I need advive on Espresso Machines!

coffeejoes

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Sep 6, 2007
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Hello. I am considering the following espresso machines and would like to hear your likes and dislikes prior to purchasing. I am considering a La Marzocco GB5, Nuova Simonelli Aurelia or Competizione, Synesso, and Cimbali M39 ThermoDrive or the GT version if available. I have listened to everyones sales pitch except Synesso. If you believe the sales people, their machines are the best in all situations. I am hoping to get real world recommendations from owners and baristas. Please help.
 

shadow745

Active member
Aug 15, 2005
1,588
3
Central North Carolina
Well I have had commercial experience with 3 machines. A La Marzocco Linea, a La Marzocco FB/80 and a Nuova Simonelli Aurelia (which happens to be my daily driver). Can honestly say all 3 are great machines that deliver superb results. BUT I really like the features/user friendliness of the Aurelia. Offers extremely stable brew temperature (no flushing needed even though it's a HX), outstanding steaming performance, etc. Later!
 
OP
coffeejoes

coffeejoes

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Do the shots coming off all these machines differ much? I have heard that the Cimbali machines temps are not very stable, in fact if they sit idle too long the brew temp will be too high. What does it mean that the Aurelia is a HX? Is this referring to the heads or boiler system or ? Have you had to replace the steam wands or handles yet? If so how difficult is it to replace? Thanks.
 

realjamrock

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Aug 26, 2010
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Jamaica
May I ask approximately how much coffee will you be making for the week/month not being too personal just want to have an idea of the work load the machine will be performing that will definitely determine the final choice.
 

shadow745

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Aug 15, 2005
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Central North Carolina
There are really too many variables involved in espresso to recommend any single machine. Any of the more common commercial machines should be very capable. One important thing to pay attention to is what kind of product/tech support is available in your area...

Two most common machine types are double boiler and HX (heat exchange). Double boiler means you have a dedicated brew boiler and a dedicated steam boiler. Each runs at an optimal temperature for the task at hand. A heat exchange machine is typically comprised of one large boiler that is 2/3 full of water. The upper 1/3 of the boiler is for steam production. The water used for brewing is pumped through plumbing that exposes it to this superheated water in the lower 2/3 of the boiler to flash heat it on the way to the grouphead. Hence the term heat exchange because it takes nearly room temperature water and flash heats it to the desired temperature for brewing. Most HX machines do require a flush to drop the brew temperature a bit.

I have alot of experience with the Aurelia and can honestly tell you it makes no difference whether you extract one shot per minute or one shot per hour... the brew temperature stays very stable and requires absolutely no flushing regardless of the situation.....
 

shadow745

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Aug 15, 2005
1,588
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Central North Carolina
Have been using the Aurelia for nearly 1 year now. Have only replaced both group gaskets. Can't comment on Preventive Maintenance on other name brand machines, but the Aurelia is quite easy to work on thusfar based on what I have examined and read. Very user friendly and all parts like you asked about are made for a very long life and easy replacement of a few o-rings, seals, etc. if needed. Later!
 
OP
coffeejoes

coffeejoes

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I currently do from 90-145 shots Per day. I have no idea where in the spectrum of use these numbers fall. I am looking not only for a reliable machine but one that will consistently produce a fine shot.
 

shadow745

Active member
Aug 15, 2005
1,588
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Central North Carolina
A decent 2 group should be able to handle that with ease. I can vouch for the Aurelia's ability to produce great shots consistently. I recently did an experiment with it regarding temperature stability... on another forum somebody posted whether or not most machines were capable of doing 12 oz. extractions (was asked by a customer). One remark was that most machines (specifically HX) wouldn't be very stable temperature-wise after doing so. I started by pulling 10 oz. water into a thick styrofoam cup using the typical foam cup method/digital thermometer... temperature throughout the pull was 199-200 degrees. To simulate back-to-back extractions I waited 30 seconds and pulled 2 oz. and the temp. was 199. Repeated and it was 196. Repeated once more and it was still holding steady at 196. This is quite acceptable for most coffees. I was blown away by the temperature stability/recovery of the Aurelia after doing this. Just to be sure I repeated the same procedure on the 2nd group and had the exact same results.

Thing is there are some really good machines out there... I just happen to be partial to the Aurelia after using her now for 1 year. Later!
 

essentialwonders

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Apr 5, 2007
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Akron, Ohio
So many new shops make the mistake of buying lesser of machines, in Ohio we only sell and lease the best. Cecilware Venezia commercial machines, why buy anything else. The best part is if for some small chance the machine breaks down Cecilware has onsite or instant exchange warranty. If you’re out of warranty no problem, you will always find repair facilities in every major city and parts. So, spend a few bucks more and it will be the first and last machine you buy for your business.

http://www.essentialwonders.com

Look under Espresso Machines to read about Cecilware Venezia
 

shadow745

Active member
Aug 15, 2005
1,588
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Central North Carolina
Why buy anything else? Because I don't like the look/design/hype of the machine you speak of. There are lots of GOOD commercial machines available, but only a small handful of GREAT commercial machines. Later!
 
Sep 3, 2008
17
0
Victor NY
There are very many good machines and a few great ones. I Really like the La Marzocco, the Synesso and you should also consider looking at a Dalla Corte. See here http://www.dallacorte.com/

I also think getting a great conical Burr grinder like a Robur or a , Compak K 10 will have the most affect on your espresso as far as noticeable differences. Of course the most important factor is the operator. Well having great coffee as well certainly would help.
 

CCafe

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Aug 11, 2004
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Des Moines, Iowa
essentialwonders said:
So many new shops make the mistake of buying lesser of machines, in Ohio we only sell and lease the best. Cecilware Venezia commercial machines, why buy anything else. The best part is if for some small chance the machine breaks down Cecilware has onsite or instant exchange warranty. If you’re out of warranty no problem, you will always find repair facilities in every major city and parts. So, spend a few bucks more and it will be the first and last machine you buy for your business.

http://www.essentialwonders.com

Look under Espresso Machines to read about Cecilware Venezia

Wow that's an Astoria through and through! I'm glad to see Cecilware didn't make the same mistake Grindmaster did before they purchased them on trying to build your own espresso machine.
 

CCafe

New member
Aug 11, 2004
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Des Moines, Iowa
Mark at Whole Latte Love said:
I also think getting a great conical Burr grinder like a Robur or a , Compak K 10 will have the most affect on your espresso as far as noticeable differences. Of course the most important factor is the operator. Well having great coffee as well certainly would help.

You can take a cheap non-Mazzer grinder and make just as good as espresso. But if you start with crappy coffee you'll end with crappy coffee. The most important piece of any coffeehouse is obviously the coffee. You can still make great espresso on a broken down piece of equipment. I know I've seen it.
 
Sep 3, 2008
17
0
Victor NY
I still think there is a difference that can be noticed when you use a great grinder. The nuances of the coffee are easily distinguishable when you use a conical Burr grinder. I have many stories to verify the fact. But you have to have the pallet to be able to notice. I still think the grinder is important as verified by many other forums out there. The great thing about coffee is it is all very subjective. I just think in my opinion in order to serve the best espresso, one of the great machines mentioned like the Dalla Corte, Synesso or La Marzocco combined with a a great grinder will make the best espresso. I of course would also ask if they actually think they have great coffee. If they do, do they think they will sell many straight espressos. If they feel they are not going to be pushing the nectar, but really focus in on all the foo foo drinks then just get an decent machine and grinder. When I am talking about equipment with someone I really ask a lot of questions about what they are looking for and what kind of place they want to have. If it was me running or opening a shop. I would first find a great location. Then a great or even really amazing roaster. Then A great machine and yes a exceptional grinder (in my opinion a conical burr grinder) and focus on training and coffee tasting.
 

topher

Super Moderator
Staff member
Aug 14, 2003
3,724
11
Boca Raton
yes..a good grinder is important..as is the machine, coffee and water...oh and barista. There is not one factor that can make it great....it takes all these factors working together.
 

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