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MarkPrince
Moderator


Joined: 19 Dec 2001
Posts: 5,611
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 Wed May 2, 2007, 10:19pm
Subject: Re: How to Buy an Espresso Machine
 

MarkPrince Said:

How to Buy an Espresso Machine

CoffeeGeek's comprehensive guide on how to make the right decision the first time when buying a quality espresso machine. Filled with insider tips, budget recommendations, and more.

Posted December 26, 2009 link

Finally, a new guide for the website!

This one started out as a how to, and just grew and grew and grew. Big thanks to Cindy Taylor for her excellent editing job on it.

Also, photos are coming for the Vendors page and the Life of Ownership page at some point this summer.

In the meantime, I welcome your suggestions and commentary on this guide, especially suggestions for things to add or improve on. Now you have something comprehensive to point your newbie friends to, when they want advice on getting a good espresso machine!

Mark

 
CoffeeGeek Senior Editor
www.twitter.com/coffeegeek www.flickr.com/coffeegeek, www.instagram.com/coffeegeek (you get the picture)
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roadman
Senior Member


Joined: 12 May 2005
Posts: 90
Location: Seattle

Espresso: Olympia Cremina 67
Grinder: Mazzer Super Jolly
Drip: Hario V60
Posted Thu May 3, 2007, 7:36am
Subject: Re: How to Buy an Espresso Machine
 

Just a quick heads up, the Cremina is a manual lever, not spring loaded.
Jon
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mcKoffee
Senior Member
mcKoffee
Joined: 29 Dec 2001
Posts: 856
Location: Vancouver WA USA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: VBM DD, Bricoletta, Audrey,...
Grinder: Major,SJ, Rocky,...
Vac Pot: Gold Royal Balance
Drip: When it rains...Aero,...
Roaster: USRC3k,CCR HT, Behmor, Cafe...
Posted Thu May 3, 2007, 10:27am
Subject: Re: How to Buy an Espresso Machine
 

MarkPrince Said:

How to Buy an Espresso Machine

CoffeeGeek's comprehensive guide on how to make the right decision the first time when buying a quality espresso machine. Filled with insider tips, budget recommendations, and more.

Posted December 26, 2009 link


Great guide for the person entering the world of the Dark Side for the first time Mark! It'll be a great resource to direct people to.

Unfortunately no way will it make the right decision the first time eliminate possible future ugraditis. ;-) But that's ok and the natural evolution of the Journey. As experience grows so may the desire for greater and or different machine capabilites that didn't even have the ability to understand before, even after reading a very good comprehensive buying decision guide like you've written.

Unless of course the newbie decides to purchase the machine pictured at the beginning of the guide! Yeah, that would keep ugraditits at bay for a spell. Atleast until a new generation of machines with variable programable shot pressure profiles or the like hits the market!:-)

 
miKe mcKoffee aka Mike McGinness
www.CompassCoffeeRoasting.com
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mcKoffee
Senior Member
mcKoffee
Joined: 29 Dec 2001
Posts: 856
Location: Vancouver WA USA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: VBM DD, Bricoletta, Audrey,...
Grinder: Major,SJ, Rocky,...
Vac Pot: Gold Royal Balance
Drip: When it rains...Aero,...
Roaster: USRC3k,CCR HT, Behmor, Cafe...
Posted Thu May 3, 2007, 1:02pm
Subject: Re: How to Buy an Espresso Machine
 

Since you got into amortizing cost of ownership, with grinders might include the cost of keeping grind quality high over time. For instance say Rocky cost $300 and Mazzer Super Jolly $600. Based on my 100# per year grinding (and knowing how Rocky's burrs wear from 5+ years experience) at the end of 5 years burrs will have been replaced (and have) 4 times costing about $170 inc. s/h making 5 year cost of ownership $470.  The SJ with it's much larger burrs now at 5 years need burrs replaced so ~$45 for $645 total still quite a bit more than a Rocky. But at 10 years Rocky will have 5 more sets of burrs ~$205 more totaling ~$675 and SJ one more totaling ~$690. So depending on how you look at it Mazzer Super Jolly only costs $15 more than a Rocky! And from my experience grinders classed in the Maestro range need burrs about every 50# when used for espresso duties.

 
miKe mcKoffee aka Mike McGinness
www.CompassCoffeeRoasting.com
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PaulTheRoaster
Senior Member
PaulTheRoaster
Joined: 2 Aug 2005
Posts: 345
Location: Champaign, Illinois, USA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Faema C84 A/1, Eterna leva...
Grinder: Compak K6, Solis Classic
Drip: French Press, Swiss Gold...
Roaster: RK drum
Posted Thu May 3, 2007, 3:13pm
Subject: Re: How to Buy an Espresso Machine
 

Nice article.
I would only quibble about the part discussing push-button steam controls.
Do you really find that you (not just Mark, anyone in CG) uses less than 100%?
If 100% is too fast, I think most people (self included) shop for a slower tip instead of trying to open to 60% while steaming the milk ... I mean, as soon as the wand starts steaming, you have to concentrate on the milk, not on adjusting knobs.

All of my machines have always had knobs for steam control, but push-button steam, I wouldn't mind.
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MarkPrince
Moderator


Joined: 19 Dec 2001
Posts: 5,611
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 Thu May 3, 2007, 3:39pm
Subject: Re: How to Buy an Espresso Machine
 

PaulTheRoaster Said:

Nice article.
I would only quibble about the part discussing push-button steam controls.
Do you really find that you (not just Mark, anyone in CG) uses less than 100%?

Posted May 3, 2007 link

When I'm teaching anyone (a class, seminar, friends, even believe it or not, machine sellers who don't know how to use the consumer machines they sell) how to use a consumer machine, one of the things I do show is how to finesse the steam knob while steaming.

On a machine like a Krups or Villaware or a Francis! Francis! or even a Silvia, there's not a lot of room to play with, since they steam slow, relative to a commercial machine or a 1.5l HX machine, for sure, but even on a FF!! or Silvia, finessing the steam knob can make a big difference in the overall texture and sweetness retention in the microfoam.

Mark

 
CoffeeGeek Senior Editor
www.twitter.com/coffeegeek www.flickr.com/coffeegeek, www.instagram.com/coffeegeek (you get the picture)
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PaulTheRoaster
Senior Member
PaulTheRoaster
Joined: 2 Aug 2005
Posts: 345
Location: Champaign, Illinois, USA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Faema C84 A/1, Eterna leva...
Grinder: Compak K6, Solis Classic
Drip: French Press, Swiss Gold...
Roaster: RK drum
Posted Thu May 3, 2007, 4:06pm
Subject: Re: How to Buy an Espresso Machine
 

MarkPrince Said:

On a machine like a Krups or Villaware or a Francis! Francis! or even a Silvia, there's not a lot of room to play with, since they steam slow, relative to a commercial machine or a 1.5l HX machine, for sure, but even on a FF!! or Silvia, finessing the steam knob can make a big difference in the overall texture and sweetness retention in the microfoam.

Posted May 3, 2007 link

Maybe I should try that. Actually it's something I never thought about until now.
Thanks.
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mcKoffee
Senior Member
mcKoffee
Joined: 29 Dec 2001
Posts: 856
Location: Vancouver WA USA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: VBM DD, Bricoletta, Audrey,...
Grinder: Major,SJ, Rocky,...
Vac Pot: Gold Royal Balance
Drip: When it rains...Aero,...
Roaster: USRC3k,CCR HT, Behmor, Cafe...
Posted Thu May 3, 2007, 4:22pm
Subject: Re: How to Buy an Espresso Machine
 

PaulTheRoaster Said:

Nice article.
I would only quibble about the part discussing push-button steam controls.
Do you really find that you (not just Mark, anyone in CG) uses less than 100%?

Posted May 3, 2007 link

Have you ever tried steaming ~1oz milk (or a tad less) in a 3oz SS pitcher for a no milk waste double shot machiatto? I have and do, but couldn't without steam control! It is tough to get the texture just right though:-)

 
miKe mcKoffee aka Mike McGinness
www.CompassCoffeeRoasting.com
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MarkPrince
Moderator


Joined: 19 Dec 2001
Posts: 5,611
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 Thu May 3, 2007, 4:52pm
Subject: Re: How to Buy an Espresso Machine
 

mcKoffee Said:

Have you ever tried steaming ~1oz milk (or a tad less) in a 3oz SS pitcher for a no milk waste double shot machiatto?

Posted May 3, 2007 link

You, sir, are hardcore! :D

Mark

 
CoffeeGeek Senior Editor
www.twitter.com/coffeegeek www.flickr.com/coffeegeek, www.instagram.com/coffeegeek (you get the picture)
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welone
Senior Member


Joined: 18 Dec 2006
Posts: 42
Location: Baden, Switzerland
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: paddle GS3,...
Grinder: Compak K10, Baratza Vario,...
Posted Thu May 3, 2007, 5:16pm
Subject: Re: How to Buy an Espresso Machine
 

A must for anyone standing at the edge of the infamous 'rabbit hole'. definitely saves a huge read-up when starting!

Concerning the important details of the machine, I would add the absolute boiler size for the lower end single boiler machines. My gaggia classic (with a 3.5 oz boiler) drops 8 to 16 degrees Fahrenheit during a double shot which is quite a different compared to a Rancilio Silvia (12 oz boiler) for which only a few degrees (less than  5 degF) are reported. I'm well aware that the imperative of rock stable intrashot stability is a controversial topic - but nevertheless I've never seen someone advocating for a drop of 10 degrees Fahrenheit during an extraction. On the other hand there are also advantages to small boilers, especially when coupled with a powerful heating element. It's a good option for people who want to have minimum initial heat up time and a quick cool down from steaming to brewing temperature.

[EDIT to add the machine brand] Furthermore there also appeared a steaming microswitch (on the Solis SL 70) which greatly improves the ease and durability of steaming with small boilers (it automatically turns on the heating elements the moment the steam valve is being opened).

looking forward to the next articles ;) thanks for sharing the knowledge
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