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How difficult for a beginner?
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Discussions > Espresso > General > How difficult...  
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whitty
Senior Member


Joined: 19 Mar 2013
Posts: 2
Location: Temple, TX
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Tue Mar 19, 2013, 9:15am
Subject: How difficult for a beginner?
 

Hey, folks. I'm going to make this quick so you don't have to sift through too many words. I'd love some advice. I'm considering jumping into the world of espresso and essentially my only experience is with super-autos, cafes and coffee shops. I've done some research and am considering the following package that I have pieced together on 1st line. First before I dive in too deep...Am I going to be way over my head and find that I spent a bunch of money and can't make anything potable for weeks? I have no experience with a semi-automatic...how difficult is it to make a decent shot? I don't expect perfection, but also don't want to waste a bunch of money. What can I expect from the learning curve? Second, thoughts on the package and equipment for a first timer. Thanks!

Lelit PL041QE Espresso Machine Package- 241818
$429.00
Add A Grinder (optional):  Lelit PL53 Espresso Grinder - doserless, stepless - B107---
       $170.00
Concept Art/Rexroth Tamper Base - 57mm, knock ring - ST23D---
$20.00
Concept Art/Rexroth Wooden Tamper Handle - Rosewood - ST23D
      $29.19
Pallo COFFEETOOL Black Original "Scald-Free" Grouphead Brush- ST9E
       $6.30
International Steaming Pitcher - 20 fl oz max - B216---
$11.66
Harold Import Company Coffee Grinder Brush- ST9B (42130)
$4.95
Concept Art/Rexroth Knock Box - basic - ST10C (GEKBoxBlack)
$19.94

Total: $691.04
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IMAWriter
Senior Member
IMAWriter
Joined: 4 Jul 2002
Posts: 5,874
Location: Brentwood, TN
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Bezzera Strega
Grinder: Forte, OE Pharos,...
Vac Pot: Adcraft SS, Yama 8 cup
Drip: Brazen, Kalita, Chemex,...
Roaster: Behmor 1600, CO/UFO combo
Posted Tue Mar 19, 2013, 11:10am
Subject: Re: How difficult for a beginner?
 

whitty Said:

Hey, folks. I'm going to make this quick so you don't have to sift through too many words. I'd love some advice. I'm considering jumping into the world of espresso and essentially my only experience is with super-autos, cafes and coffee shops. I've done some research and am considering the following package that I have pieced together on 1st line. First before I dive in too deep...Am I going to be way over my head and find that I spent a bunch of money and can't make anything potable for weeks? I have no experience with a semi-automatic...how difficult is it to make a decent shot? I don't expect perfection, but also don't want to waste a bunch of money. What can I expect from the learning curve? Second, thoughts on the package and equipment for a first timer. Thanks!

Lelit PL041QE Espresso Machine Package- 241818
$429.00
Add A Grinder (optional):  Lelit PL53 Espresso Grinder - doserless, stepless - B107---
       $170.00
Concept Art/Rexroth Tamper Base - 57mm, knock ring - ST23D---
$20.00
Concept Art/Rexroth Wooden Tamper Handle - Rosewood - ST23D
      $29.19
Pallo COFFEETOOL Black Original "Scald-Free" Grouphead Brush- ST9E
       $6.30
International Steaming Pitcher - 20 fl oz max - B216---
$11.66
Harold Import Company Coffee Grinder Brush- ST9B (42130)
$4.95
Concept Art/Rexroth Knock Box - basic - ST10C (GEKBoxBlack)
$19.94

Total: $691.04

Posted March 19, 2013 link

Will, welcome to CG.
Include $ for cleaning supplies (Joe Glo, cafiza, etc), or get your vendor to include as a gift.
If your budget is $700, and you like the looks of your gear, why not?
I would say DO NOT buy these machines from other than a reputable vendor.

You're gonna get the inevitable "but if you spend xxxx$$$ more you can get xxxxx."
The ONLY place worth upgrading would be the grinder, as the grinder is the centerpiece of your espresso shrine.
Your grinder is plenty good enough for now, though. Don't get locked into "matching" machine and grinder. Get the best you can afford of grinder and machine.
BTW, if you plan on making a lot of milk drinks, this machine is not the best choice, as there will be a wait to steam, or if you steam first (recommended) a wait for the temperature to fall for espresso.
A HX machine would be better, but even preowned will be $300-600 more. The NS Oscar would be the best alternative, or perhaps the Bezzara.

If you're doing 75% or more espresso, what you have  spelled out will work fine.

Keep us informed!




EDIT, the learning curve is not as bad as you may have heard. :>D
That said, if you can afford a "Bottomless" Porta filter, I'd get one. This way, you can clearly (and at first PAINFULLY) see any problems with your technique. If there are spritzes (water squirts out of the basket) and such, that is a sign of poor distribution technique.
The key is making sure the coffee is distributed evenly in the basket, with no side breaks for water to creep in, which causes "channeling."
Tamping is over-rated. Just level, don't get fussy.
EDITED again for horrible typos. :>D

 
Rob J (LMWDP #187)
My Music Production web site:
www.robertjason.com
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Coffeenoobie
Senior Member
Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 3,030
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Tue Mar 19, 2013, 12:16pm
Subject: Re: How difficult for a beginner?
 

Never pulled a shot in my life before getting Oscar.  I love him.  I am glad I jumped in with both feet.

 
Coffeenoobie

Buying advice: GRINDER GRINDER GRINDER. Don't cheap out on the grinder.

My coffee treasure map...
Click Here (maps.google.com)

Oscar trick out: http://s156.photobucket.com/user/GandBteam/story/14231
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whitty
Senior Member


Joined: 19 Mar 2013
Posts: 2
Location: Temple, TX
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Tue Mar 19, 2013, 12:47pm
Subject: Re: How difficult for a beginner?
 

I will probably making about 50/50 espresso and milk drinks given who I am making for. I wish I could afford the oscar, but you've gotta start somewhere. Suggestions on a starter grinder? I know you can spend a ton, but if I'm trying to hit the $700 mark and get something in the range of the gaggia classic or lelit, I'm not sure I can spend $500+ on a grinder right now. The baratza virtuoso is possibly affordable. Not sure how it compares to the lelit. Any suggestions on reputable vendors?
Thanks for the feedback!
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emradguy
Senior Member
emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 3,109
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Duetto II; Twist v2
Grinder: M Major, Macap M4 x2, VDD...
Drip: Espro presses; Aeropress
Roaster: H-B "List of Favorites"
Posted Tue Mar 19, 2013, 2:35pm
Subject: Re: How difficult for a beginner?
 

Most of us consider the Preciso to be entry level for electric espresso grinders. You can get a refurbished one from Baratza with a one yr warranty for $239. You could also opt for a manual grinder, such as a Hario Slim ($40) or Skerton ($50), or an Orphan Espresso (OE) Lido ($165 + shipping).

 
.
Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
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takeshi
Senior Member
takeshi
Joined: 12 Oct 2002
Posts: 976
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Alex Duetto 3.0
Grinder: Super Jolly
Roaster: Amaya Roasting
Posted Thu Mar 21, 2013, 10:39am
Subject: Re: How difficult for a beginner?
 

whitty Said:

First before I dive in too deep...Am I going to be way over my head and find that I spent a bunch of money and can't make anything potable for weeks? I have no experience with a semi-automatic...how difficult is it to make a decent shot?

Posted March 19, 2013 link

Impossible for us to tell you.  Some find a steep learing curve.  Others have no problem.  People aren't all identical and don't learn the same way(s) or at the same rate.  If you can pay attention to what you're doing and if you have the enthusiasm then there's no reason that you can't pick it up.  If you're just looking for a new shiny toy then you might end up easily distracted.

Further, what's "decent" is highly subjective.  As a newbie if you haven't had experience with really good coffee shops it's probably easy to get a decent shot.  As you experience better shots, the bar for "decent" goes up.

emradguy Said:

Most of us consider the Preciso to be entry level for electric espresso grinders.

Posted March 19, 2013 link

I'd also suggest aiming for a Preciso or better.  Remember that the grinder is more important.

whitty Said:

International Steaming Pitcher - 20 fl oz max - B216---
$11.66

Posted March 19, 2013 link

20 oz also seems a bit large to me.
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emradguy
Senior Member
emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 3,109
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Duetto II; Twist v2
Grinder: M Major, Macap M4 x2, VDD...
Drip: Espro presses; Aeropress
Roaster: H-B "List of Favorites"
Posted Thu Mar 21, 2013, 11:08am
Subject: Re: How difficult for a beginner?
 

takeshi Said:

20 oz also seems a bit large to me.

Posted March 21, 2013 link

Good catch, Don!  I agree...probably want a 12 or 16oz pitcher to start - If only buying one pitcher, I'd get the 16oz, then think about what else I need/want later.

 
.
Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
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calblacksmith
Moderator
calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,766
Location: Riverside, Ca, U.S.A.
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: ECM Vene. A1, La Cimbali M32
Grinder: Azkoyen Capriccio, Major
Vac Pot: 40s era Silex
Drip: Msl. Com. brewers
Roaster: gave it a try, decided no
Posted Fri Mar 22, 2013, 5:44am
Subject: Re: How difficult for a beginner?
 

The cost of a pitcher is minimal when choosing between two sizes.
I use a 32 oz pitcher with 16 oz milk. That may come as a shock to some and others yawn YMMV but I add enough espresso to just make a very large cap, something I can drink for an hour or more on my drive to work.
I say, buy equipment for what you intend to do and adjust from there YMMV!

 
In real life, my name is
Wayne P.
Anything I post is personal opinion and is only worth as much as anyone else's personal opinion. YMMV!

Feed the newbs, starve the trolls and above all enjoy what you drink!
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emradguy
Senior Member
emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 3,109
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Duetto II; Twist v2
Grinder: M Major, Macap M4 x2, VDD...
Drip: Espro presses; Aeropress
Roaster: H-B "List of Favorites"
Posted Fri Mar 22, 2013, 5:46am
Subject: Re: How difficult for a beginner?
 

But you're not using a Lelit

 
.
Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
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IMAWriter
Senior Member
IMAWriter
Joined: 4 Jul 2002
Posts: 5,874
Location: Brentwood, TN
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Bezzera Strega
Grinder: Forte, OE Pharos,...
Vac Pot: Adcraft SS, Yama 8 cup
Drip: Brazen, Kalita, Chemex,...
Roaster: Behmor 1600, CO/UFO combo
Posted Sat Mar 23, 2013, 2:53pm
Subject: Re: How difficult for a beginner?
 

Moving on from which milk pitcher to get, focusing on the grinder, the Lelit is a bit noisy, but many feel it does a more than decent job.
The Preciso is more versatile. Not having used or owned the Lelit, I can't comment on the grind quality compared to the Preciso.
I CAN comment on Baratza's Customer Service, which is among the very best in the coffee industry.

It's good you understand the importance of the grinder, and also reading all instruction manuals!

 
Rob J (LMWDP #187)
My Music Production web site:
www.robertjason.com
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