Hey,

 

I have searched and scoured this site while unsuccessfully attempting to answer a question for myself: which is the "better" machine, a Rancilio Classe 6 or NS Aurelia (not WBC version)? My espresso tech here sells and services both, but I'm having a hard time getting a good answer out of him... he usually says "Rancilios are rock-solid, the Aurelia is more expensive." More expensive meaning about a $1,500 price difference between the two, and this is including install, filtration, etc. He is a straight tech — one with a great reputation among the biggest roaster and café owner in the region — but not a barista, so there are some things he doesn't feel comfy commenting on. 

 

Quick background: I have been in the coffee business for six years, about four of which were operated in a sort of ignorance where espresso is concerned. My shop has gone from $65,000 in annual sales to well above $250,000 in that time, and in a small city to boot. We've been running the same Astoria SAE that was there when I purchased the existing business, and as of late have really learn to deal with some of its flaws -- the steam wands, for some reason, are particularly painful to operate. 

 

Anyway. The one experience I had behind a Rancilio was an Epoca; I liked the steam levers, but maybe I would like the Aurelia's better? Who knows. Anyway, I get the impression that the "consensus view" around here would be to go with the Aurelia... What I am looking for, I suppose, is some informed opinion on this. (And yes, I know, La Marzocco is the best. Put that out of your mind.) 

 

Appreciation ahead of time, 

 

--Justin

 

 

 

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I just did a google image search and found this picture.  The racks are made of the same wire material as the wire tray, so they are light and easy to clean.  They don't really lock, but they do have little tab type extensions on the bottom to prevent them from slipping back and forth.  They are nearly as deep as the tray, so ceramic cups are not a problem.

R. Justin Shepherd said:
Turns out they can do one and one... For a $250 upcharge from the factory. :-)
How do those trays work? Do they lock? Are they heavy, and big enough to fit a latte cup?

Terika said:
Not sure, but for the one at our shop that had the raised groupheads, there were little racks that sat on the tray to raise shot glasses or mugs up.  It was nice to have it flexible.

R. Justin Shepherd said:
Any clue whether you can just get one of the groupheads raised and leave the other low? Seems like that's the optimal setup for a place like mine, which does its share of to-gos but also serves traditionals in ceramics.

The small trays that you are talking about are made of the same material as the wire base tray. They do not lock nor have tabs to keep them in place. They are quite light and come with all raised group-head machines. 

I am not a sales rep for NS, but I am nearly certain that you cannot get one higher and the other lower because of the plastic moulding that covers the group is one piece. However, there is only one part number for the portion of the frame that the group head attaches to, thus both the raised and standard group machines use the same part. So it might be possible...certainly if you do the mod yourself. But as for factory customization...not sure.

I have a raised group appia and I don't typically use the wire tray things in most situations.

Factory confirmed they can do one and not the other, hence the upcharge. 

@Troy: is yours a semi or auto?

Troy L Mallett said:

The small trays that you are talking about are made of the same material as the wire base tray. They do not lock nor have tabs to keep them in place. They are quite light and come with all raised group-head machines. 

I am not a sales rep for NS, but I am nearly certain that you cannot get one higher and the other lower because of the plastic moulding that covers the group is one piece. However, there is only one part number for the portion of the frame that the group head attaches to, thus both the raised and standard group machines use the same part. So it might be possible...certainly if you do the mod yourself. But as for factory customization...not sure.

I have a raised group appia and I don't typically use the wire tray things in most situations.

I have an auto, however we only use the continuous pour button because it gives better control over shot quality. As mentioned before, if I was going to do it all over again I would get a semi for the same reason I only buy cars with a standard transmission. It is more difficult to learn and takes time to train others, but I feel the handling is better and much less expensive upfront as well as for possible repairs in the future.

 

I don't know where you are but you might be interested in this:

http://www.coffeed.com/viewtopic.php?f=33&t=3592&sid=3e70d8...

 

T

Thanks for the heads up!

Update to the previous: After a few weeks of scouring Craigslist, eBay, et al for a good deal on a gently used Aurelia or LM of some sort, I pulled the trigger on buying a new 2-grp semi Aurelia. I got some time in on an Appia, and while I wouldn't want one for obvious reasons, I really enjoyed the steaming action, lever setup, etc., and based on aforementioned factors I think that the steaming and ergonomics of the machine will be a perfect fit for my clientele and my baristas. 

 

It hasn't arrived yet, but a quick note on Nuova Simonelli getting major customer satisfaction points: When I had my tech/rep order it, he was contacted by NS a couple days later and told that, through some sort of hangup at customs, the 2-group semi's just weren't going to be in the U.S. for another few weeks — so instead, they upgraded my order to the automatic version, with programmed backflushing, at no extra charge. I don't know how much of a real "loss" that is for NS, but it amounts to a $1,500 upgrade all because waiting on the semi would take a couple extra weeks. That's pretty sweet, I think. I fully plan to train (and enforce) the use of the manual button, but I've been behind the machine during ridiculous Christmas parades and the like, with a line 20 deep of large hot chocolates and white mochas, and having the volumetrics as a backup for that kind of situation is nice, especially since I'm not having to pay for them. 

 

Anyway. Thumbs up for NS' customer service — and no one's even paid them for the thing yet. I expect it to arrive this week sometime, and will get back with thoughts later. (Thanks, everybody, for the advice... this website is quite a resource for me.)

I can tell you from experience the Aurelia will keep up nicely when steaming pitcher after pitcher. During rushes like that we can be steaming with both wands with absolutely no problem. I really think you will be thrilled with what the machine has to offer.

Why not use those volumetrics buttons? You just got a free upgrade to your ability to deliver a consistent product. 

R. Justin Shepherd said:

Update to the previous: After a few weeks of scouring Craigslist, eBay, et al for a good deal on a gently used Aurelia or LM of some sort, I pulled the trigger on buying a new 2-grp semi Aurelia. I got some time in on an Appia, and while I wouldn't want one for obvious reasons, I really enjoyed the steaming action, lever setup, etc., and based on aforementioned factors I think that the steaming and ergonomics of the machine will be a perfect fit for my clientele and my baristas. 

 

It hasn't arrived yet, but a quick note on Nuova Simonelli getting major customer satisfaction points: When I had my tech/rep order it, he was contacted by NS a couple days later and told that, through some sort of hangup at customs, the 2-group semi's just weren't going to be in the U.S. for another few weeks — so instead, they upgraded my order to the automatic version, with programmed backflushing, at no extra charge. I don't know how much of a real "loss" that is for NS, but it amounts to a $1,500 upgrade all because waiting on the semi would take a couple extra weeks. That's pretty sweet, I think. I fully plan to train (and enforce) the use of the manual button, but I've been behind the machine during ridiculous Christmas parades and the like, with a line 20 deep of large hot chocolates and white mochas, and having the volumetrics as a backup for that kind of situation is nice, especially since I'm not having to pay for them. 

 

Anyway. Thumbs up for NS' customer service — and no one's even paid them for the thing yet. I expect it to arrive this week sometime, and will get back with thoughts later. (Thanks, everybody, for the advice... this website is quite a resource for me.)

 

I have volumetric dosing on my Aurelia, but still extract all shots manually. IMO unless all variables are extremely consistent, volumetric dosing should be avoided for optimal results.

Consistent shots require consistent(ly good) dosing, distribution and quantities of water. Crema volume varies shot to shot- which is why there was so much chatter about putting scales in drip trays not so long ago. Volumetric buttons will deliver a consistent amount of water resulting in consistent shot weights (assuming the other factors are constant which, if you're doing your job as the barista, they should be).

What harm can be done to your quality by using volumetric dosing? 

Hi guys. If you don't mind, I'm going to split this tangent off into a new thread. The discussion of the merits of volumetric dosing seems like a good discussion, but doesn't really relate much to OP. Please conduct all further discussion on this topic on the new thread. After I've created it, I'll delete the above replies to avoid confusion. Thanks!

Last update: Have had the Aurelia installed and in use for a full week now, and I really love this machine, for a lot of reasons... not to say I wouldn't love a Strada or Synesso more (who knows?), but for high volume and consistency between baristas, this is night and day compared to the Astoria SAE-2 we'd been using for years. 

 

Steam action is just fantastic; the levers are so intuitive and the power/angle/etc all seem just about perfect. If you're steaming for a 16 or 20-ounce drink, you really almost can't go wrong. 12-ounce drinks are tougher, but still the quality is way above what I'd explained at the very top of this thread. 

 

Shot quality is great, too, though I may someday regret not paying the extra money for a version with easily adjustable parameters via a front panel. However, temp stability seems very solid. 

 

Overall though, why I'm loving this machine is in the ergonomics and generally well-thought-out design. Wands fit under the overhang with ease, buttons are easy to find and push, and with exposed groupheads and an otherwise squared profile in that area, it's really easy to keep clean. Automatic backflush, which was sort of a bonus, is a huge time-saver and also reassuring as an owner with various baristas backflushing nightly. And all the tech stuff that creates headaches — pressurestat, valves, etc. — are easily accessible either in the grouphead area or under the drip tray. 

 

Cons? Drip tray is way too shallow. (The drip "sink" underneath, however is huge!) Boiler pressure and pump meters aren't marked well at all, which makes setting an exact pressure sort of a guessing game. And the wordsmith in me sort of hates the "Espresso Made in Italy" label on the top of the working side, because... well, I'm making espresso and I'm not in Italy. (And the font is pretty cheesy.)

 

Might not be a purist's machine, either in looks or in some of the added features. But it does what it's supposed to and allows a busy barista to do what he/she is supposed to, too, with minimal hassle. 

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