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I want to make mediocre expresso
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boughtpassat
Senior Member
boughtpassat
Joined: 12 Oct 2009
Posts: 5
Location: Alma AR
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Mon Oct 12, 2009, 8:18pm
Subject: I want to make mediocre expresso
 

First, I bought a $20 "espresso" machine purchased from wal-mart
Then I received a Breville Cafe Roma as a gift a year ago. I like it a lot and use it every day.

My brother thinks I'm an expert with this stuff. I'll be the first to admit, I'm not. Especially after researching these forums for the last week trying to figure out what machine to buy him, and now I see how important a good grinder is among so many other things.

His budget is $400. He might make espresso 3-5 times a week, if that. And he hopes that he can just buy his coffee from SB and have them grind it for him there. He has asked me to do the research for him... :)

This is why I titled my post as such. I think he would be okay with this option of having a machine with a PPF and not have to grind his own beans. I think he'd be happy with mediocre espresso because after all, he doesn't even want to do the research on this stuff himself and seems to like the drinks I make with my machine.


SOOO.......... Can someone please give me a couple of makes/models to send his way? I'll be sure to tell him about this forum, about the importance of a good grinder, PPFs, fresh coffee, etc. but I seem to think he isn't as much of a hobbyist nor would he become one.

Thanks for any help. Love this forum so far... seems really friendly around here.
Jake
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wideasleep1
Senior Member
wideasleep1
Joined: 19 Feb 2005
Posts: 1,458
Location: Tiburon,Ca
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: VBMDoubleDomo
Grinder: Mahlkoenig K30 Vario
Vac Pot: nope
Drip: Bodum Press
Roaster: IR1 and 2,SC/TO,Behmor
Posted Mon Oct 12, 2009, 8:49pm
Subject: Re: I want to make mediocre expresso
 

Howdy Jake, and welcome to Coffeegeek! :D

Nothing wrong with starting small...it's important to just start! I would look in our BST forum for gently used equipment, that may or may not include a PPF type machine, but I also think no one here in good conscience can recommend forgoing a grinder and fresh beans. Fresh grind is the starting point for all coffee drinks, and the quality of fresh vs. pre-ground is significant, even for untrained palates. His usage of the machine will much more frequent and enjoyable if he can indeed produce better coffee than he can go out and buy at DD or *$.
On machines, there are Aroma's/Baristas that frequently can be had in BST for $150-200, so I'd begin shopping for a grinder in the $200-300 range. Spend some time in the grinder forum, and ask there for low-cost options as well! Also, harass him into joining, so we can show him the error of his ways! LOL :D
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Jmanespresso
Senior Member
Jmanespresso
Joined: 18 Jan 2009
Posts: 2,109
Location: Westchester NY
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Alex Duetto II
Grinder: Compak K10 - Vario
Vac Pot: Yama-SY5/SY8/TCA5
Drip: V60, Beehouse, CCD
Roaster: Hottop B
Posted Tue Oct 13, 2009, 1:55am
Subject: Re: I want to make mediocre expresso
 

Hey there,

I know the type.. My friends are the same... Though one of them was recently turned over to the Dark Side.  But, there are people out there who simply don't care, or dont want to pursue excellence in coffee.  And that is FINE!!  I know plenty of people like this.  No matter how many pounds of fresh beans you roast them, or how many espressi you pull for them, and no matter how much they SAY they are going to start buying fresh coffee, they can be found at Starbucks an hour later, picking up a pound of FrenchRoast.

This is probably the first time Ive suggested this.. but, in THIS case.. A POD machine MIGHT be the best match for your friend.  Little mess, no work.  Put the POD in, press start, press stop, add sugar/milk/syrup/whip cream, consume.  No grinder needed, no technique need be learned.  And the end result in the cup WILL reflect that.

But.. when you're just not "into" making espresso, or don't care to be, IMO, its possible a POD machine might be a better fit then a pressurized portafilter setup and pre-ground coffee.  Possible.

But, if thats not what he/you are after, and there will be no grinder or fresh beans in sight, pressurized will be the way to go.  Maybe something with the potential to go "regular", if he ever catches The Bug.  The Saeco Aroma uses a PPF stock, but can be used with a regular portafilter if the user wishes to do so.  No grinder needed if they're using the PPF either.

If I was purposely looking to buy a machine, that I KNEW I would use with pre-ground coffee, and would not be buying a grinder myself, Id probably go for the Aroma.  Because, IF(and this is a big If I imagine), I ever decided I wanted to make better espresso, the machine could stay, and just purchase a regular PF and grinder.  


Or.. you could try and turn him to the Dark Side, and tell him machines he is after break down, dont work, are fussy, whatever it takes to make him see the light.  Heh, Just kidding...

 
Follow Your Bliss

Coffee makes your constantly overcome your prejudices and re-evaluate your own "received wisdoms" when it comes to judging cup flavors. -Tom Owen, SweetMarias
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boughtpassat
Senior Member
boughtpassat
Joined: 12 Oct 2009
Posts: 5
Location: Alma AR
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Tue Oct 13, 2009, 3:02am
Subject: Re: I want to make mediocre expresso
 

Thank you both for taking the time to reply, and reply honestly. I am so happy not to receive a "go search the forum" reply. This does help a lot.
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Joel_B
Senior Member
Joel_B
Joined: 9 Oct 2007
Posts: 1,823
Location: Pacific NW
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Astra Mega II
Grinder: Mazzer SJ, Virtuoso
Vac Pot: Yama 5 cup
Drip: nope, french press
Roaster: Behmor, WP, BBQ drum
Posted Tue Oct 13, 2009, 6:27am
Subject: Re: I want to make mediocre expresso
 

Hi Jake and welcome to coffeegeek.

boughtpassat Said:

His budget is $400. He might make espresso 3-5 times a week, if that. And he hopes that he can just buy his coffee from SB and have them grind it for him there. He has asked me to do the research for him... :)

This is why I titled my post as such. I think he would be okay with this option of having a machine with a PPF and not have to grind his own beans. I think he'd be happy with mediocre espresso because after all, he doesn't even want to do the research on this stuff himself and seems to like the drinks I make with my machine.

Posted October 12, 2009 link

"mediocre" expresso espresso is subjective terminology, but under my own subjective terms, preground coffee will not produce "mediocre" espresso.  It will produce bad espresso, PPF or not.  The problem I see is that you'll end up with a drink no where near as good as what he'll get from SB or just about anywhere, ultimately discouraging him.  

$400 isn't alot of money when talking about an espresso setup, but wideasleep gave you some tips on how to make that happen.  If he isn't willing to go through the learning and routine of pulling "real" espresso, it might be a $400 paperweight in a month.  That's just something he'll have to decide for himself.

I agree with Jman's suggestion for a POD machine.  I've had a few PODs before and I guess I would qualify them as mediocre(ish).  What I will say is I've had alot of shots worse than PODs from some cafes.  A shot from a POD is better than a shot pulled grossly incorrectly.  The benefit to a POD is there really isn't anything easier or cleaner to produce.  So if he really doesn't want to go through the routine I'd say this is probably the best option to meet his needs.  Some POD machines will make PODs as well as traditional espresso such as the Ascaso Dream; if he ever does want to progress into this hobby, that option will be there for him.
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