[Homeroast] Espresso machine shopping

Michael Koenig koenig.mike at gmail.com
Mon Dec 29 14:03:28 CST 2014

I've been very happy with my Fiorenzato Volante I've had for about 5 years now.  It's the plumbed in rotary version with the lever operated E61 group.  At $1500 for a plumbed in rotary machine, it's a pretty good deal.  The only grumble is that parts aren't as easy to order online like some more popular machines, but the US office of the company is here in NJ, and a call to the sometimes grumpy guy there gets me what I need. 

I like having an HX vs a dual boiler, which lets me adjust shot temps by flushing. It's not a lever piston machine, but I don't want that level of control when I'm half asleep in the morning. 

As far as water goes, if you are KCl softening, are you sure your TDS is low?  Usually if you need to soften, the TDS  out of  the softener is pretty high. 

I run my softened water through an RO unit, then a large calcite cartridge to add some minerals back (for taste, so the boiler auto fill works, and so I don't dissolve my boiler). 


Sent from my iPhone

> On Dec 29, 2014, at 1:50 PM, Starfinder Stanley <coffee at starf.org> wrote:
> 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:
> http://www.wholelattelove.com/products/bezzera-strega-lever-espresso-machine
> 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....
> Thanks!
> ...Starfinder
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