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Espresso Advice - From One Steel Guy to Another, The Cafe Stage
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MarkPrince
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Joined: 19 Dec 2001
Posts: 5,618
Location: Vancouver, BC
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: KvdW Speedster
Grinder: Versalab M3 Grinder
Vac Pot: A bit too many
Drip: Bonavita
Roaster: Hario Glass Retro Roaster
Posted Fri Dec 22, 2006, 11:41am
Subject: Re: Espresso Advice - From One Steel Guy to Another, The Cafe Stage
 

Hola folks -

on the "spend more on the grinder than the espresso machine" thing - if I ever stated it that way, sorry for the confusion. My mantra has been and continues to be "don't skimp on the grinder". Also "the grinder should be your first consideration, then the espresso machine".

I've also been quoted as saying I've made better espresso on a $400 grinder and a $250 espresso machine than I have on a $4,500 espresso machine with no grinder, or preground coffee.

Obviously, by the time you get up to prosumer machines, you're going to be spending more on the espresso machine than the grinder. But there's still plenty of consumers out there who'll drop $1000, $1,500 on a top of the line machine and not buy a grinder, instead "saving up for it, and using lavazza right now... so why does my espresso suck? The machine is not doing its job!" (grin).

Mark

 
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Worldman
Senior Member
Worldman
Joined: 16 Nov 2004
Posts: 1,822
Location: Pittsburgh, PA, USA
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Expobar Office Control
Grinder: Cimbali 6/S
Posted Fri Dec 22, 2006, 10:42pm
Subject: Re: Espresso Advice - From One Steel Guy to Another, The Cafe Stage
 

JohnPark Said:

Thanks Justin. I just checked the UPS tracking and it says my shipment has an "exception" due to bad weather. It's on a train, so how bad would the weather have to be?!! Looks like I'll be drinking press pot for Christmas after all.
-JP

Posted December 22, 2006 link

:(

Oh, well...just think how nice the new year will be when your new babies arrive!  

Len

 
Len
Len's Espresso Blends
www.lensespressoblends.com
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CHenry
Senior Member


Joined: 16 Dec 2004
Posts: 115
Location: Maryland
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Olympia Express Maximatic
Grinder: Mazzer Mini Electronic Type...
Vac Pot: none
Drip: Technivorm
Roaster: none
Posted Sat Dec 23, 2006, 6:17pm
Subject: Re: Espresso Advice - From One Steel Guy to Another, The Cafe Stage
 

I am enough of an enthusiast to have a E61 (Andreja Prem) and Mazzer Mini E, but I'd be reluctant to recommend that kind of setup for someone who isn't really necessarily all that interested in the process. This may be the kind of situation where a better superauto is the best choice, maybe the Nuova Simonelli Microbar, if the user is well-heeled and wants user tunability, or one of the superautos carried by Williams-Sonoma, which has stores in Tampa, should there be service or return needs.
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alsterling
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alsterling
Joined: 28 Dec 2005
Posts: 682
Location: Dana Point, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: La Spaziale S1 (Had Expo)
Grinder: Macap M4 & Gaggia MDF
Vac Pot: Not yet...
Drip: Capresso MT-500 & Melitta...
Roaster: Hottop Digital
Posted Sat Dec 23, 2006, 7:55pm
Subject: Re: Espresso Advice - From One Steel Guy to Another, The Cafe Stage
 

Len..... thanks for taking the time to crank out a down-to-earth article on machine selection for home espresso newcomers. (I'd say Pittsburgh Blue-Collar kinda' down-to-earth, but wouldn't want anyone to take it the wrong way!) The background story well supports your recommendations. I think we've all seen, participated in or debated appropriate responses to posts that read something like, "New to espresso, what do I buy!". It even drags me out of the shadows!

Your article has inspired some thought on the subject. What I'd love to see, although it may steal the thunder from many of our responses, is as thorough as possible video that explores this, very much like you constructed your article. If you've seen photos of Chris' showroom in Albany, then imagine someone doing an instructional walkthrough of each machine. I'd like to see a video that starts with a basic primer of terms and such, then goes on to typical historical needs voiced by buyers, and then a demo of three major groups of machines and grinder combinations; single boiler, HX and Dual Boiler, with some time spent on lever machines. There could be, for instance, three setups within each group. Maybe it's out there and I've not seen it?

Best from SoCal, Al

 
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Coffee_Wombat
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Joined: 18 Jan 2006
Posts: 9
Location: San Jose/Diego
Expertise: I love coffee

Grinder: Zassenhaus, Maestro Plus
Vac Pot: Chambord FP
Drip: Scand. Presto
Roaster: iRoast I
Posted Sun Dec 24, 2006, 2:02am
Subject: Re: Espresso Advice - From One Steel Guy to Another, The Cafe Stage
 

I see, thanks for clearing up the confusion on grinder vs espresso machine costs. I was planning on getting a mazzer mini soon, but don't have nearly enough for a decent espresso machine. I'd be using it for a french press :|
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Worldman
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Worldman
Joined: 16 Nov 2004
Posts: 1,822
Location: Pittsburgh, PA, USA
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Expobar Office Control
Grinder: Cimbali 6/S
Posted Sun Dec 24, 2006, 4:15am
Subject: Re: Espresso Advice - From One Steel Guy to Another, The Cafe Stage
 

CHenry Said:

I am enough of an enthusiast to have a E61 (Andreja Prem) and Mazzer Mini E, but I'd be reluctant to recommend that kind of setup for someone who isn't really necessarily all that interested in the process.

Posted December 23, 2006 link

hmmm...another "interesting" point! The thing with Joe is that he has been drinking espresso nearly as long as I have and drinks it as much as I do (at least, when it is available to him). He knows good espresso. As far as his interest in "the process" - OR - his diligence in "the operation", of course, neither he nor I could know that at this stage. Hence, he very well may be wasting his $$ on such a setup - BUT ONLY IF HE DOESN'T CHOOSE TO LEARN TO USE IT AND THEN USE IT REGULARLY.

If, however, you are suggesting that one needs to start with the usual steam toy or low end pump machine and a low grade burr grinder, I must ask: why? Why can't someone who KNOWS proper espresso and has the $$ to buy good equipment, start with good equipment? I find that pulling a good shot is MUCH EASIER with my Expobar & Cunill than it ever was with my Coffee Gaggia & MDF.

Having said that, back when we had the Cimbali setup (Jr. & Jr. grinder) at the office my barista skills as well as Nik's were pretty lacking (compared to what they are today). The Cimbali was, perhaps, an extravagance - but one that the company could well afford. I wonder what my skills would be if we has kept those machines back in 1998, when the company was sold?

CHenry Said:

This may be the kind of situation where a better superauto is the best choice, maybe the Nuova Simonelli Microbar, if the user is well-heeled and wants user tunability, or one of the superautos carried by Williams-Sonoma, which has stores in Tampa, should there be service or return needs.

Posted December 23, 2006 link

Here, I have to differ with you - emphatically. I can not think of any situation where I have gotten a good or even decent espresso or cappuccino from a superauto. Can you?

Whatever one felt about the goodness or not-so-goodness of the coffee beans at Starbucks, you used to be able to get a competently pulled shot or cappuccino. Since they went to all superautos, the best you can get is mediocre.  What kind of friend would I be if I consigned
Joe to a life of mediocrity?

Len

 
Len
Len's Espresso Blends
www.lensespressoblends.com
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cannonfodder
Senior Member
cannonfodder
Joined: 14 Dec 2004
Posts: 873
Location: Dayton, Oh
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: ElektraA3,Faema2G, Isomac,...
Grinder: Cimbali, Mazzer
Vac Pot: Dont smoke pot or vac it.
Drip: Press pot
Roaster: Hottop, drum roaster
Posted Sun Dec 24, 2006, 7:43pm
Subject: Re: Espresso Advice - From One Steel Guy to Another, The Cafe Stage
 

I have been away from CG for a while. I finally got all of my HB duties caught up and hopped over to see what is new and surprise. I opened the article and thought hay I know him! LOL. I enjoyed it.

I liked the fact that there were no super automatic machines in your selection. The focus was on good espresso, not convent espresso. I have never gotten a shot from a super auto that was passable. With some modest skill and minimal time, the least expensive option will still produce a shot far better than the best shot a super automatic could ever produce.

Give us an update when he makes a decision. It would be interesting to see what he chooses.

 
Dave Stephens
www.home-barista.com
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Worldman
Senior Member
Worldman
Joined: 16 Nov 2004
Posts: 1,822
Location: Pittsburgh, PA, USA
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Expobar Office Control
Grinder: Cimbali 6/S
Posted Sun Dec 24, 2006, 11:04pm
Subject: Re: Espresso Advice - From One Steel Guy to Another, The Cafe Stage
 

cannonfodder Said:

I have been away from CG for a while. I finally got all of my HB duties caught up and hopped over to see what is new and surprise. I opened the article and thought hay I know him! LOL. I enjoyed it.

I liked the fact that there were no super automatic machines in your selection. The focus was on good espresso, not convent espresso. I have never gotten a shot from a super auto that was passable. With some modest skill and minimal time, the least expensive option will still produce a shot far better than the best shot a super automatic could ever produce.

Give us an update when he makes a decision. It would be interesting to see what he chooses.

Posted December 24, 2006 link

Hiya, Dave...& Merry Christmas to you!

 
Len
Len's Espresso Blends
www.lensespressoblends.com
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sohr
Senior Member


Joined: 30 Apr 2003
Posts: 6
Location: Cleveland, OH
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Rancilio Siliva, Gaggia...
Grinder: Cunill Tranquilo, Gaggia...
Posted Mon Dec 25, 2006, 1:49pm
Subject: Re: Espresso Advice - From One Steel Guy to Another, The Cafe Stage
 

Bravo... A+ + + + + +!
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Worldman
Senior Member
Worldman
Joined: 16 Nov 2004
Posts: 1,822
Location: Pittsburgh, PA, USA
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Expobar Office Control
Grinder: Cimbali 6/S
Posted Tue Dec 26, 2006, 5:01am
Subject: Re: Espresso Advice - From One Steel Guy to Another, The Cafe Stage
 

sohr Said:

Bravo... A+ + + + + +!

Posted December 25, 2006 link

LOL!!!  As this is from my son-in-law, I think that we can "discount" what he has to say.  

Len (or, Dad, depending on your perspective)

 
Len
Len's Espresso Blends
www.lensespressoblends.com
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