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Best smaller espresso machine (probably HX) - recommendations please.


tictok
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Hello - hope you can help!

 

Short version:

Best small, probably HX, espresso machine?

Smaller the better. Obviously has to be capable too.

Budget is an issue so probably low-end HX.

 

Longer version:

I've already mentioned elsewhere that I plan on buying new (used) kit in the new year when we move to a new place with shiny, but small, new kitchen. Therefore to keep my lovely Lisa happy I'll be looking for smaller kit. I'll also be relatively broke, so budget is a very important consideration... I'm talking a few hundred quid... definitely no-where near 4 digit territory.

 

I currently have an old commercial and largish Rancilio HX beast and a naff grinder, modded to make it slightly less naff. Before the Rancillio I've also had a couple of Gaggia home models (Coffee Deluxe and Classic, which I found very similar except for the 3-way valve on the classic).

 

I once longed for a Rancilio Silvia, but the jump from where I am now, to that with lack of steam power and inconsistency is making it less appealing (although I still like 'em).

 

For the grinder I think I've probably decided I'll get a Eureka Mignon (as they small and colour choices to match Lisa's new kitchen) but am still a bit stuck regarding Espresso machine.

 

I'm kind of stuck on the Nuova Simonelli Oscar, which is around a third smaller than my rancillio (a lot lower, a fair bit narrower), but wondering if there's anything comparable thats even smaller!?

 

I won't have utility rooms or any handy alcoves I can tuck my machine in the new place, so size (or lack of) is important!

 

Many thanks for any help & recommendations!

Stef

 

p.s. my current knowledge is pretty limited to Gaggias and Rancilios - there's a whole world of kit and brands I know nothing about.

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hey - thanks for your suggestions.

 

hmm, hadn't considered a lever machine... 'till now that is.

You're right.. price is just about spot-on if I can find a 2nd hand one for that.

Any pro's or cons to a lever machine? I presume there's more variables to take into account?

 

Nuovo simonelli oscar is still leading the pack for me I think.

 

So nothing smaller springs to mind?

 

Edited by tictok
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Another vote for the Oscar.

 

The only other machine i know of that is compact is the Quickmill Silvano but you won't find any 2nd hand so its quite expensive to buy new.

 

I am no lever expert (yet!! but i just bought a new machine so don't give me upgraditis already!!) but some of the lever machines are very compact.

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The Expobar Dual Boiler isn't exactly huge either and nice shiny stainless steel, the hard part is finding a used one, some of the Vibiemme Domobar models are again nice and compact and HX, but barring a huge amount of luck finding one as you have realised yourself the Oscar is the most realistic option, plus from Elektros.IT in Italy you can order an anti vac valve and adjustable OPV to bring it more in line with the Musica which is a lot more money I thunk its would be ~£100 to buy both mods already preset to what you need and not a huge job installing them.

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The Expobar DB is likely going to be out of your price range.

 

It's rare to find them second hand but have a look into the Expobar Office Leva (not a lever machine), Its the machine I have, its barely wider and a tad taller than a Gaggia Classic, but a about 1.5x the depth.

 

As above the most common one that comes up at a good price is the Oscar, and its a great machine, if a wee bit ugly (beauty is in the eye of the beholder, however)

Edited by Dylan
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hey - thanks for your suggestions.

 

hmm, hadn't considered a lever machine... 'till now that is.

You're right.. price is just about spot-on if I can find a 2nd hand one for that.

Any pro's or cons to a lever machine? I presume there's more variables to take into account?

 

Nuovo simonelli oscar is still leading the pack for me I think.

 

So nothing smaller springs to mind?

 

 

The Achille by all accounts is a very capable machine, and looks swish too! One downside about this particular machine is that it flexes a bit when you pull down on the lever but it's not a big deal (you can see examples of shots being pulled on youtube).

Apparently it's a very capable steamer too (tho there is a steam arm upgrade you would be advised to do if you drink milky drinks) and it doesn't suffer from overheating like other levers can.

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I like the manual aesthetic, metallic goodness and idea of the lever machine, but at 6am I like the idea of pushing a button whilst I juggle my toast.

 

Lovely Lisa likes the look of the red Oscar. I can live with the plastic - it looks pretty solid. To be honest my current S27 looks like a tank... but I kinda love it for that.

Whats a decent price for a used Oscar if I ever see one?

 

The Expobar Office Leva looks real good to. Will need to research that one a little.

 

Thanks again!

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There is already an Eureka Mignon for sale on the forum in sexy red which might likely matches your need because it would then suit the red Oscar you're looking at.

http://coffeeforums.co.uk/showthread.php?t=13122

 

There are regularly second hands Oscar for sale on EBay. Price varies from 170 to twice of it. Regularly doesn't mean often, or in the desired color.

 

If you can have great Eureka second hand grinder in mint conditions, you might eventually consider a brand new Oscar for a decent price. Google for elektros.it , he's sitting next to the nueva simonelli factory, has interesting prices and an awesome service. There you'll be able to have your Oscar right away before Christmas in the expected color and make your wife happy.

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I tried to help a little on this thread, no clue why my post got removed.

 

There is currently an Eureka Mignon grinder in sexy red color on sale in the forum http://coffeeforums.co.uk/showthread.php?13122-Eureka-Mignon-Red

Check it out, it might be an interesting deal if it fulfill your needs.

Regarding the Oscar, there are regularly some second hand models on sales on Ebay that you can catch from 170 pounds to twice of it.

 

But, one other option would be for you to get one brand new for a decent price as well.

There is a retailer in Italy called elektros.it , you can do some research on many different coffee forums, and see he has a nice reputation.

This guy is settled next to the Nuova Simonelli factory and offer about the most competitive deals I have found.

 

Based on recommendations, I recently purchased a nice bundle from him and I confirm the level of service.

PM me if you want further details, if you come on recommendations, he might eventually arrange a good deal for you.

 

That way, you would be able to get a nice new Oscar suiting the desired color and a suitable grinder before Christmas and make your wife happy, and this is priceless.

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The Gaggia Achille, while small, has been described to me as a bit of a nightmare quality wise. Certainly the CoffeeGeek reviews that I read a while back also mention a 'high infant mortality rate' so it's perhaps not ideal as a main machine. Does anyone on here own one that anyone is aware of? Be good to get a 'straight' opinion on it as I've always liked it.

 

Size wise I have a Cherub which, while it can be had second hand in your price range, is perhaps a bit large width and depth wise.

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The Gaggia Achille, while small, has been described to me as a bit of a nightmare quality wise. Certainly the CoffeeGeek reviews that I read a while back also mention a 'high infant mortality rate' so it's perhaps not ideal as a main machine. Does anyone on here own one that anyone is aware of? Be good to get a 'straight' opinion on it as I've always liked it.

 

Size wise I have a Cherub which, while it can be had second hand in your price range, is perhaps a bit large width and depth wise.

 

Coffee chap , has had one or has one . There is another forum member who has one too . Can't remember who though....

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I think the general opinion on the smaller levers like the Gaggia Achille and the La Pavoni Europiccola is that they require a lot of patience to learn how to master, and the Achille's heel (I dont know why I don't work for The Sun already) is that they are very difficult to get consistent shots from.

 

From general reading I think the HX machines in your price range are more manageable, but they may not give you the satisfaction of a lever.

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I tried to help a little on this thread, no clue why my post got removed.

 

Sometimes a post goes to moderation when you paste in a link (randomly, i think) . If you use the button that looks like a world with a chain link in front of it it stops this happening.

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Sometimes a post goes to moderation when you paste in a link (randomly, i think) . If you use the button that looks like a world with a chain link in front of it it stops this happening.

 

Hi D_Evans, you're absolutely right, I wasn't aware of this, but Glenn explained me in the mean time. Will be more careful in the future.

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Wow - thanks for all the help folks!

 

I would love a nice shiny hunk of metal, but as I suspected, budget, size and quality of product is leading me to still favour the Oscar.

It won't be until the new year that I purchase that, so that gives me a month or so to mull things over.

Saying that, the Expobar office pulsar does look reasonably swish. Guess it depends which one I find first at a decent used price.

 

Many thanks for the link Synopsis - checking them out now.

 

Could someone please explain the Oscar mods and what kind of difference they make? Are their a must have - or would it be fine without them whilst I got used to an Oscar?

 

Anyone know what might be a fair asking price for a Rancilio S27 in decent condition (bearing in mind they stopped making them a decade ago) if I were to sell mine to fund this?

 

Oh - purchase in progress on the red Eureka Mignon ;)

 

Thanks all!

 

Stef

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