HomeRoast Digest

Topic: Reselecting my first espresso machine (was Aaaaarrrrgggggghhh!!!!) (7 msgs / 249 lines)
1) From: Rudy Ramsey
OK, let's start all over. I'll admit that I wondered whether or not the
Rancilio Sylvia was still the best choice for me now that a year has passed.
I'm willing to repeat the whole selection process. I'm really expecting to
purchase just one of these, though I know that many of you have found
yourselves upgrading from time to time.
Can you guys suggest the best process for selecting a machine from what's
available now? I'm not too interested in a four-digit price tag, and I'm the
only coffee drinker in the house. I've never pulled a shot, though it's
possible that I could wangle a mini-course from a local barista.
I like lattes and capucinos, but would really like a good at-home espresso
experience. There are two good coffee shops that I've found in the Denver
area (Calder's and Novo), but they're a long way away from Parker, where I
live. So I don't get good espresso often. Much of the time, what I'm able to
buy in local shops has no detectable crema at all. And I know that home
roasters can often do better, at least to our own tastes, than what we can
get in the shops, anyway. I've certainly found that to be true with brewed
But I digress. What are the right resources to use for selecting an espresso
machine? And, Mike, what are the three on-line sources you mentioned?
To get you calibrated with respect to my level of knowledge, I'm not sure
what an HX machine is, though I must have known that back when I was trying
to choose. Maybe they were all out of my price range, which is a bit more
flexible now.
All suggestions gratefully received.

2) From: Rich M
You and I are basically in the same boat. Relative newcomers to the  
world of espresso making, but willing to jump off and give it a try.   
My machine is scheduled for delivery on 2/22 (tomorrow)!  First, HX  
machine has only one boiler, but through an engineering miracle  
(separate tube running through the boiler, etc) allows for the making  
of milk drinks without waiting for the temp to increase. Since we  
like straight espresso AND milk drinks this seemed like the route to  
go for me.  I, too, was not fond of the price tags for the double  
boiler machines!
The next thing you have to look at is what you want the machine to  
do. My sister has a top-of-the-line super auto that does everything.  
One push of a button and your espresso is made. Myself, I just bought  
a new Rocky grinder so why would I want my machine to do the grinding  
and tamping for me? I look forward to getting a tamper from Les in  
the near future. There are other features that the machines have; you  
just have to decide which ones you want and which you are willing to  
pay for.
As far as my machine goes, I was set on the Expobar Office Control.  
In fact, I had a price lined up and came within a day of ordering it.  
I then got a good opportunity on the Quick Mill  "Anita".  Used, but  
only slightly so. Did a bit more research and became convinced it was  
a better machine for me. (No qualms, though, had I gotten the  
Expobar).  Now, I await delivery and will start experimenting.
Just a note to all who know much more than I-- feel free to correct  
me on anything I said. The above info was just my experience and  
understanding.  Hope it helps.
Rich M
On Feb 22, 2007, at 10:29 AM, Rudy Ramsey wrote:

3) From: Rudy Ramsey
Thanks, Rich. That was useful. Can you suggest any particular information
resources that were especially valuable to you in understanding the
differences among the machines or making the actual choice?

4) From: Rudy Ramsey
I'd like to thank Paul, Rich, Derek, David, Les and Mike(s) for a bunch of
very helpful comments.
First, you guys convinced me that I want an HX machine. Second, several of
you made comments that caused me to take a look at lever machines, which I
otherwise might not even have considered.
I'm currently thinking of getting a Gaggia Achille. Everything I read about
it sounds really good, and I've decided it's probably worthwhile for me to
spring for the required larger budget. I wanted to ask one last time,
though, if there's anything else I should be seriously considering as an
The situation is that I'm a sole coffee drinker, though I certainly enjoy
putting on a coffee show on those somewhat infrequent occasions that we're
entertaining. Such a show might be lots more fun once I have an espresso
machine. Though I'm not highly skilled yet, the main attraction of home
roasting for me has been the "in touch with the coffee" aspect of the
experience, so it seems as if a lever machine is the right idea. And I do
like lattes and cappucino, so a machine with good steaming capabilities is
clearly warranted. The point I missed back when I was planning to get a
Rancilio Sylvia was that the different designs really vary in their ability
to do this. I thought it was all about the espresso.
Anyway, if anyone speaks up before I can't stand it anymore and I place my
order for an Achille (I get antsy when I think I know what I'm going to
get), I'll be happy to consider alternatives.
Also, if anyone has suggestions (other than those I've already privately
received, for which I thank the senders) about where I should buy such a
machine for best service and good-business-well-run points, I would be
grateful for the suggestions.

5) From: Ross
Try 1st Line Equipment.  Do a google for their site.  They are great, price, 
sales, and service ect.  Sounds like you are getting a great machine.
Good Luck,

6) From: Ross
My appologies that was supposed to be off line.

7) From: miKe mcKoffee
Since you're seriously considering a HX Lever machine, I'd very seriously
check-out the Elektra Microcasa Semiautomatica too. Herehttp://www.home-barista.com/elektra-semiautomatica-buyers-guide.htmlKona Konnaisseur miKe mcKoffee
URL to Rosto mods, FrankenFormer, some recipes etc:http://mdmint.home.comcast.net/coffee/Rosto_mod.htmUltimately the quest for Koffee Nirvana is a solitary path. To know I must
first not know. And in knowing know I know not. Each Personal enlightenment
found exploring the many divergent foot steps of Those who have gone before.
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