Hi Guys

I need a bit of advice. I want to replace our Brasilia machine in our shop and I am in two minds as to what machine we should
get. We have a small shop but it does get busy on Saturdays and on lunch
times. On Saturdays we are 2 Baristas but for the rest of the time only
one. Our current machine is a 2 group and I have always felt it's ok.

Here is the two machines that I am looking at:

I can get a secondhand refurbished La Marzocco Linea 3 group from the
local La Marzocco supplier for about $5460(USD). It comes with a 1 year
guarantee. I love these machines but I am a bit worried about
maintenance on a refurbished machine.

My next option is a new 2 group Faema E92 it is the one with the auto steam for about the same
price as the Linea 3 group. My problem is that I have no experience with
this machine. I know that it has a heat exchanger with an adjustable
thermal balancing system.
I have heard that the big difference between these machines is that the La marzocco has a straighter extraction profile due to its double boiler
that gives a very constant extraction temperature.
I have seen the results of the Faema's auto steam and I have to say I was quite amazed.

Any thoughts will be appreciated

Renier

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Interesting, since IIRC Linea & FB80 guts the same (for same vintage and model ie AV vs EE). No wait, that's the FB70. Current FB80 has PID and brew boiler pre-heat, which would definitely put it class above stock Linea or FB70 in temp stability. Ok, makes sense now.:)

Shadow said:
Have mentioned it here previously, but here goes again. I've had the pleasure of using two La Marzocco machines, a 3 group Linea and a 2 group FB/80. The Linea wasn't my fave by any means. Each of the 3 groups had varying water flow rates as well as lousy temperature stability. Could've been the refurb job that was done on it or maybe I just didn't understand the machine all that well. BUT did work on it daily for 7-8 months and was hard pressed to ever get anything I'd call great from it regardless of what tinkering was done. Now the FB/80 was a great machine. Much more refined than the Linea and much better consistency based on the time I spent on it. Really like the fit/finish of the LMs.
Ok I have visited both the Faema and the refurbished LM Linea supplier.

Firstly I visited the La Marzocco guys. It was great seeing all the new LM machines. The secondhand Lineas is imported from Greece and they are apparently about 5 years old. They are well used and dirty like hell. There buttons has also turned yellow from light exposure so they might even be older to my opinion. With the refurbishing they replace all the tap, group seals and also the seals between the boiler and the group heads, they do check for scaling, but apparently none of the machines they opened up so far had any scaling problems. For the rest of the they only replace if it does not work. they give a 6 month guarantee.

The Faema machines are great and they have excellent steam capability. The auto steam in my opinion is unbelievably good. I know how to foam milk and what the texture should be like. There is no bubbles, the foam thick and silky with a shiny surface. I have seen the results of the NS Aurelia auto steam and believe me it is not the same. The temperature stability seams to be good, they claim it to be one of the most stable on the HX machines on market.
The price of the E92 is actualy 9.400,00(USD) tax included, there Enova 2group was the only one in my price range at 7.000,00(USD) tax included, it has all the nice features, but it is plastic and ugly especially in burgundy the only colour they have available. They had other models as well like the E91 Ambassador, but all the covers are made form plastic. It probably should not bother me but it does, and I have to to feel proud of the machine in our shop.

I have also got some prices for the NS Aurelias the basic model is affordable but it apparently does not have the stability of the other models. I am going to research the Aurelias options this week.

At the moment I am considering these two options: 2group Aurelia or a new 2 group Linea.
If I'm not mistaken only the Aurelia Competizione has a PID control, which might give it a slight advantage in stability. Based on my research the Volumetric and semi-auto Aurelias all have the same controls, therefore should have the same temperature stability. Believe me when I tell you, you'd be hard pressed to find a HX more stable than what I've seen with my Aurelia. Especially in stock form.

Have never used the Faema machine with the auto steam. I'll take your word for it that it is better than the Aurelia Smart Wand. Having said that I still believe a manual steam wand will offer better results than any type of automated system.
The Aurelia Digit and the Competizione has the PID control and the only real difference is that the Digit has a third steam wand. Then there is the Aurelia S(semi-auto) and V(Volumetric) that runs on a Pressurestat. I understand the PID control is what actually gives this machine its temp stability. Without the PID control wont it be as stable as most HX machines? Shadow - What version do you work on?
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Shadow said:
If I'm not mistaken only the Aurelia Competizione has a PID control, which might give it a slight advantage in stability. Based on my research the Volumetric and semi-auto Aurelias all have the same controls, therefore should have the same temperature stability. Believe me when I tell you, you'd be hard pressed to find a HX more stable than what I've seen with my Aurelia. Especially in stock form.

Have never used the Faema machine with the auto steam. I'll take your word for it that it is better than the Aurelia Smart Wand. Having said that I still believe a manual steam wand will offer better results than any type of automated system.
I would never turn away a Linea but my confidence and experience tells me to send you to the Aurelia boys. Especially when regarding the bringing on of new staff.
Joe

Renier Geldenhuys said:
Ok I have visited both the Faema and the refurbished LM Linea supplier.

Firstly I visited the La Marzocco guys. It was great seeing all the new LM machines. The secondhand Lineas is imported from Greece and they are apparently about 5 years old. They are well used and dirty like hell. There buttons has also turned yellow from light exposure so they might even be older to my opinion. With the refurbishing they replace all the tap, group seals and also the seals between the boiler and the group heads, they do check for scaling, but apparently none of the machines they opened up so far had any scaling problems. For the rest of the they only replace if it does not work. they give a 6 month guarantee.

The Faema machines are great and they have excellent steam capability. The auto steam in my opinion is unbelievably good. I know how to foam milk and what the texture should be like. There is no bubbles, the foam thick and silky with a shiny surface. I have seen the results of the NS Aurelia auto steam and believe me it is not the same. The temperature stability seams to be good, they claim it to be one of the most stable on the HX machines on market.
The price of the E92 is actualy 9.400,00(USD) tax included, there Enova 2group was the only one in my price range at 7.000,00(USD) tax included, it has all the nice features, but it is plastic and ugly especially in burgundy the only colour they have available. They had other models as well like the E91 Ambassador, but all the covers are made form plastic. It probably should not bother me but it does, and I have to to feel proud of the machine in our shop.

I have also got some prices for the NS Aurelias the basic model is affordable but it apparently does not have the stability of the other models. I am going to research the Aurelias options this week.

At the moment I am considering these two options: 2group Aurelia or a new 2 group Linea.
I wasn't aware of the Digit version. I use a 2 group V (volumetric) model, but still control everything manually as I won't bother with volumetric dosing. Mine has 3 wands... 2 standard and the Smart Wand.

Factory pressurestat in mine and I can't complain about the stability one bit. Anytime I do a temperature test it is always running in the 199-200 range.

Even though I posted this info in an older thread I will repeat it once again so you understand how precise the stock Aurelia can be... For a test experiment I ran 10 oz. of water through the 1st group. Temperature from start to finish was 199-200. Let it sit 30 seconds and ran 2 oz. through the same group... result was 198 or 199. Repeated and temperature was 196. Repeated once more and it was still holding at 196. Did this to simulate back-to-back extractions and it surprised me. Now I don't have anything super fancy to measure temps. with, just did the tried and true styrofoam cup/digital thermometer which works just fine for me. Did the same procedure to the 2nd grouop and had the same results number for number. Not too shabby for a HX machine now is it?
from what i understand the WBC Aurelia had to be spec'd up (PID etc.) to be a WBC machine. because of these additonal specs, the price is more than a standard Aurelia and more inline with a LM GB5.

i would say WBC Aurelia is the best HX machine on the market in terms of temperature stability and i agree with Josephs point on training new staff. the Aurelia has a soft infusion system which gently waters the coffee before extraction, this 'hides' channeling caused by barista error. this helps deliver more overall consistent shots, but depending on the coffee used can dull some of the nuances in the cup. (some blends/SO's lend themselves better to soft preinfusion)

the Linea doesnt have soft infusion and this means barista error/chanelling can come through the cup more clearly. but if you pull 'perfect' shots on a linea, the clarity and taste of the espresso will be more dynamic.

i've been impressed with the Aurelia, but personally i prefer LM
The difference between the stock and WBC Aurelias are the jets in the top of the group head and bottom of the heat exchanger, the volume of the pre-infusion chamber, PID, and the body panels. The PID adds nothing to the temp stability. The group heads are MASSIVE and are mostly responsible for the temp stability with the other part being the restricted thermosyphon in the hX, which also makes it run a little cooler. The group heads are the same between the two machines. They definitely behave differently. They even sound different. I really like the extraction on the WBC model. The texture is softer with more "headroom".

I like the coffee on the Aurelia WBC very much but I like the build quality of the Linea better. I like all the metal in the frame. They are built like a tank which means you can keep rebuilding them forever. Although I do not think I would use a Linea in a production environment without PID. You actually have to do a lot of "temp surfing" on a non-PID Linea, which increases the learning curve dramatically. The Aurelia uses a lot of plastic body panels and for some reason NS machines legs will fall off or strip out really easily. I've had to drill out several to install rivet nuts in the under chassis. Not fun.

Build quality aside, I think the Linea and the Aurelia are different machines and pull espresso differently. You should take the coffee you will be using, or a couple of different coffees and test out each machine and get a feel for them both. They each behave so differently that I'm sure a clear winner will emerge quickly.
Thanks Mike. The fact that the PID on the Aurelia doesn't add to the temp stability has made the non PID version far more attractive to me, since there is a big price difference between them. What is the steam capability like? I have always struggled with the balance between steam power and the brew temperature on HX machines. A lot of them don't have enough steam power at the desired brew temperature.

Mike Sabol said:
The difference between the stock and WBC Aurelias are the jets in the top of the group head and bottom of the heat exchanger, the volume of the pre-infusion chamber, PID, and the body panels. The PID adds nothing to the temp stability. The group heads are MASSIVE and are mostly responsible for the temp stability with the other part being the restricted thermosyphon in the hX, which also makes it run a little cooler. The group heads are the same between the two machines. They definitely behave differently. They even sound different. I really like the extraction on the WBC model. The texture is softer with more "headroom".

I like the coffee on the Aurelia WBC very much but I like the build quality of the Linea better. I like all the metal in the frame. They are built like a tank which means you can keep rebuilding them forever. Although I do not think I would use a Linea in a production environment without PID. You actually have to do a lot of "temp surfing" on a non-PID Linea, which increases the learning curve dramatically. The Aurelia uses a lot of plastic body panels and for some reason NS machines legs will fall off or strip out really easily. I've had to drill out several to install rivet nuts in the under chassis. Not fun.

Build quality aside, I think the Linea and the Aurelia are different machines and pull espresso differently. You should take the coffee you will be using, or a couple of different coffees and test out each machine and get a feel for them both. They each behave so differently that I'm sure a clear winner will emerge quickly.
I'm not Mike, but will say the steam capability/capacity is fantastic on mine. This is using the stock steam wand tips as well. I'm a huge fan of the lever steam valves. Have used knobs on the previously mentioned LM machines and they just don't have the same direct feel to me as the levers do. As a matter of fact the knobs seemed to have a bit too much play, especially upon opening them the first 1/4-1/2 turn, kind of like a dead zone in which nothing increased/decreased. Don't know if that was built-in as a default or just everyday wear/tear.

BTW, my Aurelia hovers around 1.1-1.2 bars with a group water temp. of 199-200 and offers plenty of steam for my needs. It's easily capable of extracting from both groups while steaming from both wands if needed and never seems to miss a beat in performance. Choices, choices, choices...
Go with the Linea. I love the one I work with. Have never used a Faema so I dont mean to sound one sided. I really prefer using an Astoria, if I ever open a shop definitely what I would use.
Shadow,
You may have already answered this question before but I will ask again. Do you have stock Aurelia steam wands? Or the "no scald" versions? I opted for the no scald. I love them but there is one caveat. That is having to remove the tips every few months and cutting back the plastic tube liner that swells and stretches with age and restricts the flow at the tip. Very easy fix, just a bit of a nuisance. I'm about to do that now. Your post just reminded me to get it done. I love the great steam power of these machines.
Joe

Shadow said:
I'm not Mike, but will say the steam capability/capacity is fantastic on mine. This is using the stock steam wand tips as well. I'm a huge fan of the lever steam valves. Have used knobs on the previously mentioned LM machines and they just don't have the same direct feel to me as the levers do. As a matter of fact the knobs seemed to have a bit too much play, especially upon opening them the first 1/4-1/2 turn, kind of like a dead zone in which nothing increased/decreased. Don't know if that was built-in as a default or just everyday wear/tear.

BTW, my Aurelia hovers around 1.1-1.2 bars with a group water temp. of 199-200 and offers plenty of steam for my needs. It's easily capable of extracting from both groups while steaming from both wands if needed and never seems to miss a beat in performance. Choices, choices, choices...

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