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Discussions > Espresso > General > Should I buy...  
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CMIN
Senior Member


Joined: 14 Jun 2012
Posts: 1,506
Location: South FL
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Crossland CC1
Grinder: Baratza Preciso
Posted Sun Mar 23, 2014, 1:46pm
Subject: Re: Should I buy from Amazon
 

If your gonna hold off on the machine and save for awhile, yeh Chemex is great, can even look at the Aeropress which is cheap but makes a hell of a cup and is forgiving to use. Lots of Aeropress users here with tips if your search either here or online.
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boar_d_laze
Senior Member


Joined: 21 Nov 2006
Posts: 1,480
Location: Monrovia, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: La Cimbali M21 DT/1 Junior...
Grinder: Ceado E92; "Bunnzilla"
Vac Pot: Royal Coffee Maker
Drip: Chemex + Kone; Espro Press
Roaster: USRC Sample Roaster
Posted Sun Mar 23, 2014, 2:55pm
Subject: Re: Should I buy from Amazon
 

The Sage isn't a "rebranded" Breville anymore than a Breville is a rebranded Sage.  Sage is Breville's name for their espresso stuff in the UK.  But what's in a name?  By any other name it would grind as stinkily.  In truth, it's not really a good choice for espresso because it doesn't offer sufficient adjustment within the fine espresso range.  

In the UK you want to look at the LeLit PL 53, the Baratza Preciso, the Eureka Mignon and the Baratza Vario (which is probably way out of your price range).  The Mignon is likely the best of the bunch -- and if it's a source of any satisfaction isn't available in the U.S.  The LeLit is not as good as the Preciso, but it's very good grinder for the price.  The downside is that it's noisy.  Both Baratzas are very friendly and approachable grinders; but both are somewhat fllmsy.  The Preciso is espresso adequate, while the Vario is actually pretty good.  

If your budget is so restricted you can't afford a good espresso grinder, it's probably a good idea to stick with brew.  There are some really good brew grinders -- including the Sage -- which are reasonably priced and the brewing equipment itself is so much more reasonably priced than adequate espresso machines.

Rich
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Ais7
Senior Member
Ais7
Joined: 23 Mar 2014
Posts: 8
Location: Dublin
Expertise: I live coffee

Posted Sun Mar 23, 2014, 3:13pm
Subject: Re: Should I buy from Amazon
 

Well, I don't live in the U.K. but I do know of somewhere I can get a Vario. I might strtch to it if I hold off on buying the classic for a few months! I'm willing to pay 350-400 for it, but I see it is 450 at one place. I am super disappointed that the MDF isn't a reasonable beginners grinder, as i was really looking forward to a few upgrades! Is the Rock really no good, as I have read so many good reviews?
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CMIN
Senior Member


Joined: 14 Jun 2012
Posts: 1,506
Location: South FL
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Crossland CC1
Grinder: Baratza Preciso
Posted Sun Mar 23, 2014, 3:27pm
Subject: Re: Should I buy from Amazon
 

Rocky is only a decent buy if you can score a really really cheap used one, it's out of date and pretty pointless if bought new as too many other better options. I had a friend that had a modded one to be stepless and I still didn't like it, too many quirks and bad grind retention, but it is built like a tank. It's steps are wide so basically you can't dial in espresso, you can either get a click too tight or a click to coarse and have to play with dose to compensate, but since beans age and you'll have to adjust finer sometimes (ie if I'm working through a bag, I break mine down into batches, and Macro will stay the same but usually have to adjust the micro a bit as days go on to keep good pulls), or different beans/blends require different settings, and with the Rockys steps you'll be constantly playing with doses daily to keep grind in range wasting a lot of grinds. You can mod it to be stepless but I still didn't care for it modded.

If you can score one though for like a 100 bucks, mod it and play with it. Some people on here have found them for 50 bucks but that's pretty rare.

I agree, stick with brew options like Chemex or Aeropress etc for right now and save for a Classic in a few months. If your gonna do that though, make sure your getting a good espresso grinder like boar-dlaze said. Vario is pricey for what your looking for but it's a killer bargain for what it offers as it goes toe to toe with much more expensive grinders. Preciso is the best "starter" grinder imo for the price new if budget is tight, unless you can stumble across a good deal on something else espresso capable.

Only reason we say that, is time after time again people are tight on budge and can get the machine but skimp on teh grinder only to have them come back here even months down the road frustrated why the coffee isn't good and realize they need a capable grinder... which will cost more now as they already spent money on 1 grinder. I'm assuming being in Ireland you would also use Ebay.uk unless there's on for Ireland? Can keep an eye on there and put settings in to alert you to used items, Gaggia Classics pop up all the time, may even see from the U.S. and even with shipping might still be a bargain. Classic are simple machines too so if anything goes wrong very easy to fix or work on. Used can save a lot of money both machine and grinder wise.
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canuckcoffeeguy
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canuckcoffeeguy
Joined: 22 Aug 2013
Posts: 239
Location: Burlington, Ontario, Canada
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Bezzera Magica, Mypressi...
Grinder: K10PB, Vario, Hario Slim
Vac Pot: I have a Dyson vacuum, but,...
Drip: Aeropress, Bialetti Brikka,...
Posted Sun Mar 23, 2014, 4:42pm
Subject: Re: Should I buy from Amazon
 

Ais7 Said:

Well, I don't live in the U.K. but I do know of somewhere I can get a Vario. I might strtch to it if I hold off on buying the classic for a few months! I'm willing to pay 350-400 for it, but I see it is 450 at one place. I am super disappointed that the MDF isn't a reasonable beginners grinder, as i was really looking forward to a few upgrades! Is the Rock really no good, as I have read so many good reviews?

Posted March 23, 2014 link

Have you looked at this retailer in England? They're not too far away you.

Click Here (www.bellabarista.co.uk)
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boar_d_laze
Senior Member


Joined: 21 Nov 2006
Posts: 1,480
Location: Monrovia, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: La Cimbali M21 DT/1 Junior...
Grinder: Ceado E92; "Bunnzilla"
Vac Pot: Royal Coffee Maker
Drip: Chemex + Kone; Espro Press
Roaster: USRC Sample Roaster
Posted Sun Mar 23, 2014, 5:17pm
Subject: Re: Should I buy from Amazon
 

Ais7 Said:

Well, I don't live in the U.K. but I do know of somewhere I can get a Vario.

Posted March 23, 2014 link

After that, I knew you were Irish before looking at your profile :D.  Sorry, should have done before posting.  

I might strtch to it if I hold off on buying the classic for a few months!

The Classic has some serious limitations as well.  Do you really love it?  Either plan on adding a PID to it, or think about getting a used HX -- in any case, something you can temp.  

I'm willing to pay 350-400 for it, but I see it is 450 at one place.

How about the Mignon?  DaveC, a professional who reviews coffee professionally in the UK (and posts at CG) did a comparison of several, entry-level grinders including a couple Ascasos, the Vario and the Mignon, and preferred the Mignon over all of them.    

I am super disappointed that the MDF isn't a reasonable beginners grinder, as i was really looking forward to a few upgrades!

The whole "beginner's" thing might not be the best perspective, when you stop and think about it.  Whether or not you're a beginner you want a grinder which will perform at a level that will give you, at minimum, consistently good results in the cup.  Otherwise, why bother?

Is the Rock really no good, as I have read so many good reviews?

For a long time, the Rocky was excellent in its price range -- but the operative term is "price range," and not "excellent.  The Rocky was never a very good grinder, and -- sic transit gloria mundi -- there are now better available for similar money.  

Rich
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brianl
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Joined: 1 Dec 2012
Posts: 528
Location: Chicago IL
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Quick Mill Vetrano DB
Grinder: HG One, OE Lido 2, Baratza...
Drip: Chemex/V60
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Mon Mar 24, 2014, 6:44am
Subject: Re: Should I buy from Amazon
 

I just wanted to chime in because it appears the MDF is getting an unfair shakedown.

First, I found it completely acceptable for non-pressurized espresso (even more so if you make it stepless). To say that it's only for pressurized espresso is ridiculous.

Second, I would not recommend the MDF because of grind retention and because a doser is annoying on almost any grinder for home use.
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Ais7
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Ais7
Joined: 23 Mar 2014
Posts: 8
Location: Dublin
Expertise: I live coffee

Posted Mon Mar 24, 2014, 7:00am
Subject: Re: Should I buy from Amazon
 

Thanks Brian. I'm actually still agonising somewhat. I am in a situation where I am weighing up a few positive MDF reviews and a LOT of negative ones!

I really had my heart set on it, as it is within the budget I had worked out for it and I felt that it shouldn't be a all that bad as it is a Gaggia product and I would be using it with a Gaggia machine.

I just want to get myself onto the home brew ladder, upgrade gradually, as I can afford it and build on my knowledge & experience.

If I listen to what is being said here, I would be accepting that either I have 1000+ to spend or I can never enjoy home espresso!

I have read reviews from people who have started out with this setup and worked their way up as I hope to & they seem quite happy.

I mean, will I really buy a Classic & MDF, make the best espresso possible with it, spit it out and go uggghhh!!!?

Is this like telling someone who wants to start enjoying wine that either they can afford a bottle of Chateauneuf or they should just stick to water? Surely everyone needs to start somewhere and I can rest in the fact that these items always sell well secondhand.
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boar_d_laze
Senior Member


Joined: 21 Nov 2006
Posts: 1,480
Location: Monrovia, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: La Cimbali M21 DT/1 Junior...
Grinder: Ceado E92; "Bunnzilla"
Vac Pot: Royal Coffee Maker
Drip: Chemex + Kone; Espro Press
Roaster: USRC Sample Roaster
Posted Mon Mar 24, 2014, 9:12am
Subject: Re: Should I buy from Amazon
 

Will spending less than X mean you can't make good coffee?  You can't make good coffee consistently without adequate control of grind, dose, and temp.  In addition you need good beans, and the skills necessary to control flow rate and prevent defects in the puck.  If you and your equipment can't do all of those things, it means you can't make good coffee consistently.

That's not elitism, or "looking down" on people starting out, or anything at all like that.  It's a "just is" evaluation of the bare minimum, threshold requirements of good espresso.

A further word of pessimism.  Very few of the skills you learn using bad equipment transfer to good equipment.      

That doesn't mean you SHOULD wait to buy espresso equipment until you can afford the necessary for equipment which jumps the quality hurdle.  Plenty of people start with bad equipment and upgrade as income and opportunity affords.  Other people get discouraged and give up on making espresso at home.  People are different.  

I really like coffee.  I like coffee so much, I like bad coffee.  I like espresso even more. But liking doesn't mean I don't know the difference between good and bad.  When I was struggling with inadequate equipment and inadequate skills, I didn't spit out the espresso.  Later, when I had good equipment and still struggled with inadequate skills, I didn't spit it out either.  Even after I knew it was bad, I still preferred making my own to buying espresso from most of the places convenient to me even if theirs was better.

Obviously it would be hypocritical to condemn you for feeling the same way -- and I do not.  

Would you be better off investing a few hundred Euros in good brewing equipment and sticking with it until you've got enough in the bank to afford good espresso gear?  Will you spit out bad espresso?  I can't tell you.  All I can tell you is inform you: You can't make good espresso consistently without controlling grind, dose and temp -- because that's where "good" starts.  

Rich
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Ais7
Senior Member
Ais7
Joined: 23 Mar 2014
Posts: 8
Location: Dublin
Expertise: I live coffee

Posted Mon Mar 24, 2014, 1:26pm
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....
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