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Hi guys sorry for yet another Mara X post! I was all set to finally buy an Oscar II machine after much deliberation. But was advised that the new Mara X machine had recently launched and would be a better buy for a first time user. But it is £300 more than the Oscar II. The Oscar II seems very good value in Europe and whilst I can see it’s a bit plasticy the internals seem to be good quality and more importantly it seems to make good espresso and is easy to use. Clearly the Mara X has better build quality, but other than that what would be the benefit of paying the extra £300? Is the cooling flush routine much of an inconvenience? Would I be able to make better coffee on the more expensive machine? I’m quite happy to save a bit longer and get the superior machine if it’s worth it. Any advice most welcome. 

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17 minutes ago, nofixedagenda said:

Hi guys sorry for yet another Mara X post! I was all set to finally buy an Oscar II machine after much deliberation. But was advised that the new Mara X machine had recently launched and would be a better buy for a first time user. But it is £300 more than the Oscar II. The Oscar II seems very good value in Europe and whilst I can see it’s a bit plasticy the internals seem to be good quality and more importantly it seems to make good espresso and is easy to use. Clearly the Mara X has better build quality, but other than that what would be the benefit of paying the extra £300? Is the cooling flush routine much of an inconvenience? Would I be able to make better coffee on the more expensive machine? I’m quite happy to save a bit longer and get the superior machine if it’s worth it. Any advice most welcome. 

The Oscar II is a traditional HX machine. It doesn't have an E61 group. Is this something you'd like? As anything, it has advantages and disadvantages.

As for the MaraX, it's an HX machine on steroids, as it has clever software and an extra probe on the return of the HX so keep the group temperature at bay. 

Have you seen the review? There's also a thread called "Mara X" on this forum. 

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Imo, Oscar is sort of stuck in the early 2000s, just like the Silvia.. 

The MaraX is a modern, dare I say unique (in how it works) machine with a retro e61 group 

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The peculiarity of espresso beverage is the simultaneous presence of three dispersed phases coexisting within a matrix, namely a concentrated solution of salts, acids, sugars, caffeine and many other hydrophilic substances. These phases are: an emulsion of oil droplets, a suspension of solid particles and an effervescence of gas bubbles, which evolves into a foam.

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Posted (edited)

In fairness they have improved the Oscar a lot from the old days but still I think a strech to the MaraX will do you better in the long run. The video below may be of interest to you.

Things I got from it were

  • Looks like a large good quality Sirai pressurestat but that model of stat is noisy...bullet proof but noisy
  • Lost of plastic, and that chrome group shroud looks like plastic
  • Frame actually looks like galvanised mild steel
  • I can't see how you would get to the element as the frame is in the way, certainly you wouldn't be able to hold the boiler enough to safely remove it in situ.
  • No way of refreshing boiler water as no hot water tap
  • Don't like the steam tap implementation at all

I don't have any idea of flush volumes or temperature stability but I think you get an awful lot more in a MaraX for not much more. The price differential you mentioned means you are probably looking at Cafeitalia as a vendor....that might not be the best place to buy it.

 

Oops forgot video

 

Edited by DavecUK
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Thank you for all your comments guys, it’s much appreciated. I guess I’m going to have to stump up the money for the Mara X and wait a month or two for a grinder (probably Eureka Specialita). 
It’s funny cos I’d always thought I was happy with filter coffee and that espresso was too costly anyway. Then I started thinking a Gaggia Classic would be a good investment that I could get past the wife, now I’m looking at a machine twice it’s price! If only she drank coffee..🙈

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Thank you for all your comments guys, it’s much appreciated. I guess I’m going to have to stump up the money for the Mara X and wait a month or two for a grinder (probably Eureka Specialita). 
It’s funny cos I’d always thought I was happy with filter coffee and that espresso was too costly anyway. Then I started thinking a Gaggia Classic would be a good investment that I could get past the wife, now I’m looking at a machine twice it’s price! If only she drank coffee..

Don’t buy the machine unless you have a good grinder to pair it with.

Ps: slippery slope this is! A good one!
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I have an Oscar II, and honestly I'd probably pay the extra for the Mara if I didn't get a great deal on the Oscar.

The casing is mostly plastic and quite loud, has an E61 group but no external pressure gauge like the Mara and no way of using a thermometer like an Eric on a traditional group like the Mara. It's also a good bit bigger than the Mara if counter space is a concern.

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The Oscar DOES NOT have an E61 group. 

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48 minutes ago, MediumRoastSteam said:

The Oscar DOES NOT have an E61 group. 

Yeah that's my bad I meant to say it doesn't have an E61 group (hence the mention of no way of measuring temp at the group head)

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Thanks Squidgy that’s helpful. MediumRoastSteam I realise it’s not ideal getting the grinder afterwards. I was just hoping that I could get started, learning how to use the machine until I got the grinder.

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Would buying a second hand PID’d Gaggia Classic for now along with a good grinder work for you ? That way in a few months you could probably sell the Classic for what you paid for it and get the MaraX then.

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Good idea Jason but I think I’d rather just wait a bit longer if it’s not worth getting a machine without a grinder temporarily.

1 hour ago, Jason11 said:

Would buying a second hand PID’d Gaggia Classic for now along with a good grinder work for you ? That way in a few months you could probably sell the Classic for what you paid for it and get the MaraX then.

 

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Thanks Squidgy that’s helpful. MediumRoastSteam I realise it’s not ideal getting the grinder afterwards. I was just hoping that I could get started, learning how to use the machine until I got the grinder.

If you are planning to use the machine with pre-ground coffee, it won’t work. That’s the problem.

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See this is where I’m getting conflicting advice. Some say it’ll be fine and others that it’s just a complete no. Maybe I should just get myself a Eureka Specialita (want something that I can use for v60 too) for now. After reading Dave’s review of the Lelit Elizabeth I’m now wondering if that’s a better option for me than the Mara X! Seriously I don’t think I’ve ever had such difficulties researching a product as I have for a grinder & espresso machine lol! My wife thinks I’ve lost the plot (she’s probably right!) 

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Preground coffee will only work with pressurised baskets. Even then you’re limited on adjustments to change your extraction. You can still adjust dose and yield (and possibly temperature) but usually they’re the first things you want to lock in and then use changes in grind size which you’ll be unable to do.

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See this is where I’m getting conflicting advice. Some say it’ll be fine and others that it’s just a complete no. Maybe I should just get myself a Eureka Specialita (want something that I can use for v60 too) for now. After reading Dave’s review of the Lelit Elizabeth I’m now wondering if that’s a better option for me than the Mara X! Seriously I don’t think I’ve ever had such difficulties researching a product as I have for a grinder & espresso machine lol! My wife thinks I’ve lost the plot (she’s probably right!) 

Join the club!

You might be able to make espresso with pre-ground. With a pressurised basket. Would I call it espresso? No. Will it be good? No. Could you share where you read that you can use pre-ground on a prosumer espresso machine? I’ve tried... it gushes out!

Eureka specialita is an espresso grinder. It’s meant to operate in a certain range, the adjustments are quite precise. It’s not an all purpose grinder where you can go from one range to the other. For that, you’ll need a single dose grinder, like the Niche Zero. They are usually expensive, and the niche is entry level single dose. You can mod grinders to single dose, like Mazzer Super jolly’s. They will outlast you and are built like a tank. But for home use, you need to modify them.

Or you have two grinders. A manual grinder for V60 will do just fine.

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Thanks MediumRoastSteam

It was a barista in a local coffee shop wh told me (although to be fair she didn’t know which machine i was referring to) as well as someone at a coffee machine supplier referring specifically to the Mara X. But at the end of the day they want to sell me a machine.

I had hoped a Specialita would work at least temporarily as a drip & espresso grinder as it has larger burrs than the Eureka Perfetto which is sold as a dual purpose grinder. 
I don’t fancy the Niche as I really want to avoid Chinese made gear. I can get Mazzer Mini & Super Jolly cheaply locally as we have a Nisbets in town. 
Im going to wait and see the retail price of the new Lelit Elizabeth but in the meantime it’s back to the grinder drawing board I think. 

58 minutes ago, MediumRoastSteam said:


If you are planning to use the machine with pre-ground coffee, it won’t work. That’s the problem.

 

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Thanks MediumRoastSteam
It was a barista in a local coffee shop wh told me (although to be fair she didn’t know which machine i was referring to) as well as someone at a coffee machine supplier referring specifically to the Mara X. But at the end of the day they want to sell me a machine.
I had hoped a Specialita would work at least temporarily as a drip & espresso grinder as it has larger burrs than the Eureka Perfetto which is sold as a dual purpose grinder. 
I don’t fancy the Niche as I really want to avoid Chinese made gear. I can get Mazzer Mini & Super Jolly cheaply locally as we have a Nisbets in town. 
Im going to wait and see the retail price of the new Lelit Elizabeth but in the meantime it’s back to the grinder drawing board I think. 
 

No worries. Let me read about the perfetto. I didn’t realise it’s marketed as a all purpose grinder. I had a Mignon a while ago, and, if you wanted to switch between espresso and V60 you’d need to turn the nob 3 or 4 full revolution at least. Maybe they’ve changed it for this one. I’ll take a look.

The Niche is made in China. It uses Mazzer Kony burrs (made by Mazzer, presumably in Italy). Not all Chinese goods are low quality. The Niche grinder certainly isn’t! Apple computers are also assembled in China. Honestly, if single dose is your thing, I’d really re-consider the Niche. (I have one myself - replaced a Kinu M68, german engineered, made in Romania).

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I had hoped a Specialita would work at least temporarily as a drip & espresso grinder as it has larger burrs than the Eureka Perfetto which is sold as a dual purpose grinder. 


So the perfetto:


Indeed, an all purpose grinder. Looks like this is a new, specific grinder adjustment from eureka. It seems to, with ONE turn of the dial, to go from Turkish to French Press. Does it work well for espresso, which requires very fine, small increment adjustments? I’m not sure.

Compare to the Specialità, a more traditional version of the adjustment. This is not an all purpose grinder. A full turn on this grinder and yo’d still be operating in the “espresso” range. You’ll find it very hard to move between one brew method to another.

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Honestly, if single dose is your thing, I’d really re-consider the Niche. (I have one myself - replaced a Kinu M68, german engineered, made in Romania).


Echoing this statement. The Niche may be manufactured in China, but the parts that matter - the burrs specifically - are proper Mazzer burrs and they do a fantastic job. I switched from a Eureka Mignon, use mine exclusively for espresso, and have seen a marked increase in quality and consistency in my grind.

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It’s not the quality of Chinese produced goods I’m worried about. It’s the simple fact that if we all don’t stop feeding the current regime where we can we are in big trouble....but also with companies like Niche & Wilfa there is no service network or parts replacement, so I see them as future landfill.

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It’s not the quality of Chinese produced goods I’m worried about. It’s the simple fact that if we all don’t stop feeding the current regime where we can we are in big trouble....but also with companies like Niche & Wilfa there is no service network or parts replacement, so I see them as future landfill.

Interesting view. Would love to see what you’ve got at home that doesn’t say Made in PRC. Not the final product, but the components of such products which are not labelled as made in PRC.

But let’s not digress the thread.

Hope the advice on the Eureka grinders were useful. They are really great grinders, and their micrometric adjustment is extremely easy to use and to dial in. I’m not sure however about the Perfetto. Not sure if many people here have it who could chime in.

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Yes I realise the likelihood is that the components may be made in China. I just think we need to reduce our reliance on them.
The other problem with Niche is the lack of a service network and part availability.  Yes the Eureka info was very helpful. I’m not sure what to do atm. I was set on Baratza for ages but it’s all Chinese made so I’m sticking with Italian brands. I love the look of Mazzer and Ceado. 
I don’t intend to switch between v60 and espresso regularly, tbh I’ll probably just get a Eureka Filtro for the pour overs at some point. I suppose a Specialita and a Filtro would be a neat solution but I am tempted by the Mazzer Mini at £400 locally..

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Yes I realise the likelihood is that the components may be made in China. I just think we need to reduce our reliance on them.
The other problem with Niche is the lack of a service network and part availability.  Yes the Eureka info was very helpful. I’m not sure what to do atm. I was set on Baratza for ages but it’s all Chinese made so I’m sticking with Italian brands. I love the look of Mazzer and Ceado. 
I don’t intend to switch between v60 and espresso regularly, tbh I’ll probably just get a Eureka Filtro for the pour overs at some point. I suppose a Specialita and a Filtro would be a neat solution but I am tempted by the Mazzer Mini at £400 locally..

Sounds good.

Just remember the Mazzers are great grinders.... but they are big, and mini is a modified commercial grinders for the home.

Please research on retention. In summary, most grinders will have a chute and a screen behind the chute. This is also true for the Mignon. When you grind, the chamber fills up and the grinds are pushed out. Those grinds remain behind the screen, and, as you know, they will get stele pretty quickly. All is good on a commercial environment, but it’s very different at home.

Also, don’t believe everything you read or watch on the internet. Some people say you can single dose a Mignon. You can try it. Form experience, you cannot. And that’s the same for many grinders due to their design, they are intended to operate with a hopper partially full at least, so there’s a weight of beans always pushing down onto the burrs.

Just research on retention. If it bothers you, then single dosing is the answer.

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Thanks for the advice. I need to go back to the drawing board. At the end of the day I just want to make decent espresso without too much faffing. I think I’ll probably just find some espresso beans that I like and stick with them. I’ll try different beans with my pour overs. 

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