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weinoo

Breville's Espresso Line

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Breville sells a fairly extensive line of espresso machines, some with built-in grinders,  others sans the grinder.

 

And I'm thinking of upgrading my espresso set-up, basically by downgrading my espresso machine - perhaps to one of the Brevilles. I'm thinking about one of their machines sans grinder, even though the grinders on their machines allegedly do a good job.

 

Now the reason for wanting to purchase a new machine has nothing to do with Miss Silvia not working - it has to do with the fact the I've become lazier about espresso (from grinding to cleanup), and want something that is less of a hassle, yet still gives me a shot or two of espresso almost the equivalent of what I can get in a cafe. And a machine that does a good job with the milk, since Significant Eater loves lattes and capps (me, not as much, but it's all about her, right?!).

 

The reviews I've read about the Bambino Plus are mostly positive; the one negative seems to be dealing with the portafilter and securing it in place; the machine itself is very light so it takes one hand holding the machine while securing the pfilter in place. Not necessarily a deal breaker, in my opinion. I like the footprint of this tiny machine.

 

Any thoughts? Any other machines I might want to look at in the under $xxx category?


Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

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The biggest downfall of the bambino is that they only ship it with pressurized portafilters, so you'd have to buy something separately to replace it. What kind of budget are you looking at?

 

I have one of the Brevilles with the built-in grinder that I bought as a backup from an auction. It makes honestly superb coffee for its price range but the solenoid is prone to failure so I'm taking it apart to replace it already. 

 

If you have a separate grinder, I'd be looking hard at a gaggia classic / classic pro when it comes to entry-level home espresso machines:

 

https://www.wholelattelove.com/products/gaggia-classic-pro

 

The Rancilio Silvia would be a next step up. You can mod one with a PID if you're interested. Or there's the Silvia Pro for a few hundred more which has a built-in PID and dual-boiler setup.

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FWIW I ponied up for the Breville Barista Express BES870XL last November and really like it. I'm not an espresso aficionado but was spending far too much at coffee shops. Between that machine regular watching of James Hoffman and Sprometheus on YouTube, I feel like I'm getting good coffees and milk. I think all of those guys would have people switch to the Niche Zero Grinder but by the time I knew that it was too late - the investment had been made.

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35 minutes ago, jimb0 said:

The biggest downfall of the bambino is that they only ship it with pressurized portafilters, so you'd have to buy something separately to replace it. What kind of budget are you looking at?

 

I have one of the Brevilles with the built-in grinder that I bought as a backup from an auction. It makes honestly superb coffee for its price range but the solenoid is prone to failure so I'm taking it apart to replace it already. 

 

If you have a separate grinder, I'd be looking hard at a gaggia classic / classic pro when it comes to entry-level home espresso machines:

 

https://www.wholelattelove.com/products/gaggia-classic-pro

 

The Rancilio Silvia would be a next step up. You can mod one with a PID if you're interested. Or there's the Silvia Pro for a few hundred more which has a built-in PID and dual-boiler setup.

 

Note...

1723747745_2018_01_2805375.thumb.JPG.3245f2c6f7310a2ecb6e30814415af91.JPG

 

Silvia (modified with PID) and Rocky. She's sad because while Rocky gets daily use, she's not being used any more. When I want a boost in the afternoon, nowadays I make a Moka pot which, when used correctly, makes a nice strong, short cup of joe (there's that James Hoffman again, @gfron1!).

 

As mentioned in my OP, I'm looking for something that will be a little more forgiving and may allow me to pull a shot in 10 minutes, as opposed to the amount of time it takes to heat Silvia. As well as being more forgiving with milk.

 

Seattle Coffee Gear actually sells the Breville Bambino "Pro"  and ships it with their own extra proprietary non-pressurized portafilters.  I'll take a further look at those Gaggia products. 


Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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I'll be interested in what you find.  My current machine is a Lelit, which is sort of a mini-Silvia... smaller boiler, faster heating up, lots of heavy brass for thermal stability.  I'm wondering what the little light modern things are able to do.  Report back if you get one.


Christopher D. Holst aka "cdh"

Learn to brew beer with my eGCI course

Chris Holst, Attorney-at-Lunch

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Aha! Hilarious. I feel you, though, it's why I don't use a giant multi-boiler machine anymore either. 

 

The 870XL that @gfron1 mentioned is what I picked up and like I said it's good. But since you already have a grinder, I'd avoid it. Aside from complexity and size and the chances of something else breaking down, it makes a mess and spews ground coffee all over the place. The bambino is probably a good option if you want something smaller than the gaggia, or just their entry level normal espresso maker that doesn't have the grinder if you don't mind something larger.

 

There's also models from places like delonghi - the dedica is absolutely small and neat, though it also comes with a pressurized portafilter by default. 

 

In all fairness, I couldn't tell you much about their steaming capabilities, though. I never steam dairy; all my espresso is either straight, with a little dairy, or as americanos.

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I actually never steam dairy, but boy would my wife like it if I made lattes for her!

 

My other thought was just to can the espresso idea altogether, and get a high quality automatic brewer; something like a Technivorm. But then I read reviews about the Technivorm, and they are not all that. People complain about plastic, etc. etc.

Oxo looked like it was gonna offer an 8-cup version of its highly rated 10-cup auto brewer, but I don't know when and if that's really gonna happen.


Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

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Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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I'm with SE and vote for the latte option. Do most of those espresso makers w/steamed milk make enough milk for a latte? I don't have an espresso maker, but if I want foamy milk in my coffee I have to heat the milk in the microwave and then use my little hand-held frother. It works fairly well, but it's all about technique and the quantity is limited. A bother to be sure, so usually I just don't.

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33 minutes ago, weinoo said:

I actually never steam dairy, but boy would my wife like it if I made lattes for her!

 

My other thought was just to can the espresso idea altogether, and get a high quality automatic brewer; something like a Technivorm. But then I read reviews about the Technivorm, and they are not all that. People complain about plastic, etc. etc.

Oxo looked like it was gonna offer an 8-cup version of its highly rated 10-cup auto brewer, but I don't know when and if that's really gonna happen.

 

I can't say enough good things about the Bonavita BV1900ts we've got. Thermal carafe, though preheating it with hot water isn't really necessary if you don't need it to stay hot for hours. With a large enough filter I can put in about 70 grams, though 60g is a good limit. Very stable / repeatable brews to let you dial in your grind. Grounds are flat post-brew, no cratering or anything. 

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@weinoo 

 

interesting questions 

 

Ill give them serious thought overnight.

 

more tomorrow I hope.

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Posted (edited)

@weinoo 

 

 

well  no phantasmagoric dreams about Flying Espresso Machines   last night.

 

not that i remember anyway ...

 

"  I've become lazier about espresso (from grinding to cleanup), and want something that is less of a hassle, yet still gives me a shot or two of espresso almost the equivalent of what I can get in a cafe. ""

 

Espresso requires some work , for a decent cup, 

 

once one has a comparable line of equipment that , in series , is matched component to component 

 

ie a cheaper grinder may not bring out the ' best ' in a more expensive Extractor , and visa-versa

 

Home-Barista  has lot of good information on many many machines and grinders  ;  Breville:

 

https://www.home-barista.com/search-results.html?q=breveile&ie=ISO-8859-1&cof=FORID%3A9&cx=partner-pub-1874394195286019%3Aih80ev-qwtj&sa=Search&siteurl=www.home-barista.com%2Fsearch.php&ref=www.home-barista.com%2Fforums%2Fcontribute%3Faction%3Dpromote&ss=1921j946771j8

 

https://www.home-barista.com/espresso-machines/questions-about-breville-bambino-plus-t65274.html#p717640

 

I dont see what you are going to get out of the Bambino , that you are not already getting out of the Silvia.

 

if the two ( Silvia Bambino )  are of equal quality , construction and ease of use , and Im not sure of that ,

the work for an espresso in the cup seems similar.  you are not going to get  decent espresso

 

w/o the effort and skill in doing the tamping, etc.   That's the crucial step in the  series chain for a good to excellent espresso 

 

is it possible you really want a new machine?  After all , nothing wrong w that.  Breville seems to have striking designs

 

over most of their lines.  if you do go for Breville , Id consider 

 

https://www.breville.com/us/en/products/espresso/bes840.html   

 

a pressure gauge is very useful , but Id make sure you can set the pressure somewhere inside the machine , once. and the brew-head temp.

 

and id comes in RED !  that will wake you up in the AM !

 

then there are Super-Automatics :

 

https://www.home-barista.com/advice/super-automatic-espresso-machines-t14118.html

 

https://www.home-barista.com/espresso-machines/super-automatic-vs-automatic-vs-semi-t1528.html

 

I think they are expensive .  

 

so Id say , getting a new machine is a great deal of fun

 

but its going to be the same amount of work for you compared for what you have a now.

 

and any machine that you hope to get Barista Espresso out of should have a pressure and temp adjustment

 

you do this only once.

 

no Wine ( or Whine ) just yet .    a home roasted Guatemala ,as a drip so far today.

 

to go back to your original question :

 

I dont think you are going to get equivalent ' cafe espresso '

 

for less ' hassle ' or as Id call it :  personal involvement in the process.

 

then there are these ( always check Amazon ) :

 

https://www.amazon.com/super-automatic-espresso-machines/b?ie=UTF8&node=14162671

 

I had a ' shot ' from a Jura being demo'd a long time ago :

 

2000 or so ?     it was an elegant looking machine , more expensive than

 

the current crop , the shot had good crema ( robusta in the bean mix ?  )

 

not very complex flavor  ( bean mix and roasting ? )

 

and it did not, back then,  have very much body , ie emulsion 

 

it was just ' strong ' coffee w crema  , one button , done

 

coming out of an impressive design.   things may have changed .

 

one last thing :  I gifted a SupperEsspresso  to neighbors 

 

who extensively helped me sell the home I grew up in , in the S.BayArea

 

about 2003.   SM no longer carries this sort of machine, and I bought it from them.

 

 They told me that machine  was much better than the stuff at W-S etc.  It was the only S-A they carried. It was about 1,000 back then. ( W-S was doing the demo on the Jura's )

 

the neighbors loved this machine .  ease of use  ( built in grinder , tamping etc )

 

push button , espresso in the cup.   they were very kind to my father in his later days

 

and very helpful to me w ideas on how to sell that house.  for the joy they got

 

out of that machine , it was a very very small price to pay.

 

and they ordered roasted coffee from SM every few weeks for it.

 

Im wondering if the Amazon SuperAutomatics have a fair return policy 

 

if you are not satisfied ?   they might work far better these days than days gone by

 

and you, of course , will be using far better beans these days than demo'd back then


Edited by rotuts (log)
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1 hour ago, rotuts said:

I dont see what you are going to get out of the Bambino , that you are not already getting out of the Silvia.

The Bambino evidently makes steaming milk a no-brainer, something my wife would enjoy having, and something which I've never done with Silvia.

The Bambino has a smaller footprint than Silvia, which has literally not made an espresso in a long time.

The Bambino, I'm guessing, would not generate the same amount of heat that a fully heated up Silvia does.

The Bambino, I'm guessing, is not as temperamental as Silvia.

 

 

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Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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So, after reading lots and lots of reviews, reading stuff here, yada, yada, yada, I decided to:

 

420776805_SilviaIMG_1482.jpeg.44057ecf8091be220e14d555951af559.jpeg

 

1216726306_SilviaIMG_1483.jpeg.2a3ab135a17504b1dd50afeccb335e30.jpeg

 

1322038944_SilviaIMG_1484.jpeg.53f986233d1751c45133ffd056245fd4.jpeg

 

Give her a mini-overhaul, major clean, and see if she'll give me a second (or third) chance. I cleaned inside and out, and replaced the grouphead gasket. And someone needs to tell me how it's possible, that after 10 years or more, the gasket came out in one piece and is actually still in usable shape? I realize I didn't use the machine a ton, and I realize I take care of my kitchen equipment somewhat obsessively, but?

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Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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20 minutes ago, weinoo said:

[...]mini-overhaul, major clean, and see if she'll give me a second (or third) chance. I cleaned inside and out, and replaced the grouphead gasket. And someone needs to tell me how it's possible, that after 10 years or more, the gasket came out in one piece and is actually still in usable shape? I realize I didn't use the machine a ton, and I realize I take care of my kitchen equipment somewhat obsessively, but?

 

Was it silicone instead of rubber? Did you obsessively turn the machine off after using it?  Heat degrades the rubber and makes it harden up over time... so my guesses are either no rubber, or a lot less heat. 

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Christopher D. Holst aka "cdh"

Learn to brew beer with my eGCI course

Chris Holst, Attorney-at-Lunch

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Just now, cdh said:

Was it silicone instead of rubber? Did you obsessively turn the machine off after using it?  Heat degrades the rubber and makes it harden up over time... so my guesses are either no rubber, or a lot less heat. 

It was the original gasket that came with the machine, so my guess is rubber.

 

I totally turned the machine off after using it, after cleaning the grouphead,  and after filling the boiler with cool water by running the steam wand hot water switch.

 

Obsessive might be the right word. 


Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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@weinoo 

 

I dont think you will be disappointed in your choice

 

I think Silvia is a much better machine.

 

of course , the next upgrade would be :

 

https://www.chriscoffee.com/collections/espresso-machines/products/quick-mill-alexia-evo

 

and

 

https://www.chriscoffee.com/collections/compak/products/compak-k3-touch-espresso-grinder

 

I moved from the Silvia to these 10 - 12 years ago

 

and they were cheaper then !

 

noticeable difference.      a 75 - 85  rating cup =>   92 - 95 

 

but its my only hobby these days.

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