# Espresso Machine < \$2000 USD

Disclaimer:

• This list is based on my limited research, make sure to do your own research in Reddit / home-barista or other forums as well
• Some bias or personal preference is there but I try to be as neutral as possible
• The context also takes into consideration of availability of machines in Malaysia

Index

## 1. Dual Boilers

### Lelit Elizabeth

Summary: non-E61 group head, dual boilers (300ml brew, 600ml steam)

Link to a comprehensive review by DaveC

Pros:

• Dual boilers, good temperature stability with good PID software
• Fast warm up (15-17 minutes), silent vibration pump
• Has a brew pressure gauge
• Programmable timed shot buttons
• Cheaper than many other dual boilers

Cons:

• Subjective looks - could be ugly for some
• Build quality is decent only (some said not as good as MaraX/Profitec but some said totally fine)
• No flow profiling
• Small water tank opening with tubes on top, not so elegant (See Image)

### Profitec Pro 300

Summary: non-E61 group head, dual boilers (400ml brew, 750ml steam)

Reddit discussion between MaraX, Elizabeth and Profitec 300

Pros:

• Dual boilers, good temperature stability
• Fast warm up
• Simple design, good build quality
• Cheaper than many other dual boilers
• Small form factor

Cons:

• Subjective looks
• No flow profiling, no adjustable pre-infusion

### CREM One 2B Dual (not to be confused with 2B R-LFPP Dual)

Summary: E61 group head, dual boilers (1.2L brew, 1.7L steam)

Detailed review of the R-LFPP version (note it's not the same variant)

Pros:

• Large dual boilers, good temperature stability
• Modern design with dual manometers (brew & steam pressure gauges)
• Large drip tray, and brew boiler can empty into drip tray easily
• Seems to have better build quality than the Profitec Pro 300 / Lelit Elizabeth
• Possible addition of flow profiling kit ala E61

Cons:

• This variant does NOT have built-in adjustable pre-infusion or flow/pressure profiling unlike the R-LFPP variant
• Lack of user base internationally, hence have to rely on reseller support (not italian brand so parts are also rarer)

### Breville BES920 Dual Boiler

Summary: non-E61 group head, dual boilers (0.3L brew, 0.95L steam). A good machine for those who are willing to mod or those who doesn't mind a kitchen appliance looking machine.

Detailed review of the R-LFPP version (note it's not the same variant)

Pros:

• More affordable than other dual boilers
• Adjustable pre-infusion, possibility of slayer mod to do pressure profiling
• Good temperature stability
• Fast warm up

Cons:

• More plastic in the build, looks like a toy (subjective)
• Does not seem to last longer than other brands
• Almost impossible to find replacement parts, need to rely on reseller's support or warranty
• Non standard portafilter design (even though it's still 58mm)

Other good candidates: ACS Minima (one of the best valued dual boilers too), but it's hard to find one in Malaysia.

## 2. Heat Exchange (HX) Machines

### Lelit MaraX

Summary: The most temperature accurate/consistent HX machine, since it comes with 2 temp sensor (1 at HX, 1 at the boiler).

Link to a comprehensive review by DaveC

Pros:

• Good temperature accuracy unlike any other HX. Set at one of the 3 temp settings and it will stay at that range (91-92C / 93-94 C / 95-96 C). This means no cooling flush is needed unlike other HX.
• Dual manometers (brew & steam pressure gauges)
• Silent vibration pump with a gradual pre-infusion by the pump* (see cons #3)
• Possible to add flow profiling kit (like Bianca)
• Wide water tank with no tubes on top (image)
• Light weight (18kg) and small form factor
• Possibility to add a live data display addon to display temperatures (See Image)

Cons:

• Fast warm up (20mins) but to reach perfect temperature, it takes about 30-35mins to stabilize to your target temp
• Not ideal for many back-to-back shots. Temperature will slowly shoot up 3-4 mins after the first shot, so you have a "window" of good temp shots. But if you time your shots well, no problem at all.
• If you need to pull like >5 shots consecutively, you can change to "steam priority mode" where it acts like a normal HX, so pulling back to back shots is similar with Profitec 500 or other HX.
• Pump flow rate is lower than others by design (max 4.5ml/s). Not really a cons here, as you usually don't need more than 5ml/s flow rate.

### Profitec Pro 500 (PID)

Summary: One of the more temperature consistent HX that does not need that much of cooling flush, but you might still need a quick flush (it depends). As with any HX, you might need a group head thermometer installed if you want to monitor the temp.

Pros:

• Better temperature accuracy compared to other older HX like Rocket Appartamento etc
• Good build quality and good looking
• Dual manometers (brew & steam pressure gauges)
• Possible to add flow profiling kit (since it's E61)
• Wide water tank with no tubes on top

Cons:

• It's still a HX machine, cooling flush might be needed for the very first shot you pull. And you might need to install group head thermometer (or use a SCACE) to know exactly what brew temp you get. However, consequent shots could be more stable.
• E61 typically needs longer warm up time (30+ mins) due to the big chunk of metal

## 3. My choice and reason

I went with the MaraX because of my unique situation:

• My kitchen space for espresso is very small and only machines like Profitec Pro 300 or Lelit MaraX can fit.
• I had a budget of max RM7000 at the time of purchase (but ended up spending more because I bought bottomless portafilter, flow profiling kit, walnut knobs...)
• I like the looks of MaraX the most
• I like the possibility of adding flow profiling
• I like the simplicity of MaraX - no cooling flush, just walk to it and pull shot then steam
• I don't have a need for many consecutive shots, at most 3, so it's fine.
• I don't like Profitec Pro 300 even though it's a dual boiler - mainly due to no preinfusion and flow profiling. Lelit Elizabeth seems good too but not the looks.

If I have a bigger space, I would still choose the MaraX with my budget. With a much higher budget I might opt for the Lelit Bianca. Else, the rest seems to be diminishing returns. The next level jump could be at GS3 / Decent Pro level.