What's new
  • Guest
    As per our long standing policy of not permitting medical advice on the forum - all threads concerning the Coronavirus will be locked.
    For more info on the coronavirus please see the link below:
    https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/summary.html

Tell us about your espresso machine

This is a nice thread and a longstanding one. I wonder if I have responded previously. I have owned a La Pavoni Europicola going back decades, that has been in need of repair for probably three decades now. When I got it it needed repair and I had it professionally done, but it held up for less than a year. I have bought parts for it, and would normally think of myself as relatively handy, but I could not get it fixed by myself. I have not been able to find another reasonable repair place locally and it seems like an expense and hassle to send it to New York. It was not so easy to learn to use, but it sure made fabulous espresso when it was working. I will get it fixed some day.

I had a Starbuck's Estro Profi, which I guess is really Saeco, that was highly reliable for years before it went south. I took it apart a couple of time, but could not figure out what needed to be replaced to fix it. I thought it did pretty well with espresso shots and foaming milk, and had a nice built in burr grinder.

I am now using a $79 Aldi Ambiano machine, which looks about what Amazon sells as a Gevi, not the more sophisticated versions sold under that same name which look like they would be a lot better. I find it to do okay, decent strength and crema, and okay at foaming milk (bubbles are large) although it is very fussy. The coffee needs to be absolute powder and packed hard into the portafilter. The machine has a delay after the brew button in pressed to put some hot water on the grounds before running a shot, but it works better if one lets hot water sit on those grounds a lot longer than the machine would automatically do. Nothing as good as the Profi, much less the La Pavoni, and I am probably fooling myself as to whether this should really qualify as espresso. But when this one breaks, I will just toss it, and that makes me happy.
Interesting. I was tempted to get the Aldi machine when I was there last week, but then I remembered seeing a youtube review some years ago describing it as a bad machine. But if one is making coffee drinks like Americanos, Cappuccinos, etc, might it be an okay machine once a person has figured out how to best use it?

I started to buy the Aldi machine just to experiment with, but did not since I recently got out my old La Pavoni Europicola in an attempt to master/re-master(?) it. I am starting to get some decent shots, but not as consistently and not as good as my Rok/Presso machine. I mention the Rok since more than one online reviewer rates it lower in comparison to other lever machines they are trying, which I can believe as I have seen that stated more than a few times, however these reviewers have not taken the time to learn the machine and pay less attention to the workflow which is pretty easy. I still like to use it more than the La Pavoni, but hopefully that will change soon.

The most important measure is making a tasty cup of coffee.
 
I was told by Seattle Coffee Gear that there should be some minerals in the water you are brewing with or else the water will leach minerals from the metal parts of the machine, mainly the boiler. BTW, the same holds true of the water we drink and our bodies.
 
This is a nice thread and a longstanding one. I wonder if I have responded previously. I have owned a La Pavoni Europicola going back decades, that has been in need of repair for probably three decades now. When I got it it needed repair and I had it professionally done, but it held up for less than a year. I have bought parts for it, and would normally think of myself as relatively handy, but I could not get it fixed by myself. I have not been able to find another reasonable repair place locally and it seems like an expense and hassle to send it to New York. It was not so easy to learn to use, but it sure made fabulous espresso when it was working. I will get it fixed some day.
My story exactly on all counts. Plus the Bakelite knob on top broke. But, when it worked, it was great! One of these days . . .
 
An oldie that Will never quit on me (Like this thread)

One of my early espresso machine purchases and it was old when I got it.

Moved It down to Casa Mick sud a few years ago. Only my Hario mini to grind espresso. Using it works up a thirst. 20210219_151824-02.jpeg

Francis Francis X-5
 

The Knize

Moderator Emeritus
but then I remembered seeing a youtube review some years ago describing it as a bad machine.
There have been an enormous number of different designs sold by Aldi over the years as far as I can tell, and I was not able to find a picture to post of the one I have. If I get chance I will try to take a photo and post.

But if one is making coffee drinks like Americanos, Cappuccinos, etc, might it be an okay machine once a person has figured out how to best use it?
That is about right, although I probably drink espresso more often than the others. Maybe a macchiato/cortado if I am feeling energetic.

Yeah, on some level I have to admit this it probably a "bad" expresso machine. I am envious of the other real espresso makers presented in this thread, and I miss have a working La Pavoni and, for sure, a working Profi Estro. But this Aldi version is good enough to get by with. As far as am concerned I can get something close to espresso with decent crema out of it and it can foam milk on a sort of gross basis. I love good coffee, and with a certain amount of fussing this barely does it. Or maybe I have gotten used to crap!

As I think back on on it, I had sort of a tutor on how to use the La Pavoni, to pull a shot and steam milk----the guy who fixed it--or I do not think I would ever have learned it. That was a long time ago. Maybe with You Tube videos I could have. A La Pavoni is, what, $1,100 these days? Seems absurd. If i thought I was buying something that would last forever without complicated maintenance I might go for it. But I hate the idea of buying a Maserti. I want a Toyota of espresso machines. Or maybe a Lexus!
 
I am the process of completely renovating and upgrading everything in my setup. At present I have:
  • Gene Cafe Roaster
  • Breville Smart Grinder
  • Breville Infuser
  • Aeropress
The plan is to go with a single dose setup:
  • Hottop Roaster (not completely sold on this)
  • Niche Zero Grinder (on the email notification list)
  • Asso Coffee The Jack Leveler (don't plan to tamp)
  • Bottomless Portafilter
  • Machine... all over the place on this one
  • Aeropress
  • Hario v60 pourover + thermal carafe
At the moment, I am looking at a Lelit Elizabeth or a Crem One HX PID. The Elizbeth really looks like the best machine under $2K with the dual boiler and PID. The Crem has the PID but it's a heat exchanger... the advantage is time tested, non-proprietary, industry standard E61 group. But my eyes wander to the Ponte Vecchio Lusso 2 once in a while. Not sure if I trust the rest of my family with a lever machine. I could see them pulling off the portafilter prematurely and making a mess.

I get good shots with my setup but it's really hard to dial in the consistency. I've been looking at different work flows very carefully and I think I can get the single dose process close to my present routine (especially since I have to wait for the infuser quite often).

BTW... just my luck. Coffee equipment prices are through the roof with the Pandemic.
 

The Knize

Moderator Emeritus
Coffee equipment prices are through the roof with the Pandemic.
How about that! I had not noticed. Make sense. Maybe this will encourage new entrants in to the market with cheaper, more reliable, and more easily available stuff.

Also, I have been watching all these Scandinavian police procedural and have noticed that every home and every office seems to have excellent espresso equipment. I wondered if that was true in real life. On TV, at least, Scandinavians seem to really care about a good cup of coffee. Chapeau!
 
Regarding coffee gear, I think stuff which gets highlighted on various forums and social media has been getting sold through. I had been causally looking at a few things last month but seems that stock was low or sold out in more places than I had expected.

I have even started to wonder if the lowly coffee filter is in higher demand because of work-from-home. Melitta #2 have not been in stock for a few weeks at a couple of my local supermarkets. The larger Kalita wave filters are out of stock on most online ecommerce sites and the smaller ones are not abundant.
 
Top Bottom