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  1. #1
    Junior Member
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    Oct 2003
    Location
    New England
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    6

    On the hunt for a proper espresso machine Semi vs Manual

    My passion for authentic espressos has become my sole caffeinated vice. A recent relocation has left me deserted from the café that provided me with those invigorating treats. Was hoping that fellow addicts could help recommend a machine or give some insight to the dilemma. My debate is whether to go with a semi-automatic like a Saeco Italia or a Saeco Vienna Digital or should I be looking at a manual model like a La Pavoni Professional? It’s for home use only and I’m willing to practice and learn as I go. My end goal is to create a good espresso like a Starbucks or comparable. Thanks Vox

  2. #2
    Super Moderator
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Boca Raton
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    3,676
    Here is my opinion..I used to really like the Pavoni...I still think they are ok...but they are a bit over priced...go check out www.coffeegeek.com they have alot of reviews that could be helpful to you.
    "Wine is for aging, not coffee."
    Ken Hutchinson, Starsky and Hutch

  3. #3
    Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Southern Oregon
    Posts
    33
    The perfect espresso machine depends on what you want. Do you want convenience or be a purist. Are you in a hurry, or can you spend 20 minutes making an espresso on a pump or 30 making a double on a lever machine? An automatic machine does all the work for you and heats up quickly. The pump machine you have to heat the boiler, 8 to 10 minutes heat the portafilter. Grind the coffee, then measure and tamp. Insert into brew head and pump your water through the coffee. If you don't have the right grind or tamp all is for nothing. Purist love this as do I. When its done right, the espresso is the best. For convenience you can't beat an automatic. Push a button and presto, a good shot of espresso, not the best shot. Good espresso relies on more than a good machine. Water and beans are the other 50%. You can't make a good espresso with bad water. Same with beans. Old beans have lost almost all their flavor and oils. Fresh beans smell great and taste the same. I like the blends. A mixture of different beans roasted to bring out the flavor of each type of bean. So the decision is yours. Are you on the move and need it now or can you wait?

  4. #4
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    New England
    Posts
    6
    I was leaning towards the La Pavoni, but do to limited counter space I decided to go with the automatic. I’ve read several articles and reviews on the Seaco line and narrowed it down to either the Vienna de Luxe Digital or the Starbucks Italia. Information about the Digital is readily available and for the most parts it is hugely popular amongst it's owners. As for the Italia there is less information posted, but what I did find had approximately the same review as the Digital. The only major difference is the price. Digital $695 Italia $895 I then found out that Starbucks has holiday promotions and knock off $200 off the Italia between Nov. 10th and Jan 6th. This is enough to persuaded me to go for the Starbucks Saeco Italia, but before I do I wanted to ask on here if anyone has any experience with this machine? Any info would be greatly appreciated

  5. #5
    Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Southern Oregon
    Posts
    33

    Italia

    The Italia is made by Saeco, but you have to remember that if something goes wrong you only have Starbucks tech support line. If its broken it may be a couple months before you get it back.

  6. #6
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Posts
    8

    ITALIA all the way!

    I have used the Italia on many occasions as I work for Starbucks and it is the closed machine available to the Verisimo (sp?) we use in the store. You are definatly right to wait for the sale, it's comming up, and just for fun we are introducing a new bright red color, it's really fun!

  7. #7
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    New England
    Posts
    6
    I bought the machine on the 10th with the $200 bucks off and I love it. It came with this brilliant videotape that explained the entire machine. After pulling a few shots a few minor adjustments were in store, which allowed me to dial it right in. “Quick and Quality

  8. #8
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Posts
    8

    Hot shots

    Hmmm, ok, I'm stumped. I don't know how to make the shots hotter, but if your drinking them with milk/water/apple juice/etc just make the other substance hotter.

  9. #9
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    New England
    Posts
    6
    Just pulling a straight shot no extras involved. I believe that it is because the machine is not fully warmed up. i.e. If you go to a cafe that used one regularly the complete machine is hot all the way to the portafiller. Unlike a lever machine I am unable to run hot steam through the machine prior to pulling a shot. Also the warmer on to hasn't had time to warm the cups properly before using them, so in lue of all this I have been using the steam wand to pre warm the cups. This has seemed to help guess I still need to use a bit of patience and allow a good 20 minutes for it to properly warm up.

  10. #10
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Neenah, WI
    Posts
    1

    Re: On the hunt for a proper espresso machine Semi vs Manual

    vox,

    i own a few drive thru coffee bars and a roastery. For home i use a Ranchillio single group manual machine. It uses commercial parts and is like the real thing. it even weighs about 40 lbs, and cost around $300.00 if you look thoroughly. Any questions feel free to email me

 

 
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