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holme73

First espresso machine - VBM / Profitec / Rocket or other?

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Hello all,

I'm looking to switch out  my Nespresso machine and move to a full espresso setup.

So, rather than start right at the entry level, I'd rather buy a machine that will meet my requirements and keep for many years.

I drink a mix of black & milk based drinks.

So far, I have been quoted £1375 for a VBM Junior 2B (dual boiler) with Mignon Specialita grinder, and they will throw in some basics - metal tamper & tamp mat.

From my research the VBM looks a solid machine - though maybe lacking in the looks department (can't decide if i like it or not). Though seems competitively priced?

I'm happy to spend a little more, so something like the Profitec Pro 500, Rocket Mozzafiato Cronometro V have also caught the eye. Though those are HX machines.

Would these machines be significant upgrade over the VBM? They certainly look better, which is a factor - but ultimately it comes down to user experience and quality of the drinks and reliability.

Any tips and advice would be greatly appreciated. Am not against purchasing a used machine either - though seem difficult to find at times.

Thanks in advance

Steve

 

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I would lean toward a dual boiler set up if the budget can stretch. The Minima is worth considering although the looks are a bit marmite. It is not for me in that department but specs wise it is impressive. 

When you get this set up sorted don't be discouraged if you make dire coffee for a while. Machines like this aren't forgiving and espresso is a bit of an art form. As long as you know this going in I am sure you'll be happy! 

Keep us updated 

 


www.blackcatcoffee.co.uk

Coffee | Equipment | Accessories | Service & Repair

Fracino | Eureka | Motta | IMS

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Have you considered the Niche grinder and its benefits over the Mignon?

 

Also, I agree, a dual boiler is a better choice overall over an HX machine.

 

Just make sure about maintenance: water quality you’ll feed the machine (you want to avoid descaling), the regular maintenance of the e61 group head, heating up times, etc.

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Posted (edited)

Thank you for the replies.

Yes, the VBM is a dual boiler and the cheapest also (works out @ £995) - just not sure it'd put the joy on my face when I look at it. I did look at the Profitec Pro600 - but that may be stretching the budget a little. My wife know's what I'm like at letting my budget creep up :-). And there's always something better no matter what I choose. So trying to find a sensible line. Around the £1400 for a machine was my soft-limit.

Love the look and functionality if the Niche grinder - though they seem hard to find. Niche site directed me to a crowd funding page of some sort.

Which ever machine I get - It'll definitely have a physical switch for the on/off so I can leave it 'on' and run it through a wifi/timer socket.

Edited by holme73

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Love the look and functionality if the Niche grinder - though they seem hard to find. Niche site directed me to a crowd funding page of some sort.


That’s right. Indiegogo. They started off there, it worked out, and still there as their de facto market place site and checkout experience.

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Sorry to dampen things! A VBM will not make a better cuppa than a Rocket who in turn will not produce a better cuppa than a Mara etc etc. You need to same field craft for whatever machine you use. The grinder is far more important than the machine. Think of an oven. It cook whatever you put into it. There are arguments some will put forward such as a DB lets you isolate the power going to the steam boiler if you only drink espresso.....fantastic, in 26 years and 42 days you will have saved enough to cover the outlay!

I have had good DB and HX machines and bad ones as well. If you give an experienced person the ingredients he will always make you a reasonable cuppa. When you ask for advice on here, you usually end up being told what people have themselves or what they desire....thats not advice!

My advice would be not to buy a pump machine at all but to go for a lever. It puts you in touch with the machine and lets you feel far more. It also produces a vastly superior cuppa but the pump boys will never agree with that!

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And there you go. The joy of asking for advice....

 

I had an HX machine - a rocket. Didn’t get on with it. The cooling flushes and the waste of bottled water that I fed the machine with was not for me.

 

I then moved to a dual boiler (Profitec 700) and the joy of showing up to the machine, in the morning and just pulling a shot without wasting 120ml of water with cooling flushes really made the difference for me.

 

2.5 years afterwards I now own a La Pavoni lever, which I had it now for almost 2 years. It does the trick for me very nicely as I’m the only coffee drinker in the household.

 

But as DFK said - and So did I - don’t overlook the grinder.

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Posted (edited)

Just wanted to put this out there, lots of people talk about the grinder being the most important (which I totally agree with) and then go on to suggest Niche, Mignon etc but from my reading (and taste experience) there are substantial differences between flat burr and conical burr in the taste output (spread of ground sizes) which no one really seems to discuss a lot here... In my mind one conical burr grinder is much like another in terms of output (assuming they are comparable) ditto for flat burr, just the reliability, functionality etc, but comparing a Niche to a Mignon is rather like comparing tangerines to clementines - both nice but depends on your taste - am I wrong?

Edited by Kannan

Decent Pro 1.3, Sage DB (Slayer, Brass OPV and Pump modded, IMS Screen), Titus EK43s SSP Burrs, Mignon Silenzio, Niche coming soon, Osmio Zero.

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Just wanted to put this out there, lots of people talk about the grinder being the most important (which I totally agree with) and then go on to suggest Niche, Mignon etc but from my reading (and taste experience) there are substantial differences between flat burr and conical burr in the taste output (spread of ground sizes) which no one really seems to discuss a lot here... In my mind one conical burr grinder is much like another in terms of output, just the reliability, functionality etc, but comparing a Niche to a Mignon is rather like comparing tangerines to clementines - both nice but depends on your taste - am I wrong?

To me, it’s about single dosing vs hopper fed as entry level electric grinders. It matters to me the most, having had both, rather than the debate of flat vs conical.

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Just now, MediumRoastSteam said:


To me, it’s about single dosing vs hopper fed as entry level electric grinders. It matters to me the most, having had both, renter than the debate of flat vs conical.

That's fair enough, to me that comes under the category of functionality... I get as good single dosing from my Mignon as my Sette now with a set of bellows which is fine for me (perhaps not for others). However I can distinctly taste the difference between the flat burr of the Eureka, more muted taste and conical burr (Sette) which has a greater gamma of taste (more sharps, sours etc)... and I like both depending on what mood I'm in... The point I was trying to make was surely that's a bigger decision consideration when buying a grinder than other factors which can be compensated for (scales, bellows etc). You can't change the taste profile of the grind with aftermarket accessories easily.


Decent Pro 1.3, Sage DB (Slayer, Brass OPV and Pump modded, IMS Screen), Titus EK43s SSP Burrs, Mignon Silenzio, Niche coming soon, Osmio Zero.

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Thanks all. 

Absolutely agree - there's no right answer. Only what's right for the user. And yes, it's definitely going to take time for me to perfect - but that's kind of the joy - I like tinkering and this'll be no different.

So I think I'll drop the VBM off the list - great value as it is. And may look at the profitec 500 or even the La Spaziale Mini Vivaldi as a DB machine - quite like the look of that also and seems a solid machine at a solid price point. Front loading water tank on the latter is a benefit sitting under a kitchen cupboard. And the niche or mingion seem decent grinder options.

And I can finally get away from nespresso (was great at first - 2001) but need to try something new and open up new coffee at home).

Thank You.

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My last bit of advice to the OP, again, based on my own experience: the moment I upgraded to a more fancy machine (Gaggia Classic to Profitec P700) I quickly realised the grinder was the weakest link, at the time, it was an Eureka Mignon. I sold it and replaced with a 64mm flat burr grinder (T64 from Profitec, which was the only grinder with a slim profile which could fit the space I had). The difference between that and the mignon was night and day. I then got bored of the retention (ps: my journey is pretty well documented in this forum) and bought a Kinu M68 after that.... conical, 68mm burrs, manual single dosing grinder. A beast; but quite static prone and messy, which I got fed up of pretty quickly too. (They has since changed the design). And now I have the Niche.

What I’m trying to say is... it’s a journey. If you want to go minimising cost, it’s best to get the best you can at the start. Read, research, watched videos, listen to the experience of others and make your own judgements.

You will be spending quite a bit of money on the machines you are considering. Don’t overlook the grinder.

Good luck on your journey, over and out.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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Never overlook the grinder. Your machine can only work with the grounds it's given. If you give a wonderful machine bad grinds it'll produce bad coffee. Give a cheap machine good grinds and you'll get something good in your cup. 

Just chill around here, ask questions of folks who are showing off their machines, and in no time you'll have an even better idea of exactly what you want. Just remember that your personal experience will not exactly match those of even folks with the same equipment you decide on. This is as much art as science after all.


Gear:

Gaggia Baby 2001, Gaggia Color 2007, Delonghi Dedica, Severin grinder, Marcfi badged Compak K6 2004

Sent from my grinder using smoke signals.

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