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The Best Espresso Machine under £500 - James Hoffman


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Cool video but it boiled down to buy the Silvia or the Classic and spend money on a PID, OPV mod etc......it isn't a £500 machine any more.

**In fairness to JH I was watching this trying to comfort a screaming baby and feed a toddler so I could've totally missed the point.**

Edited by BlackCatCoffee
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@BlackCatCoffee - I think he was generally pretty fair to be honest.

His preference was for the two machines which he thought might hold their value, be repairable and had more headroom for improving or tweaking them via PIDs or pressure changes to shift into the prosumer range. He still liked them as stock though.

When covering the Bambino, he did say it would make very nice drinks but is squarely targeted at the non-hobbyist home barista market where people want to have tasty coffee with great milk and less faff. He also suggested the scope for modding or repairing them is smaller.

Edited by Northern_Monkey
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@Gilly - Yep, still painted mild steel and a very strange routing for the waste pipe which leads to rusting issues.

Always been intrigued why the super premium ECM machines (I do day dream about getting a Slim occasionally) which have powder coated steel frames, but which don’t suffer the same fate. Just assuming with the E61 groups and routing it all goes out front more or the frame metal/coatings are more resilient.

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26 minutes ago, Mrboots2u said:

Why

Fair question.

I think he missed some key points and introduced others that were meaningless.

And inconsistent.

I remember his Aldi review. He hammered that machine as hateful because of not being able to control pressure and here we have him happy with the clearly equally guilty Gaggia.

No mention of heat up or set up times.

A mention about the solenoid valve on the Gaggia but not any others.

He said the Gaggia and Silvia were his favs but clearly, were seriously lacking with steaming power and temp stability.

The best machines were the Bambino and the Lelit. If the Lelit had a 58mm basket (wtf Lelit?) Then I suspect it would be the best if he could get over his pro biases.

He should have (imho) hammered the Silvia and the Gaggia for the clear failings they have and left it at that instead of caveating his recommendation with comments about mods.

One good thing is that perhaps Rancilio and Gaggia may finally update the machines temp controls after 30+ years of stasis.

And odd video imho.

 

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Fair question.
I think he missed some key points and introduced others that were meaningless.
And inconsistent.
I remember his Aldi review. He hammered that machine as hateful because of not being able to control pressure and here we have him happy with the clearly equally guilty Gaggia.
No mention of heat up or set up times.
A mention about the solenoid valve on the Gaggia but not any others.
He said the Gaggia and Silvia were his favs but clearly, were seriously lacking with steaming power and temp stability.
The best machines were the Bambino and the Lelit. If the Lelit had a 58mm basket (wtf Lelit?) Then I suspect it would be the best if he could get over his pro biases.
He should have (imho) hammered the Silvia and the Gaggia for the clear failings they have and left it at that instead of caveating his recommendation with comments about mods.
One good thing is that perhaps Rancilio and Gaggia may finally update the machines temp controls after 30+ years of stasis.
And odd video imho.
 
Are you sure your own biases aren't clouding your view of this video?

Sent from my SM-A705FN using Tapatalk

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Fair question.
I think he missed some key points and introduced others that were meaningless.
And inconsistent.
I remember his Aldi review. He hammered that machine as hateful because of not being able to control pressure and here we have him happy with the clearly equally guilty Gaggia. -- "He hated the Aldi machine for numerous reasons"

No mention of heat up or set up times. --"true, but not that relevant to the best machine"

A mention about the solenoid valve on the Gaggia but not any others. --"more pertinent to the Classic after the 2015 machine debacle"

He said the Gaggia and Silvia were his favs but clearly, were seriously lacking with steaming power and temp stability. --"the Silvia steams like a train. It was a criticism of the Classic"

The best machines were the Bambino and the Lelit. If the Lelit had a 58mm basket (wtf Lelit?) Then I suspect it would be the best if he could get over his pro biases. --"He more or less states this at the start of the video"

He should have (imho) hammered the Silvia and the Gaggia for the clear failings they have and left it at that instead of caveating his recommendation with comments about mods.--"a great many Solvia and Classic owners perform these mods, so totally relevant IMO.

One good thing is that perhaps Rancilio and Gaggia may finally update the machines temp controls after 30+ years of stasis.--"heres hoping"

And odd video imho.
 




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7 hours ago, Blue_Cafe said:

Fair question.

I think he missed some key points and introduced others that were meaningless.

And inconsistent.

I remember his Aldi review. He hammered that machine as hateful because of not being able to control pressure and here we have him happy with the clearly equally guilty Gaggia.

No mention of heat up or set up times.

A mention about the solenoid valve on the Gaggia but not any others.

He said the Gaggia and Silvia were his favs but clearly, were seriously lacking with steaming power and temp stability.

The best machines were the Bambino and the Lelit. If the Lelit had a 58mm basket (wtf Lelit?) Then I suspect it would be the best if he could get over his pro biases.

He should have (imho) hammered the Silvia and the Gaggia for the clear failings they have and left it at that instead of caveating his recommendation with comments about mods.

One good thing is that perhaps Rancilio and Gaggia may finally update the machines temp controls after 30+ years of stasis.

And odd video imho.

 

It will take gaggia at least another 30 I think 

Edited by Mrboots2u
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@Blue_Cafe - He could have made it a 60 minute+ video if it covered all variables.

Would have been good to get a table showing these but that is effectively multiple in depth long term reviews so not YouTube friendly really:

1. Start up time/timer switch

2. If the EU 30 min shutdown

3. Cleaning/maintenance

4. OPV or brew spring type and default pressure

5. Brew temps

6. Recovery time between coffees and milk steaming

 

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Strange video, he did qualify it with admitting his bias and saying his choices would best 'for him'. Put it like this, I've never seen anyone on this forum recommend getting a new Silvia or Classic Pro, let alone spend the extra £100+ on those new machines to mod them. While it's not for me, modding a £100 second hand Classic I get.

I suppose as these are options people are looking at he's giving his two cents. Strange he's not familiar with Lelit. Is the Mara X not big outside of this forum? I thought they were big players with that, the Bianca and the others regularly brought up here.

Sage Barista Express.

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25 minutes ago, steffanjtaylor said:

The Lelit Anna model with a PID (Lelit PL41TEM) is under the £500 criteria, I don't know why that wasn't tested instead of the entry model Anna (Lelit PL41EM).

because he (JH) was unable to source one - out of stock.

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6 minutes ago, espressoSquirrel said:

he had trouble getting stock apparently

 

3 minutes ago, Jasetaylor said:

because he (JH) was unable to source one - out of stock.

I see, that is a shame; the conclusion of the video may have changed were it not out of stock.

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55 minutes ago, steffanjtaylor said:

 

I see, that is a shame; the conclusion of the video may have changed were it not out of stock.

Blimey if JH can’t get one then what hope for the great unwashed?

Surely availability is paramount here; no use having a ‘Nirvana’ machine if you can’t buy it.

nb. JH looks like he needs a good dinner.

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he has a policy that he wont review anything that he receives in a way that a consumer cant, so he wasn't able to try and get anything through a backchannel or anything.
I believe some manufacturers have sent him items in the hope of getting publicity to be then told that disqualifies them...

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2 hours ago, Gilly said:

Blimey if JH can’t get one then what hope for the great unwashed?

Surely availability is paramount here; no use having a ‘Nirvana’ machine if you can’t buy it.

nb. JH looks like he needs a good dinner.

It's not so much that it's a nirvana machine; just that a PID (and a better wand) in the PL41TEM model may have tipped the balance in the Anna's favour vs the competition. 

Availability is important, however the PL41TEM has been in stock in a few places (including at least one you could order from right now) for the last few months; I considered this model before buying a MaraX.

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Hmm. Not a great video, but only because I was expecting a different video. A more comprehensive one with detail such as @Northern_Monkey raises would have been interesting to me (us) given the weight of knowledge we already have about these machines and the class of machines above and below it.

What the video does fairly well is all that was promised...a low-fi, relatively plain speaking, oppinionated, quick take on what to spend your £500 on.

I believe he's said he'll do more in-depth videos per machine on the more expensive machines and grinders, perhaps he plans that for these too.

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