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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Thanks a lot, Mike! Now I want a Fiorenzato Bricoletta! That's a really nice machine! :)
Phil, thanks for the comparison. Like I said, I don't know Faemas, and you're right about the temperature stability issues with non-PID Lineas (and yeah, surfing in a busy commercial environment is rough to say the least).

2 questions, I feel like I'm missing something: if the Faema only has one boiler for steam and espresso production, what's happening to temperature and pressure if you're steaming while extracting? Second, what is the difference between Faema's "genuine" preinfusion and the Linea-style pulsed infusion?

Phil Proteau said:
Conventional wisdom would indicate that a double boiler will be more temperature stable and consistent than a heat exchange system. That's the problem with conventional wisdom, it seldom takes all the important factors into consideration. Lets examine the two systems you are looking at, shall we?...
L
Question 1- The pressure and temperature in these commercial boilers experience small dips when steaming and generally recover very rapidly. The heating element turns on during steaming and if you watch the pressure gauge, you will see that they loose very little and come back up very quick. Water in the heat exchange cannot be expected to loose temperature as fast as the pressure is lost in the steam boiler, because the heat doesn't have time to dissipate before the pressure comes back up.

Question 2- What I mean by genuine pre-infusion is, a small amount of brew water is dumped on the coffee bed before the full pressure of the pump squeezes in on it. In a Linea, if you use the volumetric flow meter, and only if the electronic pre-infusion is programed to activate, you get full 9 bar pressure for one second, then the pump turns off for one second, then the pump turns on again. So you have pressurized infusion followed by pressurized extraction. If you use the continuous flow button, the bypass toggle switch, or you have a semiautomatic, you don't even get this electronic pulse. Rather, you get a full-on 9 bar blast right from the start.
Make it a business expense that you store in your kitchen! (Mine's the old retro style "garbage can" body wrap:) My Bric' works quite well for small catering events too, fed via flojet and accumulator. You only need 35sec post shot group flush to recover for next shot "flush-n-go". Flush-n-go= flash flush every shot down to temp, lock and pull. In jammin' use only talkin a short flush from brief "flash", though I do use Eric's thermometer which is easier than counting from end of flash. (Also tested and PASSED the WBC torture test without shot temp fade:) And no prob' steaming while pulling. Caveat only offer 8oz bevs catering 'cuz wee 1.5L steam boiler takes too long to steam for even a 12oz latte (ie takes longer to steam than pull shot, screw that!).

Paul Yates said:
Thanks a lot, Mike! Now I want a Fiorenzato Bricoletta! That's a really nice machine! :)
Phil Proteau said:
If you use the continuous flow button, the bypass toggle switch, or you have a semiautomatic, you don't even get this electronic pulse. Rather, you get a full-on 9 bar blast right from the start.

This is exacerbated if the machine doesn't utilize some sort of pre-infusion chamber, and instead opts for a three-way solenoid valve in its place. But at the end of the day everyone is different and has their own preferences and prep techniques that may benefit more from one type of machine versus the other. HX's can be good machines though - I admit that I may have come off a little too harsh on them, but they require a giant boiler to do so(general rule being a capacity of six liters for every group). In terms of sheer efficiency, double boilers hand heat exchangers their asses.
Actually no, Heat Exchanger machines are more energy efficient than Double Boiler machines, unless you turn off the steam boiler on a DB, which ain't gonna happen in a commercial environment.

Jeff Jaworski said:
In terms of sheer efficiency, double boilers hand heat exchangers their asses.
A couple of thoughts, totally skirting the HX vs DB question.

What is the service support for Faema and La Marzocco in your area? Faema support in some areas (including ours) is spotty, and since parts are distributed through the La Cimbali network things can be really difficult.

Pass on the autosteam option. You can do better with a traditional wand. Plus, the autowands give you many more moving parts and controls to fail. Maintenance will be more expensive for a machine with an auto wand (unless it just sits there unused).

How old is the Linea?

On the PID question, I submit for your consideration the Competition Aurelia. HX + PID to good effect. (OK, maybe I won't skirt the hX vs DB thing...)

Me? I like hX machines, but I'd go for the Linea.
Mac or PC. I once heard someone on this list refer to the difference between HX and DB this way. He was referring to the Competition Aurelia next to any LM PID or not.
Bring in new people to your shop and in not much time they are rocking and rolling on the Aurelia. LM shop owners would generally like to give more time to new baristas before they turn them loose on the front end with LM's
Jeff, I take it you have not met or worked with my best new staff "Aurelia" There is a distinct reason these machines were chosen for the WBC. I think the tests they put these baby's through are pretty comprehensive.
That said I would not turn down a nice new LM.
Renier,
As to your question that started this morphed thread. I owned and used a Faema Legend for a year. Thank God for warranty's. Delano's in Seattle took it back because of some design flaws and replaced it with a new Aurelia 2 grp. w/ auto wand. As Brady points out and so did my tech that installed it, forget about it. I use maybe in a pinch with to go drinks if there are 3or4 the same.
I would go with the LM given the choice you present here.
Brady, thank you for the most common but uncommon here sometimes sence when it comes to the most basic need of maintenance. Renier, if I had a third choice for a busy setting I would go with the Competition Aurelia. As strange as it looks, sure is nice to slip a 20oz cup under the pf for over all speed work.
Just my long winded 2cents.
Joseph

Brady said:
A couple of thoughts, totally skirting the HX vs DB question.

What is the service support for Faema and La Marzocco in your area? Faema support in some areas (including ours) is spotty, and since parts are distributed through the La Cimbali network things can be really difficult.

Pass on the autosteam option. You can do better with a traditional wand. Plus, the autowands give you many more moving parts and controls to fail. Maintenance will be more expensive for a machine with an auto wand (unless it just sits there unused).

How old is the Linea?

On the PID question, I submit for your consideration the Competition Aurelia. HX + PID to good effect. (OK, maybe I won't skirt the hX vs DB thing...)

Me? I like hX machines, but I'd go for the Linea.
Joseph Robertson said:
Jeff, I take it you have not met or worked with my best new staff "Aurelia" There is a distinct reason these machines were chosen for the WBC.

^^ Yup, that is where I'll definitely agree on the HX. NS Aurelia is one of the only heat exchanger machines I can think of where the rubber truly meets the road going into the 21st century.
I myself have not operated one, but have had multiple shots from them in a couple of different cafes and the espresso from them was about as perfect as it gets, time after time, location after location.
It is extremely consistent, a very bad ass machine, and would no doubt make for an excellent choice imo!

Rather complex, but so is the Strada...
Thanks to every one that has taken there time to reply to my post.

Here is what I am going to do:

I am going to visit the suppliers of the La Marzocco and Faema tomorrow. I will make up 'n list of all the questions asked especially about the refurbishing and the age of the Linea. I will also be doing a bit of research on PID - the cost and if there is someone South Africa can assist me with it.
I have also decided to go and have a look at the NS Aurelia.
I suspect it will all come down to gut-feel, and the support offered by the supplier. At the moment I am thinking of going with the Linea, I am a bit worried about expensive breakdowns sins it is a secondhand machine, but I will get all the info regarding the refurbishing tomorrow.

Renier
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.

My daily driver is a 2 group Aurelia and I love using it. Now it does have some plastic on it, but the machine has a nice look to it IMO and the fit/finish is quite nice. Under the hood it's all business and I really like the parts layout and fairly good access to everything.

I do agree on skipping the autowand gadgets. I do use ours for heating cider and that sort of thing. Will say it works great for things of that nature because the temperature can be programmed and it hits that point every single time. But I wouldn't waste time trying to texture milk with it.

Don't know about any sort of flushing technique because I've never had to do any. Anytime I've checked the group temp. it is always in the 199-200 range, which is where I choose to extract at. Never seen it register more than 1 degree higher/lower than those numbers regardless of whether I'm extracting 1 double each minute or 1 each hour. It is always predictable and simply dead-on.
I can only concur 100% regarding NS.
Joseph

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.

My daily driver is a 2 group Aurelia and I love using it. Now it does have some plastic on it, but the machine has a nice look to it IMO and the fit/finish is quite nice. Under the hood it's all business and I really like the parts layout and fairly good access to everything.

I do agree on skipping the autowand gadgets. I do use ours for heating cider and that sort of thing. Will say it works great for things of that nature because the temperature can be programmed and it hits that point every single time. But I wouldn't waste time trying to texture milk with it.

Don't know about any sort of flushing technique because I've never had to do any. Anytime I've checked the group temp. it is always in the 199-200 range, which is where I choose to extract at. Never seen it register more than 1 degree higher/lower than those numbers regardless of whether I'm extracting 1 double each minute or 1 each hour. It is always predictable and simply dead-on.

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