Very sorry for the late replies, have been out enjoying the Easter weekend.
Cuprajake I might be the odd one out when i say I think the Bianca would tickle my fancy a lot more if handles were black but asides from that i think the price is just too much for a first machine.
John_Yossarian from what I am gathering i do think i will be going to dual boiler route. There is a lot of love for the ACS Minima so i am going to have to bring it in to consideration. I am glad to hear of experiences from members like yourself who have tried both hx and dual boiler to let me no which they personally think is better.
JahLaza the rabbit hole seems to go very deep indeed. Always tried to convince myself i would never go down this route and that my nespresso was perfectly fine. However i follow many pages on Instagram and i have always admired the caramel like stream of goodness i have witnessed from bottomless portafilters which has led me to this current day of wanting fresh beans and each of their own unique characters and tastes. As you have stated you are from Southern Ireland is there many men who work on espresso machines if needed. It really is just taking a chance and hoping for the best when can not go and see things in the flesh. Did you buy your Elizabeth local or did you get it from the UK. As good as warranties are i don’t want to send my machine off for it to be dropped back in a far worse state than i sent it, but i do tend to worry and overthink sometimes, hence why i have so many questions. It was Dave C’s youtube videos that sold me on the Elizabeth long before i found this forum.
DavecUK i think dual boiler is more for me and now you have said about turning the steam boiler off it confirms it even more. when you say i lose the hot water function does that mean i cant use hot water if steam boiler is off. i was always liking the hot water idea on all these machines for topping up my espresso to americanos.
Rob1 i will admit the added maintenance on e61 levers did make me apprehensive at the start and again was another bonus point to the Elizabeth after seeing how easily Dave C done his back flushing in the youtube videos. Is the maintenance of e61 hard or time consuming and how frequently would you think it need done making 1 - 2 espresso per day. The minima sounds an interesting machine i am going to look further into it tonight after how many comments have been made regarding it so far. It and the Elizabeth seem to get a lot more love than profitec. When you say descaling with ashbeck at some point are you talking months or per year? If an RO machine is out of the question would a zero water jug offer any benefit or is RO the best and only way to prevent descaling. i will admit the water side of things and descaling dual boilers does make me hesitant on this situation as a hole considering no local help available, or at least that i no of for now.
Alexvs the price of the dual boiler does make it appealing with discount, however longevity make me think is it really such a good deal if you only get 2.5 years out of it. 5 years or more i could probably deal with that although a dearer machine lasting 10 years for few hundred more in my eyes is a lot more value for money. Our tastes in machines sound very similar. I would love to spend £2k but i still need grinder etc so need to be realistic with myself. i want happy medium of price and quality in both machine and grinder (niche has been decided). Was the ordering direct from Italy any hassle and how did it take? If there was an issue with machine would it be hard to rectify without serious costs of returning etc. I want to take in all factors before i consider going down this route and your personal experience would mean a lot to help me. Black Minima sounds very appealing looks wise, i sound very shallow haha. Simple maintenance would be a huge plus for me. More time to practice and enjoy my new toy. This water situation has me anxious though, it just seems to make it even more complicated than it already is.
Thanks for all your help so far it is really appreciated