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Advice, newbie about to invest in first full set-up


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I've been umming and debating on buy a proper espresso machine and grinder for a long time since wfh and decide now is time to plunge but am so confused with the many options. I'll be building up my skills but don't tend to have more than one or two cups a day and if we ever get guests in homes again, then might pull some for friends when they come over. I want to be able to brew at the same time as steaming.

I am currently using a v60, but miss espresso's. My partner loves mochas and cappuccinos, so would love to learn to make those. I want to buy a machine that I can grow into, not lose too much value but not too hard to use and I am not good/don't really want to mod my machine.

I'd like something that can be reliable, serviced/fixed if it goes wrong if bought preowned. And if new, would like it to be guaranteed. 

With my use case, I don't need a grinder that can have beans in a hopper, but the convenience would be great (but worried about the beans if sat too long). 

Reading the new member guides I got even more confused...so I thought I'd finally post for help.

I was looking at the:

- Nuova Simonelli Musica Lux

Lelit Bianca

- Rancilio Silvia

- Lelit Mara X

 

re: Grinders, I'd like to buy a Niche Zero but none are available and unknown when they will be available again.

So also looking at the following ones in the meantime:

- Sette 270wi

- Eureka Mignon Specialita

 

I have been looking at the sale page, but nothing has come up so far sadly.

Thanks for any advice/help in advance.

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Hi @CuriousC

I am a complete newbie so I cannot provide much advice. 

Currently, @ratty is selling two Gaggia Classic fully refurbished. Actually, I just got one myself.

As far as I know, Gaggia Classic is a good machine to start with.

By the way, I think you need to have 5 posts to be able to post on the for sale section. It is pretty easy. Just introduce yourself in the introduction section and possibly say hi to other newbies and you'll be there.

I hope it helps!

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On 12/11/2020 at 21:33, CuriousC said:

I was looking at the:

- Nuova Simonelli Musica Lux

Lelit Bianca

- Rancilio Silvia

- Lelit Mara X

The machines you mentioned range from a single boiler no-pid machine that needs temp surfing and costs ~£500 (Silvia), via HX for ~£950 (Mara X), to dual boiler for ~£1,800 (Bianca)...

It will be quite difficult to focus when you are looking at a spectrum that wide. Do you know the basic differences between single boiler, HX and dual boiler? Do you know what a PID or temp surfing are? If you do, then try to think what is important for you and how much you want to invest. If not, try to learn what those terms mean first (tons of info on the internet, or ask and people will be happy to explain), then try to narrow it down a little.

Having said the above, if you can afford it, I would suggest a machine that can keep the correct temperature without temp surfing. You said you don't want to mod a machine, so this excludes the Silvia (unless you buy a used one which already has a PID installed. I would also say that unless money is no objection at all, you don't need your first machine to be a dual boiler with flow control for £1,800 (exit Bianca). You are then left with the obvious choice of Mara X: compact, solid machine, relatively simple to use, can control temperature well, good steam power, quiet. It is also currently unique in the market, being an HX machine that controls brew temperature without the need for cooling flushes. This makes it extremely popular, which means it is likely to hold its value if you decide you want out of this stupid coffee thing, or you actually love it and want to explore the rabbit hole. So from the options you mentioned, if you have the money, I would say Mara X + Niche (you need a little patience, but you can buy one), will be a very nice first set up.

Edited by Doram
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My first machine was Silvia (still is, actually, just about to upgrade), 10 years old, reliable, no modifications, temp surfing for one person is not a problem, but for two it is more problematic. From your choice I would opt for MaraX,  it seems to be straightforward machine plus you can do modifications later if you choose to do so. Look at the Elizabeth too, I know it is not everyone's prefered style, but it is actually very similar to Silvia in build and you did place Silvia on the list. Compared to Silvia it is much easier to operate, since it has precise temperature control and is dual boiler. And the offerings on BlackCat's website look very good too, I'm still pondering about those machines🙂, it is quite difficult to choose.

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I don't have one, but I would be very wary of the Sette 270wi, even as a gap-filler. Note that it is a very different animal, in terms of how it is used, to the Niche. You may want to do a few searches for yourself regarding reliability, or check out this video:

 

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@doram Thanks for the advice, yes I know it is widely varied in terms of machines and price. I do have the funds to afford the range, but want to get something sensible and reading the internet into these terms has been information overload in a short period. Good thing Christmas is coming up!

I will look more heavily into the Mara X and google those terms you mentioned. Thou happily I just got my Niche Zero pre-order in for February this weekend, so I still have some time to deliberate and continue using my v60 / aeropress in the interm.

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I've had a Sette 270wi for just over a year and I love it - apart from the fact that it sounds like a chainsaw which is just TOO LOUD in the early mornings - and wish I hadn't just watched that video. Ah well, you live and learn! Hopefully I'll get another year or two out of it before it grinds itself out of action, or I upgrade it...

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Grinder wise if waiting for a niche (get into he waiting list)  a used commercial machine can be a good stop gap solid, reliable, hold value, a mazer super jolly or similar May pop up or be sat gathering dust.

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Yeah, if they offered the Sette with an optional metal gearbox, it'd be a brilliant grinder. Until then, it is what it is, mostly plastic.

If you really want a solid grinder to use while waiting for a Niche, then a Mignon will hold its value well. 

For the machine, if you want to do a lot of milk drinks, then a machine with a dual boiler or HX will hold up better. I'd suggest a dual boiler is slightly easier for a new hobbyist as an HX will need cooling flushes and such where a dual boiler often won't, but check the specifics of each model before you buy. A long phone call with Bella Barista may be in order.

I'd also suggest that for a machine to grow into , the Musica line is probably not what you want. Programmed dose buttons are great for those who want the easy life, or a commercial environment where pulling shots every 3 or 4 minutes is the order of the day, you'd be reprogramming it every time for every new bean you try.

At the other end, the Sylvia (and it's close competitors the Bezzera Hobby and Gaggia Classic) are pretty much the go to options for beginners, tho inherently limited as single boiler machines. A single boiler will need to heat up to steam, and cool again to brew another shot, so brewing at the same time as steaming is out on all of them. All 3 hold value reasonably well, but they aren't top end machines even fully tricked out with all the mods and options. On one hand, they're a less expensive entry point to determine if you want a new hobby or not, but you will pay out more overall if you then go to a far more capable machine, and you'd have to put up with brew then steam.

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6 hours ago, allikat said:

Programmed dose buttons are great for those who want the easy life,

The Elizabeth has time-programmed buttons. What do most of us do? Set them to something like 70 seconds. Why? Because, no matter what you do, there are many other things which influence shot timing, like ambient temperature, humidity, basket prep, temperature, etc etc. I often find my shots are in the same ball bark, often within one or two seconds from the target, plus or minus. Personally, for the hobbyists or enthusiastic, its unnecessary. However, if you don’t care, and just wants to have your shots at always at 32 seconds, then it’s great. 

6 hours ago, allikat said:

A single boiler will need to heat up to steam, and cool again to brew another shot, so brewing at the same time as steaming is out on all of them

In a Single Boiler Dual Use machine (SBDU) you’ll also need to fill up the boiler manually after steaming, and, likewise, empty it slightly to have some headspace before steaming. Steaming milk becomes a chore IMO. If you are into milk based drinks, stay away from SBDUs. Those who never owned and HX or DB often say that “It’s OK” and they “don’t mind”. Having owned both, I can tell you I’ll never go back to an SBDU.

 

edit: great advice from the post above. My comments here are expanding on it, and not directed to @allikat.

Edited by MediumRoastSteam
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Current: Lelit Elizabeth / Niche Zero / VST baskets / Distilled water + 100mg NaCO3/L

Previous: Gaggia Classic | Eureka Mignon | Rocket Cellini Evo | Profitec 700 | Profitec T-64 | Gene Cafe CBR-101 | Kinu M68 | Feldgrind 2 | La Pavoni Europiccola 2012

Also at: CoffeeTime Forum & Niche Zero Owners Group

 

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  • 1 month later...

I think I'm now closing on the Mara X and the Niche Zero. Thank you for everyone's advice. Now to dig into more if I need to invest in a reverse osmosis machine too... Thou I do live in a soft water area but can make heads or tails of it really.... 

 

Need those posts to see if I can buy the one in sale/swap... 

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I think I'm now closing on the Mara X and the Niche Zero. Thank you for everyone's advice. Now to dig into more if I need to invest in a reverse osmosis machine too... Thou I do live in a soft water area but can make heads or tails of it really.... 
 
Need those posts to see if I can buy the one in sale/swap... 

Mark from Osmio has a special offer running(until Jan) if you look under the discounts & offers area of the forum [emoji1303]


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My first machine was Silvia (still is, actually, just about to upgrade), 10 years old, reliable, no modifications, temp surfing for one person is not a problem, but for two it is more problematic. From your choice I would opt for MaraX,  it seems to be straightforward machine plus you can do modifications later if you choose to do so. Look at the Elizabeth too, I know it is not everyone's prefered style, but it is actually very similar to Silvia in build and you did place Silvia on the list. Compared to Silvia it is much easier to operate, since it has precise temperature control and is dual boiler. And the offerings on BlackCat's website look very good too, I'm still pondering about those machines[emoji846], it is quite difficult to choose.
Don't forget about the new Silvia Pro with PID and double boiler. Poor Silvia Pro, almost no one talks about her only about Marax and Elizabeth :). I am joking but unfortunately the high price doesn't do any justice to the new Rancilio. I have it and I am more than happy.

Sent from my ALP-L09 using Tapatalk

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