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What do you look for or want to see in a home espresso machine

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So what are the main criteria, the things that are important to you, is it price, function aesthtics, ease of maintenance, the quality of the drink. How do you balance your decisions with one machine vs another. Are there things manufacturers should be adding to the machines, functions, hardware, other...

I like toffee.....but try and talk sense when you're chewing it!


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Hi Dave


In order of importance I would put the following list


1) Ease of use and maintenance

2) Price

3) Quality of the coffee

4) Aesthetics


But it all comes down to when you have that first morning coffee and that Ahh!! moment when you take the first sip

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1. Quality of coffee produced and replicability

2. Price but within reason

3. Design

4. Ease of use

5. Reliability and quality of construction

6. Low maintenance

7. Aesthetics

8. Parts readily available

Norėčiau juodos kavos


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So when purchasing, how do you make these choices/judgments


e.g. if it was a computer, it would be how much ram, type of processor gfx card, power supply expandability, ports etc..


How much do people really care about what''s inside the machine or what's going on.


What about things you wish machines had e.,g. shot timers, coloured lights, built in scales for weighing the shot etc..

I like toffee.....but try and talk sense when you're chewing it!


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Primarily I look for a machine to give me the following:


1 - Coffee quality produced

2 - Repeatability

3 - Control of temperature at brew head

4 - Informative instrumentation

5 - Low maintenance

6 - Easily available parts

7 - Design - Not a stainless steel box.

8 - Price must be linked to the quality of machine

9 - Minimum of a double boiler


Innovations to assist better results eg Scales built into drip trays, built in water softener.

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Very Important

Repeatability and quality of shot

Something that looks sturdy - built to last 10 years plus given the outlay

Needs to fit easily in a domestic kitchen

Quick to warm-up to optimum temperature (


Moderately Important

Easy to maintain (desclale, etc)

Easily repairable (and get hold of parts) if the need arises

Good support network


Other Factors

Cup warmer/holder - not for warming cups but because my cupboard space is full of brewers :)

Ability to play with brew temperature (PID)

Large (>1l) and easily removable drip tray


I'm not after additional things being built in (e.g. scales, timers, etc) as they'll no doubt being less quality than the individual items I already have and just make the machine less reliable. I hark back to the days when we had those combined TV/VCRs, which were rubbish

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Hmm, coffee quality and repeatability of drinks I would think is impossible surely as it's not something you can try out in the shop ten or so times and so you will only know once you've bought the machine, but by then it's too late. I guess if there was a returns policy though......but unlikely.


So for me being as good at making real coffee as a man with one leg trying to stamp out an ants nest, then a built in robot world barista champion programme to do it for me so I can really get to find out what all the fuss is about and enjoy the ruddy stuff! Oh and having very short arms and long empty pockets at a price us mere mortals can afford.

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Pretty much as already stated.

Stuff like timers and scales are nice additions but are cheap enough to buy standalone but add more potential for stuff to go wrong, adding to the cost of repair.

Having said that, if parts are reasonably priced (I'm talking like up to £20 to replace the scales/timer unit) and easily replaced by the user then so much the better.

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Consistency of shots, ease of use, build quality and maintainable with readily available spares off the shelf.



The cost of a Gaggia classic,

The Build quality and ease of consistant shots from the L1

The looks of a Giotto Rocket

And some of the Clever features of the sage , warm up timer, automatic maintainace .

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If there was a more robust version of the Sage DB, with a rotary pump and an ability to ramp down the flow and pressure at the end of the shot then Id ask where to sign


Me too, you do know you can shut the pump off and then hold the manual button down at the end of the shot too to get an approximation of this Gary? The Sage does have some very useful features like the auto backflushing routine etc and so far maintaining it has been really easy.


Pretty much all of it has already been stated, personally I don't give a damn of the outer casing isn't a solid piece of metal I don't tuck my machine under my arm and move it round a lot. Form over function design totally pisses me off, an example I had a friend who kept trying to persuade me to buy a Macbook Pro as my working and travelling laptop, constantly pointing out it had a solid metal frame and my Dell was plastic. My Dell running XP wasn't a particularly cheap one and lasted me 5 years of going round the world by plane, tour buses etc, it didn't miss a beat and was eventually retired as I needed to upgrade to Windows 7, in those 5 years the same mate had 4 different Macbooks 3 of which got broken in his backpack. I looked after mine, not by wrapping it in cotton wool so to speak and it went on to serve as my nephews 1st laptop. I look after my espresso machine the same way.

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For me, it's the quality of the coffee to the price I pay. I am also a traditionalist and like to see a big lump of e-61 but that's just my taste. I like to be involved in the actual coffee making process so no bean to cup or digital effects either from the grinder or the espresso machine for me (not knocking those who go for that though). But for me it is sometimes more satisfying to make a fab espresso just after you make a really shitty one. I had a Gaggia for 10 years before replacing it and I expect my machines to have longevity too so build quality is really important for me.

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So guys, how would you feel about say....plastic boilers and all plastic tubing (for plastic read synthetic).

I like toffee.....but try and talk sense when you're chewing it!


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So guys, how would you feel about say....plastic boilers and all plastic tubing (for plastic read synthetic).


It wouldn't bother me if a) was safe b) durable c) cost neutral or cheaper d) not performance reducing

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My main criteria would be to make sure it was a proper machine and had a lever........

Bye Bye...........come back when you have less time.........or better still, please do not bother

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What Gary said on synthetic materials, plus I'd like a compelling reason to change from tried and tested materials - maybe cheaper overall or allows more money to be spent elsewhere on the machine for other benefits, or synthetics that have some other additional benefits (maybe insulation/running costs or maintenance benefits, say?).

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