[Homeroast] Espresso machine shopping

Starfinder Stanley coffee at starf.org
Mon Dec 29 12:50:33 CST 2014

Well, after a dozen years of labor, my little Salvatore Famosa espresso
machine seems to be teetering on its last legs... and it's had a
centipede's life, with me replacing solenoids a few times and a boiler
element that burned out after the leaky steam solenoid ran the boiler dry
(oops!).  Now the backflush valve is failing along with yet another
solenoid...  So I'm looking at replacing it, and considering my options,
which have expanded considerably in the last 10 years....

Thinking about a spring-lever piston driven machine vs the vibrational (or
rotary) pump versions; I learned to pull espresso on my dad's old Conti
lever machine, and always loved that beastie (though not so much when it
was time to refill the boiler ---that was a real PITA!).

Salvatore (an Italian immigrant who hand-builds his machines in southern
california) is making a spring-lever version now, which looks interesting.
Also, a friend pointed out that Bezzera, whose founder apparently invented
the espresso machine in 1901, is making a small spring-lever machine for
home use as well:

I also see that SM's has 2 more robust options on the site, though one is
out of stock; one down side is that neither can be plumbed in, which I
would like the option to do eventually.

Does anybody have suggestions or warnings about machines in this price
range (1500-2500) and spring-lever piston vs vibrational pumps etc?
Arguments for or against double boiler machines like the La Spaziale
Vivaldi or Izzo Duetto III?

While I'm asking, how about filtration systems for well water for plumbed
in machines?  We have pretty good quality well water than runs through a
calcite filter and KCl softener to take out iron/Mg/Mn/Ca, comes out pretty
low in dissolved solids.  Reservoir machines allow you to use more pristine
water (distilled, RO, etc), but I have always disliked having my coffee
made with water that's been sitting in a heated plastic container....



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