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New vs Used
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Discussions > Espresso > Grinders -... > New vs Used  
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cronos1013
Senior Member


Joined: 14 Apr 2013
Posts: 5
Location: Boston
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Wed Apr 17, 2013, 9:49am
Subject: New vs Used
 

OK, so I'm trying to get my Fiancee a decent setup for around $800 bucks, and what I'm hearing is that that budget is a bit short for buying new, but what are the concerns for buying grinders used vs new?  I am mechanical enough that I can dismantle and repair anything, so long as I can find a diagram and get parts.  I have been rebuilding Hammond Organs since I was in middle school with my dad, so how tough can a coffee grinder be, right?  

What grinders are the best to buy used, like what can I definitely get parts for, what companies have really good customer service and make a good product.  

Are there any other pitfalls about buying used I should be aware of?

-Chris
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takeshi
Senior Member
takeshi
Joined: 12 Oct 2002
Posts: 987
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Alex Duetto 3.0
Grinder: Super Jolly
Roaster: Amaya Roasting
Posted Wed Apr 17, 2013, 10:05am
Subject: Re: New vs Used
 

cronos1013 Said:

what are the concerns for buying grinders used vs new?

Posted April 17, 2013 link

Pretty much the same as buying anything else used vs new.  There's always the unknown with used and no warranty.  That said, there are great bargains to be had with used.

cronos1013 Said:

What grinders are the best to buy used, like what can I definitely get parts for, what companies have really good customer service and make a good product.  

Posted April 17, 2013 link

Mazzers are almost always a good used option.  In many cases they only really need a good cleaning and new burrs.  If life has been really rough one could need more TLC.

I'm not sure generalizations are really going to help you though.  Like buying anything else used, you really have to look at the specific item you're looking at and consider its history, care, known issues, etc.

You can look online at parts suppliers to see what you can get parts for.  I typically use Espresso Parts.  Again, Mazzers are a good option in this regard as parts are always available for them.  Despite minor changes over the years you can get parts for any Mazzer.  There are certainly used non-Mazzer grinders worth considering but I don't have much experience with others.
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calblacksmith
Moderator
calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,846
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 Wed Apr 17, 2013, 10:18am
Subject: Re: New vs Used
 

I echo Don and will add, you need to see what is available to you where you live. Ebay is the MOST EXPENSIVE AND LEAST SECURE way to buy a used grinder. Check our BST board, people sell their stuff when moving up to the next best. latest and greatest. For the most part the gear has had good treatment and will be in good shape.

Mazzers are great grinders but they are designed for commercial service and as such, tend to be on the large size. If you can use on on your counter, the chances of wearing it out are slim to none, they are designed for heavy service in a coffee shop, all day long, seven days a week and will see more use in a week in a coffee shop than you will give it in a year and they last decades in a coffee shop.

 
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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dspear99ca
Senior Member


Joined: 17 Jan 2013
Posts: 93
Location: BC, Canada
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Coffee
Grinder: Mazzer Mini
Posted Wed Apr 17, 2013, 10:42am
Subject: Re: New vs Used
 

IF IT WERE ME (and of course it's not) I'd buy a NEW Gaggia Classic ($400-ish shipped, lots of places sell them but price varies widely) and keep my eyes peeled for a used grinder.  As Wayne noted, Mazzers are great.  I just picked up a like-new Mini for $300 locally, and I live in the sticks so if I can do it so can you.  I believe there's still a Rancilio Rocky for sale in the Buy/Sell/Trade forum for $250, and I just sold a Baratza Preciso (like new, less than 10 lbs through it) for $250 myself so... you WILL find one if you are reasonably patient.  I recommend the Classic as it's the best machine at this price point.  Going for it are:

a commercial-grade brass group head and 58mm non-pressurized PF
very quick-heating boiler (albeit small at 100ml it's plenty large enough with the big-ass heating elements in it to keep up with repetitive shots)
3-way solenoid (vents brew head pressure after pump is turned off so you don't blow coffee grounds all over the place when you remove it to load the next shot)
adjustable OPV (you can set the brew pressure to 9 bar / 135psi which makes the machine much more tolerant of variations in grind and technique vs. a stock non-adjustable that may run at 11 or 12 bar)
excellent build quality - built to last

Basically it's an entry-level machine that you probably won't grow out of for at least 5 years.  And the machine will last that long.  It's dead simple to work on and parts are relatively cheap and available should you have any problems.  If you want to upgrade it down the road when your ship comes in, $200 gets you a PID kit that will give you +/-0.1C boiler and steam temperature stability.

Just my 2 cents having gone that route before.
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sherpasteve
Senior Member


Joined: 22 Sep 2010
Posts: 13
Location: san francisco
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Wed Apr 17, 2013, 2:41pm
Subject: Re: New vs Used
 

Grinders are pretty basic appliances - motor, switches, burrs, dispenser of some sort.  The grinders in the $600-900 range (new prices) such as Mazzers, Cimbalis, etc. are really commercial machines being used in the home.  You can find these in the $300-400 range pretty easily, leaving you about $400-500 for an espresso machine, which should be do-able easily, if you are buying used.  Its pretty hard for a home user to wear out a commercial grinder, so as long as you can test drive the grinder to make sure the motor sounds okay and it doesn't look like it got run over by a truck, the odds are pretty good that the grinder will be fine.  New burrs might be needed at some point, but that's a few screws, 30 minutes of your time and $40-$60 a set.  As for espresso machines, a very very popular higher end ($650 new) espresso machine readily available under $500 (used) is a Rancilio Silvia.  Its sort of like a Weber barbecue - built really well, very popular, and an accepted standard against which other home espresso machines will be compared.  Parts are readily available and the web is full of helpful info for it.
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gophishin
Senior Member


Joined: 1 Mar 2013
Posts: 65
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: ecm technika iv profi
Grinder: baratza vario
Drip: bonavita immersion dripper
Posted Thu Apr 18, 2013, 7:55am
Subject: Re: New vs Used
 

FWIW, I received my refurbished Baratza Vario from Baratza and it looks and functions brand new.  I was set on the preciso, which could save you some additional coin, but was lucky enough to get the Vario as a gift.  The burrs and adjustment seem very straight forward, and from what I've heard on this board and others, Baratza's customer service is fantastic.  The Refurbs are posted on Baratza's site Thursday mornings, the vario was $360 + s/h.
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