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Advice / Help on coffee set up


kmthacker
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Hello everyone, this is my first post here. I have been lurking around reading and soaking up what I can in terms of all the wisdom and the love for coffee that brings us all together. Coming to the question now 

Based on my budget and current status, I have arrived at two potential coffee making set ups for me and i'd really appreciate some guidance and wisdom from folks here:

Set up 1: Bezzera (Bz13 or even a dual boiler) or something similar + a good entry level grinder (Niche or Eureka Specialita). (approx. 1900 GBP, 2500 USD)

Set up 2: Cafelat robot or Flair 58 + WPM milk steamer (https://www.wpm.hk/en/products_detail.php?id=343) + Niche or Specialita). (half the budget of above)

Context: 1) 4 milk based drinks a day. A few more over the weekend if friends come over. 2) relatively new to this wonderful world of coffee - not so refined palate but I do like my coffee to be good and can recognize when it is good or bad 3) like to keep things low maintenance and simple. 4) Currently using wacaco nanopresso + krups + aeroccino as a temporary fix for my work from home situation.  

 Questions: 

1) Shot quality: How would you compare the texture or quality of coffee from robot to something like BZ13 or professional espresso? Mostly is it creamy/syrupy enough? I don't like watery shots.

2) multiple drinks: How significant is the workflow difference between two set ups especially when making 2 milk based drinks daily and 4-5 coffees back to back over weekends?

3) maintenance : I am not much of a DIY type guy when it comes to fixing things and prefer to keep things simple and low maintenance. So, I don't want to worry much about water quality, scaling etc. but if it is a compromise on espresso quality then i am happy to go the long mile 

4) Between flair 58 and Robot, any strong reasons to pick one over the other?

Finally,  I am open to any other guidance or alternative set ups on machines/grinder or anything as long as it is under 2500 USD. 

Thank you so much in advance.

Edited by kmthacker
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3 hours ago, kmthacker said:

3) maintenance : I am not much of a DIY type guy when it comes to fixing things and prefer to keep things simple and low maintenance. So, I don't want to worry much about water quality, scaling etc. but if it is a compromise on espresso quality then i am happy to go the long mile 

 

I think you have answered your own question. Given the above. the best option would be the Cafelat Robot as its the only one without a heating element.  (Never used one myself)

All the others will require some water care even if you live in a very soft water area. 

And of course all the machines will require some basic maintenance on a regular basis.

Personally, as a drinker of milk based drinks myself i'd go for the dual boiler, with the Niche and an Osmio Zero for the water. (the last two I have paired with a Gaggia Classic)

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you might want to move away from a classic e61 grouphead to reduce maintenance, but i'd recommend getting a proper machine over a robot. From the youtubes ive watched although a completely manual lever will be fun, i can imagine it will end up being a lot of hard work when making lots of drinks.

 

so perhaps look at the lelit elizabeth

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I guess it comes down to the question - do you want the involvement of a fully manual setup? In which case the Robot / Flair option is a good one. The espresso’s from either option will in theory be as good, but water temperature will need more ‘managing’ and certainly be more ‘faff’ with the manuals. You may not have the same basket options with the manuals either - (not sure if either are standard 58mm baskets?). It’s purely down to your preference.

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GS3 MP, Ceado E92 and E37s, Feldgrind. Niche.

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What we know, represents a drop........what we do not know, represents an ocean........at the start, you know nothing therefore it matters not whether you choose setup alb,c or z! If you have a hard think about the situation and are sure that you will stick with learning to make coffee, then buy the best set up you can. If you buy an HX machine, then it is possible fairly soon you will wish that you had bought a dual boiler! The Niche is good enough to stick with you on your journey, although quite naturally ion you have funds burning a hole in your pocket then there are many others grinders that are perceived to be better (but are they?)

So, keep on thinking it through. Buy the most advanced kit that you can and enjoy your coffee journey

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L A L A T C...........29 and counting

 

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I have no hands on experience with any of these machines but I would say as above, making multiple coffee's with the two lever machines would soon become a chore.

Bezzera have a good name but before you jump in I would do more research and look at similar machines and their reviews also looking at dual boilers.

Are you restricted for counter space ? = machine + grinder.  Whatever you have there will be maintenance.

A good grinder, good fresh beans and good water quality are all necessary components to make  good coffee with any machine you choose.

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7 minutes ago, El carajillo said:

I have no hands on experience with any of these machines but I would say as above, making multiple coffee's with the two lever machines would soon become a chore.

Bezzera have a good name but before you jump in I would do more research and look at similar machines and their reviews also looking at dual boilers.

Are you restricted for counter space ? = machine + grinder.  Whatever you have there will be maintenance.

A good grinder, good fresh beans and good water quality are all necessary components to make  good coffee with any machine you choose.

Thank you for the response and suggestions. No hard restrictions on the counter space per se. I think it is more than sufficient for a standard home espresso machine + grinder set up. Yes, the research definitely continues and it seems like an endless abyss. it is unbelievable how much time I am spending on reading and learning these things. Its almost brought about a childlike enthusiasm in me. However, I am afraid that the deeper i go the deeper i will end up digging into my pockets and might end up buying a fancy D1 or olympia cremina type set up right off the bet.  Coming back, in addition to Bezzera, other dual boiler considerations in the budget include profitec pro 300, ACS Minima or a Xenia Model H (that i am getting some discount on - so comes in the range). Not sure if you have a comparative view or recommendation on these. It'd be great to have any inputs on these. Thanks again.

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58 minutes ago, spasypaddy said:

you might want to move away from a classic e61 grouphead to reduce maintenance, but i'd recommend getting a proper machine over a robot. From the youtubes ive watched although a completely manual lever will be fun, i can imagine it will end up being a lot of hard work when making lots of drinks.

 

so perhaps look at the lelit elizabeth

@kmthacker I think the Lelit Elizabeth as suggested might be perfect for you. Compact yet a clever dual boiler, you can turn the steam boiler off when you're not using it. A lot easier than separate espresso maker and steamer unit...plus Elizabeth is a really powerful steamer and doesn't use a thermoblock. If you live in an apartment, it's the ideal machine if space is limited and very quiet, unlike most vibration pump machines.

Edited by DavecUK

CFUK, the biggest, best and most friendly forum in the UK...with a wealth of knowledge among its many members.

 

 

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16 minutes ago, DavecUK said:

@kmthacker I think the Lelit Elizabeth as suggested might be perfect for you. Compact yet a clever dual boiler, you can turn the steam boiler off when you're not using it. A lot easier than separate espresso maker and steamer unit...plus Elizabeth is a really powerful steamer and doesn't use a thermoblock. If you live in an apartment, it's the ideal machine if space is limited and very quiet, unlike most vibration pump machines.

Thank you, Dave. Quick question on that while I have you. Would you recommend elizabeth over profitec pro 300?

Edited by kmthacker
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55 minutes ago, kmthacker said:

Thank you, Dave. Quick question on that while I have you. Would you recommend elizabeth over profitec pro 300?

I have not used a Profitec pro 300. I suggest you read a comprehensive review of that machine and compare it yourself. Below is my review of the Elizabeth

https://coffeeequipmentreviews.wordpress.com/2020/05/08/lelit-elizabeth/

Find a similar review for the pro 300 that like mine, is not an advertorial, or marketing fluff and goes into a similar level detail...Ensure the reviewer really understands the machine and has extensively used it....then compare them and make your choice.

if you cannot find a detailed review like mine, and I suspect you won't...then look at the specifications of the Pro 300 and see what features appeal most to you. ECM is a good company and make quality kit, I know Michael, he is a good guy....I've just never reviewed that machine.

 

Edited by DavecUK
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CFUK, the biggest, best and most friendly forum in the UK...with a wealth of knowledge among its many members.

 

 

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I deliberated over the same dual boiler machines you mentioned (Pro 300, Elizabeth and Minima) and settled on the Minima in black paired with a Niche. It has a solenoid E61 which means maintenance is significantly easier than a more typical lever E61. In black it’s very easy to keep clean. 

I would rule out set up 2 as you entertain friends on the weekend and a dual boiler workflow will be much simpler for back to back drinks. I thought the Minima was best out of the dual boilers listed for entertaining - it’s a workhorse with big boilers and very powerful steam, albeit with a noisy pump.

With regards to water a worktop RO system would be ideal. Although it’s not the most environmentally friendly solution, suitable bottled water can also work well if you don’t want the initial outlay for RO.

 

Edited by HVL87
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29 minutes ago, HVL87 said:

I deliberated over the same dual boiler machines you mentioned (Pro 300, Elizabeth and Minima) and settled on the Minima in black paired with a Niche. It has a solenoid E61 which means maintenance is significantly easier than a more typical lever E61. In black it’s very easy to keep clean. 

I would rule out set up 2 as you entertain friends on the weekend and a dual boiler workflow will be much simpler for back to back drinks. I thought the Minima was best out of the dual boilers listed for entertaining - it’s a workhorse with big boilers and very powerful steam, albeit with a noisy pump.

With regards to water a worktop RO system would be ideal. Although it’s not the most environmentally friendly solution, suitable bottled water can also work well if you don’t want the initial outlay for RO.

 

Thank you. Very helpful.

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