brianl Senior Member Joined: 1 Dec 2012 Posts: 441 Location: Chicago IL Expertise: I love coffee
Espresso: Gaggia Classic (w/PID) Grinder: Baratza Vario Drip: chemex
Posted Mon Mar 24, 2014, 4:31pm Subject: Re: Should I buy from Amazon
You seem to be of similar mindset as I was.
I started this lovely espresso adventure in November of 2012. Like most, I started with an EC155 and a capresso infinity. I switched grinders around...returned the infinity and got a bodum bistro grinder/hario mini mill. I then bought a non-pressurized basket for the EC155, which led me to notice that the bodum was trash. The bodum was moved to the drip only grinder (which is fine because thats what my girlfriend uses). I then bought a MDF and promptly made it stepless. I then decided the EC155 was trash and upgraded to a used Gaggia Classic. I pulled many great shots with this combo of the classic and the MDF (albeit, I removed the doser and made a chute like thing). I should mention that all of this happened within the span of a month, haha.
About two months later I bought a Baratza Vario and put a PID on my classic (and silvia steam want, pressure fix, etc). I haven't looked back and don't really have upgraditis...yet. It probably helps that a lot of my focus is now on coffee roasting.
The reason I gave the time line is because it'll likely happen similar to you (luckily I have very moochy relatives, so all my old gear has a home). You'll save a lot of money just going with the Vario and the classic. If you're short on cash, just get the hario mini mill and suffer for a little while (you'll have huge biceps). I would also recommend just getting a refurbished Vario from Baratza (I just checked and they currently don't have any but it's updated every Thursday, so check then). The PID is a very easy mod to do (I even did mine from scratch because I wanted more than the kits offered). Now, with some elbow grease, my current setup runs favorably to some coffee shops running roburs and marzoccos.
I am mostly an espresso guy and make milk drinks sparingly for the lady. Therefore, I don't really need the perks of a double boiler or a XC machine
CMIN Senior Member Joined: 14 Jun 2012 Posts: 1,354 Location: South FL Expertise: I like coffee
Espresso: Crossland CC1 Grinder: Baratza Preciso
Posted Mon Mar 24, 2014, 4:48pm Subject: Re: Should I buy from Amazon
I don't mean to sound ungrateful for advice, I really am taking it all on board! I am even still considering putting all of my budget into a Vario as a result of the advice I have got on here and I looked up the Eureka, which I prefer the look of:)
I really do know that you are right about the factors etc, but I kind of had an interest in embarking on my own learning curve. I wouldn't want to start with a crappy €50 grinder, but I was hoping that the MDF would be reasonable enough to use for a year untill I get board and maybe even invest in a chemex/aeropress at some stage & play around with that. In fact, as I get to like drip methods more and more, espresso might just become an occasional thing for after dinner, espresso martinis etc....
Don't go by looks, go by performance, in this case can't go wrong with either the Mignon or Vario. Personally I would still go Vario as I'm a single doser, but the Mignon should be cheaper for you. I don't know much about the Mignon but read it's similar to the Vario in the sense that both have burr sets that outperform their size/class. I've used a Vario and Super Jolley same time next to each other and same beans, no difference at all in taste, even though the Vario has a smaller burr set. Meanwhile doing the same thing against a Mini the Vario noticeably had a taste advantage and none of the clumping, Vario outperforms that Mini/K3/M4 class. The Mignon has an even smaller burr set at 50mm yet performs awesome, least from what I read on home-barista.
checking the ebay.uk site the Mignon is under 300 shipped, not sure to Ireland, but that's a cheap price for a great grinder.
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