Help needed: Buying advice first purchase w/ two setups I’m considering

Keenan2118

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Nov 26, 2022
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Wisconsin
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Good evening,

I am looking to get some advice around purchasing my first espresso set up. This setup is for light home use about 2-3 drinks per day. I usually drink a americano or cortado in the morning and a cortado or flat white in the afternoon. I haven't developed a preference to dark medium or light roasts yet.

My current budget is around 2,000 for the entire set up. I’d like this to be an investment to last for years to come and something I can grow into.

The two setups that I'm currently considering are:

Lelit Anna with P64 grinder ($2,154)

Ascaso uno or duo with df64p grinder ($1,800/$2,144)

Would be open to any advice regarding this! Thank you!
 

shadow745

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Aug 15, 2005
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Central North Carolina
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Regarding grinders there's just a ton of possibilities on the market and it's easy to overthink it, second guess, that sort of thing. I'm a fan of hand grinding so there's that, but not for everybody of course.

On machines, I've never owned either, but not really impressed with the build quality/longevity of either compared to other brands. People go on and on about how much companies like Breville, Lelit, Baratza offer for the price point, but yeah that comes with compromises in the process. The Ascaso line seems good, but long term use/parts availability would be an issue for me. I know some like their boiler-less design with current offerings, but truth be told other than Decent most companies have never gotten the thermoblock/coil design to function well for long.

Of course you'll read about the latest craze over pre-infusion, flow control, those sorts of things, but at the end of the day most tend to tinker with those a bit then just stick with a basic setting to get a consistent end result. In other words adding more variables to the equation often leads to disaster and simply not needed. Many think they just have to have a machine with those functions, multiple burr sets for a grinder, the latest WDT stirring mechanism, a pump sprayer as they just have to add .02 nanograms of moisture to each 18.89999 gram dose of coffee, then distributed/tamped with loving care while weighing the espresso output to an exact 2:1 ration as recommended by others. Then they become unglued after going through pounds of coffee with nothing drinkable and end up questioning the entire process. Of course that's after spending thousands on a setup that's far from necessary to achieve a quality/consistent end result.

Only machine I will gladly recommend based on extreme longevity, reliability, build quality, simple preventive maintenance/repair is the Rancilio Silvia. Have had a handful of other machines and had a 16 yr old V1 Silvia with some modifications that served me well for quite some time. Decided to get their Pro version a little over a year ago due to some impressive improvements while still sticking to the tried/true design and it simply doesn't disappoint. If you want more detail/have questions on the Silvia line just mention that as of all the machines on the market I gladly stick with it.
 

Keenan2118

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Nov 26, 2022
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Wisconsin
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Thank you! I’m currently weighing the options between the Rancilio Pro X $1,800 and base model with PID (1,100). Have you noticed much of a difference between the two machines?
 

shadow745

Well-known member
Aug 15, 2005
1,809
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Central North Carolina
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Thank you! I’m currently weighing the options between the Rancilio Pro X $1,800 and base model with PID (1,100). Have you noticed much of a difference between the two machines?
The V1 I had did quite good with temp stability/recovery as I added an Auber PID after a few yrs of using it in stock form. Nothing wrong with temp surfing on the standard model, but the PID does keep the machine ready when you are instead of having to wait for it. I will definitely say the Pro version has outstanding temp stability during the extraction and recovers during use. Due to the type of temp probe/placement they choose to use that is just more accurate/faster than any aftermarket add-on. I didn't 'need' the dual boiler as I rarely heat the steam boiler other than to flush it every few weeks. Bought the machine due to the changes they implemented on the Pro version over the single boiler. It is nicely designed without a bunch of bells/whistles getting in the way and the interior layout is quite open to make any sort of future maintenance quick/simple. Some people tend to laugh about the Rancilio design/function, but they clearly make top notch machines that function flawlessly indefinitely. That can't be said for other brands that pretty much cause the user to be a beta tester of sorts to deal with band-aid fixes.

The Pro goes from room temp to hot/ready in 15-20 mins. A bit of flushing will speed things up a bit and it does have the programmable timed ON if you want to go that route. The H20 reminder is good for those that overlook topping the tank off regularly. Also has the ability to let you know if something is wrong as in popping up an error code on the screen, that sort of thing. FWIW last week I pushed mine a bit due to the usual daily 6 doubles as well as 8 for some tiramisu my daughter was throwing together. For that I used the electric beast grinder and cranked out doubles back to back as fast as I could grind, dose, tamp, etc. and the Silvia Pro didn't skip a beat. In a fairly short period of time that was 14 19.1 gram doubles (dry dose) averaging 45 seconds per double. Just keep in mind that any vibe pump machine needs a minute or so between extractions to let the pump cool a bit and it just rocks on. I do have a serious duty Ulka pump I will eventually install in mine that allows 2 mins ON/1 min OFF as I do push some extractions in the 65-70 second range currently and might push even longer in time.

Of course the main focal point for many with something like the Pro/X is the steam capability. Once it's heated it does seem to recover quite fast and has plenty of pressure/volume with the stock tip, which is 4 holes I think. In the time I've had it I've steamed milk only once and it made short work of it. Silvia machines have always been great at steaming and that dedicated boiler is perfect for those that have to have their milk fix. The machine also has auto refill so either boiler will never run dry after use. Actually primes itself when first turned ON as well as anytime water is depleted.
 
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