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Espresso machine prices in Quebec


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Am gearing up (and salting away) to buy a new espresso machine. While sticker shock is a common occurence here in la belle province, especially for heat exchanger and two-boiler machines, I think I've just run across the jaw-droppingest price of all.

The QuickMill Eliane is a single-boiler, non-heat exchanger machine with the coveted E61 grouphead.

Current price at 1st Line: US$699. Estimated price for delivery to your Montreal doorstep (including foreign exchange, shipping, duty and GST/QST): C$1,000–C$1,100.

Current price at Café Union in Montreal's Little Italy: C$1,795. Price including GST/QST but excluding delivery: C$2,066.

In other words, we're talking double the price to buy the machine from a local merchant. The strange thing is that the Eliane's big sister, the QuickMill Andreja, a bigger machine with a heat exchanger and a dedicated hot-water wand, lists for a mere C$200 more at Café Union. C$1,995 almost seems like a bargain, until you notice that 1st Line has the same machine for US$995.

Will someone please make the case that local espresso machine retailers aren't taking us to the cleaners, that you wouldn't be a fool to buy an Eliane from Café Union? Haven't local merchants heard of the Internet? Why do they seem intent on pushing us to take our business and dollars out of province?

Edited by carswell (log)
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Am gearing up (and salting away) to buy a new espresso machine. While sticker shock is a common occurence here in la belle province, especially for heat exchanger and two-boiler machines, I think I've just run across the jaw-droppingest price of all.

The QuickMill Eliane is a single-boiler, non-heat exchanger machine with the coveted E61 grouphead.

Current price at 1st Line: US$699. Estimated price for delivery to your Montreal doorstep (including foreign exchange, shipping, duty and GST/QST): C$1,000–C$1,100.

Current price at Café Union in Montreal's Little Italy: C$1,795. Price including GST/QST but excluding delivery: C$2,066.

In other words, we're talking double the price to buy the machine from a local merchant. The strange thing is that the Eliane's big sister, the QuickMill Andreja, a bigger machine with a heat exchanger and a dedicated hot-water wand, lists for a mere C$200 more at Café Union. C$1,995 almost seems like a bargain, until you notice that 1st Line has the same machine for US$995.

Will someone please make the case that local espresso machine retailers aren't taking us to the cleaners, that you wouldn't be a fool to buy an Eliane from Café Union? Haven't local merchants heard of the Internet? Why do they seem intent on pushing us to take our business and dollars out of province?

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Could not agree more. I am a big fan of Union's coffee but their retail machine prices are over the top. I view it like a Software/Firmware/Hardware situation with the coffee as the software, the service as the firmware and the machine and grinder as the hardware. You often need different suppliers!

So our hardware/firmware comes from the Daily Grind in Albany at great prices, our software from Union, Mocha Joe's in Brattelboro Vt. and occasional Gerard Van Houtte blends.

Our Ranciliio Sylvia and Rocky are basic and very reliable. Am going to wait a year or 2 before buying new hardware.

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Carswell, did you consider brokerage fees?

I have been jabbed -- big time -- on brokerage fees that sometimes amount to half of the price of the item purchased. Well of course that's quite a range between a box of chocolates and a coffee machine. Nevertheless, be sure the UPS guys don't nail you with them. I have sent back two items due to ludicrous brokerage fees.

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did you consider brokerage fees?

Yep, I was including them under shipping. Apparently they can vary greatly, depending on the shipping method and carrier. A while back, Chris' Coffee Service in Albany was paying both borkerage and shipping on most orders to Canada. Don't know what their policy is these days.

Edited by carswell (log)
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By the way, people should feel free to use this thread for sharing other horror stories (maybe we can shame the merchants into lowering their prices) and leads to good buys (anyone who points me to an Expobar Brewtus for under C$1,000 delivered will earn my eternal gratitude and a year's worth of free lattes).

In the lead department, Toronto's Green Beanery is selling the crème de la crème of domestic grinders, the Mazzer Mini for $529, a price that compares well with US retailers' (the last price I saw quoted in the Montreal area was $850 at the now-defunct Dezco); plus, while you pay for delivery, you don't pay PST. Also, Edmonton's Caffe Tech has become the Canadian distributor for the Chris' Coffee upgrade of the QuickMill Andreja, the Andreja Premium. If believe I recall reading that Caffe Tech's pricetag was about C$200 less than Café Union's for the standard Andreja.

In the horror story department, prices for Innova's stylish line of espresso machines appear to be spiking. Last I checked, the Arc could be found around town for $400 to $450 but is now going for $723 at Green Beanery. Similarly, Café Union lists the polished aluminum Dream for $650; Green Beanery has what I assume is the same machine for a cool $1,084.

Edited by carswell (log)
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oh yeah, the retail here is just laughably marked up, and the service snotty. I trawled the shops with my espresso machine-expert buddy and was treated like an idiot at Mali. My solution was to order from whole latte love and get them to ship my beloved expobar (office, I think) and rancilio to a hotel I was going to be staying at in Chicago for a cousin's wedding. The duty I paid at the airport was minimal.

Actually, the mark up is not laughable in the slightest. It's downright appalling and infuriating.

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oh yeah, the retail here is just laughably marked up, and the service snotty. I trawled the shops with my espresso machine-expert buddy and was treated like an idiot at Mali. My solution was to order from whole latte love and get them to ship my beloved expobar (office, I think) and rancilio to a hotel I was going to be staying at in Chicago for a cousin's wedding. The duty I paid at the airport was minimal.

Actually, the mark up is not laughable in the slightest. It's downright appalling and infuriating.

I agree with meaveH on this one. I had done some research and was willing to plunk down some semi-serious money on a machine. I had a couple in mind, but all the stored were terrible. I felt as if I was disturbing them. And heaven forbid I would ask a question or two. So I left and kinda gave up on the whole gourmet coffee insanity. My low end machine is good enough for now. Maybe when I go down to NYC, I'll poke around a few stores. I'm sure the service will be infinitely better.

maxanon

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I trawled the shops with my espresso machine-expert buddy and was treated like an idiot at Mali.

Mali is the worst of the bunch. At least the staff at Café Union are friendly and give you the impression they care. A few years ago, I was obsessing over the Isomac Zeffiro and overjoyed to learn it had a Montreal distributor, namely Mali. I trundled off to the store, had sticker shock at the price (C$1,900 vs. US$800 from Chris' Coffee, IIRC) and was disgusted by the staff's "you ignorant non-Gucci wearer, why are you making me waste my time on you" attitude and outright lies ("our grinders are the best period; none of that Mazzer Mini crap"). I haven't set foot in the place since.

Maybe when I go down to NYC, I'll poke around a few stores.  I'm sure the service will be infinitely better.

People over on the coffee board know more about this than I do, but it's my impression that the city isn't a great place to go espresso machine shopping. Just about everyone, including many Canadians, recommends dealing with one of the online merchants (Chris' Coffee, The Daily Grind, 1st Line, Whole Latte Love, Espresso Parts Northwest, Sweet Maria's, etc.) from both a price and service standpoint. The first two on the list have the advantage of being located in the Albany, NY, area (i.e. a five-hour drive from Montreal).

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The reality is that some of the people at Mali are actually quite knowledgeable, unlike some other shops where, if you ask the difference between two machines, all they can say is that "this one is better". Personality and attitude, however, are something else, and they are generally quite miserable to deal with. Their arrogance knows no bounds.

As far as price is considered, I bought a Wega Mininova (a great heat exchanger machine, by the way) for $2000 from a place in Vancouver, Casa Del Caffe, on the internet. The non-negotiable price at Mali was close to $3000.

It wasn't too hard to decide.

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do you guys consider the extra costs of having a retails store? this of course will add to the cost of buying locale. i find it best to support the locale retailers

i agree that the difference carswell compares is too great. did u try to negotiate? my policy is always negotiate and i find this always works if you are ready to buy on the spot

also it is a good idea to tell the people at the store that you plan to buy on the internet, like that they can decide to give you a discount if possible

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Yes, most Canadian retailers are insane in their prices and (bad) service, but I can also tell you from experience that some is due to the protectionist policies of the inbred Canadian distributors. Lots of small terrible, lazy and sleazy distributors for kitchen/baking/pastry supplies etc. in Canada, and as a Canadian retailer you're forced to go through them, and so pay prices way above what should just be the price from a US distributor plus exchange, and many of said distributors don't even ALLOW online or internet sales, and cave in to pressure from the old-guard retailers (too lazy to service new accounts) and so limit the number of retailers and limit or dissalow online or discount prices. Very anti-competitive, and it's the Canadian buyer who suffers. It's a real battle to try to do American-style business, prices and service here.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Yes, most Canadian retailers are insane in their prices and (bad) service, but I can also tell you from experience that some is due to the protectionist policies of the inbred Canadian distributors. Lots of small terrible, lazy and sleazy distributors for kitchen/baking/pastry supplies etc. in Canada, and as a Canadian retailer you're forced to go through them, and so pay prices way above what should just be the price from a US distributor plus exchange, and many of said distributors don't even ALLOW online or internet sales, and cave in to pressure from the old-guard retailers (too lazy to service new accounts) and so limit the number of retailers and limit or dissalow online or discount prices. Very anti-competitive, and it's the Canadian buyer who suffers. It's a real battle to try to do American-style business, prices and service here.

Thanks for the insight, Paul. I'd wondered about the distributors' role in all this. Sad to say it's looking more and more likely I'll be buying my machine in the US.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Quel clout! Looks like Café Union has knocked $545 off the price of the Eliane since this thread was started. Formerly $1,795, it's now $1,250. Coincidence?

That works out to $1,440 including GST/QST, so you're still paying a hefty premium ($350-$400) to buy it from a local merchant instead of 1st Line. That said, you've got to give them credit for recognizing the absurdity of the earlier price.

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Hey all!

I'm looking to buy an espresso machine for Christmas, in Montreal. I can't believe at the prices listed above! Can I get something decent for say $500-$700? My knowledge is very limited, all I know is I'd want a pump... I*'m seeing the SAECO VIENNA SUPERAUTOMATICA at cafeunion for 750$, would that be any good?

Thanks!

Edited by alexthecook (log)
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I'm looking to buy an espresso machine for Christmas, in Montreal. Can I get something decent for say $500? My knowledge is very limited, all I know is I'd want a pump...

The first thing to bear in mind is that a good grinder is at least as important as a good machine.

There was an off-topic subthread about espresso machines in the Best Coffee in Town thread. Start here and scroll down. At least a couple of posts talk about low-end machines.

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