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Best machine, foam not needed.
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JimB
Senior Member


Joined: 4 Aug 2005
Posts: 21
Location: USA
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Capresso 114, Krups 964
Grinder: Capresso 560
Roaster: iRoast 2
Posted Mon Jun 19, 2006, 12:41pm
Subject: Best machine, foam not needed.
 

I am looking for a good, but not high end priced, espresso machine to replace my Capresso. I do not need foaming capability and may not need the expensive HX or double boilers that improve this feature. I drink only straight shots, my wife likes no foam lattes with the milk warmed in the microwave and all the foam comming from the crema floating to the top (forget criticism, she doesn't like the way the steam dilutes the milk; as always the perfect coffee is an individual thing). Therefore, I need a machine that only has to have the capability to make two excellent double shots, one after the other. What machines should I be looking at $200-1000?
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ppopp
Senior Member
ppopp
Joined: 10 Sep 2004
Posts: 305
Location: Boulder, CO
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Andreja Premium
Grinder: Macap M4 Doser/Stepless
Drip: Clever Coffee Dripper
Roaster: iRoast 2
Posted Mon Jun 19, 2006, 1:27pm
Subject: Re: Best machine, foam not needed.
 

Fiorenzata Colombina?

Dual-purpose boiler (non-HX) e-61 machine.  No water dance required, but with the temperature stability of an e-61 group head.  They have them on the 1st-line website.

 
Peter

------------------------------------------------------
Know beans, know coffee.  No beans, no coffee.
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nmayweather
Senior Member


Joined: 25 Jun 2004
Posts: 994
Location: nyc
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: expobar office, isomac venus
Grinder: mini mazzer
Vac Pot: bodum santos
Drip: mr coffee sp3
Roaster: toastmaster popper
Posted Mon Jun 19, 2006, 1:52pm
Subject: Re: Best machine, foam not needed.
 

2 double shots one after the other means you can't use a thermoblock system, so you're looking at boilers which means you're in the  400-1000 range.  (they need quite some time to recoil)

i've used a silvia and i own a venus - venus has a slightly larger boiler than the silvia, and i found it inadequate to do 2 good shots in a row without waiting 20s to 1minute for the second shot to warm up.   basically, i don't know of any dual use boiler machines that can handle that.

personally, i think you'd need one of the dual boiler machines or one of the hx machines - not because of the foaming power, but because they tend to have far larger boilers ( 1.3+ for the water alone) vs the smaller machines ( which tend to be 1/3-1/2 L )

truthfully, you seem particular and know what you want ( "forget criticism, she doesn't like the way the steam dilutes the milk; as always the perfect coffee is an individual thing" ) -- go for the better 2 boiler or hx machines and rock out on awesome straight espresso that you're using.  think of the advanced foaming capabilites that you're paying for as a bonus - kind of like a passenger seat airbag.
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rgs1218
Senior Member


Joined: 2 Feb 2006
Posts: 227
Location: Tampa, FL
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Rocket Cellini Evoluzione
Grinder: Mahlkonig ProM
Drip: Bodum press, Chemex, Hario
Roaster: Not yet...
Posted Mon Jun 19, 2006, 5:30pm
Subject: Re: Best machine, foam not needed.
 

Maybe other Gaggia owners can chime in here but wouldn't any Gaggia machine be sufficient for consecutive shots with no steaming required?  Small boiler becomes much less of an issue w/o steaming requirements..in fact it should regain temp very fast.

I think an HX is tremendous overkill for 2 straight shots..why water dance if you can keep a boiler 'around' ideal brew temp using a single boiler?  And why pay for double boiler if you aren't steaming?  You would essentially be turning it into a single boiler, only for the sake of having a larger boiler size (and for an extra $1400).

From what I've read, biggest knock against any single boiler is the lack of flexibility in going from brew to steam and back.  This is not an issue in this situation.  The brief time it takes for the boiler to recover from the first shot will be well spent grinding/dosing/distributing/tamping the next.  Unless you plan on entertaining somewhat regularly, save yourself some money (say, for a superior grinder) and get a Gaggia ($200 unless you need a 3 way solenoid or can't stand the looks of a Carezza or Espresso).

Just my $.02.

Russ
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gpm
Senior Member


Joined: 21 May 2006
Posts: 43
Location: Los Angeles
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Mon Jun 19, 2006, 6:28pm
Subject: Re: Best machine, foam not needed.
 

Maybe other Gaggia owners can chime in here but wouldn't any Gaggia machine be sufficient for consecutive shots with no steaming required

On my Carezza, I can pull two consecutive shots rather quickly. You can heat for 15-20 minutes, grind for the first shot, pull the shot, grind for the second shot, and by the time you've cleaned the PF and dosed/tamp the machine is ready for shot #2. You don't get very precise temperature control/consistency (but I don't think anybody could expect that from a $199 machine), but after some tinkering & tuning the coffee you can get from that machine is nonetheless outstanding.

The only problem I can see with two quick consecutive shots is the lack of a 3-way valve. In my (very limited) experience, I found that when I tamp light/dose high enough to touch the shower screen (either after or even before brewing -- all things equal, this doesn't seem to much affect the quality of my shots), I can remove the PF relatively quickly. By the time I finish grinding for shot #2, the pressure generally has subsided enough to unlock the PF and get it ready for the next shot. With a lower dose, I need to wait a few minutes before I can safely unlock the PF. If that sounds like a problem, the slighly higher-end Gaggias feature the 3-way valve, look better (at least in my opinion), and you could still afford a high-end grinder and stay within your (upper) price range.
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doleeo
Senior Member


Joined: 3 Apr 2005
Posts: 284
Location: Columbus, Indiana
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: ANITA!!!
Grinder: Macap MXKR Conical.
Vac Pot: Not yet
Drip: Presto Scandanavian
Roaster: Behmor 1600, Poppery 1
Posted Mon Jun 19, 2006, 9:04pm
Subject: Re: Best machine, foam not needed.
 

ppopp Said:

Fiorenzata Colombina?

Dual-purpose boiler (non-HX) e-61 machine.  No water dance required, but with the temperature stability of an e-61 group head.  They have them on the 1st-line website.

Posted June 19, 2006 link

I agree with ppopp, unless you want to go with a PID'd silvia. But if it was me i'd go with the E-61 dual purpose boiler.
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mcKoffee
Senior Member
mcKoffee
Joined: 29 Dec 2001
Posts: 856
Location: Vancouver WA USA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: VBM DD, Bricoletta, Audrey,...
Grinder: Major,SJ, Rocky,...
Vac Pot: Gold Royal Balance
Drip: When it rains...Aero,...
Roaster: USRC3k,CCR HT, Behmor, Cafe...
Posted Mon Jun 19, 2006, 11:43pm
Subject: Re: Best machine, foam not needed.
 

FWIW, additionally with an HX you can tune the boiler pressure so pre-shot HX dance isn't required (tuned for a specific approx' shot temp and at the expense of weak enemic steam power which isn't an issue here.) Initial HX cooling flush from machine at rest still required of course. Plus some day you may decide you want to explore traditional machiatos or cappucinos and having an HX would make it much much easier than a single boiler. My wife too used to like microwaved milk but now loves silky smooth microfoam.

 
miKe mcKoffee aka Mike McGinness
www.CompassCoffeeRoasting.com
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JR
Senior Member
JR
Joined: 31 Mar 2003
Posts: 1,821
Location: Germantown, TN (right next to Elvistown)
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Old Coffee Gaggia (x2.5)
Grinder: Cunill Tranquilo
Drip: Bona Vita (Thermal)
Roaster: GG/UFO
Posted Tue Jun 20, 2006, 6:18am
Subject: Re: Best machine, foam not needed.
 

mcKoffee Said:

...weak enemic steam...

Posted June 19, 2006 link

Oooh, that sounds painful...

Jack

 
www.PainFreeComputing.com
http://www.GaggiaUsersGroup.com
www.IsuzuPup.com
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shadow745
Senior Member


Joined: 17 Aug 2005
Posts: 102
Location: NC
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: CapressoBAR 351
Grinder: Capresso Infinity Conical...
Vac Pot: Not Strong Enough!!!
Drip: Not Strong Enough!!!
Roaster: Not CoffeeGeeky Enough,...
Posted Tue Jun 20, 2006, 6:50am
Subject: Re: Best machine, foam not needed.
 

JimB Said:

I am looking for a good, but not high end priced, espresso machine to replace my Capresso. I do not need foaming capability and may not need the expensive HX or double boilers that improve this feature. I drink only straight shots, my wife likes no foam lattes with the milk warmed in the microwave and all the foam comming from the crema floating to the top (forget criticism, she doesn't like the way the steam dilutes the milk; as always the perfect coffee is an individual thing). Therefore, I need a machine that only has to have the capability to make two excellent double shots, one after the other. What machines should I be looking at $200-1000?

Posted June 19, 2006 link

Does the Capresso do a decent job? Almost a year ago I found a fantastic deal on eBay, a CapressoBAR 351 that I won for $65. I cleaned it up inside and out and started experimenting with different variables until I stumbled onto what works best in it. I get fairly thick, syrup-like espresso with good crema and every now and then even some light tiger-striping. Supposedly when that is achieved you've done things right. Of course, it doesn't happen that often. I never would've believed how many variables there are in brewing espresso, but it's fun trying to figure it out. I know machines that use heating systems other than boilers get a bad rap, but my machine has a Thermocoil and it works really well. Quick startup time, good temp. stability (able to maintain temps around 195 F consistently cup after cup) and quick recovery. For what I use it for it's excellent. I use the drip side for brewing tea, which is a true southern favorite. I also noticed that you have an Infinity grinder. How is it working for you? I bought the brushed chrome model several months ago and have been really pleased with the performance. It's super easy to clean, perfectly repeatable settings and looks pretty good as well. Most people complain about the lack of settings to fine tune for espresso, but not so for me. While pulsing the switch I hold the bean hopper in between settings (it doesn't have to be on a certain setting to grind properly) and am able to achieve what a grinder with 30-40 settings will achieve. Those slow turning conical burrs really shave the beans well. Anyway, thanks for any info regarding your current setup.



Later!
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JimB
Senior Member


Joined: 4 Aug 2005
Posts: 21
Location: USA
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Capresso 114, Krups 964
Grinder: Capresso 560
Roaster: iRoast 2
Posted Tue Jun 20, 2006, 7:38am
Subject: Re: Best machine, foam not needed.
 

To shadow745:
The Capresso I have will make an excellent shot, but with great difficulty. Making two shots in a row exactly the same takes a great deal of experiance. The main problem is that the strainer on the bottom of the coffee basket cloggs very quickly. You will get good results if you clean the basket every night by putting Oxiclean clean into water that has just been boiling and putting it in over night. If it has a white film on it in the morning put it in diluted vinegar for 5-10 minutes. After cleaning the head, always run hot water through the empty basket before your first shot. Never tamp down on the coffee. Scrape the coffee level with the edge of the tamper that come with the machine. For most bean types you will need to use a course grind for the Capresso. It may be impossible to do two shots of a dark roast without buying an extra basket. In summary with great deal of work the Capresso can product one shot of great coffee. I am hoping to buy a machine that works with finer, tamped grinds and makes two cups in a row of dark roast when I want it to.
The Infinity grinder appears to work well, but I have not had to test it with a good espresso machine. It makes a great course grind that is good for the Capresso. I vacuum it out after every hopper of beans and run minute rice through it to clean out oil buildup.
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