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  1. I can't speak wholly to this as I had a MignonII which I think was the smaller burr size (50mm) compared to yours (55mm). I ran that with a Silvia and more recently a MaraX, and got my Niche about a month ago. You're probably not going to suddenly start tasting rainbows, but I have noticed a slight improvement in consistency. Also - and this could be any number of other things as well - I tend to get sweeter espressos with less acidity, although this isn't necessarily a positive (but it does make bad ones taste less bad!) For me, single dosing was the big drive - I never managed to make that work on the Mignon - and it seems to be streets ahead for grinding pourover. Overall, I am not disappointed, I think it's been well worth the cost and I don't see an upgrade being needed for a long time.
  2. Upgraded recently from a Silvia to a MaraX and am very happy with the result. I was using a MignonII on both and have just gone for a Niche (for easier switching to pourover). I probably do 2 espresso and one flat white-ish milk drink a day, with a couple of extra milk drinks (made at the same time) thrown in at the weekend. In terms of comparison to the Silvia I had 2 big changes I wanted to make: 1) Temperature control - mine was the old V3 with no PID so temp surfing was needed, the walk up and pull nature of MaraX is great 2) Steaming - the faff and wait of switching on the Silvia meant I rarely bothered with milk drinks. Now it's a case of having milk drinks when I feel like it, not just when I have 10-15mins spare to make 2 drinks back to back 😉 Most of the downsides I can think of would be the same for both machines, e.g. heat up times, need for decent water, size! The big thing that swung it the way of Mara was (as @MediumRoastSteam says) the thermal control meaning no need for cooling flushes, which you need for both the ECM & Rocket. There's some foibles that you need be aware of, but they're covered by @DavecUK in the doc above. The 2 big ones are triggering the steam boost and the OPV going to the drip tray. The MaraX brain is consistent, so for me, heating a cup with water drawn from the boiler triggers the steam boost and the thermal lag gives me enough time to grind, tamp and run 1-2 shots, at which point the steam is up to power. For the OPV to drip tray, there is also a simple recirculation solution - which I haven't bothered with yet.
  3. For what it's worth I think you can "get away with" using most filters with different brewers. Sure it won't be perfect but you can get a passable cup out of it. In reality they tend to fall into two types: large hole, smaller holes Large central hole ones, e.g. V60 or Torch Mountain, I find need more control over grind size and better control of pouring [email protected] stated. Using the wrong filters in these tends to give bad results. Small multi-hole ones, e.g. Kalita Wave or Bee House (I think it's the same for the original Melitta and endless others) go some way to controlling the flow so you can be a bit more cavalier with your pouring technique. I also find these are a lot better if you're needing to use pre-ground. I've used standard Melitta#1 in the 155 Wave before when I ran out of the Kalita ones and was able to get something drinkable. I know you've said no plastic, but really the most indestructable ones I have are the plastic V60-01 & 02, and the most forgiving is easily the Clever Dripper - it's the one I pick for pre-ground. (not trying to change your mind)
  4. There's definitely improvements in both from my experience, but I think it would depend on your goals as to whether those things are worth paying roughly twice as much. Coffee quality - this is more consistent rather than "better". My Silvia didn't have a PID so temp surfing was needed, if you didn't get the timing quite right the results could be a lot worse. I've had great shots on both, but the bad ones I've had on Mara I generally know what I did wrong whereas sometimes the Silvia felt like a bit of a lottery. In hindsight I definitely regret not getting a PID for it, but I didn't really think it would make that much difference until I got the new machine. Steam - the Mara seems to be in a different class to me, but it has to be said I very rarely bothered to steam milk on the Silvia just because of the waiting time. The move to an HX or DB was a big part of the reason to upgrade just to get over the waiting time for an SBDU. I'm not sure how helpful an answer that is, but I'm very happy with the Mara as it ticked the boxes for my needs and at what I thought was a good price.
  5. Same as above, mine arrived mid-September. Order was placed early August with October delivery listed, so a nice surprise to get it so 2-6wks early.
  6. You have the proper answers from others more knowledgeable than me, but to answer your specific question directly as I have just moved from Silvia to MaraX: No, there was no significant change between the two for the same basket (VST). I can imagine if you used the stock ones provided, i.e. Rancilio basket vs. Lelit basket you would end up with different results but that is down to the basket size/holes rather than the machine. As others have said, if the grinder can't do it for the Silvia then the Mara it would probably be a poor investment
  7. Just wanted to say thanks to all for the info (both in this thread and across the whole forum!) In case anyone was interested or it helps out others in the same dilemma, I went the MaraX route and have a Niche on backorder. Whilst the Minima was tempting, the potential limitation on where it can go was what swung it for the Mara in the end. There has been an immediate improvement in consistency of the espresso over the old (non-PID) Silvia, so much so I'm now regretting not making the jump to a more temperature stable bit of kit much earlier. It turns out only some of the issues were me rather than all of them! It goes without saying that the ability to steam milk on demand is a game-changer over the old SBDU. I'm plenty happy with the output from the Mignon for espresso at the moment, but went for the Niche because I want to move back and forwards between espresso and filter regularly so single dosing is a big draw - will be interesting to see if it makes any difference to the espresso when it arrives.
  8. Can't speak to quality/cost/usability but I've seen these used in a couple of places and had nice coffee made from them. I think the dual fuel option is the big selling point, i.e. no need for elec. Dual Fuel | Commercial Cappuccino Coffee & Espresso Machine | Professional Coffee Machines (fracino.com)
  9. My views as a punter... For me, I think pitching yourself correctly (location and offering) is key. I will seek out a good quality coffee cart/van in a town or city, or at an event, but wouldn't grab a coffee from someone that just rocked up in a van on an industrial estate. As @BlackCatCoffee says, getting a pop-up pitch either in a town or at events (food festivals, markets, motorsport, etc.) is the way to ensure you get footfall and recognition , but is (presumably) highly competitive and potentially costly. A big part of my decision to go to a coffee cart is the perception of what you will be offering and how you go about selling it. A cart that also sells quality beans, filters, aeropress and handgrinder parts might be cynically dressing their "shop window" to appeal to the coffee curious crowd, but is normally backed up by someone who is enthusiastic, knowledgeable and hoping to make a living out of their hobby/passion. Most of these people are also using it as a first step to getting their own shops or roasteries. If it's not your passion or you don't think it would become that, I think it would be a very hard way to make a living. A good example is Tamp Culture in Reading, the people there have got a fixed plot outside the back of the shopping centre - originally out of a small 3wheeled truck and now a slightly more sturdy kiosk as well as small online shop. Nice coffee, (helped by excellent milk) and a go to for me when in town - they have pretty steady footfall, but all the chain shops are still rammed full of people. Also, don't underestimate the power of good cakes/pastries! Finding a good bakery to work with can sway my decision on where to grab a coffee from...
  10. Strangely enough this was something I was pondering last night whilst flicking through your review of the Mara! As well as the noise, you seemed to be singing the praises of the reduced flow rate of the QuietX pumps. Is that something that would have an effect on other machines (e.g. times/dosed) which weren't designed around it, or does it fall by the wayside for a simple on/off system like the Minima? Also, does that lower flow rate compromise the benefits you can then get out of a flow control paddle or are you never really wanting to be at the high flow rates anyway?
  11. Very true on the upgrades and long-term cost. I was coming at it more from a cash-flow point of view, but false economies and all that... It's the single-dosing aspect and ability to flick between styles (espresso/brewed) that appeals more than the Niche itself, it just seems to tick more boxes for me than others. I think I need to decide whether to go more all-in on espresso or just upgrade my basic level of coffee so that I can make better brewed and easier steaming of milk. (or just accept that it's a hobby that I will end up spending lots of money on over multiple years 😉) Thanks for the thoughts & tips.
  12. Thanks both for the speedy responses, very much appreciate the feedback. Well, the budget was originally going to be around £1300 as that got me into the range of MaraX, Elizabeth, Minima. Then I got a bit of feature creep and wondered if I could/should extend up to the Bianca, at which point I worried that it would be wasted money with the Gen2 Mignon. At that point we're suddenly starting to get above £2K which is well above what I had in mind. It was interesting (surprising?) to me to hear that there wasn't immediate outrage that a £250 grinder was being paired with an £1850 machine - although that might be more of a reflection on the quality of the forums when compared to the rest of the internet! I hadn't seen the Solo pop up on BB, and particularly that bundle seems like a great deal albeit above what I'd set out to spend. However, I'm not sure I can quite get to grips with the look and idea of the Solo. I'd love to be able to say hand on heart that all that matters is the quality of the coffee that comes out, but it's going to sit in the kitchen and I can't help but see a part of a suspension subframe every time I look at it...whereas the Niche (in my eyes) looks much better. I'm edging towards wondering whether the better upgrade route finances-wise might be Niche + Mara/Minima > Flow Control >>> Bianca (or similar). Some pondering to be done, but feeling better informed, thanks. That's good to know, there remains the issue that I will likely remain the weak link in the chain no matter what machine/grinder🙂
  13. Hi, apologies for yet another apples and oranges comparison question. I currently have a Mignon II (50mm burr version) & Silvia V4 and am looking to upgrade to HX or DB. I've got to the point I can get reasonable espresso out of them, and with a bit of luck a passable pourover. I tend to flip-flop between espresso or brewed (V60/Wave) depending on what works best with the beans, and will usually stick with that for the whole bag, tending towards lighter roasts. I average 3 espresso a day, but would also like the option of easily making a couple of cortados/caps without 15mins of SBDU boiler dancing. Having spent hours looking at forums, reviews, etc. I like the idea of flow control/levers as something to play with, which leads towards the Bianca. My question is, given that budget am I wasting the Bianca with the Mignon II? Would I be better off getting a Niche and something like the Minima or MaraX and then either upgrading later or installing an aftermarket E61 flow controller? Thanks in advance
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