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I may have painted myself into a corner - your assistance much appreciated!

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Folks, would love some of your expert help, for I fear I may have painted myself into a corner. I panic-bought a Sage Dose Control Pro when it went on a deal here in the UK and I want to move on from my faithful Nespresso machine of 6 years.

Now, I know a lot of you are going to say "you shouldn't have bought that grinder".....but I have.

Onwards now to the espresso machine. 5 coffees a day, some espresso, some flat whites - and not all for me. I don't yet know how deep down the espresso rabbit hole I want to go (nespresso is so easy) and so considering one of the following approaches:

  1. Sage Bambino Plus - quick on, little maintenance.
  2. Lelit Mara X - gets amazing reviews.

Later, I may look to get a Niche Zero when the next batch is released.

I'm unsure of budget, but there's a bit of me that's worried about dropping over £1000 on some coffee stuff to realise later that I was perfectly happy with my old Nespresso machine given its simplicity.

Any recommendations, suggestions most welcome!

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26 minutes ago, Flashy Dave said:

..."you shouldn't have bought that grinder"...

h ha lol 😂 sorry i just couldn't help myself.



ok ok i'll get me coat.

Jokes aside, welcome to the forum Dave, i hope you enjoy your stay and have fun....FWIW if it was me buying either of those machines then it'd be the Lelit hands down for me....YMMV.

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“Rincewind wasn't used to people being pleased to see him. It was unnatural, and boded no good. These people were not only cheering, they were throwing flowers and hats. The hats were made out of stone, but the thought was there.”

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Welcome! I'm fairly new to this forum myself but know a little about both of these machines. The mara X and the Bambino are completely different machines so it's hard to say which is best for you!

All of us on here love espresso and as such you may get a lot of replies for the more prosumer lelit mara X (It's what I would choose). However, I personally think it can be beneficial to learn on something like the Bambino or the duo temp so you know where your money goes when/if you upgrade to something better further down the line.

With the Bambino you're paying for ease, there's a lot of nice technology built in to make it an easy to use beginners espresso machine. Having said that, the prices on the Bambinos have gone up a lot over the last year making it a tough decision as to whether it's worth it!

My recommendation would be to have a look on the  "For sale" section and see if there's something that you like the look of. While second hand might not be what you initially planned it can be a great way to test out if you like using an espresso machine before spending money on the lelit. You could also then resell the other machine back on here!

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Mara X.

It will hold its value much better than the Bambino and you will have 58mm accessories (tampers, funnels, distributors etc) that you can carry over to other machines and that lots of people can use if you want to sell them. It's a bit of a false economy buying cheaper machines that you'll upgrade from later, even when you think you might pack it in and sell up you'll lose less money shifting a Mara X than a two year old Bambino (or any Sage machine really) with no warranty.

When you say "little maintenance" for the Bambino what is it you have in mind? 

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The Mara X every time, better built machine, far easier to steam with than the Sage and will, after a learning period produce far better quality drinks than the Sage.
If you haven’t had a manually operated coffee machine before, you’ll take a couple of weeks to get the hang of it properly, but expect that and you’ll be fine.

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Also may want to consider Elizabeth if budget allows for ease of use.


Also had the Anita for many years and was happy sold it without losing too much value as well. As Lelit has become more popular since I purchased. 

e61 never tried one but will have slower heat up time I suspect if that bothers you. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hey - so health warning on this post - i know NOTHING about coffee or espresso but you asked for an opinion so here goes ....

I decided about 6-8 weeks ago i fancied learning more about coffee (espresso in particular)  - did some research (didn't understand any of it, stumbled around some reviews (didn't understand most of that) - eventually stumbled across a review on coffeeblog.co.uk  - about the Sage Bambino Plus - liked that it was small, easy to use (inc. automatic milk steaming) and wasnt that expensive. I looked at some Gaggia Classic's but was unsure if my skill would cope - i wanted to give myself the best chance of initial success.

So for the last 4 weeks have had the Bambino Plus, found a BNIB one on Ebay for £320 - which seemed ok if not a great price. For the first few days i was ready to give up - coffee spraying all over the place - 1 shot taking 15 seconds, the next 45, pucks sticking to machine, mess like you wouldnt believe - the one saving grace was the auto milk steaming which works pretty well (an infinitely better than anything i can do). Gradually i have got the hang of it (ish), and feel like i can walk up to the machine and make something drinkable in less than 5 mins from switching the machine on but i am aware i am on a machine which i will want to get rid of soon.

Now waiting for the next round of Niche grinders to be available, plus trying to decide between the Mara X or Bianca, although not for a while.

So - the long and the short of it - if i knew 4 weeks ago what i know now, i prob would have gone straight for the Mara X (i think that is why most people on the forum will recommend it - it is the sensible choice - better machine, more scope for improvement, will last longer, hold its value, looks nicer etc.) - BUT and this is the big but, i am still happy with my decision - it meant i could give espresso a go for not that much money, it reduced my stress when it was all going wrong at the start - if i had just sunk £1500 on machine and grinder and was hating it that would have been awful.

So the point of my post is - i would recommend thinking what do you think you will regret most - spending >£1000 on machines you dont get on with and then need to sell or spending less on something which you may well want to upgrade from in a few weeks. For me i would have hated the first more - so although i am now contemplating what is the shortest reasonable time i need to keep the bambino plus to avoid WW3 with my wife - i am still pretty happy and best of all - i am embarking on a new hobby and it seems quite fun - although i am still massively daunted by most of what appears on this forum.

Good luck whatever you decide 🙂


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13 hours ago, jonr2 said:

...i need to keep the bambino plus to avoid WW3 with my wife - i am still pretty happy and best of all - i am embarking on a new hobby and it seems quite fun...

Ahhh a wise man i see :classic_wink: ....SWMBO must be "kept-sweet" otherwise 🚑 ....glad your still happy; that's all that matters, that and having fun 👍

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“Rincewind wasn't used to people being pleased to see him. It was unnatural, and boded no good. These people were not only cheering, they were throwing flowers and hats. The hats were made out of stone, but the thought was there.”

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