014, 10:18am
Subject: Re: Buying a machine for the first time (noob alert)
 

Thanks for all of your input BDL, sorry your right in all my looking at different machines I forgot it was Magica.

I would love to plumb in a machine like the Elektra but really I have to pass on putting holes through counter tops or back splashes in the kitchen... Maybe someday when I finish my basement I will do a bar and look into a machine like that!

So basically all these machines from the BZ10 to a Magica and so on would make the same quality shot after mastering the machine/grind etc is what I am getting? It all just boils down to looks and some different features?
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Coffeenoobie
Senior Member
Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 2,972
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Tue Feb 4, 2014, 10:54am
Subject: Re: Buying a machine for the first time (noob alert)
 

When you get to about 1.6 k and up it gets more about looks and personal preferences. Then another jump at 3k and 6k. Like cars at the 30k then $50k then 100k price point.  The hard compromises come at finding a car you want under 10k or espresso set up (with grinder) for less than 1k.

 
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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Marbos
Junior Member


Joined: 1 Feb 2014
Posts: 21
Location: Ottawa
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Tue Feb 4, 2014, 12:04pm
Subject: Re: Buying a machine for the first time (noob alert)
 

Coffeenoobie Said:

When you get to about 1.6 k and up it gets more about looks and personal preferences. Then another jump at 3k and 6k. Like cars at the 30k then $50k then 100k price point.  The hard compromises come at finding a car you want under 10k or espresso set up (with grinder) for less than 1k.

Posted February 4, 2014 link

I think what your saying makes perfect sense, just wanted to know what bells and whistles to look for or what machine would have the most updated ones in that class.

Thanks!
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boar_d_laze
Senior Member


Joined: 21 Nov 2006
Posts: 735
Location: Monrovia, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: La Cimbali M21 DT/1 Junior...
Grinder: Ceado E92; "Bunnzilla"
Vac Pot: Royal Coffee Maker
Drip: Chemex + Kone; Espro Press
Roaster: USRC Sample Roaster
Posted Tue Feb 4, 2014, 1:34pm
Subject: Re: Buying a machine for the first time (noob alert)
 

Marbos Said:

I would love to plumb in a machine like the Elektra but really I have to pass on putting holes through counter tops or back splashes in the kitchen... Maybe someday when I finish my basement I will do a bar and look into a machine like that!

Posted February 4, 2014 link

Maybe someday.

So basically all these machines from the BZ10 to a Magica and so on would make the same quality shot after mastering the machine/grind etc is what I am getting? It all just boils down to looks and some different features?

Yes, no and not exactly.  

For instance, while the BZ-10 and Magica both share the same group, heater, valves and pump, the Magica has a larger boiler should allow it to handle groups better; and more important on a day to day basis, is 3" wider and considerably more comfortable to operate.  

If you're trying to jam a machine into a tight spot, the BZ-10 is the better choice; if you just want something that's easy and comfortable to use, the Magica is the better choice.  

Remember, living with a machine is more than making coffee and steaming milk.  Looks, "touch," ergonomics count for a lot.  If I had the room for a Magica, no way would I buy a BZ-10.    

There are a lot of E-61 HXs which do what the Magica can do for around the same money or a little more (Bezzeras are always plenty of bang for the buck).  I haven't looked them seriously for a long time, but I feel safe writing that once you've separated them into size/price/feature clumps you're looking at the livability stuff.  

Breaking Down the Broader Market:

When you get to about 1.6 k and up it gets more about looks and personal preferences. Then another jump at 3k and 6k. Like cars at the 30k then $50k then 100k price point.

This is another "yes, no and not exactly" situation.  

You can't really point to the inflection points for performance/price without breaking the market down into machine types, specifically "SBDU," "Hybrid," "Lever," "HX" and "Double Boiler."  

SBDUs and Hybrids are such limited performers as steamers; it's not realistic to think of them as "ultmate performers" where milk is concerned.  There are other limitations as well.  

For $1.2K, the cost of a BDB, you get a consumer (as opposed to prosumer or professional) class machine which -- given the right grinder, good technique and great beans -- will make an outstanding cup of coffee.  I think the last BDB (900) was an outstanding value, and am sure the new one (920) will be even better.  As a price/performance value it's good enough to be a no-brainer -- as long as robust build-quality isn't of great importance.  

Let's say though that you want to step up to something which should last 10 years...  

For $2K you can get a lever (Bezerra Strega) that will make a cup of coffee as good as any machine on the market at any price, and as conveniently as any other lever.  Is it prosumer?  Is it professional?  I don't know.  Will it make a cup of coffee as good as a 2 group Pompeii?  Yes.

For $3K you can do the same thing with an HX (Elektra T1, La Cimbali Casa -- professional quality, fit in the home), as conveniently as with any HX.  Is there a difference in the cup between these big guys and a prosumer E-61?  Yes.  That difference seems to lie in the groups.  In addition, the pro machines are significantly more barista friendly.  

If you don't think pressure-profiling is a big deal, you'd say the line for DBs falls at $6K with the (professional quality, residential friendly) La Marzocco GB/3 for DBs; but if you're a profilin' fool, you'd say $10K (Speedster, Slayer).  

I think you can see that I'm drawing some lines which Coffeenoob didn't, but that we're in basic agreement.  Things happen with a few machines at particular price points, and the rest of the market follows very closely.  

The hard compromises come at finding a car you want under 10k or espresso set up (with grinder) for less than 1k.

Indeed!  

GRINDER GRINDER GRINDER
Your machine budget takes you to a level of HX goodness which cries for a high-performance grinder.  You certainly wouldn't want to match a Magica with anything less than a Vario -- but that's the minimum.  A lot better is a lot better.    

BDL
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Marbos
Junior Member


Joined: 1 Feb 2014
Posts: 21
Location: Ottawa
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Tue Feb 4, 2014, 2:24pm
Subject: Re: Buying a machine for the first time (noob alert)
 

BDL that's all super invaluable info, greatly appreciated!!  

So pretty much the Bezzera Magica would do everything I'd need it to do and keep me happy for give or take 10 years with their type of build quality. Obviously as any car once getting to know the machine there's always going to be certain flaws but I have a feeling there's some people on this board that can help me fix or even upgrade certain things on that particular model that may help in dealing with I it?

Now I noticed your advice on the Vario is that it's very minimal and others say the Mazzer mini is not as good as the Vario, so what would be your go to grinder to pair up with the Magica (I'd also up my budget to absolute max $1000 if I have to) and why?
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dwRK
Senior Member


Joined: 14 Sep 2013
Posts: 91
Location: Houston
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Tue Feb 4, 2014, 3:10pm
Subject: Re: Buying a machine for the first time (noob alert)
 

i've been looking hard at the bezzeras and these are what i found out...

the BZ series are fundamentally refresh of the BZ99...vertical 1.5L boilers, originally boiler heated group now changed to cartridge heated group and look more sexy...

the BZ99 is also rebadged as pasquini livia 90, gensaco, etc...

the ones with names (except unica) are horizontal 2.0L boilers, e-61 group...i forgot which one but the internals look remarkably like the ecm technika profi...so i think bezzera makes it for them...

as i understands it...the BZ series are easy to get about right but less able to shift the brew temp around due to the boiler/cartridge heated group than the e-61

both designs have survived a long time...and likely to continue...
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Marbos
Junior Member


Joined: 1 Feb 2014
Posts: 21
Location: Ottawa
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Tue Feb 4, 2014, 3:20pm
Subject: Re: Buying a machine for the first time (noob alert)
 

Excellent info thanks!

Does it make a big difference in which way the boiler is positioned and  how about .5 liters?
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boar_d_laze
Senior Member


Joined: 21 Nov 2006
Posts: 735
Location: Monrovia, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: La Cimbali M21 DT/1 Junior...
Grinder: Ceado E92; "Bunnzilla"
Vac Pot: Royal Coffee Maker
Drip: Chemex + Kone; Espro Press
Roaster: USRC Sample Roaster
Posted Tue Feb 4, 2014, 4:44pm
Subject: Re: Buying a machine for the first time (noob alert)
 

dwRK Said:

the BZ99 is also rebadged as pasquini livia 90...

Posted February 4, 2014 link

Obsolete information, untrue for a few years. The new Livia has nothing in common with the BZ99.  

I bought a Livia 90 the first year it came out, and kept using it until 2010.  Sturdy little sucker, and a decent machine once you had it figured; but not the easiest machine to learn.  Primitive and cranky compared to the E-61s which came to (and still) dominate the prosumer HX market.  

the ones with names (except unica) are horizontal 2.0L boilers, e-61 group...i forgot which one but the internals look remarkably like the ecm technika profi...so i think bezzera makes it for them...

Can't say for sure, but you're almost certainly wrong.  ECM and Rocket used to be the same company, but went their separate ways.  ECM's offices are in Germany, but it has its own factory in Italy where they do everything (as far as I know) in-house.

Nearly all European espresso machine manufacturers source nearly all parts (pumps, valves, p-stats, etc., -- with the exception of boilers) from a few makers' parts bins; and there aren't really that many ways to lay out an E-61 HX.  It's no surprise if there are substantial component and lay-out overlaps; in fact, it's more of a surprise when there aren't.  

as i understands it...the BZ series are easy to get about right but less able to shift the brew temp around due to the boiler/cartridge heated group than the e-61

More the opposite.  They're dragons and the temp shifts from "temped" back to "too hot," very quickly.  You can use their over-responsiveness to effectively "shape the hump."  The E-61 group, with its "thermosyphonic stabilization" is quite a bit more stable.  

both designs have survived a long time...and likely to continue...

Maybe.  One never knows, but the BZ design and group are getting pretty long in the tooth.  As a purely commercial enterprise, it's hard to say how much longer the older HX designs will stick around the market.  E-61s have a large constituency (not to mention pre-infusion), and they look like they're not going anywhere.  But it seems to me that the action at the entry-level end of the market is in hybrids and DBs with low-mass, electrically stabilized groups.    

BDL
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CMIN
Senior Member


Joined: 14 Jun 2012
Posts: 1,219
Location: South FL
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Crossland CC1
Grinder: Baratza Preciso
Posted Tue Feb 4, 2014, 4:47pm
Subject: Re: Buying a machine for the first time (noob alert)
 

I don't know why you don't hear more about Bezzera even on forums, only thing almost ever talked about is the Strega. They make awesome machines as a whole for the $ and their solid. I'd pry even go for a Strega over an L1 after chatting with a few owners of both.
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Marbos
Junior Member


Joined: 1 Feb 2014
Posts: 21
Location: Ottawa
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Tue Feb 4, 2014, 6:37pm
Subject: Re: Buying a machine for the first time (noob alert)
 

I've read the whole Bezzera owners thread and didn't get too much info on different machines, just a lot of discussions about BZ02-07-10's and how good they are.

I'm really leaning towards the Magica! I was hoping someone with 1 could chime in :)
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