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  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Boston
    Posts
    1

    2 espresso makers. which one to keep?

    OK, I'm ready to get serious about my espresso, and am losing the steam driven unit I've been using. I actually bought 2 units on Ebay but can only keep one. Which one should I keep? (my wife says one only!)
    The 1st is an Alma High Tech Espresso maker, It says Mia La MiniBarista on the box. It's a beautiful chrome unit that has 2 boilers, holds a liter of water, and sells for $500 to $600 at places I found on line. It only uses ESE pods, and I have some fresh Illy pods for it.
    The other ia a Saeco Rio Vapore that is used but works well. It sold new for half the price of the Alma.It is also sold under the Barista name by Starbucks. It can of course use ground beans, and doesn't need pods. I do have a burr grinder.
    I will appreciate any recomendations.
    Mike C

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    149

    Re: 2 espresso makers. which one to keep?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fattrax
    OK, I'm ready to get serious about my espresso, and am losing the steam driven unit I've been using. I actually bought 2 units on Ebay but can only keep one. Which one should I keep? (my wife says one only!)
    The 1st is an Alma High Tech Espresso maker, It says Mia La MiniBarista on the box. It's a beautiful chrome unit that has 2 boilers, holds a liter of water, and sells for $500 to $600 at places I found on line. It only uses ESE pods, and I have some fresh Illy pods for it.
    The other ia a Saeco Rio Vapore that is used but works well. It sold new for half the price of the Alma.It is also sold under the Barista name by Starbucks. It can of course use ground beans, and doesn't need pods. I do have a burr grinder.
    I will appreciate any recomendations.
    Mike C
    IMHO, a pod only machine will limit you as far as espresso pulling. Pod coffee, from what I know, is rarely fresh and being pre measured and ground gives you no control over grinding and dosing.

    From what I know a straight espresso machine that delivers ideal water temp at 8+ bars of pressure through a non pressurized portafilter will get you good espresso provided your beans are fresh and are ground, dosed and distributed for good espresso extraction. I think having control over as many variables as possible is the best way of ensuring a quality espresso pull.

    The Starbuck's Barista is spoken of well as an entry level machine. I believe it is a single boiler, non HX machine which means that it'll be slow at pulling multiple shots and they'll be a lag between pulling shots and steaming milk for froth as the boiler switches over from one to the other. A double boiler machine has a dedicated espresso boiler and a dedicated frothing boiler so you can pretty much pull shots and froth at the same time but a pod only machine will limit you and I don't think you'll get the same quality espresso as you would if you ground your own fresh roasted beans and pulled them on a Barista.

    I've got a Silvia which is a single boiler non HX machine as well. It is a more solid machine than the Barista and might make slightly better espresso under certain conditions but they're similar machines. I can say having control of the pull gets me espresso that's better than anything I've had at any local cafe. In the end good espresso is all about fresh beans and even extraction under high pressure at ideal water temps. The beans and the extraction conditions are best controlled, I think, by the barista. The rest is up to the machine and if the machine is reliable you'll get good espresso.
    Grinder: Macap M4 stepless, Zassenhaus kneemill
    Machine: Quickmill Vetrano, Olympia Cremina '67
    Brewers: Yama 5cup, ibrik, Bodum e Santos, french press, pour over drip
    Roaster: Hottop programmable

  3. #3
    Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Lansale, PA
    Posts
    34

    Re: 2 espresso makers. which one to keep?

    OK, I'm ready to get serious about my espresso, and am losing the steam driven unit I've been using. I actually bought 2 units on Ebay but can only keep one. Which one should I keep? (my wife says one only!)
    The 1st is an Alma High Tech Espresso maker, It says Mia La MiniBarista on the box. It's a beautiful chrome unit that has 2 boilers, holds a liter of water, and sells for $500 to $600 at places I found on line. It only uses ESE pods, and I have some fresh Illy pods for it.
    The other ia a Saeco Rio Vapore that is used but works well. It sold new for half the price of the Alma.It is also sold under the Barista name by Starbucks. It can of course use ground beans, and doesn't need pods. I do have a burr grinder.
    I will appreciate any recomendations.
    Mike C
    This is more than a recommendation. I am sharing my experience of 15 years. Do not think twice. Go for the Rio Vapore.
    Good luck.
    Passionate about Coffee and coffee makers. Enjoy sharing experience in repairs and improving knowledge about Specialty coffees.

 

 

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