Hi all - just joined the forum after lurking for a couple of years as upgraditis as finally struck and I'm hoping to pick your collective brains here!
For the past 2 years or so I've been very happy getting to grips with a Classic (with Sylvia wand mod) paired with a Sage SmartGrinder. I'm still very much in the learning stage but I got to the point on the Classic where I could pull a pretty consistent shot and get something resembling latte art maybe 6 times out of 10. I've seen the SG get a lukewarm reception on here but for my needs so far it's been more than capable, and I like the user-friendliness & the ability to easily switch between espresso grinds and pour-over without too much fuss (which I do semi-frequently - especially when we have people over as it's tortuous trying to make multiple drinks on the Gaggia in short succession).
Both are still going strong but I've been getting itchy feet for a while to move up the ladder so this week I took the plunge and yesterday took delivery of a shiny new ECM Mechanika IV Profi (early birthday present to myself - whatever I can say to justify the £££ to my wife...!!). Beautiful bit of kit, I'm absolutely delighted with it.
I was hoping that the SG would keep me going for a while but to be honest, the new machine has only served to highlight its shortcomings so I think it's time to go the whole way and upgrade the grinder too. My question is what? Ideally I'd like to not spend loads more - would be hoping btw £200-400 - but that said, I'd rather spend a bit more to get something I know will keep me going for a while than settle for something cheaper that I'll only replace in a year.
Does anyone have any recommendations? Was thinking maybe a Mignon or I like the look of the Sette when that comes out - would they be up to the task? Or should I be looking in the next category up from there, i.e. K5, Mini E etc?
Kitchen space is a factor too - my kitchen cupboards are annoyingly low (only give me about 40cm clearance) so whilst I could squeeze it right next to the machine in the one spot where I have clearance, would prefer to keep it small.