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Tell us about your espresso machine

I grind with a huge, heavy Anfim that has a doser. It lists for a high price, but I got it used from 1st-line for $200 many years ago, where it was a demo. Some plastic was broken off, but not enough to affect the grind. I usually make one or two shots, so a doser is not necessary, but I got used to using a brush, so I brush it out completely and don't leave any grinds in the doser.

I also got an unusual deal for my HX machine, a Magister, made in the same factory as Rancilio, but branded differently by a member of the Rancilio family. It lists for over 2K, but I paid $800, including shipping. I've had it for 9 years already. My secret for the longevity is to keep it clean and not spill water when I pour it in the tank (the electric relay is below the water tank on my early model!). I also use only distilled water, so I don't have to deal with calcification or use a salt-based filter. I got the Magister on Ebay and no one else bid for it, so I got it at the starting price.

If you wonder how I got good deals on both grinder and HX machine, the answer is time. While looking for these machines, I became addicted to looking at internet deals for the best stuff at low prices. Don't expect immediate success in finding great bargains. (The same applies to razors, etc.) Eventually, something comes along. You have to actually enjoy hunting for new websites, private sales, demos, and deals.

I also roast my own and mostly use a corn popper that I got at a thrift shop for around $5, then modified to give me switchable cold fan and hot fan, to control the temp, instead of on and off.
 
All three great single shot machines. I never owned a Faema but had a splendid little Caravel. The Peppina always made me a little nervous as it was a pot of boiling water on a pedestal. A wrong move could prove scalding. Cool spartan design though in Cool 1970's colors. I had the red color.
 
I've learned to hold down on the base when pulling from the La Peppina. It produces a good shot but the internal material grade is not up to the standards of the other two machines which are full heavy gauge brass. When steam in not required I prefer using my Arrarex VAM.
I do like the colours of the La Peppina kettles. Yellow, green and red.
 
Ahh , the VAM / Caravelle. Mine was the cream colored version. It was quite a stunning looking, simple machine. I gift mine to a friend that now uses it in Sweden.
 
My first espresso machine is the only one that I have ever used and it's still in use, following one rebuild. It's a 1977 Swiss Cremina 67 Lever. For those who know, it's not only a classic but a machine that's simple yet produces a phenomenal double shot cup of espresso.

I couple the Cremina with an Italian Macap M4 grinder and it's pure wonderment.

Suggestion to those who want a great espresso machine... buy the best you can or will afford, stay simple in the build and buy function rather than all the shiny and sparkly flair. You will be rewarded with an espresso or latte that far surpasses anything you can get... anywhere else. Enjoy your machine!
 
Hi guys. Let me tell you a little bit about my espresso setup.

My first espresso machine was a Gaggia Clasic after I had until recently a Vibiemme Domobar Jr. Hx machine.

Now I have a dual boiler Lelit Bianca that have a sort of a pressure profiling option.
The machine is paired superbly with a local grinder Honne by Hedone Cafe.

Below some pictures of the curent setup.
 
@StillShaving The grinder in your photo is actually the same grinder I have. It is a single burr with 2 hoppers indeed. As you can see the one with 2 hoppers have also counters and loading device for coffee and it is made for commercial use.
My grinder is a slim home variant, made in collaboration with the biggest local coffee forum. It is a very good grinder with almost zero retention, somehow a copy of sorts from Versalab, but at more than half the price. It is probably the final upgrade I will make on this side.

As a side note, the red chute and cover was made separately on a 3D printer.
 
My eldest son who is into photography took some pictures of a Faema Faemina I recently restored. Needed to make it look presentable for advertising. I'd say he did well.FF-1.jpeg FF-2.jpeg FF-3.jpeg
 
@StillShaving The grinder in your photo is actually the same grinder I have. It is a single burr with 2 hoppers indeed. As you can see the one with 2 hoppers have also counters and loading device for coffee and it is made for commercial use.
My grinder is a slim home variant, made in collaboration with the biggest local coffee forum. It is a very good grinder with almost zero retention, somehow a copy of sorts from Versalab, but at more than half the price. It is probably the final upgrade I will make on this side.

As a side note, the red chute and cover was made separately on a 3D printer.
Thanks for explaining the red chute, that also caught my eye. I can understand why you do not feel the need to upgrade, that is a good place to reach. Your whole setup looks great.
 
Looking good! That is an attractive machine that you have restored. So you are not planning to use it for your daily/weekend shots?
Thanks, I use it one daily. Selling two since having three Faemina machines seems ridiculous. I did enjoy the challenge and know how learned restoring them.Three.jpeg
Two are 2nd gens and the one black is a 3rd gen. All parts are interchangeable and function equally, just some aesthetic differences.
 

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My eyes! What beauty!

We just have a humble Longhini "Alicia" machine, but it gets daily use with Cafe Bustelo, Pilon or La Llave.


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My eyes! What beauty!

We just have a humble Longhini "Alicia" machine, but it gets daily use with Cafe Bustelo, Pilon or La Llave.

AA
The 50's when this machine was originally conceived is known as the best era for classic lever machine design. The big two pluses of lever machines for me is 1) Innate pressure profiling low/high/low and 2) Nearly silent operation since there is no pump employed. I'm not keen on the vibratory pump machines first thing in the morning. I'd justify a rotary pump machine if I was doing volume but it's mostly for me and my wife. Fast heating is also a big bonus. I use my Bonavita drip coffee maker when entertaining family and friends.
 

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The 50's when this machine was originally conceived is known as the best era for classic lever machine design. The big two pluses of lever machines for me is 1) Innate pressure profiling low/high/low and 2) Nearly silent operation since there is no pump employed. I'm not keen on the vibratory pump machines first thing in the morning. I'd justify a rotary pump machine if I was doing volume but it's mostly for me and my wife. Fast heating is also a big bonus. I use my Bonavita drip coffee maker when entertaining family and friends.
Neat!

I am out of my depth with this subject, and just realized we need an upgrade ... is there an easy recommendation for a sub-$200 espresso machine? I just looked at Delonghi EC155 and EC702 ... if anyone has a quick word, it's appreciated.


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Neat!

I am out of my depth with this subject, and just realized we need an upgrade ... is there an easy recommendation for a sub-$200 espresso machine? I just looked at Delonghi EC155 and EC702 ... if anyone has a quick word, it's appreciated.

AA
Espresso equipment can be a slippery slope. I think it all depends what you're after regarding your drink output. If espresso as a solo drink a new sub-$200 espresso machine will be underwhelming. You may luck out with a vintage machine if you're willing to put some time and effort into restoration.
If you're making espresso based drinks such as cappuccino, americano and add sugar then you can get away with a decent shot. I make a good americano with an inexpensive moka pot a.k.a. stovetop espresso maker such as Bialetti. Be sure to use de-chlorinated water with some mineral content.
The other big equation to good espresso is the grinder. A well aligned flat or conical burr grinder. Don't get caught up on coffee roasted in Italy. Local freshly roasted coffee is always best, I prefer all Arabica bean type.
Good luck and enjoy your cup.

This "the wet bed technique" from Lucio Del Piccolo works best.
 
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Well, here we go... I picked up a used Via Venezia locally this afternoon.
I've been using the Via Venezia for 21 years (I'm on my second one -- I was sloppy about keeping the first one clean and dry and it eventually began to rust). I use it with an aftermarket non-pressurized filter basket which I think is the key to good espresso. I grind beans with a Hario Skerton hand grinder modified to allow continuous adjustment. I also have an aftermarket metal panarello, as the original plastic one eventually burst into pieces. I still have the traditional style brass steaming wand from the first machine which works fine, but you have to pay more attention or you'll make a mess in your kitchen. I can make a great cup of espresso with a thick layer of crema and even latte art with this setup. The only disadvantage is, it's a bit cumbersome to make multiple cups. But as I am the only customer in my household and I only have one cup per day, that's really not an issue.
There are some tricks of the trade in making good espresso with this cheap setup, but it works.
 
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