Prosumer Vs. Luxury Machines
There’s a couple of terms we use to describe machines that can be a little vague or confusing without a bit of an explanation. Here, we’re referring to the words “prosumer” and “luxury” in the espresso machine context. What makes a machine “prosumer?” When does it become “luxury?” Let’s talk about it!
When we talk about prosumer we’re talking about a true step up from entry level espresso. These are machines that you could get started with, but often require a little bit of extra work to learn to use. The reward, of course, is espresso that gets close to cafe quality. These machines tend to run in the $1,000-$2,000 range, making them expensive for a first machine. They also rarely support the use of pressurized portafilter baskets, but they do sometimes!
Outside of these common threads, prosumer machines tend to focus on component quality and performance while balancing price. Some machines in this category may lack certain programming features, PID controllers, or the ability to brew and steam at the same time. What you will get, however, is a machine built to last with high quality components that are designed to give you lots of hands on control over your drinks.
So what are some examples of prosumer machines? The first that comes to mind is the Rocket Espresso Appartamento. This machine may not have too many bells and whistles, but it’s built to last, offers high end performance, and fits on most countertops. Other examples include machines like the Rancilio Silvia Pro and the Ascaso Steel Uno.
So what separates “luxury” machines when we use that term? A few things! For starters, when we talk about luxury machines there is usually a bump in performance. Whether it’s a jump from a heat exchanger to dedicated steaming and brewing boilers, higher capacity boilers, or PID controlled temperatures, these machines usually feature something that boosts them into territory close to that of commercial machines.
The biggest difference though, tends to be in features. Luxury machines usually have options like rotary pumps for plumbing in, pressure profiling, lots of programmability, and creature comforts like cool touch steam wands. There’s also generally a jump in price, with these sorts of machines starting in the $2,500 range and going up into the several thousand dollar range.
But are they worth it? It can be a hard question to answer. Let’s take a look at something like the Rocket Espresso R58 Cinquantotto. This machine has two boilers, so you can steam and brew at the same time multiple drinks in a row. It’s also got rock solid PID controlled temperatures for unbreakable temp stability. On top of this, you can program the machine for an auto-on time, so it’ll always be ready when you are.
It’s true that this machine IS expensive, but if you’re an experienced user, it could be the last espresso machine you ever buy. This is really what it comes down to, it’s less about buying your first machine, and more about buying your last one!