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Discussions > Espresso > Lever Espresso > Help with...  
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CaffeineFanatic
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Joined: 19 May 2012
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Location: Canada
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Sat May 19, 2012, 6:14pm
Subject: Help with picking a lever machine
 

Hi all, I'm university student who loves a good cup of coffee. Can anyone give suggestion on a good lever for a newbie with a limited budget? I don't want to spend more than $200 if possible, I tried to look on ebay, let's just say they cost more than I can afford. Thank you.
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NobbyR
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NobbyR
Joined: 10 Jul 2011
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Location: Germany
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Posted Sun May 20, 2012, 12:54am
Subject: Re: Help with picking a lever machine
 

Welcome to CoffeeGeek!

Unfortunately the world of specialty coffee comes somewhat at a gourmet price.

Even a refurbished or used lever machine will be hard to find at $200, because an entry level machine like the La Pavoni Europiccola-EN starts at a suggested retail price of around US-$790 new. And you need a capable grinder, too.

However, what you can get for your budget is a decent used SBDU (and maybe a hand grinder) that'll provide you with good espresso.

 
***
"This drink of the Satan is so delicious that it would be a shame to leave it to the infidels." (Pope Clement VIII on coffee, when he was urged to ban the beverage)
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AndyPanda
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Posted Sun May 20, 2012, 5:02am
Subject: Re: Help with picking a lever machine
 

You can do some googling about this ... I don't own one but the review look interesting.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eiefiu4X8XI

http://coffeegeek.com/reviews/vacpots/pressomanual
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GVDub
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Posted Sun May 20, 2012, 5:09am
Subject: Re: Help with picking a lever machine
 

Welcome to coffee geekdom! As noted, under $200 is going to require a huge amount of luck and patience. If you heart is set on a lever machine (and I don't blame you in that. I love my Caravel), plan to spend a little more time saving up. In the meantime, use the resources here and at home-barista.com to educate yourself and start combing yard sales and thrift shops. You might get lucky there and find something that has been sitting, unappreciated, by the current owner and just needs a little TLC to make incredible espresso. Hand grinders are definitely the best way to economically get the quality and fineness of grind that you'll need for espresso, and the grinder is really the key to pulling a great shot. It's the one element you can't skimp on - if it can't give you the evenness and fineness you need, you're not going to get what you're after.
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CaffeineFanatic
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Joined: 19 May 2012
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Location: Canada
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Sun May 20, 2012, 10:55pm
Subject: Re: Help with picking a lever machine
 

Thank you for all the warm welcome and the replies!

NobbyR Said:

Welcome to CoffeeGeek!

Unfortunately the world of specialty coffee comes somewhat at a gourmet price.

Even a refurbished or used lever machine will be hard to find at $200, because an entry level machine like the La Pavoni Europiccola-EN starts at a suggested retail price of around US-$790 new. And you need a capable grinder, too.

However, what you can get for your budget is a decent used SBDU (and maybe a hand grinder) that'll provide you with good espresso.

Posted May 20, 2012 link

Yea, I know it was a long shot =) Anyway, for the grinder, I'm thinking Hario Skerton. I have been drinking Illy and Lavazza, but then recently I tried freshly ground espresso, and there is no going back, lol. That's one of the reasons why I want to "upgrade" my machine to a lever.

AndyPanda Said:

You can do some googling about this ... I don't own one but the review look interesting.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eiefiu4X8XI

http://coffeegeek.com/reviews/vacpots/pressomanual

Posted May 20, 2012 link

This looks interesting, I have never seen it before. I will definitely look into it, at least it's something I can afford.

GVDub Said:

Welcome to coffee geekdom! As noted, under $200 is going to require a huge amount of luck and patience. If you heart is set on a lever machine (and I don't blame you in that. I love my Caravel), plan to spend a little more time saving up. In the meantime, use the resources here and at home-barista.com to educate yourself and start combing yard sales and thrift shops. You might get lucky there and find something that has been sitting, unappreciated, by the current owner and just needs a little TLC to make incredible espresso. Hand grinders are definitely the best way to economically get the quality and fineness of grind that you'll need for espresso, and the grinder is really the key to pulling a great shot. It's the one element you can't skimp on - if it can't give you the evenness and fineness you need, you're not going to get what you're after.

Posted May 20, 2012 link

Yard sales and thrift shops are great ideas, I just need to be paitent. I guess ebay, kijiji and craigslist weren't enough, never would have thought finding a lever would be this difficult.

Thanks again for all the advices.
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NobbyR
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NobbyR
Joined: 10 Jul 2011
Posts: 2,058
Location: Germany
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Poccino Opus One, Ariete
Grinder: Eureka Mignon Istantaneo
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Posted Sun May 20, 2012, 11:18pm
Subject: Re: Help with picking a lever machine
 

CaffeineFanatic Said:

..., for the grinder, I'm thinking Hario Skerton ...

Posted May 20, 2012 link

Good choice. You need a capable grinder.

 
***
"This drink of the Satan is so delicious that it would be a shame to leave it to the infidels." (Pope Clement VIII on coffee, when he was urged to ban the beverage)
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lifeandpeace
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lifeandpeace
Joined: 9 Nov 2007
Posts: 745
Location: PBI

Espresso: Arrarex Caravel
Grinder: BUNN G1, Zassenhaus knee
Vac Pot: Cory / Hario / Silex
Drip: cloth, glass Hario V60;...
Roaster: RK Drum, WBP II
Posted Thu May 24, 2012, 5:23pm
Subject: Re: Help with picking a lever machine
 

CaffeineFanatic Said:

Hi all, I'm university student who loves a good cup of coffee. Can anyone give suggestion on a good lever for a newbie with a limited budget? I don't want to spend more than $200 if possible, I tried to look on ebay, let's just say they cost more than I can afford. Thank you.

Posted May 19, 2012 link

Pshchk.

Again, Caravel.

They usually go for a bit more, but not always. I got mine in very good condition (nothing wrong with it) for, I think, 240 USD shipped from Parma, Italy. $75 Zassenhaus is a worthy companion.

I get consistently better shots in my kitchen than I've had anywhere. And I don't mean just anywhere; I worked in coffee in LA, and I'm intimately acquainted with the west coast scene.

I pull with the smallest basket, 11.8 - 12.5 grams, getting something like a ristretto, but ~30mL. Its basket sizes (and shapes) are not standard--besides the ability to pressure profile intuitively--so the nature, viscosity, and volume of the nectar is different than the shots of the more common machines.

But . . . they're not for everybody.

In other realms, regarding the garage sales mentioned above: my friend found a decent machine (can't remember the brand) that makes drinkable espresso for $20 at a garage sale. I'd rank it at the very top of the sub-Rancilio Silvia class. Not bad for a $20 starter-upper!

 
www.lampmode.com
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ptorregrossa00
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ptorregrossa00
Joined: 25 May 2012
Posts: 9
Location: New York
Expertise: Pro Barista

Vac Pot: Breville Barista Express...
Posted Fri May 25, 2012, 1:42pm
Subject: Re: Help with picking a lever machine
 

I just forked over $600 for my new Breville Barista Express BES860XL machine with grinder and let me tell you I couldnt be happier that I spent the money. I know this doesn't help you with your problem but I'm just saying that in the novelty and gourmet coffee world you get what you pay for. Keep saving money until your able to buy the machine you want and you won't be sorry. Good Luck.

 
www.buyespressotampers.com
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IMAWriter
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IMAWriter
Joined: 4 Jul 2002
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Location: Brentwood, TN
Expertise: I live coffee

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Posted Mon May 28, 2012, 9:29pm
Subject: Re: Help with picking a lever machine
 

ptorregrossa00 Said:

I just forked over $600 for my new Breville Barista Express BES860XL machine with grinder and let me tell you I couldnt be happier that I spent the money. I know this doesn't help you with your problem but I'm just saying that in the novelty and gourmet coffee world you get what you pay for. Keep saving money until your able to buy the machine you want and you won't be sorry. Good Luck.

Posted May 25, 2012 link

Your machine is not a lever, and therefore has no relevance to this thread.

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that the VAST majority here would be loath to purchase a "combo" machine such as yours.
Neither the espresso maker nor the grinder in your machine would be up to the standards of espresso making that a refurbed La Pavoni or Caravel and a good manual grinder could produce.
We BOTH know why you mentioned your machine.

 
Rob J (LMWDP #187)
My Music Production web site:
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icowrich
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Joined: 20 Jun 2012
Posts: 2
Location: Irving, TX
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Wed Jun 20, 2012, 6:47pm
Subject: Re: Help with picking a lever machine
 

I'm not sure whether this technically qualifies as a lever machine, but if you plan on spending only $200 or less, you should check out the Presso.  I don't think it reaches a full 9 bars of pressure, but it gets close enough for a decent shot, and you'll have some money left over for a decent grinder.
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